Tag Archives: oscars well

The Boxing Day Sermon – Kempton King George Tips – Scrub that – Here is the winner of the King George plus some other tips from the Kempton card

Merry Christmas and Good Evening from the Major who writes to you from the table of my parents home in Sutton Coldfield.

The weather is cold and blustery, walking the dogs earlier in Sutton Park I had to turn my collar to the wind and bear the brunt of the cold damp on my hat-less head.  The sun was setting and the dogs were rooting through the undergrowth, bounding and sliding through the mud.  As the dank gloom descended, a certain sanguine sense settled on me.  Sometimes, when cold, out, watching dogs becoming filthy, considering the weakness of your attire, on the brink of night, with a warm home waiting…. you are so close to life, it feels good.

The walk after Christmas lunch was in order, my good mother had prepared four meats, Turkey, Pork, Gammon and Beef.  Where was the lamb I cried, surely two cuts of pig was too many….. Apparently it is not the Christmas spirit and I was chastised.

My sister was meant to host Christmas but a new cooker was not arriving in time and with a fortnight to go, the switch was made.  That pretty much made my mothers Christmas, the combination of playing reluctant host coupled with the smell of a crisis.

I trust your Christmas has been fine and in perspective.  I wish all of you merry band the happiest of times, the best of health and gods own luck.  I know my followers are the decent sort, I try and root out the cads, they tend not to return.  As such, I shall not remind you to think of others less fortunate, you will be doing that already.

There is so much racing tomorrow and so much I want to do that I wanted to provide two blog posts.  The first would be an in-depth analysis of the King George – I plan on giving you Christmas cheer with the winner.  I want to share the thought process that leads to the decision too, allowing you to part company with me at any given point.

I will then provide a less detailed summary of some of the other Kempton racing.

In a separate post, I planned on a whirlwind tipping ceremony of every race run tomorrow (that is a lot).  The analysis would have been surface level only but it feels like a fun thing to do.  Sadly, it is Christmas and I am snow blind by racing with no fewer than a million races tomorrow.

Before the tips though, racing royalty and a Sam Waley Cohen rant (not against him per se).

Recent History of Kempton’s King George and Long Run’s Jockey

Kauto Star will be in attendance at Kempton tomorrow and the sight of the five time race winner will warm the festive air with fans clamouring to be in the presence of greatness.

Winner of the race in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, defeated by Long Run in 2010 and regaining his title in 2011 – Is there a more impressive recent national hunt race record.  Add 4 Betfair Chase titles, 2 JN Wine Champion Chase runs and the first horse to regain a Gold Cup and you have a bone fide legend.

Spare a thought for Nacarat though.  Watching many of those Kauto wins, the horse that sets such a nice tempo and travels oh so well until the last half mile deserved more credit than history will give him.  I shall afford him what I can, my thanks for his brave efforts against superior flesh.

Without doubt, my favourite King George would be 2009.  Barbers Shop toiled on, Nacarat the same but Ruby and Kauto that day looked like perfection personified.  Some of the fences he cleared were majestic.  He looked a horse born knowing he was the greatest.

Should Long Run have beaten him in last years renewal?  Probably.  I know it is a well worn subject but the Major would add his two penneth worth to the views of the jockeyship of Long Run which in my view cost too much momentum in last years King George and in the Gold Cup.

Sam Waley-Cohen of the fabulously wealthy clan is a full-time dentist and for six months of the year, pretty much a full-time national hunt jockey too.  He works incredibly hard to do what he does.

The case for the defence is that…. 1) Sam has already won a King George and a Gold Cup aboard Long Run, thus it is a proven partnership worth protecting 2) Is it not the Corinthian spirit that the Major knocks…. ah the plucky amateur, playing with such straight a bat and steeled spirit as the best of them…. There is that too, granted.  3) Let us not forget too that Mr Robert Waley-Cohen has paid his money, it is his toy set and he can do what he wants, he who pays the piper….?

None of these assuage my frustration at the present situation.  My arguments are simple.  True champions in our sport are there to behold.  Kauto, Frankel, Denman, Arkle, Red Rum, Sea Bird…. take your pick, what they achieve is more than the purse for their owner, far more.

Horses like these achieve things that transcend the individual.  It is no longer one element of the race, it is the whole, it is the story.  The spontaneous round of applause as Kauto pulled up in the Gold Cup in March was beautiful, a crowd acknowledged a champion.  Ruby asked the first question but did not belittle the horse by asking again, Kauto said no once, it was enough and everyone appreciated the graceful departure.

In the case of Sam Waley-Cohen, he accepts that he is not the best jockey and this creates pressure, he clearly thrives on it too.  Sam might get 30-40 winners in a year but that compares poorly to the best jockeys riding hundreds of winners, you would expect it too as well, it is the benefit of being professional.

The skill of jockeyship in these races for me is in presenting the horse well at fences.  Geraghty, Walsh, McCoy, Fehily, O’Brien, Madden and Russell, among many of the top pro’s, do this exceptionally well.

If Long Run were aided by such a jockey, I am absolutely convinced that the horse would already hold two King George titles and two Gold Cups.  Both of the defeats came from scruffy jumping and the jockey looks awkward to me.

I accept I have never ridden a horse but while I will gladly bear the brunt of those that know far more than I from the saddle, I know what my eyes and what my sense tells me.

Long Run would be better served with a fully professional top class jockey, he would jump better and thus run to a better mark.  I not only feel a frustration born from a desire to see the best jockeys on the best horses, I also feel the greater sport is suffering as a result.  This is no ordinary chaser, trying to win a half valuable handicap.  This is potentially one of the best chasers we have seen, history beckons.  I wish we did not handicap him with an amateur in the saddle.

The owners pay the bills, they can do as they please, I just wish for the sake of racing that Geraghty would get the leg up tomorrow.

None of this is a slight on Sam Waley-Cohen either.  He accepts the basis of my argument, that he is not as good as the top professional riders.  I genuinely admire the work he must put in to ride at the standard he does.  He also seems like a top guy.  None of this is personally directed, he is doing his best, I just wish he would keep it to the likes of Radjhani Express.

The King George Winner

I said I would provide the name of the winner of the King George.  Here we go….

I analyse races to differing criteria and I want to share the process for selecting the winner of the King George with you.

I have used my judgement and some statistical base to analyse the horses chances on going, trainer form,horse age,  jockeyship, best horse form, recent horse form and likelihood of enjoying the track.

Yet, analysis like this is only useful in ensuring you do not miss elements of fact in the story you create.  Live your life by a model and the bumblebee cannot fly. So, once I have made this assessment, I shall make my case.

My scores came out, incredibly flat, suggesting this is a wide open King George.

Long Run 14.45%
Captain Chris 10.72%
Cue Card 9.36%
Riverside Theatre 10.14%
Junior 10.23%
For Non Stop 6.45%
The Giant Bolster 8.06%
Champion Court 8.55%
Grand Crus 10.81%
Kauto Stone 11.21%

In each the percentage is chance of winning on the scores allotted with my usual adjustments made.

In this case, I am going to throw them away.  It suggests a range of prices akin to a handicap from 6/1 Long Run to 16/1 For Non Stop.

My market, massively rates the chances of the outsiders. How does that fit with my feel for the race….. hmmmm, not very well.  This will be a case of drawing on some of the analysis but feeling my way through the back stories of each.

The most massive factor for me is class, it strikes me that our best chasers win the King George.  They are normally aged from 7-9, that is, in their peak racing years.  Look at the names… Kauto, Kicking King, See More Business – The multiple winners are class horses.

It is easy to get distracted by analysis, what we have to ascertain are two things – Are there serious impediments to you running your best?  Are you good enough?

In this race, I believe only the following have no serious impediment.  Long Run, Kauto Stone, Cue Card, Captain Chris and Riverside Theatre.

Grand Crus is perhaps my highest profile offcut, I feel will struggle on the ground.  He has much poorer form on soft and has never raced on worse.  A wind op may be crucial in proving me wrong but I am willing to bet that the spring will see him run his best races and maybe failing here might put the RSA on the cards.

I am not with the Giant Bolster who has shown one piece of top form in placing in a poor Gold Cup on summer ground.  Not for me.

Champion Court is good but looks thoroughly average in this company.

Likewise, For Non Stop, who has the added impediment of being unlikely to enjoy Kempton, in fact this horse has a surprisingly bad record going right handed.

Junior looks like a horse supplemented to try and win some place money, I don’t think it will pay off – Handicapper out of his depth is my reading.

So, to the protaganists and let us assess the chances and review the merits.

I want to start with two you might be surprised to find me rule out.  Kauto Stone and Cue Card.  Both have different profiles.

Kauto Stone is proven over trip and ground, his three mile win in Ireland on heavy represents his best form and Kauto’s half brother (what a story that would be!) should enjoy conditions.

Cue Card has to prove he will get the trip – Connections think it is no problem on on Kempton’s flat track and I might agree if it were not for the heavy conditions. This will make it a truly testing three miles and turning for home going well may mean nothing after the last fence.

The truth is that six year olds have won the race but they have to be top draw.  Kauto won aged six, winning a Tingle Creek in the same year (unbelievable really!) – So that is the standard to judge the chances of these two by.

Kauto Stone, definitely not in my view… Cue Card, maybe, just maybe.

Then there were three and as Holmes said, rule out the impossible and whatever remains, no matter how far fetched is the truth.

Riverside Theatre, Captain Chris and Long Run.  We have two horses that have placed in a King George and on that has won it and placed in it.

Captain Chris showed arguably his best form last time out encountering heavy for the first time.  If that form sticks then I think he is booked for a place as a minimum and represents a terrific 16/1 price.  He loves conditions and he loves Kempton (three from five).

Riverside Theatre has not had a run this year but that is not a concern.  His record fresh is immaculate and he will be wound up for this.  He also loves Kempton and gets Geraghty aboard.

This is why Long Run has to be the tip for the King George.  When it comes down to it, class is the compelling argument.  Riverside rates one of the two horses I rate in the contest and Long Run gave him a twelve length beating when only a novice.  Anything like that form and my selection should wipe the floor with this lot.  The jockey is the only impediment I can think of and I think he will win despite that.

People forget that this horse set the track record when winning the Gold Cup. That is some achievement and I think it is the class act in the field.

Cue Card rates a danger, there are lots of if’s – Of the two 6 year olds, the former Champion Bumper horse rates the one that could be of the quality to progress and win again.  Those if’s add up though, will he get heavy? Will he be good enough? Will he stay the trip?  A risky dodge, but a dodge.

My best each way alternative would be Captain Chris who only has to overcome his inconsistency to rate a very good place chance at 16/1.

Long Run will win the King George, class will tell.

The Christmas Hurdle

The talk is that Cinders and Ashes will be better for the last run and may reverse with Countrywide Flame who looked an easy winner on soft.

Darlan arrives as one of the best of last years novices but really this one needs better ground, surely.

For the Major, the art is to keep it simple, Countrywide Flame is the Christmas Hurdle tip and with good reason.  He loves the mud, he has just shown terrific form and the triumph is not looking bad as a form race.  15/8, keep it simple.

The Major will however have a slice of former Champion Hurdler, Punjabi.  This horse is the apple of my eye, I still see his white face on that little body as he held off Binocular and Celestial Halo to win me my biggest pile of notes ever.  That will be one for the heart and I would love to see him run a place.

The Feltham

Although I am going to win no friends with the value punting set, Dynaste looks as good as a bolt on bet as I know.  His facile chase victories mean that the 5/1 ante post for the RSA is my current favourite Cheltenham bet.

There is nothing in this field that scares me at all.  His jumping is immaculate, what is not to like.

The 3.45 Handicap Hurdle – Kempton

Four favourites on one card is probably not what you want from your tipping man but Katkeau is all the rage in the last.  The Pipe inmate looks a handicap good thing sort and one poor UK run is nowhere near enough to ignore this promising French sort….

Racing Post Novice Chase – Leopardstown

Avrika Ligeonniere is an evens favourite and it is understandable as to why.  When you are as blessed as Mullins is with Novice Chasers and you have a handful in at the five day stage, which you take out to rely on one brute shot, punters have to take notice.

Oscars Well though is the one for me.  This horse fell on the penultimate start but apart from that not a lot has gone wrong.  This is a classic case of my horse having more in the bank but reputation catapulting the other to the head of affairs.  Take the 7/4 on the second favourite… its a bet.

To the football…

Tottenham odds against at Villa look a bet.  Surely Villa will be fighting to restore some pride but it is a young team and they may struggle, particularly if they concede early.

Watford are my money train at the moment, hence 5/4 at Bristol City is Merry Christmas!

May your Boxing Day be better than mine.  I am booked for lunch at 2pm… what sort of sick person does that to me?  A wife of ten years is the answer… She claims innocence but really… She will pay.

Courage, roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – Tingle Creek Sandown Tips, Chepstow and Aintree Becher Chase day too…. Shabash, courage and roll those dice

Good morning from a bright Worcestershire rural picture. The air has mellowed, dropping its aggressively cold tones and becoming thoroughly more agreeable.

Sound tracking my breakfast – Fine Wiltshire pork sausages with local free range eggs, peppered and orange juice.

Facts and stories. Which of these is the greater? To a gambling man who likes a model of statistical value, you might argue the former always trumps. The tangible can be valued, a feeling cannot. We are trying to get to truth aren’t we, no sentimentality can come into it.

Yet, through human history though, people discard reason regularly, sometimes with disastrous consequences, sometimes for good reason.

Last night, a colleague and old friend lost an earring – her distress was not related to the cost but the fact that it had been her grandmothers. Time adds value that the jeweller or insurer cannot recognise.

In the same way, evaluating a business decision or a gambling opportunity carries the same dilemma. All in life is made of two elements. Fact and story. Your ability to fathom a good and useful story is more important in life than your ability to handle data. Fact. Not time to explain why, just trust in the Major and my sermon. Do your research, calculate your pricing model and then leave the last bit to personal feeling. Add a little of what cannot be explained. Life is like that. Enjoy it.

Not much time to hang about today, let’s get down to the sports. She found it by the way.

Sandown Tingle Creek Day Tips

The opening novice hurdle will be won by Golden Hoof – OK it’s a shade of odds against but Henderson has won the last three running of this race with some decent types so all points to my tip being a useful sort.

In the 1.25, despite the unbelievable form of Team Ditcheat, I cannot be on Sam Winner. I give a squeak to Gilbarry at 16/1. Gilbarry is racing of a potentially lenient mark over the smaller obstacles having shown much better chase form. He has been backed into that price so maybe something is expected.

Captain Conan looks to have a simple opportunity to pick up a grade 1 chase in the Markel Novices. Hinterland did not look the same horse over the big obstacles and might have struggled to cope with Hendersons horse even if he did handle it.

This is a good a Tingle Creek as I can remember because both Sanctuare and Sprinter Sacre look as good as we have seen in this division for some time. I love the Tingle Creek, remember Kauto winnng it! I know Denman had a swaggering style but I loved The class of Kauto (made even more special by his ability to smack a fence when cruising!). No more proof can I give than reminding you that the great Kauto had the speed for a Tingle Creek before taking in a King George and the Gold Cup in the same season!

Although its hard to imagine a horse repeating those exploits, in Sanctuaire and Sprinter Sacre we have two that I could conceive scaling similar heights. My heart is with the Aeroplane, the way Sprinter put away Al Ferof and Cue Card who have both thoroughly franked the Arkle form is damn impressive. Sanctuaire is Nicholls highest rated novice chaser and so if ratings lead you then 5/2 is a gift. My story is different though, Sprinter Sacre might be the best chaser we have seen in a generation. Geraghty says he has never ridden anything like it.

I cannot wait for the Tingle Creek.

Navan Tips

Rule the World has a strong form line with Bonisland suggesting he should have his measure and so 11/10 is fine by me in the novice event at 1.20.

I don’t care that I am in danger of stating the obvious but Oscars Well should win the novice chase affair too. This horse was a multiple grade 1 winner over hurdles and loves heavy ground which is a question for many of these. 8/11 is not prohibitive for this.

Aintree Becher Chase Day Tips

The Becher is as wide open as usual. Join Together and Problema Tic are both young talented looking chasers and the former looks a thorough stayer which is crucial over these fences. My problem is the profile of these horses. This race suits an animal who is older and has been around the block a bit more. Proven fence experience is far more important than handicap mark. That makes the selection of last years winner West End Rocker – he slammed the opposition last year, likes conditions, loves the national fences and is only 5lbs higher than last year. 6/1 is a great price.

Cannot see why Quito de la Roque won’t win in the 1.05 at 10/11, the Kauto Stone race was a decent affair and he will be fitter today.

Chepstow Tip

In the 1.30, I am going to give a squeak to Caroles Destiny at 8/1, my tip was a decent hurdler and often shows a likeable attitude.

Such is the form of the Nicholls yard that I am tipping Royal Charm in the 2.05 – the mark is more workable these days and Sona Sasta is likely to set a good clip to aim at.

Chepstow when heavy takes a lot of getting. I would want proven form on the surface and. Get it from the progressive horse Noble Legend at 9/2 in the 3.15.

To the football…

I like going against clubs in trouble and so 5/1 Sunderland and 11/2 West Brom will be backed. More solid claims are Swansea who should be good enough to beat even a rejuvenated Norwich. Southampton have started going and evens is a gift at home to a leaky Reading.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 Mothership is Southampton, Oscars Well, Noble Legend and Golden Hoof.

The each way Trixie is Carole’s Destiny, West End Rocker and Gilbarry.

May your dinner be in good company in a restaurant run by competent sorts.

Courage and roll those dice.

Pandora’s Box is open – Champion Chase Cheltenham Tips

BOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!

The Major is off to a flyer on the opening day. 

That said, understanding followers appreciate that it was wonderful watching my nap get beaten by Hurricane Fly, Peddlers Cross ran a race and in the Majors view if Peddlers had held a greater lead, Hurricane would have reeled him in anyway, breathtaking.

If you fall low, like Lazarus, then awake my child, Lazarus started lowly and yet finished canonised - In the same way let us re-birth

We had winners though.  Reve de Sivola was a decent place, losing to the highlighted Bensalem.  9/1 Divers was the result of the day.

Day one was a firecracker of emotion.  Electricity crackled.  The fly made it good to be a racing man.  Drink was served.  Food delivered.  The Major held his own.

To all those whose day one battle was fruitless.  Well I say to thee that Lazarus started as a beggar and finished a saint.  The Major has not stooped so low, yet we shall raise ourselves higher still.

Get that harness on young man, ensure your preparation is complete.  We are engaged in the melee  The danger is to go to the front too soon.  With too much excitement you might exclude consideration, if in this mood, you find are rash and in over-optimism peak early……… well then draw breath, be still and settle thyself.  The battle dictates that you shall ready your stamina.

The Majors followers know this is right, this is a four day conflict.  There will be some warm work at the gate, a little skirmish perhaps, be prepared.

To Champion Chase day, have courage and shuffle the cards

First of all I offer you no advice for the opener simply because the Major refuses to truck with witchcraft.  If a beady eyed hobgoblin should stop thee and challenge, simply say ‘BESHABAR – Now get behind me SATAN’ – Does that constitute advice, probably, I shall count it as an each way bet.

The Neptune

In the second, Oscars Well needs a bigger trip, leaving Rock on Ruby and So Young for the Major.

So Young has been dismissive of the opposition in Ireland. Very impressive and a price to match.

On a strict line of form with Megastar, Minella Class holds Rock on Ruby – I support that. Both of them are held?

The one that appeals most on faster ground is Tornado Bob.  All of the form is on ‘probable’ unsuitable ground.  12/1 – Stick it in the microwave, let your taste buds explode when it goes ping!

RSA Chase

This is simple.  Time for Rupert is a quality animal that the Major has ignored before at a cost.  That said it is without a run this year.

Mullins knows that Mikael D’Haguenet has always been a champion of something in the making.  The Major thinks it is the RSA chase.  Ruby, on a high, surely he can get Mikael D’Haguenet into the rhythm that his trainer thinks could win a major event. 10/1 KABBBBOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!

Champion Chase

OK Masterminded looks back to form.  However do you think his thin margin defeat of Somersby adds up to more that a Big Zeb defeat to Golden Silver?

The Major reckons that on times Big Zeb was the master.  On strictly the clock, Masterminded has something to find.

A tentative 3/1 is advised in the understanding that the Major would gladly tear up his ticket to see that stag like Masterminded leap at the last as he puts the field to bed.

Head – Big Zeb, heart – Masterminded.  3/1.

Coral Cup

The Coral Cup is always a challenge.  The Major has settled on Call the Police – Mullins and Walsh have an improver on their hands that the Major feels is able to take this, 6/1 WHAAAAMMMMMM!.

Fred Winter

The Major has been puzzling over the Fred Winter for some time.  The bottom line is that Whitby Jack is 12/1 and too damn intriguing!

The Lucky Last – The Bumper

Wow what a bumper – The Major fancied Keys but in the absence of the flat trained specialist, surely Cheltenian stands a better than 12/1 chance on a track going left-handed?  Dickie in the saddle – BOOM.

Good luck warriors, suffer thy losses well at the setting of the sun, tis only a while until daybreak, then we see the enemies eye, deep, dark, unmoving. Have vigour, be relentless.  Then peace, sleep, it is right.  Till dawn awakens the soul once more.

Saturday Service – Horseracing Tips (Newbury, Leopardstown), Football Tips – Welcome to the Majors Saturday

Good morning from Pershore where the inky morning sky parallels the Major’s deep calm calculation of risk and reward as he prepares us for another weekends sporting battle.  I hope you were on the handicap plot horse identified on Fridays Kempton card – Well done Ash, Nikki, Martin, Mark et al. 

At 6am, the bowl of Coffee is a must

Pere Blanc returned 10/3 after being advised at 5/1 with Victor Chandler – Apologies it was a late night post, I had half a dozen email, texts and pigeons and 4/1 seems the best price anyone got for this one. 

Join the Major

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The Saturday Service

Let me set your mind…. allow a moment of calmness and reflection, it is important to allow your sentient conscience to flow like a river, bending and winding around stubborn rock in our splendid onward journey relentlessly rolling on, roll on and on dear friends inexorably without rest, no quarter shall be given and none asked.  Be peaceful now, the Major has posted, your anguish can be settled, bet like men (and women… you know who you are) and be at rest.

The coffee bubbled away from the earliest of ungodly hours and the Major has enjoyed several bowls already as we prepared delectable selections for your own perusal, I trust a couple may make it to your betting slip. 

Drinking coffee from a bowl is a pleasure first introduced to the Major in Hemmingways ‘For Whom the Bell Tolls’.  For those followers who have not read it, I urge you to do so for the haunting manful description of the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of Robert Jordan, the American protagonist and probable self-portrait…… guerrilla warfare, hiding up in the mountains…. Bowls of coffee, cheese, hung meat, skins of wine, strong tobacco, living under canvas, starry nights, snow-covered slopes, warfare, love, death and sacrifice….

Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today. It’s been that way all this year. It’s been that way so many times. All of war is that way.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is almost Hemingways finest book, which in the Majors view is ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ which the Major intends to read on the night before his marathon run. 

The bowl of coffee has merely assisted concentration as the Major prepares us for battle once more.  We are in profit, substantial profit and the enemy wants it back.  He will use his vast resources to come from all fronts.  We shall respond with measured discipline.  To the sports fields and tracks of Britain and Ireland….

What wonderful racing we can enjoy today, nine graded races, Leopardstown (Heavy), Newbury (Good to Soft) and Warwick (Good to Soft).  As you browse the cards, producing horseracing tips is difficult, an embarrassment of riches, a target rich environment that is fraught with trap doors.  Trying too hard, betting too frequently, lack of research, feeling you should….. fast ways to the poorhouse.  We tread carefully in our search for value…

I love the Grade 2 Kingmaker which goes at Warwick – It usually throws up a nice Cheltenham sort.  This year, Finians Rainbow seeks to dominate a small field for the third time in three chase starts this season.  I expect he will and that’s why he is 1/3.  I am happy to let this one go as I plan on getting after him in the Arkle when I think his unchallenging preparation might cost him.  No bet advised but for those who must, Stagecoach Pearl for the wonderful Sue Smith at 8/1.

The Totesport Trophy, 3.35 Newbury is arguably race of the day.  It is a terrific puzzle to solve as a horseracing and gambling fan.  There are quite simply ten left in my calculation after putting lines through many – Even the top jockeys don’t know which of their stable prospects to ride.  It is formidable, unsolvable to most and I probably include myself.  Which evidence to use and which to discard…  21 Grade one potential Champion Hurdle sorts, this race is often used to unleash a stables prospect for the big one at Cheltenham.  How does the Major see it?

I tipped up Walkon at 12s for his Ascot run when headed by Tiger O Toole.  I think this race will be too much too soon and a potential bounce so I shall ignore the tempting 8/1 and look for better value. 

This could be a very sticky good to soft given that we are on new ground (although it will have taken some racing by then) and there has been a downpour in Newbury overnight.  It lends itself to a seasoned horse who arrives in good fettle.  One targeted at the race rather than Cheltenham perhaps.  The seasoned description though contradicts my view that we need a seasoned campaigner, how to resolve that balance?  Upstart heading for the Champion Hurdle or horse with the know how who has 20 races under his belt and won’t get over excited!

If you want experience, it rules out Solix who the Major is very excited about seeing on a UK track.  This french import for Henderson could be anything, the French form is hard to read but this horse is apparently (public knowledge, the Major has no one whispering in his ear, more is the pity) very impressive in his work at home.  I cannot have him out of my thoughts.

Get me out of Here, the McManus and McCoy horse is right in the frame if he repeats last years efforts even though this might be a hotter field – The recovery from injury which has probably been responsible for below par runs is plausible but repeating the dose on a 15lb higher mark is a big ask.  I am sure he will be tuned up but not for the Major. 

Rebel Dancer looks an interesting sort but I think despite being a likely plotter for this race, it will find one or two simply too classy. 

Tell us Willie, how good is Final Approach??? While you are at it, what wins the Champion Bumper??

8/1 the field gives us plenty of each way value.  Make sure you bet well.  SEVEN bookmakers are offering quarter odds terms and five places, make sure you are with Bet365, Skybet, Totesport, Boylesports, Bluesq, Paddypower or 888.

The Major has decided on the following as the main contenders.  Solix, for reasons given, Final Approach – This Mullins sort picked up the MCR at Leopardstown, now raiding this valuable hurdle race, it has to be respected.  I suggest taking both, Solix is best priced 14/1 with Paddy Power who go the 5 places, have a slice.  Final approach can be backed at 10s with Coral and William Hill but is available generally at nines with those paying the 5th place.  Personally I would take the tens.  As you can see the Majors view settled on upcoming superstar rather than experienced old hands.  Pricewise went for Soldatino, cannot argue on its novice form….. 8/1 but not the Majors selection.

The Aon Chase is a less complex affair (2.25 Newbury) and it looks like it boils down to the top two in the market.  Riverside Theatre, a horse the Major has followed and tipped as a successful each way 14/1 prospect in the King George ante post market, now goes off as favourite at a price of evens.  While I like the horse, I think Nicholls has been patient trying to find the key to What a Friend and I would prefer his chances at 2/1 (Victor Chandler and Paddy Power).  Some don’t like the form of his Hennessy and Lexus runs and class them as easier Grade 1 performances, the Major would prefer it at twos than Riversides evens.  I just think What a Friend potentially has more upside.  Small stake advised.

3.00 The Game Spirit throws up a slightly below par field this year.  I am interested in Sports Line who may settle better with Timmy Murphy – His Punchestown third to Captain Cee Bee at the festival is as good as anything on show – If they have found the key to him then he could be a danger to all.  McCain has won a third of his races in the last fortnight which adds to the sense that a decent run is on the cards.  A chance is taken with Paddy Power or Bet365 at 7/1 (win stake).

Persian Snow looks the likeliest to win the bumper at Newbury but no bet advised.

At Leopardstown, there are some hugely interesting contests in this card which was moved from the original Hennessy day.  The Irish Hennessy is simply one of the greatest Irish races of the year and it is a shame that the Nicholls raider, Pride of Dulcote has been rerouted in his preparation.  There are other interesting challenges on the cards though.

The Grade 1 juvenile hurdle opener is a small stakes race as per the Majors betting resolutions.  That said I like Indian Daudaie who has improved with racing and the heavy ground is likely to be a big plus to his chances.  I prefer the experience of the three races under the belt over the impressive maiden winner Unaccompanied who is at the top of the market on potential alone.  10/3 my selection with Victor Chandler, have a slice.

Another Grade 1 is hot on the heels at 1.45 with the Dr P J Moriarty Chase (What a card) Mikael D’haguenet has the form in the book and he has been the apple of Mullins eye.  I do like the chances of Magnanimity at the prices though as the race is likely to be run to suit and I suspect this one is still strongly on the upgrade and a likely Cheltenham sort.  11/2 with Hills and Power, I might be wrong but I suspect he may come in.

The 2.15 looks impossible but I would note Run for Sol who has a touch of the plot horse look about him.

2.45 and back to the Grade 1 action!  The Deloitte Novices is a great guide to the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham and this year it is truly a terrific line up.  Surely Mullins has been treating Zaidpour gently (when beaten by the Major!) and I fancy it has the measure of Hidden Universe in normal conditions but the Heavy I think will suit Hidden Universe more than Zaidpour.  My advice is to take a slice of the 4/1 generally available.  I think if this gets dirty, McNamara might get after the Universe in a way that Townend won’t, they have a longer term goal.  Oscars Well is an interesting runner but breeding suggests better ground to the Major.

The Hennessy 3.15 Leopardstown pits the reliable Irish chasers against each other again.  Sadly the stars are not there and it is a case of picking the best of the ‘Europa League’ players.  Trafford Lad was the Majors advice when well beaten – I should know when I am done but I maintain this horse had decent younger form and could still one day reproduce it – Perhaps today is the day…… Anyone else coming in at 40/1 with Hills?  The waters warm…..

OK – That is all the major races covered as best as the Major can, we have already got through 2,000 words and plenty of advices and research.  What a feast of racing action from todays graded races.  The Major is all about that and also all about the 3.20 at Ayr…. why??  Not many people woke up this morning thinking about Reindeer Dippins chances.  The Major however likes a couple of things about this one.  It will have needed the recent run following a break, McCain is in fine form and it is going its preferred way at Ayr, needing to race left-handed in the Majors view – Have a slice a 7/1 Boylesports, Paddy Power or Skybet.

To the sports fields of Britain….

The Manchester derby on paper is mouth-watering but going on the park the bus attitude applied by Mancini in similar circumstances I suggest both low scoring and no scoring games are in store for us, even if Smalling is a potential chink in the United armour.   For the Major it is nil nil at half time…… A little known outfit called Unibet go 37/19 beaten only by the equally low profile Red32 who go 79/40….. 2/1 in old money, less a pittance!

I like the chances of Sunderland at home to Tottenham – No bet advised at the prices.

West Ham surely have a good chance of taking the bacon home from my beloved Hawthorns.  Dispassionate betting is a must in the pursuit of profit and I cannot have it that West Ham are 3/1 – Di Matteo got fired largely because he could not get us defending well.  Hodgson may be the right or wrong manager but what can have changed in that space of time to tighten us up??  3/1 have a piece, a great bet – Albion have lost all but a couple of their last ten games, West Ham have 4 points from 6 on the road.

Villa are an advised bet to bag the points at free-falling Blackpool.  5/4 is reasonable.

Arsenal have lost some valuable points at the Emirates this season and I suspect Wolves may give them more problems today.  14/1 is not a bad price for a well organised team.  Arsenal will come out firing, I have been impressed with the way the gunners leave the traps but if they don’t score in the first twenty five minutes then they might find it tougher and tougher.  The Emirates crowd can be impatient, they have seen it before, petulance is often visible on the pitch when the gunners don’t get their way – 3/1 half time nil nil is the bet for the Major.

Ladbrokes go -3 Scotland in the handicap at evens which I think is a great price.   Wales look devoid of spirit as they extended their barren spell.  Scotland on the other hand played well against the usual french flair.  This is a great bet, have a piece.

There we are, the advices are in.  I am aware that this is a long list, probably the biggest post in the Majors record.  Thank you for reading it all.  If you cheated and came to the bottom to read my nap, go back to the top young man and do it properly.

The NAP is a West Ham win at 3/1.  I am sorry Mr Hill, it had to be.

My lucky 15 is West Ham, Indian Daudaie, Scotland -3 and Magnaminity. 

Let us accept our enemy from whichever angle he chooses to attack.  The turf accountant is a devious fiend, pricing markets with delicate balance. 

At tonight’s dinner, I imagine you will order the Lamb, gently cooked in a Moroccan style.  A nice gentle red from Begerac will pair well.  Have a Pastis beforehand to clear the palate.  As you await your evening carriage, remember to tip the man well.  The moon may well be shining, you see a man in a cloak in the dark shadows, his look is sinister.  The church bell chimes the midnight hour as he approaches you.  You see he has a satchel, he is the beaten enemy, your turf accountant.  Tell him ‘Oh enemy, do not ask for whom the bell tolls…. It tolls for thee’, then see him home, it is the right thing to do.