Tag Archives: ulck du lin

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury, Doncaster, Kelso and Meydan… Premier League.. All aboard the Cheltenham Express to Profitsville

Good morning from The Major who writes groggy of mind, tired and emotional following a day in good company yesterday.  The Worcestershire morning scene is truly one of Gods finest vistas – Crisp, clean, excellent visibility, a coldness that kisses the skin gently, and a sharp white icing to the dark green evergreen flora and their bonier stick like deciduous friends.

It would be a lovely day to attend a national hunt racecourse, flask charged and small roll of notes tucked in your pocket.  Yet, we have to exercise caution, we are close to the festival now, in touching distance and we all must prepare our forces for that monumental battle.  What weaponry shall we bring to the field to defeat our enemy in ten days time?  Let it be enough.

I enjoyed a moment this week where I felt so certain about a wager, that it felt an unfair advantage, as though I had visited the future.  The bet was Olympiakos which I have spelt with both a ‘c’ and a ‘k’ indiscriminately.  It just seemed so obvious to me that they would win and they were almost 3/1 to do so.  I enjoyed that game with a smug grin.

Fortunately for mankind, my smugness was taken from me by the extremely poor performance of Fascino Rustico at Wincanton the following day.  I was so convinced that this Nicholls runner would win, I had half of my kith and kin invested.  Same feeling, different outcome.

In the case of the latter, I was most taken by the way it came into the race at Exeter previously where it had fallen two or three out, being turned out again, looked an advantage, I mean, this is Nicholls and he knows his string, if he says no damage, let’s go.  On the negative side of the ledger, who really knows what effect a fall has had and he was being asked to lump top weight against some better opposition.

A couple of notes to order.  Firstly, note how the Olympiacos (see what I did there) win had little cross-examination.  I thought something, it happened, I have signed the chitty, filed and receipted it and thrown the key away.  I came, considered, wagered, won and that is it.  Done.  Complis.

Yet, Fascino caused me to go back and re-examine the original paperwork.  How was I so confident, yet so wrong.  In this case I can point to those three factors – The weight in the ground, the improved opposition and the impact of the previous fall.  Something is learned.

Yet, note the difference between how we gamblers treat victory and defeat.  Glorious wins are never questioned.  Let’s say Olympiakos won but were a shade lucky, would I have treated that like defeat?  Would I have examined the thought process that led me to the wager or would I conveniently and quickly shut that down to simply enjoy the win.

The natural urge is only to scrutinise the calculation following a loss but to improve, you need to do it with every bet.  When you win, you want to improve the chances that you won for the right reasons.  Don’t be the broken clock that is correct twice in the day, or the blind squirrel finding the odd nut.  Ask yourself of each win, having witnessed the event, if I were to revisit my calculation would I do the same thing?

The mind is an incredible tool.  We are not in control of it as much as we might like.  We need to train our subconscious to be better at the intuitive appreciations of the factors prior to a wager.  It can be done but it takes years of investments my friends – Learn how to trust those instincts and more crucially when not to.  Sharpen those decision making tools to enable you to distinguish the signature signal from the incredible noise.

A quick joke and then the sports.

An Irish girl, heavily pregnant is involved in a car accident (fear not this ends well).  She is in a coma.  When she comes to, the doctor is present and she immediately notices that she is no longer pregnant.  The doctor puts her mind at immediate ease explaining that they delivered twins, a boy and a girl, while she was unconscious.  ‘Oh my’ she exclaims… ‘well where are they?’, ‘your brother has them’, ‘oh no, not my idiot brother!  What did he call them.  ‘Well’ the doctor replies ‘He called the girl Denise’… ‘Hmmm Denise, that is not so bad… what about the boy?’ ‘Ah’ says the doctor ‘he called that one Danephew!’

Newbury Tips

In the 3.15, Tiqris looks opposable, even though the money coming now makes me a little nervous and it is backed by some excellent trainer confidence.  The thing is, his form last time was nothing special.  I am placing a small bet on Kuda Haraa, whose Huntingdon form has been well advertised – Hobbs is certainly in much better form than King (31% over 11% win ration last fortnight) but I am swung by the generous 15/2 Stan James are giving me on my selection.. small stakes.

The 3.50 Grade 3 has attracted a poor field but this is a race dominated by Ditcheat over the years.  In the last ten runnings, they have won with Pacha du Polder, Aerial, Big Fella Thanks, New Little Bric, Natal and Cornish Sett.  Thus the entries must be taken very seriously indeed.  He has Rebel Rebellion at the top of the weights and at a similar price, my selection, Ulck Du Lin.  I think the former keeps the weights nice for the later.  My horse has the advantage of Noel Fehily in the saddle.  He does not have a tremendous win record but recorded one of those on heavy ground.  Fehily is 3 from 7 runs for Nicholls – I am happy with this one – Shangani is the danger but that Venetia Saturday thing is getting a bit overbet for me.

Doncaster Tips

The Mares hurdle races are ones I enjoy and Doncaster has an interesting clash that seemingly only concerns Layla Joan, Mayfair Music and Toubeera.  I have backed the last named before and respect the Venetia runner but as you can feel from my tone, she is not the one for me today.  No, I am betting Mayfair Music.  I think Toubeera while improving has been made a lot of and is starting to look like her limitations are being reached.  That is less true of the Gordon Elliot raider but Layla Joan has not run on ground this good and that is a concern.  My selection will love it (2 from 3 on good) and Geraghty will bring home the cheese… Load a small cannon, Ladbrokes and Boylesports are 3/1.

The Grimthorpe is a race that one can never be to certain about but an experienced sort lurking on a low weight is the theme in the last few years.  The race has not been run on heavier ground for many years and so in some respects, this profile is a little surprising.  In the last 15 years, the race has been won by 15 different trainers! Not much clue there! Not often that a big price goes in and so, on balance, a small interest in Court by Surprise who has Geraghty in a rare ride for Lavelle.

Tistory still is available at 5/6 with Betvictor for the novice hurdle and will go off with the Majors weighty penalty aboard.

Kelso Tips

I am all about the favourite Clever Cookie in the Kelso Hurdle and at 11/8 am planning an investment.  The form of his races is working out very nicely and the good conditions also suit.  The extra two furlongs will also play into his hands.. Highly confident.

Kruzhlinin has an excellent Kelso record (3 from 3) and looks to have a leading chance in the 4.15.  Mr Moonshine brings some good recent form to the race having won over Christmas and again at Warwick in the New Year.  I am giving another chance to an old friend though in 5/1 (Coral) shot Opening Batsmen.  It has been a year since we saw this horse at his best but if he can return to those performances, he may well have the measure of these two, keep it sensible.

Meydan Single Shot

Yesterday afternoon, I was with a friend and work associate in London.  We spent the latter afternoon hard at work and since his hospitality is always exemplary, I felt a gift in order.  Overnight, I had been interested in the three Carroll runners at Dundalk all booked with the jockey services of Joseph O’Brien.  Well it stood out.

I purchased him an each way trixie but feeling like some confirmation was needed, fired a quick tweet off to Irish racing judge @spinitg – Seanie is unnervingly accurate in his assessment of Irish racing and if you have a twitter account, follow him, else you are doing it wrong.

Anyway, what has this got to do with Meydan?  Firstly he corrected my opening Carroll runner and recommended the winner as an alternate.  He confirmed his liking for the last of the three legs I had placed, Waving, which turned out to be the only winner.  This was all too late for my associate who now has a thin slip of useless paper to show for my gratitude for his hospitality.  It did however give me time to amass a SOB bet (read Steve Palmer or work it out) on Waving who won as you like.

All this matters because he likes Simenon in the 5.10 at Meydan and that is enough for me.

In the football…  Wolves (-1) at odds against is an excellent bet in my view.  I am also considering going against the tide and betting Newcastle.  You could see what it meant to their players when securing a late goal to take the points from Villa and 21/10 is big for them to win at Hull.

The Martin Hill bet is a double, on the rocks… Mayfair Music and Clever Cookie… Shabash

I hope your dinner is a gently spiced persian delight with the full richness of that cuisine playing out on your palette.  May the company be generous and the bill weighty but settled with a smile as you both appreciate the experience and it will barely bite into the spoils of the day.

Do you know that eating out regularly is one of the things that will make you live longer?  Quite true my friends, so do not wait for permission, have a table ready for this evening.

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 – Ascot and Haydock Tips….. The Major meets AP McCoy

Good evening from a blustery and wet Worcestershire.  The fineness of the day which began like gods own awakening has retreated and with the dark night comes the warm rugged squalls from the Atlantic.  It is December, I prefer the integrity of ice and frost, the tepid rugged wet weather feels dirty.

The Ascot ground looked like it was behaving today which surprised me, I thought they would be swimming on it.  The Major did fairly poorly. 

I fancied getting Puffin Billy beaten, which was proven mighty foolish.  I couldn’t bring myself to back the obvious Simonsig.  I mean…. Can you really back a novice chasing debutante at 1/6 on heavy ground no matter how impressive their novice hurdle season?  Clearly yes.  I did have the winner of the bumper, that protected some liquidity.

Last Sunday night I attended the Sports Personality Awards.  I was a guest of some business associates.  We dined before heading to the studio and sitting amongst the sporting glitterati.  The after show party was a star-studded affair.  My wingman for the night was far more comfortable approaching people for pictures and autographs than I. 

I do find it uncomfortable disturbing people socialising and frankly, what is the point.  Will you look at those pictures again?  Class and decorum for me is to relax and let it go.

I held that mighty stance until he pointed out Tony McCoy, entertaining a couple of female guests across the room.  Well, perhaps there is a shallow man struggling to get out after all as I could not contain the urge for a photo.

I interrupted as politely as possible for the picture and when I suggested Darlan to him, he was lukewarm, he gave me another horse to follow. 

AP McCoy and the Major

AP McCoy and the Major – He must love it

Now your correspondent will set the scene as best as I can…. The DJ (Comedy Dave) has the tunes cranked up, the silky green goddesses with their silver trays are breezing past, each stealing my heart (I fall in love most days)… I am a fair few Heinekens in to the evening and AP is giving me a horse to follow in his Irish lilt. 

The first time, I missed it completely.  Repeating the name, helped only moderately.  Second time round, I was able to make out some key syllables and define the shape of the horses name.  Asking a third time would have been rude and so I thanked him and left.

It took me a day and the work of a good friend Mike to track the animal down!  Who is it?  Well, that is between me, AP, my brother, Mike, anyone I have told so far and anyone who DMs me politely on twitter!  Anyway, as for AP, is he what you would hope for in a champion jockey?  Good teeth, clean shoes, class act all the way.

To the sports….

Tips for Ascot

The opening handicap is three miles through the mud so will take a lot of getting.  I really like Okafranca who is on a hat trick.  The last Taunton run was as good as anything in the field and he did that with plenty in hand.  7/1 (Paddy Power) is a very fair price – I feel good about this one but coping with another race within nine days as well as an 8lb rise might be tough enough. 

Instead I am offering a 14/1 tip on Highland Retreat.  My tip is a Harry Fry horse with Mr J Barber, a 7lb claimer aboard (has won on the other sole start for the stable).  After showing a likeable attitude in winning an Exeter handicap (first two fought clear and second now rated 121), a disappointing effort at Hereford followed.  There were problems with the girl that day (nose bleed) and if back to form, this unexposed mare might just get involved.

In the second race, Solix is clearly a decent opponent but I fancy Paul Nicholls to take this with Cedre Bleu.  My tip gets 7lb in hand and is going to be sharper for the seasonal debut.  It is interesting that connections go for a double dose of headgear, suggesting to me that the horse needs to concentrate and that we are yet to bottom out the talent.  If right, Cedre Bleu is in the right hands… 13/8 have a slice.

Long Walk Hurdle Tip – Ascot 2pm

A horse that won me some considerable dough in last seasons World Hurdle rocks up as favourite in this years Long Walk.  Smad Place had lots of supporters at Wetherby for his seasonal debut and so losing to Tidal Bay was a big dissapointment. 

It is a bitter shame that Big Bucks is unable to defend his crown here and at Cheltenham in March.  He looked as good as ever on debut and surely was booked to go to FIVE World Hurdles.

Prospect Wells looks like the horse that Ditcheat want to use as a main World Hurdle horse now that Big Bucks is out of the picture.  I am not convinced, he was in receipt of a lot of weight against Zarkander and wonder whether the image of the two of them pulling clear is not a little flattering to Prospect Wells… maybe.

Reve de Sivola finished second to Big Bucks at Newbury although he was clearly not in the same league. 

Master of the Hall is an interesting runner and gets the nod, perhaps a little disappointing and the hurdles mark is not generous either, the positives are that a switch to the smaller obstacles might spark enthusiasm and less error.  He is certainly one of the more likely to thrive in the conditions.  8/1 and worth a bet.

Ascot Silver Cup Tips – 2.35pm

The Ascot Silver Cup boasts a small but interesting field line up.  Roberto Goldbach has been switched to Nicky Henderson and it will be interesting to see whether he can take the horse further now he is turning eleven.

I am not convinced Hold on Julio will love the ground and I prefer Hey Big Spender who won a grade 3 at Warwick in January and was travelling well enough in the Welsh national last Christmas before coming down before the race got going in earnest.  He has gone well fresh and 4/1 is fair but I wonder if there are more significant prizes that the horse will be prepared for this year.

Maybe, this line up is giving too much weight away to Wyck Hill at 7/1 and a few pounds out of the handicap.  Racing off the minimum weight is going to be a big help and the horse has some signs of being progressive.  The heavy ground run previously was poor but the soft form suggests another try is not without hope.  7/1 (Bet365) and worth backing.

The Ladbroke – Ascot 3.10pm

21 runners make this a damn hard race to geta  solid angle into. 

Petit Robin is an interesting horse at a big price.  Chase form (and mark) is better than the current hurdles mark and a decent claimer is booked.  Maybe at 25/1 it is hard to argue that Henderson thinks he is the yards best hope but the Major gives it a squeak.

Rattan has done his best work on heavy but Ruby is on Ranjaan who represents Nicholls and it is significant that the money has come this week.  Ranjaan won comfortably at Taunton for Daryl Jacob and the rise of 9lb is not a big problem.

I just prefer a Jonjo horse who, on pricing, looks the best bet – Its a Gimme.

We have the champion jockey on our side and McManus likes some decent handicappers too – I am backing this tip to be progressive at five, the seasonal reappearance was fine and with natural progression, lets hope Its a Gimme can get involved.

Of course, Balder Success looks a decent sort but I am not sure he has the profile of the winner, it is a big ask at 4.

In the last Ulck Du Lin can prevail at 13/8.

Haydock Tips

I am hugely interested in Kruzhulinin in the second at 2/1.  A winner on heavy racing for the connections that won last years renewal, surely a decent chance.

In the third, She Ranks Me looks a dubious 6/5 shot and instead I much readily prefer the chances of Dancingtilmidnight and Scholastica.  Splitting them is difficult, both will love conditions.  The Harry Fry horse is a points winner that looks a thorough stayer and is accompanied by my favourite Jockey Noel Fehily.  Scholastica looks like a horse with any amount of improvement to come, absolutely stuffing a poor Uttoxeter field last time out (only 3 finishers).

On balance, I am going to take a chance on Dancingtilmidnight with the Fehily factor swinging it.

In the football…..

QPR look a touch big at 14/5 given the lack of confidence at Newcastle.  I think Southampton have the guns to defeat Sunderland at home at 6/5.  Norwich are a massive 16/5 to win at an Albion side that have taken one point from twelve.  I am still thinking Watford offer value with a talented young squad and 13/10 is a good price for a team that can freshen it up. 

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Watford, Cedre Bleu, Ulck Du Lin and Kruzhulinin.

May your dinner be delicious, pasta perhaps.  The company delightful, the ambience soft. 

Courage and roll the dice….