Tag Archives: swing bill

Cheltenham Day Three Tips – World Hurdle Thursday, Ryanair, Jewson… The awesome Aeroplane and another day sober in paradise

Good evening from the Major who writes from another bitterly cold Worcestershire which sports a biting wind.  The temperature remains cold enough to numb the touch and add a dull ache to knee and ankle joints.  The only antidote is the warming effect of winners and champions.

The former I had a couple of.  Only a couple and I am in no doubt that day two belonged to the enemy.

The latter we were blessed with, in fact we saw a new legend.  Sprinter Sacre was breath-takingly good.  He beat a Champion Chase field by 19 lengths, hard held.  The commentator summed it up suggesting that this steeplechaser was sent from celestial heavens… who could argue with that.  No doubt, we have a star and let us hope he remains centre stage for many years.

On Tuesday, I left the racecourse by the bottom car park and spent 90 minutes queuing.  Thus in a planned change of operational procedure, tonight I parked in town and walked, a test and learn.  It certainly was easier and it gave me the pleasure of a post-racing stroll through Pittville and across the park to my car.  It was all most pleasant but the trappings of the festival that you witness on this journey remain etched in my mind, as these things will.

The girls handing out cards for gentleman’s clubs look very different through the eyes of a sober man.  The language is the same… the use of the word ‘guys’ in a voice straining to suggest familiarity.  They aim to make the groups of men who average twenty years their senior comfortable, as though they are conversing in normal circumstances.  That level of performance though must tire and something in their body language, the slope of shoulder, the curl of a lip hides a disdain for the work.  It is cold and you can see it in their eyes.

Do not take me as a prude by the way.  I am a believer that consenting adults are perfectly able to choose what they want to do without my views and whatever contracts are struck are for those parties alone.  In fact I am generally in favour of skullduggery.  I just prefer it a bit more refined.

Sadly for the Major, Taquin Du Seuil did not win the Neptune.  I did not pass go, I did not collect significantly more than 200.  Still, the dream itself was worthwhile.  There will be another time.

We go into Thursday with our war chest intact.  Early exchanges have been searching, exploratory forays to test defences and reactions.  I almost fell into the trap of backing Coral Cup and Fred Winter horses with conviction, pure folly and I kept my losses sensible… The enemy allowed me fancy prices about Mullins Jnr and Nina Carberry in the amateur riders…  I took them.

The next two days could be taken easily, too concerned with the fear of loss to try to be glorious.  No, not for us, we know what we must do…  Read on only if you are prepared to come with me and face the abyss.  Fearless.

To Cheltenham…. load the heavy cannons, stand broad and tall.

The Jewson

Dynaste cost me a fortune when defecting from the RSA to the Jewson and I am not sure it was a great call.  His previous Feltham win was very strong defeating Third Intention and generally looking very good.  This is also my issue with Dynaste – He has only won one of four starts at Cheltenham and we know it is a specialist track

I think the RSA field was weaker and today he faces Captain Conan, a horse I can easily forgive a more lacklustre display at Sandown when winning latest.  That day he clearly was not himself but still finished well on the hill to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.  He was not right that day and he is reported much better now – I think a 13/2 punt (Paddy Power) is in order.

Aupcharlie has looked an immensely powerful traveller who has not always found much off the bridle.  Interesting but overlooked.

The Pertemps Final

Look, let us keep this really simple.  When Paul Nicholls describes a handicap mark as a ‘gift from God’, one should sit up and pay attention.  Sam Winner heads the market at 9/2 and I think it is well worth backing.  He has won twice at Cheltenham from four visits so the track holds no fears.  His Triumph race was interesting, while only fourth, he was staying on at the end.  He has beaten Grandouet and been within half a dozen lengths of Zarkander.  That makes a mark of just 140 very manageable.. I have to agree with his trainer.

The Pertemps is often won by a more experienced handicapper.  Maybe that is a reflection of the rigours of a big field.

If you like one at a price, Ely Brown at 20/1 does look a tad tasty.  Sam Winner for me.

The Ryanair

The quality of the Ryanair is superb this year as the Aeroplane scared people into stepping up half a mile in trip.

First Lieutenant is favourite and most argue that his form finishing in a heap with Flemenstar, Sir Des Champs and Tidal Bay is also key to the Gold Cup.  The Major remains unconvinced.  It is the presence of Tidal Bay that bothers me.  First Lieutenant is a top horse, he was a superb hurdler beating Rock on Ruby and showed promise as a novice hurdler.  Yet his last win was 9 starts back.  I know he has not been disgraced in any run since but I am always nervous with horses with bad strike rates no matter what their form lines.

Most people will be a fan of the favourite because of the stamina doubts of Cue Card based on a poor King George effort.  I don’t think that day had anything to do with stamina, I think he just had a bad day… it happens.

Champion Court has a lot of plusses but for me lacks the requisite je ne sais quoi.

No… Cue Card.. 7/2… smash it.

The World Hurdle

Reve de Sivola and Oscar Whisky are surely the key starting points in the World Hurdle.

Many had the latter down as a non stayer but I was never convinced about that and his last run at Cheltenham surely put pay to it.  I think he will be fitter for the effort and on much much better ground, he will have the measure of Reve de Sivola in my opinion.

My betting strategy is going to be clouded by the presence of Bog Warrior.  He is my favourite horse in training.  Top hurdle form looked like it might transfer to fences but some major jumping errors have seen them convert the horse back to hurdles and he has been awesome ever since.  If you want to see why I love the horse so much, have a look at the Drinmore he won on Youtube.  His style is head in chest, bowling along… How can you not love him?  He will carry a significant sum of the Majors wedge for that reason alone…

Yet my advice to you all is Oscar Whisky at 7/2.

The Bryne Group Plate

Sorry to be boring but I cannot get away from Ballynagour, 4/1.  The performance it put in suggested that we have missing a lot while he has been lightly raced.

Hunt Ball is eased back into handicap level and his mark may well be passable.  He won this off just over a stone lighter last year but is a class horse.

I cannot get away from the Pipe horse though… Join the money train.

The Kim Muir

The stakes here must be kept to a minimum as the puzzle is vast and the traps numerous.

There are only 5 horses in the vast field though that have won at Cheltenham and that is not a bad angle to take into this.  Super Duty, Prince of Pirates, Swing Bill, Galaxy Rock and Alfie Sherrin should all cope with the decent ground.

I put a line through Swing Bill because although some of his form is working out well, he is 12 and I do not like it.  Jumping puts me off Prince of Pirates but a clean round equals danger for all in my view.

The Major struck well in the John Oaksey by suggesting that the jockey in these amateur races is vital.  This brings other horses into contention too including Vesper Bell and Romanesco.

Class horses have no problems lumping weight around the Kim Muir so Super Duty and my selection should be fine if they have the minerals.  I am sticking with the boy who got the job done for us on Back in Focus…. Patrick Mullins is aboard Vesper Bell.. That one has placed form at the top level and the Irish National trial he competed in has worked out OK.  There is every reason to be excited about 16/1 so have a large slice and berate me later for being so interested in a horse in a ridiculously tricky handicap.

The Cross Country

Go back two days to see the reasoning for Arabella Boy to win the Cross Country.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Majors Saturday Service – Grand National Preps – Horseracing Tips for Newbury, Kelso, Kempton, Gowran Park and Doncaster plus Premier League Football Tips

Good morning from fine frosty Pershore.  The cold white frost tips on the fields contrasts wonderfully with the brown hot coffee which has been on the bubble for hours.  Let’s see what value exists in the weekend sporting calendar.  The fire has been lit, the trace of heavy coal is in the air, but the fire is lit inside the Major too.  Today we shall win.  This, in spite of the first three selections being in some of the hardest races to go at.

The Last Stand at Gandamak Village - The Major will never let a few defeats effect our relentlessy positive approach

Indeed, a fine early morning, the Major bids to thee, oh faithful few.  How the profits dwindled in recent weeks and those who are light of spirit departed….. Those who remain are the merry band, wistful and dogged souls willing to follow in part blindly, part courageously and part loyally, and my how they stick with the recent unrelenting thin gruel that has been served from the Majors humble pot.  Bless you, bless you all, we are here now at the moment of regeneration and we shall be rightly rewarded, rich rewards.  Pity those that are not you at this time.

Gambling is a marvellous thing it reminds you that you are alive.  Be happy that you know this – Be distrustful of those that do not.

The Majors mid-week horseracing tip of Horsfield looked pleasing until he smacked the third from home and Patman du Charmil took it up to win (frustratingly advised as the main danger).  At least the Majors logic was right, which has been off in a few too many lately.  Following the correct trends and belief is the crux of the dogmatic approach the Major will adopt to this week’s Saturday service.  Positivity is key; we were not victims of bad luck.  Luck happens.  Persistently outperforming the enemies pricing strategy out-trumps it.   this is not the home for people looking for an easy way to make money gambling and in the Majors view, unless you set up a casino, no such thing exists.

We have to remain relentlessly positive, as is the Majors resolution, have faith in our sporting judgement.  We should never fall as low as Lord Elphinstone, leader of the army in Afghanistan.  In 1842 the slump in his character meant that he succumbed to a series of decisions that were disastrous for the British army, culminating in an attempted retreat over the hills to Jalalabad through 90 miles of Afghan winter.  Weakened, indecisive, low self-confidence… it is the fast route to the poor house for punters.  For old Elfie, the approach resulted in an unmitigated disaster culminating in the worst military disaster of the Victorian age, losing his entire force of 5,000 English and Indian Sepoys, all of them cut up in the Khyber Pass (along with over 10,000 camp followers and pack animals) with the survivors making a fateful last stand at Gandamak Village where their military square held firm for so long but only a good doctor Brydon escaped alive.  What a shame Lady Sale did not take control, such was the spirit in her, such was the steel – I suggest you read her account.  She knew that the demise of the army was due to a lack of leadership and conviction. 

The Major will not fail you thus, I urge you to reinvest, bet like men
(and woman – you know who you are!), feel alive as you know you should.  We shall remain vigorous and our conviction is intact.

A note of thanks to Le Grand Fromage whose guest post on top cricket world cup bowler betting, looks to be a winner.  The Major has a small each way ticket on Johnson – Malinga equally is not letting followers down.  If any other guest bloggers want to get in touch, leave a comment or talk to me (if you know me that is!).  The Cleveland Steamer had less luck with his guest post a few weeks back but the contribution was good.  A couple of others (Gentleman Jim and The Hearty Ploughman) are threatening to lend us the power of their minds, wait and see.

The weekends spread of sporting action is laid before us for our delectable selection.  As always, the Major urges the usual moment of reflection before the veil is lifted and we reveal our hand to the enemy.  Close your eyes, concentrate on just your left arm, imagine it is made of lead, can you feel it stuck to the surface it rests on? Breathe and think about it as you do, now imagine your whole body feels like a block of lead heavy and sinking as you exhale, yet lifting as you breath in.  Breathe, relax, let your troubles wash off you.  Now open your eyes warrior and allow your souls awakening, you are ready.  The Major raises the bugle; let us join the bloody fray – The noise and chaos no longer trouble you, you register it but are able to rise above.  With your lance point sharpened and shiny we shall skewer a few enemies beautifully and with the claret dripping in globules down to the gauntlet, be at complete peace that we did our duty.  To Sports.

We are so close to Cheltenham now that the graded races dry up, sucked into the swirling vortex of the festival.  However, this leaves some nice betting handicaps and we can start to consider our ante post options.  What is for sure is that we need some festival funds and so a winning Saturday Service is required.   

To the racetracks of Britain.  (Don’t forget – Email alerts of new posts are available, sign up in the left hand column – Twitter is @tdl123).

3pm Newbury – Handicap Chase (Wiltshire Country Show Supporting Greatwood)

Pipe and Nicholls have a terrific record in this race between them.  While Pipe is not the force of old, early support last night and this morning has been for Matuhi who is dropping back in trip.  This is most likely connected to being a Pricewise selection.  It is now a best priced 10/1 and 8/1 in most places after opening at 14s.

There are 17 to post for this race and it looks wide open.  Niche Market will never perform at this trip surely and this must be a simple get to know you race for Ruby ahead of the national.  That said, surely Ruby will ride Midnight Chase, anyway, Niche Market will be barely warmed up at the winning post, so unlikely to feature.

Swing Bill has a much higher handicap mark to contend with else his latest runaway victory looked good on the eye.  Unlike many Russian Flag at 25/1 will probably enjoy conditions although the trip is again too short. 

The two the Major picks are Big Fella Thanks and Prince de Beauchene.  Both have won at two and a half miles or shorter.  Of the two the one I put up as a selection is Big Fella Thanks.  It looks like he is back to some decent form.  He won this last year off just two pounds higher and at 9 there is no reason to suspect he would be backwards on that form.  The field looks a mixed bag and in a tight contest, I will stick with form in the race. 

3.15 Doncaster – The Grimthorpe

Merigo is the Majors idea for the national at the moment but no point backing it yet as the 28/1 will still be available after today because Merigo is racing over a trip far too short to impact the price positively even though it is 3m 2f!  I am sure that this Scottish National horse will be looked after on its return from a 4 month break.  Despite the jumping at times being a little hit and miss, the Major has had his eye on Minella Four Star for some time.  13/2 is available with Skybet and so this is the selection.

I do find Ringaroses an interesting sort for Jonjo, it has a lower chase mark to its advantage today and a clear round would make it an each way must.  That clear round is anything but certain but I would point out that the horse needs better ground and has not always had it on chase starts.  Another tough race to call.

2.55pm Gowran Park Shamrock Handicap Chase 

Those first two races were pretty tough handicaps and so it was a relief to start work on the Shamrock.

While the ground in Britain is good to soft verging on good, Ireland still has its heavy conditions and the conditions at Gowran are Soft to Heavy on the Chase course.  Glenfinn Captain is 7 from 14 in any conditions with the word Heavy in, versus 1 from 13 when that crucial word is missing from the going.  At 12 though and with the ‘right’ conditions having been available 3 times in the last 18 months and Glenfinn not taking advantage, we have to look elsewhere, even though 14/1 in the only open market (well done Bet365) is still overlooked.

Surprisingly the other runners are not solid claims on heavy going which is why I pointed out the record of Glenfinn because of the ground.  There is one I like a lot in this race though and that is The Sneezer.  It will race prominently and has the help of Tom Doyle in the saddle an excellent jockey… well-balanced, calm at ease, probably just the sort to control the pace from the front.  11/2, wait until someone offers 6/1, I think they will and then have a slice. 

Just Friends is the danger in what I think will be a race where the improvers outperform the more exposed sorts.

3.40pm Kelso totesport.com Premier Chase

Ballabriggs goes for famous connections who use this as a warm up for a national sort – Cloudy Lane being the best example.  That said, 5 runners, it could be more tactical than Ballabriggs needs and while it is taken to win, a no bet race for the Major.

4.15pm Kelso totepool Hurdle

While in the previous big race at Kelso, the fancied McCain runner is a miss for the Major, Desert Cry should be backed to the hilt in my view.  11/4 is currently available and this horse is a clear up and comer in the Majors view.  A resurgent Jason Maguire fresh from winning his appeal to shorten his ban for marking a horse (allowing him his Peddlers Cross ride a week Tuesday in the Champion Hurdle), is going to be in fine form.

Load the large cannon for Desert Cry, the Major has eyes for no other in this race!

4.00pm Kempton Betfred Novices Chase

It only feels right having had a selection in the big races from the main fixtures today to select one from Kempton.

The easiest selection is Playing with Fire who looks unexposed and unlikely to be stopped by the penalty for his all the way win at Leicester.

There you go, simple.

It is always difficult to work through the major handicaps, the amount of information to sort, shift, examine, note and discard is huge.  Playing with Fire and Desert Cry make a tasty double.  The Major is keen on the both in a way that is less possible when selecting handicap winners.  In handicaps you are balancing known runs against weights and conditions, you are more likely to find one that has a better chance than its price.  This is different from these novice races where although the form is not there you can find those you consider to be penalty kick horses, that is much better than the field. 

and in other sports…… Football Tips

It is a tough weekend of fixtures to find value from but I like West Hams chances at home to a beleaguered looking Stoke.  The Major fancied them to see off West Brom last weekend but they looked a little downhearted and while unlucky to concede a goal that was offside, there was not the usual fire in the bellies.  13/10 for West Ham who are on a much better run to overcome them at home is a must bet for the Major.

Fulham to beat Blackburn looks good at 8/11 at home.  the Major underestimated Fulham earlier in the season suggesting they could be relegation candidates.  This was incorrect, they look a much more solid proposition and with Blackburn seemingly doing their best to get involved in the dog fight at the bottom, Fulham to win at Craven Cottage is a decent shout even at odds on prices.

Birmingham who must be on a high after their Wembley antics are taken to beat the Majors West Brom at 7/5.  Albion look to be without their key influential players of Dorrans and Odemwingie.  Fortune does not look good enough and unless Blues are suffering a hangover from their Wembley endeavour, should win their crucial home fixture.

After two decent home wins, Bristol City might keep a run going at Coventry this afternoon.  13/5 with Victor Chandler is a fair price.

I also fancy Huddersfield who can be backed at 11/8 with Corals – Take a piece and thank me later, Yeovil don’t hold enough of a threat.

Tonight, I suggest you dine on steak.  It has been some time since we did.  Now, please, get this right.  Ask a good butcher for his finest piece of fillet and look for a healthy marbling.  Roll it gently in pepper.  Heat a pan of oil until close to burning.  Allow 30 seconds maximum each side.  Remove and let it cool.  Serve with Rocket and Jersey Royal potatoes.  A little butter melted is fine on the potato, peppercorn sauce on the steak is certainly not, as that is akin to trucking with witchcraft.  A pleasing Barolo will accompany well.  A Crème Brulee could follow if it is a light one. 

As you can see I am suggesting cooking this yourself.  Unusual but pleasant.  Invite a companion over, she should be an earthy sort from the country, but well-heeled and curvy, healthy smile, groomed.  She was bought up well-educated, level-headed, open-minded, independent and likes beef to be cooked properly.  Make sure she is confident but not too chatty no-one wants to be jabbered at on a Saturday evening. 

You will have a fulfilling evening.  Be subtle but on arrival, allow the roll of notes to be seen as you pay for her carriage – This will be enough.  Unlock the Tantalus at midnight after you have been upstanding for the Queen.  Take the flask of brandy and pour a measure that reflects the day’s glories whether of defeat or victory.

Enjoy these times of health, go with the tide and hold on to whatever floats by you, after all remember that you only go by the once.