A solid two days of Cheltenham reviews and tips and the Major’s followers are in 40% profit. Day two looked victorious for the enemy until Cheltenian won the bumper well, a 12/1 selection for the Major (14/1 was available widely at the off).
Sizing Europe looked stunning but you could run that race again and it wouldn’t carry the Majors money. Carlo Brigante was an easy winner too and visually looked good.
As usual all of my bets are recorded in the tabs at the top as is a summary of performance by month. March is now rolling along gloriously! You can follow the Major on twitter @tdl123 or look in the left hand menu to sign up to the email alert service. Always free, amateur and slightly unhinged, the Major lays his racing soul bare.
World Hurdle day tomorrow. We have reached half time in the battle. It is time to pull out the big guns, we want winners. Load up the big cannon young man with grape-shot, draw a bead on thine enemy.
Happy St Patricks Day to all Irishmen – Good luck to you today.
Noble Prince has been twice defeated this season by Arkle third, Realt Dubh. While it is early to tell, I suspect this years Arkle was not a vintage and thus, this form does not add up to too much. Last years festival win was very solid though and on good ground, of clear interest.
The market leader, Wishful Thinking won a hurdle in fine style out here last time, in one sense a rightful favourite.
Robinson Collonges has had some time off which might not be a bad thing. His defeat in December at Cheltenham was poor, he looked a bit workman like before ploughing through three out and weakening quickly. I think this can be forgiven and it is his run from November 2010 that catches the eye. In it he fell, but not before putting all of the field to bed and certainly looking like he had the eventual winner covered. The horse that took advantage of the fall was Wishful Thinking. This makes the 6/1 generally available tonight a must bet. Ruby doing the steering is a big plus given he might need to be nursed into one or two fences.
The Pertemps Final
This is an intriguing puzzle with a number of interesting runners.
Duke of Lucca is a reliable sort but surely not feasibly weighted for this.
I have always liked Pause and Clause and this seasons form has been a disappointment. He has certainly performed better hurdling that chasing, 33/1 is a fair price for one that could go well.
Kayf Aramis is on a fair mark and is bidding to take this for a second time after victory in 09. It is a tough horse who is hard to pass. Not for the Major but 22/1 is fair enough.
The win Lush Life got at Cheltenham in December was good. A previous defeat of Menorah at Ascot, looks much better. You can put a line through the dreadful run at Sandown latest where the horse needed work from the farrier at the start. 14/1 for Henderson and Geraghty is a terrific price. This would be the Majors bet of the day.
Chartreux also looks a well handicapped sort for the Pipes.
When it boils down, I suggest two each way plays. Lush Life and Pause and Clause. There is a bit of heart in the second, the first looks a stand out bet, go long, large, heavy and fast.
After running well yesterday in the Champion Chase, I cannot see Somersby winning. He has the class and the Ryanair would have been the Majors choice if he was mine. Two Grade 1s in two days though is surely too much, if he is not scratched I wouldn’t want to be on. The same applies to Captain Cee Bee.
J’y Vole has been the Majors selection a few times but this is probably a bit too hot for him. 8/1 has place claims only in the Major’s view.
It would be fascinating to see Voy Por Ustedes back in top form. He is ten and so the change of scenery to Hendersons yard could spark some change. Voy Por has plenty of Cheltenham form, 14/1 is a huge price if you could guarantee a decent run, who knows if the horses heart is back in it.
Tartak is also of interest at a price. 20/1 is simply too much for a horse with track form. He benefits from being the stable star and uncharacteristic errors last time out can mean we can put a line through that run. Good ground not a problem.
I am not sure the favourite Poquelin will appreciate the firmer conditions he will get tomorrow. 5/2 is just too short.
Albertas Run is certainly a key player. 6/1 for last years winner who will love the ground, of significant interest. This is the Majors selection with a saver on Tartak each way.
The World Hurdle
With ground going against Grand Crus, his current drift to 3/1 could continue. Contrary, Big Bucks has been trimmed back into evens (long gone is the 11/8 the Major took, sorry for crowing).
Grand Crus looked a real star in the making when clearing away from the field in a Grade 2 here latest.
I cannot see anything other than a Big Bucks win. He looked at his best at Newbury this year and this is surely going to be the hat-trick effort of World Hurdles. I think he will go off clear odds on favourite so get stuck in now. For those who don’t like evens, I would say that the reward of a win on Big Bucks is far more than just doubling your money, it will be a huge thrill to be on a true champion with a huge crowd cheering him in.
Zaynar could go well if suited by a step up to 3 miles – This former champion hurdle contender is not exactly solid material but on best form is at least in the right league.
Fiveforthree will be popular and I expect it to go off shorter than 14/1. The Major tipped it up when winning on reappearance but I just don’t think it is good enough in this company.
Sometimes, keep it simple – BIG BUCKS on BIG BUCKS! ‘C’mon Ruby!’
Ferdy Murphy served us well with a winner in the last on Tuesday and I suspect Hollo Ladies has been a planned horse for the Byrne Plate for some time. Raced over probably unsuitably longer distances, the horse which looked progressive at two miles has had a mark of 139 preserved. Dropped back in trip, I expect, or at least vaguely hope, for a massive run.
Venetia Williams has taken this race in three of the last five runnings and so you have to fear Quartz de Thais. Not for the Major though, have a chunky slice and then it is Hollo Ladies all night long!
The Kim Muir
Another tricky handicap with plenty of big priced hopefuls.
I am not sure that the handicapper had the measure of Mostly Bob penalising the horse 11lbs for a Doncaster success we never found at at Kempton where the first fence bustle and subsequent fall robbed us of a better assessment of the true ceiling, difficult to assess but of interest to the Major with Dickie Johnson in the saddle.
Galaxy Rock is the other to catch the eye at 18/1 – Good ground is a plus and he is lightly tried over fences, Jonjo is due a decent winner.
Junior has a good chance too, I just feel the price is short enough. As for the tip, take a slice of Mostly Bob each way and thank me later.
Good luck on day three. Whatever happens bet like a man possessed. Win or lose, ensure you have invested slightly more than you should. After all what is it all for if you have not a palpitating moment. We know better than those who bet with minimal stakes, fearful of loss. How their fears have mastered their enjoyment of life. Stake more than you should.
Sleep well. In the morning I suggest eggs benedict, fresh orange juice, good coffee. Take the papers early, have a constitutional walk, take the air. It will be a good day.