Tag Archives: niche market

The Major’s Saturday Sermon – Newbury and Doncaster Tips – Kauto Star Thoughts

Good morning from a bright and breezy Defford where Spring is announced with a chorus of birdsong; awaken from thy slumber world, darkness has passed.  The Cheltenham festival is the great marker for the transition into full spring, a wonderful seasonal milestone.

Neptune Equester for Ellison.... Ready for a big one?

The Major’s poor form continues with a series of losers last week.  The unerring accuracy of my error is breathtaking for all the wrong reasons – I challenge you to tip as many losers as I am in February.

Today is the penultimate Saturday Sermon ahead of the festival and so time is not by my side but rather coming up fast behind me, tearing the ground away from under my feet and threatening the war chest…. we need winners. 

Before we get to the sport, the Major’s views on Kauto…

Kauto – The Fall, The Fallout and the Outcome

Kauto is vying for favouritism as the Nations adopted horse with Frankel.  So it was no surprise to see the countrywide reaction to the news that he had suffered a big training fall that threatens his participation in the Gold Cup.  It is a mark of just how loved the horse is that this news permeated into the Today programme on Radio Four.  Say what you will but no Racing For Change initiative (as much as I am a supporter of their work) can substitute for the nations love of equine story full of hope, bravery, skill and shocks.

The controversy remains around how long it took Ditcheat to relay the news in the media.  I think this is harsh criticism, I understand those that placed a bet in the meantime but they would have been equally slated for producing a negative report and then later giving the all clear.  They would have been accused of trying to manipulate the market so they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

Overall Ditcheat are among the most open operations of all, they may have chosen to handle this one slightly differently but note that not one inch of impact was felt in the market, showing what a tight operation they run.

The latest news is positive with a canter going well today….. Let’s all hope that progress continues and that Kauto Star lines up in little under a fortnight but let us not take chances. If he retires with the King George as his last race… well, perhaps that is a deserved last chapter.

To the racing….

Racing Tips – Newbury and Doncaster

There is a definite feeling of calm before the storm today.  The big guns are wrapped up in cotton wool.  Along with Kauto we had high-profile drop-outs in the Triumph market and this is that time where we will be hit with another couple of horses who have to miss Cheltenham.

There is still plenty of decent racing though.  Next weekends Imperial Cup is a marvelous race, trying to spot the handicap snip who is trying for the Imperial / Cheltenham bonus.  Interesting that David Pipe who landed it with the small little spirited mare Gaspara some years ago; maintains he has no obvious plot horse this year due to owner concerns….. The Major watches with a cautious eye; not that I accuse him of treachery you understand, merely it is an established Pipe route….

Today I have decided to have a pop at all of the Channel 4 live races; get yourself a Scoop 6 ticket, sit down and buckle in.

2.20 Doncaster – Handicap Hurdle

Very interesting piece from Tom Segal in the Racing Post last week around how he goes about selecting his horses.  The most fascinating part the Major picked up on was the importance that he gives to jockey booking.  Far more important than ground or handicap mark in his view.

Who is the Major to argue?  Thankfully it helps me select what I think is the likely winner of the 2.20 in Kangaroo Court.  The horse has come down in the handicap from a peak of 142 and these conditions are ideal.  With Noel Fehily amongst the Majors favourite jockey, I am going to back him to see off Allow Me and Corkage in that order.  3/1 Stan James….

3.25 Doncaster – The Grimthorpe

The two horses of key interest to the Major are Neptune Equester and Mac Aeda.

Mac Aeda is prone to a jumping error but is clearly on the upgrade.  A 6lb rise for his latest win is reasonable and 9/2 is a very fair price.

Neptune Equester though is the selection at a general 8/1.  Brian Ellisons horses have to be caught right so money for the selection would be a huge positive.  I do think these conditions will suit the horse who loves to rattle along the top; excuses are easy to make for his recent runs and I suggest a healthy slice. Load the Cannons!

To Newbury….

2.05 Newbury Tips – The Greatwood Handicap

This is a good race to introduce to the calendar with many horses at this time seeking a good run that could get them into a festival handicap. 

The three that the Major has settled on have different profiles. 

Cinderella Rose has clearly had injury problems but looked as good as ever on the last start at Plumpton.  Nobody could argue that the performance does not warrant a 6lb rise.  Being a fairly lightly raced 6-year-old; who knows what further improvement is there and the step up in trip is a positive on profile.

Love of Tara has been competing in graded company and this step down in class could see an improvement.  Timmy Murphy is superb at 3m+ races and I would not be surprised to see a big run come from her today.

The third horse is favourite Buck Magic who has the assistance of Barry Geraghty for a yard who he gets an odd ride (normally winning) for.  The horse is another who has had injury problems but with few miles on the clock and the promise of improvement, there is little not to like.

Overall, the 12/1 chance (Sportingbet / Stan James) Cinderella Rose is worth a punt on…. Have a slice and send me the postcard.

2.40 Newbury – Veterans Chase

I do love these veteran chases; famous old names lining up in their own age group, a welcome addition to the racing calendar.

The horse that just qualifies for the race is the one of most interest to the Major.  Marufo has had time out of racing and returned this year with two reasonable efforts.  Getting weight from all but one rival and with fewer miles on the clock, he looks a likely sort.  He also gets the assistance of Richard Johnson so a big plus, 5/1 is generally available.

Niche Market is a proven stayer but has not won anywhere near enough races as he should have done.

3.10 Newbury – Tips for the Barbury International

Pricewise beat me to the punch in this race with the Major’s selection being Fine Parchment.

I like horses that are pointed at races and this looks the plot for Fine Parchment having won this exact race in 2011 off a similar mark.  The 10lb claimer looks extremely valuable and a big run is surely on the cards… You will only find 11/2 available but I suggest a slice even though the mornings fancy prices have gone with the Pricewise factor.

3.45 Newbury – Greatwood Handicap

The Major is all about 11/2 (Stan James) shot Balgarry.  This line up looks average and the opening mark for the selection looks very well manageable.  If the horse is to line up for his Coral Cup entry he may need a big run here.  I am sure that is the plan so have a huge huge slice and thank me later.  Easy.

To the football….

Three selections; Arsenal can win at Liverpool – One team has to win and that is not an advantage; Arsenal can pick off Liverpool who need Suarez to start firing to pose any Champions League threat.  11/4, marvelous.

Millwall are very poor and so a Reading win at 6/4 is a price sent by the European Central Bank to ease the availability of money in Britain.

Last of all, Norwich at 7/2 to beat Stoke seems decent value – Norwich look self-assured and powerful enough to pose a real threat in the potteries.

May your dinner be first class and company to match.  Drink well and savour this moment when all of your Cheltenham thoughts are intact; you have the winner of all races don’t you… you are right because in this land; your guilt and error is not yet proven. 

Be bold…. roll those dice.

Grand National Countdown – Tonight The Major Tackles The Big One – The Grand National Preview

The Grand National meeting is upon us and the Major plans on tackling the big Aintree races this week. 

I have started with the trickiest of the tricky, the Grand National.  40 runners, an absurd distance, the Grand National is not only one of the hardest races to win, it is also one of the hardest to solve too.

The carnage, the noise of hoof, clods of earth, steam, madness and heaven

Before we even consider the runners though, it must be said that the Grand National is one of the most famous world races and one which attracts the most casual horse racing fans each year. 

This year the Major is attending with a merry group of men seeking fun, riches and wondrous sport.

For many, the National is the only time in a year where they might have a bet on horseracing.  It has a magic.  Everyone remembers their first national winner.  Your mother picking a name that she likes, £2 win bets, cramped bookmakers with queues of people each uncertain of what they are doing…  It is the time of tourists pouring into our sport for the weekend and they are all welcome as we were all tourists ourselves once.  Ah, the innocent time when I had no idea what ‘on the bridle’ or ‘lost his irons’ meant, I had more money then.

Many go a lifetime without picking a national winner.   The Major got off the mark with Comply or Die three years ago and it was nice to get that burden out of the way.

2011 – Can the Major find it again?

First of all, it is well advertised in racing betting circles that there is an awfully strong trend to identifying the National winner. 

You are generally looking for a 8-10 year old, who has won at least once beyond 3 miles, ideally has taken on the National fences before, is weighted under 11 and a half stone but still has a mark of 135+ – It is rare that the winner does not have this make up.  One of the Majors key resolutions is to question before accepting any trend.  These make sense.  You need an experienced horse, too young is no good, equally this is a real test so the legs cannot be too old.  Shouldering big weight is all the more difficult over this distance yet you need a horse with a touch of class and ideally one that has seen the fences before… all of these trends make sense. 

There are three that fit the key profile.  First a word for some that don’t.  I like Silver by Nature a lot, I advised the Birmingham crew to get on at 16/1 and it has been trimmed as a result of the recent rain.  With the rest of the week looking shiny and breezy, it definitely won’t get ideal ground, which is set to dry, which is a shame as I feel it had a good chance with cut.  Needs the good lords meteorological intervention.

The Midnight Club is a worthy favourite and looks a class animal – The Major tipped him up in Ireland on his second reappearance run at Fairyhouse.    I think the handicapper would have responded assertively to the Fairyhouse win in February.  His jumping will be tested to the full over the Aintree obstacles.  Of interest but well weighted?

Northern Alliance is an interesting runner.  First of all, any Tony Martin runner in a handicap is worth a second check.  This one more than most.  Top jock Geraghty is booked, I am sure there were other runners he could have been on.  Plus the Galway Plate result of a couple of last summer looked good.  Since then he has been pretty poor but incredibly has been campaigned over shorter distances when surely 3m+ looks more likely, possibly he doesn’t stay and connections know it, possibly, they have been protecting a decent mark for a stayer… fishy by the Majors reckoning.

The three that fit the Majors key trends – Big Fella Thanks, Niche Market and Arbor Supreme. 

I just do not think Big Fella Thanks will stay.  OK he was 4th last year and 6th the year before but what has changed to suggest a significant improvement – Place possibilities not the winner.

Niche Market has always had a touch of class and has won some decent prize money.  Now with Nicholls, last year the horse pulled up on the final circuit.  With a chance.

Arbor Supreme.  This one is of significant interest.  I waited to make this post purely to see if he got in.  With a number of withdrawals he got in today which is great news for the Major.  This Mullins horse looks very feasibly weighted with The Midnight Club on their last runnings (receives 10lbs for a length defeat) and at well over twice the price, I like it.  It fits all of the key trends.  D J Casey has the ride.  Last year he unseated but watching it, he was charged into and given no chance.  I have a note of concern that he has largely been campaigned on soft / heavy but he has won on good in the past. 

In Summary, take a slice of Arbor Supreme.  If the rain comes, have Silver by Nature.  Consider a saver on Northern Alliance. 

Failing that, pick a name or a set of silks that you like!

Can the Major make it an all profitable November Saturday Service?

Good morning from fine Worcestershire where the hard frosty ground gives a beautiful backdrop to the Majors Saturday preachings.

Another fine sporting weekend to be enjoyed.  Two groups of people to thank for the fine sporting offerings today, the good folk at BHA, Newbury, Newcastle and sponsors sportingbet who pushed through the move to get the fighting fifth to Newbury – Well done, good show.  Well done also to the small army of people required to cover the majority of the Newbury track with frost covers last night to ensure that the gods of weather could not upset the Majors eggs on toast.

The coffee is simple, Gold Blend, we ran out of the expensive stuff and the Major needs to restock for Christmas.  The environment is wholesome and we all know a pure heart and a clear head is required when going into battle against the old enemy, him with the satchel who shall try to deceive with his dark and twisted approach.

The Major has been working for your benefit for some hours and today, the results are important for a few reasons.  Firstly, every Saturday service in November has been fantastically profitable.  The lowest return was 148% of stake, lovely.  Let’s complete the month with another stunner.  Secondly, it is building towards Christmas and the Major understands that in the time of credit crunches, recessions, student fee increases and swinging cuts; the Major has an obligation to return a profit…. let’s see what the art of the possible is….

Hennessy Day.  What a great day, let’s start with a look at the race.  Denman bids for a third Hennessy which would be a first.  This is a moment of horseracing history but we need to reflect.  Denman is an amazing animal.  A twice Hennessy victor, a Gold Cup winner and a top class chaser.  ‘The tank’ was an apt nickname, on his day he travels powerfully with an arrogance to match his class.  It is a measure of his success that he puts more than half of the field out of the handicap today, shouldering 11-12 giving 8lbs to horses like Niche Market (an Irish National Grade 1 winner) who still remains 8lb the wrong side of the handicap, unbelievable.

However, before we get too breathless at what this horse has already achieved and hopes to achieve today, we need to consider the greatest chaser of them all.  It is unfair to consider Denman in the category of the greatest without considering Himself, Arkle.

Arkle, for those who do not know (please do not return), was a bay gelding and was simply the best chaser to ever race.  In a similar style to Denman he came to prominence when many suspected he was second fiddle to Mill House, the stables other top chaser.  However Arkle proved to be in a different class.  He was a freak winning 27 of his 35 starts.  His losses were usually injuries.  His sole loss in the Hennessy was finishing second to a horse that went on to place twice in the Gold Cup ( a great white chaser called Stalbridge Colonist) – On Hennessy day, Arkle who lost by half a length was trying to give him best part of three stone.  Watch the film, if Arkle had not got so close to the last fence, maybe he would have been the first three times winner of the Hennessy.

I love Denman (although admit to being a Kauto man), I love his brashness, his attitude, I dearly hope he can win.  Let’s enjoy the day,a  great day.  Just have in mind though the greatest of the all.  If Arkle ran today, Denman would be out of the handicap by 4lbs.

So who wins the Hennessy after all this is a sport tipping service! 

This is a puzzle.  It is a huge ask of Denman and as much as I wish him well, I have to consider that at ten and with lots of second season improvers queuing up to have a pop, Denman is very vulnerable today.

Burton Port is a very interesting contender having the services of Geraghty.  I think it is a testament to the way this 6yo is considered at home that Barry Geraghty, no spring chicken but one of the Majors favourites is getting 3lb below his lowest riding weight for 3 years to take the ride.  Well done Barry, enjoy the sauna.  The horse looks an out and ou stayer to me and I suspect there is a lot of improvement.  This is my each way advice to you, let’s hope Barry is not too dizzy and can steer us round for a decent winner.  Bet 365 bless have gone 9/1 paying 1/4 to FIVE PLACES.  Very generous chaps, you shall be remembered in the Majors prayers.  Get stuck into the port faithful followers.  Pandorama could be the fly in the ointment, consider a saver.  Lots of other fascinating runners, how is Neptune Collonges who was looking good prior to injury, Weird Al who deadheated the impressive Little Josh at Carlisle last time out, Taranis returning from a knock…. this is a class field

Before the Hennessy kicks off at 3.05, we have the delectable delight of the return to track of Big Bucks.  The only one of the big four horses expected to give the bookies a thrashing at the festival, Big Bucks is going off 2/7 – Not a price for the Major but what on earth could beat it?  What bank would give you a 28% return by mid afternoon?? Stick it in the accumulators!!

The fighting fifth is a sit out race for the Major too.  Peddlers Cross has to show plenty on official form but there was plenty to like about the Cheltenham novice win.  If the real Binocular turns up then 4/5 could look daft.  The Majors winner from a fortnight ago (Nearby) looks out of his depth.

The 3.40 is a race in which I have spent some time considering options.  Of 15, I have it down to a few.  One of which, I think the enemy is making a considerable mistake with.  Mount Oscar will strip fit for a blow at Chepstow and on a winning mark could take this, 10s available with Paddy but not for the Major.   The favourite stands a great chance converting back to the bigger obstacles, a transfer of form (not a certainty) would make Working Title a threat to all.  The Majors advice though is to play Pocket Aces at 20/1 (sportingbet) to three places (although 16/1 Skybet go 4 places) – This horse has a 7lb useful claim in young Mr Cannon and is well weighted on better form.  Last time out at Cheltenham, over shorter, it looked like the penny had dropped making good late headway.  Have a chunky slice and thank the Major later.

The Major wants you to have advice for the big Saturday events as well as a few tasty morsels from things you won’t have picked up.  Why you would have looked at the 6.50 at Wolverhampton for example, is a question without answer.  The Major has.  This means he can give you West End Lad.  The Major is curious, verging on the suspicious over why they insist on running this horse over trips such as this when his best form is much shorter.  Russ Kennemore rides again after a decent second last time out… 10/1 generally, get involved.

To the frosty football fields of Britain. 

Some no bets are Arsenal and Liverpool who I suspect will both get beaten as I think they both have a soft underbelly.  Watching brief.

I do like the look of Stoke to beat an overrated Man City.  11/4 is a great price – Stoke beat Liverpool at home and fear no-one.  Man City might struggle, this is one that the Major likes to go after.

Leeds are a great 3/1 price to win at Reading, they are unbeaten in six and Reading are not a consistently good defensive team.  Andy O’Brien is a key player for Leeds now who have attacking options and now a rock to build on.  I think they are play off good things, they can get Reading today at a tasty price.

I like Martinez, the Spaniard in charge of Wigan.  I have often used his team to effect this season and todays trip to West Ham is a great opportunity.  Thankfully for the Major, the West Ham headcases have made a strong campaign of save our season around this game and this could play into Wigans hands.  Maybe the Major is wrong but Wigan can use the nonsense campaign as a springboard of their own – They are being told to turn up and play the part of the defeated.  West Ham have their own problems.  Noble is out and Parker will probably return but who knows if he is in top shape after his chest infection.  Wigan are 14/5 and with Cleverley returning, I fancy a plunge on this one.

Bristol City are a super price to win at home to a shockingly poor Sheffield United.  The red half of Bristol have had a season of two halves already but the new boss has them firing and recent performances have been strong.  6/4 with Hills is an unbelievable price.  Bristol City are on the up and have beaten Swansea away and Leicester at home in two of their last three.  Their loss was no disgrace, away to Leeds.  6/4, I cannot get over that!  Load the heavy cannon for this one.

In the eggball, the England international looks to be a terrific encounter with a bruised South Africa likely to prove tricky opponents.  I have been backing England in their autumn internationals as you know and think a slight victory is on the cards today too.  1/2 though is way too skinny.  In a tight contest, maybe take a small interest with Stan James that Nick Easter is first try scorer at 25/1.

Difficult week this week.  We need one of the bigger priced advised bets to pay if we are to maintain our streak.

The nap is simple enough, Bristol City at home is to be trusted at 6/4.  £20 returns £50.  A purple for a red is a good exchange in my humble opinion.

All the talk of Hennessy has me thinking that a late night brandy might be the calling today.  I hope yours is VSOP and in some fine crystal.  All the MAjor asks is that as you shift your bank note wedge which was digging into your ribcage, drink to the Majors health and then be upstanding for the Queen.  Ask the man to top that brandy up, tell him the Major sent you.