Good morning from the Major who has been up early pondering the days sporting action. Defford is fine and cool with a dark slick ground from the overnight rain. The coffee has been bubbling away and the Major is ready to lay before you the sporting delights of the day.
If you have come seeking the Majors advice this morning, thank you. It has to be said that current form does not warrant your custom. The Major always remains free, barely-profitable and entirely unhinged and it is at times like these that I wonder why people still visit. I rely on your good grace.
In fact, if you are reading this at all; given my recent record; you are either a loyal friend, slightly insane, entertained, stupid or you have lottery fever (you have been following the Majors advice for some time and have an unshakable belief that one day, we will land the mothership). I admire the last group the most.
Faith is an interesting concept. Not to think something or to assess merit on evidence but to know it. There are many biblical quotes on faith but I prefer the words of the great 18th century french philosopher Francais-Marie Arouet – Like the Major he assumed a pen-name, Voltaire, there the comparisons stop. He said of faith…
It consists in believing what is beyond the power of reason to believe.
Could we land the mothership today? To the sports my faithful few…..
The Tingle Creek
I do love the Tingle Creek. A tough finish but Sandown favours speed merchants. Couple this with the stiff railway fences down the back straight that are tricky and close.
It is a true test of speed and accuracy and requires a brace jockey too. If you do not have your horse in a steady rhythm pinging those tricky back straight fences.. pop, pop, pop, pop…. it will be game over.
It is an intriguing renewal today and one that has the bookmakers competing again hard for our stakes. I do love it when the enemy is forced into such generous tactics.
The winner for the Major is Sportingbet.com. For stakes placed through their online facility (check it may just be the app), they are refunding losing bets to Sizing Europe and providing a 15% bonus on winning stakes…. simply superb.
There seem to be three main protagonists in the race.
Sizing Europe is over from Ireland to show the class of his Champion Chase win remains this season. He will not mind conditions and is an accurate taker of the fences but the Major is not convinced he will win this today, Champion Chase winners have a mixed to poor record. I am also not certain he was the best Champion Chase winner we will have seen.
Kauto Stone has a big task. Nicholls clearly the world of the half brother to the mightier Kauto. He needs rain though desperately. Two miles will be on the sharp side. Although his half brother managed it (twice – legend), Stone will need to be top class too as he is surely going to be better over staying trips in the future.
Many are also pointing to the fact that Kauto Stone was the number two stable choice and Tataniano would have been his first selection. The Major is less sure, I read Nicholls comments as saying that the two horses have different preferences on ground and so both were in the race at the early declarations to give the trainer choice. The fact that Tataniano is out for the season is now irrelevant if Kauto Stone gets enough toe into the ground as he would have been number one choice in soft conditions anyway.
It is also interesting to see Wishfull Thinking stepping back in trip and not up in trip. After disappointing hugely in the Paddy Power, the horse was reported to be heavy on the chest. I think this horse has threatened top class but there are things to prove, well-being and speed being the main two.
There are your choices. I suggest a bet on Kauto Stone. I was hoping for a little more than 7/2 but that price reflects the trainers vice like grip on the Tingle Creek and the horses illustrious relative. For the Major, I remain unconvinced by the class of Sizing Europe and Wishfull Thinking has a few questions to answer too. While Kauto beat little in Ireland, his Down Royal run was flawless. Have a slice. Do your rain dance.
1.25 Sandown – Pertemps Qualifier
At 25/1, the price of a night in the pub could pay for Christmas on my selection in the handicap hurdle.
On Borrowed Wings carries one of my favourite jockeys, Noel Fehily gets an unusual right for the stable who have a great record for their few Sandown runners. I think his comeback run can get a line through is and I believe this horse to be way better than the dismissive 40/1 that Stan James have priced him up at, have a slice.
Poungach could be absolutely anything but this will not be the main target so I am happy to get involved with On Borrowed Wings at monster prices.
2.30 Listed Handicap Hurdle
Another at a price for you from the Major.
To Paddy Power and Ladbrokes for their 10/1 pricing of Tenor Nivernais who the Major believes may finally come good and show us the potential that connections clearly think he has.
The Fred Winter run at the festival was clearly not what was expected as the money that day suggested a bigger performance. On reappearance, the horse dissapointed again but the Major is going to stick with it.
Mister No at 16/1 is also immeasurable, who knows what his french form is all about. It is nice to see our Gallic friends coming to have a pop at our big races as we do theirs, good luck to connections.
Get stuck in to Tenor Nivernais though, I have a feeling the money will come again and you know how good the Majors nose is for a gamble.
3.20 Aintree – The Grand Sefton
The selection in the Grand Sefton is Linnel. The stable definitely do not go on fishing expeditions, particularly across the Irish Sea and so I read potential in this horse as absolute.
7/1 is the best you can get but it is still worth a few of your hard earned golden coins.
Finally – 12.00 Aintree Maiden Hurdle
Keys is very tempting here at 11/8 and I suggest a slice.
Keys gave me and a few friends a thrilling win at Cheltenham in the New Years Day bumper as we waited first to hear he had the photo call over Cinders and Ashes (re-opposes) and then to make sure he kept it in the stewards room (he did).
I thought he truly had the measure over a pushed out Cinders and Ashes that day and I think 11/8 is tremendous value in that context.
If you do not like backing shorter priced good things, take on Ile de Ray who for me is incredible value at 9s. Apart from Keys, I would rate his the best flat horse in the field and if he takes to jumping…. could go very well.
If you were after a tip for the Becher, my money will be staked on Nicto de Beauchene.
To the sports fields of our great nation….
Two teams to back this weekend. I think Swansea are priced well enough at 5/2 to have a slice at Blackburn. I also think the 5/4 that Liverpool win at Fulham on Monday is like finding money in the street!
Why not double up Keys and Liverpool to give a very tasty £100 return to a £20.
Tonight I hope you dine well in a good restaurant where the wine flows, the misty effect of the grog sedates the senses and you are left with a contentment that only a donkey choking wedge of used notes and a flaxen haired lustrous sort sat opposite can provide. Shabash! Tip well.
Courage, roll those dice.