Good evening from the Major who writes from the bed, tired and ready for slumber. The darkened sky howls and the air froths and swirls, dancing at an ever-changing pace, gentle to furious in a rising crescendo and at once, peace again, for a passing moment. Change in the air. Danger.
The Major scored some winners last Saturday, including a tasty hat-trick at Cheltenham from just the three selections. Even Martin Hill (yes he really exists) commended my changing fortune with a smile and a generous acknowledgement that is barely deserved. That man has endured a torrent of poor fortune, all my own doing, but hangs in there, determined to the end. I fear his lot will be like one of those collies that following the death of a beloved owner, sits above the grave, full of melancholy. He gets his glimmers of hope, enough to string him along to the next investment and for me, I am thankful and most of all hopeful, that one day, patience is rewarded.
Of course, there is never any need to offer thanks for any winners I might find. For a start, I am barely profitable, as advertised, so, your wins are probably hard-earned (you backed a lot of my losers too) or lucky, you dropped in on a going day. Either way, I cannot claim credit. What is more, I would not consider it proper to claim credit where I would not accept blame. You see, I merely offer you the thoughts I have, the deep reaches of my mind, piecing together information in some construct that seems robust. What you do with this is entirely your own choice. I would not accept someone choosing how to bet my money, I do not presume to tell you how to spend yours.
Writing the sermon each week is a grounding in my hectic life. I considered parking the blog (dark thoughts of a year ago) but find the anchor in the week a pleasant bolt hole for myself and my thoughts. The thousand odd souls that wander in are welcome but the benefit I fear is mine.
I often wonder what a brand new reader might make of this. Would you describe this as a tipping site? Well if you did, it is not exactly a typical one. For a start, I benefit from no adverts (any you see are merely those of WordPress and keep the site free for me to use). I also make no charge, sell any service or claim any special information.
My tips are actually profitable, this may at times seem hard to believe. If you stray into the menu, you will find two separate parts of this blogs history where I went to the effort of recording the tips given and painstakingly creating a record. It was profitable. Just. Not the sort of profit that might have you jet off to the Caribbean in the company of an expensive sort, more the sort that might have you reaching for a bottle from the top shelf in Asda.
What interests me more is the reaction a new reader might have to the first part of the blog. In a lucky week, a thought to write about occurs well before I sit to write the blog. Perhaps, A dark night driving home, black rain-slicked roads and a distant emergency blue light, stimulate a thought, that is incubated until the anointed hour to write the sermon and out it spills, gushing with little reverence or key message, falling loosely and thence on the page, lay wasted and abused, incoherent noise. In other weeks, my mood is dark and it tightens up my mind, as fear will, so what is written is brief and curt.
If you stray to these parts and are new, welcome. We are a gentlemanly bunch, no riff raff need apply. The game is afoot my friends, it is the time of the weekend where our hopes and dreams are intact. It is time to prepare the heavy charger, sharpen the point on that lance and ready thyself for the battle.
To the sports….
Tip For The Racing Post Trophy
There has been a lot of rain in the UK but seemingly, Doncaster is only good to soft as I type. I would certainly want to be on the side of a horse who might cope if it was a little worse than that and may well hold fire on the betting until having seen the morning weather and perhaps watched the first few races.
The Racing Post Trophy has gone to the O’Brien Ballydoyle team in three of the last four years with Kingsbarns, Camelot and St Nicholas Abbey. Thus it is credible to argue that this powerhouse have again saved on of the best of their crop again for this late autumn showpiece. Century won his maiden with ease, a race that they put Magician through in the year before. I am getting on now for small stakes at 4/1 and may well top up later.
The selection is one of three O’Brien horses and since Joseph has chosen Century, I see no reason to think he is not the better of the two stable-mates, Johan Strauss and Buonarroti. Certainly, all of O’Briens recent winners in this have been his first string.
If there is lots of rain, then The Great Gatsby comes into it, simply for being a proven swimmer. I am sticking with the obvious though and Century to win the Racing Post Trophy.
My second bet for Doncaster is the second favourite at 11/4 in the 2.05, Night of Thunder. This might be quite an appropriate name given the band of weather set to sweep across the UK on Monday morning, fate aside though, I think the Hannon trained juvenile can take this. His run at Goodwood was visually stunning. It was on slow ground and for a horse to handle the camber and come away so readily with no previous racecourse experience, really spoke volumes of the underlying ability.
Clearly Stubbs is an interesting runner. Followers of the horse would have been left scratching their heads after the Coventry where he ran no race. A line through that and you have an unexposed O’Brien juvenile, not something you would want to strongly bet against. Yet, the Coventry has left a question mark and I was suitably impressed with Night of Thunder to think him a threat anyway so the choice was easy.
Aintree Old Roan Tips
The ‘Monet’s Garden’ Old Roan is a race which truly deserves its name. I love the National Hunt season for the longevity of the horses which gives greater chance for their personal stories to develop. Monet’s Garden was never quite the top draw but won this race three times over four years and with it, the hearts of many a racing fan. He was a fine competitor and his white figure contrasted against the black silks stood out.
Again the Aintree turf may deteriorate from the currently advertised good to soft and I will err on that side.
Carrickboy has some ability and if you were assured of him putting his best foot forward, 14/1 might seem a decent proposition. Indeed, he had today’s favourite, Walkon behind when winning at Cheltenham in the spring. Yet, I am also minded that in the last fortnight, Venetia has sent out 9 runners and has not yet recorded a place.
Wishfull Thinking is not getting younger but holds some of the best form in the race. His second in this last year was quite a distant second (nigh on 30l), that was on good ground behind For Non Stop (who I remember tipping by the way!). Classy and cannot be ruled out./
I am not sure what to make of Edgardo Sol, he has been running well enough but does not look spectacular. Is it possible that the step up in trip (not raced beyond 2m 1f) would improve him? Possible but not for me. I am also considering that if he was really fancied, then maybe Daryl Jacob would not have gone to Chepstow.
Astracad is not my sort of horse. The Holmes quote is that once you have ruled out all impossible things, then what remains, no matter how improbable is the truth. On these grounds, I would have nothing winning the Old Roan! Thus I have to come back to Walkon, my 9/2 hope, whose stable are in form, has enjoyed visits to Aintree before (even if it was hurdling or on the national course) and has great form shouts.
Regal Encore was my Champion Bumper pick and while he ran second that day, I am hoping he will go one better over hurdles in the last today.
To the other sports
You will forgive me but I am too tired to start contemplating Newbury. So a fistful of football tips and to bed.
I think Liverpool are a poor short price favourite because I fancy West Brom but shall not offer this as advice as I am prejudiced by my own support for the away team. I do think West Ham are a massive 4/1 price to win at Swansea. The home team had a tough game in Europe in mid-week and were deflated by a last gasp equalizer, West Ham can take advantage. Other than that, Southampton look a banker at 6/10 to beat dreadful Fulham at home. I would also back QPR at 15/8 away at Burnley.
The Martin Hill advice is to back an each way trixie on Century, Walkon and Night of Thunder.
To all of you, I wish you luck and prosperity. I hope your dinner is taken in the most refined company and that the only discomfort be the wallet which digs into your ribs.
Courage, roll those dice.