Tag Archives: woolcombe folly

Wednesday Cheltenham And Newmarket Tips plus Grand National Views

Good evening from the Major who posts tips for tomorrows very decent action from racing HQ for the flat, Newmarket, as well as the jumps home, Cheltenham.

This is the first post since Aintree and the Grand National and now the dust has settled, some reflection is in order.

The Grand National is an anomaly of a race. As much as I embraced the affair on Saturday pointing out the institutional following the race has in Britain, the truth be told, it is unlike all other national hunt racing. While it is a race I find exciting, it is a novelty.

It is also a race that exacts its cost on the public image of racing. It is one of the few (possibly the greatest) moments of the year when the non-racing public enter the world. That public saw the majority of the field fail to complete, horrific falls causing pile-ups and commentators using the term ‘destroyed’ to describe beautiful animals.

The National should not be a risk free race. It does however need to be safer. Readers of the Monday press would have noted that the lead racing story was Synchronised and According to Pete, not Neptune Collonges.

In the Majors view, if the race cannot be significantly safer, then we should remove it from the schedule – it does not reflect the sport well.

To make the race safe, the Major thinks that all of the landing areas should be levelled including Bechers. The number of runners should be taken down to 30 and the welcome additional criteria for entry should be tightened. There should be a longer run to the first and the race should never be run on good or firmer.

The Major was very flat after Saturdays race. I am not a National Hunt fan who thinks that non-racing fans should keep their beak out, on the contrary the sport needs examination and challenge. Boxing and Formula One have gone through similar calls for bans, with both enjoying the benefit of subsequent improvements.

Cheltenham Wednesday Tip – Silver Trophy Grade 2

There is a decent Cheltenham card on Wednesday and the Major has reviewed the Grade 2.

The Nicholls yard continues in decent form and I think he has the winner of the race in Aerial.  He ran back into form last time out and should not be inconvenienced by the better ground. The jockey booking suggests he is the number one choice of the yard who are also represented by Woolcombe Folly. Have a decent slice of the Cheltenham tip ‘Aerial’ and thank me later.

Newmarket Tips for Wednesday – Nell Gwyn Stakes

The Nell Gwynn is a target race for some 1,000 Guineas sorts but I would be surprised if this years classic winner is lining up here.

Starscope is favourite and the way that the Selkirk filly won her maiden was decent. Gosden has won the Nell Gwyn three times in the last fifteen years which is an advert in itself but on the negative side of the ledger, It looks alarming though that connections are reaching for the headgear at this stage.

Pimpernel probably boasts best form at this stage but that is a fine line and with huge unknowns over the development of these over the winter, it is hard to read. She does have the advantage of being match fit.

On the short list is Minidress of Godolphin who gets the benefit of rock and roll jockey Barzalona. The Nell Gwynn tip though is Nayarra who defeated Minidress over course and distance and has useful international form to her name. 16/1 is too big, have a slender piece.

Tips for each Cheltenham Festival Championship Race – Guest Post, The Hearty Ploughman

Another guest blogger has thrown us some sporting viewpoint in our relentless quest for value.  The Hearty Ploughman is well-known to the Major and a respected punter.  He has kindly offered a view on the four championship races of the festival – Cheltenham tips aplenty.

He is the one on the right in the cap!

His analysis is often heavily statistics based and follows plenty of work.  Kindly he has proffered his thoughts for our benefit at no cost.

Included is a 14/1 Gold Cup contender and is a very interesting bet – Please remember to ensure you get NRNB (Non runner no bet), most bookies are there now but some are shamefully still letting you down.  Well worth the extra protection, this week saw the withdrawal of Diamond Harry and Riverside Theatre from their respective races, there are always a couple of high proile late non runners…. over to the Hearty Ploughman.

The Hearty Ploughman – Tips for the Four Cheltenham Festival Championship Races

Punters of the world, the time of year is almost upon us when once again we invade Prestbury Park to do battle with the old enemy the bookmaker. My good friend the Major has bestowed upon me the great honour of writing this piece on his website giving my thoughts and tips for the four big races at the meeting.

Day 1 – The Champion Hurdle

This race is normally won by horses that have had more than one race this season are aged over 5 and less than 11, have won or been placed at the festival before (providing it has run at the festival), ran within the last 2 months and finished in the top three in its last race. Using these trends we can narrow the field down to just a few horses, it helps focus the mind.

I believe the winner will come from one of the following, Binocular, Peddlers Cross or Hurricane Fly. Hurricane Fly as good as he is does not have the course experience, so by backing him you are taking on trust that he will handle the conditions. Peddlers Cross is a real battler, expect him to be off the bridle first but will be running all the way to the line.

However my selection is Binocular, he ticks all the boxes and the way he won round Cheltenham last year and again at Kempton in the Christmas hurdle was mighty impressive. That and the fact that Nicky Henderson is the master at getting one spot on for Cheltenham mean he is the choice for me.

Day 2 The Champion Chase

This race is normally won by a horse that was 1st, 2nd or 3rd last time out, ran 1-4 times this season and is in the top 4 of the betting. This leaves us with just the 4 horses to concentrate on, Master Minded, Big Zeb, Woolcombe Folly and Somersby.

Master Minded does not seem to have totally re captured the form he had before his injury, Somersby continues to be a nearly horse and Woolcome Folly still have to prove he can do it in a grade 1 at Cheltenham.

This leaves me with just the remaining horse Big Zeb.  One of my favourite horses in training, travels well, will like the better ground he should encounter at Cheltenham so am expecting a repeat of last years success.

Day 3 – The World Hurdle

Surely bearing major accidents this race is between Big Bucks and Grand Crus. Big Bucks is a class act and Grand Crus is improving all the time. Not much to choose between the two but preference is for Big Bucks.

Day 4 – The Gold Cup 

Looking at the trends we have to discount horses older than 10. That immediately takes out Kauto and Denman. Another trend is that the horse must have run 2-5 times this season. This takes out last year’s winner Imperial Commander. 

Unless the word soft appears in the going, Pandorama may not even run. For me there are only 2 horses to concentrate on. Long Run and Midnight Chase. Long Run has run at Cheltenham twice and on both occasions has been placed. Is it that he doesn’t like the course or does his jumping need brushing up a bit? Having watched both races it would suggest that his jumping needs improving. At Kempton he jumped much better and connections have employed the services of Yogi again to make further improvements. I am sure he will go close once again.

However at a bigger price I prefer Midnight Chase, another horse who is a real battler. He has course form, been placed at the festival and is a front runner who does not like to be passed. At a price of around 14/1 provides good  value and is my idea of the winner.