Tag Archives: soldatino

Cheltenham Gold Cup Tips – BOOOMMM! Three Profit Days From Three for the Major – We are through the looking glass….

Punters of Britain the Major is on a high, another profit day on Thursday, with Albertas Run returning 6/1 and Big Bucks at evens.

Important news.  Regular readers will know the Major resides in the village of Defford, outside of Pershore in rolling Worcestershire countryside.  This is 20 miles north of the course and I can report some important news…. The rain has come.  The amount of rain tonight could be crucial and it makes the job tomorrow more difficult.  I have no idea what the ground will be like first thing.  I shall risk it and offer my advices but I warn all punters to freestyle if the Major was off.  For the record I am going to expect enough for good to soft, soft in places.  Perhaps dead, perhaps tacky.  Makes life tougher.

The Major does not need to be told that he rants.  For a very special and abusive friend, I have agreed to start highlighting the advices in bold for those with less time to read the analysis or reasoning.  This is a concession that may not last.

It is the day of the reckoning and the Major, though be art weighed in the balance will not be found wanting

75% of the battle is done.  We have wounded the enemy and he seems unsteady on his feet.  He has a nasty looking gash where we took his cut on the near side and then caught him with our own defensive slice.  His guard is still up though and his mind devious; in this injured state he is dangerous, on guard young man and keep a steady eye, his rapier slashes may be crude but we need dedication to the end to see this enemy dispatched to meet his reckoning.

Yet the Major is wearied from battle too.  Three days of analysis of some of the trickiest handicaps, snow blind from reading form lines, vigilance as we approach the last dear friends.  We are almost triumphant, yet ’tis many a slip between the crouch and the leap.

The Triumph

Grandouet has been put away since the defeat of Two Kisses in January.  Two Kisses is a reliable yardstick, the form is unspectacular but good.  Henderson always has a good sort for the Triumph and the jockey booking suggests this is it.

I hate to make strong statements as they can be wrong and this may mislead but I just cannot believe Smad Place is good enough, it looks over rated to me.

A Media Luz was beaten by stablemate Grandouet and although the assistance of AP McCoy will help, I cannot see it turning the tables.  At this age, the mares allowance is influential but I just do not think it will be enough in the case of A Media Luz.

Unaccompanied, another of the fairer sex and thus 7lb in, is the Irish leading fancy for the powerful Weld / Smullen team – Dangerous to ignore, particularly with the weather turning.

Zarkanda is an Aga Khan bred animal who while über impressive when defeating Molotof, is in better company here.  Molotof is the Henderson third string.  I find it interesting that Ruby has defected to Sam Winner though.

Yet Sam Winner has struggled to cope in his last race.  Looking highly capable in the heart of winter, has some of the sparkle gone.

This triumph is a classic.  The crunch decision is over the form lines you take.  Grandouet has to be respected but had been defeated by Sam Winner, who in turn was defeated by Marsh Warbler who ran poorer than expected earlier in the week.  Both may be forgiven a run but neither are rock solid.

Zarkander has been abandoned by Ruby but could be absolutely anything.

For the Major, Unaccompanied  It has the best Irish form, the Irish trainers are having a great week, this would get Friday off to a steamer.  Have an each way bet at 7/1 and hope the allowance and rain aid the cause.  Stick it in the toaster, butter, marmite, cup of steaming tea and thank me later.

The County Handicap Hurdle

The County is a puzzle hidden inside an enigma which is disguised as a rohypnol induced nightmare.

Alazari who picked up the Imperial Cup and is hunting the £75k bonus is an obvious threat but in a field of 28 and having run in the last week, I am unsure it is wise to invest at 8/1.

Dirar is sitting favourite and you can see why.  Stable form and profile mean it should be involved, interesting.

The Major advises you though to bet sensibly, this is an insanely difficult prize.  I would proffer a few thoughts as follows.

Snap Tie a pound off top weight loves Cheltenham and has been dropping to a very handy mark.  Having not run since October 2009 it would be an almighty training performance but Hobbs can do it and Dickie Johnson in the saddle is a huge boost, 14/1 is it enough?

Salden Licht gets the burden of an extra pound, thus is the top weight and despite making a couple of errors when chasing after Recession Proof in the Totesport is on the Majors considered list, particularly at 25/1, not out of it.

Get me out of Here is also extremely well treated if the tongue tie has the desired effect, I would not put you off, personally 16/1 is an OK price but not what I am after.

Soldatino looks held unless there were excuses last time.  Dee Ee Williams more so.

Alaivan comes into it if the rain has been significant. 

Ski Sunday is a bit of an unknown.  The January run with subsequent winner Skint behind has a classy look about it.  It was only rated 66 on the flat but is a much better hurdling prospect, hmm.

Final Approach would not be 12/1 had Call the Police performed solidly on Wednesday.  Ruby and Mullins 12/1 in this sort of handicap, interesting.

Zanir at 33/1 could run a bigger than expected race too.

The Major has not ruled too many out of the County.  I have a shortlist of a few.  The most interesting of which is Snap Tie.  A Cheltenham horse, a mark that has dropped from two years off, 14/1 is as tight as I would want it but I just fancy the trainer and jockey if they have the horses confidence back.  It goes against many of the Majors principles, after all the time off the track is a significant downside before competing in such a big field.  I just have a sense that Johnson can turn him off and nurse him through, letting class do the rest.

The Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

Some time ago the Major put up a piece about Moonlight Drive which had been tipped to me antepost.  It definitely wants the rain which is coming and is a threat still but the softer the better.  Certainly the stable hold it in good regard it seems and as Recession Proof is a stablemate then they have a decent yardstick with the Totesport Trophy winner.

The hope was that Bobs Worth would defect to the Neptune and since that has not happened, it has to be a major threat in this given the ease of the Grade 2 success last time out.

The other horse of interest and the one I settle on to advise tonight is Champion Court.  At 10/1, I hope they have sorted the issues which caused the horse to hang so badly when it looked like it might get involved in defeat to Bobs Worth last time out.  The previous form has some depth, Bobs Worth could well be too good but with Henderson not enjoying the best week, I oppose with Champion Court.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

The Major has a strong fancy in the Gold Cup this year which is odd because it is as open as any I can recall.  I would go as far to say it is the best Gold Cup in many years, it will be a privilege to watch the interwoven strands of form, story, conjecture and magic unfurl.

It is not so much a case for the Major of picking the winner, it is more a case for finding the least likely reason any of the main protagonists will fail to lose.  That is not to say the quality is poor, quite the opposite.

The highlight of our national hunt year is solved by answering these questions correctly:

1. Does Kautos small bleed excuse his poor King George run and is he capable of pulling his old school form out when it matters? (He would go down not only as the only horse to have regained a Gold Cup but to have done that twice, wow)

2. Is Denmans third to the non runner Diamond Harry, giving best part of 2 stone away, in the Hennessy a decent bit of form?

3. Is the ground soft enough for Pandorama, the Majors ante post tip for the gold cup?

4. What does the Kempes Irish Hennessy win form add up to?

5. How ripe is Imperial Commander and how good was last years Gold Cup?

6. Is Midnight Chase a credible threat?

7. Is it time to change the old guard?

8. Who wins?

The Majors view: 1. No, he looked shot in the Down Royal opener, I know Nicholls will not have had him wound up for that but I think he is on a slide.  2. This is better form than anything Kauto has done but only entitles him to place form in the Majors view.  3. Probably not but if the rain keeps coming, too early to tell 4. Nothing 5. The Major is unimpressed on both counts.  6. Not really, if he were mine he would go straight to the National. 7. Yes.  8. LONG RUN.

I am aware that the stats for 11 year olds are shocking and so are the stats for 6 year olds.  Here is the advice.  If the ground gets good to soft, soft in places, then go Pandorama.  If it remains any better than that, stick with Long Run. 

I am going to believe that his 6 year old status is offset by the fact that he has had an awful lot of racing.  This was probably the reason that he lost last festival.  I was standing by Nicky Henderson that day (not that I know him!) and it did not look like the expected script was followed.  After being on the go all of the previous summer in France and then all winter, I think Long Run was already over the top at the festival.  The way he demolished the King George field suggested he is a different prospect to me.  He should stay, he won’t mind conditions, he is inexperienced but…. 5/1 Hills (who offer £20 bet on the race and a free £10 at the weekend to all customers), Paddypower and Coral – Have the biggest slice your wallet allows and send me the postcard.

Master Hobday, if you are reading, it already carries a £20 from the Majors wallet for you, the man, the legend.

The Foxhunters

The two races after the Gold Cup are surely designed as a bookies benefit to drag in any remaining cash. 

Gone to Lunch could be dangerous if showing the best of old form.  Baby Run is a worthy favourite, nothing wrong with betting that.

For value though the Major plumps for On the Fringe.  Probably too young, where Baby Run is starting to wear.  9/2 (Hills) On the Fringe for the Major.

The Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys

Conditional jockeys riding make this one of the most trappy handicaps of the festival. 

That said, there is one that stands out like a beacon to the Major in King of the Night.

This horse gets to race off a mark of just 139 despite having lost by a nose to Sprinter Sacre (now rated 145) when giving a full stone away.

From the champion trainer, plenty of scope.  11/1, the best the Major can come up with.

The Lucky Last – The Grand Annual

Christ, if you need a win here you are in trouble.

I might have the long priced answer too.  The Major has always had an eye for Sports Line.  OK, he gets way to frisky in his races and is often fighting for his head but when he does settle he looks classy.

What catches the eye is the switch to Timmy Murphy, I think they plan on burying him away in the field under the best rider at the last to first tactic.

33/1 is the sort of price to get you out of any trouble.

The Cheltenham Festival Summary

I hope you have had a terrific week.  The Major has taken not given and this is a refreshing change to last year.

In not many hours from now, the point in the year that National Hunt fans aim at is the furthest from us.  Thank god that the 2012 antepost markets are already open. 

Let us draw blood once again tomorrow.  I hope the racing is glorious, your victory magnanimous.

Gold Cup night deserves the best french cuisine.  Have some duck in the country fashion seared and with green peppercorn sauce.  A good Bordeaux.  Tip well, this is right.  Be upstanding for the Queen at midnight.  Find a nice girl from Cork whose sing song voice shall last with you for many days.

This Gold Cup, I hope you have every reason to be glad in your heart.

The Majors Saturday Service – 22nd Jan – Victor Chandler Chase Tips, Premier League – Crack Away Followers!

Photograph of the finishing post, Ascot Raceco...

Let's all hope that Ascot beats the weather

Warm greetings to another fine sporting weekend for the Majors faithful followers.  Today we have the usual premier league tips, while in horseracing The Major has a Victor Chandler Chase 16/1 tip against Masterminded going for his third win of the season. 

So far this week the Major has tipped two outstanding losers and a non runner.  This uninspiring week followed last weekend which was almost a write off due to a shocking football run.  However, last Sunday provided a 25/1 winner in Baycross, the Majors longest priced success of the year and this win did restore some parity. 

Today followers, have faith.

Faith is indeed why we gathered here on this day, the gamblers sabbath, as men prepared to do battle.  So the Major raises the clarion call again, you must restock your bank before we unleash the cannons once more.  Relentlessly positive.

An anonymous writer in Deuteronomy wrote..  ‘Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid…for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee’

The Major teaches you in the same vain to bet like real men (and women – you know who you are!), ensure the stake demands your heart to flutter and skip a beat, reminding you of your very existence, feel your pulse again and realise that the world is not about Simon Cowell or fast food or Wetherspoons.  Out there the meaning of existence resides in the simple pleasure of a guilty moment of regret over the risk you have taken in playing your hand, before the thrill of the contest itself.  Bet with a stake that means victory delivers sweet feelings and a cash return you can actually do something with.  If you are playing with a stake that will make absolutely no difference to your planned evenings entertainment, then what is the point?  Something needs to ride on the outcome, you need to feel alive again.

The Saturday Service is here, it is your honourable duty to load the large cannon with the fine shot and then lead the charge.  The Major is he that will go with you and will not fail you or forsake you*

Point of order, the data sheets which are on the top tabs hold all of the data year to date.  You will notice a new tab called the betting summary.  This simply takes the raw data and summarises the performance of the horseracing tips, football advices etc on a month by month basis.  You will see that our profit from 48 bets is 14%, horseracing has been our strongest suit at 37% profit.  The two naps have returned a trebling of stake.  Pleasing but not enough.

Second point of order, the Major reminds followers of how to get the Saturday Service quickly.  As soon as the Major posts, emails are sent to the subscriber list.  To subscribe, use the tool in the left hand menu.  If you prefer to get your notification by twitter, @tdl123 is the place to be.

To todays action.  First the Victor Chandler Chase.  Clive Smith and Paul Nicholls will be itching to win this after last weeks Kauto Star defeat in the King George.  In Masterminded they have the best rated horse in training and it is too easy to forget that Masterminded is in his prime and not on the downgrade like his stablemate Kauto.  After all Masterminded has already won several Grade 1’s, two champion chases and suffered a dip in form that had many writing him off – That’s quite a back story for a horse who has just turned eight. 

He looks back to his impervious best this season with two solid victories.  What impressed me in both wins this season was the flamboyance.  Is there a better chaser at standing off a fence before clearing it in soaring style by a foot, not touching a twig then landing like a ballerina moving away on the bridle; with horses trainling in his wake, their pschological well-being and ability to compete destroyed.  Masterminded does look to have found his love of racing again this season which is great news, unless you are competing with him. 

Some people have Masterminded as the unquestionable two mile champ which, if you are in this camp, makes the 15/8 about Champion Chase success this year an absolute must bet.  The Major thinks though that outstanding as he is, he also has an outstanding competitor in Big Zeb.  It is going to be a cracker in March but we must play todays hand and await that race with huge anticipation.  (The Major has already advised his ante post Cheltenham tips)

Todays Victor Chandler is a penalty kick for Masterminded, in the Majors opinion.  There is nothing wrong with Petit Robin, Somersby and Mad Max but they are up against a quality animal.  If Masterminded turns up in decent heart, there is nothing to suggest he will not, he will win.  8/11 does not quite reflect this and so the Major would encourage anyone to take William Hill on at that price.  Not an advised bet though, the Major seeks the value bet.

The horse the Major really likes and the only one that allows a chink of doubt about a Masterminded win is Crack Away Jack.  This horse was incredibly unlucky not to win the Champion Hurdle in 2009.  Watch the race again and you will see he loses 15 lengths at the start, which is a lot of ground to give to top class animals in a 2 mile hurdle!  He finished that day like a train up the hill finishing a 3 length (ish) 4th.  Having suffered injuries since then, it is hard to make what remains of his undoubted talent. 

The horse has won fresh before though and at 16/1 with Bet365 who go 3 places and quarter odds (best price too), it is worth a speculative one.  The speculation is not about whether I think Crack Away Jack is capable of running a place or picking up the race if Masterminded is not in top form, it is more about his readiness and in that his trainer, the wonderful Emma Lavelle is buoyant ‘He is in really good order…… He has always run well fresh.  He looks straightforward, seems well and is at a good weight’

Of the others, Petit Robin looks like he wants further to me and is not in the top draw.  Mad Max looks a hard sort to place.  Tchio Polos at the bottom of the card for Paul Nicholls might improve but looks nowhere near good enough on anything shown so far.

The 2.55 at Ascot offers a similar bet to Crack Away Jack.  Walkon is an Alan King (who has had a quiet season) trained hurdler who has been missing injured for over a year and a half.  However, returning in this grade 2 shows some confidence in the horse and his well-being. 

Walkons second in the Triumph hurdle was good form finishing second to Zaynar at his best with Starluck back in 4th. 

A complete unknown in this is Sire Collonges who races off a featherweight.  Another french import for the Nicholls stable – Who knows what this one is about, impossible to tell but taken as too green for this quality race particularly as Lough Derg will ensure a ready pace and will expose jumping inexperience. 

Soldatino is the 5/2 favourite but really, this Triumph winner while good, 5/2?!?  OK, it could win but really I am unsure its form of winning last years Triumph is as good as the form of the second Walkon achieved in the previous year.  This then leaves the 12/1 Walkon as a standout bet – Get stuck in, have an each way chunk and thank me later.  Generally available at quarter odds and three places.

As long as Ascot races, the ground will be perfect.  Gowran however is off as is Haydock which is a shame as the Major had done work on both!

Detail and research.  2pm Lingfield, not the natural start point for horseracing fans.  One thing of interest.  Pizzetti is 40/1 with Victor Chandler – Now OK, this looks like a plot horse for handicaps and from the Prescott stable, it is probably waiting for them but…. out of Singspiel it is arguably the best bred horse in the race and….. it has a Derby entry, so they must have had hopes at some point.  It is probably a handicap plotted sort but at 40/1 the Major is willing to stake an each way piece of silver.

Ascots 3.30 shold go to Breedsbreeze 15/8 (Sportingbet) – All of the others have big question marks, the preferences of the field would be Minella Theatre who needs to prove he is not simply at first time up specialist and I’m a Legend who looks well handicapped to the Major.  the tip is for Breedsbreeze though who has he form in the book, looks relatively well placed at 9 and the credible Ian Popham helps by taking a further 5lbs off.

Then to the sporting fields of Britain which suffer less from the wicked touch of the barren North and her icy fingers.

Wolves are no forlorn hope to beat Liverpool who have proved for a second time that changing your manager does not improve a mixed squad.  Wolves are organised and at 12/5 with Stan James, of some interest but no bet advised.

I think Aston Villa while too good for the drop have problems that Darren Bent alone cannot solve.  It is the live early evening game and backing Manchester City at 23/20 with William Hill is the advice.

The Major wants to keep Fulham on the ‘poor list’ – Thus backing Stoke at Craven Cottage makes sense at 14/5 with Victor Chandler.  Stoke may have had mid-week exertions at Cardiff but they were able and confident enough to rest key players.  John Carew may not be an inspirational signing but he can lead a line and will be another player bought into consideration from Stokes long throws.  Fulham continue to underwhelm the Major who thinks it is all presentation and no trousers.  It is worth remembering that there is a bit of bad blood between these teams.  Pulis and Hughes have twice this season refused to shake hands at the final whistle, if it tasty today, I don’t think that would suit Fulham.

Blackburn are a great price to beat the Majors own team, West Brom.  This Sunday fixture features a home team who are well organised under the quiet Steve Kean.  Albion can score goals but will struggle against the strong midfield of the Blackburn team.  5/4 with Victor Chandler is a decent price.  West Brom are getting stronger with their defense returning, Tamas is a big player but they were poor at the back when fully staffed and so it might make them more competitive but hardly delivers maximum confidence.

Equally Tottenham look a quality bet at 5/4 to win in the North East.  Andy Carroll is still missing and he is a key player for Newcastle.  Pienaar could make a debut for Spurs who just look to have enough quality to take maximum points. 

Sheffield Wednesday are spending some money and going through a transformation.  7/4 is too big for their chances to get the spoils from Orient today.

Sunderland look a tasty price too at 2/1.  Blackpool are only 6 points off the black cats who rest just outside the Europa positions.  I don’t think Sunderland will miss a beat with the loss of Bent.  Gyan looks a more complete player to me.  Blackpool are capable of scoring against most teams due to a refreshing attacking approach but they also concede.

The new Bournemouth manager has his hands full.  The club had already sold key players before losing their young talented manager Howe to Burnley.  While Bournemouth have a sterling home record, this could all change in the coming weeks and they have not entertained many of the top teams.  Brighton are that and at 15/8 are incredible value.  Take your deserved share.

The Major wishes all faithful followers the best of luck in your selections today.  Watch out for tomorrows Irish Champion Hurdle advice where sadly Dunguib has already withdrawn.

The NAP today is a double on Blackburn and Masterminded. General pricing of 6/4 and 4/6 means this pays £375 to a £100 stake, I am sure you will bet with more significant funds!

This evenings dining will follow a nine mile run.  The order of the day will be steak, shown the flame for the minimal period to make the chef feel he has earned his wage.  A Barolo to accompany, a brandy to finish.  Then to dark, peaceful slumber safe in the knowledge that no matter what happened today, no matter whether a fortune was plundered in the Majors favour or not; we sleep deeply with carnal knowledge of the joys the sporting gentleman’s world provides.

Play hard.  Allow instinct as well as research. 

As the man hails your carriage, tip well.  This is right.  Let him know the Major sent you, we will be back.

* Previous evidence demonstrates that the Major will quite regularly fail you!