Tag Archives: triolo d’alene

The Friday Aintree Sermon… plus Grand National tickets charity appeal

Good evening from the Major who writes from the darkest Worcestershire scene where rain drifts, billows and swells, gentle suppression.  I have opened a bottle of fine red wine, comfort from the tempest, in vino veritas.

The Major tipped well enough for Thursday.  Oscar Whisky was second and not disgraced, Dynaste and Silviniaco Conti fought out the finish as the Major intended but I picked the wrong winner, well done Mr Fehily for an excellent ride on the increasingly quirky looking victor, friends know he is my favourite and can judge from afar as to how I felt having backed Dynaste.  The New One was an obvious pick and almost a boil-over but sustained his effort in time for the line to save him and we had to wait until the last for our redemption as Doctor Harper came home at an advised 12/1.  Shabash!

The Major did not sleep again last night, rest coming in gasps, sudden and inconsistent, thoughts and dreams mingling.  Tonight, some good wine, a handful of pills and oblivion.  If anyone expects more from me, well let them wish for it.

Anyway, there is a Friday card at Aintree to review, it is not quite as exciting as the action today but I shall cover each race.  Courage friends and roll those dice.

I have a good acquaintance attending the course tomorrow, she is the sort of good northern stock applying a straight forward forgiving logic to life.  She entertains her mother and I wish them the best, H, enjoy.

The Friday Aintree Card

The last two years have seen Nicky Henderson win the Friday opener with some very good horses, such as the ill fated, once Champion Hurdle ante post favourite, Darlan and the close Champion Hurdle second from the festival this year, My Tent or Yours.  Thus, it would be reasonable based on that evidence to assume that Josses Hill is a novice with a strong future, n’est pas?  Well, fortunately for the Major, I disagree, I like his form behind Vautour, who does not? Yet, I think there are plenty of other potential challenges in this field and he had a tough race that day.  The good aspect of my position is that the expectation is baked into his overnight price of 13/8, giving the rest of the field plenty of value.  As long as we can find a good one.  Simple, oui.

I like Sergeant Reckless but his profile is not quite right for me, No. Instead, I am opting for a horse who has the benefit of being ridden by a high class jockey who is riding at the peak of his ability at the moment.  Carberry gave Guitar Pete an absolute peach of a ride in the opener today and he might give Art of Payroll the same treatment tomorrow.  The horse did not get into the County but has the benefit therefore of not having been raced at Cheltenham.  11/2 in one place (Stan James*)

*For non regulars, please note the Major does not promote, endorse or hold any arrangements with bookmakers – I am at your service as a free tipping service, a word I use very lightly as it is more of an eclectic mix of racing thoughts, Victorian military history, the fragile state of my mind, the Worcestershire weather and who you should be taking to dinner.  I accept neither blame nor praise for the accuracy of my selections, I merely share them for your delectation.

The Novice Chase requires some of the best jumping skills and I think O’Faolains Boy might be the one to be on here.  There is some 11/4 with Paddy Power but 5/2 generally.  The RSA has a bad reputation for bottoming out horses but this Curtis inmate (surely the hottest trainer around!) is very lightly raced and has won his sole start on good ground.

Then the Melling Chase, Pepite Rose was a winner for the Major at Newbury but this looks a lot tougher for the girl.  Module looked impressive providing Tom George with a new stable star.  Thing is, the Melling Chase has been a race for absolute stars, Sprinter Sacre, Masterminded, Voy Por Ustedes, Moscows Flyer, Monets Garden – Do we have such a horse in this line up?  It is not likely, it looks a fairly poor renewal to me, yet I have looked and found a horse that might yet be a star.

You see, if I close my eyes, I can take you back to the start of 2013, I still recall Ballynagour winning like a future superstar heavily eased but coming twenty lengths to the good over a Warwick field with good yardsticks like Golden Chieftan and Chance du Roy.  He has now bounced back after a spell in the doldrums and if they have found the keys to him, this could be a top class sort for Pipe.  7s in a place with William Hill, 6s generally.

Thirty go over the National fences for the Topham.  Last year, Triolo Dalene signalled his Hennessy credentials with a win and with the benefit of hindsight I should have credited that effort more highly.  Why? Well he has the wrong profile, this is normally won by a nine or ten year old and one that shoulders less than eleven stone.  This makes sense, it is a tough course, so experience and a light weight help.  Plus, do not be put off by a price.

So, with that in mind, I state the case for Poole Master at 40/1 with Bet Bright, although that might be an oddschecker error as he is 33/1 with Stan James but most firms are 20 or 25.  Now this horse is fine on the ground and many might be concerned with him trying to win on a peak mark but I think he has always had improvement in him and has needed the right headgear.  He has the experience and has completed on the course before so that bodes well.

The Sefton is an absolute cracker.  I love Seeyouatmidnight but at 5/2 I cannot buy, not against a field of classy improving novices.  I was disappointed to see Geraghty not choose Tistory, I thought that one might be better yet and revels on good ground.  I also like Giantofaman who could give Carberry another cracking chance.  On balance, I am sticking with Tistory, 20/1 with Hills and B365. Second string, I could not care less.

In the Grade 3 handicap, I am backing Cheltenian to finally start coming good on his early promise, lest we forget, he was a Champion Bumper.  I hope he settles, if he does, he is a danger to all.

The last requires some luck.  I am going with my favourite jockey, Mr Noel Fehily who takes Hannahs Princess for a spin, he is the finest, of her, I do not know, two simple bloodless victories against poor opposition tell us little.  Dangers aplenty, tread warily.

I wish you luck.  Do you fancy going on Saturday?  Well @eeyore94 is auctioning some tickets for his local childrens hospice, Zoes Place.  What a gent.  Have a look at his twitter timeline, DM him an offer by 3.30pm on Friday and he will express the tickets to you by 9am Saturday.  Imagine, you are in the throng at Aintree, you have a cold beer to hand and you know that you paid good money for the pleasure, not to some faceless tout but to help children whose lives are more limited than ours my good friend.  That beer will slip down well, because the destination of the money you spent was good and right. You know then, in that moment, it is good to be alive.  Be generous.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Full Ascot Card including Long Walk Tips…

Good evening from the Major who writes from a biting Worcestershire with a wind that pierces through your outer layers and seeks out your very soul.  The fire is crackling away, pouring goodness out that thickly covers the room, stifling and comforting all at once.

I won’t pretend that last week was anything other than a bloodbath.  The Major lurched from one loss to another like some great wounded blind animal lumbering onwards, lurching hopelessly and violently.

Christmas needs paying for.  Thus today we shall adorn our spears with the enemies precious trinkets and muster our weary souls into order once more.  Shall it be like the 44th forming a last thin square on the hills above Gandamak Village, after weeks of deathly marching, the last fighting men, having been sniped at by Afghan hill-men, men, women and children falling in the snow in the Khyber Pass, murderous raids on our supply train, pack animals lost, defiantly gathering to protect the colours we shall gather our last vestige of purpose and stand together to a bitter end.

Or, like the thin red line at Balaclava, shall our meagre resources, against all odds and fighting in unconventional fashion, two men deep to take on the Russian Calvary, insanity odds, yet, hold fast boys… No retreat from here men, we shall die where we stand.  That Colin Campbell was as hard as nails, he never hesitated, always spoiled for the fight.

To Ascot, load the grape-shot into the cannon.

Full Ascot Card

There is lots of form on lots of different tracks coming into this race so 9/2 the field is a fair assessment of the openness of it.  Watching the Friday Ascot action, I thought it was riding OK.

If further rain fell, it would only aid the chances of present favourite Brave Buck, he is two from two on heavy ground and comes from an in form Daly stable.   His Welsh double recently reads quite well and more may be to come but he is a stone higher in the weights as a result.

Boss in Boots looks a capable sort but I would prefer a more experienced pilot.  Josies Orders is an interesting sort having had to be rousted along by McCoy to win at Ascot, next time out was a bit disappointing.  McCoy is reunited here and there may be a better performance but I am not sure it looks a bullet-proof proposition.

Instead, the Major opts for 5/1 shot Forever Present who goes for the Henderson yard.  At Ludlow, I thought the performance was OK but a little flat-footed, that was over 2m 5f, I think this extra distance and the ground will suit and if the jumping is a little neater and the replacement of David Bass with Barry Geraghty sparks some improvement, then the handicap mark may look very lean.

Another Saturday and another David Johnson memorial race.  Quite right too – Every track wants to pay homage to the great supporter of our sport.  Only four runners make it to the line for this particular event and Join the Navy needs half a track head start if he is to play a role.  O Faolains Boy looks a very exciting prospect to me, fourth in the Albert Bartlett and stays forever, I think a potential National horse in years to come.  Baby Mix surely needs a rattling surface and that leaves me with the 11/8 shot Easter Day.  My selection has some excellent form over hurdles and he left his chase form well behind on second start over the tougher obstacles at Newbury.  Looks like a Nicholls chaser on the improve to me.

I was quite surprised by the shortness of Pendra’s price for the 1.50.  His winning form is in more minor events and this is an entirely different shape of race for which his inexperience may tell.  That said, you know I like the Longsden yard.  Ulck du Lin is back for another pop at the race he won a year ago off  a fistful of pounds higher, not to be discounted at all.

I’d give Consigliere a chance back on his favoured surface but even if the ground remains quite soft, I am not sure this is the test he needs these days.  Is Rebecca Curtis finally going to get a tune out of 10/1 shot Gus Macrae.  He will like the soft ground but needs to reverse a run of poor form.

My pen rests on Elenika who surely is going to give us a great run at some pint.  The Venetia Williams stable have had some winners in this race and the form at Cheltenham last month when just finishing behind a useful looking front four (Eastlake 3rd went on to win again) does not look so bad.

The Long Walk Hurdle is at 2.25 and I cannot see any way that At Fishers Cross gets beat.  Celestial Halo gave him a thrashing last time out but something was not right that day and overall, despite his admirable hardy record, I remain unconvinced by CH.  Anyway, he has already defected from this race and that leaves the chief competition being Reve de Sivola who I think At Fishers Cross had the better of before smacking his hurdle last time out.  Lets keep it simple… Load the money printer, George has ordered up some more quantitative easing.

In the Silver Cup, we have the surprise Hennessy winner, Triolo D’Alene out again with a further 11bs on his back.  He has run three times on soft and has never placed which is a slight concern.  It is enough for the Major to be looking elsewhere and I have long felt that Cedre Bleu could make up into a decent staying chaser even if he has failed to impress over longer distances previously.  11/2 is available as I type with Coral.  As a footnote, What a Warrior should not be 12s, if 8 go to post, it is a fantastic each way bet for a horse with no weight on his back and decent form claims.

Last but certainly not least… The Ladbroke.  A headache of a conundrum, wrapped up in an enigma and rammed down your throat with the bestial force of insanity.  8/1 the field… Take your pick.

For the Major, I am mostly staking my money on the record of Pipe in the race.  In a field of 21 runners, he fields almost a third of the runners.  Firstly a nod to the runners that Messrs Henderson and Nicholls have entered.  Chatterbox and Rolling Star will have plenty of fans.  I prefer Ptit Zig mind, even off top weight.  Yet, my Pipe plot means I am going to invest in Dell Arca 10/1 who must have been targetted at this for some time.   I am also oing to have a saver on 25/1 shot Irish Saint who has some very tasty form as a juvenile – Once beaten by Rolling Star by a handful of lengths at Cheltenham, if recovered from a fall at Newbury, I think he could play a part.

In the football… QPR have the right formula so 6/5 for a home win versus Leicester is a price.  Walsall have had some issues but 4/5 at home to Carlisle is also a bet.

The Martin Hill bet is simple… A Dell Arca, Cedre Bleu and Forever Present trixie….. Money Printer…. Loaded.

I trust your dinner is prepared with great care and charged as such.  I wish the finest wines for you and the finest company.  Tip well, tis Christmas.

Courage and roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Cheltenham Paddy Power Meeting Tips including a 22/1 mothership and a 20/1 Paddy Power tip

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire rural scene of cold wintery showers blustering outside the bay windows of my living room.

The Major had a poor day at the first day of the Open meeting at Cheltenham. A very decent second for my 16/1 shot was the sole return from the six races which started with a comprehensive defeat for Fingal Bay…. I was talking up this horse all morning to anyone that would listen and offer my humble apologies to each of you for having the misfortune to listen.

I have had an entire week of being unable to sleep. Poor diet? I don’t know but the thoughts swirling in my mind, occupying the peaceful parts with their noisy clumsiness. Tiredness and defeat. I feel cloaked in the stuff, choking my movement, I yearn to break the shackles.

Continuous sleep deprivation is deeply unsettling yet interesting as equal to uncomfortable. For me the consequence is short of temper, lack of energy and an affinity with dark thoughts.

Our lives are punctuated by the rhythm of sleep. Patterns bring comforting conformity and shape. Security. When you disturb the pattern, you create the opposite; uncertainty. It is as though the individual levers and cogs of the brain, dissolve and form new structures that you are no longer familiar with. A dystopian world in which you become a prisoner, unsure if sleep will return you to normality. The boundaries between the night world and the day world lose their integrity, one seeps into the other. An osmosis that is oozing and unwelcome…. things that belong in your dreams in the night, turn up unexpectantly.

What a tragedy is unfolding again in the middle east. The sight of children injured and dying seems not enough to sober up either side and so the air strikes and the rockets continue. At a distance, war and it’s devastating consequence seem inevitable actions for those with the great responsibility of protecting a nation. To the Major, they seem instead more akin to the playground, the reasoning shallow, the considerations glib. The mood this week is not good.

In the morning, a new day and the promise of redemption. I need some fine sport to lift my gloom. A powerful remedy, a surging performance that raises the pulse.

To the sports….

Cheltenham Paddy Power Gold Cup Day Tips

Far West is an obvious place to start given that Ditcheat have taken this race the last two years with French imports. 6/4 is fair considering the obvious credentials. Both Nicholls and Henderson have hit the ground running this season and the latter is represented by Vasco du Ronceray. What he beat at Hereford adds up to a hill of beans but the manner of the defeat gave intent.

The opening contest is a Triumph Hurdle trial and with little comparative form, I am opting for Far West who at least beat a useful sort in Handazan and at 6/4 rates a good chance to bring home the bacon for Nicholls et al.

In the novice chase at 1.20, Sire Collonges is going to be a hot order representing the top yard and looking a fine prospect at Fontwell and at Cheltenham. Course form is always mprtant at Cheltenham. It is an undulating course with tough fences and a steep downhill section, not every horse gets it.

The Major though is going to tip Sraid Padraig at 8/1. The Tony Martin raider won with any amount in hand at Limerick and it is interesting that he is thrown into this. Tasty.

In the 3m 3f marathon, the Major would tipping up Problema Tic but the Pipe yard seem slightly below par so far this season. I find it hard to fathom Bradley at 5/1 when Ashkazar is at 12/1… The latter had the better of the former last time out and while both are proven on course, Ashkazar is preferred but being out of the Pipe yard again, I go elsewhere. Currently 22/1 with William Hill, I offer you up Chicago Grey my selection has the talent and has dropped to a hugely tempting mark. Johnson gets the rare ride for the Elliot team and he is 1/1 in the saddle for the yard in recent times. Shabash.

Paddy Power Gold Cup Tips

What a superb renewal of the Paddy Power. Hunt Ball, Grand Crus, Walkon… An absolute cracker. The major is tempted by many. Grand Crus is clearly a class act and if he chases to his hurdles mark, is very well in. yet the yard is in short form as already highlighted and I will resist which is a shame as if not for being well, he looked like the RSA winner.

Hunt Ball would be four and a half stone out of the handicap if running this time last year! Has a horse ever improved to the degree he has? The winners enclosure will be lively if Knott gets to celebrate again and I wish them luck.

Walkon looks more a more likely sort but I am slightly distrustful. As a second season chaser though, I fancy he has the profile but he is on the watch list.

In recent years, it has been more the fashion to win the Paddy Power from down the handicap. Roll back a few more years and horses with an eleven stone plus burden were more common. Most of the were trained by Martin Pipe with classics such as Our Vic and twice winner (five years apart) Cyfor Malta.

The latter was the only horse in the last twenty outings to win at the age of 5 which is a major signal to the experience required. This is the only thing putting me off Triolo D’Alene.

There will be plenty of pace on and the one I fancy to take advantage of it is Divers at 20/1 (Stan James) – he will be doing his best work late and that’s good enough for me.

The last two Cheltenham races are not affairs for me.

Three football teams for me – the footy is proving profitable of late…. Birmingham at 17/10 at home is a price. I fancy Southampton to beat QPR at 3/1 and I like Newcasle at 10/11 at home to Swansea, that’s a nice little treble.

May your dinner be fuelled by a successful Trixie and be a mix of beautiful nonsense. The wine must flow, the release valve easing the system pressure. May the day return to the day and the night be confined to the night.

Courage and roll those dice.

Cheltenham Festival Tuesday Tips – Champion Hurdle.. All aboard!

Good evening from the Major who writes to you on Cheltenham Eve, the most exciting night of the year, all good boys and girls should get to sleep, right after you have sorted out that lucky 15!

Geraghty says he is the best he has sat on.... The aeroplane that is Sprinter Sacre - photo courtesy of the marvelous http://www.facebook.com/GoodToSoftPhotography

I have already posted my antepost tips for Cheltenham a week ago but I am planning to write short pieces advising of any notes and fancies in the next days runners.Enjoy, have fun and remember Tom Segals words last week in Sundays paper – It is not as important as we feel, have fun but keep perspective.

Tuesday Cheltenham Tips

Here we go, here are the Majors tips for the opening day of Cheltenham.

The Supreme Novices 1.30

The Supreme novices can be a very tricky race in which to find the winner, there are plenty of red-hot candidates.

Good ground means we can rule a few out but not many and Agent Archie, Darlan, Galileos Choice and Montbazon are all high on the Majors list.

Other options include Tetlami who has done nothing wrong and Prospect Wells who may improve for his wind op and goes for Paul Nicholls who has run two winners in the last 8 years.

The two I like best though are Steps to Freedom and Trifolium and it is with the former that I will stake my first claim on the enemies satchel.  He is fine on the ground and has plenty of top class bumper form.  It might worry many that he has been put away for this for so long but Harrington knows exactly what she is doing and she is a trainer I admire.  7/1 generally but I don’t mind waiting as I think it might drift.

The Major had a lovely 12/1 winner on this horse at last years National meeting and since I gave it to a betting syndicate of the finest Birmingham chaps, I was a popular man that day.

2.05 Cheltenham – The Arkle

Already Advised: Menorah 11/1

In my antepost piece, I was keen on Menorah as I think he is under rated and over priced.  Too much is made of previous jumping errors which his trainer is well capable of sorting out.  I am happy enough with the antepost ticket but have to say that Sprinter Sacre may make this field look like handicappers.

Not often that my head is turned by a jockey’s comment but Barry Geraghty at the weekend said that Sprinter Sacre is the best horse he has ever sat on!  Consider he rode the mighty Moscow Flyer and well…..

3pts win Sprinter Sacre 10/11.  Don’t forget Paddy Power are offering a refund if Sacre wins, refund on your bet.

Al Ferof wants a punch up according to Ruby, I think Sprinter Sacre will be too classy to mix it like that.  Cue Card leading from the front sounds like a disaster to me, simply setting up some nice pace for the others to aim at.

2.40 JLT Handicap

Back in 1998, Unguided Missile took this race off eleven stone ten.  It was one of three horses to win off more than eleven stone in the last fifteen years and the other two were off eleven stone two.  Another interesting trend is that of six year olds which have not won in that time frame, which sort of puts a line through Our Mick and Mossley who has been a bit suspect over fences.

That is the Majors starting point – I want, ideally, sub eleven stone and I want a good ground horse.

Of interest are Hold on Julio who is a very good Alan King horse, on the upgrade and for a trainer that has won this handicap twice in the last ten years.

Baile Anrai is the other horse of interest, the Ian Williams chaser will appreciate the ground and 14/1 is fair.

I am going to take a slice of both at 13/2 and 14/1, I do not mind being double handed in this race.

Champion Hurdle Tips

Already Advised: Rock on Ruby 14/1

My antepost selection has come in to 10/1 and I am happy enough with my early selection.  Zarkander may prove a better horse, particularly at two miles but I think this race may pan out for Rock on Ruby who will be staying on to best effect at the hill.

The only horse I have eyes for outside of the selection is Hurricane Fly who looks the likeliest winner.

The Cross Country

The Major is not a fan, take pin, close eyes, jab paper, walk to bookie, make deposit, immediately eat ticket.

The Mares Hurdle

Quevega will surely win this; 1/2 is prohibitive so no bet.

5.15 Novice Handicap Chase

The Major has often advertised the antics of Hunt Ball’s owner, Anthony Knott.  He jumped on board Hunt Ball when entering the winners enclosure and when riding his first winner for 27 years of amateur riding, celebrating before the line with an unorthodox riding style to boot, genius.  If he wins, there is one place I want to be, the winners enclosure because I am sure he is unable to hold himself back at Cheltenham and with the cameras on him!

Triolo D’alene is a classy looking import that is sure to go well, 7/1 is very fair.

Going Wrong is an oddly strong fancy at 11/1 though.  Ferdy Murphy has won two runnings of this race and the selection has been very strong at Sedgefield.  Russell is an interesting jockey booking, a rider rarely used by the shrewd trainer, all in, I think this is a very good bet.

We are through the eye of the needle brace warriors.

The Saturday Sermon – The Gambling Gentlemens Weekend Must-Read

Good morning from the Major who sits at his Kitchen table concocting a wonderful weekend of gambling. 

This week, advices were at times unlucky but did not pay and the great start to the year took a small hit.  That said we are still hugely profitable, thanks to a number of tasty horses going in..

January Results
Sport Stakes Profit
Racing 20 86.65%
Football 8 -28.64%
Total 28 53.71%

All advices remain on my posts, for checking and the record of them is in the menu above.  The Major’s tips are always free and the thinking unhinged.  If just one child is saved from a life of non-gambling as a result of what I do, I shall go to my grave content.  Seal the lid Mr Undertaker, and let little Johnny know that I still think Trafford Lad can land a big prize one day.

The Major has started recording his bets again, you will find it on the top menu, along with new resources which I will expand from time to time. 

The Saturday Gambling Sermon is here so relax.  Gentlemen adjust your hat to a jaunty angle (26 degrees), strike up a cigar (Cohiba Siglo IV) and let us go to war once again.

Finians Rainbow - Looks like they have ordered up more of the Quantative Easing again!

We have the riches spread before us like a rich man in heaven.  The grade one Victor Chandler Chase, seven grade two races and a grade three; spread across Haydock, Naas and Ascot. 

The highlight is certainly the Victor Chandler which has been used, in the past, as a springboard for the best chasers.

Todays renewal is no exception with the superb Finians Rainbow versus Al Ferof.  It is a clash to whet the appetite, Henderson v Nicholls, Geraghty v Walsh; in a race that also includes Somersby and Wishful Thinking.  This is what Saturday sport is about.

Appetite is the focus of this mornings Saturday Sermon, well that and independent thought, which I will get to shortly. 

A man’s appetites on a Saturday should be satisfied with a fine salmon and poached egg.  Failing that, the Major’s favourite breakfast dish, Eggs Benedict would more than suffice – If you are not familiar with this particular morning spectacular, then live a little, order one up and allow the Major to brighten your existence.  Life will not be the same again.

Appetite for risk is something the Major is familiar with from my daily pursuits both vocational and recreational.  To be able to judge risk, you need to be able to weigh the likelihood of an event occurring with the impact of the resultant outcome.  Your acceptance of a wager should be determined by such.

This is straightforward and is similar to the mathematical concepts of probability, odds and value which the Major has posted in the Gambling Resources section of the site. 

Calculating value is one matter, your personal appetite dictates how you react to that value.  In the Majors opinion, gamblers and people of business are happy to operate at the low risk with certain, low reward end of the risk spectrum.  They rarely back themselves to go for the high risk but high reward opportunities that present themselves.  Consider…..

I have often said, that if a horse should be 33/1 but has been priced at 100/1, you should back it.  This is because it is profitable.  Ultimately, that calculation is more important than what you think will happen.  Yet few people will back such a prospect, even when they have calculated that it is great value.

For example, if you calculate reasonably that each of the Premier League elite teams will lose a home game, once a season to a bottom third team, then you might reasonably surmise that the odds of those away teams should be approximately 8/1.  Thus if QPR were at Chelsea and priced at 12/1, this would be a value price in your book, the reward is great but the risk is high as you still believe that the outcome is 87.5% likely that your bet will not pay. 

What is important is not that you think it will not happen, it is that you still think it is more likely to happen than the market price suggests.

This is fundamentally why gambling is not a ‘get rich quick’ scheme but a long game dotted with regular consistent losses.  What is important is that when you win, you backed outcomes at correct prices. 

Don’t be a sheep.  When you here someone say that Manchester United are a certainty at home, remind that they did lose at home to Blackburn…. at 28/1.  Whatever outcome occurs, the test of judgement is whether you priced it correctly. 

What people get confused between is value and likelihood.  Just because something is likely, does not make it good value.  Human nature dictates to follow likelihood more than value because we want to win more.  This thought clouds the brain.  Often, value dictates back Blackburn but likelihood says back Manchester United because it is more likely.  Be careful of those voices in your head, remember the Major’s calculation for betting value – (Decimal Odds * Probability) / 100.  Value greater than 1 – Back it.  Value less than 1 – Leave to the sheep.

So I think Chelsea to win at Norwich is just a 40% probability.  Their price is 1.66.  1.66*0.4 = 0.664 – Shocking value for the Major.

That is the sport of it, the intellectual thrust of judgement and calculation.  The fine balance.  When people ask why I gamble, I reply ‘why not?’ – The Major pities those who cannot feel the rush of blood at a sporting event where you have staked your money on the market being wrong.  When you made your honourable personal choice, your own integral thoughts, that which no man can alter but thee, that which god gave you to distinguish yourself as that of the finest and highest privelege – A man with independent thought.  What finer or purer thing exists? 

No wonder hostages survive, able to hold on that thought – Whatever happens, my independent thought still remains.  That integrity cannot be taken away. 

To the Sports, daub thy war paint…..

The Victor Chandler Chase – 3.10 Ascot

First of all, The Major dops his hat to Victor Chandler who are stumping up a matched £25 bet offer for existing customers.  The Major has not studied the detail but this firm have always been generous with their concessions.  As a bookmaker they offer best priced markets too, so that when a horse drifts you collect the better price.  One of the Major’s preferred accounts.

The market is currently full of bookmakers competing for our wagers on this race – This has forced the overround down to 103%, happy days!

We are looking at some of the upcoming stars heading the market in the shape of Al Ferof and Finians Rainbow.  These two, with the possible addition of Wishfull Thinking seem the progressive sorts and that is what the Major wants.

Wishfull Thinking has disappointed a bit this term in the Tingle Creek and the Paddy Power but looked a top prospect at the close of last season, it is possible we are getting to his time of year and he is a dangerous sort to rule out.  That said, he has reportedly had breathing problems which two wind ops do not seem to have solved, not without a chance but in this company, overlooked.

Al Ferof has won both starts over fences and although that does not equate to much experience, visually he looked very comfortable.  The form line with For Non Stop is not the strongest, but hugely respectable.  Remember we are comparing him though to the best potential Grade 1 chasers mind and he might still need to improve more.

Finians Rainbow however ticks more boxes.  His Kempton win last time (beating Wishfull Thinking) showed plenty of guts and a decent turn of foot; having been pretty much on the deck with half a mile to go.  His novice campaign was exceptionally strong and Henderson clearly thinks highly of him.  His Arkle defeat for me, remains amongst the best pieces of form on show, the time evidence supports that view.

I think the Victor Chandler will pan out with Forpadytheplasterer and Wishfull Thinking taking them along.  This should suit Finians Rainbow.

Get stuck right in and thank me later: 5/2 Victor Chandler with their additional concession.

1.45 Champion Hurdle Trial – Haydock

In name this is a Grade 2 Champion Hurdle trial, in truth, it is not a great show.  Just four go to post and the 1/2 favourite is Celestial Halo. 

The resaon for throwing the race into the Saturday Sermon in is that I am not sure 1/2 is at all value for the favourite.  The race is sure going to be tactical.  It is heavy ground and with a small field, they will probably go at a dawdle until the business end.

A further concern is that Celestial Halo has never run on heavy ground and this will be bottomless.  While his soft ground form suggests it will be fine, after coming out of a hrad last race, 1/2 is no price.

Instead, I suggest Marsh Warbler who I think will thrive in the mud.  7/2 Skybet, have a slice.

1.00 Ascot – Novice Handicap Chase

It is hugely difficult to evaluate the form of my selection Triolo D’Alene who is available to back at 10/3 with Betfred but 127 gives plenty of opportunity if the ability is there.  Top connections might have an easy score here and 10/3 might look the price of fools at ten past one. 

10lbs of weight conceded from Oldrik who rates the danger, persuaded me to get on the Henderson unknown quantity.

Haydock 1.10

Bet of the day for me is in the Novice Chase over two and a half miles at Haydock.

While State Benefit looks like being another of the riches spilling from the Henderson yard, the Major would be concerned that the bottomless ground may get to him.  Certainly his Exeter win on soft seems to suggest he likes getting his toe in but Haydock in these conditions is a different prospect.

This is why I place great weight on the two wins Cotswold Charmer has collected on heavy.  His chase debut win at Bangor was on soft and he has scope to keep improving.

5/1 is generally available and is overpriced for the Major. 

To the football….

African Cup of Nations

The African cup of nations kicks off today and I am very pleased to be sat on an ante-post ticket backing Senegal at 10/1.  They have been backed into 11/2 across the board and you can see why.  They should have a relatively trouble-free passage to the Semi-Finals and their squad is littered with European striking talents.  In fact, they boast seven strikers of which, we would be most familiar with Demba Ba.  If you want a tournament interest, have a slice – I fully expect the ageing Ivory Coast squad, who start the tournament 13/8 favourites, to flop once again. 

In the Premier League, I am following my belief that Chelsea are weaker than the market thinks and suggesting a Norwich win at 5/1 with 188Bet.  While my tip for Chelsea to fail to beat Sunderland did not pay, after watching the game, surely you would not want to be on Chelsea today at 4/6 best price?  Incidentally the draw is a best price 16/5, making that a 100% overround.  £6 with Ladbrokes (6/4), returns £10, so does £2.40 with 16/5 Victor Chandler and so does £1.70 with 188bet at 5/1.

I know Fulham have a decent home record but Newcastle still look great value at 3/1.  I think the price is inflated because markets believe they will miss Tiote and Ba too much but in reality it is more their no nonsense 4-4-2 sensible approach that has been winning them games.  They have kept it simple and they work hard.  They have adequate players to drop in and while their 1-0 QPR win was not spectacular, it again showed their organisational strength.  3/1 is too dismissive.

Finally Wigan look better than 3/1 to get a result at QPR.  Wigan play nice football, a fact not helped by their shocking pitch.  QPR will suit them and the Major has never been convinced by Mark Hughes, not a fan.

Mr Hill – The Lucky 15 Order is: Finians Rainbow, Norwich, Cotswold Charmer and Senegal – That should pay for a new pair of shoes or two!  Put Triolo d’Alene in if you feel the football is not to your particular taste.

Tonight may your dinner be beautiful, akin to the Major who took a ‘diet break’ eating a fine Chateaubriand in the week.  The tenderloin has to be the best cut of beef and I recommend you try it.  Have for company a country sort that won’t be offended by the bloodiness of your dish.  Dine well for tomorrow may never come.

Courage and roll those dice.