Good morning from the Major who writes from a cold dark Defford, in need of Sunday spark.
What a game Barca played last night, Real threw everything at them and were superb themselves although the quality in front of goal and the relative quietness of Ronaldo were to cost them. Iniesta is simply the worlds greatest footballer in the Majors view.
Today we have good sport in a couple of interesting Premier League games and some top class racing from Ireland.
In a break with tradition, I am going to start with the football. Spurs will win at Stoke, there is a confident assertion. I believe Spurs to be the second best team in the land right now and while Stoke have a robustness, I think teams are wising to it and I see an away win here. 11/10 is absurd, odds against… let’s pay for Christmas.
I like Sunderland’s chances too. Blackburn’s gutsy home win was a little of a freak result and with Martin O’Neill being the sort of manager to immediately spark improvement, I think Sunderland to take three points is where the smart money goes (or at least the Majors roll of notes!) at 10/11.
If you fancy that as a double, both Paddy Power and Ladbrokes offer those best prices to allow you the value. Treble the money.
I love the winter, I like the manner in which the Irish racing calendar provides all the Green Isle’s finest contests to balance the best of the UK’s cards on a Saturday. Jumps aficionados like the Major can wake up and review quality action, tremendous.
Cork and Punchestown hold meetings today with both courses verging on the Heavy, how different from our own current rattling conditions.
The Hilly Way is going to be won by Golden Silver, what else can win? At 1/4 it is only for those brave souls though. However, a more tasty bet awaits in the 2.20.
2.20 Grade 3 Novice Chase
These novice races are so simple to work out.
Knockfierna has beaten both Golden Sundird and Shop DJ; Shop DJ has beaten Our Victoria and Golden Sunbird but Golden Sunbird has beaten Knockfierna too. Clear?
Of the three market principles who have taken it in turns to finish in front, none will be inconvenienced by the ground. No trainer stands out as in terrific form and so it is the relative strength of these mixed form lines we have to use to judge who is likely best.
Fo me the 10/3 about Golden Sunbird needs to be taken. I think the defeat by less than a length of Knockfierna is telling. While the latter may have been effected by only a 14 day break between races, he has a similar gap here and Golden Sunbird won fair and square and has had a little more preparation time.
Load the light cannon….
Grade 1 Action – John Durkan Memorial – Punchestown
Superb chasing action from Punchestown as some of Irelands top chasers meet over two and a half miles in very soft conditions.
Pricewise has opted for Rubi Light who is certainly a potential improver and of the field, the unexposed horse. I can certainly see the attraction and at 9/4 would put noone off a bet but…..
Of all the horses running, I think Rubi Light will prefer a sounder surface than he encounters today. 9/4 is no price if you are unsure of that so elsewhere for the Major.
I am opting for Tranquil Sea who I have always had a soft spot for and I think will be in top touch. This former Paddy Power Gold Cup winner had a decent warm up event which he won, as he should. He will strip fitter in this which was the more obvious target so improvement can be expected. Geraghty has selected the horse over Joncol who is slightly shorter in the market and bar Ruby, I would pick no other jockey in the race.
7/2, smash it up.
A nice Lucky 15 there… Sunderland, Spurs, Tranquil Sea and Golden Sunbird.
Good luck and roll those dice.