Tag Archives: weird al

Sunday Uttoxeter Racing Tips…

Good morning from the Major who writes from the bedside listening to peaceful music and gazing out at a bright cloudy Worcestershire scene.

I have had a request for a review of the Sunday Uttoxeter racing Card and so I am going to fly through it… try to keep up.  As a health check, yesterday was not that bad.  Lingfield did not go well but at the Curragh, I scored a 20/1 winner and a 3/1 winner.  Maybe the Major is coming back to the boil!  Let us hope so.

Uttoxeter Tips

In the first, my eye was drawn to Rally the Troops who has been off the track since the end of 2011 but is still young (6) and with a yard capable of coaxing some form back.  Yet, the yard form of Bowen is extremely striking (9 winners from last 18 runners) and I am backing The Road Ahead at 7/2 to get the job done with Tom O’Brien a very capable pilot.

In the second, it is hard to put you off Lyssio even if he is conceding weight all around.  The Champ is riding for Jim Best who has a decent Uttoxeter record and the form stacks up with the Fakenham win looking decent.

The 2.40 is a tricky race and not a lot jumps off the page.  As a result I am putting up Night of Passion who is entirely unexposed but could be reasonable.

In the 3.10, Baccalaureate will have his fan seeking a hat trick but this is a tougher race and he carries a stone more as a result of his last victory.  It’s a risky prospect but I think Solaras Exhibition should be given another chance – His Ffos Las exploits read very well and although not entirely straight forward, can play a part at 14/1.

The John Smiths Summer Cup

This is a very decent race.  Officially a listed chase, a number of decent sorts have turned up.  Next to the Midlands National, I assume this is Uttoxeters top race day.

Vitrix Gale is going to be popular after running well under a welter burden at Perth.  Weird Al is easily the best of these if putting in a good show (who knows!?!).   Lost Glory has a solid profile for Jonjo and AP.

Deireadh Re is near the top of my list, his hurdles mark is a lot higher than this and at Fontwell he showed himself a competent jumper of fences.  Inexperience troubles me though, especially in this company.

At a massive price, Red not Blue will relish the firming ground, he has won 9 from 13 on good ground and 25/1 is the wrong price.

I am going to overlook the chase experience question and get on Deireadh Re who could have a lot more to show in this sphere.

The 4.20 looks more solvable and I am keeping it obvious with the Best / McCoy combination again and Emerald Glade.  The last piece of form is well advertised and I think a double with Lyssio is in order.

In the penultimate race, I am only interested in Catch Tammy and Bennys Quest.  In the end, Bennys Quest looks a solid 9/2 bet.

Bracken Quest has been withdrawn from good ground races even though he has a good record on it (from 2 runs, 1 win, 1 place) which is curious.  He is 10/1 and my get out of jail card.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon – Cheltenham Trials Day Tips | Leopardstown | FA Cup… Shabash and load those cannons

Good evening from the Major who writes relaxing, from the lounge. The television was proving a poor distraction, action was taken, a button pressed. Now silence envelops me in a soft bubble, occasionally punctuated by a car passing by, tyres kissing the dark wet tarmac. Thinking time.

Worcestershire feels unclean. Lumps of white snow whose edges are diminishing fast cling to the landscape, lit up by the passing lights, starved of their icy fuel, unable to fight off the rising temperatures, slowing eating themselves. Soon teh land will be free again.

Cheltenham, racing, it is on. Shabash. The Major is looking forward to entertaining friends on course. I suspect a crowd of good racing folk will be there, starved of recent action, craving the goodness that floweth at the Prestbury Park cup.

We are incredibly blessed with a day at National Hunt HQ that is as good as trials day ever recorded. The moving of the Victor Chandler Chase bought Sprinter Sacre to the card and even the loss of Bobs Worth did little to tarnish the sheer quality jumping off the pages.

Such riches… There is a buddhist parable of heaven and hell which suggests that the two after-lifes have little in common. A feast in each is laid before you and in hell you are furnished with just one long chopstick, frustration ensues as you are unable to feed with it. In heaven, the same feast and the same apparatus are present but each man feeds his neighbour. Sounds uncomfortable at best.

The moral point is not lost on tomorrow though. Racing is such a richness, how the heart pumps, that rising feeling as your horse turns up that Cheltenham hill, behind but plugging on and you just know it is a long way home and you have a chance…. The smells, the magnificent beasts, the sights… we are lucky to live in such times as these, Sprinter Sacre, Puffin Billy… tomorrow we dine on the feasts that racing has given us.

As the parable teaches too, we cannot do this alone, so enjoy it in company. Join the conversation on twitter (@tdl123) and while you are online, have a little look at this tribute song to Campbell Gillies who tragically died on holiday last year. The song is nice enough and features the jockey winning on Brindisi Breeze at last years festival.

When the tapes go up on this years Albert Bartlett, many will be casting a thought back to Campbell charging up the hill holding off Boston Bob in last years contest. Who would have thought it possible that two such bright young things would be dead before the summer was out. We float by on this river just the once.

Enjoy Cheltenham tomorrow, savour these times and be lucky. The Trials day is a fantastic taster of what is to come.

The Major has started recording his antepost thoughts for Cheltenham. Have a read when you get a chance, so far I have covered the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup.

I feel able to claim that I am in reasonable touch over the last month, a small spell on the sidelines this week hopefully has done me good. I have been known to go well fresh and so today, returning from a break, here I am at your disposal.

Daub thy war paint, load the light cannon, prepare the mortars, the enemy comes from below to attempt to breach our line, we are dug in well on the ridge though. We shall fire mortar but dropping shot from above is difficult to gauge… if it comes to it, we shall engage them man to man with 5 cartridges each and bayonets fixed and glistening their evil reflections.

To the sports…

Cheltenham Trials Day Tips

The going is soft but it might be odd ground. The covers have been on all week so the top might be loose. Fresh rain is forecast too so it might get tacky. I am erring on proper soft ground sorts.

What a feast of action we have, eight races, six of them graded… let us sharpen our minds.

12.10 Grade 2 Triumph Trial

Irish Saint is currently 6/4 and I fancy him to go off a lot shorter after an impressive Kempton win last time out. Soft underfoot conditions have already proven no problem.

The race is marked by the absence of an Alan King runner. He has run the race in 5 of the last 7 runnings all with horses of 2/1 and under.

Rolling Star has to be the biggest eye-catching entry, while it is hard to rate the French form, Henderson does not throw darts at races like this and so despite an incredibly tough introduction to British hurdles, he is respected.

Of the others, Knight of Pleasure makes appeal. He could not have won more convincingly on debut at Sandown and the Moore yard are in fine form – A tremendous piece of each way value at 14/1 with Stan James.

On balance though, the Major feels that Nicholls has a good one on his hands in Irish Saint and at 6/4 generally, I think this evenings prices are the one to take.

12.40 Cheltenham Novice Chase

Radjhani Express gave Sam Waley-Cohen the first of two winners on the Kempton boxing Day card. His rise in the weights and dubious style at the obstacles are enough to put me off.

McMurrough has terrific form on the Northern circuit, winning two handicaps but this is a long way from Wetherby, interesting.

Gullinbursti has looked just short of class on a few occasions a dirty scope on the middle of three runs was an excuse but I am not convinced a tough track like Cheltenham is what he needs.

Venetia Williams stable jockey Aidan Coleman has opted for Renard D’Irlande over Benny Mist who was a last time winner in a small field at Taunton.

Johns Spirit at 5/1 (Boylesports) is the tentative choice for the Jonjo / McCoy partnership. He looks consistent enough and a small stake is advised as plenty of others could improve.

Sizing Santiago is the other that help some interest off a massive 14/1 but he is merely one of a few that persuade me to keep stakes on the selection low.

1.15 Grade 3 Handicap

Nadiya De La Vega has run well at Cheltenham but has a habit of getting worse as the season progresses.

Bless the Wings is a talented animal and this is the right time of the season to catch it but I fear the ground may be against the King horse.

Katenko looks a very tasty favourite at 4/1, the French import to the Williams yard is a powerful looking horse and this sort of contest may bring better.

I am opting though for the horse with a fantastic winning habit, Bold Sir Brian. My tip, smacks a few fences but the way he put away Pacha Du Polder and his penchant for softer conditions bodes very well. Have a meaty slice and thank me later.

Tips for the Victor Chandler Chase

Sprinter Sacre… The Aeroplane…. His judgement cometh and that right soon.

2.25 Argento Chase Tip

It is a shame that Bobs Worth is a non runner in the contest, it would have been fantastic to get another look at the Gold Cup favourite. However, as long as Tidal Bay stays in, we have a proper race on our hands here.

I must be the only National Hunt fan not to be that taken with the whole Lexus form. My own Gold Cup thoughts revolve around Bobs Worth, Long Run and Silviniaco Conti.

Grand Crus is starting to look like a list of excuses but that said they look valid. The wind op was a response to his poor efforts at Cheltenham and then he went well in the King George before blowing up, he arguably will strip fitter for that.

Imperial Commander will have his fans as a twelve-year-old former Gold Cup winner but not for the Major.

Midnight Chase won this last year but the creeping years and a tougher field might make a repeat bid a failing one, but he does love it round here.

Others with strong track form include Weird Al, Little Josh and Wayward Al.

The whole race feels like a weigh up between the older sorts out for a last hoorah and a few younger animals bidding to be better. Hunt Ball is one of those but I think his improving is done.

It is a younger chaser I am opting for though and it is Grand Crus that represents the value pick at 5/1. He can improve for his recent shows and will surely play a role.

3.00 The Novice Hurdle

At Fishers Cross has good handicap form and Coneygree looks like he has some of his half-brother Carruthers talent but neither appeal as much as The New One. Two and a half miles around Cheltenham looks a nice warm up for the Neptune after the tip destroyed a Warwick field last time. That race fell apart but there was no doubt over the ease in which the winner did his business.

Whisper is a potential fly in the ointment, the Henderson inmate could be anything but against a proven class animal, I am sticking with the New One.

3.35 The Cleeve Hurdle

It is the day that keeps on giving. The 3.35 is the Cleeve Hurdle, a race that sees Oscar Whiskey test his World Hurdle credentials with Reve de Sivola taking him on. He needs to win this to put to be the stamina concerns to bed ahead of the festival.

Reve de Sivola beat a good yard stick in Smad Place (placed in last years World Hurdle) last time at Ascot and that was an excellent effort coming back from a break.

Kauto Stone is starting to look tricky and Crack Away Jack owes me too much to contemplate.

I am sticking with 13/8 shot Oscar Whisky (Hills) who has the best Cheltenham record of the lot.

4.10 – The Lucky Last

Dildar to get me out of trouble at 9/2.

Leopardstown Tips

Just in case you are not drowning in the quality of the Cheltenham card, Leopardstown offer some excellent racing too.

Sadly only three go to post in the Arkle Novice which Avrika Ligeonniere should take at prohibitive 4/6 odds.

9/4 Marito for the same connections can make it a profitable day in the 2.15, one I very much like.

In the big handicap, 9/1 Carlingford Lough with Slippers aboard is my tip.

Football Tips

QPR 4/6, Wigan 4/7 and Hull 4/5 are an FA Cup treble.

Bournemouth 8/11 and Tranmere 23/10 are my league one picks.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Bold Sir Brian, Oscar Whisky, Irish Saint and Tranmere.

May your dinner be paid for by a trixie which made your wallet bulge. The company delectable.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon with Haydock and Ascot tips….

Good morning from the Major who writes from a sodden Worcestershire where deluges of rain have altered the vista. It is a pretty site, fields now lakes, vast expanses of new temporary wetland which the bird life will enjoy.

It all happened so quickly, rivers and brooks burst sending violent floods of water into new places where it doesn’t belong.. roads, fields, flat areas vulnerable to the torrents of water, now settled in calm collectives. They will disperse as quickly as they came, silently draining and giving back their taken land.

The Major has been sleeping more soundly. Whatever the cause it dispersed as quickly as it pooled too. With sleep, comes confidence. Today my faithful few, we daub the war paint and go to war. We have an excellent renewal of the Betfair Chase, a decent Amlin at Ascot and football opportunities too.

Sharpen that lance point and prepare the heavy charger. The enemy is dug in, prepared for our onslaught, we shall take them on directly, first on horse, picking with our lance points at the gallop and then fighting man to man with bayonets fixed. It will be dirty work but we deserve our victory… To the sports…

3.05 Haydock – Betfair Chase

What a fantastic renewal of the Betfair Chase. The two remaining placed horses from last years Gold Cup do battle with Silvianaco Conti and Weird Al.

You can read this race a number of ways and what complicates matters further is the testing conditions which could readily deteriorate to heavy. I am making the assumption that it will.

The only horse with good form when that word appears is Cannington Brook but while he has shown improvement, surely he is not a Grade 1 winner.

The ground could scupper the chances of The Giant Bolster who is clearly a rose on the significant upgrade surprising many with a superb Gold Cup second. He is the stable star and reportedly doing very well. He is likely to run off the front and although in a small field that could be advantageous, in these specific conditions, I suggest he will be setting it up.

That leaves Weird Al, Long Run and Silvianaco Conti.

I like Weird Al a lot. Quirky and difficult to train, this will be his Gold Cup without doubt. He will be tip top for this and has a record that is mores site fresh. Strongly considered and his soft ground form (4 from 5) suggests that heavy holds little fear.

Silvianaco Conti is a second season chaser with serious merit. He has clearly progressed like so many of the Ditcheat team do. He looked excellent on seasonal debut int he Charlie Hall, particularly as that was his first time outside of novice company. He is going to be fit and ready.

Long Run is the proven class. How I wish, Barry Geraghty would get a chance. Then we would know whether the scruffy jumps are the horses habit or the amateur jockey factor. Owners can do what they want and the Corinthian spirit can be admired but as a racing fan, I want to see the best jockeys on the best horses. I am still a fan, a clean round and this machine is unbeatable in my view. He won a Gold Cup as a young pup beating good sorts. He always hits a few but stands up and keeps going. These fences at this speed on this ground might suit…. That though is the problem, can you believe the horse has never run on anything worse than good to soft! It is hard to know what Long Run will make of heavier conditions.

The tip…. Hmmmmm tricky. Weird Al is tempting simply because this is the main aim. Long Run is really tempting now drifting, I am opting for Silviniaco Conti, I am also having a reverse forecast on the first two in the market.

At the start of this season, I had written off Paul Nicholls chances of top trainer. Henderson had far more 160+ rated sorts and it looked like all the talent was there. Now with Silvianaco, Al Ferof and others showing progression, it is wide open again.

2.30 Haydock

I really like the two at the top of market and am going to tip Katkeau – Pipe has an excellent record in the race and I am not put off by jockey bookings. This is a ‘could be anything’ French import and 13/2 Coral is fine for me.

2.10 Ascot – Amlin Chase Tips

The ground at Ascot is likely to be very testing too particularly as the rain will hit Berkshire.

A few weeks back, the Major heavily tipped For Non Stop at 13/2 which duly obliged and you might expect the same again but no….

Today, even the Fehily factor (the Majors favourite underrated jockey), I am tipping Finians Rainbow. Last year, my selection was simply awesome in the Champion Chase, outclassing Sizing Europe. The latter is an exceptional horse in his own right who won doing cartwheels in Ireland last week.

Finians is simple. Evens is a gift.

2.45 Ascot – Coral Hurdle

Again, I am looking to keep it simple here. The best horse in the race is Oscar Whiskey who is also tactically Flexible. He can and will front run and will be damn hard to peg back – he likes a lot of cut so conditions bear no ill – smash it up in a double with Finians Rainbow, 4/5… I can see it being 4/7 at the off.

2.35 Gowran

Last tip from the Major comes from Gowran Park where a highly regarded Mullins horse (always worth noting) does battle with Hidden Cyclone. I fancy Call the Police to come out on top based on reputation and the weight benefit he gets as Hidden Cyclone has won a Grade 3.

Currently 7/4 but only Paddy Power has a market! Outrageous!

To the football…

Derby should beat Blues (5/4) who are a club in turmoil. I fancy that in a double with Blackburn (11/10) who should see off Millwall.

Lucky 15… For Mr Hill, (Derby, Blackburn, Finians Rainbow and Call the Police). It might not be £600 worth but good luck!

May your dinner be fuelled by magnificent winners. Have pasta and a light wine, a Bourgogne perhaps. I hope the company is enchanting and as you drop the tip on the table after the bill is settled, may her eyes widen and the race be put to bed.

Courage, roll those dice.

Can the Major make it an all profitable November Saturday Service?

Good morning from fine Worcestershire where the hard frosty ground gives a beautiful backdrop to the Majors Saturday preachings.

Another fine sporting weekend to be enjoyed.  Two groups of people to thank for the fine sporting offerings today, the good folk at BHA, Newbury, Newcastle and sponsors sportingbet who pushed through the move to get the fighting fifth to Newbury – Well done, good show.  Well done also to the small army of people required to cover the majority of the Newbury track with frost covers last night to ensure that the gods of weather could not upset the Majors eggs on toast.

The coffee is simple, Gold Blend, we ran out of the expensive stuff and the Major needs to restock for Christmas.  The environment is wholesome and we all know a pure heart and a clear head is required when going into battle against the old enemy, him with the satchel who shall try to deceive with his dark and twisted approach.

The Major has been working for your benefit for some hours and today, the results are important for a few reasons.  Firstly, every Saturday service in November has been fantastically profitable.  The lowest return was 148% of stake, lovely.  Let’s complete the month with another stunner.  Secondly, it is building towards Christmas and the Major understands that in the time of credit crunches, recessions, student fee increases and swinging cuts; the Major has an obligation to return a profit…. let’s see what the art of the possible is….

Hennessy Day.  What a great day, let’s start with a look at the race.  Denman bids for a third Hennessy which would be a first.  This is a moment of horseracing history but we need to reflect.  Denman is an amazing animal.  A twice Hennessy victor, a Gold Cup winner and a top class chaser.  ‘The tank’ was an apt nickname, on his day he travels powerfully with an arrogance to match his class.  It is a measure of his success that he puts more than half of the field out of the handicap today, shouldering 11-12 giving 8lbs to horses like Niche Market (an Irish National Grade 1 winner) who still remains 8lb the wrong side of the handicap, unbelievable.

However, before we get too breathless at what this horse has already achieved and hopes to achieve today, we need to consider the greatest chaser of them all.  It is unfair to consider Denman in the category of the greatest without considering Himself, Arkle.

Arkle, for those who do not know (please do not return), was a bay gelding and was simply the best chaser to ever race.  In a similar style to Denman he came to prominence when many suspected he was second fiddle to Mill House, the stables other top chaser.  However Arkle proved to be in a different class.  He was a freak winning 27 of his 35 starts.  His losses were usually injuries.  His sole loss in the Hennessy was finishing second to a horse that went on to place twice in the Gold Cup ( a great white chaser called Stalbridge Colonist) – On Hennessy day, Arkle who lost by half a length was trying to give him best part of three stone.  Watch the film, if Arkle had not got so close to the last fence, maybe he would have been the first three times winner of the Hennessy.

I love Denman (although admit to being a Kauto man), I love his brashness, his attitude, I dearly hope he can win.  Let’s enjoy the day,a  great day.  Just have in mind though the greatest of the all.  If Arkle ran today, Denman would be out of the handicap by 4lbs.

So who wins the Hennessy after all this is a sport tipping service! 

This is a puzzle.  It is a huge ask of Denman and as much as I wish him well, I have to consider that at ten and with lots of second season improvers queuing up to have a pop, Denman is very vulnerable today.

Burton Port is a very interesting contender having the services of Geraghty.  I think it is a testament to the way this 6yo is considered at home that Barry Geraghty, no spring chicken but one of the Majors favourites is getting 3lb below his lowest riding weight for 3 years to take the ride.  Well done Barry, enjoy the sauna.  The horse looks an out and ou stayer to me and I suspect there is a lot of improvement.  This is my each way advice to you, let’s hope Barry is not too dizzy and can steer us round for a decent winner.  Bet 365 bless have gone 9/1 paying 1/4 to FIVE PLACES.  Very generous chaps, you shall be remembered in the Majors prayers.  Get stuck into the port faithful followers.  Pandorama could be the fly in the ointment, consider a saver.  Lots of other fascinating runners, how is Neptune Collonges who was looking good prior to injury, Weird Al who deadheated the impressive Little Josh at Carlisle last time out, Taranis returning from a knock…. this is a class field

Before the Hennessy kicks off at 3.05, we have the delectable delight of the return to track of Big Bucks.  The only one of the big four horses expected to give the bookies a thrashing at the festival, Big Bucks is going off 2/7 – Not a price for the Major but what on earth could beat it?  What bank would give you a 28% return by mid afternoon?? Stick it in the accumulators!!

The fighting fifth is a sit out race for the Major too.  Peddlers Cross has to show plenty on official form but there was plenty to like about the Cheltenham novice win.  If the real Binocular turns up then 4/5 could look daft.  The Majors winner from a fortnight ago (Nearby) looks out of his depth.

The 3.40 is a race in which I have spent some time considering options.  Of 15, I have it down to a few.  One of which, I think the enemy is making a considerable mistake with.  Mount Oscar will strip fit for a blow at Chepstow and on a winning mark could take this, 10s available with Paddy but not for the Major.   The favourite stands a great chance converting back to the bigger obstacles, a transfer of form (not a certainty) would make Working Title a threat to all.  The Majors advice though is to play Pocket Aces at 20/1 (sportingbet) to three places (although 16/1 Skybet go 4 places) – This horse has a 7lb useful claim in young Mr Cannon and is well weighted on better form.  Last time out at Cheltenham, over shorter, it looked like the penny had dropped making good late headway.  Have a chunky slice and thank the Major later.

The Major wants you to have advice for the big Saturday events as well as a few tasty morsels from things you won’t have picked up.  Why you would have looked at the 6.50 at Wolverhampton for example, is a question without answer.  The Major has.  This means he can give you West End Lad.  The Major is curious, verging on the suspicious over why they insist on running this horse over trips such as this when his best form is much shorter.  Russ Kennemore rides again after a decent second last time out… 10/1 generally, get involved.

To the frosty football fields of Britain. 

Some no bets are Arsenal and Liverpool who I suspect will both get beaten as I think they both have a soft underbelly.  Watching brief.

I do like the look of Stoke to beat an overrated Man City.  11/4 is a great price – Stoke beat Liverpool at home and fear no-one.  Man City might struggle, this is one that the Major likes to go after.

Leeds are a great 3/1 price to win at Reading, they are unbeaten in six and Reading are not a consistently good defensive team.  Andy O’Brien is a key player for Leeds now who have attacking options and now a rock to build on.  I think they are play off good things, they can get Reading today at a tasty price.

I like Martinez, the Spaniard in charge of Wigan.  I have often used his team to effect this season and todays trip to West Ham is a great opportunity.  Thankfully for the Major, the West Ham headcases have made a strong campaign of save our season around this game and this could play into Wigans hands.  Maybe the Major is wrong but Wigan can use the nonsense campaign as a springboard of their own – They are being told to turn up and play the part of the defeated.  West Ham have their own problems.  Noble is out and Parker will probably return but who knows if he is in top shape after his chest infection.  Wigan are 14/5 and with Cleverley returning, I fancy a plunge on this one.

Bristol City are a super price to win at home to a shockingly poor Sheffield United.  The red half of Bristol have had a season of two halves already but the new boss has them firing and recent performances have been strong.  6/4 with Hills is an unbelievable price.  Bristol City are on the up and have beaten Swansea away and Leicester at home in two of their last three.  Their loss was no disgrace, away to Leeds.  6/4, I cannot get over that!  Load the heavy cannon for this one.

In the eggball, the England international looks to be a terrific encounter with a bruised South Africa likely to prove tricky opponents.  I have been backing England in their autumn internationals as you know and think a slight victory is on the cards today too.  1/2 though is way too skinny.  In a tight contest, maybe take a small interest with Stan James that Nick Easter is first try scorer at 25/1.

Difficult week this week.  We need one of the bigger priced advised bets to pay if we are to maintain our streak.

The nap is simple enough, Bristol City at home is to be trusted at 6/4.  £20 returns £50.  A purple for a red is a good exchange in my humble opinion.

All the talk of Hennessy has me thinking that a late night brandy might be the calling today.  I hope yours is VSOP and in some fine crystal.  All the MAjor asks is that as you shift your bank note wedge which was digging into your ribcage, drink to the Majors health and then be upstanding for the Queen.  Ask the man to top that brandy up, tell him the Major sent you.