Tag Archives: pepite rose

The Friday Aintree Sermon… plus Grand National tickets charity appeal

Good evening from the Major who writes from the darkest Worcestershire scene where rain drifts, billows and swells, gentle suppression.  I have opened a bottle of fine red wine, comfort from the tempest, in vino veritas.

The Major tipped well enough for Thursday.  Oscar Whisky was second and not disgraced, Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti fought out the finish as the Major intended but I picked the wrong winner, well done Mr Fehily for an excellent ride on the increasingly quirky looking victor, friends know he is my favourite and can judge from afar as to how I felt having backed Dynaste.  The New One was an obvious pick and almost a boil-over but sustained his effort in time for the line to save him and we had to wait until the last for our redemption as Doctor Harper came home at an advised 12/1.  Shabash!

The Major did not sleep again last night, rest coming in gasps, sudden and inconsistent, thoughts and dreams mingling.  Tonight, some good wine, a handful of pills and oblivion.  If anyone expects more from me, well let them wish for it.

Anyway, there is a Friday card at Aintree to review, it is not quite as exciting as the action today but I shall cover each race.  Courage friends and roll those dice.

I have a good acquaintance attending the course tomorrow, she is the sort of good northern stock applying a straight forward forgiving logic to life.  She entertains her mother and I wish them the best, H, enjoy.

The Friday Aintree Card

The last two years have seen Nicky Henderson win the Friday opener with some very good horses, such as the ill fated, once Champion Hurdle ante post favourite, Darlan and the close Champion Hurdle second from the festival this year, My Tent or Yours.  Thus, it would be reasonable based on that evidence to assume that Josses Hill is a novice with a strong future, n’est pas?  Well, fortunately for the Major, I disagree, I like his form behind Vautour, who does not? Yet, I think there are plenty of other potential challenges in this field and he had a tough race that day.  The good aspect of my position is that the expectation is baked into his overnight price of 13/8, giving the rest of the field plenty of value.  As long as we can find a good one.  Simple, oui.

I like Sergeant Reckless but his profile is not quite right for me, No. Instead, I am opting for a horse who has the benefit of being ridden by a high class jockey who is riding at the peak of his ability at the moment.  Carberry gave Guitar Pete an absolute peach of a ride in the opener today and he might give Art of Payroll the same treatment tomorrow.  The horse did not get into the County but has the benefit therefore of not having been raced at Cheltenham.  11/2 in one place (Stan James*)

*For non regulars, please note the Major does not promote, endorse or hold any arrangements with bookmakers – I am at your service as a free tipping service, a word I use very lightly as it is more of an eclectic mix of racing thoughts, Victorian military history, the fragile state of my mind, the Worcestershire weather and who you should be taking to dinner.  I accept neither blame nor praise for the accuracy of my selections, I merely share them for your delectation.

The Novice Chase requires some of the best jumping skills and I think O’Faolains Boy might be the one to be on here.  There is some 11/4 with Paddy Power but 5/2 generally.  The RSA has a bad reputation for bottoming out horses but this Curtis inmate (surely the hottest trainer around!) is very lightly raced and has won his sole start on good ground.

Then the Melling Chase, Pepite Rose was a winner for the Major at Newbury but this looks a lot tougher for the girl.  Module looked impressive providing Tom George with a new stable star.  Thing is, the Melling Chase has been a race for absolute stars, Sprinter Sacre, Masterminded, Voy Por Ustedes, Moscows Flyer, Monets Garden – Do we have such a horse in this line up?  It is not likely, it looks a fairly poor renewal to me, yet I have looked and found a horse that might yet be a star.

You see, if I close my eyes, I can take you back to the start of 2013, I still recall Ballynagour winning like a future superstar heavily eased but coming twenty lengths to the good over a Warwick field with good yardsticks like Golden Chieftan and Chance du Roy.  He has now bounced back after a spell in the doldrums and if they have found the keys to him, this could be a top class sort for Pipe.  7s in a place with William Hill, 6s generally.

Thirty go over the National fences for the Topham.  Last year, Triolo Dalene signalled his Hennessy credentials with a win and with the benefit of hindsight I should have credited that effort more highly.  Why? Well he has the wrong profile, this is normally won by a nine or ten year old and one that shoulders less than eleven stone.  This makes sense, it is a tough course, so experience and a light weight help.  Plus, do not be put off by a price.

So, with that in mind, I state the case for Poole Master at 40/1 with Bet Bright, although that might be an oddschecker error as he is 33/1 with Stan James but most firms are 20 or 25.  Now this horse is fine on the ground and many might be concerned with him trying to win on a peak mark but I think he has always had improvement in him and has needed the right headgear.  He has the experience and has completed on the course before so that bodes well.

The Sefton is an absolute cracker.  I love Seeyouatmidnight but at 5/2 I cannot buy, not against a field of classy improving novices.  I was disappointed to see Geraghty not choose Tistory, I thought that one might be better yet and revels on good ground.  I also like Giantofaman who could give Carberry another cracking chance.  On balance, I am sticking with Tistory, 20/1 with Hills and B365. Second string, I could not care less.

In the Grade 3 handicap, I am backing Cheltenian to finally start coming good on his early promise, lest we forget, he was a Champion Bumper.  I hope he settles, if he does, he is a danger to all.

The last requires some luck.  I am going with my favourite jockey, Mr Noel Fehily who takes Hannahs Princess for a spin, he is the finest, of her, I do not know, two simple bloodless victories against poor opposition tell us little.  Dangers aplenty, tread warily.

I wish you luck.  Do you fancy going on Saturday?  Well @eeyore94 is auctioning some tickets for his local childrens hospice, Zoes Place.  What a gent.  Have a look at his twitter timeline, DM him an offer by 3.30pm on Friday and he will express the tickets to you by 9am Saturday.  Imagine, you are in the throng at Aintree, you have a cold beer to hand and you know that you paid good money for the pleasure, not to some faceless tout but to help children whose lives are more limited than ours my good friend.  That beer will slip down well, because the destination of the money you spent was good and right. You know then, in that moment, it is good to be alive.  Be generous.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury and some other bits!

Good evening from the Major writing enveloped in the cool evening air of Worcestershire where high clouds pass over at speed and closer to the earth, the air scurries around, droplets of dirty water thrown in the gusts.

The Major writes from a peaceful home, the endeavours of Dundalk and Wolverhampton playing out jovially in the background, a cool beer is at my side, it is good to be alive.

The week was another in which the Major slept in snatches, stop-start nights, with consciousness existing in short fraudulent periods.  When drifting from the real, into the darkness, there comes sharply focussed dreams, involving vast cavernous places, dimly lit and full of danger.  I have no idea what these portend, in many of them I am climbing, sometimes with other people, often in silence.  The vividness fools me into thinking it is authentic life, as Zhuangzi, I dreamed I was a butterfly and now I am uncertain whether I have awoken or am a butterfly dreaming I am a man.

I know of folk who seem entirely normal, thoroughly so, every move precise, each action measured.  You know the sort, living lives that exist in childs books, Ikea or Channel 4 property documentaries.  I am never sure whether it is a veneer covering a seething ocean underneath, or indeed whether such a state of utter normality is abnormal in itself, it is hard to tell.

I prefer the former thought, I think such folk are terrified of letting it slip and slide, lest the mask fall further.  Yet I would say this, as Freud pointed out, the ego, our survival tool fashions what we see, it fashions it in our own image – We perceive everything as we wish and what terrifies me is that an uneven keel might be so unusual.  We are not masters in our own house, please let it be so.

Oscar Wilde described the condition well during his time spent in Reading Jail.  He was serving time for indecency, unkind and unfair times you would agree.  While a resident, Wilde penned some of his darkest works and they are well worth your time.  In describing the abuses he caused to himself which ended with his spell incarcerated, he used the line, I ceased to be lord over myself,  I was no longer the captain of my soul.

This was a line he borrowed and inverted from the oft quoted poem Invictus by Henley, of which the final stanza…

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

To be in charge of our future or to be washed about on the tide.  I might want us all to be touched by madness but in the case of ascertaining destiny?  Well, I am for the former, read Frankl Mans Search for Meaning – He more than most men knows how to find purpose in the deepest recesses of existence.

I embrace my beating heart when I awake from my active sleep, I can’t describe the dreams themselves as pleasurable, they do serve to remind me though that I am alive.  In the night, I may not be master of the house, come the day, I retain captaincy of my soul, for now.  The night world and the day world remain separate.

To the sports.

Newbury

It is not the best day of racing we are going to witness.  While I might throw a few thoughts in regarding the Lingfield listed races, I am going to have a closer examination of affairs at Newbury.

The card is to be run on good ground and we must seek out the fair spring horses that prance across the surface!

In the opener, it looks a penalty kick for Signs of a Victory who think will go off at 8/13.  I quite liked the chance of Shes Late who will go well on the ground but oddly, jockey booking (McCoy on Matripajo) suggests the other Jonjo horse .  All this is irrelevant – Henderson had three bullets at Newbury on Friday and hit the bullseye each time.

I like two at bigger prices in the 2.20.  Grandads Horse ran respectably at Cheltenham until belting a fence and letting his chances slip.  He has a good strike rate on the ground and in general – 11/1 is OK.  The other I like is Pepite Rose – She is unusual in the Venetia yard, being a horse that favours decent surfaces.  Her last two runs may not be sparkling but she gets her surface here and with plenty of others not guaranteed to act, she is worth a squeak at 12s.

The third race is a wide open listed mares limited hurdle.  As such, we have some decent sorts turning up.  There are a lot of progressive sorts in the field – Fairytale Theatre looks one that will come in for support, being a Nicholls horse and showing great improvement – Her last two wins coming on heavy temper my enthusiasm.  Down Ace will like the ground and a line through her effort in the Mares hurdle at Cheltenham which was a huge step up in class and you can see her chances.

Free Thinking goes in the Long Run colours and given my advertisement for Hendersons form, she has to be considered.  To amplify that, his record in this specific race is impressive too having won it with Polly Peachum, Line Freedom, Ryde Back and Karello Bay in the last ten years.  Considered.

Yet the Major settles on an unfashionable runner up in Joanne One who is going to love the ground and since I don’t trust the form of jumpers bumpers in relation to proper hurdling, I see her as a danger.  Yet, I cannot help but be taken by Massannie at 16/1 (14s generally) for the Pipe team.  She has not been the same since a heavy fall but Pipe persists and a return to form puts her right back in this.  She won thrice from three on good to firm, so let the sun shine.

Having had entries for the race in the name of his stable, Alan King has withdrawn them all… odd.  It is darn hard to find a winner in this, Bucks Bond makes up his own mind but is a threat if going for it.  It is dangerous opting for a front runner in such a big field but despite having an instinct that he might set the race up, I am going to back Highland Retreat with a small fun stake as I have always admired him and on a going galloping day, he is good.  Newbury from the front just might suit him and he may have a number of these at it turning to home.

I love Newbury.. Its straight is as fair as they come, long, flat, tough jumps – The best horse wins.

Aldopicgros looks the best choice in the 4.05 – He won’t mind the ground and up half a stone for the defeat of a very progressive rival should be fine.

That is it for Newbury.

The Lingfield races are not my area of specialism – In the big one, the Winter Derby, Vodkata looks interesting making the trip from France.  Rebellious Guest loves the all weather, Grandeur boasts solid claims but has a hell of a draw – I am going to throw a dart at the popular former Johnstone horse Windhoek (13/2) – He has some tapeta form and there is no reason to think the surface will be an inconvenience.  De Sousa is a jockey I like and 13/2 is available with Hills – Have a slice.

Vicky De L’Oasis is a penalty kick 4/5 shot at Gowran.  Her form is easily the best and I see no obvious reason to oppose.

In the football Newcastle are 17/20 to beat Crystal Palace and that should go in.  Man City -2 at evens is in too – I think they are coming back to the boil.  I’d have Derby to beat Forest at 23/20.  The add a dash of Wigan at just the right side of evens…

The Martin Hill bet is Windhoek, Aldopicgros, Vicky De L’Oasis and Wigan in a Yankee, straight.

May your dinner be excellent, with a fine accomplice, her raven hair flowing down onto bare shoulder – Tip well, it is good to be alive.

Courage, roll the dice.