Good evening from the Major who writes from the comfort of his own home returning after business away. Worcestershire is a little blustery and cold, a night to be indoors.
Today the tips at Bangor performed poorly enough. Two winners from five is reasonable for a return if they were not 5/4 and 2/5 respectively. Still, at least we felt the blood pumping.
It is not long until the Cheltenham festival. The Major will continue to post his Cheltenham content here. That feeling deep down is building, a low humming buzz.. transponders are activating, the signal from the central station is pulsating out across the land… can you hear it, bend your ear ‘and the tapes go up for the Supreme to get the 2013 festival underway…’
When I think about why I love racing so much, the word that sum it up is richness. In my last post I lamented the loss of Darlan and crassly compared the loss of life to the beauty of the sport. It is a harsh calculation.
The richness of racing is a beautiful thing. In a world where entertainment output is increasingly simple and targeted at morons, racing remains a deep subject weaving form, language, art, science, human nature and luck into a fine tapestry. When I first attended a course, amongst other basics, I craved to know what ‘off the bridle’ meant. I do not believe the sport elitist, the answers are accessible. Yet, there is such a depth to the sport, with time comes wisdom.
I believe it Descartes that suggested our lives were like sparks from a flame. As children the spark is bright, we are hungry for knowledge and carry open minds. As we age, our minds gnarl, the spark dims, we long for knowledge no more.
To the sports, keep the spark alive…
The opening maiden is a classic punch up between the two top yards represented by Chatterbox 4/5 (Henderson) and Lac Fortana 7/4 (Nicholls). Many will see the form of the former has a strong feel to it having put My Tent or Yours away and the latter is a debutante for Nicholls from a very strong novice string he has to deploy.
I am not convinced that the former has shown that much and giving more than a stone to a what is likely a very good horse in Lac Fortana might be a big ask.
The Denman Chase at 2.25 is a chance for Silviniaco Conti to cement his Gold Cup claims. The 4/6 shot has been impressive this year and along with Long Run, he is my idea of the Gold Cup winner. He has to put this lot away easily for me to be right. The Giant Bolster is nowhere near good enough to take advantage off just 4lbs lighter in my view and has been over-rated since the last Gold Cup.
The 3pm is the Game Spirit and Wishfull Thinking is the current favourite, followed by Majala. Yet neither of these have a Game Spirit profile as not many winners are nine, let alone ten. I struggle to back Wishfull Thinking too as he has two ways of running. Instead, I am having a slice of Edgardo Sol at 6/1 who has performed well this year and while he might prefer slightly better ground, I think it is allowed for in that price.
The big one from a punting perspective is the Betfair Hurdle. My Tent or Yours is a 9/2 favourite and I am not a fan. Cotton Mill is 8/1 and being backed, some popularity may have been gleaned from the Pricewise endorsement for the Champion Hurdle, I am not a fan.
Interestingly Geffen has two leading charges, one trained with Nicky Henderson and one with Paul Nicholls. Of the two I much prefer Pearl Swan who I think has a decent chance and is freely available at 9/1 after prepping for this in a jumpers bumper, looks a plot sort – Worth noting that Nicholls won the Betfair last year with Zarkander who went straight to the Champion Hurdle… Pearl Swan also has a Champion Hurdle entry so it looks the same route.
The Betfair Hurdle tip from the Major though is a much bigger price. Caid Du Berlais is 25/1 with Stan James and I think is worth a little punt. Yes, the horse is 6lbs wrong but I think that could be an irrelevance You have to ignore the collateral form from his Chepstow run and just accept that much better is expected… have a slice. I am going to suggest a slice of Pearl Swan too at 9s and why not stick a couple of speculative quid on a Nicholls 1-2 with both? Three tips in one race… What sort of tipster am I? A bloody bad one is the answer and I am also suggesting you have a slice of Swing Bowler at 11/1. The Pipe mare is out of Galileo and has been mighty impressive to date.
The opening juvenile hurdle can be taken by Diakala although with some other very exciting prospects in opposition, a light interest is advised.
The 2.15 is an opportunity for Champagne Fever to put his last run behind him and confirm he is a leading Cheltenham chance. Both Champagne Fever and Waaheb have had their colours lowered by the now JP owned Jezki. The former probably has the edge on formline and 9/4 with Stan James is too big.
In the Moriarty Novice Chase, the Major is going to opt for Boston Bob who is the obvious choice and priced at just the right side of evens. This horse is currently second in the market for the RSA. His Albert Bartlett win was excellent and although he won his chase this year, it did require him to dig deep. Back up in trip, I think he will find things much more to his liking and maybe Dynaste will have something to worry about if he wins well.
I am genuinely stunned that the connections of Bog Warrior are taking on Sir Des Champs and Flemenstar. I am in no doubt that the horse is in that class. Well OK, there is some doubt in my mind but I just love the way this horse races, I am a long term fan so feel I can assert my strong view that he should remain hurdling. Why we are experimenting chasing again now is a mystery, he has a fair crack if sent to the World Hurdle, what is tomorrow about? I love him and I will back him tomorrow and I don’t care what anyone thinks. Don’t like it? Piss off.
To the football…
Swansea are constantly under-rated and so I am happy to be backing them at 10/11 at home to QPR. Charlton at 7/5 look a bet at home to Birmingham. I like Tranmere at 19/10 to win at Orient too.
May your dinner be delightful in company that is exhilarating. Courage and roll those dice.
The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Diakala, Boston Bob, Edgardo Sol and Lac Fortana.