The Major wishes all enthusiastic punters of Britain a very fine morning. Followers, we are on a remarkable run, it has been ten weeks since we last posted a Saturday service that did not make a profit.
Once again, this morning, the Major has been up early to select the finest cuts from the delectable delights of this weekends sporting action for your personal astute perusal.
The coffee has been bubbling away for many hours, there is a fine smell in the air, coffee bean and money. I feel ready to stand with each and every punter of Britain, shoulder to shoulder and take on the old enemy once again. The turf accountant has priced his markets and has delivered his conundrums, we shall solve..
What a magnificent card at Cheltenham. As previously posted, marvelous stuff moving the Tingle Creek. A shame that Twist Magic ducks it but Masterminded more than makes up for that. The Major cannot attend but will be there in spirit. To those friends on course, enjoy the Guiness. I have solved the card which we shall cover first (sports followers, keep scrolling)….
11.40 – What a time to start racing, do you drink before or not? Of course you do.. Then you tag along to a friendly looking turf accountant and place a bet as follows. The good ground could be key today and the 4 I think will go well in conditions are Woolcombe Folly, Imsingingtheblues, Tartak and I’m Delilah. Ferdy Murphy and Tom George don’t seem to be running many at the minute and those that have are not placing. Pipe is at best in uncertain form, which leaves Woolcombe Folly as the obvious selection. It is a concern whether he goes around Cheltenham and so at 4/1, will avoid advising to back the horse I think most likely and look at the value instead. Fiendish Flames trainer Donald McCain is in fine touch and can be backed right now at 11/1 with Coral. Have an each way slice but keep the stakes low. Woolcombe could take it and I wouldn’t be putting anyone off a bet on Tartak with his 10lb claim, I’m Delilah who is sure to run a race on a surface he likes and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Oh Crick bounce back. Wide open, stakes low, wedge intact chaps.
12.10 – Triumph Hurdle Trial – Placing large stakes on juvenile hurdles is the fast way to the poor house in the Majors view. Again, this is not a great betting environment. Sam Winner looks the obvious candidate and his odds on price reflects his good looking winner at Cheltenham last month (advised by the Major). Whilst he is the likely winner, I can’t back a juvenile at that price (even one with all important course form), who knows what might pop up – Plus, the Majors boss doesn’t like them this short and is bound to be on course – The courteous thing is to find the value. A media luz is an obvious potential thorn in the favourites side but having not jumped a hurdle its an almighty leap to place it around 2/1. For those who need an interest, I would advise Pantxoa who can currently be backed at 10/1 with Bet365 on each way terms of quarter odds the first three (well done B365, best price and best terms, top marks from the Major).
12.45 – The novice chase is another conundrum. Back to 3m 1f, Time for Rupert, last months course winner will be a warm favourite. I quite like the look of Quinz as one that could improve past them all. Previous jumping errors seem to have been ironed out by Hobbs and this horse has had two confidence boosting wins. More rain would have made Cannington Brook of interest. 11/2 for my selection with Totesport, get it quick they are stand out on the price.
1.20 – Relkeel. Top class stuff this. Karabak, Zaynar, Celestial and Sentry Duty may have their quirks but they all have top notch form in the bank. Two of them have recorded better RPR ratings than the likes of Cue Card and Menorah who will steal the headlines today. The problem here is which one is going to put the best foot forward. Henderson has obvious claims with both Zaynar and Sentry Duty and of the two I prefer the one that Geraghty has chosen not to ride. Sentry won a three horse race here in January and will be fine with the ground. I like the profile of this Henderson horse that he has kept busy on the flat (usually a good sign – like Punjabi in his champion hurdle season). It’s a Grade 2 so Sam Twiston Davies cannot claim but I still like Banjaxed Girl who carries least weight of all. Quartz de Thaix has done nothing wrong but will be challenged for a lead today. Karabak wants rain in the Majors view. Zaynar will be a danger to all if the headgear has the desired impact. It’s a tricky conundrum but on balance I think two are worth backing each way – Sentry Duty 7/1 and Carlo Brigante whose trainer, Gordon Elliot, has bought over from Ireland where he could have been engaged in other contests. Fourth in the triumph was no shabby result and at 4, plenty of improvement can come from this 22/1 shot (Stan James thank you – especially as you are 1/4 the place). Have a slice of both.
We are in the second half of the card at 1.55 – What a monster of superlative racing. Can anything beat Masterminded? He looked tuned to his best back at Ascot but can he be trusted these days. He pinged the third last that day like the horse of old (tipped up by the Major) clearing it majestically without touching a bristle. Masterminded will win if he is 80% fit and ready. Should the game slip, Gauvain will pick up the pieces. Strong win bet advised with Paddy Power who go evens is advised. For those who like a tasty price, I suggest the straight forecast with Gauvain – Incidentally, if you agree with the Major that Masterminded, the best horse in training 18 months ago has returned to his best (he is only 7 and in fine hands) then why wouldn’t you avail 888 of their 5/1 offer that he wins both today and in the Champion Chase…….
2.30 Vote AP – Just a couple of weeks ago, The Major was on his soapbox wondering why the industry was not getting more behind our champion jump jockey McCoy for Sports Personality of the Year – Great to see the race names for this cause – Let’s hope it has the effect. There well may be some sentimental money for Fingeronthepulse ridden by AP, but none of the Majors. Daves Dream looked impressive in November and the Major would have been on if Pricewise hadn’t stolen the value first – Well done to him advised it at 13/2. Out of the handicap by a pound, Matuhi is an obvious eyecatcher at 16/1 and an each way bet is not a bad shout. I am looking for the winner though. Little Josh won’t get the easy lead he had last time in November plus I am sure he wants the word soft to appear in the going. To win this Little Josh would have to post a better rating than Exotic Dancer with his last to first performance several years ago, it’s a big ask. Great Endeavour could be a threat if running a proper race, maybe he wasn’t tuned up for the Paddy Power – 10/1 is fair. The one for the Major is heavily weighted but classy Mad Max. Again, Geraghty prefers another but the Major respects Carberry as a booking and this experienced sort could be involved if he is tucked away and turned off for the first two miles.
3.05 International Hurdle – Well well well. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Cue Card, potential superstar. Menorah – Supreme Novices winner and the winner of the greatwood available at 9/4 with Paddy Power. Silvicano Conti – Twice tipped successfully by the Major this year. This is the greatest conundrum of all. Of the remainder, Astracad at an astronomical 50/1 could run into a place if two of the top three don’t fire, it certainly does its best running on good. So does Clerks Choice, last time out an odds of crash at Haydock following a Cheltenham win (another Major tip!), could return to form which might get a place at 12/1 – Anything better would be a surprise. The Major has puzzled over the top three for some time. Conti has established credentials after defeating two decent fields this season but last time out I cannot help but feel the performance of Zaynar and some of the others was too bad to be true – Conti may have been flattered, at my peril I shall overlook. This then comes to a punch up between Menorah who has slightly more experience and a Grade 1 hurdle festival race to his name versus probably the most exciting bumper horse we have seen for some years. There are similarities between the hype around Cue Card and that of Dunguib last year. There is however one notable difference, Colin Tizzard has decided that instead of placing his potential world beater in walk over contests, Tizzard has bravely decided to ask the question now….. is Cue Card a champion bumper contender this year at his tender age? I admire this. I also think it points to a degree of confidence. Why risk your star if you don’t think the answer is yes. Cue Card could take an easier route and rock up at the festival to take the Supreme. Finally, I like to back horses with that chance of being a true star. Prove me wrong Menorah but you are simply a damn fine hurdler with an 8/1s chance of winning the blue riband hurdling event in March. Cue Card, you could be a Gold Cup winner. With that in mind, don’t you want to be able to say that you were on when he picked up the International all those years ago? My advice is to get on Cue Card at the available 2/1 – The head expresses some caution that we must remember this is a 4yo. Class tells. We shall see.
The luck last is the Grade 2 Albert Barlett Novices Hurdle, hardly a bad race to finish on – What a superb card, why am I not there? Henderson looks to me like he is sat on a star in Mossley. 5/1 with Corals right now, have a slice and lets hope he can get us out of any bother later!
I wish everyone attending the finest of afternoons. And in other sports….
What a week at Newcastle, clearly unhappy with 11th, Ashley choose to get ri of stable influence Hughton. The team played atrociously at West Brom where they were expected to give a good game to the Baggies. The Major feels they must have known, the body language seems to suggest this. I am not a huge fan of Liverpool as regular readers know but surely 23/20 (Blue Sq) is too big. OK no Gerrard but I think Newcastle would be beaten by most Premier League teams today so a top half team should have no problem – There is talk of boycotts and protests, this could be a choppy time for the toon. I don’t have a problem with Pardew, he is articulate and he has as much chance of avoiding relegation as Hughton did (although if the movements this week do cause a fundamental shift in confidence, this might turn out to be Pardews poisoned chalice)
Spurs are an astonishing price to win at home to Chelsea. Chelsea are in free fall at the moment. Wilkins departure had a similar impact to the one I am expecting at Newcastle. Drogba looks way off, they are missing the steel in the middle, Lampard, Essien and Terry. Chelsea look vulnerable. 15/8!!! Spurs are priced as if they would win this just once in three – Sorry, that’s absurd. Have a chunk.
More football bets for you. Brightons recent turn of form for the worse has meant that they are now overpriced to win at Huddersfield. Brighton who played FC United midweek stayed up north to avoid two long journeys in the week and I think that reflects the professional approach the probable league winners bring. How on earth 11/4 is available with Coral, the Major does not know – Brighton are a class act and can beat 5th placed Huddersfield – Load the large cannon.
Bury are also capable of defying the odds and picking up a win at Wycombe. Bury look a different team on the road and have won their last two away games by an aggregate 8-1. 2/1 to for Bury (3rd) to win at Wycombe (6th) – tasty.
Hull will struggle at Palace in the afternoon kick off. Hulls striker has a less than 1 in 10 strike rate (admittedly used as a winger for many games) and with the uninspiring Barmby in the hole, it is hard to see Hull netting at improving Palace. 7/5 available with Hills.
On form I would back Sunderland to beat Fulham at Craven Cottage. 11/4 can be taken with Victor Chandler. Might be worth waiting to see if the influential players of Gyan and Gordon pass late fitness tests before plunging.
West Brom arrive at Villa Park full of confidence after turning the recent run of poor form around with a good 3-1 defeat of poor Newcastle. Villa have lost all 4 league games under Houllier which points to a value 12/5 bet with Stan James. No bet for the Major but a likely contender.
Khan fights in his toughest ever test in the Majors view against Maidana. Maidana can really punch which is reflected in an excellent stoppage rate. Khan looks slightly vulnerable to a punch and this boy could land one. As much as it pains me, I think the 11/4 for a Maidana win represents better value. If they had been fairer and offered 4/1 by KO or TKO I would have had a slice of that too.
Having delved into Xfactor last week, the Major feels compelled to see if he can back up his winning NAP last week, Mary to exit at 18/19. We nailed the fact that Cher and Mary would fight out the bottom two. The Major still is of the view that Matt is the likely winner. Having advised Rebecca last week, it is pleasing to see her come into second favouritism. I am surprised though that Matt can be backed at 10/11 given his apparent support. I would take a good slice of that.
The NAP is Liverpool, Masterminded, Matt Cardle and Brighton in an accumulator – Don’t say I’m never adventurous!!!
The Major wishes you the finest of betting Saturdays. I wish all those at Prestbury Park the most succesful of days. May you empty the enemies satchel with a smile. Tell him the Major sent you and we will see him again shortly.