Tag Archives: sir des champs

Welsh National Day Tips – Chepstow, Leopardstown and Newbury

Good evening from the Major whose tour of Ireland has moved to a biting Dublin where the wind cuts to your bones.  Tired from travelling, I am in the bed early and weary.

Today was poor.  I thought my twitter contact @limerickjfk was off to Limerick Races – An understandable mistake given the name.  Re-reading his text later, it turned out he was off to Leopardstown.  When you cannot select the right card to read, it bodes badly for the subsequent tips.  So it transpired.

Still, there is tomorrow.  New day, new hope.

The Welsh National

Of all tracks, when Chepstow rides heavy, it is like treacle.  It takes the most outrageously deep ground horse but that gives us an edge.

Tidal Bay likes soft ground but I don’t think heavy and top weight will be a good combination.  Pricewise might fancy it but not for the Major.  Synchronised won carrying 11st 6lbs in 2011 but no horse has carried this weight to victory in the last 25 years and Tidal Bay would also be 3 years older than any previous winner.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a top class handicap chaser as much as the next man but I am after one that has snuck in at the bottom.

Goonyella is interesting and I am convinced has a big race or two in him.  He looks to have been laid out for one of these, having been campaigned over shorter but at just 6, misses some valuable experience.

Well Refreshed seems to tick a lot of boxes and will be going when plenty have cried enough.  The two the Major settles on though are Merry King and Highland Lodge.  I like the latter and think he is capable of running his best races yet.  However, he can be a bit keen and I just think Merry King will want every yard of the distance and every drop of moisture.  His Hennessy race demonstrated that, he was doing his best work at the finish.  Just think of that long long long Chepstow straight, it goes on forever…. My boy can be doing his stuff at the important moment, the final moment.  Get stuck in.

The Future Champions Grade 1 juvenile hurdle is a difficult race to call as unlike many of these events,  am not convinced that there is a star in this field.  even though the top stables are represented, I am not sure that Kentucky Hyden or Solar Impulse are all that.  As such, in spite of being unproven in conditions I am chancing Violet Dancer who can be backed at 4/1 with Ladbrokes.  Arty Campbell is also not the worst 100/1 shot I have ever seen.

Leopardstown Festival – Lexus Chase Day

I think we have a chance of solving the Lexus.  For a start, I am convinced that Unioniste is not good enough.  Then we have a series of disappointments to examine.  First Lieutenant has thrown more than one poor race at us this season and so is harder to forgive, he is discarded.

Sir Des Champs was unlucky not to win this last year but his fall in the John Durkan at Punchestown, gifting the race to Avrika Liggeoniere, was heavy and given I am not sure he would beat Bobs Worth anyway, I can overlook him.

So Bobs Worth is the selection at 5/2.  He will love conditions and I can overlook him a poor reappearance.  Lord Windermere is the one I am most concerned with.  The RSA is still a race I am reserving judgement on and so I think the favourite is the right call.

Solwhit, 4/7,  is good enough to beat his opponents even given the time he has been off.

Newbury – Challow Hurdle Day

I have a strong fancy in the Challow and it is an odd one because it is the outsider of 6 in Captain Cutter at 6/1.  Why the solid bet?  Well I actually quite like the form and despite the jumping being a bit squiffy last time, he, like others, is entitled to that sloppiness at this stage of his career and I do not hold it against him.  He has the ground form too – Have a lumpy one.  I rate Creepy as the main danger (also the longer of the prices) so clearly think this market is wrong.

I think Vukovar can keep Noel Fehily’s strong Christmas going with a win in the following race at odds on.  It is a fair weight difference he gets from Open Hearted.

I trust that you dine well and in the best of company and spirits.

Courage and roll those dice.

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Wednesday Punchestown Festival Tips

Good evening from the Major who writes from his bed again after a weary day of battle.  Forgive me for a more concise post but sleep is calling me with her sweet siren song, irresistible urging me downwards… one limb becoming heavy and almost impossible to lift, a drifting sensation and peaceful slumber.

I value the commodity of sleep far more than when a young man.  In life most of the fun things happen in the small hours, where normality slithers between the cracks.  Now, as a father, the noise of two children and constant demand of your attention, well it drains you.  I still gather sleep in small harvests, a useful habit but now the motivation is not preparation for more moonlit mischief, rather the sagging necessities of everyday existence.

In the dark hours, I lie awake thinking.  Not fervently you understand, more aimlessly, my mind wandering through memories and daydreams that I have collected and deposited in a vast library with no Dewey codes.  A great palace of thoughts in small rooms with unlabeled doors, unsure of where the next one takes you, closing your eyes and seeing shapes move, colours morphing and light blurring at the edges.  Cogito ergo sum.

To Punchestown.  I hope we fare better than day one.  Tasiocht and Western Boy both returned one place out of the money, Moyle Park and Sprinter Sacre did their jobs, the former scraping in, the latter doing enough.  The champagne went flat.  Tuesday I score as a moderate defeat, wounded but merely superficially, we return.

Wednesday Punchestown Tips

The opener is as open a race as you will find.  8/1 the field and no amount of research is really going to make me feel better about it, this is wrestling an octopus.  Instead of pretending, I shall inform you that my eye was drawn to Chavoy who is priced up at 14/1 with Boylesports – He is a Ferdy Murphy runner and that has not happened at Punchestown for years.  He has won a couple of races already, thought nothing anywhere near this testing and he looks as likely as the next.

The 4.20 is an intriguing race as the market is dominated by two Mullins horses. Call Me Bubbles seemed to step up at Navan and has a race fitness advantage over the exciting French import Viconte Du Noyer.  The race won at Auteuil looks decent with Blood Cotil, a decent yardstick back in 4th and two other french horses holding up the form.  It is a bit of a concern that the horse has been missing for a year and this is a hot introduction back to the track.

I am going to take a risk on Gassin Golf at 6/1.  He is out of Montjeu and made a mark of 99 on the flat.  It is early days on his hurdling career and he pulled ridiculously hard before being pulled up in the Triumph – Throw in that he is another clearly targeted at the Punchestown festival and we have a decent bet prospect.

Ballycasey is a hot favourite for the novice hurdle at 4.55pm, I am a little concerned that this is a big step up in class but the talk has been hot about him and evens quotes might be hard to come by at the off.  He missed the Albert Bartlett in which Inish Island chased At Fishers Cross up the hill finishing five lengths down at the line, that is solid form and this is a classic balance of proven ability versus potential.

Instead of the pair of them I am going to chance Road to Riches at 10/1.  Soft ground is preferred and so drying conditions are a concern but I am willing to give him a chance.  His Aintree run was too bad to be true and earlier form reads well.

5.30pm and the race we will be waiting for – The Punchestown Gold Cup.  I have a real issue in this race because I am torn between a desire to see Long Run prove me right and the fact that my logic is appealing to me to abandon him.  Say what you will, he keeps getting placed at the top level.  I do think though that three miles and a furlong around Punchestown is not far enough these days and given his penchant for throwing himself into the odd fence, the extra pace around here may not help either.

The quality of this years renewal is stunning.  Last year, China Rock managed a win at 20/1 after running just a few days before! That horse won and was rated 162 at the time, five of the eight runners in this years contest are rated above that mark, make no mistake, this is a superb race.  Be warned though, prior to the China Rock 20/1 turn up, winners have come in at 20/1 and 14/1 so the principals are no shoe in.

In short, First Lieutenant is very interesting, especially if the ground dries more. He looked like he needed further in the Ryanair and being second to Cue Card is no disgrace anyway.  Sir Des Champs surprised me, I was the first to think his form was not as strong as popular opinion.

What the hell – I am sticking with old faithful Long Run – Mainly because I could not bare him to win and me not to be on… do with that as you may.

The Cheltenham bumper winner Briar Hill is attempting the double taking on this Grade 1 Punchestown event.  There has not been a major turn up in the bumper for some time but one I like at a humongous price is Noel Meades Apache Stronghold at 28/1.  The yard have a terrific record in the bumper.  All said and done though, Briar Hill has an excellent chance here and 6/4 is a fair price.

The 6.40pm is the handicap chase.  Nadiya de la Vega is not my sort – The mare is likeable but might just be found out.  Instead I am opting for 10/1 shot Mr Cracker who I suspect has had this as the target for some time and whose second in a grade 2 last time looks OK.

In the lucky last, I am dodging the two at the head of the market and opting for Fairy Island who might be much better than we have yet seen.

Fridays Racing Tips – Leopardstown Lexus Chase, Christmas Hurdle and Novice Chase – Load the cannons again my friends

Good evening from Worcestershire where the Major writes from the lounge. The good lady has joined me and while that scuppers the darts action, she compromised to ‘Escape to Victory’ so karmic forces remain balanced.

What a glorious day of betting for the Major. Winners were plastered all over yesterday’s blog. A double in Ireland and three from five at Kempton was a resounding success. Excellent but just shy of the mothership, it was close, as close as Bourne getting up on Dildar….. Aaahhhh the sweet sanguine feeling of loss.

Bad losers are awful gamblers, they get confused. Nothing is personal, if you need a refresher in how to lose, watch my favourite film , The Sting…. A sharp intake of breath, a tilt of the hat and as Kipling said, never breath a word about your loss.

Leopardstown on Friday completes a fantastic schedule of Christmas racing. Let us do battle once again, join me, I feel a final 2012 push, we shall take the ridge and repel the counter, we shall meet them man for man, with bayonets fixed. To Leopardstown.

Leopardstown Tips

I am going to start with tips for the Lexus. It is being run on heavy ground, which will be cut up but most in the field will enjoy it. What a race we have, we have all been waiting for it. Surely the Lexus Chase only concerns the first two in the market.

The highest profile horse I am ignoring is Tidal Bay. He was conceding 6lbs to Bobs Worth when providing a worthy challenge in the Hennessy but I think that was the extent of his abilities. He has been quirky in time and I am not convinced travel will be for him. That said, Ruby is in the seat and might choose to make the running as Tidal Bay will be best suited by a searching stitching stamina test. Turning twelve though and after a hard race last time, he is first of the main protagonists with a line through.

Midnight chase did once beat Tidal Bay but on this ground, I can’t see him landing a blow here.

So the front two…. Flemenstar leapt to the head of the Gold Cup market when serving up a beating to Sir Des Champs last time out. Peter Casey is a colourful owner and it will be good for the sport to see Flemenstar remain a top class horse winning good races.

This is over a further half mile which possibly plays for Sir Des Champs’s chances. When he lost to Flemenstar it was over arguably too short a trip and his seasonal debut and so it is fair to expect better from him.

Sir Des Champs is a two time festival winner and his RSA quarterbacked a decent betting Cheltenham for the Major. My heart is with him. He has an extra year on Flemenstar and I think he is an excellent prospect for the Gold Cup.

I am pretty convinced by the argument that Sir des Champs can reverse placings. Davy Russell was quite kind to him in the John Durkan, these conditions will play into his hands. This sthe start and the finish of the Majors search for a Lexus tip.

11/4 is available on Sir Des Champs and at that price, the Major is a big buyer.

Tips for the Christmas Hurdle

The 1.35 Christmas hurdle has a air of utter quality about it.

Zaidpour is installed as favourite after taking the Hattons Grace last time up but I am not sure of that race. It was a steadily run affair and not form I trust entirely. Monksland was pretty close to Zaidpour that day with Voler la Vedette back in third.

That mare is a wonderful horse and a bloody good yardstick so if I am wrong about the race then Zaidpour is damn good. He is a horse that was kept busy in the summer but not to much effect, his French raid was poor and I just find him hard to trust.

I like So Young, but if they insist on cutting out the pace with him then he won’t be winning this.

Weapons Amnesty was a mighty impressive winner of the RSA who has been plagued with injury. I had him earmarked as a Gold Cup sort prior to his extended spell on the mend list. Given he is returning to hurdles first, I expect this is an exploratory mission and we can expect more next time up. That said, he is receiving some handy weight off some of these due to the construct of the penalties.

When it comes down to it, probably the winner is one of the Hattons Grace finishers. Of them, Monksland appeals the most at 4/1. Zaidpour makes me nervous and I think my tip is more progressive and in receipt of an extra 2lbs and stepping up in distance, I am taking a slice.

2.25 Topaz Novice Chase

Goodness me there are some puzzles in here. Some excellent horses and this will be very informative.

Aupcharlie looks second of the Mullins string but could be anything after an impressive chase win with impeccable jumping.

Avrika Ligeonniere gave a good beating to Dedigout last time out and the former looks a top class novice, it is fair to say Mullins will know where he stands with Dedigout. Avrika went on to beat Benefficient in the Drinmore.

The main Mullins horse heads the market. Back In Focus looked a top class horse and another natural at the obstacles, clearly a that to all. 5/4 just seems a bit short, although he looks the likely winner.

Instead the Major is going to tip Tofino Bay at 10/1. The Troytown win was brave, particularly so as a novice. He is a less fashionable sort having taken the handicap route but I think the form is good. He is fine on soft and has a likeable attitude – have a slice.

Good luck tomorrow troops, courage… Roll those dice.

Sunday Racing Tips at Cork and Punchestown for the awesome John Durkan

Good morning from the Major who writes from the warm bed. Sausages are being prepared downstairs, all is well in the world.

Could we have had a better weekend of racing?

Firstly the class act. Sprinter Sacre did exactly what your spirit wants. Winning on the bridle and hammering Sanctuaire. The Nicholls horse may have over-stretched as Kumbeshwar stole second from him, murdering a few forecasts no doubt in the process. In a bout of spectacular aftertiming I was going to suggest that forecast to younyesterday morning as I thought it might pan out that way.

Still, enough of my own brilliance, you know enough of that, after all you are here and that can only be tacit acknowledgement of my minds power.

Sprinter was in a different league to the best we have, the form lines are insane. I put Sprinter Sacre 10lbs ahead of Jesus.

If that was not enough for you, you gluttonous fool, then the wins of Captain Conan and Golden Hoof were good watches too but merely accoutrements to a piece of racing history.

The biggest cheer on a racecourse was at Aintree not Sandown. 14 years young Hello Bud winning the Becher was eye wateringly good. As stories go this is unbeatable. You don’t get much better symbiosis of horse and rider than this. How the old boy held grimly on to win by a head was inspiring and the crowd duly lapped it up.. Bravo. Little Josh a hard working sort was a popular winner too in the last.

Is that enough? No! Red Cadeaux, globe trotting servant of the Ed Dunlop yard wins his first group 1 at Sha Tin in the early hours….

The stage is set for a magnificent Sunday but surely we have been given too many treats already. How do we beat the gourmet of delights already served up… We’re we deserving of them, have we been over-fed? No.

If you are near Punchestown you have to go. It is my birthday and I would love nothing more than to attend the John Durkan today. Plus, entry is €10 – for that you get one of the best races of the season….

Punchestown Tips

The John Durkan is a fabulous renewal. There are only four going to post but each is a worthy sort and put together it is an intriguing field.

Flemenstar has gone from strength to strength and is favourite today. You can understand why but this is the toughest task to date and I don’t want to be short changed. Sir Des Champs is the current head of the Gold Cup market after travelling and jumping like a dream in the Jewson. Great engine, great jumper, probably the best of these in my view but I am concerned that he might strip fitter for this.

The third of the second season chasers gets my vote. Regular readers know that Bog Warrior is my favourite horse in training. I love him. I also think he has a chance and 11/1 is dismissive. Firstly I think this is his best distance. He will be fit after demolishing a hurdles field last time out. He has also beaten Flemenstar all be it under different circumstances. Have a slice and thank me later.

Good luck to Mikael D’Haguenet who is odds on in the beginners chase…. Not for me.

I do like 3/1 shot Balnaslow in the earlier novice event though – point and bumper form is OK but Mullins introducing him into this company is an advert in itself.

Cork Tips

Three graded races at Cork, it’s a good day there too…

Tarla is not a punters price but 4/9 is probably still lenient and I advise the horse for some multiples. Same applies to Road to Riches.

In the Hilly Way Chase, I think the is a bit of value to be had. Of course the Mullins horse looks progressive but there are some seasoned campaigners here and some are very talented, if not altogether trusted to put their race in.

The one I like the most is 6/1 shot Foildubh who is still potentially improving and has some reasonable tied form with Flemenstar.

Courage, roll those dice!

Thursday Cheltenham Tips… World Hurdle, Ryanair, Jewson…..

What a cracking day of racing at Cheltenham….. Finians got the better of Sizing Europe in an eventful and epic Champion Chase.

Big Bucks goes for a 4th World Hurdle - Do you want to be an odds on shot that can run so flat?

The Major had tipped Wishfull Thinking who kept out causing chaos at the last fence in the home straight. Course staff then seemed to indicate (by the positioning of signs) that horses should jump the fence on the final circuit but to the right. Then the flag man came out at the last second to seem to instruct the horses to go round.This caused a late swerve from Sizing Europe but in the Majors eyes, probably inconvenienced Finians Rainbow more that Sizing Europe.  On balance, I think the course staff moved the signs on the fence to protect the area where Wishfull Thinking had fallen; what is sure is that we dodged a bullet because Finians and Sizing did well to lead the field around.

The Major had the first two winners tipped up on the blog and then the day was blessed by a 40/1 winner in Une Artiste who the Major had tipped up at Kempton on 25th Feb and was delighted to see return a winner.  At this stage it is definitely The Major 2, Bookies 0.

Enough of all that, this is merely half way, the enemy is wounded but it beaten and Thursdays cards carry the despicably fatal handicaps that are the Byrne Plate and the Kim Muir.

The Trixie of Death took a bit of a beating – Reds are losses, the greens are wins…

Hurricane   Fly Boston Bob Oscar Whisky (w/o   Big Bucks)
Quevega Sprinter Sacre Sizing Europe
Grand Crus Going Wrong Simonsig

Thursday Cheltenham Tips….. Once more dear friends…

The Jewson

Already Advised: Sir Des Champs 6/1

Five likely sorts in Solix, Champion Court, Peddlers Cross, Sir des Champs and Cristal Bonus.

Peddlers dodged two other festival engagements to run in the Jewson and with the trainer scoring winners already, 7/2 is very fair. Sir Des Champs a winner last year has had support all week and won’t mind conditions at all. Hendersons festival form simply means you cannot ignore Solix and Cristal Bonus looks suitably progressive.

On balance I think Sir Des Champs is the one for me. Although Peddlers destruction by Sprinter Sacre was probably on a ‘wrong day’, Sir Des Champs has relative form anyway an is 1/1 on good ground.

The Pertemps Final

No louder cheer bar that which would meet Kauto will be available if Buena Vista completes a hat trick of Pertemps Finals wins. The Major doubts it will happen but in a competitive race where the bottom of the handicap carries 10, 6; anything can happen.

The Major has settled on thehillsofuisneach who has the relevant experience and is a generally improving sort. 16/1, shabash.

The Ryanair

Already Advised: Noble Prince 6/1

Put simply I think Noble Prince and Riverside Theatre are the choices and of the two I feel the conditions have come right for Riverside Theatre. How he will run here and the ‘bounce’ factor are not factors in the Majors mind.

The World Hurdle

Already Advised: Oscar Whisky (w/o Big Bucks) 7/4

Big Bucks. Simple.  My son turns 4 in April, he was not born the last time a horse beat Big Bucks.

I did advise Oscar Whisky originally without Big Bucks.  I am not sure about this anymore – If he tries to take on Big Bucks, he might lose by a mle.

Byrne Group Plate

Bar the opening race of the week, the Byrne Plate is the hardest race to call of the festival in the Major’s eyes.

No solid trends to the race mean that you have less framework to the decision.

On balance the Major suggests Salut Flo and Niceonefrankie who both should go well. Again a race in which being double handed is a benefit.

The Kim Muir

Another puzzle of a handicap and one in which the Majors pin has stopped on Brackloon High. His latest dead heat was decent with the front pair well clear, the ground is a big plus and at 25/1, the Major is interested.

The New Trixie Table of Doom

This one is flatter but all lines are doubles and trebles…… 11 bets..

Riverside   Theatre Brackloon High Long Run
Pearl Swan Sir   Des Champs Big   Bucks