The Major bids you good morning from a wonderfully cold Defford where the biting air of winter is alike souls awakening.
Winter is gods chosen season and Old Roan Chase day is the sign that soon there will be no sign of a wasp, no hint of a sunburn and glorious long dark nights where a man may achieve a slumber of death and emerge blinking and reborn into the new day.
National Hunt racing is back to take over the mantle from the flat. The day is symbolic, we see Aintree and the Old Roan and we also see the potential derby horse in his last run of the season in the Racing Post Trophy.
What a nice move to name the Old Roan after Monet’s Garden the popular white chaser. It is the highlight of an interesting card at Aintree.
As for the Racing Post Trophy. Will the entirely unexposed O’Brien favourite , Camelot, triumph? Very possible, but at 6/4 the Major is in the no camp, more of that shortly.
A lifetime of gambling on horses is a lifetime of education. The accumulation of knowledge and the development of instinct. Surely Peter in Chapter 1 which was written in amanuensis was referring to our lifetime battle with the enemy.
And to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive
So to knowledge and to the sports, let us strike mercilessly at the enemies dark soul and to victory, upright and vigorous.
The Monets Garden Old Roan Chase – Aintree
How disappointing that this such an old institution as the Roan Chase attracts just three runners. Masterminded and Albertas Run are worthy of their places, Pure Faith is not.
How delighted the four owners must be at the defections from this Grade 2. From a stone and a half out of the handicap, you would think Pure Faith would have to be lucky to finish third of three but the prizemoney for allocating this slot is still £5500.
As for the winner, the Major would think Masterminded over Albertas Run but at 1/2 and 15/8, it is hard to enthuse over the chances of either with both making seasonal reappearance and the uncertainties of pace in a three runner affair.
No bet for the Major.
The Racing Post Trophy – Doncaster
This is a much better betting medium and we have a few angles into the race.
O’Brien always takes this race as a serious route for his best colts and in Camelot we have an entirely unexposed sort. Sent off to win his maiden in good style, he was catapulted to the head of the derby market which is incredible considering the level of form.
Yes, O’Brien has a great record in the race and I have no doubt that the market is effected by memory of St Nicholas Abbeys dramatic win a few years previous but 6/4 is no price up against horses with better form.
The colt that the Major prefers is Fencing, who missed the Dewhurst due to too firm conditions. The last win is as good as anything on show with plenty of subsequent winners in behind. 3/1 is fair enough for the best form horse in the race – Have a slice.
4.35 Galway Novice Chase
I am loving this race as a betting medium. The ground, the trip and the presence of two horses who will slit each others throats at the front equals a real opportunity.
I am happy to oppose both Foildubh and Regal D’Estruval who I think will not enjoy each others company tearing along at a proper pace.
The suspicion is that Ainama and Sweeps Hill will be seen to better effect over further but then again, the heavy ground will be an aid to both.
Westmeath has the services of Davy Russell suggesting it is a superior horse to Grey Soldier but Westmeath comes with the warning that his trainer does not think soft is ideal. This is an odd statement given his track record is raced 4, won 2 and placed once on soft (never raced on worse) although it is worth noting the sire record of Kayf Tara offspring is shocking so maybe he has an OK record in spite of the ground and not because of it.
Sweeps Hill is probably the classier of all of these on what we have seen so far but again, ground doubts exist.
There you go, I have found a reason for all to lose so which reason at what odds am I willing to discard?
I have decided to select Foildubh at 8/1. While he might like prominence, he is not always a tear them up sort and if comfortable sitting off the pace may be hard to pin back.
There are two that appeal in this at opposite ends of the market. The favourite Saigon has shown the best form and will be fine with firmer underfoot conditions and as a result, you should take a slice of the 7/2 he will win. His Middle Park form is better than anything else and with Murtagh assisting (rare ride for yard), I fully expect a win.
The other I fancy is rank 50/1 outsider, Wise Selection. He will also like conditions and while he has been a flop in the summer, the maiden he won had a very good look to it. Maybe, they can find the key to this tricky individual and it is interesting he is thrown back into listed company.
To the sports…
Three football teams to follow in the premier league today. Mr Hill will once again be furious as I suggest odds against priced Villa represent 13/10 value against West Brom.
Newcastle should see off Wigan and 8/13 for the Toon undefeated team looks good to me.
Finally, Bolton benefitted from the international break and I suspect their improvement to stick at home to a Sunderland team that the Major thinks is vulnerable. They spent a lot of money badly and I think Bruce to go next in the Premier League should be considered too.
May dinner reflect the glories of the day. May the company be both interesting and willing. Tip well. Enjoy the simplistic detail, the sound of the rain on the conservatory roof and the warmth of a good jacket in the bracing air.
Courage readers…… roll those dice.