Tag Archives: king of the night

Horseracing Tips from Sandown, Football Tips – The Majors Saturday Service

Indian Braves - Expert horseman, brutal warriors. Love a bet, probably.

Good morning, I hail to thee, young band of merry warriors.  Defford is a paragon of virtuous sunshine this fair morning, cacophony of spring birds, a brightness so loud it is deafening.

Ah the Major pangs for the short dark days of winter, the peaceful still and cool air, clear sound made on fresh canvas; just fading memories now like the distant pulses of a fast-moving train, but we know it will return.  Let us enjoy our excursion into summers embrace but know it for what it is, we shall await and embrace the coming of winter and restoration of natural order.

The Saturday Service is here and we have a great Easter weekend of sport, a delectable spread of refined temptations to pick from, gorge not, but enjoy the feast – Select well, as the enemy will try to dazzle us with baubles of deception, gaudy and dizzying, remain clear-headed and progress like the river with your mind able to bend round stubborn stone, relentlessly rolling on.

The Majors midweek foray was unsuccessful with three horses selected returning one non runner and two losses.  The Majors April is still very profitable, apologies for not updating the figures in the menu bar, the tardiness will be corrected.  Suffice to say I think we are about 55% up.

Balance is required.  As Kipling wrote, treat both triumph and disaster as equal imposters.  The Major knows this and so vigilance is required today.  Let our success be deliberate and calculated.  Glory comes from perfect practice, not hot-headed folly.

Custer is our cautionary tale.  His exploits for the Union army were legendary being promoted at Gettysburg.  He felt bullet proof and confidence was always sky-high with this dangerous man.  This instinct gave him his greatest moments and cost him his life and that of those he commanded. 

The Americans were continually breaking treaty promises with Indian camps over land rights.  Finding gold in the Black Hills caused inevitable further conflict and an oppressed tribal community rose up.  The Indian tribes of Arapaho, Cheyenne and Lakota (as well as the fighting Brule) united under the leadership of Sitting Bull were prepared to fight.  Their huge camp of 4,000 ugly faced braves, intent on mischief, settled at Little Bighorn.  Custer, the civil war hero was sent to quash the uprising with his 7th Calvary.

Tactically, Custer gave little thought to the job in hand.  His confidence in his men was unimpeachable but foolish.  He split his force into three.  The initial foray lead by Reno was to the South of the Indian encampment, it was bloodily repulsed and it was clear that the force they were fighting was well armed, well-ordered and thirsty for the engagement. 

All could have been recovered after Reno’s failed attack from the South, his retreat to the bluffs standing high to the East of the Little Bighorn river gave them all a chance of digging in.

Custer though was indignant and unaware of the dangers.  He had his forces try to traverse the river to the North East of the camp.  They were easily repelled and then pursued up the bluff by a succesful and swift Indian counter charge led by Crazy Horse. 

A desperate last stand was made in the hill overlooking the sprawling Indian camp.  Indian Calvary made light work of the 7th Calvalry who were trying to form a line, once they smashed through that, all order was lost and it was every man for himself.  The Indian braves used hatchet and lance in close quarters to devastating effect.  After the battle, they scalped the defeated in order to let the soul of their enemy depart, savage yet cathartic.

Why did Custer judge Little Bighorn so badly?  Why lead a force into full frontal assault against a three factor stronger enemy?  Why split your force?  Why when the first skirmish goes horribly wrong would you risk an attack?  Why decline to take more troops in the first place?  Custer wanted the fame, he was drunk on his self-image.

A man compelled to further his career in the spotlight.  A man buoyed by early success.  Over-confidence in your trained troop.  The sense of glory.  No coolness of mind.  Calculate your bravery.  The Major urges you to distance yourself from victory and defeat.  Custer’s lesson.

To the sports young warriors, let us hope to add red dots each symbolising a defeated and fallen member of the turf accountant community to our head-dress.  Daub paint and prepare your hatchet, ready thyself, it is Saturday and there is mischief to be had.

Sandown Bet 365 day is a superb moment in the sporting gentleman’s calendar.  The gauntlet is passed from the jumps to the flat boys and both are on show in a wonderful eight race card.  Next year, this might make the Majors social cycle. 

A glorious day for them too today.  Drenched in sunshine.

The ground will be edging towards the firm, this is a significant factor in assessing todays runners, it will be frenetic stuff.  We are also looking for jumps horses that are not ‘over the top’, ideally ones that have demonstrated they are spring horses.  Thus, Baby Run makes little appeal.

For the flat sorts, prep runs and ones that go fresh is the model of the likely winners in the Majors view.

2.05 Sandown – Bet 365 Handicap

As I write it appears that Kazzene has been backed off the boards down to 4/1.  This price does not reflect his recent form.  Though if something were amiss and it has been rectified, the Pipe yard can land a gamble with this completely unexposed sort racing off a featherweight.

I’ll leave the gamble alone.  Kazzene may be the handicap snip of the century but not for the Major.

I am a keen fan of Extreme Conviction in this 2 and a half mile contest.  His record with good ground or better is raced 6, placed 5, won 4.  He has not won on ground with the word soft in it.

King of the Night might be one for next season.

Back Extreme Conviction each way 10/1 with SportingBet.

2.35 Sandown Celebration Chase

French Opera is one of those sorts that will not carry the Majors money.  Henderson believes conditions are right today, the Major is less sure.

I prefer backing Tataniano who is 6/5 with Hills.  This is exactly the sort of horse the Major is looking for.  Loves the sun on its back, won over good last year at Aintree, odds against for a horse that could still make the top grade, very tasty.

3.10 Bet365 Gold Cup Chase – Sandown

As I previously hinted, I cannot have Baby Run.  OK, it is clearly the best hunter chaser around.  Switching to this company is tough, doing it after several hard races all over extended 3 and a half mile distances on the legs of an eleven year old is a lot to ask – Especially as he won’t have it his own way as he normally does, there will be harrassment today.  It is this and not his potential lenient handicap mark which gives the Major confidence to draw a line through that one.

There is going to be plenty of pace on with the ground as is and plenty that will like to make it, including Baby Run.

This might help settle Poker de Sivola into a better rhythm, he was the Majors Scottish National selection and if the unseating at Ayr still leaves him in decent touch, I think he might come good for one of these races.  I prefer those where this has been the long-term target though.

Triggerman is of interest.  Will be suited by this race and the Major would not put you off a 12/1 interest in this one.

The Majors money though will be carried by 10/1 shot Meanus Dandy.  Nicholls and Walsh team up and I think this one might do well stepped up in trip.  Get involved each way.

3.45 Bet365 Mile

Then the focus is passed to the flat sorts with their fine morning suit attire, keen satirical edge and vintage champagne, good luck to you all.

The Bet365 mile has attracted just 5 runners but it is an intriguing contest.

Dick Turpin has the best form to boast of, just.  4/5 on though is overpriced.

Andrew Balding has sent in  pacemaker (Highland Knight) to ensure a gallop which is a smart move given the small field and good ground.  The intended beneficiary, Dream Eater is not for the Major though, even with the assistance of Jimmy Fortune, amongst the Majors favourite flat jockeys.

I am not convinced Cityscape will love conditions especially as it is only going to get faster.  This leaves me Music Show.  Normally held up, I think the presence of a pacemaker will help the only lady in the field and Ryan Moore, master of the timed run can bring home the bacon at 9/2, have a chunky slice and thank me later.

4.50 Sandown 1m Handicap

This is a wide open handicap but there is a candidate that caught the Majors eye.  Huygens looks set for a big opener.  Holland is booked for the steering and the horse has a good record fresh. 

The Major is not the only one to smell a snip.  The price has come in from 16s to 9s.  I am not putting you off though, dropped back to a mile seems an odd choice but the trainer knows his beans, unleash the light cannon.

3.05 Mussleburgh

The 1m 1f contest is an interesting little affair and the one that catches the Majors imagination is the, bottom of the card, Rastaban.  The Major smells a big run….

William Haggas doesn’t make that many big round trips and when he does, he goes with intent.  This will be a 600 mile round trip and nothing else is going up in the horsebox.

7/2, pile in boys.

To the sports fields……

Last weeks football bets performed well with Wigan and Villa both winning at greater than 2/1.

This week I see no reason not to back them again.

Wigan are back in touch, Sunderland in free fall.  3/1 with Victor Chandler for the Latics, take a slice.

Villa entertain Stoke, fresh from their demolition of Bolton at Wembley.  Tony Pulis men have a poor record away from home and the Houllier illness is not a factor to the Major, well not one that adversely effects Villas chances anyway.  10/11 with Hills, smash that up.

Preston are 4/1 to win at Millwall who are without key players.  Preston are not quite done yet and I fancy them at this price to cause a possible upset.

I like the return of Adams at Blackpool and 2/1 is fair but their morale seems suspect and I cannot touch it.

7/2 the draw at Old Trafford also looks appealing but is left alone.

Tonight let dining be an easy pasta ensemble.  Fresh tiny ripened tomato, garlic, good bread.  Enjoy a light tipple, perhaps a Wye Valley beer or a class of Beaujolais.  Eat al fresco, see if that careful sort wants to join you, her with the measured look in her eye and that certain quiver of the lip that suggests something, perhaps.

Bet more than you should.  On the anniversary of Jesus resurrection weekend where he rose from the dead after three days (I once had a similar experience after an absynthe party); ensure you take a moment to yourself to simply enjoy being.  After all, this happens just the once, make it memorable.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips – BOOOMMM! Three Profit Days From Three for the Major – We are through the looking glass….

Punters of Britain the Major is on a high, another profit day on Thursday, with Albertas Run returning 6/1 and Big Bucks at evens.

Important news.  Regular readers will know the Major resides in the village of Defford, outside of Pershore in rolling Worcestershire countryside.  This is 20 miles north of the course and I can report some important news…. The rain has come.  The amount of rain tonight could be crucial and it makes the job tomorrow more difficult.  I have no idea what the ground will be like first thing.  I shall risk it and offer my advices but I warn all punters to freestyle if the Major was off.  For the record I am going to expect enough for good to soft, soft in places.  Perhaps dead, perhaps tacky.  Makes life tougher.

The Major does not need to be told that he rants.  For a very special and abusive friend, I have agreed to start highlighting the advices in bold for those with less time to read the analysis or reasoning.  This is a concession that may not last.

It is the day of the reckoning and the Major, though be art weighed in the balance will not be found wanting

75% of the battle is done.  We have wounded the enemy and he seems unsteady on his feet.  He has a nasty looking gash where we took his cut on the near side and then caught him with our own defensive slice.  His guard is still up though and his mind devious; in this injured state he is dangerous, on guard young man and keep a steady eye, his rapier slashes may be crude but we need dedication to the end to see this enemy dispatched to meet his reckoning.

Yet the Major is wearied from battle too.  Three days of analysis of some of the trickiest handicaps, snow blind from reading form lines, vigilance as we approach the last dear friends.  We are almost triumphant, yet ’tis many a slip between the crouch and the leap.

The Triumph

Grandouet has been put away since the defeat of Two Kisses in January.  Two Kisses is a reliable yardstick, the form is unspectacular but good.  Henderson always has a good sort for the Triumph and the jockey booking suggests this is it.

I hate to make strong statements as they can be wrong and this may mislead but I just cannot believe Smad Place is good enough, it looks over rated to me.

A Media Luz was beaten by stablemate Grandouet and although the assistance of AP McCoy will help, I cannot see it turning the tables.  At this age, the mares allowance is influential but I just do not think it will be enough in the case of A Media Luz.

Unaccompanied, another of the fairer sex and thus 7lb in, is the Irish leading fancy for the powerful Weld / Smullen team – Dangerous to ignore, particularly with the weather turning.

Zarkanda is an Aga Khan bred animal who while über impressive when defeating Molotof, is in better company here.  Molotof is the Henderson third string.  I find it interesting that Ruby has defected to Sam Winner though.

Yet Sam Winner has struggled to cope in his last race.  Looking highly capable in the heart of winter, has some of the sparkle gone.

This triumph is a classic.  The crunch decision is over the form lines you take.  Grandouet has to be respected but had been defeated by Sam Winner, who in turn was defeated by Marsh Warbler who ran poorer than expected earlier in the week.  Both may be forgiven a run but neither are rock solid.

Zarkander has been abandoned by Ruby but could be absolutely anything.

For the Major, Unaccompanied  It has the best Irish form, the Irish trainers are having a great week, this would get Friday off to a steamer.  Have an each way bet at 7/1 and hope the allowance and rain aid the cause.  Stick it in the toaster, butter, marmite, cup of steaming tea and thank me later.

The County Handicap Hurdle

The County is a puzzle hidden inside an enigma which is disguised as a rohypnol induced nightmare.

Alazari who picked up the Imperial Cup and is hunting the £75k bonus is an obvious threat but in a field of 28 and having run in the last week, I am unsure it is wise to invest at 8/1.

Dirar is sitting favourite and you can see why.  Stable form and profile mean it should be involved, interesting.

The Major advises you though to bet sensibly, this is an insanely difficult prize.  I would proffer a few thoughts as follows.

Snap Tie a pound off top weight loves Cheltenham and has been dropping to a very handy mark.  Having not run since October 2009 it would be an almighty training performance but Hobbs can do it and Dickie Johnson in the saddle is a huge boost, 14/1 is it enough?

Salden Licht gets the burden of an extra pound, thus is the top weight and despite making a couple of errors when chasing after Recession Proof in the Totesport is on the Majors considered list, particularly at 25/1, not out of it.

Get me out of Here is also extremely well treated if the tongue tie has the desired effect, I would not put you off, personally 16/1 is an OK price but not what I am after.

Soldatino looks held unless there were excuses last time.  Dee Ee Williams more so.

Alaivan comes into it if the rain has been significant. 

Ski Sunday is a bit of an unknown.  The January run with subsequent winner Skint behind has a classy look about it.  It was only rated 66 on the flat but is a much better hurdling prospect, hmm.

Final Approach would not be 12/1 had Call the Police performed solidly on Wednesday.  Ruby and Mullins 12/1 in this sort of handicap, interesting.

Zanir at 33/1 could run a bigger than expected race too.

The Major has not ruled too many out of the County.  I have a shortlist of a few.  The most interesting of which is Snap Tie.  A Cheltenham horse, a mark that has dropped from two years off, 14/1 is as tight as I would want it but I just fancy the trainer and jockey if they have the horses confidence back.  It goes against many of the Majors principles, after all the time off the track is a significant downside before competing in such a big field.  I just have a sense that Johnson can turn him off and nurse him through, letting class do the rest.

The Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

Some time ago the Major put up a piece about Moonlight Drive which had been tipped to me antepost.  It definitely wants the rain which is coming and is a threat still but the softer the better.  Certainly the stable hold it in good regard it seems and as Recession Proof is a stablemate then they have a decent yardstick with the Totesport Trophy winner.

The hope was that Bobs Worth would defect to the Neptune and since that has not happened, it has to be a major threat in this given the ease of the Grade 2 success last time out.

The other horse of interest and the one I settle on to advise tonight is Champion Court.  At 10/1, I hope they have sorted the issues which caused the horse to hang so badly when it looked like it might get involved in defeat to Bobs Worth last time out.  The previous form has some depth, Bobs Worth could well be too good but with Henderson not enjoying the best week, I oppose with Champion Court.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Major has a strong fancy in the Gold Cup this year which is odd because it is as open as any I can recall.  I would go as far to say it is the best Gold Cup in many years, it will be a privilege to watch the interwoven strands of form, story, conjecture and magic unfurl.

It is not so much a case for the Major of picking the winner, it is more a case for finding the least likely reason any of the main protagonists will fail to lose.  That is not to say the quality is poor, quite the opposite.

The highlight of our national hunt year is solved by answering these questions correctly:

1. Does Kautos small bleed excuse his poor King George run and is he capable of pulling his old school form out when it matters? (He would go down not only as the only horse to have regained a Gold Cup but to have done that twice, wow)

2. Is Denmans third to the non runner Diamond Harry, giving best part of 2 stone away, in the Hennessy a decent bit of form?

3. Is the ground soft enough for Pandorama, the Majors ante post tip for the gold cup?

4. What does the Kempes Irish Hennessy win form add up to?

5. How ripe is Imperial Commander and how good was last years Gold Cup?

6. Is Midnight Chase a credible threat?

7. Is it time to change the old guard?

8. Who wins?

The Majors view: 1. No, he looked shot in the Down Royal opener, I know Nicholls will not have had him wound up for that but I think he is on a slide.  2. This is better form than anything Kauto has done but only entitles him to place form in the Majors view.  3. Probably not but if the rain keeps coming, too early to tell 4. Nothing 5. The Major is unimpressed on both counts.  6. Not really, if he were mine he would go straight to the National. 7. Yes.  8. LONG RUN.

I am aware that the stats for 11 year olds are shocking and so are the stats for 6 year olds.  Here is the advice.  If the ground gets good to soft, soft in places, then go Pandorama.  If it remains any better than that, stick with Long Run. 

I am going to believe that his 6 year old status is offset by the fact that he has had an awful lot of racing.  This was probably the reason that he lost last festival.  I was standing by Nicky Henderson that day (not that I know him!) and it did not look like the expected script was followed.  After being on the go all of the previous summer in France and then all winter, I think Long Run was already over the top at the festival.  The way he demolished the King George field suggested he is a different prospect to me.  He should stay, he won’t mind conditions, he is inexperienced but…. 5/1 Hills (who offer £20 bet on the race and a free £10 at the weekend to all customers), Paddypower and Coral – Have the biggest slice your wallet allows and send me the postcard.

Master Hobday, if you are reading, it already carries a £20 from the Majors wallet for you, the man, the legend.

The Foxhunters

The two races after the Gold Cup are surely designed as a bookies benefit to drag in any remaining cash. 

Gone to Lunch could be dangerous if showing the best of old form.  Baby Run is a worthy favourite, nothing wrong with betting that.

For value though the Major plumps for On the Fringe.  Probably too young, where Baby Run is starting to wear.  9/2 (Hills) On the Fringe for the Major.

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys

Conditional jockeys riding make this one of the most trappy handicaps of the festival. 

That said, there is one that stands out like a beacon to the Major in King of the Night.

This horse gets to race off a mark of just 139 despite having lost by a nose to Sprinter Sacre (now rated 145) when giving a full stone away.

From the champion trainer, plenty of scope.  11/1, the best the Major can come up with.

The Lucky Last – The Grand Annual

Christ, if you need a win here you are in trouble.

I might have the long priced answer too.  The Major has always had an eye for Sports Line.  OK, he gets way to frisky in his races and is often fighting for his head but when he does settle he looks classy.

What catches the eye is the switch to Timmy Murphy, I think they plan on burying him away in the field under the best rider at the last to first tactic.

33/1 is the sort of price to get you out of any trouble.

The Cheltenham Festival Summary

I hope you have had a terrific week.  The Major has taken not given and this is a refreshing change to last year.

In not many hours from now, the point in the year that National Hunt fans aim at is the furthest from us.  Thank god that the 2012 antepost markets are already open. 

Let us draw blood once again tomorrow.  I hope the racing is glorious, your victory magnanimous.

Gold Cup night deserves the best french cuisine.  Have some duck in the country fashion seared and with green peppercorn sauce.  A good Bordeaux.  Tip well, this is right.  Be upstanding for the Queen at midnight.  Find a nice girl from Cork whose sing song voice shall last with you for many days.

This Gold Cup, I hope you have every reason to be glad in your heart.

Cheltenham in my Lungs

Fair morning to punters of Britain – A rare Friday post from the Major who has been awake many hours solving the puzzles that the opening day of the PAddy Power meeting at Cheltenham throws our way.

Hope you were on the winners last weekend at 7/1 and 8/1 respectively – Lets see what we can muster to allow us to prize the loot from our nemesis, the man with the satchel.

I am attending the Cheltenham course today, courtesy of the fine folk of the good ship Hiscox.  I see it like this:

The opener could go to Nicholls and I fancy a plunge on Earth Planet – Going in style I plan on making this the NAP.  Put simply, the form with Lie Forrit is the best on show, Nicholls is in fine form and a decent 5lb claim off what I consider a good handicap chase mark for Earth Planet adds up to a tasty bet.

1.50 and a suprise may be on the cards.  OK, it is unlikely that anything will beat Cue Card who looks a star in the making but the price will reflect that and I think forecast 11/10 on will be a fantasy.  I suspect the good folk will be shephereded to this bet like it cannot fail and it will go off at 4/6.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I am sticking with in form Nicholls in this race.  OK Dunraven could be good too, forgive his Champion Bumper run and you have a star horse and he is well regarded.  I also think he will like good ground but 7/2 to beat the star in a straight punch up…… seems tight to me.  This is why I like King of the Night – 8/1 at least gives you a chance of earning a profit on an each way stake.  This horse is not far off Dunraven form either and crucially gets the support on Noel Fehily from the saddle one of my favourite jumps jockeys and one who carries an amazing 55% strike rate for Nicholls

Daves Dream may go well fresh but the Pricewise horse probably won’t carry the honest price I want.  Keelaghan may be a McCoy / Tony Martin sure thing but against this quality I am unsure.  Although Reviliste is unproven on the ground, the unexposed 5yo has a lot going for it.  On balance I will take the best I can above a 5/1 Reviliste price and a 6/1 Daves Dream price and suspect the first will be the easiest to find.

There could be an upset in the cross country.  Joe Lively is as much a bet as for the heart as for the head but Garde Champetre who admittedly looks a good thing off the weights may not enjoy the top of the ground as much as oe does – 9/1 each way, the Major thinks it is a good bet.

Betting large in a 24 runner conditionals handicap at Cheltenham is the fastest way to the poor house there is.  So the 3.35 will carry just a small investment.  It will probably go on Max Bygraves who (if fit) could go well with a decent 8lb claim.  Sound Stage, Traffic Article and Turner Brown all had an argument forming in my head before I stopped myself  – Get a grip, you might put a line through some of these but seriously…

The best is saved until last.  The Steel Plate novice chase is a great race.  I really fancy second favourite Reve de Sivola to conquer here.  I think it has shown easily the best form when 2nd in the World Hurdle and the trainer of Time for Rupert has expressed a minute doubt about the readiness of his runner.  Othermix is a worthy each way bet, pricing permitting.

The nap is Earth Planet.  Money on, sit back and have a glass in hand.  Don’t forget to tell the man, that you are one of the Majors and you will be back.