Tag Archives: the package

The Saturday Sermon – Hennessy Gold Cup 25/1 Newbury Tip

Good morning from the Major who writes from a bright Worcestershire scene where the top of the grass has been licked by frost and dark curled brown leaves clutter the paths.

At the start of the week, my locale flooded, rivers burst their banks, unable to contain the violent fast strains of rainwater collected in supply chains unimaginable upriver. It was one of those exciting scenarios that gifts the realisation that in such a modern age, we can still be held at the will of whatever the Atlantic or Artic decides to spit at us.

Many folk like myself enjoy such excitement, it is invigorating. It rattles the soul a little, throws up new angles and offers new reflections. After all, isn’t that the best we can hope for in life. For some, their reaction to drama is to complain….. come the Majors revolution, these will be the first to go against the wall. They will be in fine company – Piers Morgan, Anne Robinson and anyone associated with Radio 5 non sports output. I shall despatch them personally with my own pistol. Not enjoying the spectacles given freely to you is an offence to god.

This week, the Major was back at University studying Operations Management (does the supply chain comment make more sense now?). I am working in a small team of fellow students, thrown together by the course, purely chance encounter. Since a man like me has most sorts of debauchery bubbling just inches from the surface, it was not long until they sniffed me out as one who likes a gamble, was good with the bottle and game for mischief.

Since they have been introduced to the Major, I thought it fair to introduce them.

Pierre the investment banker thoroughly good sort with a raucous laugh. Nataliya who was straight as an arrow at first but with her growing confidence, comes a glint in her eye. Oliver, thoroughly clever sort, direct thinking – says exactly what he thinks. Tom whose employment at Rolls Royce is matched by a suitably plummy tone and Richard a man whose wide eyed reactions to new thoughts would make him a good poker opponent.

They are good sorts and I intend to improve them immensely by immersing them in a gluttony of dubious moral indulgences. You cannot pay for that sort of education. They can thank me later.

I wanted to mention why I like large cities and something about perceived wisdoms from a gambling perspective but instead we shall head to the sports, saving those thoughts for another time. Daub thy war paint young warrior and call up your light horse. We shall attack the high ground which our enemy has taken with breathtaking speed, scattering him before us and capturing his cannons.

To the sports….

The long distance hurdle puts Big Bucks back out and he is currently 1/10. I agree with the price, he has time to do a crossword and win this surely! Not a tipping race.

Tips for the Hennessy

I do love Newbury for jump racing. It is a fair course with demanding enough obstacles but what I like most is the long straight that seems designed to create dramatic stories. It is a shame Timmy Murphy is injured as he knows more than most how a hold up ride around Newbury bears fruit.

When I look at the Hennessy trends, it strikes me that you have two sorts of winners. Underestimated 6-8 year olds who show tremendous improvement to exploit lenient marks and seasoned top class jumpers like Denman and Trabolgan, happy to win shouldering a burden.

Could Tidal Bay fit the latter pattern? He has certainly reinvigorated the memories of youth, he strains at the bit now reminiscent of his juvenile days when surging on the bend to go clear and stay on up the hill to become an Arkle horse. Not today for the Major though, I always thought he was a bit hit and miss and never quite the finished article. Could be wrong.

Last years surprise winner Carruthers is off the same mark bar a pound And could be a threat held up. Is a repeat on the cards? Just doesn’t seem the sort for the Major.

Teaforthree is a interesting runner for Rebecca Curtis who never fails to make the Majors heart flutter. This animal will go prominent which puts me off but not as much as the core focus for this Cheltenham winner being the Welsh National in the Christmas holiday.

There seems a slight cloud over the Henderson outfit at the moment, many are running well and the strike rate holds up but in the mix are a number of disappointing efforts. This and the ground concerns (now all clear) mean that no one is buying into Bobs Worth. Interesting given that he was an impressive RSA winner to First Lieutenant and will be fit first time up (won last seasons debut). He might be inexperienced but he is likely the only likely Gold Cup contender in the field.

Remember, it makes good sense to swim against the tide sometimes as a gambler. 11/2 Bet365 looks massive especially as there are 5 places available.

The final horse I want to mention is the Hennessy tip…. DIAMOND HARRY. Already a Hennessy winner, my selection has seemingly lost the plot entirely. Following Diamond has been an expensive endeavour for the Major who was convinced he would beat up the Wincanton Badger Ales field last time out.

It is too early though to give up, he is a classy sort and the result of his recent derisory efforts is that he is now a stone below the mark from which he won the Hennessy (over Denman let’s not forget although a substantial weighted difference!). Load the cannons and raise a glass to resurrection and redemption.

The winner of the Badger Ales, The Package is the Pricewise horse although I don’t if Tom Scudamore replacing the injured Timmy Murphy is a significant blow to the horses chances. Have a saver on Bobs Worth near the off, his price is getting silly.

12.50 Newbury

Having said that of Henderson, stick Ma Filleule (God-daughter) in your multiples, exciting French import and I’m not sure the Uttoxeter form offered up in opposition amounts to much.

2.20 Newcastle – The Fighting Fifth

I love this race ever since the apple of my national hunt eye, Punjabi, took this on the way to Champion Hurdle glory….. Ahhhh blissful memories.

Today’s meeting only just got the go ahead and the heavy conditions have cut the field to four. It looks a penalty kick for Cinders and Ashes who is proven in conditions. So is Trifolium who also likes cut and so that’s my forecast. Countrywide Flame will surely be found out in the mud.

1.20 Fairyhouse

Final horses and thoughts from me on the Saturday Sermon….. Protarasfor the Noel Meade yard at Fairyhouse is a tip. This horse looks like it has some scope and at only 5, seems on a very workable mark. In good hands and 12/1 is generous.

I have to point out that Davy Russell skips a good Hennessy ride on First Lieutenant to take a promising book of rides at Fairyhouse. That looked an advert in itself and I’m going to tip a lucky 15 on Bright New Dawn 8/1, Midnight Game 10/3 (Simenon out), Bog Warrior (a horse I love, a real galloper) 11/10 and throw in Bristol City 8/5.

On the football fields, I am not convinced Villas scrappy 1-0 victory over Reading is a turning point and ‘Arry will have QPR wound up in front of the home fans, 11/10 must bet. I like Watford who are odds on but should win and. Finally 8/5 Bristol City who are in the relegation zone but can beat a confused and demoralised Wolves.

May your dinner be paid for by Diamond Harry at 25/1 and consist of steak, wine and fine accompaniments. I hope the company is generous in nature and as the haze of brandy settles on your mind, relax, these are good times.

Courage and roll the dice.

Cracking Sporting Weekend – Superb Target Rich Gambling Environment

Well good morning from fine Pershore where the leaden sky carries the weight of the Majors thoughts.  Last time out, we had a couple of horse winners but overall recorded a loss, with a particularly poor set of football bets, amends shall be made, the record will be set straight.

The coffee has been consumed, the research conducted and now it is decision time concerning the opportunities to give that duality of an existence, our friend and enemy, the turgid bookmaker; a good tanking.

I was pleased to see Mancini as short at 9/4 for the next manager for the chop.  This was advised at 25/1 by the Major in the post Triumph and Disaster.  Manchester City are not a good outfit.  Their best player wants to go and they seem incapable of fielding their best side and motivating them to put a shift of work in.  It would not surprise me to see West Brom beat them on Sunday and the 25/1 advice turn into a tasty little winner.

There is such a fantastic plethora of sporting opportunity this weekend for the Major.  On track we have the Breeders Cup (will Workforce go?), Hanagan versus Hughes,  and Kauto Stars run at Down Royal (Hurricane permitting!) – Some tidy looking premier league games, rugby, cricket warm up matches….. let’s start with the fussball.

A couple of no bets for me are Stoke and Fulham.  Sunderland were shocking in their derby game and I was very tempted to put Stoke up at 3/1 but for three factors.  One, Bruce is a decent manager who will have read the riot act to his players, Gyan is making his debut and looks decent to me and Stoke are crap.

Fulham could beat Villa who are winless in four and are missing their main three strikers in Carew, Heskey and Agbonlahor.  However, Fulhams own form is shocking, they have not won in five fixtures which included West brom, West Ham and Stoke….. I’ll sit that out too although a draw at 23/10 could be the result.

Lets have a look at some I will back.  Spurs at Bolton is a tight call but I think pricing Spurs at 6/4 gives enough incentive to follow Harrys boys.  I have no qualms about the Inter effect as Tottenham have rebounded from all of their European exploits well this season.  I am more concerned about Boltons organised outfit starving a decent Spurs team, particularly in the absence of Van der Vaart who I have been advising as 1st goalscorer to anyone that will listen, small bet advised on a spurs win.

A larger chunk of your role should be placed on Birmingham beating West Ham.  West Ham are missing one of their two influential midfielders in Noble and may also be without Upson.  This is quality they cannot afford to lose.  Birmingham have Jerome returning who will link up with the giant Zigic well and they should create chances through Hleb and Beausejour.  21/20 is available from Hills, evens is the general price, load the big guns.

Chelsea also look a good bet at Liverpool at a price of 11/10.  Let’s face facts, Chelsea would be clear odds on if Liverpool had not recovered to win 3-1 in midweek.  That game showed Liverpool for what they are, poor but with a world-class centre midfielder.  With Torres looking shoddy, I cannot imagine a scenario in which Liverpool win.  I accept that spirits may have been raised by two wins in a row and I know that Chelsea are not playing their best stuff either but I do fancy the boys in blue to raise their game in the Anfield clash tomorrow, confident suggestion.

Aidy Boothroyd is doing a great job at unfashionable Coventry and I would fancy them to win their third league game on the trot at home to a travel happy Leeds outfit.  7/5 represents a decent price.  It is no fluke that Coventry are fourth and although Leeds are just 4 points off them – Coventry won nicely at Sheffield United last time out, a price of 7/5 suggests Coventry would only win this five times out of twelve clashes, I think the numbers are in our favour. 

East Fife have appointed a new boss and the bounce back factor could make 15/8 a tidy price as they entertain a decent Alloa – Stick this in your multiples.

The Autumn internationals of the eggball sort see England entertain the All Blacks today at Twickenham.  I think the 11/2 for home victory may be a shade generous.  OK, you must fancy the All Blacks but there is reason for hope.  Sheridans return will bolster a front line and the England team seemed to be improving as the six nations developed.  It is a long way back to the last England defeat of New Zealand but allow yourself a patriotic one on this with a little touch of hope.

On track today, there is an awesome line up.  Let’s start Stateside with the always superb Breeders Cup meeting.  8 races, 6 Grade 1, 2 Grade 2!

Last night Midday failed to get up to win, finishing second in what I thought was Britains best idea of a Churchill Downs winner on the card.  Tonight, Sir Michael Stoute is still to decide about the participation of Workforce.  What a fuss he is making over the firm conditions.  Why he does not state his position I am unclear.  All week he has complained about the track and put forward that workforce is an uncertain runner without offering certainty over what conditions he sees fit to run his star.  It would be a travesty if Workforce did not run and I believe he will.  Sir Michael is lining up his excuses in my view but I am hoping he does not need any.

The most exciting horse in the world runs in the Breeders Cup Classic (10.45pm) and I think everyone will want Zenyatta to win her toughest ever test.  She has won 19 from 19 in her amazing career to stretch this to 20 on a surface she is unproven on against the colts is a big ask but then thats what the superstar equine performers do, perform miracles.  My heart pleads for Zenyatta the machine to win (Trainer of Lookin at Lucky Bob Baffert said: When you see her go by horses, its like watching a killer whale play with seals).  However, my head says Quality Road may do it from the front.  He will be ridden aggressively and all I can hope is that Zenyatta comes hard at him in the straight and overpowers him for victory, it is all she deserves but 8/1 each way Quality Road for me.  Zenyatta could be vulnerable, it is famously more difficult to suit her style of finishing kick with the dirt surface that just gives horses slightly less traction…. I hope my gambling instinct is wrong.

In the preceeding race, Workforce is 7/4 to win the turf race which I think is a vulnerable price.  Al Khali at 14/1 is preferred.

Another cracking match bet in the 8.40 where two great rivals meet again – Who would tip Paco Boy to finally have an overdue and deserved victory against Goldikova?  At 6/1 an each way steal is available (Laddies), have some of that. 

While the flat world stars of Zenyatta, Workforce (my Arc winner), Goldikova and the like star at Churchill Downs, Kauto makes his usual debut at Down Royal in the JNwine.com.

4/6 on is not a bad price for Kauto who, as long as the Cheltenham form has not damaged his confidence and as long as he retains a half of his ability, should win comfortably – That said, I would want to see the weather conditions first.  There are some interesting competitors and I make Sizing Europe an awful 4/1 shot.  Killyglen, I suspect may still come good and China Rock at 13/2 is certain to put in a decent run.  Come on Kauto, put the pretenders to bed early and then lets see you next at Kempton on Boxing Day for a famous punch up with Long Run. 

As an early season race, I like the Badger Ales run at Wincanton (3.20pm).  Todays contest has some tasty runners and I like the chances of i’moncloudnine for Mulholland.  He is not my selection though.  After considering the Package who is a worthy favourite, my eye wandered to the pleasing sight of Meanus Dandy.  Nicholls loves taking this race and Meanus has had a sharpening spin already.  OK, it is a concern that he goes for headgear but a worth claimer in Popham talking 5lbs off an already handy 10s 2lb puts him right in it.  8/1 is available in many places.

The 2.10 Elite Hurdle at Wincanton has a host of potential winners in my view.  No doubt Australia Day has excellent claims and Ashkazar who won well for me at Cheltenham in April could be in the frame on one of his going days.  There is a horse I like in this race though that will be suited by the style it will be run.  There are so many front-runners (like Barizan) that pace is certain – This could set it up beautifully or the closing Nearby who can be found offered at 7/1 with our friends SportingBet.

Doncasters big November handicap offers a puzzle with 23 potential winners.  I plum for a wonderfully priced Lethal Glaze at 22/1 – TAKE THIS WITH SKYBET WHO OFFER 5 PLACES.  Lethal Glaze has been kept racing and I think new connections may get the best from a horse that shows glimpses of being decent.  I would advise a saver on Senate who at 6/1 with Ladbrookes will be a big threat for a stable that likes to compete for this £62k handicap.  

The Nap is a double on Chelsea and Birmingham City.  May your weekend be made more joyous with the uncomfortable bulk of a large roll of notes dispensed by your turf accountant – If he cries, tell him to man up… this is merely the start, you are one of the Majors s and we shall return.  May your dinner be french and good, something gamey.  Why not have a nice Brandy as an aperitif and a digestif too, surely that’s what Jesus would do.