Tag Archives: third intention

The 2014 Cheltenham World Hurdle Card Sermon – Forwards in courage

Good evening from the Majors abode where I write from the comfort of the lounge, shoes off, kicking back with a bottle of decent Malbec, the gentle neon glow of events in Catalonia providing a gentile fuzzy backdrop.  Outside, the evening brings a chill to prickle the skin, all pleasant, the smell of spring on the air.  The daffodils are at their brightest, the magnolia buds splendid and luxurious – Ah, it is good to be alive in England at such a time my friends – Be thankful for your lives, thankful for the incredible coincidence that created you and thankful for the wealth that life has bestowed on you.

Wednesday saw us draw blood, our sabres clashed with sparks and we drew a mark on the enemy.  Faugheen was the horse that I had lumped into and was a key part of many multiples – If we can get wins for Annie Power, Kings Palace, Silviniaco Conti and On the Fringe – Then a small mothership will have landed.

Faugheens victory appeared as though God was replicating the Supreme, trying to draw it again, only better, Ruby to set the fractions getting his beast into a lovely rhythm (although Faugheen doesn’t pay the obstacles any respect does he!) and then go for him off the turn…

On Tuesday as Ruby rousting Vautour from the bottom of the hill, I screamed like a man possessed, I was possessed…. KICK RUBY, KICK, KICK,KICK, KICK…. There was no doubt, to those within my locale as to where my money had been staked… Let me tell you, lest you not have experienced the sensation yourself, a winner under Ruby is 20% sweeter, 40% more energetic and 100% more memorable.  Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby… the crowd love it and so do I my friends, so do I.

I was working today and so have reviewed the proceedings this evening.  As such, I cannot embellish your apprehension and appreciation of the day.  I shall record this… Sire de Grugy must be one of the most popular winners of the week.  A bargain purchase, small owners (no discredit to their stature you understand!), what a dream.  I enjoyed the picture of Ryan Moore, who is himself accustomed to the splendours of Hong Kong, Japan and Ascot stood politely and in fine sartorial style, in support of the family ventures in National Hunt.

How unlucky was Katgary.  Now, you may notice that I tipped this horse yesterday and please understand, as a gentleman, I am not crowing at this misfortune, merely observing that having almost been bought down and after deciding to walk through the last hurdle, well there will be another day for that one!  Unlucky if like I, you were invested.

I was a bit miffed that Black Hercules could not hold the place but that was fair and square.  Bloody bumper, seduces me with a siren call each year.

Half way through now… and in dangerous territory.  Tomorrow, I am not going to go too hard.  The final assault on Friday requires suitable ammunition and energy, let us not leave ourselves short.  I haven’t the time to detail the 18th century exploits of General Gottfried von Clausewitzs but, I will find another sermon for that (I know…. you cannot wait), his simple words will suffice for you this evening, let them ring in your ears across the next 48 hours:

Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.

To the World Hurdle card, Shabash my Friends, roll the dice.

Thursday Cheltenham Tips

Once again, regular readers will be aware that I have already posted some thoughts on the Grade One races on the card which you can find on this link.  I will be referring to it throughout.

The further we get into the week, the more that good ground form is becoming a must.  With decent weather expected, we want those speedy sorts with youthful knees and plenty of healthy cartilage!

The opening race is the JLT novices, as a newly upgraded race to G1 status, I have already written up my thoughts a week earlier on the aforementioned link.

I have not really changed my mind… but I sort of have.  If you are on Oscar Whisky, I do not think you have a bad hand.  However, I am being swayed by Wonderful Charm.  Both horses have good ground form so I cannot claim it is that.  Someone quizzed my decision on twitter as to whether I had fully considered the weight allowance from their last encounter… Partly this and partly the fact that WC is less exposed has me switching allegiances…  Being proud and not recognising ‘confirmation bias’ is a fast road to the gambling poorhouse.  11/2 is available with Bet365 and a handful of others.

The Pertemps Final is a more tricky affair by nature.  If it were a girl, your mother would have warned you about her.  The Major also offers caution… I am having a slender stake on Utopie Des Bordes at 25/1.  It might be the Henderson second string but I think good ground might return the girl to good form.

Then the Ryanair – Again this has been covered on the previous post and this time I stick with my guns on Benefficient.  He was 9/2 then but the drying ground and common sense has trimmed him in to a best priced 7/2.  If you wish an alternative, I would go no further than Boston Bob who is a best priced 10/1 shot which is a reflection of his poor jumping.  Yet, he was a contender in last years RSA and if he puts in a clean round, I’d be surprised not to see him get close.

The World Hurdle is also covered on my earlier post.  No change.  Annie Power is bet of the meeting for me.  She is surely only going to get even shorter.  I am in the lucky position of having done a lot of business on her when her plans were unconfirmed and my portfolio holds some juicy 5/1 slices, many in multiples, that sounds boastful…. but I’m leaving it in.

She is a best priced 6/4, I am sure some generous bookie will go 2/1 for ten minutes in the morning and good luck getting on.  I think she will shorten further, because events influence prices.  Fresh in punters memories are images of The Flys defeat on Tuesday, his aged legs unable to keep pace with the new guard.  Big Bucks, come on in, your time is up.

The two races that complete the card are viciously difficult to interpret.  The Byrne Plate is possibly the more difficult with just a single winner in the last ten years returning at under 10/1.  I cannot really find a reliable sort for the ground.  I was half interested in Shangani for Venetia but, would you want hers on a rattling surface?  Hmmmmm Colour Squadron can go well here but 8/1 is no bet in this sort of race… Jonjo has to be feared in any festival handicap (as per Holywell on Tuesday) and Johns Spirit ran a blinder in the Paddy Power… Ballynagour was one I felt confident in last year but god only knows what to expect… The pin drops onto Third Intention who may not have the splash of stardom about him, but winners of this race rarely do.  New headgear, preferred ground….  I don’t know…. ask the bloody cat for all I care, he probably has a better idea.

The finale, is a little less perplexing – Indian Castle was likely going to be my selection but Annacotty let that form down in todays RSA and so I am less warm about the favourite this evening.  Our Father once looked awesome but goes on a long list of Pipe horses that I cannot fathom.  I am taking two (still to small stakes).  The first was my original thought, Night Alliance – I have liked the way this one has travelled at times and given a break after a gruelling trial around Haydock on suitably heavy ground, I am banking on a come back.  The other is back to Jonjo – I cannot leave Twirling Magnet unbacked at 14/1 – He won’t mind the sun on his back and a speedy surface and the master may have another prepared to perfection.

Good luck my friends.

Saturday Sermon – Racing Tips from Ascot, Cheltenham and Cork, plus Frankel – Time at Ascot…

Good evening from the Major who writes to you from a Defford where the sky hangs heavy with the threat of a downpour, it feels as if it were sagging and clinging to my cheek, cold and damp… my sort of weather.

The Household Cavalry dressed in Sheikh Abdulla’s colours in honour of Frankel, the finest horse of our generation

Tomorrow I ride for Ascot, I am taking my father and meeting a friend there for a beer too. Whatever happens we are in for a terrific day of racing but it would be dishonest to say that if Frankel fails to run, it would not be a touch deflating.The way they have handled this horse has given us every chance to enjoy the champion that he is. On Twitter (@tdl123) I rated my top three Frankel races and decided that my favourite was the Queen Anne. Having had longer to reflect I have changed the order slightly and now have a top four in the following order.

4th – The Guineas

This will be top of most peoples lists – The way he flew from the gates and had them at it from half way. A stunning performance and the way they finished strung out like 3 mile chasers was testament to what the great horse had achieved.

3rd – Royal Lodge

The more I watch the Royal Lodge he won, the more I love it. The move he makes on the bend to put the race to bed was stunning and although Treasure Beach was stopped in his tracks, Frankel would still have won by half a furlong!

2nd – The Queen Anne

What a way to open Royal Ascot – As a performance, this was his highest rated in my view. He did not just win, he destroyed a field of top horses and left everyone gasping for air. Awesome.

1st – His First Sussex Stakes versus Canford Cliffs

Context is important and this race was full of it. Goldikova a winner of more Group One races than seems possible was reaching the end of her career. Canford Cliffs, one of the best Hannon has ever had, lowered her colours and rightfully claimed the best miler in Europe crown. Then Frankel met him at Goodwood. The camber at Goodwood means many horses do not act there. The combination of factors meant that the Major tipped Canford… Then this happened…

Let us hope that Frankel runs – The generosity of connections have given us more than we needed but we are like gluttons and want it all. Treasure the moment. The only possible upside of him not running tomorrow is a possible crack at the States and the breeders cup meeting… Personally I would like him to finish his career at Ascot tomorrow.

To the sports….

Ascot Tips – 1.50 – The Stayers

At this stage of the season, I am looking for the slightly more lightly raced sorts. The Ascot ground will also be very soft which should rule a few out…

In the opener, most of the animals will be fine with the soft conditions. Gold Cup winner Colour Vision beat a number of these including Fame and Glory back in July. Opinion Poll, the other Godolphin horse was second that day and goes off as 3/1 favourite here. Aiken is a horse I really like but feels like he might just be a bit short of top draw. Ile de Re is an interesting runner but has to make a big step up in class. Rite of Passage is a fascinating runner and could play a part at 8/1 if well tuned up.

After some thought though, the Major is going to offer Fame and Glory at 11/2 – A former winner of the race who has lost some of his lustre – If he wins tomorrow, it will be a fitting end to a sparkling career… words that we may well repeated later in the day!

2.20 Ascot – Tips for the Sprint

The sprint is a fascinating contest and I would love to back Maarek, especially with the booking of Jamie Spencer. I am wondering though whether the horse is feeling the effect of the campaign and I may well give him a miss. The muddier the better for that one so if more rain arrives, it may be a persuading factor.

The Major is siding with a horse packed with potential in Slade Power who looked a horse going places in the summer. After a break to freshen him up, I expect a top draw performance and although there are proven G1 horses in the field, I do not want to back Wizz Kid unless in France and Society Rock is the main danger. Blue Square offer 15/2 and a quarter odds the place, have a slice.

2.55 Ascot – Group 2 Mile and a Half

The two to concentrate on seem to be Great Heavens and Sapphire. The former took an Irish Classic in the slop and loves these conditions. She was my idea of the Arc winner as I am a massive fan. She cruised into the straight at Longchamp looking a likely challenger but faded badly and I just wonder if the season and he travels are catching up.

Thus the tip is Sapphire for the Weld team. She is a horse of immense talent and seems to be much better the further she goes, seemingly tapped for toe over 400m shorter in the Pretty Polly. She is a true mud lark and at 10/3 generally I think a great bet to beat Great Heavens who I would like to see racing agin next year where hopefully connections might give her a light schedule with a hopefully soft ground Arc as the target.

QE II 3.30 Ascot

Excelebration is an absolute bolt on here and I suggest a reasonable investment at just shading odds on. He has been beaten by Frankel so often yet is still a top class horse and now placed to avoid a battle with the inevitable, he is gaining very well deserved Group One successes.

The Queen is in attendance and so Carlton House would be a popular winner but it is Excelebration for the Major.

Ascot Champion Stakes

It is not often that the Major here whispers but I have it on good authority that Frankel might be a decent sort! This race requires no bet, it is a moment of historic racing importance. I hope Frankel serves it up to Cirrus Des Aigles

Enjoy it…

4.45 Amateur Riders Handicap

I find it disappointing that this race exists on the card of what is meant to be the climax of the flat season. It really seems out of place.

Smarty Socks would be the one I would want but I am dubious that these are his conditions. Boring as it may seem, Jack Dexter is the 5/1 selection. The Ayr Bronze Cup winner loves a bit of mud and is surely goi to have a big say. Kingscroft (16/1) and Atlantic Sport (33/1) also make some appeal.

Cheltenham Selections

It is so good to see racing back at Cheltenham. Fridays action saw The New One take a decent Novice hurdle. Given that he hit most of them, he must be some animal to still win, I expect a big season.

Rendl Beach should be a good thing in the opener at 6/4. Curtis horses often need a warm up but this one won smartly on reappearance and a big run is surely on the cards tomorrow.

In the second race, I am going to take a chance on 22/1 shot Quito Du Tresor. I think that there may be more to come from this one. The Henderson horse Nadiya De La Vega at 10/1 is decent value too.

Baby Mix and Dodging Bullets are two rising stars and the latter looks a great evens bet based on the 4th position achieved in the Triumph.

In the 4th race, I like the look of two Qianshan Leader at 22/1 catches the eye as does Darna at 16/1. The latter looks an intriguing sort.

In the 4.20 I am a big fan of Irish raider Defence of Duress and suggest a decent investment.

Third Intention should see the field off in the penultimate race if match fit. 3/1 is a very fair price as he should be much better than this field, many of whom have a readiness advantage.

In the last maybe Southfield Theatre on a strict reading of form with The New One but honestly, stick a pin in!

Cork Tip

I like Rock Critic in the listed contest and at 2/1 am having it in several selections…

May your dinner be fine, in the company of someone nice. Each day we are above ground is an opportunity so do not waste yours. Let us hope that Frankel gives us something to cheer.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Tips for the Charlie Hall Chase, Wetherby, Ascot and The Premier League

Good morning from sunny Defford where the crisp morning brings gold-plated betting opportunities to whet the appetite and remind you of the sheer goodness of sporting challenge.

The beautiful Time for Rupert...... 7/2 shabash

The Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby, a decent Ascot card, some nice Newmarket races and good football too.  Autumns abundant harvest.

The Major has an unholy interest in serial killers.  I have always been fascinated by their motive and process and among the legion of evil killers there are some fantastic tales.

My favourite would be Mr Holmes of the USA who killed dozens in a purpose built hotel designed to accommodate visitors to the Chicago Worlds Fair.  The building he created had sound proofed, air locked rooms that would suffocate guests and other rooms where gases could be flooded in to kill the occupants.  Secret chutes would dispatch bodies to the cellar where he would dissolve them / dissect them.

He also like to collect life insurance policies for his deceased.  He even persuaded his friend to partake in a ‘fake death’ insurance scam, only to actually murder him and collect anyway.

His hotel was an incredible building, sadly now demolished, it was labyrinthine.   Holmes employed multiple builders during construction so no one person apart from himself knew the true layout.  There were corridors leading nowhere, doors that opened onto walls and secret rooms with dark purpose.

Today, we shall attempt tot escape our own enemies maze of trickery.  We shall seek truth and light.  To do this we must discard that which is distraction and devilment.

To the sports…….

The Charlie Hall Chase – Wetherby

This is a cracking renewal of the Charlie Hall with top class Nacarat seeking a second win but facing in Diamond Harry and Time for Rupert, two genuine Gold Cup Hopes.

If this is the quality we can get used to for the Charlie Hall, I am sure it will be a grade one in years to come.

Diamond Harry has won all five of his seasonal reappearances and so you have to respect his record fresh.  I am not convinced that should be the predominant factor, I would want to select the class horse first.

Poquelin has probably got the best form in the race although I am not convinced about him stepping up to 3m.  That said, if he is going to get 3m, Wetherby is probably the place to do it.

the selection though is Time for Rupert.  He is a genuine stayer and with Nacarat in the race, there will be pace to aim at.  Like Nacarat, Time for Rupert will not be inconvenienced by the good ground and at 7/2, I think we will see some class today.

3.00 Ascot – Listed Hurdle

This is a tidy listed hurdle and two horses meet the criteria for the Major.

Via Galilei is the Pricewise horse so sadly the early silly prices have dried up.  Laddies are still 9/1 though and I think that still represents value.

The other I think may improve for another year of maturing is Third Intention.  Connections know where they will be with this horse and so it is interesting to see him entered at this decent level.  8/1 is fair enough.

Back both horses, win only.

1pm Newmarket – EBF Fillies Maiden

Winter is coming when racing kicks off at 1pm.  The Newmarket fillies maiden can go to Coplow.

Hannons exploits with juveniles need no selling and reading Richard Hughes note, you have to be confident that Coplow will turn a bitterly disappointing appearance last time out into a win today.

4/1 gives plenty of scope for a hefty wager, load the big cannon.

3.55 Newmarket

You have to fancy Tactfully the Godolphin horse to take this at 3/1.  Her impressive maiden win has been well and truly franked and this was a race that was taken last year by no less than Blue Bunting.

I think Al Zarooni is unleashing a good one here and 3/1 will look terrific value at 4pm.

To the other sports…….

Chelsea are the best 7/10 shots I have seen in a long time.  Beating some poor teams does not make a recovery and Arsenal have payed poorly in some of those wins.  Chelsea have better quality and home advantage and I have them 4/7 shots on my book, this is a steal and should underpin any mutiple selections.

Sunderland v Villa sounds like a low scoring game to the Major but I fancy Sunderland to edge it.  Villa were not great even with the full complement of players against West Brom and Sunderland were no better at Bolton.

That is all from the Major this week.  Make sure you put the horses in a lucky 15, it feels like the right thing to do….

Make sure dinner is relaxed and sumptuous.  Take the lively one you have been eyeing up….. As ever, tip well and allow generosity to be repaid times over….

Luck to you, shuffle up the cards.

Thursday Tips for Cheltenham – The Craven at Newmarket – The Majors Midweek Horseracing Tips

Icon depicting the First Council of Nicaea.

Nicene Creed - 8/1 KABOOOOM! Get stuck in, when you collect, tell him the Major sent you.

The month continues to go very well but yesterdays three tips drew a blank and so we return rejuvenated for a crack at Thursdays interesting card. The Major is bullet proof to loss, relentlessly positive when things didn’t quite work out as planned. Roll on dear friends like the flowing river ever bending, winding never stopping.

Thursdays racing at Cheltenham and Newmarket is very decent, the Craven is a tasty affair.

The Major knows a number of people at Prestbury Park tomorrow, in fact the business foolish enough to pay the Major a wage in return for a dubious work output is sponsoring a race. The ground is perfect good, quick but not rattling, a dash of rain today will keep it such. I have decided to fly through the Cheltenham card for all those attending:

2.10 Novice Hurdle

The breathing operation that Nicholls often uses like a magic wand on his horses seems to have done the trick for Current Event whose latest form at Newbury reads very tidily. Visually that win was impressive. It is not favourite in this novice though because another tasty looking up and comer opposses.

Third Intention ran just 9l short of Zarkander in the triumph three weeks ago and that is rock solid. Unaccompanied, second in the triumph went on to win a listed contest back on the flat relegating top class St Nicholas Abbey to third. Zarkander went on to win at Aintree although it needed to knuckle down to business after the last and on balance the run was nowhere as good as the Triumph effort.

Higgys Ragazzo raced just eleven days ago and needs to step up considerably on previous wins, that said McCoy is booked and Henderson always has a wealth of novice stars. The Major is not sure this is one of them given the low level it has so far competed at.

Of the others, by far the most interesting is Occassionaly Yours. Although looking like being 16/1 in the morning (no markets open as type) it is not without chance. Not a prolific winner but recent handicap form gives it a chance of running into a place.

The Major is nothing but positive and I seek for thee a winner in the first. This race normally is a bit of a dog for four year olds but surely this field has better quality.

While Current Event is exactly the type that Nicholls imports from France to great success, probably Current Event has better form. He seemed to settle much better in the Triumph and has had an extra week to get over exertions. That said, the Major is not a fan of the fact that he was a withdrawal from the Grand National meeting. On balance, it is probably still a value bet. Betfair early pricing suggests favouritism is in the balance with both of these backable at around 8/5. I would suggest that they will come for the Nicholls horse and therefore will go against the flow and take Third Intention to show us he is the real deal.

Expected SP: 7/4

2.45 Nicholson Holman Novice Chase

Having raced yesterday and fell, it is unlikely that Magical Legend will take to the track, if so, I would imagine it is best watched, even though they price it at 7/1 tonight.

Mr J Scott, a trainer with a reasonably small string has only had one runner at Cheltenham in the last year and none at the festival. However, in the last fortnight, 4 of his 6 runners have gone in. Cool Friend the yards representative has some nice pieces of form in the book, notably with Adams Island (2nd yesterday) and Caroles Legacy.

Cottage Acre is an eyecatcher. It smacked the first Uttoxeter obstacle hard last time out when trying to defy more than a stone rise in the weights for a previous easy victory. 8/1 is fair if it gets a clean round of jumping and although the mark remains high. The main issue is that of the ground.

On balance. Classic Swain is the selection. It will love the conditions, no doubt will be well set being from the champion trainer who never uses Prestbury Park as a training ground. 9/2 is a fair price for one that could gallop them all into the ground.

3.20 Listed Mares Handicap Hurdle

A wide open handicap in which ground and trainer form are the key factors for the Major.

A number appeal. Veiled will love this and if improving her jumping could go well for young David Bass. Banjaxed Girl won this last year and will enjoy conditions. Her presence also puts all but 5 of these out of the handicap.

Violin Davis is one of them but her 5lb claimer more than allows for that. 11/2 reflects her leading chance.

On balance the Major likes the price of Santera (12/1) and advises an each way slice. This horse has had the measure of Banjaxed Girl, who we know to be a reliable yardstick for this race. Now meeting at revised weights which are much more in the selections favour, surely it has a great chance. You need to put a line through the poor effort in the Mares Hurdle at the festival but 12/1 gives plenty of scope for that factor. Get stuck in, take a meaty slice and send me the postcard.

3.55 Handicap Chase

A difficult handicap puzzle. On balance and to keep things simple, the Irish Raider has come a long way when there are similar prizes to be had nearer home and at 6/1 Benefit Night could be a tasty prospect. Headgear seems to have improved this one and although unraced on any surface excluding the word soft, his Sire’s progeny go OK on lively surfaces so there is no reason to believe it will be a huge disadvantage.

Breedsbreeze will love conditions but stick with Benefit Night.

4.30 Molson Coors Handicap Hurdle

Without doubt Nicene Creed is a top of the ground sort. It has placed on all 4 starts on good ground and twice won. I think more improvement will come and hope the fitting of headgear is merely a focussing tool.

Dantari is interesting at a bigger price. A better run last time, it will not mind conditions and at 12/1 I would not put you off.

The selection is Nicene Creed at 8/1. Dantari in the reverse forecast for those brave souls.

5.05 Conditional Jockeys Handicap

Conditional jockeys are an added part of the puzzle in the 5.05. 7/2 Anquetta is the Majors win selection.

Put simply the last two runs look as good as anything on show. It has placed 3 from 5 attempts on good, in young Bass carries a great 5lb claimer and for a long way looked threatening in the Grand Annual.

Its a conundrum but Anquetta for the Major.

Finally…..

The Magnificent 5.40 Endsleigh Insurance Mares Bumper

Seventeen mares, eight previously unraced, 2 miles and a furlong, this is a tough nut to crack.

Ballyquin Queen probably has shown the best form of those that have raced. The Sandown bumper it contended was better than this and when the penny dropped Ballyquin seemed to stay on reasonably well. No markets are open as I type, the forecast SP from the Major is 9/2 and I think it no more than fair.

One More Cookie was a pricey enough purchase for the Tizzard clan who can prepare a bumper winner first time out, considered.

The Major always prefers a bit of experience in these events but the horse to carry the dreaded weight of the Majors wager is Caroles Destiny. Well related and from a yard who always puts a decent sort in this race, probably will be popular, understandable. I am hoping 4/1 might be available and if so, smash into it with both cannons loaded.

As many of you regulars know the Major works for Endsleigh in their business insurance arm. It would be nice to find the winner of this sponsored race. Good luck to those in the Endsleigh box, enjoy.

A Quick Crack at the Craven – Newmarket 4.10pm

This is simple NATIVE KHAN.

It has the best form. Both Libranno and Yaseer could improve but ative Khan looks class. He also clearly loves rattle in the ground.

The only thing that can get him beaten in the Majors view is false pace.

At this early stage of the flat season, you want to see trainer form. Ed Dunlop is 4 winners from 9 runners, that will do!

Get the big guns out for this one. 4/5 will shorten in the Majors view.