Tag Archives: tartak

Cheltenham Day Three – Horseracing Tips for World Hurdle Day – 12/1 and 10/1 winners this week already KAAABOOOMMM!

A solid two days of Cheltenham reviews and tips and the Major’s followers are in 40% profit.  Day two looked victorious for the enemy until Cheltenian won the bumper well, a 12/1 selection for the Major (14/1 was available widely at the off).

Load the big guns, it is World Hurdle time

Sizing Europe looked stunning but you could run that race again and it wouldn’t carry the Majors money.  Carlo Brigante was an easy winner too and visually looked good. 

As usual all of my bets are recorded in the tabs at the top as is a summary of performance by month.  March is now rolling along gloriously!  You can follow the Major on twitter @tdl123 or look in the left hand menu to sign up to the email alert service.  Always free, amateur and slightly unhinged, the Major lays his racing soul bare.

World Hurdle day tomorrow.  We have reached half time in the battle.  It is time to pull out the big guns, we want winners.  Load up the big cannon young man with grape-shot, draw a bead on thine enemy.

Happy St Patricks Day to all Irishmen – Good luck to you today.

The Jewson

Noble Prince has been twice defeated this season by Arkle third, Realt Dubh.  While it is early to tell, I suspect this years Arkle was not a vintage and thus, this form does not add up to too much.  Last years festival win was very solid though and on good ground, of clear interest.

The market leader, Wishful Thinking won a hurdle in fine style out here last time, in one sense a rightful favourite.

Robinson Collonges has had some time off which might not be a bad thing.  His defeat in December at Cheltenham was poor, he looked a bit workman like before ploughing through three out and weakening quickly.  I think this can be forgiven and it is his run from November 2010 that catches the eye.  In it he fell, but not before putting all of the field to bed and certainly looking like he had the eventual winner covered. The horse that took advantage of the fall was Wishful Thinking.  This makes the 6/1 generally available tonight a must bet.  Ruby doing the steering is a big plus given he might need to be nursed into one or two fences.

The Pertemps Final

This is an intriguing puzzle with a number of interesting runners. 

Duke of Lucca is a reliable sort but surely not feasibly weighted for this. 

I have always liked Pause and Clause and this seasons form has been a disappointment. He has certainly performed better hurdling that chasing, 33/1 is a fair price for one that could go well.

Kayf Aramis is on a fair mark and is bidding to take this for a second time after victory in 09.  It is a tough horse who is hard to pass.  Not for the Major but 22/1 is fair enough.

The win Lush Life got at Cheltenham in December was good.  A previous defeat of Menorah at Ascot, looks much better.  You can put a line through the dreadful run at Sandown latest where the horse needed work from the farrier at the start.  14/1 for Henderson and Geraghty is a terrific price.  This would be the Majors bet of the day.

Chartreux also looks a well handicapped sort for the Pipes.

When it boils down, I suggest two each way plays.  Lush Life and Pause and Clause.  There is a bit of heart in the second, the first looks a stand out bet, go long, large, heavy and fast.

The Ryanair

After running well yesterday in the Champion Chase, I cannot see Somersby winning.  He has the class and the Ryanair would have been the Majors choice if he was mine.  Two Grade 1s in two days though is surely too much, if he is not scratched I wouldn’t want to be on.  The same applies to Captain Cee Bee.

J’y Vole has been the Majors selection a few times but this is probably a bit too hot for him.  8/1 has place claims only in the Major’s view.

It would be fascinating to see Voy Por Ustedes back in top form.  He is ten and so the change of scenery to Hendersons yard could spark some change.  Voy Por has plenty of Cheltenham form, 14/1 is a huge price if you could guarantee a decent run, who knows if the horses heart is back in it.

Tartak is also of interest at a price.  20/1 is simply too much for a horse with track form.  He benefits from being the stable star and uncharacteristic errors last time out can mean we can put a line through that run.  Good ground not a problem.

I am not sure the favourite Poquelin will appreciate the firmer conditions he will get tomorrow.  5/2 is just too short.

Albertas Run is certainly a key player.  6/1 for last years winner who will love the ground, of significant interest.  This is the Majors selection with a saver on Tartak each way.

The World Hurdle

With ground going against Grand Crus, his current drift to 3/1 could continue.  Contrary, Big Bucks has been trimmed back into evens (long gone is the 11/8 the Major took, sorry for crowing).

Grand Crus looked a real star in the making when clearing away from the field in a Grade 2 here latest.

I cannot see anything other than a Big Bucks win.  He looked at his best at Newbury this year and this is surely going to be the hat-trick effort of World Hurdles.   I think he will go off clear odds on favourite so get stuck in now.  For those who don’t like evens, I would say that the reward of a win on Big Bucks is far more than just doubling your money, it will be a huge thrill to be on a true champion with a huge crowd cheering him in.

Zaynar could go well if suited by a step up to 3 miles – This former champion hurdle contender is not exactly solid material but on best form is at least in the right league.

Fiveforthree will be popular and I expect it to go off shorter than 14/1.  The Major tipped it up when winning on reappearance but I just don’t think it is good enough in this company.

Sometimes, keep it simple – BIG BUCKS on BIG BUCKS! ‘C’mon Ruby!’

Byrne Plate

Ferdy Murphy served us well with a winner in the last on Tuesday and I suspect Hollo Ladies has been a planned horse for the Byrne Plate for some time.   Raced over probably unsuitably longer distances, the horse which looked progressive at two miles has had a mark of 139 preserved.  Dropped back in trip, I expect, or at least vaguely hope, for a massive run.

Venetia Williams has taken this race in three of the last five runnings and so you have to fear Quartz de Thais.  Not for the Major though, have a chunky slice and then it is Hollo Ladies all night long!

The Kim Muir

Another tricky handicap with plenty of big priced hopefuls.

I am not sure that the handicapper had the measure of Mostly Bob penalising the horse 11lbs for a Doncaster success we never found at at Kempton where the first fence bustle and subsequent fall robbed us of a better assessment of the true ceiling, difficult to assess but of interest to the Major with Dickie Johnson in the saddle.

Galaxy Rock is the other to catch the eye at 18/1 – Good ground is a plus and he is lightly tried over fences, Jonjo is due a decent winner.

Junior has a good chance too, I just feel the price is short enough.  As for the tip, take a slice of Mostly Bob each way and thank me later.

Good luck on day three.  Whatever happens bet like a man possessed.  Win or lose, ensure you have invested slightly more than you should.  After all what is it all for if you have not a palpitating moment.  We know better than those who bet with minimal stakes, fearful of loss.  How their fears have mastered their enjoyment of life.  Stake more than you should.

Sleep well.  In the morning I suggest eggs benedict, fresh orange juice, good coffee.  Take the papers early, have a constitutional walk, take the air.  It will be a good day.

The Majors Saturday Service – FA Cup Fourth Round Tips, Betfair Chase Tips, Kingwell Hurdle Tips – Ascot, Wincanton, Gowran Park KABOOM!!!!!!!

Good morning from the outskirts of Pershore where the Major calls to prayer all brave punters of Britain.  Rejoice and be glad for it is time for the Saturday service from the Major. 

His undertaker, a man of morals, returned £2,000 found in his jacket pocket. Sir Clement would urge us to bet bravely.

Two posts for the price of one – Breaking news – A new poster who goes by the name of The Cleveland Steamer has provided some excellent analysis of the days events – Although the content deserves a write up of it’s own, I have attached it to the bottom of the Majors post today. 

The last few weeks have been tough.  A few very positive moments can be drawn.  The Sunday post which tipped two winners from two selections at 22/1 and 11/2.  The Friday selection of Pere Blanc which turned out to be the handicap snip.  However, the overall strike rate needs a lift and the Major aims to deliver with this weeks Saturday service. 

A terrific weekend of sporting action awaits us.  The Major has reviewed the FA Cup 4th Round for tips, the horseracing tipping service which is extremely profitable this month has selections from the Betfair Ascot Chase as well as a couple of other eye catchers from other courses.  It is also the start of the cricket world cup.

In one sense, seeing this set of tricky and devious conundrums laid out before me by the worst of men (my devious enemy, the bookmaker) blinds me in vitriol, should my own answer to the enemy will be violent and thunderous?

Wait, temper those thoughts, be calm, this wrath is destructive and un-profitable.  As good Chinese philosophy teaches, the mind is clouded by such vivid anger.  Thankfully for the Major, last night, an angel of the lord visited me.  She bought such soothing peace in the form of a fine home cooked banoffee pie.  All modern concerns were quickly ridden from the mind.  Where there was discord, she bought harmony.  She shall be remembered at tea time, when the enemy is vanquished once more to the shadows and the fine wines are drawn from the cellar.

Now the Major is prepared.  Strength has been restored, the vital signs are glowing and we shall approach the days sporting opportunity with the renewed vigour of a man well fed on the sort of down to earth goodness that you can see, replayed in the eyes of one on his deathbed, content in the knowledge that he witnessed a full life and in it enjoyed the wholesomeness of variety. 

The Majors personal hero is the late Sir Clement Freud who lived the fullest life as a foodie, gambler, journalist, MP, military man, nightclub owner, horseracing owner, jockey and broadcaster.  His Racing Post columns were a highlight of my week.  You can purchase a book of these columns and I would suggest that if you have a sense of the Bon Vive and enjoy racing, you do. His outlook on todays events would be one of valour.

So, to the sports fields of Britain, load the large cannon young man.  Bring your charger up, wipe that blood from your lance and let us charge once more in the Queens name into the fray.

Let us start with the tricky Grand National trial at Haydock.  With the weights out for the National, now is the time we will start to see some ‘surprising’ runs from the staying chase division as the shrewd trainers unleash their good things.

Todays 3.20 at Haydock could just reveal this very thing.  This is why I cannot have Pricewise assertions that this is likely to go to those at the top of the weights with the experience and class in the book.  The Major forms the opposite view, although does think Carruthers has a chance at 10s.  We are looking for something top class that has dropped in the weights or something featherweight, yet to show us the true form.

Haydocks heavy going is going to be mud bath status by mid afternoon and being a Grand National trial over three and a half miles, this race is going to take all the getting.  We need something that stays forever. 

West End Rocker is one that catches the eye.  An improver and one that is many people’s idea of the National winner, it has also won its sole race on heavy ground, considered.

The real eye catcher that for the Major could be well in is Le Beau Bai.  This has been sliding down the weights and has been weighted to get competitive with West End Rocker.  It is also a mudlark, striking 33% wins on heavy (raced 9 times) and placing 6.  The stable is in fine form with ten runners in the last week, 3 winning and 7 placing. 

The other chief threat could be the Twiston Davies horse, Major Malarkey.  I suspect this one could have a lot more to come at marathon distances.  It looks well treated today off 10 stone 8 pounds and son Sam takes a further 3lb off.  This is a step into the unknown with the horse but they know what they are doing and 10/1 at Stan James may look ridiculous later on.  Raced once on heavy and not seen at its best, the ground is a slight concern but a decent strike rate on soft gives hope.

The advice is to back both Major Malarkey and Le Beau Bai.  10/1, Stan James and 9/1 are generally available.  Rule out West End Rocker at your peril but we have to follow value relentlessly.

The preceding race at Haydock is a Grade 2 hurdle, the Rendlesham.  I find the outsider of the field interesting.  Kayf Aramis has been poor this year finishing tailed off behind Bensalem at Cheltenham in the latest outing.  I wonder if the headgear coming off could spark life into this one.  Kayf is still young enough to leave a mark on a race like this and last years second was pretty good.  Probably nothing beats Bensalem in normal circumstances but with the rain forecast to continue all morning, I wonder if a chance should be taken on Chief Dan George.  14/1 is a great price if this turns into a mud battle.  Go for the win bet, each way slices the value up too much in this 6 runner contest.

At Ascot we have some fine races.

The 2.25 is an interesting contest with french trained Royal Tune coming over to have another pop at a listed race.  Last seen at Ffos Las, it could have won carrying my own considerable frame around!  The Major is the first to say that 16lbs of uplift in the weights may not be anything like the amount needed to halt this one.

9/4 is available, have two slices, send me a postcard….. this looks mustard.

The Betfair Ascot Chase at 3pm is the race of the day.  The market has it down to the first two, with Riverside Theatre and Pride of Dulcote, 7/4 and 5/2 respectively.  Riverside has been a horse of profit for the Major, successfully finishing second when selected as the 14/1 ante post tip for the King George, solid form.  Paul Nicholls though has always had a huge amount of respect for Pride of Dulcote who has shown mixed form, beating Punchestown which initially looked super impressive but subsequently let down by the losers following runs.  This is a difficult race to pick. 

Tartak has always been a horse that the Major felt had a big run in and at 8, still has the opportunity.  Big Fella Thanks wants the rain to pour down and this looks too short.

On balance, the favourite, Riverside Theatre at 7/4 looks the value selection.  No bet advised though as Pride of Dulcote could clearly have Gold Cup aspirations.

The 3.40 at Gowran Park is a three runner event, which is insane given the 26k Euro prize pot.  Fenton has chosen this as the comeback route for Dunguib, the former star novice hurdler who B T O’Connell gave a confident ride to at the festival, upsetting many backers when failing to close down the lead.

The Major has always thought that this horse is a bit special.  20/1 for the Champion Hurdle might not be a bad bet.  Certainly the young jockey will appreciate not being quite so prominent in the build up.  8/11 is skinny enough but I would have a slice.

The Kingwell Hurdle (3.45 Wincanton) is a cracking prep race for the Champion Hurdle.  Several market players are out today and it is the second best race of the day. 

Mille Chief is the favourite following a seriously good handicap effort last time out.  The Major could be wrong (he often is) but I feel this one is short of top class.  This makes 5/4 about his chances a bit skinny.  The Major has had previous success plowing the furrow of Silvianco Conti.  Some would be disappointed about his latest third but come on!!  It was behind Menorah and Cue card.  The big question is whether 2m is his best trip.  The track record of Dicheat sending horses toWincanton though persuades the Major that the master trainer Nicholls has few concerns.  7/2 available, load the large cannon and allow its noble roar to be heard across the mild and fine Somerset fields.

Uttoxeter was abandoned.  I wonder if that relates to the racing or just a general comment about the town.

The Majors leaves the horseracing cards of today with a final tip at Gowran Park.  4.10 the Maiden hurdle.  The Major wants form in the book, nearish the head of the market, good jockey booking, lenient price….. let’s see.

On balance I settle for Dibella.  Hopeless in a couple of novices, now in a handicap (already arouses the instincts!) rated a fair 83 on the flat, racing off 10-10 when you take the jockeys claim into consideration, no-one has a market yet, which is not surprising, but the 10/1 forecast SP in the Racing Post, I think will be 16/1.  At that price have a win bet.

To the fields of sporting chance…

Last week, I suggested West Brom were shocking value at home to the Hammers who could be backed at 3/1.  At half time, I was eating humble pie.  At full-time I felt confident once more that it was the correct bet at the prices.  It seems the bookmaking fraternity still oppose my view that Albion are simply too weak in defense to present a good bet and they go 18/5 (Victor Chandler) that Wolves can win at the Hawthorns in tomorrows televised game.  Wolves are more organised than West Ham and a Geordie girls hen night in Blackpool is more organised that West Broms back four.  On that evidence, I suggest you load both cannons, fire, reload and repeat until your turf accountant concedes.

I am going to stick to my quality assertions about the FA Cup and suggest you should back a double for West Ham (evs) and Stoke 7/10 against Burnley and Brighton respectively, both Premier League clubs at home.  This is a return of £68 to a purple one – These prices are both with Hills who are bets priced about both outcomes.  Thank me later.

Equally Birmingham should not go unbacked at the short but very fair 7/10 with Victor Chandler.  Sheffield Wednesday are poor enough and even with players rested, Blues will surely be too strong.

The Cricket World Cup kicks off today and Le Grand Fromage, a guest poster has already put up his tips for, world cup top wicket taker and world cup top scorer.  The Major will not add to these selections, instead suggesting you read the expert selections.

This evenings fare will undoubtedly be game.  I am going to suggest a Chateau Lezongar to compliment.  Don’t forget to tip like a man who had £50 on the nose on a Le Beau Bai win and now has an uncomfortable wedge of notes tightly wrapped and held by a money clip inside your jacket.  If the wedge is not there, tip the same, this is only right.  At midnight be upstanding and toast the Queen.  Pure of heart, simply pleasures, the joys of being an Englishman in this the finest of times. 

Todays Nap is hard.  I love the Wolves bet.  It has to be (sorry Mr Hill).

For those who like the lucky 15, I suggest Royal Tune, Wolves, Silvianco Conti and Birmingham.  For the brave, substitute Birmingham for Major Malarkey!

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The Cleveland Steamer – Guest Post

The Majors is delighted to introduce a new guest blogger, The Cleveland Steamer who has written the following assessment of the days value.  Please note that any selections are those of the guest blogger and not the Major who only records his own selections in his betting records.  To see all of the Majors selections, you can see a full record of all  February tips here.  All of this is available in the top menu. 

Morning sports fans! With the onset of the FA cup value bets seem few and far between today in the great fields of the UK today. Crawley to win at 48/1 or draw at 8/1 seems far too short for my liking. Scanning the remaining fixtures no value springs out. Even Brighton 4/1 away would not yield the necessary.

However, hope springs internal in the form of the Premier leagues poorer and distant cousin: the Championship. The unpredictable nature of this gladiatorial battle ground means risk savvy punters steer away from this hot bed. Men are men in this league and the bets reflect the fact that only Preston are dead and buried. But there are two games that deserve a steamer.

Leeds vs Norwich

This will be an epic match and in normal circumstances one to avoid. Two heavy weights going at it can often be poor as a spectacle with managers ensuring they do not lose points rather than gain. Leeds are strong and with the Elland road faithful blowing a fearful breeze 6/4 seems reasonable for a home win. Combine this with Norwich under strength at the back and missing their influential centre back 6/4 seems good odds. But the bookies are not taking into account one thing: Paul Lambert. Delias boys have been a revelation under this man known as their answer to Jose Mourniho. He is a leader and has cemented himself as  the prince of East Anglia- only second to King Alan Partridge. 23/10 is superb value for a team who never say die and a definite steamer for this afternoon. For those who like even more heat from their chillis look to the winner being scored 75 mins to the end of the match. Norwich have scored after 90 twice in last month. Surely a sign of the never say die attitude the fierce scot has bred into these contenders. Have a stroke and watch the ire of the bookie rise.

Scunthorpe vs Derby 

On paper this is a Derby demolition. Scunthorpe having struggled this season. Derby have Old big heads offspring in the big chair and have seasoned veterans throughout the team. Even without home advantage the Rams are 6/4 to win. However, two key factors make a Scunthorpe win at 17/10 a tasty bet. Form: Scunthorpe took out Derbys neighbours, Forest, 1-0 during the week. Some would say a freak result but the confidence and belief this will bring will be visible on the field of dreams. The second is Derby. The steamer watched with interest when Derby were destroyed by Leicester a week or two ago. Leicester are a strong team but Derby rolled over and had the bellies ticked. They looked lost and without a leader. An early goal, a deflection or a set piece for Scunthorpe the belief will drain from this Derby side. For those who like the odd extravagant punt check the odds out on Clough leaving after a Scunthorpe defeat. Stranger things have happened.

Tips across the full Cheltenham Card, Football and Boxing… and X Factor

The Major wishes all enthusiastic punters of Britain a very fine morning.  Followers, we are on a remarkable run, it has been ten weeks since we last posted a Saturday service that did not make a profit.

Once again, this morning, the Major has been up early to select the finest cuts from the delectable delights of this weekends sporting action for your personal astute perusal.

The coffee has been bubbling away for many hours, there is a fine smell in the air, coffee bean and money.  I feel ready to stand with each and every punter of Britain, shoulder to shoulder and take on the old enemy once again.  The turf accountant has priced his markets and has delivered his conundrums, we shall solve..

What a magnificent card at Cheltenham.  As previously posted, marvelous stuff moving the Tingle Creek.  A shame that Twist Magic ducks it but Masterminded more than makes up for that.  The Major cannot attend but will be there in spirit.  To those friends on course, enjoy the Guiness.  I have solved the card which we shall cover first (sports followers, keep scrolling)….

11.40 – What a time to start racing, do you drink before or not?  Of course you do..  Then you tag along to a friendly looking turf accountant and place a bet as follows.   The good ground could be key today and the 4 I think will go well in conditions are Woolcombe Folly, Imsingingtheblues, Tartak and I’m Delilah.  Ferdy Murphy and Tom George don’t seem to be running many at the minute and those that have are not placing.  Pipe is at best in uncertain form, which leaves Woolcombe Folly as the obvious selection.  It is a concern whether he goes around Cheltenham and so at 4/1,  will avoid advising to back the horse I think most likely and look at the value instead.  Fiendish Flames trainer Donald McCain is in fine touch and can be backed right now at 11/1 with Coral.  Have an each way slice but keep the stakes low.  Woolcombe could take it and I wouldn’t be putting anyone off a bet on Tartak with his 10lb claim, I’m Delilah who is sure to run a race on a surface he likes and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Oh Crick bounce back.  Wide open, stakes low, wedge intact chaps.

12.10 – Triumph Hurdle Trial – Placing large stakes on juvenile hurdles is the fast way to the poor house in the Majors view.  Again, this is not a great betting environment.  Sam Winner looks the obvious candidate and his odds on price reflects his good looking winner at Cheltenham last month (advised by the Major).  Whilst he is the likely winner, I can’t back a juvenile at that price (even one with all important course form), who knows what might pop up – Plus, the Majors boss doesn’t like them this short and is bound to be on course – The courteous thing is to find the value.  A media luz is an obvious potential thorn in the favourites side but having not jumped a hurdle its an almighty leap to place it around 2/1.  For those who need an interest, I would advise Pantxoa who can currently be backed at 10/1 with Bet365 on each way terms of quarter odds the first three (well done B365, best price and best terms, top marks from the Major).

12.45 – The novice chase is another conundrum.  Back to 3m 1f, Time for Rupert, last months course winner will be a warm favourite.  I quite like the look of Quinz as one that could improve past them all.  Previous jumping errors seem to have been ironed out by Hobbs and this horse has had two confidence boosting wins.  More rain would have made Cannington Brook of interest.  11/2 for my selection with Totesport, get it quick they are stand out on the price.

1.20 – Relkeel.  Top class stuff this.  Karabak, Zaynar, Celestial and Sentry Duty may have their quirks but they all have top notch form in the bank.  Two of them have recorded better RPR ratings than the likes of Cue Card and Menorah who will steal the headlines today.  The problem here is which one is going to put the best foot forward.  Henderson has obvious claims with both Zaynar and Sentry Duty and of the two I prefer the one that Geraghty has chosen not to ride.  Sentry won a three horse race here in January and will be fine with the ground.  I like the profile of this Henderson horse that he has kept busy on the flat (usually a good sign – like Punjabi in his champion hurdle season).  It’s a Grade 2 so Sam Twiston Davies cannot claim but I still like Banjaxed Girl who carries least weight of all.  Quartz de Thaix has done nothing wrong but will be challenged for a lead today.  Karabak wants rain in the Majors view.  Zaynar will be a danger to all if the headgear has the desired impact.  It’s a tricky conundrum but on balance I think two are worth backing each way – Sentry Duty 7/1 and Carlo Brigante whose trainer, Gordon Elliot, has bought over from Ireland where he could have been engaged in other contests.  Fourth in the triumph was no shabby result and at 4, plenty of improvement can come from this 22/1 shot (Stan James thank you – especially as you are 1/4 the place).  Have a slice of both.

We are in the second half of the card at 1.55 – What a monster of superlative racing.  Can anything beat Masterminded?  He looked tuned to his best back at Ascot but can he be trusted these days.  He pinged the third last that day like the horse of old (tipped up by the Major) clearing it majestically without touching a bristle.  Masterminded will win if he is 80% fit and ready.  Should the game slip, Gauvain will pick up the pieces.  Strong win bet advised with Paddy Power who go evens is advised.  For those who like a tasty price, I suggest the straight forecast with Gauvain – Incidentally, if you agree with the Major that Masterminded, the best horse in training 18 months ago has returned to his best (he is only 7 and in fine hands) then why wouldn’t you avail 888 of their 5/1 offer that he wins both today and in the Champion Chase……. 

2.30 Vote AP – Just a couple of weeks ago, The Major was on his soapbox wondering why the industry was not getting more behind our champion jump jockey McCoy for Sports Personality of the Year – Great to see the race names for this cause – Let’s hope it has the effect.  There well may be some sentimental money for Fingeronthepulse ridden by AP, but none of the Majors.  Daves Dream looked impressive in November and the Major would have been on if Pricewise hadn’t stolen the value first – Well done to him advised it at 13/2.  Out of the handicap by a pound, Matuhi is an obvious eyecatcher at 16/1 and an each way bet is not a bad shout.  I am looking for the winner though.  Little Josh won’t get the easy lead he had last time in November plus I am sure he wants the word soft to appear in the going.  To win this Little Josh would have to post a better rating than Exotic Dancer with his last to first performance several years ago, it’s a big ask.   Great Endeavour could be a threat if running a proper race, maybe he wasn’t tuned up for the Paddy Power – 10/1 is fair.  The one for the Major is heavily weighted but classy Mad Max.  Again, Geraghty prefers another but the Major respects Carberry as a booking and this experienced sort could be involved if he is tucked away and turned off for the first two miles. 

3.05 International Hurdle – Well well well.  Hmmmmmmmmmm.  Cue Card, potential superstar.  Menorah – Supreme Novices winner and the winner of the greatwood available at 9/4 with Paddy Power.  Silvicano Conti – Twice tipped successfully by the Major this year.  This is the greatest conundrum of all.  Of the remainder, Astracad at an astronomical 50/1 could run into a place if two of the top three don’t fire, it certainly does its best running on good.  So does Clerks Choice, last time out an odds of crash at Haydock following a Cheltenham win (another Major tip!), could return to form which might get a place at 12/1 – Anything better would be a surprise.    The Major has puzzled over the top three for some time.  Conti has established credentials after defeating two decent fields this season but last time out I cannot help but feel the performance of Zaynar and some of the others was too bad to be true – Conti may have been flattered, at my peril I shall overlook.  This then comes to a punch up between Menorah who has slightly more experience and a Grade 1 hurdle festival race to his name versus probably the most exciting bumper horse we have seen for some years.  There are similarities between the hype around Cue Card and that of Dunguib last year.  There is however one notable difference, Colin Tizzard has decided that instead of placing his potential world beater in walk over contests, Tizzard has bravely decided to ask the question now….. is Cue Card a champion bumper contender this year at his tender age?  I admire this.  I also think it points to a degree of confidence.  Why risk your star if you don’t think the answer is yes.  Cue Card could take an easier route and rock up at the festival to take the Supreme.  Finally, I like to back horses with that chance of being a true star.  Prove me wrong Menorah but you are simply a damn fine hurdler with an 8/1s chance of winning the blue riband hurdling event in March.  Cue Card, you could be a Gold Cup winner.  With that in mind, don’t you want to be able to say that you were on when he picked up the International all those years ago? My advice is to get on Cue Card at the available 2/1 – The head expresses some caution that we must remember this is a 4yo.  Class tells.  We shall see.

The luck last is the Grade 2 Albert Barlett Novices Hurdle, hardly a bad race to finish on – What a superb card, why am I not there?  Henderson looks to me like he is sat on a star in Mossley.  5/1 with Corals right now, have a slice and lets hope he can get us out of any bother later!

I wish everyone attending the finest of afternoons.  And in other sports….

What a week at Newcastle, clearly unhappy with 11th, Ashley choose to get ri of stable influence Hughton.  The team played atrociously at West Brom where they were expected to give a good game to the Baggies.  The Major feels they must have known, the body language seems to suggest this.  I am not a huge fan of Liverpool as regular readers know but surely 23/20 (Blue Sq) is too big.  OK no Gerrard but I think Newcastle would be beaten by most Premier League teams today so a top half team should have no problem – There is talk of boycotts and protests, this could be a choppy time for the toon.  I don’t have a problem with Pardew, he is articulate and he has as much chance of avoiding relegation as Hughton did (although if the movements this week do cause a fundamental shift in confidence, this might turn out to be Pardews poisoned chalice) 

Spurs are an astonishing price to win at home to Chelsea.  Chelsea are in free fall at the moment.  Wilkins departure had a similar impact to the one I am expecting at Newcastle.  Drogba looks way off, they are missing the steel in the middle, Lampard, Essien and Terry.  Chelsea look vulnerable.  15/8!!! Spurs are priced as if they would win this just once in three – Sorry, that’s absurd.  Have a chunk.

More football bets for you.  Brightons recent turn of form for the worse has meant that they are now overpriced to win at Huddersfield.  Brighton who played FC United midweek stayed up north to avoid two long journeys in the week and I think that reflects the professional approach the probable league winners bring.  How on earth 11/4 is available with Coral, the Major does not know – Brighton are a class act and can beat 5th placed Huddersfield – Load the large cannon.

Bury are also capable of defying the odds and picking up a win at Wycombe.  Bury look a different team on the road and have won their last two away games by an aggregate 8-1.  2/1 to for Bury (3rd) to win at Wycombe (6th) – tasty.

Hull will struggle at Palace in the afternoon kick off.  Hulls striker has a less than 1 in 10 strike rate (admittedly used as a winger for many games) and with the uninspiring Barmby in the hole, it is hard to see Hull netting at improving Palace.  7/5 available with Hills.

On form I would back Sunderland to beat Fulham at Craven Cottage.  11/4 can be taken with Victor Chandler.  Might be worth waiting to see if the influential players of Gyan and Gordon pass late fitness tests before plunging.

West Brom arrive at Villa Park full of confidence after turning the recent run of poor form around with a good 3-1 defeat of poor Newcastle.  Villa have lost all 4 league games under Houllier which points to a value 12/5 bet with Stan James.  No bet for the Major but a likely contender.

Khan fights in his toughest ever test in the Majors view against Maidana.  Maidana can really punch which is reflected in an excellent stoppage rate.  Khan looks slightly vulnerable to a punch and this boy could land one.  As much as it pains me, I think the 11/4 for a Maidana win represents better value.  If they had been fairer and offered 4/1 by KO or TKO I would have had a slice of that too.

Having delved into Xfactor last week, the Major feels compelled to see if he can back up his winning NAP last week, Mary to exit at 18/19.  We nailed the fact that Cher and Mary would fight out the bottom two.  The Major still is of the view that Matt is the likely winner.  Having advised Rebecca last week, it is pleasing to see her come into second favouritism.  I am surprised though that Matt can be backed at 10/11 given his apparent support.  I would take a good slice of that.

The NAP is Liverpool, Masterminded, Matt Cardle and Brighton in an accumulator – Don’t say I’m never adventurous!!!

The Major wishes you the finest of betting Saturdays.  I wish all those at Prestbury Park the most succesful of days.  May you empty the enemies satchel with a smile.  Tell him the Major sent you and we will see him again shortly.