Good evening from the Major. Wine flowing, mind calculating; preparing for battle at Prestbury Parks temple of National Hunt racing.
Tomorrow is business and pleasure as the Major hosts high performing colleagues. Much fun will be had in glorious company and the Major relishes the opportunity to enhance his reputation as a barely profitable lunatic.
Cheltenhams Thursday Card…..
2pm Novice Hurdle (Listed)
£5 each way is not a huge stake but applied to a huge 54 tote returned festival winner and many hundreds of pounds flow your way! Une Artiste was tipped by the Major for a Sandown race (which she failed in) and then backed on the day during the festival… glorious. I do not feel the need to apologise for this gloating. Those who know my gambling realise I have earned the moments in the sun whether fortuitous or engineered through deep analysis.
Will the girl go in again? Well she carries a Grade 3 winning penalty after her Fred Winter win but as a four year old boasts a weight allowance and a progressive profile.
In all honesty, the way she finished up the hill, I think odds-against is a terrific bet and I suggest a hefty slice. Swincombe Flame is an obvious danger but the 5/4 about the tip, Une Artiste is way too tempting.
2.35 Cheltenham Tips – Novice Chase
The Major has also seen the favourite of the second race win when Take of Shoc’s went in at Stratford. Having fallen in love with Rebecca Curtis I am tempted to back it blind but for you, my faithful followers, I shall put my personal feelings to one side.
Indeed, I avoid Take of Shoc’s who steps up in grade on a hat trick bid and that might find the animal out. Instead I tip, Back Bob Back. Last time out, the horse won well at Chepstow and looked entitled to a hefty rise in the weights. 7lbs was more than reasonable. There were some previous runs that were of dubious quality, one of which a valid heavy ground excuse can be made. On balance, 5/1 is a fair price.
3.10 Listed Mares Handicap Hurdle
Both Kells Belle and Ixora are respected after running reasonable races in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham. However, they meet a horse in Tante Sissi who is on the rampant upgrade and is sure to improve further for distance. 4/1 may be generous.
Silver Gypsy showed a bit of promise on her Bangor run last time out.
3,45 Cheltenham Handicap Chase Tips
A very trappy affair. Exmoor Ranger throws himself at fences at times and is far from foot perfect. He has returned to some sort of form in the Kim Muir, notably that run was in behind Sunnyhillboy who was desperately unlucky not to pick up a Grand National.
Also interesting is Bradley who went in at Haydock recently by half a dozen lengths and looks very interesting having been a former winner at Cheltenham in 2010 on hunter chase evening.
A good round of jumping from Ashkazar would be lethal to all concerned as his chase mark is 20lbs+ below his hurdle mark. 2 runs over the bigger obstacles have wielded one win and the yard are in good touch. 6/1 seems big and so the tip is Ashkazar…. load the cannon.
4.20 Cheltenham Handicap Hurdle
Seventeen runners in a difficult to solve handicap. There is an obvious standout candidate in 6/1 shot Allthekingshorses who was only raised 4lbs for his last win in a race in which he really showed some inexperience. If he has learned from that, then he would be entitled to go close but the Major looks elsewhere.
WARNING: THE NEXT PIECE OF ADVICE CONTAINS 2% HEAD AND 98% HEART.
I have long been a fan of Pause and Clause who I simply have to stick with through thick and thicker. 16/1 is a damn fine price if a good run could be guaranteed, which is far from likely. Join me in the insanity realm if you like…. 16/1 tip, Pause and Clause.
Wester Ross is the 11/4 (Bet365) selection because although a visor is fitted, Cheltenham will definitely suit the hold up style. Simple, never complicate the beautiful, allow it to breathe.
5.30 Tips for the Bumper! Endsleigh Insurance Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race
A mares bumper sponsored by the Majors employer.
I work for Endsleigh running the Broker side of the business which specialises in commercial insurance, unoccupied home insurance and financial advice. With many colleagues there who know my passion for the sport, this race more than any will be an intense fire of pressure to find a winner.
Only Betfair pricing available this evening but Glorious Twelfth and Tickety Bleue look the two to be on after their Newbury battle. The likely favourite is the latter who is entitled to improve and overcome a 1olb turnaround in the weights.
However, the Major wants to highlight three that could outrun likely massive odds.
Firstly, Susan Nocks runner, forecast 33/1, is a rare runner for the yard in a bumper but is out of Kayf Tara and that is an advert in itself.
Two other newcomers catch the eye in Maid of Oaksey and Old Dreams. The latter earns the vote at a likely 14/1 as an Old Vic offspring for a trainer that knows how to ready a bumper sort.
Finally Newmarket Tips – The Craven
Hannon often is unsure of his best runner and the Major opts that Crius is the best of his three in a tight call.
Most Improved is second in the Guineas market as I write but that is based on placed form in a Dewhurst which although clearly classy…. is placed form.
On balance 9/1 Crius for a win bet.