Tag Archives: poet

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury Tips, Anger, Weather and some football tips too

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire shielding itself from the blizzard, winter clings doggedly to the year, yielding not to the start of the flat season, impervious to the date.

The coldest March in 50 years.  I could have told you that stood at the one furlong marker on the Cheltenham hill on the opening day of the festival.  Cold did not do it justice.  Freezing would be more honest but then the wind blew and it was as though all layers of protective clothing as well as my skin, muscle and sinew were rendered worthless against the stabbing wind stricking right at the bone.

Saturday racing hangs in the balance.  The Welsh, Scots, Irish and English have all been denied a meeting as Bangor, Kelso, Gowran and Stratford have abandoned.  Southwell should be fine but Doncaster and Newbury have to survive morning inspections.  Newbury looks to have more chance than Donnie as it rests on the ground not being waterlogged as opposed to snow.  The course is optimistic but the Major is not so sure – We might face losing both Newbury and Doncaster.

A young dashing sort called Steve is hopefully off to Newbury in fine fettle and with good company, he asked me to mark the Newbury card and I shall.  Good luck to you and your kith, wear layers concentrating on waterproofing and warmth.  Consider several pairs of socks, gloves, scarves, hats, bright plastic ponchos and any other garment useful for fighting such foul elements.  Comfort beats style eleven times from ten.

I had a three-hour drive in this awful weather earlier.  Through the grim dark grey mess I witnessed some horrific driving and some furious reactions.  Drivers wishing to go faster weaving through lanes aggressively, horns blaring, lights flashing.  The reactions are what interest me.  Some people when cut up on the motorway treat it as though their honour has been crossed.  Such pointless energy expended in futile expression.  People who drive badly are unlikely to change habits from your actions.  Thus you achieve little and a better frame of mind is to let these instances wash over you as water from a ducks back.

Ask what such anger says about you… As Gandhi said The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Newbury Tips

The opener looks an absolute shoe-in for classy flat convert Poet.  Evens is available on Betfair this evening but I suspect 8/11 to be the morning price and I still would not put you off.  There is little else in this field that could compete. Poet was a listed winner on the flat and although not turning to hurdling until late in life, he has put in enough to suggest he is well capable of winning this.  For one, he is the only horse in the field to have won on heavy ground and conditions will be fine.

If there is a danger, it will come from Seventh Sky who put in his best performance last time out at Taunton, winning a handicap.  I do not expect him to throw down too serious a challenge.

2.20 Mares Novice Chase

There is a solid argument that Fentara is lightly treated on her form against Super Duty who in turn was narrowly denied in the Kim Muir at Cheltenham.  Fentara has also won two from four on heavy ground.  Yet this is competitive and this one is prone to big errors which is not ideal when facing the tough Newbury fences.

Marie Des Anges is interesting but I am not sure she is suited to a proper test in the mud over this trip.  She is one of two decent shots that Anthony Honeyball has in the race and I actually prefer her to the other, Jackies Solitaire.

The two I am most interested in are Violin Davis and Tara Rose.  The former had the better of the latter at Bangor earlier in the season when giving 3lbs.  She has to concede a further 10 here but I think she can even in these conditions.

She has the advantage of the excellent Fehily in the saddle and Harry Fry the trainer has sent 5 to Newbury in recent times with 4 winning… Have a considerable slice of the 6/1 with Paddy Power and thank me later.

2.55 Mares Novice Hurdle

Henderson and Sherwood have won five of the last six runnings of this race and their runners have to be afforded respect.  Only Henderson has an entry and Glorious Twelfth, a former Cheltenham bumper winner needs to prove that bottomless conditions are what she needs.

Ballinahow Star is where the money is tonight but I am always wary of backing horses returning from a break in such tough conditions.

I am struggling to split two in the race, Too Generous and Highland Retreat.

Both are proven in the mud and both are making handicap debuts.  There is an argument that both are on workable marks.  Too Generous is certainly on an upwards curve even if she had to work a bit for her last win.  If pushed I would just favour Too Generous despite Highland Retreat being another horse to benefit from the excellent Noel Fehily.

3.30 Newbury Handicap Chase

Handy Andy is a Newbury specialist having won three of four starts at the course.  The yard is in good touch but I wonder if the mark is catching up with him.

Loch Ba could potentially bounce back to glory after never looking at home at the Cheltenham Festival.  Rhum is unlikely to get the soft lead he needs to be competitive.

The one I like the most is Cedre Bleu.  Hailing from the Nicholls camp, he warrants a good look and of all of the runners, I think he rates the likeliest to act in these extreme conditions.  Handy Andy rate the danger.

4.05 Juvenile Hurdle

The two French imports which Tony Carroll has in the race are both potential grenades.  Lac Sacre beat Thinger Licht in a claimer in Enghien but Carroll claimed them both.

While it might not be too obvious that Handazan is well handicapped, at least he is proven in the conditions.  The Major tentatively overlooks Handazan and Lac Sacre in favour of 7/1 In The Crowd who looks like an improver who will be happy to mix it in the mud.

4.40 Bumper

Chase the Wind and Fabrika are the two I am interested in.  The former finished narrowly behind Cheltenham Champion Bumper contender Vieux Lion Rouge on debut.  The latter represents Henderson and Geraghty and will have lots of supporters.

Trainer comments regarding Fabrika, put me in her camp at 3/1.

5.10 Handicap Chase

Sustainability has not had his mark changed for a close up second at Wincanton and to the eye, this horse looks a thorough stayer.  Newbury is likely to be a much more suitable venue and at 11/4, I feel a good bet in order.

Doncaster – The Lincoln

I am not going through the Doncaster card because I do not think it will make it.  Should I be wrong then I will throw one tip out for the Lincoln.

Shamaal Nibras is a Hannon horse with a solid record in soft ground.  I think it could be well treated and the break is of no concern given the hands the animal is in.

I promised you one Donnie tip but cannot help but give you another.  If Bog Warrior captures my heart over obstacles, Jack Dexter is the love of my flat life.  What a heart this horse has, winning back to back competitive handicaps last year.  I do not see any reason not to be lumping on!

To the football…

Portsmouth have been showing some spirit of late but Coventry are overpriced at 5/4 to get a result on the South Coast.  I am on Tranmere at 21/20 to take three points at home too.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Violin Davis, Cedre Bleu, Sustainability and Coventry.

Courage and roll those dice.

The Majors Saturday Service – Tips for the Final Day of Royal Ascot

Good morning good punters of Britain from bright Pershore.  As I gaze from my kitchen and up the hill that sits behind my home, Royal Ascots soft conditions seem imponderable.  The land looks green and lush but dry and with a blazing sun and light breeze, it is perfect racing ground.

You will know what to do

Yet soft conditions is what we have at Ascot and that has to have a huge say in the outcomes.  Today we have the Wokingham, the Hardwicke, the Chesham and the Golden Jubilee but the racing is nowhere near as star-studded as Tuesday.  With Delegators expected withdrawal (he won’t get his conditions) the day looks like it has to make it’s own star.

The Major has had a frustrating gambling week.  Having had three solid losing days at Royal Ascot, I may have been in an OK shape if I had been able to place on Thursdays advices which returned a 22/1 place and a 20/1 winner.  I left staking a wager until the morning and then was travelling to London and eventually in a busy day gave up.  My one winning day was the day I was not on.

Still, perspective is what gambling teaches you.  Frustration is mere water to roll from my back.   Emotion plays a role in selecting horses.  Often, a punter frustrated by poor luck will make selections in haste not properly considering options.  They might find themselves betting in contests they know little about.  They might also start ignoring well priced favourites in order to strike lucky at longer odds where they might reclaim some stake – As ludicrous as it sounds, to a frustrated gambler, sporting events take on a fatalistic edge.  I knew I should have backed that…  Nothing is going right for me today….. That’s the first favourite to go in….. It is as if the world is solely ordered around them.

Followers of the Major I urge you to take defeat like men.  I am delighted I did not back anything on Thursday – It is a good conversation piece and I received half a dozen texts and emails suggesting friends and followers had a slice of my better selections – Good on you.  I am sorry for those that did not but as I have often said to people who criticise when having followed a selection of mine have lost their money… It is not the information I write up which is wrong, just how you choose to use it!  If you do not think I can make a profit in racing (The stats tell a different story, although they are out of date!  35% profit on racing selections) then lay every single selection.  This is the beauty of modern punting, more information is available than ever, selecting the right stuff and using it wisely is the challenge.

Guest blogger the Green Flash (US Open Guest Blogger) contacted me last night.  Seems he has also lost his dough this week, hard luck champ.  He is however adamant that looking to get McIlroy beaten from a seemingly unassailable lead is no forlorn hope (9/4 with Hills that McIlroy fails to win).  Snedeker is his idea of the man to come from the pack and gobble up our baby-faced man from Northern Ireland, that does not sound quite right does it!

I am still looking for my first successful guest tipster, please do not let the record put you off!  There is a man known as the waving hand (or something like it) who has a decent record tipping by text – He has promised me an ‘on the day’ mothership bet for the blog but we have to be patient, his system throws one out every three weeks or so and has been barren for a little bit, he is due one!

Part of taking defeat well, is dusting oneself down, stretching your muscles, putting a sanguine smile on your face and clicking on the deposit button.

I read in the Racing Post today that a man who had a long-term wager on the success of Roger Federer has left the bet to Oxfam in his will, it should pay £100k+ – What a legend.  The Major one day hopes to land a legendary bet and I hope if you are reading this now that you join me there.  Christ alone knows what toil we have suffered, what painful slings and arrows we have sustained, at times stumbling on like a terrible wounded animal with the gnashing jaws of the enemy at our heels, at other times we have soared gracefully above, those of you that stick with me, whether you follow the bets blindly or pick and choose or ignore them, there is a special place in heaven* reserved for you.

* May in fact be hell.

If the good lord has a sense of justice, surely he will indicate to me when my enemies day of reckoning is.  I imagine he will do this through a dream, showing me my enemies face as I land the 1000+/1 lucky 15 that I have often reached for yet have felt distant, bright in splender but out of reach.

The Indian Mutiny of the 19th century started like a disease in a small corner of the British Indian empire.  The Hindu and Muslim sepoys were rising though unhappy with their lot.  Once the fire was lit, the Bengali awakening which was to end in such bloodshed, spread rapidly, frighteningly quickly, like electricity.  A key sign that the game was afoot and that something momentous was occurring was the simple, humble brown chapatis.  They were used as a sign of mutineers, handed to people in office discreetly, British officers cowered at the sight of a plate left discreetly on a table where they should not be.  It was a sign, an act of terrorism against the oppressor, your time cometh.

If one day, someone hands you a plate of bacon butties smeared in brown sauce, whispering, The Major says go….. you had better log on because I will have just awoken from my one to one with the almighty and that day, the enemy will regret for a lifetime.

Enough dreaming, to the sports….

Normally the Saturday service starts with racing and proceeds to other sports.  Today, the one bet outside of racing I am willing to have comes first..

Switzerland look great 4/5 shots to get the job done against Belarus – This is a standout bet – They look a decent side to be and when they meet Spain in the latter stages, they might prove quite a tough nut to crack.

To the racing….

The last day of Royal Ascot.  I am not covering all races as some of them I found no desirable angle on!  I have to say that the ground going soft is a big win for good punters in my view.  It helps rule out many and I do not see it as a randomising effect.

The French Champion Hurdle

Forget Ascot for one moment though as we focus on Auteil.  Four or five bookmakers have priced up the French Champion Hurdle (run over 1f further than our own World Hurdle) and it has an interesting shape to it.  I was quite surprised to see Grand Crus kept on the go and who would have thought a price of 2/1 (Blue Square) would be available here.

The prize of nearly £150k has drawn the Pipe team over and what on earth will stop Grand Crus winning?  Major bet advised.

The Chesham

This is a tough race to solve with not only a lack of experience to judge but also ground conditions throw a big curve ball at the field.

The key O’Brien player is hot in the market, suggesting connections think Maybe will cope fine with the cut.

Falls of Lora though is a serious contender and Street Crys progeny seem to be fine on soft.  There is also hope on the Dams side that conditions will be OK.  5/1 is generous as the Doncaster win looked mighty impressive and the clock suggested so too.  This is the selection and rather than Maybe, I think the main danger might be Telwaar.

3.05 The Hardwicke Stakes

Await the Dawn looks a horse absolutely on the upgrade.  Having already won on soft ground, I am surprised to see that there is not more money for Ryan Moores mount – 4/5 is available with Coral.

One factor in the pricing remaining is that there are other horses racing with confirmed soft ground experience.  Laaheb, Drunken Sailor, Poet and Harris Tweed all do not mind rolling around in the mud.

With just ten runners, I am looking for the each way bet and for me it is Laaheb.  The Ascot win in 2010 was a battling affair and in soft conditions, I would want this gritty sort on my side at 14/1.  Bet with Paddy Power, avoid Hills, the price is the same but Hills have opted for a fifth fraction on the place terms.

The Golden Jubilee Sprint

These top sprint races always seem difficult to predict with uncertainty over where the pace will be, which part of the straight course to race on and speed of the break can make all the difference.

The added complication of soft makes the selection easier for the Major and I am going to give one last chance to 50/1 shot (Stan James) Monsieur Chevalier.  He ran earlier in the week when I tipped him on the opening day.  Fallon was due to ride but injury prevented, Monsieur Chevalier ran poorly overall but at the closing stages was passing some horses and I think the drop to 6f, addition of Fallon, extra fitness and wide open nature of the contest will give more than a fighting chance to the Hannon horse who, let us not forget, like Strong Suit, was once the apple of his trainers eye.

The Wokingham

Find a pin, stick it in good luck to you.

4.05 Ayr Maiden 6f

From the six figure sum races of Royal Ascot to the Scottish £3,885 contest where the Major advises you to get stuck into Holy Roman Warrior.  Out of the first crop of Holy Roman Emporer, the selection was runner-up at Ayr on debut, 4 weeks previously.

That form is not that special, although the winner looked good.  Fahey debutantes like many often need the run and I expect a lot more today.  The stable won this race with a high-class sort a couple of years back, it is clearly a route they use for decent prospects.  More money to tighten up the 3/1 which I thought was mighty generous.

Apostle is the danger, the Sire Dark Angel is one of the revelations of the bloodstock season for the Major.  On this occasion though, I expect the Warrior to prevail.

Todays Lucky 15: Falls of Lora, Switzerland, Holy Roman Warrior and Grand Crus.

Todays Double of Destiny: Grand Crus and Switzerland – £100 with Boyles pays £540 – It is what Jesus wants you to do.

Tonight, enjoy an evening at the theatre with a pretentious sort.  Get a bottle of Chablis in her and they are all the same, poor, rich, titled…..

If someone hands you a bacon sandwich smeared in brown sauce and winks…… you know what to do.