Tag Archives: module

The Tuesday Punchestown Festival Sermon

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a changeable Worcestershire where a pleasant spring air hung in the evening as we left for dinner but by return had descended to a suppressing cold slippery mugginess.

Odd to be out to dinner on a Monday night?  Well it is none of your business but I shall accommodate your inquiry.  The good lady was a victim of a full-on road rage event yesterday.  Shockingly, while she had our two boys in the car too no less.  Assuage thy concern, all are unharmed and while the cad was aggressive, to the point of banging on the car window, that was the extent of the disturbance.

She was reporting the incident today at the police station at 4pm, so I sent her a message at 5pm suggesting…  ‘If I were to take you to dinner tonight, where should I book?’.  I would invite you to use this from time to time, works the charm.

And so…. To dinner, The Fleet on the River Severn, lovely spot.  All was well with their faggots, a little uncouth in my menu selection?  Well I couldn’t care, you can take the boy from the Black Country and all that.  The boys played on their crazy golf, the sun set and I stood outside content, beer in hand (Thunderbolt, not what you think), a few midges were present but not so many as to upset the mood.  Plus, a view over the expansive green flood plain to the droning M5 motorway a full interrupted half mile away.  You may think this punctuated the mood but for the Majors dark wayward mind, I like a constant noise to keep me anchored, I am the sort to sleep with the radio on.

Later in the evening, I drive to Pershore, the Georgian facades look grand at last light.  The window down to catch the cool evening air, like nectar after the earlier rain, a pungent whiff of the spring onions being drawn from the field.  Marvellous.

The peace is stuttering.  Two pieces of news drew sharp.  A teacher stabbed to death in front of her class, a dog tied to a tree, doused and burned alive.  I do not raise these things for sensationalism or to upset your disposition, just that the barbarous nature of it, unfathomable, it must be a madness, the first was committed by a child, it bares little thought.

All of these things, prey in the edges of my mind.  Such a world we occupy, yet there is cause for hope for statistically these things are noise.  Yes, you might think it hard to reckon the tally as I do but the positive ledger of life, even the midges, out scores the credit side with comfort.

With such recompense, let us set the mind to the Punchestown festival.

Even some of the keener National Hunt fans have failed to raise Punchestown with me in recent weeks.  I have no idea why….. the quality is exceptional, if a little elongated.  Perhaps, burnt fingers from backing many a Cheltenham good thing that has gone awry in years gone by, perhaps the weariness of the season, perhaps buying the Bet365 Gold Cup as the last significant act of the season as seemingly advertised by some commentators.  Whatever the reason, do not succumb.  This is a quality festival and we shall draw long on the goblet.  I love the early evening nature of it, coming from the office, one can swing by your turf accountant and seek the results of the day while chancing your remaining bank on the lucky last.

We have some rules.  Class can tell yet… Look for horses laid out for it.  Mullins is important.  Good ground animals too.  Ideally less than six races season to date.  To the business end of the sermon.

Tuesday Punchestown Tips

The festival opens with a low key race.  The thing with Punchestown is that the quality is a little more thinly distributed but this is splitting hairs, it remains excellent.

In the Hunter Chases, jockey booking is absolutely crucial.  Some of these jocks have ridden less than ten competitive races in the last two years, some have over 150.  Seven have not ridden a winner.   I am not going to mess about, the best jockeys are, in  the Majors order; Nina Carberry……………….. Derek O’Connor.  To be honest, Nina is the only game in town.  She is on an Enda Bolger horse, Be Positive, and it is 10/3 favourite but it is the only bet for me.

Faugheen 8/11 – He is one of those that is borderline overcooked but this is a horse that I was very taken with, I cannot wait to see him chasing but for now the first Grade 1 of Punchestown will do.  The drop to two miles is no concern.  Invest; it is as though the Bank has ordered up a touch more quantitative easing.

The 4.55 is a bit of a mystery and I am avoiding the top seeds as we damn well need value.  Of the top three in the market, I prefer the Charlie Swan runner City Slicker but alas I have set my guns on more distant targets.  The one I have settled on is Dermot Welds Diplomat at 16/1 generally (BetVictor 20/1*).  He has had a spin on the flat to be fit, the yard is in fine fettle and Robbie Power is a capable and rare (perhaps first) booking for the yard.

*For newcomers, the Major has no arrangements with any bookmaker, I advertise not, there is no membership.  Just unhinged, barely profitable thoughts.

The Punchestown Champion Chase lacks our new star who chose Sandown on Saturday and to be fair, this is pretty poor Grade 1 fayre.  That said, it has to be won, and so… Sizing Europe would bring the house down but he is in the veteran stage and not for me.  Ballynagour is of a lot of interest after bouncing back in the Byrne Group Plate, Somersby has his fans, aye but not here.  I was against Module earlier in the campaign and had my fingers burned.  His third in the Cheltenham version was superb and at 7, he has a right to improve.  Ah, I hear you exclaim, pour quoi n’est pas Somersby! Well I retort, it is just a visual thing, I suspect that this less challenging track will suit my pick a lot more, 5/1.

The bumper at 6.05 has been won by Willie Mullins three times in the last ten and so a tentative nod at 7/1 for Very Much So. 

The the staying Novice Chase, it is all quality.  Ballycasey is probably suited by this slightly easier race than the RSA where he did not quite see things out.  That said, the RSA is a notoriously hard race and perhaps this is one to be avoided, especially as he had an extra run where he fell when distinguishing himself with some credit.  Morning Assembly ran a place in the RSA too and there is little wrong with his chances as I think the decent ground will be fine.  Djakadam is taking his fourth run of the campaign and gets a very handy 9lb age allowance and the services of Ruby.  I am bit concerned about the ground but think a decent run is expected.

You could put a pin in the lucky last and mine has landed on Disputed.  Find your own pin!

I trust your own dinner will be served in the best company and savoured because your soul is dripping in goodness drawn from a day of benevolence and winners, what more can I hope for you than that.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury Challow Hurdle Tips Horseracing from Leopardstown including their Grade 1 Festival Hurdle

Good evening from the Major who writes from the bed.  The good lady is alongside (fear not, a significant bolster, giant if you will, separates us), she is reading her book and biding her time before most likely snapping and letting me know that the tippety tap production of the Saturday Sermon is effecting her harmony.

The weather in Worcestershire is grey and mild, infuriatingly boring.  The wind is rising though and on it is the promise of significant morning rain.  The brook over the road from the Majors country seat is full of recent downpours, it is creeping remorselessly up my neighbour’s garden, devouring higher ground.

What a fantastic day of racing, we have been spoiled with the offerings this week.  The Lexus Chase had an enthralling climax with unbelievably brave Tidal Bay sticking his neck through the crowd to take glory on his only ever foreign excursion.

You can only speculate what this horse might have achieved if he had been with Nicholls his whole career.  He seemingly has the keys to him and a brave Hennessy performance preceded this heroic Lexus win.  The Major had written him off, well he is turning twelve.  Gold Cup horse… no, not for me.

In fact, I have been swimming against the tide for some time on the subject of the Gold Cup.  My views are simple.  Long Run underperformed significantly last year in one of the weakest renewals ever.  Take that out, he has won a Gold Cup aged 6 (rare and in doing so broke the track record), has won two King Georges (regaining it this year) and for me is the classiest staying chaser there is on the scene.

I have given my views already on the jockey situation but overall, I am a buyer of Long Run for the Gold Cup at 7/1 and the Lexus further convinced me.

Sir Des Champs has done little wrong but perhaps is not the world beater we might have imagined.  Flemenstar is a non stayer and drops to the Champion Chase.  Peter Casey thinks Sprinter Sacre will be quaking in his boots, I don’t think Flemenstar will get him off the bridle.  Tidal Bay is not a Gold Cup horse aged 12, no way.  Bobs Worth is the real danger as I do rate that one highly but he has not achieved as much as Long Run.

While we are on ante post betting, have a bit of Major Malarkey at 25/1 for the Welsh National.  It will be good for you, you can thank me later.

A very good friend asked me how I make money from writing the Major’s blog and was quite surprised to hear that I don’t.  I have never (and can never foresee a time when I might)  promoted services to my followers.  For a start, it is not my style, I enjoy writing this too much and prefer the honest relationship we have.  I offer you this for free, you can despise me when you have lost your money.  I don’t want the integrity of your hatred lost in a confusion over whether I was just wrong and cost you money or whether I was being evil and tried to trick you into backing a loser.  One I regularly am guilty of, the other I am not capable of.

I do not know you but you might have gleaned somewhat of my own mind, over time.  You might think me a little unhinged, you might enjoy it, you might be informed, you might be here through chance, a first time, or you might be here through reluctant familiarity, like returning to a poor soap opera as a matter of habit.

In providing my racing tips, I profess not expertise but an enthusiastic and positive amateur approach.  What is more, I believe any claimed expertise in my field is fallacy.  It is partly why I stick to my mantra of courage and roll the dice.  

By the way, I stole that, or at least I borrowed heavily to get to it.  If anyone can tell me (comment or tweet @tdl123) where from and get it right then I will be impressed….  Answers next Saturday.

Roll the dice, the courage to take chances… but as a horseracing fan and amateur tipster, is it not my job to remove chance, to be certain?  Is it not therefore an admission of shame to say that chance plays the master role?

Put simply, there is too much information to be certain of anything in life.  We can access such enormous amounts of data not just in racing but in all walks of life and it has a profound impact on how we view the world.

Using information wisely is a profitable business is all walks of life.  Yet there is little information, if any, to which I can claim exclusive access.

I have a rating engine I use which although using someone elses software platform is essentially my own.  This is not unique though and the source information for the engine is common.

My point is this, our views are so often based on things that everyone else can access too.  There is so much of this information too, I can access the strike rate of Sir Des Champs sire on left-handed tracks, if I want to, if I think it merit worthy.

The idiotic, select elements of this ‘sea of data’ that fit their pre-existing argument.  If you like Sir Des Champs, you might be minded to convince yourself that an extra half mile will see him beat Flemenstar.  If you like Flemenstar, you might select his unbeaten record to decide that he will be superior on the day.  This is dangerous, if you do not realise you are doing it.  It is easy to corrupt yourself into false confidence.

All I am saying is that there is enough data to pretty much argue anything.  It is the human condition that we believe we can control enough of what lies around us to predict the future, we are desperate to do this and you can see it in people all of the time.  If you even start to critically analyse what people say, just scratching the surface of their belief systems, you find it full of weakness, yet some convey their belief with such authority.

How frustrating that is, to meet the man born believing , in fact, knowing himself to be right.  These people, I believe are most afraid of their own mortality.  they will die scared.  They need to convey certainty in their knowledge, because they are too weak to accept that they do not know, that the world is far greater than the insignificance speck that is you and I.

Accepting we cannot predict, control and know is a terrifying prospect, the very idea that we have no idea takes us closer to our own insignificance.  Socrates knew it and you should be at peace with it too as it is inescapable.  It is as inevitable as your own death.

Bleak, possibly… but cheer yourself that you have the elixir of life, freedom, autonomy and vibrancy.  You are here, after all, many are not.  That thought, the one in your head right now, it is yours alone.  Drink deeply from the cup, let it run over and splash down you.  You are alive, you have your own mind.

My point about prediction and how thin and feeble it can be is why gambling is the best hobby a man could possibly have.  It teaches humbleness in the face of the infinite, it teaches you to try to garner just a slither of understanding of the small detail, not to fool yourself with an illusion of absolute control.

The belief that one has the ability to predict outcome with certainty belongs to the fool.  In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.  Know something and understand it is only something.

Ask yourself, have you ever had a strong sense of a horses chances only to see it lose unfortunately?  Have you ever used information to understand a picture but just not quite staked well, thus losing?

When doing so, do you feel frustrated or is there another emotion too?  Contentedness, a rested mind that you were able to comprehend the variables, even if it was without reward?  If you do not feel this, then please do not come back.  We here are gentlemen gamblers, at the snooker table we acknowledge those lucky deflected pots and we call our own fouls.

If you have felt it, then embrace it.

To the sports and remember, I am merely a guide shining a tiny narrow light into the cavernous kingdoms of information, my torch may flash on something you like but I am only searching myself, I offer thought, not fact.  The beauty of life is not control, it is choice and chance so be with me today followers… courage and roll those dice.

Newbury Challow Hurdle

Two terrific prospects for the Neptune clash here and both Clondaw Kaempfar and Taquin du Seuil look potentially top class.

The former was bought for a six figures and has won a decent bumper and two good hurdles, including a listed contest latest.  Never raced on heavy but the soft ground form suggests this is no problem.

Taquin du Seuil is another classy prospect and it was surprising to me that it is second favourite in the early prices.  Jonjo has used this race before with some decent horses including the ill-fated Wichita Lineman.  Taquin won a Uttoxeter bumper with some authority before bumping into the smart My Tent or Yours and losing.

That loss was interesting, while he was not that fluent at the obstacles, he was ultimately well held and I would suggest that the trip was already inadequate.

Stepped up a further half mile last time out and raised into Grade 2 company, Taquin Du Seuil smashed the opposition which although potentially a bit light for the standard, marks him as a serious prospect.

On the whole, Taquin du Seuil has achieved more to date than the others and I think, kept to these distances, he is a very smart prospect.  He is my strong tip for the Challow Hurdle and I would be taking those 16/1 prices on the Neptune now.

2pm Leopardstown – Istabraq Hurdle Tips

I do not think Hurricane Fly is likely to retake his Champion Hurdle crown come March but he should be able to give his fans something to cheer about here.  3/10 might be no punters price but neither Thousand Stars or Unaccompanied are within a stone of the former champ and any other outcome would be a major surprise to me.

Another Leopardstown favourite I will tip is Sizing Gold who is likely to go off around evens in the 12.55, having finished 10l down to the decent Don Cossack last time up, a repeat performance would be enough but surely improvement is on the cards.

In the 1.30pm, I am willing to give 4/1 shot The Real Article another chance.  Once a controversial handicapper over hurdles that ended up in graded races, he is looking to shape into a very useful chaser.  A fall last time out came when travelling nd jumping well enough and if the confidence is unharmed he will be a threat to all at this level.

In the 2.35, I am going to have a considerable slice of Zuzka at 6/4.  This mare was unfortunate enough to run into Jessica Harringtons Jezki in the Royal Bond (impressive winner of the Future Champions), there is no such opposition here.  If anything the Royal Bond stretched her a little and she did well to be within a few lengths of Jezki, all in all, she should have the guns for this.

You need the mind of Stephen Hawking to attempt to decipher the 3.05… just watch it!

More Newbury Racing Tips

The 1.35pm sees the chase debut of Colour Squadron who could be a decent jumper of the larger obstacles having run Captain Conan close over hurdles last year.

That said, jumping was an issue with the small ones and Newbury fences are tough enough.  The ground might help slow things up and could be an assistance but I cannot tip a chase debutant with that record at the obstacles.

Module is also full of promise but I prefer the chances of Tenor Nivernais and Bury Parade who have both registered chase wins.  The former might have a few quirks but definitely has some quality as shown when spread-eagling a Bangor field, that was not top class stuff but probably just the confidence booster Tenor Nivernais needed.

The tip for the Newbury Novice Chase though is Bury Parade who was an expensive purchase recently into the Ditcheat team after beating Super Duty at Carlisle.  That horse went on to smash-up a decent Cheltenham field in the Schloer Chase providing ample advertisement that the transfer fee for my Newbury tip could be money well spent indeed.  Take the hint.

Given I am all about Taquin Du Seuil, you would expect me to be on My Tent or Yours at cramped odds in the last and I will be!

To the football tips…

I am all aboard the Watford money express to Brighton at 11/4.  I also think 13/10 Leyton Orient to beat my old team Walsall and 5/6 for Tranmere at home should be in your multiples.  I must say that Sunderland look the value bet to me, Villa are in free fall at the moment and the Spurs form against them should not be taken literally.  13/5 home win is a bet.

Hull are a touch the wrong side of evens to beat Leeds at home and I think they should be bought.  Palace are 11/5 to win at Forest, with turmoil at that club, I fancy this being a good time to get them.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Taquin Du Seuil, Zuzka, Leyton Orient and Bury Parade.  Load the cannons.

May your dinner be a simple meal.  Remove the finery and return to basics.  Have good company with you and sleep content.

Courage and roll those dice.