Tag Archives: molotof

The Saturday Sermon – Newcastle Eider Tips, Arithmetic Gambling

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire whose glorious air is frozen, so chilling as to be alienating, take refuge indoors and stoke those embers.

For me the evening held an emergency trip to the good lady stranded on the side of the M42. Two small children, traffic flying by, most unpleasant, most unsettling. All is now well, the brood are returned, all is back to order.

How is your arithmetic? The Major spent many a night as a young man at the pub dart board. Traditional etiquette dictates that you chalk your name on the board to indicate your intent to play and then immediately prior to your game, you score the preceding game. This, I hold, is the main reason that my own arithmetic is of a credible level. Calculate the sum of three numbers (often multiples) and detract from a starting point of 501 (after 5 pints), repeat ad infinitum and you have a successful strategy for improving your mental number dexterity.

Yet, my own skill is merely amateur. If you have a few moments of your life to spare, observe the mathemagician.

He reminds me of a story concerning one of the greatest mathematicians of our time. Srinivasa Ramanujan had no formal mathematical training but made a huge contribution to number theory. He came to Cambridge and completed some amazing work. Hardy, a fellow academic famously recalled visiting him in hospital and casually remarking that the number 1729 (the number of the taxi Hardy had arrived in) had no significance. Ramanujan replied that he was wrong and that the number was particularly interesting as the lowest possible number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.

That’s pretty impressive n’est pas? However I question whether he could have scored 321 down by twenty, treble 17 and twenty five and I suspect he was slow to get the round in too. 225 by the way.

Successful gambling is part art, part maths. I would not put you off a gut instinct but I would encourage you to give yourself maximum advantage. Allow me to stretch your probability muscles in readiness for the day. Imagine I offer you a game of dice. Two die are involved. If I roll a 12, I score. If you roll a seven, you roll again and if you roll a second consecutive seven, you score. We can play for £10 a point – Fancy the game? (answers in the comments!)

Why do this? Well, we need to keep ourselves match fit, the significant engagements are coming. I see the enemy raising and rallying behind his standard. They are going non runner, no bet – BetVictor was the first to break rank but I understand Bet365 have too. Paddy Power tomorrow, mark my words.

Cheltenham is so palpably close my friends. Stand with me, side by side, each man holding the square. We need not flinch yet, keep your nerve young man, they circle us with their superior number, the metal of their blade offers sudden violent glints but do not be panicked. For if each can trust that man at his side then we shall stay strong and defeat their superior number.

To the sports. Take it easy today, protect that war chest of yours.

Newcastle Eider Card

The Eider in soft ground is as searching as test as you get in National Hunt racing. A few runnings on heavy have left a handful of runners out on their feet struggling to the line. Frankly a sight that does not befit our sport, in fact at that level it is no longer fair to describe it as a sport. Tomorrows test, while stretching should not be such a harsh examination.

It is surprising but lumbering a weight around the Eider has not been a hindrance to success. Comply or Die managed it off top weight and last year Portrait King carried eleven eight to victory.

We are however after a thorough stayer. The favourite as I type is Chac Du Cadran. He is young (7) but there have been similar profile winners, such as Portrait King, and his last run was a very good marathon examination. He is up the best part of a stone but has a thoroughly progressive profile.

The presence of Master Overseer has put half the field out of the handicap and while the top weight has a big job on his hands, he is a class act on his day. The big question is which version of the horse turns up. Danger to all if he gets his own way.

To add a further layer of intrigue, the presence of Master Overseer is keeping his stable-mate Big Occasion on bottom weight. He has the distance to prove and has not shown enough yet. Intriguing though.

The other eye catcher is Rapidolyte De Lada at 14/1. This horse won a small time affair at Carlisle but looks the sort to be fancied by this.

On balance, the Major opts for the class act on an each way basis. Master Overseer can be backed at 8/1 with Bet365, have a slice.

Kempton Tips

Starting with the Adonis (2.05) – This juvenile is going to give us a huge pointer as to the Triumph in less than three weeks time.

Irish Saint is well fancied after being denied by the exciting looking Rolling Star last time out at Cheltenham. He has not raced on anything other than soft ground which is a slight concern. He is a listed winner in France and clearly feared as the Ditcheat best pop at the Triumph. That form is pretty hot too and given he has shown an aptitude for the track, I fancy him to come out on top and 6/4 is a decent price. Strong bet advice. L’unique is the only one fear.

The 2.40 is the Pendil Novices Chase and this is a race that Paul Nicholls clearly likes for his top novice chasers. He has won the race an astonishing six years in the last seven, including Cristal Bonus last year and I am backing Grandioso to keep up his marvellous record at 9/4 (Coral). He looks versatile regarding the ground and his Ludlow win was very taking.

The 3.15 Dovecote Novices hurdle is a classic case of a more experienced sort in Brick Red taking on some young pretenders. I am a big fan of the Venetia Williams horse, he has won some good handicaps and deserves a crack at this. Yet I cannot help but feel he is vulnerable. Alan King took this race last year with Grumeti whom he though very highly of and he won it in 06 with Senorita Rumbalita and in 2009 with the well touted Trenchant. Thus I follow Fair Trade in at 8/1 with a fair degree of interest.

The 3.50 has all the signs of being a smash and grab job. JP has just spent a fortune on Wyck Hill and all the signs are that this mark is well within the horses capabilities. 3/1 could look exceptionally generous. Expect him to lead and I think he might be hard to peg back. Nacarat would bring the house down if he could must what it takes, good luck old boy.

Fairyhouse Graded Contests

Fairyhouse has its own warm up show for the Triumph with Dogora and Stocktons Wing seemingly the two to concentrate on. Is it just the Major who thinks this or have a lot of Ricci owned ho pots with Ruby up come a cropper when out in front? Not put off, I stick with the evens favourite to get the job done.

The Bobbyjo chase is one of those contests run after the national weights are out where we get a better idea of the principles chances. Seabass is my tip in the race at 4/1 who I think has been lined up for a pop at the national. While Prince de Beauchene may have all of the form, record and connections to be a worthy favourite, a national plot horse is a national plot horse.

In the football…

Connect your carriages to the Watford money train once again…. choo choooooo 5/6. Oldham to beat Portsmouth 8/11, like last week it feels like a cheap shot. Peterborough to beat Blues 7/5 is a bet too.

May your dinner be served by some fine European sort who treats service as an art form and is reassuringly expensive. This can only be paid for with some significant combinations today so good luck. Go easy on the brandy too, none of the XO, Cheltenham is almost here, save thy liver and thy purse.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Master Overseer, Irish Saint, Watford and Grandioso. UPDATE – NEWCASTLE OFF so replace master overseer with Fair Trade

Courage, roll those dice.

 

Racing Tips from Warwick, Punchestown and Kempton… Shoreditch and ageing… It is the Saturday Sermon

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a rural Worcestershire scene where the rain comes in waves, relentlessly driving against my windows.  The sense of things coming to a close is palpable.

Before we get started, a new year deserves a new banner.  I would like your ideas please – Leave a comment, greatly appreciated.

I have been in London these last two days, spending a night in a Limehouse apartment that only the Major could have found. I have a talent for unearthing unusual digs, mostly it happens by accident but I never complain.  These were particularly spacious, in fact cavernous, clean and cheap as chips.  When I say cheap, I infer both the frugal nature of the furnishings as well as the bill. All in all, different.

This morning as I walked down Commercial Road to the DLR heading to Bank to start the business of the day, Canary Wharf was draped in cloud.  St Paul’s Cathedral by contrast was brilliant, a true architectural brute, clean white walls, dominant imposition.

On Thursday night, myself and a colleague entertained at dinner in Shoreditch. Decent restaurant, very nice lamb.  Shoreditch carries that reputation of being ‘trendy’ and ‘edgy’. It is successful too if you take the eye watering property prices as a guide.  The area made the Major feel old.

I shall try to explain.  There is more than a dash of excitement immersing yourself in an area with such energy…. Open doors on ambiguous frontages with bouncers are they clubs, art installations or brothels. Who knows, dare try it? The people walking alongside you lack convention in their clothes, hair, tattoos, limps, accessories – each striving to impose their stamp of individuality.

It draws mixed emotions from the Major.  I must be getting old because historically I only have a love for such environs but now I feel a creeping sense of unease.  It is for younger men to tread these streets warily, searching for adventure. I wish to plough for my enjoyment in more serene and stable settings.

There you have it, the words of someone recognising their formerly voracious appetites are in part receding like their hairline.  Each man becomes his father in time but none like to acknowledge it. Well I recognise and embrace ageing, I welcome it as a friend, wondering what gifts it might bestow – As long as it allows me to retain an eye for mischief, then I do not mind.

So what has changed?  Why feel a difference?

Shoreditch, in fact trendiness, tries too hard for its own good.  Everything has to be quirky, laid back, informal, unorthodox…. Every business has to have an angle, everyone and everything desperately trying to distinguish themselves as out of the main stream… It’s tiring.  ‘I don’t care it’s different’ loses appeal when the irony motivation is omnipresent, the new abnormal here is normal.  Gimmicks.

Live Music is compulsory for any establishment in Shoreditch that could conceivably be a venue.  I knew none of the bands advertised and think they were only of local acclaim.   If you feel the urge to set up a four piece bassoon ensemble in the neighbourhood, then allow me to furnish you with a few suggestions of my own…. Slippery Monkfish, Smells from the Cheeseboard, Underworld Botanicals, Mongrel Palace III, Swans of Justice or Prisoner of Slippers. You can have those for free, let me know how you get on.

I must offer a nod to the writer of this article about Dorothy Paget.  A ferocious woman whose appetites for life ran to extremes that we can only admire.  She bet in eye watering sums and took no fools.  Have a little read and if you like, follow the author on twitter @srumblings.

Saturdays sporting delights are laid before us and before we dine, we must acknowledge our gratitude. Fine football, delightful racing….. Let us go into battle with a clear mind and meet the enemy with 5 rounds a man…. Charge thy musket, sharpen thy sword. Fill your heart with vigour, tonight we shall be thankful for the clarity of thought that helped us land the mothership.

We are here, at the cusp.  All of our dreams are intact, no thought unproven… It is a beautiful moment, feel that tension.

To the sports….

 Racing Tips from Warwick

Warwick have a terrific day of racing.  It is a tight little course and experience of something similar can be valuable.  As well as chase fences, these novices have to handle the tight turns, lot’s of momentum can be lost so an easy-going sort is useful.  Let us see if we can find some winners.

The opening race is not a place to look, I like novice races but this handicap hurdle looks a very open contest.  Keep your powder dry.

The second is the Edward Courage cup and is a decent affair.  George Nympton is interesting having won over course and distance last time.  Maybe the shorter distance helped, maybe the assistance of Noel Fehily (the Majors favourite), of interest kept to the minimum trip.  Nick Williams does not send many to Warwick and it has a likely chance.

Eastlake has also been prolific over the minimum distance having won 3 of 4 starts over two miles.  I don’t quite trust the animal but clearly there is some ability.

The Majors tip though is the highly progressive Rody at 9/2, Bet365.  The Tome George yard are in fine nick and my selection won over Christmas with plenty in hand.

The 1.50 is a staying event.  The field is small but select.

Two outstanding bits of form stand out.  The Major and my betting slip on Our Father were slammed by Highland Lodge who provided a turn up at Cheltenham.  Rocky Creek overcame a decent Henderson yardstick in Molotof last time out.  Those lines are good and I look forward to the two clashing tomorrow.

Tour Des Champs appeals most of the others although it is hard to know what to make of his Ludlow form.

Of the principles, while it is a tough call, I am siding with the Cheltenham form of Highland Lodge and suggest a slice at 6/4.

The Pertemps qualifier is full of chasing big guns reverting to light hurdle marks.  You can make cases for too many for me to have a strong bet.  I will take a small slab of Sunnyhillboy at 25/1 (Bet365) to have an interest – The national runner up gets in off 140 only.

I am eagerly awaiting the 3pm race in which exciting hurdler The New One finally gets on track.  If he is to take a leading role in one of the championship novice affairs then he needs to take this.  Evens is a kind price.

The 3.35 sees another cracker because Pete The Feat, seemingly the Hunt Ball of the season gets to try out his new mark.  He has gone up three stone since his first run but deservedly so and the way in which he pulled clear at Newbury last time suggests more is coming.  On soft ground trying to lead around this tight track could be tough.

Restless Harry is another that likes to race prominently and if the two are taking each other on, it might fall into the hands of Rigadin de Beachene.  The tip gets a very handy pull in the weights and I think 6/1 is fair enough.  I will be having an each way saver on 11/1 shot Quentin Collonges too who looks unexposed.

Punchestown Tip – 2.10 Juvenile Hurdle

The two Mullins horses seem to be good starting points.  The yard took this race last year with 1/4 shot Ut de Sivola and field two French imports in the shape of Diakala and Dogora.

The former in the market and in the betting looks the yards idea of the winner and also carries a Triumph entry.

While I might kick myself later, I am going to back the grey Diakala as a result of that, overriding the fact that I was slightly more taken with Dogoras appearance.  Evens is a decent price for my Punchestown tip and it shall be in my multiples.

Kempton – The Lanzarote.

Before we tackle the Lanzarote, consider following Lunique in the opener (likely evens) – With Hendersons French import a non runner I take my tip to smash them up!

In the 1.30 novice affair, I am a supporter of Bucks Bond at 9/2.  The market vibes were all wrong at Taunton but he won anyway.  This is a strapping chaser of the future but is a decent price to get his was again here.

In the Lanzarote, the two Henderson horses top the market.  Clearly Bears Affair has some obvious credentials but I am not sure of why Geraghty would be on Oscara Dara.

Charlie Longsden runs Loose Chips who looks progressive but Noel Fehily went to Warwick which might suggest something.

I am going with Henderson and Geraghty is the persuader – Have a slice of 5/1 Oscara Dara, the Lanzarote is often won by a horse near the head of affairs…

To the football…

All aboard the football money train stopping at Hull (4/6), Charlton (19/10), Cardiff (7/10), Leicester (3/4) and Tranmere (11/8) – Trebles on this lot please.

The Martin Hill Yankee is The New One, Highland Lodge, Rody and Charlton

May your dinner be wholesome and in good spirit.  Allow yourself to imbibe a little too much, we float by the once.

Courage and roll those dice.

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.

KABOOM The Majors Saturday Service – Horseracing Tips – Racing Post Chase, Kempton; The Eider at Newcastle – Lingfield – Premier League Tips

Good morning from wet Pershore where the pluviometer indicates significant precipitation yet the warm coffee musters good feeling.  The Major is ready for Saturdays action.

Fistral Beach, named after the legendary Newquay surfing mecca

Our February profits have sunk to just 8%.  A few things to remember.  The Major is transparent, you can see everything I advised by following the tabs in the menu bar above.  As a man that has to work full time, I am proud to return any profit, my goal is 20%.  If you include the bookmakers over-round, that puts me 40% ahead of the market at any given time, a worthy and challenging target.

It is also a sign of what life is like for an amateur punter.  It shows why you have to keep perspective about winning and losing.  Returning those profits, if I stay disciplined will mean that not only do I get to enjoy my horseracing tipping hobby but it will be profitable over time, even to the slim margin I suggest.

Consider the roulette table, playing straight numbers the house pays 36/1.  Yet there is a 37th number.  This gives the house just a 2.7% advantage.  As Einstein, who had a lot to say about roulette commented ‘No one can possibly win at roulette unless he steals money from the table while the croupier isn’t looking’. 

I am aiming for my own judgement / pricing supremacy over the enemy to be 30-40%, thats a serious improvement in judging sporting outcomes, a significant house advantage to the Major.

Should you wish to criticise or congratulate my performances, you can leave your comments, I welcome them, encourage them and enjoy them.  Should you wish to know the very moment a post is issued, then sign up to the email service in the left hand column or twitter @tdl123.  Should you wish to complain that most of my tips do not come in, please do not read on, the Major writes for those who understand the principle of value.  The messages I get tell me the mysterious readers (150 last Saturday) are a positive bunch, generally encouraging me back to the fray when things go wrong. 

In return, I will not butter up my results or advice, I will not offer aftertiming or over celebrate a result, I also ask you not to expect too much.  Be there to celebrate the 22/1 winners as well as to understand that 4 from 5 bets will not come home.   Rest assured however, that considered punters like ourselves are the enemies scourge.

Once more we saddle our chargers, sheepskin cover and blinkers and prepare to face the devious enemy on the field of battle.  He has priced his markets, I have researched my angles into the value.  I offer to you, free of charge, no strings attached, my version of the Saturday value tips. 

To war, my friends.  Let us return to the breach, or we shall be clogging up the walls with our gambling dead.

3pm – The Racing Post Chase – Kempton

Just as the football kicks off, so does the race of the day.  This looks like a cracking renewal of the race with many of last years protagonists sizing each other up again.  Conditions will play a part (Newcastle goes ahead, Chepstow might not) but Sandown will get a dousing mid to late morning and then dry up, I am going to assume soft but sticky.

The Major has been a long-term follower of Fistral Beach and the horse continues to cost me money.  That said, I expected his chances in todays race to be better advertised but seemingly, he has become a little friendless.  The money is piling in for Nacarat, (who is the Pricewise selection) and this must offer some value elsewhere, including the Majors selection.  This is the thinking…

The RP Chase is one of the better handicaps at this stage of the season.  We have seasoned King George placers, young up and comers as well as a few old monkeys trying to revive some sort of form.   The winner is normally an already known strong performer.  As it a handicap, we are looking for one either improving or on the career plateau.  This has not gone to a true outsider in some time. 

Nacarat has probably shown the best class in the field.  As a result he gets top weight.  He is well weighted though if you consider his efforts in the 09 and 10 renewals of the race.  Pricewise has to be well-respected, he is certainly better than me.  That does not mean that you changes your mind though when your line of thought was different though.  It is these differences that you need to exploit to find the elusive value.  I cannot help but think that at age ten, we know everything about Nacarat and I am not sure rain is going to suit his chances, he would be fine on genuine soft but I think the likely tacky stuff Kempton will serve up may not suit.. 

Remember, we are looking for something rated just short of very good.  Perhaps 145ish.  The horses that brings into focus are:

Tatenen, Free World, Quinz, Bakbenscher, Razor Royale and I am going to throw in my personal horse to follow, Fistral Beach.

I ruled out Mostly Bob who is interesting but Johnson deserted in favour of Quinz and although he said it was a tight decision, I think Mostly Bob might find things happening a bit too quickly today, although O’Brien in the saddle is a favoured jockey for the Major and he looks like he will appreciate a right-handed track, this seems to be too much of a step up at this stage. 

Both Quinz and Mostly Bob also get lines through them due to trainer form.  Just 1 win from the last 25 runners for Hobbs does not convince you that his string are in top-notch form, thus they are overlooked.

Ringaroses looks suspiciously well handicapped but you need more than that for a RP chase win, you need proven quality and recent form and that is not there for Ringaroses.

The horses well suited to conditions in the Majors view are Hey Big Spender (who I think will struggle to cart weight just 1lb short of Nacarat around), Fistral Beach and Bakbenscher. 

Before I make comment on the couple I have it down to, a word for Razor Royale.  Twiston Davies will have him tuned up and I am sure this is his possible moment in the sun this season.  That said, I am unsure a repeat of the previous battle with Nacarat is certain.

For the Major, there are two of clear interest in the market.  Bakbenscher and Fistral Beach.

Followers of Fistral Beach have lost a lot of money backing him to win races – He has been a beaten favourite more often than anything else in the race.  I find it interesting then that champion trainer Nicholls still comments today that ‘I think Fistral Beach has a lot in his favour, he has a nice weight and is on a fair mark.’

It is not often that Mr Nicholls proclaims he has one in and the Major has listened. 

Fistral beach is 2 from 4 on soft and I think that is where the ground will go.  Although he has only tried 3m once, I think he will get it well and the breathing op he had in the summer seemed to have worked wonders.  Nicholls looks set tot have this as the target, this looks like a champion trainer special to me.

Bakbenscher is 3 from 5 on soft and I cannot ignore him either.  He could be the fly in the ointment.  I just don’t trust his jumping enough for this although if King has straightened that out, he could be a major threat.

Fistral Beach for the Major and I really like this one, so lump in for the win.  13/2 at the moment with Hills but I suspect with Nacarat clearly fancied everywhere but here, that price may drift.

3.15pm The Eider, Newcastle

4m 1f around Newcastle when it is bottomless is more than a stamina test it is an insane non stop energy sapping war of attrition.  This really will be a race that will suit a careful deliberate jumper.  We might only get two / three finishers so a huge priced outsider that would definitely get round may not be the worse selection ever either… 

That said, there are only two horses in the race who have won at the distance.  Comply or Die, the Murphy national hero horse who was the Majors first ever Grand National winner; is one.

The other is the selection, Belon Gale.  This sort fits the bill perfectly and to be honest I would take a slice of the National antepost too .  11/2 is generally available.  The Northumberland National it won last time stepping up beyond 3m for the first time was a significant step up in form, this looks like the National plot horse for the Howard Johnson team. 

Minella Boys could be a threat but the Sussex National while requiring a staying type, is not the same extreme test as this. 

Have a slice and send me the postcard.

The Other Horseracing Tips

With the two big races out of the way, let us review a couple of other fancies. 

Back to Sandown, the Majors betting resolutions dictated that you should not get too stuck in to novice / juvenile types. 

That said, the Henderson horse, Molotof, looks very interesting in the opener at Sandown (1.55).  It is second favourite to a Nicholls horse, Tonic Mellysse, but incredibly the ownership is the same.  The Munir clan look to have sourced two good sorts from France.  The reason I like the second of the two is that Henderson clearly targets some of his better novices (from his embarrassment of riches) at this race.  Previous winners include two of Hendersons Champion Hurdle sorts in Punjabi and Binocular.

That must be a good indicator that this is one of the better novices in an outstanding yard and thus, 10/3 Bet365 is a must bet price for the Major.

3.35 Kempton – Pullyourfingerout could win this grade 2.

Toubab has been the subject of a talking down from the yard and while I really respect Celtus (again a Munir owned horse), I think there will plenty here trying to cut each others throats.  If AP McCoy can get pullyourfingerout to settle, it is well worth a bet that he can pick these off in the home straight.  10/1 generally available.  The Powell horses are in fine order (31% strike rate the last two weeks).  Smash into this one.

At Lingfield, the 2.10 Blue Square Sprint Series Final is a 6f affair that is a tasty conundrum.  nothing appeals more than Qadar whose change of home seems to have lit up the horse.  I am certain a 5lb rise will not stop this one … 6/1 Bet365 is a serious mistake.  While Qadar may have fallen from grace, the new stable seem to have resparked some passion and he is still 23lbs inferior to the height of his racing mark.  Artic Lynx is a danger to all looking for a hat-trick and 100% record at Lingfield.

Duff is the class act in the Lingfield 3.10 and the Major has backed Hitchens many times in quality races like this listed affair.  I have to say that Anne of Kiev would have carried the dough but stall 1 is a nightmare.  The one the Major plumps for is rank outsider, Elna Bright.  33/1 with Bet 365,   trainer form a slight concern but visor fitted and a sharper effort last time out give this one a small shout, 33/1 it is not.

To the sports fields of Britain…..

I always seem to back teams against my own club West Brom, I promise it is not some sort of self-abuse, I just think Albion are there for the taking.  The last two home games, our opposition has been 3/1 for the win and both ended in score draws.  I maintain this line on Albion being lesser value to Stoke today where you can back the home team at an incredible EVENS with Hills.  Get stuck in, load the large cannon and KABBBOOOOOOOMMMM! Although the Major will not celebrate, it is like scoring against an old club, it is not the done thing – Martin I promise this is not a wind up.

Victor Chandler have lost their minds offering Nottingham Forest at 2/1 to win in south London.  Millwall are alright but nowhere as good as Forest who are quietly going about their business in an impressive style.  The squad is big enough to cope with the current injury list, I want them on my side today.

Bolton look overpriced too at 14/5 to win at St James Park. Sturridge has added an extra dimension to Bolton who are in with a far better chance than that of picking up three points.

Equally Sunderland at 4/1 to win at Goodison is a must bet for the Major.  Everton may be missing Cahill too which is a significant blow, they are a really hot and cold team where Sunderland have earned their Europa League chasing position.

In the Rugby, I think the French will hunker down and make it a tight game at Twickenham.  This makes the first try scorer bet on Ashton a no bet despite the appeal that the young gun clearly has. 

I prefer to back Italy with a plus ten handicap mark against Wales at evens (Bet 365) – This is normally a close encounter and despite the drubbing last time out, I think this is a decent Italy team, home advantage could see them win today without the need for the handicap reassurance.

Being smacked around the pitch by the Dutch is not a good warm up when your next ODI is against Tendulkar and Sehwag.  1/2 on for India who should beat England comfortably.

The NAP has to be Fistral Beach at 13/2 – He has carried my money too often without return, he will come good today.

The lucky 15 will be Fistral Beach, Molotof, Belon Gale and Notts Forest – That should pay for Christmas!

William Hill Offer

Now before you start thinking, has the Major sold out, please understand that I have no affiliation to any bookmaker and earn no income from this site.

However, a word must be said today for William Hill.  they are offering a £25 free bet on sign up (fairly standard I hear you say) PLUS a £30 free bet for using the Racing Post Iphone / Android app.

This must be a go for it scenario.  Sign up an account with £30, you know they are going to give you a £25 free bet.  then go for the app too and place your bet through it.  You have to email in to confirm it but you will get £55 of free bets to your original £30 stake. 

Hills are best price on the NAP too!  Have a chunky slice of that and thank me at tea time.

Tonight, I suggest Game Pie.  A hearty ale to accompany.  Try the Butty Bach from the Wye valley – Light, tasty and refreshing.  Throw a log on the fire as the evening draws in, sit content, take your dog to the pub and allow him to lie on the flagstone floor, throw him the odd scratching. 

When you feel that wad of notes in your pocket, smile and order the good brandy, the Major is happy for you.  Don’t consider this the comeback, we were never gone.