Tag Archives: katgary

The Saturday Aintree Grand National (not) Sermon…

Good evening from the Major who writes from the house of a good friend, the night is long, the body weary.  The evening weather is still and close, warm for the season, after some ale, the Major shall keep things brief.

The company of good friends can ease the minds worry and tonight has proven such, the valve opened, somewhere deep in the system, the central boiler gives a command, through the lengthy network of pipes, steam hisses, anxiety is distributed, the pressure releases. Wonderful.

For once I feel tired and so few thoughts spill from my mind for your delectation, I have less time to regale you with tales of Victorian military adventure; tonight you receive less, than usual, glimpse of my dark mind, the vortex is sealed.  This is probably not a bad thing.  Just have a healthy day.

The Thursday Aintree card was a triumph, Friday, a dog.  The Grand National is laid before us… courage, hold your nerve, still now, be still, wait, I will release the order in time, until then, keep that finger still and your shoulder tight, feeling the warmth of your brother in arms.

To the Grand National Card:

Saturday Aintree Tips

The opening novice hurdle is a challenge, the Supreme form is starting to look superior with Josses Hill and Sargeant Reckless clear of the rest; this could be a frightening prediction of the sheer excellence of Vautour, let us hope a new national hunt star is born.  Wilde Blue Yonder was in the chasing pack and is booked for a place here you would think.  Lac Fontana was relentless if not spectacular as a winner of the county and while this trip might be suitable, he needs a test and I do not trust that he is the best horse.

I did like Volnay de Thaix who was an impressive winner in handicap company last time, has some nicely tied form with Iriving and is proven on the ground.  However, yesterday, I liked the chances of Tistory for the same connections but ignored the fact that Barry Geraghty had voted against and I face the same issue here.  Once bitten.  I am following Geraghty and picking Oscar Hoof who can be sniffed at 11/2 in a few places.

Trifolium ran well in the Arkle, a race in which a few eyebrows were raised on the entrant Ted Veale, that proved a good entry as he ran well.  However, I make a strong case for Hinterland.  He was rerouted to the Champion Chase after the defection of Sprinter Sacre and against that better company he was performing with credit before parting company with the rider.  Balder Succes rates a danger but I am lumpy on this one.

In the stayers hurdle, At Fishers Cross gets a fine chance to take a Grade 1 but I am not currently a fan.  He has suffered with back issues , as has the Major; allowing me to empathise with my equine friend.  He has not looked as fluent at the obstacles and I attribute this to his physical issues.  As such, if he were mine and allow me to offer this advice with the surety it deserves, as I am a far greater judge than his day to day work riders, jockey, trainer and owner who parted with real money to acquire him; he should be in a field, thinking about whether he goes chasing next year.  Not for me.

The market has differing ideas about Whisper who can be backed at 13/2 and 4/1.  There is a lot to like about the way this horse travels but I thought his winning effort in the Coral was both excellent and draining.  Melodic Rendezvous surely needs heavy ground, which leaves me the uncomfortable choice of Zarkander a general 3/1 shot.  I am not the biggest fan to be honest but as Holmes suggests, eliminate the impossible…

Holywell has done a lot of advertising for the chances of Victor Hewgo – I would not put anyone off but feel we can find some value.  Unioniste has an excellent course record and I prefer that one of the two at the top of the market.  Yet while he won his only start on good, he is one from four on good to soft and I am not convinced that this rattling surface is ideal.  I am out on a limb though and backing 25/1 (Sportingbet) shot Our Mick who is in excellent hands to overcome a period in the doldrums and at least has been targeted at this race.

I am not a national fan, read the post two back to see my view but I am abstaining on this piece of tradition.  Good luck to you if you play, my own position is weak and hypocritical but alas.

When I ponder the unlucky ones in the festival such as Calipto and The New One; Katgary is in the same file.  He was almost bought to a standstill before rallying home and failing only by a whisker.  Get on at 3s.

I went to the Grand National meeting a few years back and had no joy all day.  Being part of a group of chaps who were planning a full frontal assault on the delights of Liverpool city centre that evening, I felt bad that I had provided them no additional ammunition.  One uncouth gentlemen in the group had been betting under his own steam and had made a couple of pounds and had the vulgarity to gloat.  Thankfully, we loaded up the kitty again and had an on the nose bet on the bumper winner, Steps to Freedom who had a superb Carberry special to come scorching wide and late to win at 12/1.  Our £100 had been secured at 14s after an extensive walk up and down the pitches, there were scenes.

There is going to be some pace in this and I am backing Ballybolley who is OK with the good ground, if he is a shade of the last Twiston Davies Aintree bumper winner, The New One, we are in luck.

In the football, Man City are a snip at 4/11, that should be in the acca, Wolves are 7/10, that should be a founding block too.  Too add the spice, QPR at 21/10.

The Martin Hill bet is an each way trixie (weak I know) on Oscar Hoof, Hinterland and Katgary.

Courage and roll those dice.

The Champion Chase Day Sermon – Full review of Wednesdays Cheltenham card

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire scene of peaceful spring – The Major is returned from Cheltenham, a little bruised and wondering just how I finished the day so poor.

Proceedings started so well, Vautour was simply barnstorming – Ruby set the fractions and kicking off the turn, showed the field a clean set of heels.  I have not read Paul Nicholls comments and so am uncertain if anything was amiss with Irving but he ran no sort of race.

The Arkle was taken by an outsider, as Ruby sailed over the last the crowd rose, like a wolf showing hackles, you could feel the energy about to go into roaring Ruby home, but then the last actor joined the stage, Western Warhorse under a maximum effort from Tom Scudamore to press a slight advantage at the line, ah he had not read the script, like a balloon slowly relieving itself of its contents, the masses calmed.  A sea of slightly confused punters punctuated by the odd small stakes backer of the winner jumping for joy with their fingers clutching at a 33/1 ticket.

The Champion Hurdle demonstrated the sheer triumph and disaster our sport allows.  Travelling up the inside on the back straight, Our Conor, such an effective hurdler, crumpled quickly on the landing side and suffered such injuries that it was deemed that the best course of action was to put him down.  He gave me an inspirational moment last year and having followed him all season, it sobered me up alright.  Christ, it is a magnificent sport but there is a grave price.  It has not rightly sunk in, it is a terrible thing and while we move on, I shall not forget that great moment.

Contrast was provided within moments.  I watched the race from a spot I frequent, knowing that Nicky Henderson is there.  At some point just before the race, I realised that Jessica Harrington was alongside me in a smart red coat, class act I can tell you.  As Jezki battled on with Geraghty using all of his guile to repel McCoy on My Tent or Yours, she burst into tears of joy – You could see what it meant.  Afterwards, in a touch of class, Henderson went and embraced her… I regaled this to a table of serious Irish betting fraternity who tell me that they are the best of friends.

What a contrast.  That is Cheltenham in a nutshell.  I managed to suggest another horse that fell and with the screens up, looked like it might be serious but thankfully for the connections of Gardefort and the Williams yard, it seems as though it was tiredness and being winded.  Yet I also saw with my eyes people will Quevega on, they helped her, does that sound ridiculous?  Yes, it does, doesn’t it… Well I know, I was there.

In gambling, your investment returns may go up as well as down.  The Major is down, yet, this is not the end, not even the beginning of the end, but it is the end of the beginning, I can see the light.  Vautour and Quevega are in a number of multiples I have – This is good.  Plus, I feel like I have come on for the run today.

Wednesday Cheltenham Tips

Now, should you be a newcomer, you might not realise that I have already written up my thoughts for the Grade 1 races on the Wednesday card.  I may refer to that page and so you can use the link to go to it if you want and read the earlier thoughts.  That is how the internet works!

The day starts with the Neptune and another key plank of the Majors antepost week plots runs and we need at least a place and hopefully one better from Faugheen.  The Red Sherlock and Rathvinden tied form is good but we get Ruby and since I am (and for the more infrequent / novice gamblers amongst you) going to use the technical term… I am ‘balls deep’ in this position my friends – Cheltenham depends on him and Annie Power.

As a footnote, if Lieutenant Colonel wins, consider the emotions, Dessie Hughes lost his stable star today in tragic circumstances, what god send the next to arrive on the scene and lift the spirit.

Then the RSA – Again, more substantial notes are available on the link above but I think this is a weak RSA (cannot remember that many strong ones!) and all those at the head of the market have question marks.  As such, I stand by my selection, now drifted to 25/1 in Annacotty.  He was giving weight to Indian Castle when running with credit in defeat, this drying ground will be fine and he has been targeted clearly at this race all season…. Have faith and courage my friends.

The Coral Cup is an enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and then smashed over your head time and time again.  What can I tell you… Trends… In the last 15 years a horse has won 15/15.  It had a jockey 15/15.  I was not on it 15/15.  You have been warned.

For what it is worth, I have looked at the card until my head hurts.  Dunguib fits none of the usual profile but he is hardly a usual horse having been the great Irish hope until injury made him miss his best days.  He is eleven, he will not want this rattling ground playing havoc with his joints!  No.

There are plenty I can make some sort of case for.  It also plagues me that the winner of this race has not returned at huge prices in recent years.  In the end, I am betting Indevan at 20/1.  Ruby again, Ricci again.  Long absence to overcome but in excellent hands to do so.

Then the big race of the day, again something I have covered at length and I am most happy to continue to suggest backing the favourite Sire de Grugy makes sense.  This is a weak Champion Chase and he has done everything right.  I am surprised he is 11/4, load a cannon!

The Cross Country is a unique race for the festival and I like it, I know it has its detractors but if you are on course, I suggest you make your way to the centre of the course and enjoy watching the action up close.

As for the winner, I am a big fan of Big Shu, a horse I think should be much much shorter than 4/1.  He was superb in this race last year and while a stone rise in the weights is a leveler, I think he is likely to go again.  He has been laid out for this race and my only concern is that the ground might not be ideal.  At  huge price, Diamond Harry is no forlorn hope.  Get stuck into my boy though!

The Fred Winter is another head scratcher.  So many improvers, so much to like! I am swayed that the drying ground might be quite an issue for those with proven form in the book this winter.  This is the tenth running of the race and it has had two 40/1 winners to date, one of which I had the pleasure of a bet on in Une Artiste…. Sweet memories.

I cannot find a profile I particularly like and so am siding with Katgary who we know so little about.  Good hands, reasonably expensive and nearer the bottom of the weights which is the slightly more normal profile of a Fred Winter winner.  Tread with care.

I have already covered the Champion Bumper in the link above.  I am happy enough with Black Hercules but this is the bumper! Alternatives? Izzini with her mares allowance looks interesting at 50/1 (Boyles) and so does Our Kaempfer at 28/1 with BetVictor – They are longer priced darts and this is not a race I suggest you stake your dignity on.

Courage and roll the dice.