Tag Archives: oscargo

Friday Cheltenham Madness – Tips for each race….

The International meeting at Cheltenham kicks off with a decent little card and the Major will be on course aiming to pay for Christmas, once more.

Last Saturdays form continued the Majors mixed to shocking form but as my old gambling friends would say, even the blind squirrel finds the odd nut….. we venture on brave few unto honour.

Killyglen... could be a shocker... let's hope not for the sake of the Majors children whose Christmas is still in the balance

12.00 Novice Chase

Only 4 runners but a cracking start with Solix opposing Sam Winner and opening as slight market favourite.

The Henderson horse gets the Majors vote by slim virtue of the trainers better form and unbelievably strong credentials in these events, the horses strong form looks fine and there is decent ground which I am unconvinced that Sam Winner will appreciate.   There is rain coming down which would square it up but even if it goes good to soft, I suspect that Solix is the better horse and he edges a narrow opener.

12.35 Handicap Hurdle

Edgardo Sol, Aather and Golden Gael are the three that catch the Majors eye.

The first from the champion trainer has great credentials and Harry Derhams useful 7lb claim brings the horse down to a decent looking mark.  The latest run at Sandown looked half decent.

Aather is harder to explain at 25/1 and in terrible form.  Unreliable, off the track for some time but….. the Major has had this one on a watch list on pieces of form that date back some time.  It takes some imagination to see it winning but as Thoreau said, the world is a canvas to such imagination….

The Major however goes for a more sensible route and tips Golden Gael. Unexposed and the booking of the stables ‘go to’ jockey is enough for the Major.  8/1…. have a chunky slice….

1.10 Handicap Chase

Nudge and Nurdle is plummeting towards some tasty looking marks and money for this one would be significant but not for the Major.

That’lldoboy is of definite interest and not a bad value favourite at 2/1.  He is up 17lbs though in his last two runs and I am concerned (probably more than most will be) that he may be getting into the grip of the handicapper.

That said finding an opponent to beat him is tough.  Bene Lad at the foot of the weights might be the chief danger but comes with plenty of questions upped in class.

Overall, despite the handicap concerns I am sticking with the favourite and willing to put good money that he toils up the hill second to something implausibly well handicapped!

1.45 Handicap Chase

I am only interested in Mon Parrain and Shakalakaboomboom.

The first was a major player for the Paddy Power if the money was to be believed and the second finished last season on a career best at Punchestown and is bought here by Henderson despite having a poor record at Prestbury Park. , tough decision.

On balance I think Shakalakaboomboom is worthy of a stake at 9/2.  At the end of the day, I prefer the better form of the Henderson yard and he is capable of having this one tuned up.

Backing both feels like a shot to nothing mind.

2.20 Cross Country

Expecting a tip on the Cross Country from the Major…… I am sorry, I do not truck with witchcraft, good luck to you.  Stop looking at me like that…. Satan get behind me….

Uncle Junior and it hurts me to type it.

2.55 Handicap Hurdle

If the rain comes the Major will plug on betting on Pause and Clause, possibly through a heady mix of sheer stupidity and loyalty, who I am convinced has bigger races in him than this but I find it hard to back Emma Lavelles charge on merit.

Evan Williams is in form and so Di Kaprio is considered but surely Oscargo can give the famous Nicholls / Walsh combination another Cheltenham win here.  The third at Cheltenham last time out is probably as good form as on show here and this horse is (unlike most) entirely unexposed.  Garton King is obviously interesting too being from the same stable and unbeaten but I would take jockey booking as informative here.

So Oscargo is it…. well no.

I am after more value and Killyglen at 8/1 offers me just that.  As a younger horse, this one threatened to be better class than this.  If you accept that his seasonal reappearance was needed then he is on a decent mark and the Major is willing to stick with him, particularly as Dickie Johnson has been booked for a rare (or possible debut) stable ride.

3.30 Novice Hurdle

Darlan at 1/2 is surely one of the hottest novice hurdlers in the Henderson yard which makes him one of the hottest seasonal prospects.

The Majors suggestion is Aikideau at 16/1 who showed improved form on reappearance when entitled to need the run.  Probably not good enough but an each way shout.

The Saturday Sermon – Cheltenham Tips….. Load the Cannons… two 20/1 shots for the Paddy Power

Good morning from Defford where the Major greets the new day like souls awakening.

Yesterdays Cheltenham tips were mediocrity at best, Uncle Junior paid a 6/1 winner and a second from Haventascoobydo at 8/1 drew the mildest of profits.  Suburban Bay could have made the day a superb one but fell when travelling strongly in second, three out…. ah the tribulations.

Billie Magern for the Major..... 20/1 shabash

The last race saw Grand Crus plant himself as a credible alternate to Long Run in the Gold Cup picture.  His jumping was assured and with main rival Cue Card fighting for his head throughout, Grand Crus looked the business.  Very exciting chaser.

The last few weeks have been barren times for the Major so even a day of such modest profit is a relief.  Perhaps the tide is turning.  At moments like these I am drawn to think of the boys holding the square at Thermopylae or the gallant 44th shedding their claret on the hill at Gandemak.

As Kipling wrote ‘ If you can force your nerve and sinew, to serve your turn long after they have gone, and so hold on when there is nothing in you, except the will which says the to them ‘hold on!’

Stay the course followers.  The Cheltenham card….

1.20 JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial

The first of the feast from Cheltenham.  What a tremendous day of racing.  To those on course, Mr Cherry, Mr T Smith, Hathaway, Zac, Mr Lyons et al, the Major wishes you the best of luck.  Empty some satchels.

The two french imports dominate the market and it is clear that they are two well fancied novice hurdlers this season.  Of the two preference would be for the Henderson horse Ozeta.

At the prices though 15/8 the pair, the Major is going elsewhere and I have decided to take a chance on the improving Secret Edge at 9/1.  The listed win at Wetherby reads just fine and there is more to come.  British obstacle experience is a boost and let us not forget that Alan King has won this race with the fine racehorses Franchoek and Katchit in recent years.  Secret Edge could well have more to offer……

Load the big cannon.

1.55 Handicap Chase

The money has been pouring in for Hennessy (Is this a Pricewise horse, I do not have the paper this morning!), backed into 8s from 12/1.  That looks significant being a Ferdy Murphy inmate, he is well capable of readying a gamble.

The money on Betfair looks one way and I forecast 6/1 at the off.  Someone will be eating steak if this comes in.

I think though that the Nicholls charge, Promising Anshan deserves a big punt.  At 5/1 it is leading the market and the Major still thinks there is value there.  Surely this one will improve for the step up in trip.  The Aintree form, in behind the implausibly well handicapped Exmoor Ranger, looked more than adequate and he was probably not fully tuned up that day.  With normal improvement, this one should be involved at the foot of the hill.

I am interested in the Ditcheat team as they have started the season strongly.

2.35 Chelthenham – Paddy Power Gold Cup

Here we are at the feature race of the day and it is an absolute cracker.  Figuring out the puzzle is made harder by the generic ground conditions but the Major has figured an angle into two at big prices and is ready to lay for your delectable concern my Paddy Power gold cup tips before you.

Poquelin will be fancied as we always see his best form at Prestbury but not for the Major.  The normal profile for the winner is sub eleven stone but from a big name trainer.  Only one 9 year old has won in the last ten years, none older, and so it is an improving sort in a top class yard we want.

Reve de Sivola will win a big race one day but he won’t be carrying my money when he does.  He travels beautifully and like David James can look superb but is prone to walking through the odd fence which he manages with alarming regularity and tends to time it for when the Majors hopes are at their pinnacle.  I have given up on this one and will wait for the day he returns at a massive price!

There are two 20/1 shots I am willing to back.  There are lots that almost made it and the discarded from the shortlist include 16/1 shots Araldur and the De Bromhead raider Loosen my Load.  The two for me though on balance are….

The first is Billie Magern.  At 7, there could be plenty of improvement to be seen from this Twiston-Davies horse and we must remember that the trainer has won two of the last three Paddy Powers.  Billie Magerns two and a half mile win last month looked very decent.  That was course form too which ticks another box.  Although up 7lbs, it makes no technical difference as he is a fistful of pounds wrong in the handicap anyway, have a slice.

The other is Divers, a Ferdy Murphy horse who ran a shocker on reappearance last month.  That is insignificant for this one though as this was always going to be the aim and a handicap raising barn-storming reappearance was never going to be on the cards.  Also racing from the bottom of the weights, officially 4lbs wrong, is not a concern and I really do feel a big run could be in order.

Back both each way (watch the terms) and a reverse forecast will have you sending the Major brandy (A decent Hennessy please)!

3.10 Handicap Hurdle

A very simple and elegant solution here, back the 8/1 shot Oscargo who looks to have a great chance.

Lightly raced, Nicholls and Walsh, 8/1 and decent Chepstow form which should translate well to here (also a rolling left handed tough course).

Have two slices, send me the postcard.

3.40 Cheltenham – Novice Handicap Hurdle

There are a number of horses to catch the eye in this and Edgardo Sol is sure to be popular with the same Nicholls / Walsh combination as Oscargo in the previous.  While that one looks very well handicapped, it is a 14/1 shot that the Major is going to tip.

Walden Prince has been racing very respectably in Ireland and has now joined a new yard.  I think this is an interesting start for the horse who is match fit.  There was plenty to like about his second last time out as the winner looks very decent.  A replication of that form entitles this one to go close.

4.10 Novice Chase

If Restless Harry translates his useful hurdle form to the chase obstacles, he will take all of the beating and at 13/8, I do not think it is a prohibitive price.  He has the look of a chasing type and the Major would not put you off.

Offering that up as a Cheltenham tip might be foolish.  I like to see novices jump before getting involved but today, for Restless Harry, I make an exception.  Should win well.

If you must get involved with the England game, bet 0-0 at half time.  It has that feel to the Major.

May your dinner be delightful and served by a fine-looking sort.  Let the quarry see the roll of notes but try to be subtle, else you appear crass.

Courage, roll the dice.