Tag Archives: zarkander

Saturday Sermon – Wincanton Badger Ale Day Tips plus The Criterium and some Premier League…. SHABASH

Good evening from the Major who writes from a perfectly acceptable autumn evening in the Worcestershire countryside.

Tonight I lit the wood burner for the first time this season. The job requires matches and mine were in the converted stable block which having given up the job of stabling now performs very well as a perfectly reasonable one bedroom annexe. The building also compromises of an outside convenience and a boiler room which is where the matches are to be found. I lit the weak bulb and peering in the gloomy murk found a nasty surprise.

On the floor was the carcass of a Goldfinch. I am no twitcher but the Goldfinch is a striking bird with explosive flashes of red and gold. This one lacked most of the elements that it once possessed. We were down to feathers and a few bones. I suspect the cat. It feels like a bad omen.

Maybe it is a good omen. Godly sacrifice though having little statistical proof has enough popular backing to suggest that there is something to it. Take your pick. Whatever you think, I will invest in some better wattage bulbs.

Personally I think I stink of losing. I just feel a veil of defeat clinging to me like an effervescent cloak, a silver lining of loss and my wallet of diminishing power. Yet as Fuller once wrote ‘the hour is darkest just before the day dawneth’

Personally I think that’s nonsense too. In my gambling life, it is darkest before it gets darker.

Fearing the complexities of life, tonight I ate simply. Steak, cooked for a mere flash in the hottest oil my stove can muster – turned once after 20 seconds. Served alone, with a dash of mustard to the side.

Earlier this week, a steak caused my usually rock solid constitution to become imbalanced. Read into those delicate words what you will. Maybe that is the cause of my unsettled sense.

Doubts, damn doubts… Uncertainty over your own judgement. It is the beauty and curse of life that we are given independent thought to enable us to conceive beyond binary.

Each week, the Major hopes to enrich the life of one casual reader. I don’t care who, and i don’t care how many innocent victims have to read the wild thoughts of my mind, percolated through a swirling vortex of confusion before that one person draws some surprising meaning. Into the sports we shall go this week with perhaps, the most beautiful thing that one can say about such uncertainty…..

Khalil Gibran, the great Lebanese poet…. ‘doubt is a pain too lonely to know that faith is his twin brother’…

Courage my faithful few….

2.15 Wincanton – Grade 2 Novice Chase Tips

In the last week, Silvianaco Conti showed that he is a player as a chaser this season when showing he has trained on from his superb novice year. He started that year with a win in this race and so it is of some interest that Paul Nicholls targets Poungach at this contest. He starts favourite and if the slip at the first at Chepstow has done little damage then on balance he is a threat to all.

Many of the others have not seen a racetrack in over a year although Court in Motion is an interesting runner. A solid bet would be ‘King of the Night’. Trained in what was the satellite yard of Paul Nicholls last season, I fancy Harry Fry to be a rising trainer.

The Major though is going to opt for one of those that has not seen action for some time. Aegean Dawn had some very good hurdle form. While he has been missing for some time, his trainer has had success with a handful of runners in recent weeks and I suspect that Aegean Dawn might be a strong chasing prospect and at 13/2 rates a strong tip.

2.50 Wincanton – Elite Hurdle

What a fantastic race – The main question here for the major is over the jockey bookings of Ditcheat. Maybe with the benefit of the post in the morning, we would have greater clarity but why is Ruby on what seems the second string?

Is Zarkander tuned up? Surely the staying on fifth in the Champions Hurdle signalled some intent for this year and the grade 1 novice wins he secured were solid. Prospect Wells has solid form of which the clear best is the Triumph Hurdle 5th but given there are no wins in graded company for a horse that is 2/7 over hurdles…. Hmmmmm

Zarkander is giving a stone and three to Prospect and while Daryl Jacob has been aboard Zarkander before when it has won and Ruby has been on a loser (Sam Winner) but that didn’t look planned either.

Sod it. Zarkander is the better horse. 9/4, have a slice. One word of caution for Baby Mix who I have not given up on yet.

3.25 Badger Ales Trophy – Wincanton Tips

Well I am going to keep this short and simple.

Diamond Harry won a Hennessy off a mark 6lbs higher than this and 7/1 is a steal…. He is dropped in grade and while clearly prone to injury is the class act in the field. Michael le Bon is the danger to all, very lightly raced….

Tips for the Criterium de Saint Cloud

Group one flat action for the two year olds and the Major wants a slice of Sempre Medici who will go off at a sporting price and has already proven himself in the testing conditions he faces tomorrow. He is a Medicean colt out of a line of Dansili Dancer… Few markets and no liquidity but I’m guessing 5/2 second favourite.

To the football….

The 11/5 about West Brom coming away from the Latics with maximum points is sent from heaven. Albion have looked excellent in defeat against Man City and away to Newcastle, scoring against both. They dispatched Southampton with ease and look like 6/4 chances at Wigan so the Major has to be involved.

Stoke at evens at home to QPR is a decent bet. Probably the last thing a team without a win (hanging over their heads like the sword of Damocles) needs is a trip to the Potteries. Stoke are predictable, tough and Mark Hughes has a greater stench of defeat hanging about him than I, at least I hope so, because if I don’t have that….

Newcastle 19/20 is an amazing price, they should beat West Ham tomorrow.

For a good man who asked me to start including it again…. The lucky 15 is Aegean Dawn, Zarkander, Diamond Harry and Stoke.

May your dinner be simple as mine was. Remove doubt and realise the thin slither that pares it from certainty. I hope your companion is entertaining but that you might have serenity in your own company is my ultimate hope for us all.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Aintree Tips – 33/1 Grand National Tips and Trends

THIS IS THE 2012 POST FOR 2013 tips, click on the banner above for the home page

Good evening from the Major who prepares these dispatches to prepare my followers and those casual souls who came across the blog for the bookies busiest day….. Aintree’s Saturday Grand National card.

While the Major has been in tip-top form of late, so far, this week, Aintree has been costly. Today, Finians Rainbow and Darlan both delivered at shorter prices but the longer fancied tips did not perform.

Killyglen at 20/1 for the Major.... Enjoy National day

Finians performance was very taking and as I suspected, the step up to two and a half miles around Aintree was right up his street. I think he would be a decent three miler too, particularly if connections make less use of him in races, this could mean he is a King George animal.

Prepare your minds….. Saturday at Aintree, the big showpiece that is the Grand National; courage followers, hold on; hold on while those around you lose their nerve. As your sinews are stretched and worn, at the very breaking point, hold on. Hold the thin red line until you see their eyes. Then play, bet large, go hard or go home, leave nothing.

I have friends on course and to the Streetly crew, I bid you luck, merriment and mischief. Memories of last year are still haunting my soul.

I also apologise for the significant length of today’s post. I know many of you will skip the prose to get to the meat. Well you shouldn’t, it is cheating, you miss the imbalance and insanity that whirls around my dark soul. I gave you the courtesy of revealing my mind, please absorb it, or find yourself a more direct tipster, one with less references to Victorian military history, a more proprietary sort. Only a certain sort will find the following to their personal satisfaction.

If you are one, then sign up to the email service in the left hand menu of follow the Major on twitter @tdl123. I post the Saturday Service every week and top it up with other occasional posts when there is something I like. My results are always posted in the top menus. I turn a very small profit. I never accept criticism or praise – I offer my thoughts for free and encourage all to use their own minds and take responsibility for their actions!

Grand National Tips and Grand National Trends

A colleague of mine approached me today and asked if I would join the office Grand National sweepstake. I did…. twice. As I plucked out Sunnyhillboy and BecauseIcouldntsee (could have been far worse) from the bucket, he asked if I bet on the National.

That is an odd question I thought. He knows I am an incredibly succesful gambler*. He was basing the question on the fact that many regular horseracing punters avoid the national because of the sheer nature of 40 runners, carnage at the fences; is it a race that can be worked through on form or is it a lottery?

*based on The Majors sheer persistency in the overwhelming face of mediocrity

Well the reality is that the National is different to any other race in a few crucial respects.

Firstly it is a national institution and tomorrow morning, thousands of grandmothers, punters, religious nuts, weirdos, wackos, drunks, the unemployable, the toffs, the suburban sorts, the trendy set, well to do Mama’s and every other imaginable demographic of the British public will troop to their local bookie, fiver clutched in hand and back a National horse based on a number or a colour or the fact that there happens to be a Pete or Robert in the family (Rare Bob and According to Pete running tomorrow).

Families have traditions on which horses to back, people have habits. These habits form part of an identity both in the individual and in the nation. The National is a British tradition, a British Institution, we do it our own way. God bless us and protect our privilege as the greatest nation on the planet.

For one day, the general public touches the world beloved to me, horse racing. Some regular racing fans oddly resent these tourists, scoffing at the lack of knowledge. The Major welcomes all with open arms, for I too was once one of you.

If one person today backs a tip in the National and experiences that thrill of being involved, mentally jumping each fence with your horse, emotionally attached to the outcome…. well the world will be a better place. It was for me…. not that long ago either, watching Inglis Drever collect his first World Hurdle, with my money down. A formative day that.

The bookmaking fraternity use the occasion to turn a larger than normal profit….. In this army of small time punters, none will stop to think of the value they are getting from the bookmaker. The over-round charged can be as much as 150% and more. For those unfamiliar with this, it represents how much the market is in the bookies favour. Watch at 4pm as the BBC presenters (of which I am not a fan) will tell you how every horse is being backed and watch those prices collapse. It is Christmas for the bookies as pricing will not effect demand.

The Major is delighted that Channel Four take over from the BBC next year. Search the blog for Channel 4 and you will see I have been a long-term advocate of awarding C4 all UK terrestrial rights – They are there every single week, talk less nonsense, focus more on the racing and get what it is about. They also have a better team. In short, their heart is in it!

I also think that the new measures introduced to make the race safer are sensible and welcome. Levelling some of the landing areas is good, banning six-year olds is excellent as their inclusion was a recipe for fallers. Restricting the handicap improves safety as well as quality…. good cricket all round.

I digress. Back to the sweepstake and whether a tipster should play the National. Many punters do have success tipping the Grand National because the trends are quite strong. Before I discuss the Grand National trends and offer my tips for the 2012 running, a little on interpreting trends.

The key with any betting trend is to ask why it is valid, rather than accepting it blind. If a horse won every time you wore red socks, you would accept that the link is coincidence alone. Yet, many punters back football teams that have not won at a certain venue for 30 years. The Major urges you to ask, why is that relevent? If Preston have not won at QPR for 30 years, is it important? How is the football team that competed 30 years ago influencing the outcome today? Chance stats occur, it is not odd or unusual. In fact coincidences not occurring would be incredibly odd. Of all of the millions of interactions you have every year, it would be strange if at some, a marvelous coincidence did not occur. Perhaps you meet two old school friends in separate locations within ten minutes; maybe you win the lottery; something odd will happen to you soon, don’t read too much into it!

An episode of the Simpsons makes the point about specious reasoning well…. Since I have waffled enough, I shall post it at the base in italics!

Also remember that with any trends based decision, it is likely that the winner will fall down on one. Use trends only as a guide not as a rule; Bubba Watson met all of the Hearty Ploughmans key trends (see 4/5 posts ago) but did not make the final US Masters tips list because he missed on one trend by one shot…. Trends are a guide, not a religion!

The key Grand National Trends for the Major

Weight – Nearly 100 horses in the last 35 years have carried more than 11st 5lbs and none have won. In the last twenty-five years, just two horses has managed to carry more than 11st to victory. This makes sense, the National is a gruelling trial of stamina which is damned tough carrying more weight than your opponents.

French Breeding – French breds have a shocking national record but the Major chalks this down to coincidence, disregarded.

Regular Runs in the Season – All of the last ten runners had more than four runs in the current season – This adds up as you need to be match fit and plenty of recent chase experience is a plus.

Previous National Fences Experience – Eight of the last twelve winners have run over the national obstacles before – This is important to the Major as these fences are the toughest in the land.

Marathon Performers – The last time a winner of the National had not previously won a race at a distance of three miles or more, we were trading in old money! A proven stayer is a must.

Age – Experience is key; nine and ten-year olds have that, without being incumbered with tired, ageing legs. You might get away with a old-hat eight year old.

Pricing – Overall, the markets do perform fairly well in the National; three-quarters of the last two decades of winners have come from the top eight horses in the betting.

Cheltenham Form – Only one winner, in fifty years, has won a race at Cheltenham before going on to win at Aintree. This makes sense with the demands of a Grand National and the normal relative closeness in time of the Cheltenham Festival – This year it is worth noting that a bigger time gap than normal exists. In fact, of all of the last ten runners, all had a race between three and eight weeks prior to the national – Race fit but not jaded is what we want.

Classy – Of the last ten winners, all had won at class one level, with one exception who held a second in a class one race.

The Majors Grand National Tip

After a thorough contemplation of the trends, who does the Major tip in the Grand National?

Firstly I think Synchronised is the worst possible favourite. The exertions of a Gold Cup will surely tell and I am not even sure his jumping will stand up to the National fences.

Alfa Beat has experience of the fences after falling four out in last years Topham Chase. 66/1 is too big but not the main selection.

West End Rocker is a real likely sort at 14/1. He hits the profile exactly and I think is an excellent bet.

Junior is on a very lenient mark and is considered at 16s.

I would be a big fan of Cappa Bleu but he has not seen these fences before so he doesn’t make the cut.

Seabass is Irelands ‘Hunt Ball’ having been raised 61lbs for a winning sequence that goes back over two years, no National fence experience but 22/1 seems decent.

Always Right hits many trends and his Scottish National place bodes well, 28/1 and of some interest.

Killyglen was seemingly staying on and running at least into the places last year when he came down three out. In his youth, his reputation was sky-high and this season he has had a wind op. 20/1…. mmmmmm.

Grand National Tip: On balance, two of these really appeal…

Killyglen is my main selection at 20/1, I think he could run a blinder. He stays forever and if the wind op has improved him, as the evidence this season suggest, then he meets so many of my criteria and has been dropped 5lbs since last year in the National Weights….

West End Rocker at 14/1 looks a very likely type too and he also stays forever – Worth a bite!

1.45 Aintree Mersey Novice Tip

Simonsig is all the rage after his impressive Cheltenham win but backing a 1/2 shot to go in again in these different conditions is a fast track to the poorhouse in the Major’s view.

Instead I suggest a slice of Aland Island at 9/1 who has proven stamina and I think could be a threat to the favourite.

2.50 Aintree Tip

Rock on Ruby is the last of four champions of Cheltenham to appear at Aintree. Finians Rainbow and Big Bucks have already upheld their status, Synchronised is unlikely to do so in the National but Rock on Ruby looks the value of the lot at 9/4 here.

While Zarkander at 5/2 has hope of improving for distance, I have always considered the same to be true of Rock on Ruby.

I would be very surprised if he does not go in again. Granted, Oscar Whisky won this last year but I feel my horse has more scope. Strong Tip.

3.25 Aintree – Handicap

A riddle of a handicap and the Majors tip goes to Brackloon High. This one disappointed me when I put him up for his Cheltenham engagement but I am willing to give another chance.

5.05 Aintree Handicap Tip

This is another precarious handicap but my 5.05 Aintree tip goes to 12/1 Dream Esteem who looks sure to improve further. I thought Dee Ee Williams was in with a shout as well as Constant Contact and Kazlian, the latter of which was given a poor ride at Cheltenham having committed way too early.

Tips for the Aintree Bumper

On Thursday, I suggested you go to Twitter and seek advice from the @kingofbumpers for the last. He obliged with the 6/1 winner! My idea of the winner is either Population or Il Presidente at 7/2 and 16/1 – I am going to back both for wins.

In other sports……..

A couple of stand out football bets for the Major – Blackburn look dreadful and I think Swansea will beat them 20/21. I also think QPR to win at West Brom is a 27/10 steal in a game they will be up for.

May your dinner be of high quality with company that matches. Tip well and have fun, we drift by the once and the items that come our way on the flow of the tide should be ceased upon. Lap it all up, enjoy it and ask no questions.

The Relevance of Trends with Lisa Simpson.

As promised, the genius of Lisa Simpson to aid the point!

Homer: There’s not a single bear in sight—the ‘Bear Patrol’ is working like a charm”

Lisa retorts: That’s specious reasoning

Homer: Thanks, honey

Lisa: According to your logic,she says, picking up a stone from their lawn, this rock keeps tigers away

Homer: Hmmm. How does it work?

Lisa: It doesn’t.

Homer: How so?

Lisa: It’s just a rock, but I don’t see a tiger, anywhere.

Homer : Lisa, while pulling out his wallet, I want to buy your rock.

Courage, shuffle those cards.

The Saturday Service is here! – Horseracing Tips, Premier League Tipping – Kentucky Derby, Punchestown – Die hard oh gambling warriors

Good morning from Defford where last nights storms have cleared the air.   It is remarkable how  a weather front of lightning and thunder can refresh the fauna.  Last night the Major sat in the dark, watching streaks of light fill the blackened Worcestershire skies, trees flailing, globules of rain.. splat, splat, splat, roaring thunder; nothing like a good storm.

Shabash young warriors - To the turf accountants and DIE HARD

 This morning, calm.  Ah, how apt, the Majors mind is also clear of distraction and ready to bring you the value of the Saturday sporting spectacles.  The coffee has been bubbling away for hours, the papers laid out, the numbers crunched, lines have been drawn through runners the Major considers incapable, value has been assessed for you, the loyal band of faithful warriors for whom the Majors Saturday service is an unhinged part of your own Saturday plans.

This very day, the Major plans to ride for Aston where he will watch Association Football with his brother in law and first-born son – How a gentlemen sends an invite.  Not asking if I am free but letting me know he has picked up the tab already and would be grateful if we could join, that man has class.  Young David, we shall make you a small fortune yet.

The Major mujst apologise again for if any of you like to see my results I have not updated them in 2/3 weeks, I will get around to this – I think the month is still profitable although we exploded out of the box like Frankel only to fade as the month went on. 

May is here and the Major plans on making it another profitable one.   On the Majors visit to Ascot, a fellow gambler and follower told me that he always followed my large lucky 15s because it once landed and he was not on.  Young Mr Hill, I have a feeling in my water load the cannon.

If you like a bet (if you don’t please p**s off) then you understand the blood racing through your veins, the dizzying greatness of landing a touch as well as the slog of torn betting slips.  It is hard work committing to gambling, a lifetime of lessons.  Gamblers have to be die hards.  Not of the Bruce Willis kind, I do not own a vest.  More of the Duke of Wellingtons sort, the original diehards.  The 57th foot (West Middlesex).  Next Saturday is the 200th anniversary of the day on which they got this nickname and so the Major thought a taster today and an extended piece next week.  They earned the moniker at the Battle of Albuhera, in the Peninsular war, we were fighting the French, with the Spaniards and Portuguese as allies.  The Peninsular war was bloody and it was the actions of men like Colonel Inglis who galvanised steely resistance, his position compromised and himself critically injured and his horse shot from under him, instead of seeking treatment, the good Colonel cried out Die hard the 57th, die hard’.  The battle was won.  Just one of 24 officers survived.  Just 168 of the 584 foot infantry. 

To the sports oh happy few, let us fill those goblets with bounteous wine.

11.24pm, Churchill Downs – The Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is one of Americas great races and this evenings line up is a little disappointing.  There is no star attraction, just a group of puzzles.  The Major has struggled to get lines through many of the 20.  The favourite, Dialed In, could be a class act but is lightly campaigned and in a bustling field of 20, the Major would look elsewhere.

With the chance of rain high, the Major advises Soldat.  Garcia is an animated but good jockey and if we can forgive the last run then at least the horse has shown somewhere near the remote form required.

I suggest that something will improve dramatically from the race and Twice the Appeal while lacking the form, has the connections and the draw to be of interest.

Aidan O Brien sends over Master of the Hounds.  No doubt since the Sire is a Kentucky Derby sort and the artificial surface performance in Meydan was adequate, he wants a pop, another one hard to assess but unlikely to have the minerals in the Majors view.

The advice remains Soldat, 14/1 bet like a man on the nose.

Grade 3 Swinton Hurdle – Haydock 3.40pm

23 runner handicap at the end of the season, the Swinton is an enigma. 

There are a few eye catchers at the prices.  the Major has settled on.

The first is Channinbar.  Now this horse comes with serious wealth warnings after repeatedly coming under starters orders and then refusing, leaving you in the laps of generous bookies like Paddy Power to refund your stake!  With that warning dished out, the latest second in a graded contest reads well.  He is highly tried and I would want every bit of the 28/1 being touted about.

Frankly 13/2 is a very decent price for Remember Now who holds very solid credentials.  At 6, the horse could still be improving ahead of the handicapper and with AP piloting, why would you not want a slice?

The other of interest and seemingly the right profile is Nicky Hendersons Higgys Ragazzo who gets a 3lb claim from the useful David Bass who rode well at Aintree yesterday.  This horse has won a couple of novice events well before leaving that form well behind at Cheltenham in a placed graded effort last time.  If still on the up, at only 4, this 14/1 shot could be a decent runner.

The staking advice is to snap up the remaining 13/2 with Hills about Remember Now on a win basis.  Then back Higgys Ragazzo at 14s each way with Bet365 who pay 5 places, very generous work from the enemy.

4.25 Punchestown Champion 4yo Hurdle

The Major apologises for offering little advice this week for Punchestown.  If it helps you, understand that I would have given you Quevega but you would have lost far more backing Tranquil Sea to a place as well as opposing Hurricane Fly.  Chester would have been barren too.

This is the race of the day for the Major.  No Zarkander, the impressive triumph winner but second Unaccompanied turns up as does the Henderson hotpot Grandouet.

The formlines are tricky at best.  The clock and the visual display makes Zarkanders Cheltenham win a very useful piece of form.  Chasing him up the hill was Unaccompanied.  She then went back out on the flat defeating a below par St Nicholas Abbey who destroyed the field at Chester this week. 

To add to the complexity, Grandouet looked to have every other horse covered when falling two out in the Aintree 4yo hurdle, that day Zarkander battled like a demon to see of the opposition, nothing like the previous form.

Mister Carter is the most intriguing, he was travelling well still when a faller in the Triumph. 

The market is behaving like Unaccompanied cannot be beaten.  While I like the horse and think the mares allowance is a very useful aid, I cannot have it at 11/10.

I am not convinced either that Grandouet does not want a bit more cut but at 7/2 that feels priced in.

Unaccompanied should win but price is on Grandouets side and so I advise backing it at 7/2.  Have a saver on Mister Apples at 25/1 because you do not know!

To the sports fields.

As mentioned the Major is at Villa Park today.  17/20 feels about right for Villa.  Wigan fought out a hard earned draw against Everton last week.  This is a classic motivation versus class argument.  No doubt, Villa are the better proposition but 4/1 Wigan?  Waiting for the team news could be crucial, N’Zogbia is an important part of the Wigan machinery.  Sitting on the fence I like the 13/5 draw, Villa looked a little off the boil at West Brom, a 1-1 feels about right.

Bolton at 10/11 look like a solid bet.  Sunderland are lacking threat without pace man Gyan, Hills are best price, take a slice.

There are some cracking games in the lower leagues as the season draws to a conclusion.  The QPR v Leeds v Palace v Forest conundrum is too much for the Major who opts for easier decisions. 

Walsall look a lively 9/2 shot to win at St Marys and complete a great escape.

May tonight’s dinner be game.  Enjoy a hearty ale with it.  The company should be fun, that flaxen-haired, hazel eyed sort who seems to know a good time and has little expectation.  Settle the bill in cash, let the quarry set her eyes on that donkey choking roll.  Shabash young warrior, it is good to be alive.

Grand National Meeting – Thursday at Aintree – Massive Fancy for the Major

The Major has an absolute thunderbolt for Thursdays opening card of the Aintree National meeting – It could not get off to a more exciting start with 3 grades ones compromising the Liverpool Hurdle, a cracking juvenile contest before the big race of the day, the Totesport Bowl.

Take a good look Champion Hurdle 2012 contenders, take a good look... Zarkander is the real deal

I want to start with the big race on day one, the Totesport Bowl.  One of the Majors thoughts when approaching the National and the Punchestown Festival meets is to look for horses that avoided Cheltenham.  So many arrive at Aintree over the top after a tough season and are expected to put it in again on better ground when their initial target was three weeks prior.

Thus the Totesport Bowl is a great opportunity for the Major to look to get Denman beat.  Although lightly campaigned this year, which yu would expect for an eleven year old, I think it is just too much to expect the old boy to put up a winning performance against some decent opposition so soon after a hard race in the Gold Cup.  Has he recovered from his exertions, it is a huge question and 11/10 simply gives you little leeway.

This is particularly pertinent when the next two in the betting did not go to Cheltenham and arrive fresher.  The one the Major likes is Punchestowns.  Henderson has always liked this horse and I think that it is the one that has got the opportunity to show progression.  6/1, take a slice, with Geraghty doing the business.

I am not sure the fences will suit Nacarat, 4/1 second favourite, not many of the others make great reading, Deep Purple could run a race.  Punchestowns for the Major to pick up a prize I think connections have expected.

The Liverpool Hurdle, the opener sees Big Bucks a strong odds on bet and after the demolition of Grand Crus at the festival, you cannot argue on the surface pricing.  Again, both of these horses had tough festivals and with Aintree just 3 weeks after their World Hurdle exertions, I would be loathed to back anything odds on.  While the class is at the top of the market, so is the doubt – The same question exists.  After being primed and then pushed to the limit in 3 miles around Cheltenham, who knows how well Big Bucks and Grand Crus are arriving at Aintree. 

On the form book, nothing has yet looked like threatening Big Bucks unbeaten hurdles record.  What a horse. 

I am going to take an absolute flyer on Possol who has been missing for some time.  100/1 reflects the fact that wining this off such a break would be an insane ask but with likely conditions to be OK and a former 4l defeat to Big Bucks in the form book last year, I like the chances that 100/1 gives us to at least pinch a place.  Richard Johnson, a safe pair of hands rides. 

Now for the piledriver.  Set your phasers to obliterate.

Zarknder is bet of the week for the Major.  Evens about one of the most impressive triumph winners I have seen is a stand out price.  Get stuck in, load both barrels, aim, fire.  Thank me later, penalty kick. 

Why am I so confident?  Well everything points at this one being a star.  Not only was the Triumph win so visually stunning but second that day
(and the Majors 7/1 selection) was Unaccompanied.  This girl went back out on the flat, at the Curragh last week and in listed company relegated the return of St Nicholas Abbey to third, Unaccompanied is a serious horse. 

This means that surely Zarkander is the real deal, Triumph winners have a terrible record in the Champion Hurdle but the Major will make an exception, I fully expect Zarkander ton be a leading Champion Hurdle contender.  This means it really should go in at evens on Thursday, get stuck right in.  This can pay for the week!