The Saturday Service delivered yesterday morning was quite simply the most disastrous the Major has ever posted. Oddly I felt quite confident that a few winners would be in there. Fistral Beach was disappointing, I should have steered clear of the all-weather or at least backed class over draw in the case of Anne of Kiev. Molotof was beaten by a good-looking one, else that would have paid. Italy hung on to lose by 8 making the handicap bet on Italy the only paying result of the weekend. Overall ten pieces of advice, £2 returned to level £1 stakes… shocking.
This has left February as a loss making month, unless the tips below come home. We are currently 7% down on the month, after a tremendous January where we finished 32% up, we are left a respectable 15% up on the year but have given away much of our earlier winnings. Plus we have counted the stake for Stoke beating West Brom but the result will not be known until tomorrow night.
Time to move on. The Major is relentlessly positive, yesterdays failures are soon forgotten because we have to approach tomorrows opportunities with the same vigour, detailed approach and optimism as we would have done if we had enjoyed a blinding weekend of winners.
2.40 Monday Catterick Xtremeadventuresuk.com Handicap Hurdle
Of the various handicaps and novice races available tomorrow at Catterick and Plumpton, this is the race that the Major feels we have a chance in.
The standard is typical class 4, a mixed bag of plot type horses that could be improvers and some real monkeys who may be hard to win with but have some base ability if they choose to go for it. There are plenty of last time out winners in this one, let’s see who has the real improvement.
Sam Deng is 7/1 but I am totally unconvinced that a step up in trip is what this horse needs – While it won a maiden over 2m 6f, since then it has blown up every time they step it up, interesting that connections persist but not one for the Major.
Wor Rom is joint 5/1 favourite this evening and this is a horse that won nicely last time out. That said it now has to defy a 14lb hike in the weights. All four wins have come with the help of cheekpieces which again aid tomorrow. The jockey change is probably in recognition of the weight increase. Two of the horses three hurdle wins came in quick succession when dodging the handicapper off a mark of 80, now running off 104, I am unsure we are seeing a huge improvement in form to compensate, overlooked.
The Red Laird at 8/1 would be a nice bet if we were assured a good round of jumping but this one is hardly a reliable sort! That said, Giles Hawkins seemed to chime really well with the horse winning his sole ride as pilot. Not the strongest win claim but not a total shock to him in the frame.
Veronicas Boy would be a shock winner as the jumping needs work and the distance surely does not suit.
San Deng catches the eye for a couple of reasons. The 10lb claimer onboard a Mr Joe Colliver won on board in January at this track. It might have caught connections out as the horse was allowed to go off at 28/1 . 15/2 is the price tomorrow but I am unsure this step up in trip is a good thing for the horses chances off a 9lb higher mark.
Whatdoidowiththat is a very interesting runner already priced as joint 5/1 favourite having been off track for 4 months. Last time this horse was seen it was winning a handicap hurdle at Hexham over half a mile shorter. The placed horses that day have done nothing to further the form. Although the horse was previously rated higher, being raised to 98 and off a break it might be tough. Sue Smith has a 9% strike rate with horses returning from a 90 day or more break (now that’s the sort of detail you want from the Major), could be a contender but too much against in the Majors view.
Not Talking is also 5/1 and a pound or two out of the handicap. The chase mark has subsided to something closet to the hurdle mark but unless the market spoke volumes, I cannot see enough to endear this one to earn your money or mine on it’s back.
This leaves two of the non outsiders to consider. Fentara and Comeththehour.
Comeththehour is one to watch like a hawk in the market nothing in a series of novice runs suggests it will win and at 11/1 you think the price on form is skinny. Given Moffatt does not have a huge habit of having handicap good things first time out and that the horses novice runs were over similar distances , the Major chooses to take the form as read and rule out Comeththehour.
This leaves me Fentara. Father son team Robert and Tim Walford seem to have this gorse in pretty good nick. A recent winner, the second went on to advertise the form well.
It is interesting that after two good runs and two and a half miles they have chosen to step the horse up. Being a Kayf Tara progeny, it is likely to be OK with the step up in trip, the ground is fine too. 5/1 with Victor Chandler.
I wouldn’t put anyone off each way bets on the fair prices for The Red Laird and San Deng but the advice is to support Fentara at 5/1. The one that bothers me the most is Not Talking. In a handicap like this, if you cannot figure out why something is not fancied, you could be in trouble.
It reminds me of my favourite poker saying. If after 20 minutes you cannot fiure out who at the table is the worst player, it’s probably you.
Good night good warriors, rest and let us fight out our differences with the enemy under a new sun.