Tag Archives: no no mac

The Saturday Sermon – The Racing… The Football… What more do you want?

Good evening from the Major who writes from the closing stages of a blistering Worcestershire day, the light slowly fading, enriching the depth of colour within the gloriously virile Bluebells which dust the forest floor.  Deer, on the verge, ready to bolt yet remaining alert, limbs locked tight, it is good to be alive.  Despite the brightness, the air is cool and with no cloud visible, a chill is coming on the night air.

The week has been tiring but not without recompense.

Thursday, London, in the sun, a stupendous dose of good medicine administered directly to the heart, I would recommend all of you to partake in our magnificent Capital on a glorious Easter Thursday… After finishing my afternoon of work, I met with a friend to imbibe of our environ and be thankful for existence.

It starts in a traditional busy boozer within a stones throw of London Underwriting Centre, drinking at pace, the throng spilling onto the streets.  Then we migrate to a more youthful urging crowd of Leadenhall Market, a full throttle drinking festival – long curvaceous chambers of ancient trade, magnificent carvings, the contrast of cavern with antique ironworks that blend perfectly with the classical red and gold livery above the retailers premises, many of the inhabitants still hard at their craft.

A dropped glass shatters, amongst the packed crowd, onto hard blue black cobble, it only punctuates the moment, nobody fear cessation, the feminine curve of calf in black stocking, a rush of blood and your shoulders stretch back and your chin struts out, just instinctive reactions.

This all surmounts to a wondrous summation of the parts… God is present, the sheer endeavour of spirit in all men to partake, to hold gratitude, that is blissful and all are welcome… While criticism runs amok for financiers; the Major, a visitor on their shores suggest that in amongst them, you will find good souls who possess the most beautiful of characteristics, humbleness, perhaps weaved with a wicked charm and a glint in their eye.  Good luck to them, for without it, we are paupers.

On the late train home which seemed to sway in rhythm with my mind, I sent a text to ‘the taxi driver in our village’, lovely Lorraine, a woman who probably knows more about my general vices of drinking and gambling than most, yet she wears a straight face that gives confidence, she is discreet as the cat.  She certainly would not judge the scene just an hour earlier as an already wine-flown Major scampers down the first class carriages to be the lucky last recipient of First Westerns hospitality, when they are about to close the bar, I can move like Usain… shame is an alien emotion for me.

Then to Good Friday.  A day with the family at the open day at Lambourn and what a triumph that was.  The sun shone, we had a walk around Harry Dunlops and Matthew, 6, declared Cadmium his favourite inmate, while Daniel, 7, went for Le Grand Cheval.

The Good Friday racing from Lingfield has to be declared a triumph.  They had to lock the doors…. this is Lingfield right?  A fabulous new card that offered more prize money than any single day at Royal Ascot.  If there was a valid argument against, it is not a religious one.  Good Friday is a public Bank Holiday and while the roots of it are based in Christian heritage, it is not obligatory.  Those with faith can choose not to partake (or sod it, join in, be merry and pray for forgiveness, God loves a sinner), those without can celebrate the addition to our bank holiday of an excellent initiative.

The other critique comes from some folk in the racing industry who valued the day off.  This holds a little more weight.  It is probably not a bad thing to have some occasional days off but why choose one of them to be a day in which you could engage and entertain a greater audience?  Sack some of those Mondays where an utterly dreadful Southwell and Beverley concoction tables less prize money cumulatively than the average single race from Lingfield today.

Some improvements are needed.  Channel 4 need to pull their finger out and provide domestic TV coverage.  It also needs better promotion too, to capture the imagination.  It is not the Breeders Cup but it could attract overseas runners with some of the money on offer, let’s hope it builds enough prestige to do so.  Finally, it needs some better quality horses, I have no idea why some of the bigger guns did not roll up to have a crack at these excellent pots of gold… Still an excellent start and who could wish for more than that.

While we are on a high, let us break cover and move forward with aggression, skirmishing in open formation; to the sports:

Haydock

I have to be honest, this might be the focus of Channel 4 tomorrow but it looks horribly like a bookies benefit to me.  I shall pick my way through with caution.

The opener is a five runner affair and I suggest a punt on the outsider of the field, 7/1, Un Bon Ptit Gars.  Why the optimism?  The ground is less of a concern with him than some others, at 6, there is still some potential to come too and Nick Williams although only running a few in recent weeks has scored with a couple…  I won’t be loading the large cannon but it shall not pass without some loving attention.

Two horses catch my eye in the second.  Harry Fry has never had a winner at Haydock but to be fair he has only ever had two runners there.  He relies on one bullet for Saturdays card and that is Bold Chief, a general 4/1 shot who will be very comfortable with the rattling ground and was damn impressive last time out at Uttoxeter, lengthening away from Knock a Hand in a manner that suggested the 8lb rise was entirely reasonable.  The other I like is Beforeall an Oliver Sherwood horse, also a Haydock irregular, who is ground versatile and I thought showed tremendous spirit last time at Ffos Las.  That race was in heavy ground and at Ffos LAs, that is gruelling gluey stuff and it only took place twelve days ago so it causes me to side with young Fry and Bold Chief.

In the third Generous Ransom, No No Mac and Hold Court all look interesting but I shall leave my bank safe and move on…

In the 3.15, I like Bincombe who has being winning well but also suggesting a step up in trip would benefit the horse.  He also likes good ground having won twice upon it.  Midnight Sail looks to be in remarkable form and could play a role but generally I do not like the older horses.  I would enjoy watching Lost Legend win and am a fan of his 5lb claimer Linehan.  I shall stick with first instinct and Bincombe.

In the 4.20, I am back to making a case for the outsider of the field in Wake Your Dreams.  Clearly there was an issue with the horse after he overcame blunders to win at Market Rasen last August.   That was a second win on the bounce and in the former, he put away The Cockney Mackem, OK no superstar but still a decent 129 rated hurdler.  Could be more to come and if fit, 8/1 is a nice price.

At Nottingham, the form trainer of the moment, Mr Gosden sends two of his string and a double feels like an essential part of the Saturday investment portfolio.  At this stage of the flat season, trainer form is incredibly useful as some yards are more forward than others and irrespective of ability, if they are not ready, they do not win.

6.45 Gilbeys Mate and7.15 Court Room

I cannot get motivated by the rest of the cards, don’t let my curmudgeonly view infect you, if you find the requisite enthusiasm, knock yourself out.  I shall sign off with the football as usual.  Someone told me that they came to the blog only for the football tips, they were expressing their thanks.  I told them to piss off, how rude, this is a racing blog with some football thoughts tagged on; his sort not welcome to our exclusive club of refined gentleman.

If you wanted a manager to dig you out of relegation troubles then Holloway would be on your list.  Millwall are now unbeaten in four games including trips to Forest and Wigan and while Boro might be in decent form themselves, I will partake the 3/1 on the Lions.  My second bet is much nearer the bottom of your coupon.  4/6 Annan.  That’s it, I’m still smarting from the idea that someone was only interested in this bit…

The Martin Hill bet is an each way trixie on Bincombe, Bold Chief and Un Bon Ptit Gars.

I trust your dinner is in a fine Italian restaurant with marble everywhere.  Have you ever noticed how good Italian restaurants only have waiters, not waitresses?  Well I hope your company is enchanting and you are ordering the finest Barolo they can muster from the cellar.  Eat well, you can trust the Italians for that.

Courage and roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Breeders Cup, Ascot, Wetherby, Down Royal… Fabulous Day of Sports… Courage and Roll the Dice

Good morning from the Major who writes from the early morning bed, such a fine day of sport has me alert at an early hour, my head snaps up and left to purvey a Worcestershire scene, the weather is not consistent with my senses.  The horizon is lost to a soupy grey blankness whose cold permeates you just by looking at it, ghostly trees poke through the still and choking mist, their limbs at strange angles, everything weighted down by a dampness you can feel.

I feel in contrasting mood though, sharp and earnest.  I have spent the week in London, or at least the latter half.  I have stayed in fine hotels and eaten well, business was conducted in amicable and brisk terms with mutually beneficial conclusions reached with little conflict.  All in all, most pleasing.

I attended a dinner in Mayfair on Wednesday night, a very fine occasion too.  It also happens in close proximity to my casino of choice, so it seemed perfectly acceptable to pop in for a few spins of fortune in the small hours – That proved the fast route to a lighter wallet.  Leaving just after midnight, I found the tube closed and since I was staying in Bethnal Green, I resolved to walk embracing the night air, I estimated it at just over an hour at a brisk pace.

London is a fine place and the richness of life was abundant.  For some, walking in a forest in spring, with nature coming to life, from its formerly frozen slumber; that experience brings great contentment.  For myself, I draw the same from such busy urban scenes.  Full of mischief, opportunity and intrigue – bristling with life.

Halloween parties spilled their drunken youngsters onto the streets, three half-naked men fought in Leicester Square but with little serious commitment to their causes, men in Hi Vis jackets performed essential maintenance tasks on drains and lights and emergency services hurtled by, their stunning deep blue lights scattering across the architecture which towered above.

In Covent Garden itself, men were putting the finishing touches to the Christmas Tree, which, being Covent Garden needs to be extravagant.  While now, I think of how irritating that such things are done at the end of October (Come the Major’s revolution, we will not be allowed to celebrate Christmas until 20th December), at the time, I just marvelled at it.  The splendour of it all.  I am under no illusion, the city, any city, has no care for me, I am merely present as an observer, a passer through – welcome but soon to be discarded.  Yet I am drawn to these scenes, life itself is played out in just a short walk and these attractions are like a siren call.

As I left Covent Garden, a consistent and cold rain came suddenly, clearly able to seep through any protection my clothing offered.  I flagged down a black cab to complete the journey.  The streets now were dark, the road was black and  slick, with the window down,  I could hear the pleasant kissing sound of the tyres against the asphalt.  Cold air through the window filled my nostrils and I felt that rare feeling… Contentment.  All I say is this, it is good to be alive.

To the sports.

Wetherby Tips – Charlie Hall Chase Day

The national hunt fixtures are coming at us thick and fast now and Wetherby sees some real stars of the track come to their seasonal debuts.  Let us start with the big race.

Long Run is clearly the main attraction in the Charlie Hall Chase.  He is a horse that always strikes me as older but you have to remember he was one of the very few horses to win a Gold Cup at the tender age of 5.  Many astute judges have poured some scepticism against the quality of that renewal and I cannot deny that my own seemingly unshakeable faith in Long Run is starting to shake.

Yet, he is a remarkable horse and at the age of 8, is arguably coming into to his peak season.  Here is a stunning statistic for you to bore others with.  Long Run has never been unplaced.  I repeat and embellish… Long Run has never been unplaced in TWENTY SIX runs under rules in Britain, Ireland and France.

You may detect a note of determined defence in my opening gambit for Long Run, if so, I congratulate you, your political antennae are well tuned.  So, please take my selection of Long Run for the Charlie Hall with the understanding that my soft spot for the old boy remains intact.  This year could be a stunning one in the staying chaser division and I hope my boy can get them off to a good start.

His opposition in the Charlie Hall consists of Grade One winning Benefficient who I think wants better ground and Unioniste who I doubt is that good and there is a small shadow over Paul Nicholls runners it seems to me.  The one I would be most concerned about would be Cape Tribulation.  While Imperial Commander may not have been his old force, it was a fantastic duel at Cheltenham last season and this is a dangerous sort to underestimate on his day having finished fifth in the Gold Cup and he also loves heavy ground which he may well yet get if the weather gods are with him.

The West Yorkshire Hurdle has lost At Fishers Cross which is a crying shame because I really thought that was a weekend banker.  For most, it leaves Tidal Bay as the obvious place to go and I understand that thought.  Yet, I cannot.  I do love Tidal Bay, he has been a great servant to the sport and his wins last year were inspiring.  He is twelve though and my tip, Medinas, is half that age.  He is a Coral Cup winner and improving, he won’t mind the bad weather coming and has just a fistful of pounds to find on official ratings with Tidal Bay – When you consider that Medinas is half his age, it is an easy enough assumption to think that improvement could be forthcoming.

Ascot Tips

The three mile handicap chase at 3pm, the United, is a trappy race to call but there are a few in there that are worthy of attention.

Twirling Magnet is a huge 16/1 with Bet365.  He has clearly not been a straight forward horse and has been bedecked in all manner of headgear.  He came good at Cheltenham at the end of last year and while his strike rate has not been prolific, I think there is reason to believe more could come.  Firstly, he is starting to get the hang of it, secondly, he is ground versatile, thirdly, he has the very capable Maurice Linehan in the saddle. Of interest.

I would not put you off a slice of Same Difference either.  He placed in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown in the spring and that was terrific form.  If he is picking up where he left off, there is a big chance of a massive run.

I am looking to one of the unexposed sorts though and the horse that appeals the most is Opening Batsmen.  I get the services of Noel Fehily in the saddle and long term victims of my blog will know that I consider Noel a huge advantage to a horse in any race.  My horse is an improver too – We have to put a line through his run at Aintree in the spring but that was on unfavoured ground and at the time of the season where many horses are over the top.  I am happy with 9/1 – Take a slice.

I plan on a second Fehily inspired punt on No No Mac in the 3.50 – The form of his start this season has been firmly franked when his close conqueror at Uttoxeter, Timesrememebred, went on to smash the Grade 2 novice at Chepstow.

Down Royal – JNWine Tip

While Wetherby may have Long Run, the JNWine has attracted a stellar line up of Sizing Europe, First Lieutenant and Kauto Stone.

For me, it makes sense to focus on the first two in the market.  While Kauto Stone has won this before, I am suitably concerned by the runs that some of Nicholls horses are putting in that I do not want to be on this ones side today.

Sizing Europe has not had a brilliant record when stepped up in trip but this is the place to try again and he has been desperately unlucky not to win one of these.  He has been beaten by Kauto Star and Quito de la Roque in this race in recent years.

First Lieutenant has three years on the former Champion Chaser and proved a very good horse last season, arguably unlucky not to come away with a greater haul of trophies.  Like Sizing Europe, he has had a warm up race, unlike Sizing Europe, he did not win his but was only down a length or two.  Also unlike Sizing Europe, it is my belief that with slightly younger legs, he is better equipped to get over those exertions earlier.

For reasons of class, you might pick Sizing Europe.  For reasons of youth and improvement, I am opting for First Lieutenant.

If you like a price, I would not put you off Quito de la Roque at 14/1 who may play a hand.

Santa Anita – The Breeders Cup

At the Breeders, I am going to be on:

9.05 – Mizdirection 9/2 – Unbeaten at Santa Anita!

9.43 – Havana – 3/1 – Will outclass these, ignore comments about last run being less than impressive

11.40 Wise Dan – 5/4 – LOAD THE CANNONS!

In the football, I fancy West Ham at 5/4 to beat Villa at home.  Many think the Villains are a better team away from home and that might be true.  I also still have concerns over their overall quality and am happy to take the hammers in this.  Chelsea are a big 4/6 to win at Newcastle in my opinion with the latter starting to struggle.  Wigan 17/20 to win at home is a price I want as is 6/10 Coventry to win at home (well sort of home).

May your dinner be in the best company and the wines delectable.  As the waiter brings the bill, be generous as you can afford to be.

The Martin Hill bet is West Ham, Havana, Wise Dan, No No Mac and Long Run.  Take them in 1pt doubles (10 bets) and 0.5pt trebles (10 bets) and stick a few pennies on it all coming home.

Courage, roll those dice.