Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Doncaster Selection is a non-runner – The Palace House Stakes

With the Doncaster runner a non starter, the Major offers instead the selection from the Palace House Stakes.

This Group 3 5f sprint has a cracking field. 

A win for Bordelescott would bring the house down and lets be fair, this is probably his conditions.  It is unlikely he is good enough to win but a place is not out of the question.

Sole Power has two ways of going but will probably cope with conditions and if in his Nunthorpe mood is a danger to all.

Prohibit will also be comfortable with the rattle.  He did not seem to go at all on his trip to Dubai and I am happy to put a line through that recent form. 

Secret Asset is not an 80/1 shot (Sportingbet).  It will not mind the surface and Mrs Chapple-Hyam means business when she books Richard Hughes.

Overall I think the winer comes from Astrophysical Jet, Prohibit or Secret Asset.  Back the first for a win with three points.  Back the other two each way with a point and have reverse forecast all ways for 6 bets too.  Shabash!

The Saturday Service – 2,000 Guineas Tips – Premier League – 4 tips – LOAD THE CANNONS!

Good morning faithful band of warriors from a Defford drizzled in filtered sunlight.

The coffee has been bubbling away for some hours and the Major is ready to unleash the value of the day for your astute gambling assessment.   Welcome, come in, immerse yourself in the advice, select and then relax into the days sports allowing yourself to feel alive with the pulse of a man who has staked more than he should on the outcome.

Well done Sir, now let me give you the leg up on Kingsgate Native.

The Major is not a royalist or a republican.  Yet I must say that watching some of the early proceedings yesterday, I could not help but think that the young Duke of Cambridgeshire seemed to be marrying in the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, good on him. 

What a great days sport.  The 2,000 Guineas seems to arrive earlier each season.  The first classic, run at Newmarket, over a mile is perhaps not the race it has previously been.  The Guineas is eclipsed by the prestige of the Derby and with no class horses wanting to run the St Ledger, the old buzz about attempts at the Triple Crown has gone.

This year is different with super horse Frankel on the scene, the racing world is alight at this years renewal.

My favourite 2,000 guineas winner was George Washington.  Gorgeous George.  I remember having a slice at 9/4 which seemed like a price from the gods as he travelled like a sports car, watching him slice through the pack before powering away out of the dip like a Grade 1 sprinter, it raises the hairs – Over a mile he could deliver a devastating turn of foot, off very quick paces too. 

He was an absolute stunner with a fetching white flash, what I loved most though was his personality.  He refused to enter the winners enclosure after his classic win, he was a horse that did things his way.

After his 2000 Guineas win he was a bit hit and miss and was a little injury prone – It didn’t help that he was retired to stud but found to be wanting and so came back to racing.  After his first run back, I remember Aidan O’Brien putting his tepid performance down to his failed stud career explaining that getting his mind back on racing was tough when he had been walking around with a fifth leg for the last few months!  He did get to win a QEII though and I am glad, it proved his class beating some quality milers.

What a tragic end for the fellow who sadly slipped on the bend while running in a Churchill Downs quagmire in the Breeders Cup Classic, 2007. 

Watch his QEII win, he travels so well off a strong pace.  With 300m to go, Mike Kinane seems to have him tucked up and in trouble but when the gap comes and the button is pushed, the turbo boosters are applied and it is over in seconds, KABOOM!  That is how I remember Gorgeous George Washington, just watch how his head carriage remains prominent and proud as he passes his last rival, he squares him straight in the eye, what a champion.

Tragedy happens in racing, as elsewhere in life.  Grief is an odd thing.  Longing.  Where did George Washington go?  Clearly his flesh and bone went the way of the furnace but is that all there is to all of us? 

If we hold on to the thought that a horse or a person is merely physical then there is no solution to grief.  The Major does not believe in ghosts.  Yet George Washington was more than just the sum of his muscle and sinew.  He created a memory.  Today that memory comes rushing to the fore.  If Frankel settles he has a similar turn of foot.  The pattern that George was a part of is relived.  Read Robert Pirsigs classic before you die.

 To the sports young warriors, put your war face on.

The 2011 2,000 Guineas – 3.10 Newmarket

Can Frankel be beaten?  Well he has not yet in 5 outings. 

Without doubt, this horse is one of the most exciting in recent years.  There are some question marks…

Is a mile far enough? Probably not..

Will he like the ground? He probably wants a touch more cut..

Will he settle from his wide draw? He has raced freely before so it is not guaranteed.

Weighing everything up, even with the questions, I think class will tell.  I cannot back a 4/7 shot.  Pathfork looks the best of the rest although I think Native Khan is the type to strip a lot fitter for his workmanlike seasonal debut win.  Fury is an unbeaten sort that is unexposed and at 16/1 in places, I would put nobody off an each way selection.  Likewise, Roderic O Connor who at 9/1 looks a decent place prospect and outside of Frankel is probably the best bred horse in the contest.

The selection is Roderic O Connor at 4/1 in the market without the favourite.

Only one other selection in the racing today.

8.15 Doncaster

Now as you well know the Major brings you the big races and the snippets that arouse suspicion in the smaller ones too. 

Paul Hanagan is at Newmarket today and has a reasonable book of rides.  I know he is going to be competing for the flat championship again and that makes me think there is good reason for him to trek to Doncaster to make his single ride in the last race aboard Hawk Mountain.  This 11/4 shot should not go unbacked, KABOOOOM, load the big cannons chaps.

To the football fields…

It is the time of the season where a new angle is bought into play.  Some teams are fighting for survival, others challenging for promotion.  This factor is often over priced and I am a fan of getting after relegation teams who are being shortened because they are playing a team who are safe yet further up the table.

A classic example is Bolton who are priced at 3/1 to win at Blackburn.  Can anyone remember Blackburns last win?  I will give you some clues…. Libya was a peaceful place, Ian Thorpe was in retirement, Australia was cyclone and flooding free, it was even before the super bowl.

Blackburn are in free fall.  More than 3 months without a win.  Bolton are in indifferent form themselves sandwiching a win against Arsenal with heavy defeats to Stoke and Fulham.  They have a decent record against struggling teams though and Blackburn are without David Dunn who is their creative influence.  Bolton make a tasty 3/1 win prospect, SHABASH!

Leeds are 13/10 to win at home to Burnley, have a slice of that.

Just 4 selections from the Major today.  Stick them in a lucky 15 and thank me later!

Tonight, drink Mohita before dinner and let the cool minty goodness seep through your veins.  Enjoy a classy meal in a decent establishment.  Eat alone, it is good for the soul.  As you call for a carriage at midnight, I hope your pocket bulges with the rewards from a fruitful day at the evils of gambling.  It is good to be alive on such a day.

The Major at Ascot for Sagaro Stakes Day – Whizz Kidz Special

Ascot, finery, speed, thumping heartbeats, clean those saddlecloths young lancer, we ride at daybreak

The Major has to report that the Saturday Service was the most barren for some time without selecting a winning piece of advice.  Shame. Relentless positivity is the Majors mantra, it is always our move and so tomorrow we move to a new battleground in Berkshire.  A tipping service for each Ascot race is listed below.

Tomorrow the Major leads a troop of ten gallant young warriors for Sagaro Stakes Day.  The weather forecast is cool.  The car is packed with a marvelous luncheon of cut meats, lime and chilli skewered chicken, fresh  french style bread, salamis, cheeses, good ham, pimms based refreshments with some light beers and an interesting pear cider too… the Major has prepared stores for a lengthy battle with thanks reserved for Kelly who has performed quartermaster duty admirably. 

What a great day of racing too.  A moment to reflect on Sagaro who the feature race is named after.  This chestnut was the first horse to win three Ascot Gold Cups, an achievement only recently matched by Yeats.  This particular win is the Majors favourite, watch Lester in his 40s at this stage, remaining motionless in the leaders shadow, stalking silently, waiting, he knew what he had beneath him, then a shake of the reins and SHABASH the game is up.  Moments reflecting the past, make the achievement in the present more profound.

The purpose of the trip is both fun and in good cause.  You may remember that the Major suffered a knee injury recently, which happens to be a broken Patella.  It ruled me out of the marathon.  This is one of the fundraisers which we are going ahead with regardless as the cause is good and you try and stop us racing.

The Major is putting on the fun and the ten guests are coughing up a hearty donation to Whizz Kidz – A marvelous charity which provides mobility equipment and training, which changes the lives of many severely disabled children.  A great cause, it will be nice to sit in the hazy Berkshire sun in that fine surround knowing a great charity benefits.

To the cards and the winners.

2pm Aldemore Conditions Stakes

There was so much to like about Magic City in the Newbury victory although hanging left in the closing stages was a slight concern.

The same hanging tendency struck The Penny Horse whose overall form is poorer and was certainly less eye-catching but is arguably the best bred in the race, certainly One Cool Cookie the Sire has a much better sprinting pedigree than Magic City.

Miss Work of Art won a maiden at class 5 level which qualifies the filly for a zero penalty, thus she should be carrying 8, 6 in the Majors working but she is marked as 8, 10 on the Racing Post card, something is not right.

Overall there is little not to like about Magic City but 1/3 is not a backable prospect for a two-year old sprinter.  14/1 about The Penny Horse for small stakes is the Majors view.

2.30 EBF Stakes

Gosden is well armed for this Stakes race with some great 3yo prospects.  Flood Plain, 3/1, is regarded well enough to have been shipped to America for the Breeders Cup meeting, that didn’t work out but I am sure Gosden wasn’t flying him out for the air.

Hezmah, 2/1, is a surprising favourite to the Major but given it is a Gosden horse too, there is a strong indication that it is a better animal than Flood lain, the jockey booking of Richard Hills supports that.

Hills has started the season in good touch and Mystic Dream is a decent 11/2 proposition.  It had an interesting start to life winning a Deauville all weather contest.  More British trainers are raiding Ireland and France for the prizemoney and maybe that was the thinking, who knows. 

It is Mystic Dream and Dubaianswer, 10/1, that the Major finds interesting.  The latter should go well on the surface and has won his only race. 

Hmmm.  On balance if they were not by the same trainer I would opt for Flood Plain.  3/1 seems fair now he is dropped back in grade.  I cannot bring myself to back Meznah at 2/1 given the comparative form but that makes it hard to back Flood Plain if training connections have had them work together!

Byrony is an interesting sort on his mixed 2yo form.  I would have prefered a run but he is experienced.  What puts me off is the ground, I am not sure he wants it rattling.

This is a tough call.  Dubaianswer at 10/1 is the selection but it is hard to put you off any of them.

3.05 Britains Got Talent Stakes Race

What a great name for a race.  Who knows if there is a production party on hand.

St Moritz is the choice of the Major who although set with the burden of top weight, will thrive on the jarring ground.

Zacinto will be a threat to all if the trainer has him back at his best.  This Dansili colt though might just need to wait for some cut in the ground to be seen back to his best.  That said 4 and a half lengths short of Goldikova, 1 and a half short of Paco Boy, if Zacinto is back to his best, game over.

Your choice, St Moritz each way at 7/1 for the sensible folk or load the cannon on Zacinto at 3/1.

3.40 Group 3 Sagaro Stakes

The Betchworth Kid made a winning return to the flat and is interesting having won on firm.  Not the most solid prospect though.

The ones that will love conditions are Asker Tau, Akmal, Rajik and possibly the Queens horse, Free Agent.

Akmal certainly has some questions to answer. 

Asker Tau and Rajik are the two to consider for the Major.  On balance, Asker Tau feels better value at a bigger price and with trainer form assured.  Rajik would be picked but the last ten runners of Charlie Mann have only returned one place.

4.15 Cleanevent Pavilion Stakes

An interesting line up, some real quality, some back in trip, others looking for a return to form.

Murbeh, 16/1, has a squeak back on more suitable ground but on seasonal debut is best watched.  I have seen worse 16/1 shots though for those that like a price.

Libranno for Hannon and Hughes is bound to be involved but will have to be resilient to win carrying a penalty.  That said, the Craven form has a touch of class about it.

On balance, the Major goes for Margot Did, 9/4.  This one will like conditions, has good form in the book and with Hayley on board, Shabash!

4.50 The Ascot Handicap

What a finish, a conundrum in a puzzle wrapped in a swirling vortex of possibility.  Thank God the Major has solved it.

Lord Aeryn is a tasty 13/2 and Prince Apollo is a tastier 12/1. 

On the former, conditions will not be a problem, recent form looks good and there can be more improvement, solid.

On the second, mixed form can correlate to ground conditions.  Back on the preferred rattling surface, having a recent win under his belt, with a red hot trainer (4 winners from 5 runners in last fortnight, a more hit and miss prospect but 12/1, at this stage of day, it is time for KABOOOM!

Good luck to you all.

Horseracing Tips from Sandown, Football Tips – The Majors Saturday Service

Indian Braves - Expert horseman, brutal warriors. Love a bet, probably.

Good morning, I hail to thee, young band of merry warriors.  Defford is a paragon of virtuous sunshine this fair morning, cacophony of spring birds, a brightness so loud it is deafening.

Ah the Major pangs for the short dark days of winter, the peaceful still and cool air, clear sound made on fresh canvas; just fading memories now like the distant pulses of a fast-moving train, but we know it will return.  Let us enjoy our excursion into summers embrace but know it for what it is, we shall await and embrace the coming of winter and restoration of natural order.

The Saturday Service is here and we have a great Easter weekend of sport, a delectable spread of refined temptations to pick from, gorge not, but enjoy the feast – Select well, as the enemy will try to dazzle us with baubles of deception, gaudy and dizzying, remain clear-headed and progress like the river with your mind able to bend round stubborn stone, relentlessly rolling on.

The Majors midweek foray was unsuccessful with three horses selected returning one non runner and two losses.  The Majors April is still very profitable, apologies for not updating the figures in the menu bar, the tardiness will be corrected.  Suffice to say I think we are about 55% up.

Balance is required.  As Kipling wrote, treat both triumph and disaster as equal imposters.  The Major knows this and so vigilance is required today.  Let our success be deliberate and calculated.  Glory comes from perfect practice, not hot-headed folly.

Custer is our cautionary tale.  His exploits for the Union army were legendary being promoted at Gettysburg.  He felt bullet proof and confidence was always sky-high with this dangerous man.  This instinct gave him his greatest moments and cost him his life and that of those he commanded. 

The Americans were continually breaking treaty promises with Indian camps over land rights.  Finding gold in the Black Hills caused inevitable further conflict and an oppressed tribal community rose up.  The Indian tribes of Arapaho, Cheyenne and Lakota (as well as the fighting Brule) united under the leadership of Sitting Bull were prepared to fight.  Their huge camp of 4,000 ugly faced braves, intent on mischief, settled at Little Bighorn.  Custer, the civil war hero was sent to quash the uprising with his 7th Calvary.

Tactically, Custer gave little thought to the job in hand.  His confidence in his men was unimpeachable but foolish.  He split his force into three.  The initial foray lead by Reno was to the South of the Indian encampment, it was bloodily repulsed and it was clear that the force they were fighting was well armed, well-ordered and thirsty for the engagement. 

All could have been recovered after Reno’s failed attack from the South, his retreat to the bluffs standing high to the East of the Little Bighorn river gave them all a chance of digging in.

Custer though was indignant and unaware of the dangers.  He had his forces try to traverse the river to the North East of the camp.  They were easily repelled and then pursued up the bluff by a succesful and swift Indian counter charge led by Crazy Horse. 

A desperate last stand was made in the hill overlooking the sprawling Indian camp.  Indian Calvary made light work of the 7th Calvalry who were trying to form a line, once they smashed through that, all order was lost and it was every man for himself.  The Indian braves used hatchet and lance in close quarters to devastating effect.  After the battle, they scalped the defeated in order to let the soul of their enemy depart, savage yet cathartic.

Why did Custer judge Little Bighorn so badly?  Why lead a force into full frontal assault against a three factor stronger enemy?  Why split your force?  Why when the first skirmish goes horribly wrong would you risk an attack?  Why decline to take more troops in the first place?  Custer wanted the fame, he was drunk on his self-image.

A man compelled to further his career in the spotlight.  A man buoyed by early success.  Over-confidence in your trained troop.  The sense of glory.  No coolness of mind.  Calculate your bravery.  The Major urges you to distance yourself from victory and defeat.  Custer’s lesson.

To the sports young warriors, let us hope to add red dots each symbolising a defeated and fallen member of the turf accountant community to our head-dress.  Daub paint and prepare your hatchet, ready thyself, it is Saturday and there is mischief to be had.

Sandown Bet 365 day is a superb moment in the sporting gentleman’s calendar.  The gauntlet is passed from the jumps to the flat boys and both are on show in a wonderful eight race card.  Next year, this might make the Majors social cycle. 

A glorious day for them too today.  Drenched in sunshine.

The ground will be edging towards the firm, this is a significant factor in assessing todays runners, it will be frenetic stuff.  We are also looking for jumps horses that are not ‘over the top’, ideally ones that have demonstrated they are spring horses.  Thus, Baby Run makes little appeal.

For the flat sorts, prep runs and ones that go fresh is the model of the likely winners in the Majors view.

2.05 Sandown – Bet 365 Handicap

As I write it appears that Kazzene has been backed off the boards down to 4/1.  This price does not reflect his recent form.  Though if something were amiss and it has been rectified, the Pipe yard can land a gamble with this completely unexposed sort racing off a featherweight.

I’ll leave the gamble alone.  Kazzene may be the handicap snip of the century but not for the Major.

I am a keen fan of Extreme Conviction in this 2 and a half mile contest.  His record with good ground or better is raced 6, placed 5, won 4.  He has not won on ground with the word soft in it.

King of the Night might be one for next season.

Back Extreme Conviction each way 10/1 with SportingBet.

2.35 Sandown Celebration Chase

French Opera is one of those sorts that will not carry the Majors money.  Henderson believes conditions are right today, the Major is less sure.

I prefer backing Tataniano who is 6/5 with Hills.  This is exactly the sort of horse the Major is looking for.  Loves the sun on its back, won over good last year at Aintree, odds against for a horse that could still make the top grade, very tasty.

3.10 Bet365 Gold Cup Chase – Sandown

As I previously hinted, I cannot have Baby Run.  OK, it is clearly the best hunter chaser around.  Switching to this company is tough, doing it after several hard races all over extended 3 and a half mile distances on the legs of an eleven year old is a lot to ask – Especially as he won’t have it his own way as he normally does, there will be harrassment today.  It is this and not his potential lenient handicap mark which gives the Major confidence to draw a line through that one.

There is going to be plenty of pace on with the ground as is and plenty that will like to make it, including Baby Run.

This might help settle Poker de Sivola into a better rhythm, he was the Majors Scottish National selection and if the unseating at Ayr still leaves him in decent touch, I think he might come good for one of these races.  I prefer those where this has been the long-term target though.

Triggerman is of interest.  Will be suited by this race and the Major would not put you off a 12/1 interest in this one.

The Majors money though will be carried by 10/1 shot Meanus Dandy.  Nicholls and Walsh team up and I think this one might do well stepped up in trip.  Get involved each way.

3.45 Bet365 Mile

Then the focus is passed to the flat sorts with their fine morning suit attire, keen satirical edge and vintage champagne, good luck to you all.

The Bet365 mile has attracted just 5 runners but it is an intriguing contest.

Dick Turpin has the best form to boast of, just.  4/5 on though is overpriced.

Andrew Balding has sent in  pacemaker (Highland Knight) to ensure a gallop which is a smart move given the small field and good ground.  The intended beneficiary, Dream Eater is not for the Major though, even with the assistance of Jimmy Fortune, amongst the Majors favourite flat jockeys.

I am not convinced Cityscape will love conditions especially as it is only going to get faster.  This leaves me Music Show.  Normally held up, I think the presence of a pacemaker will help the only lady in the field and Ryan Moore, master of the timed run can bring home the bacon at 9/2, have a chunky slice and thank me later.

4.50 Sandown 1m Handicap

This is a wide open handicap but there is a candidate that caught the Majors eye.  Huygens looks set for a big opener.  Holland is booked for the steering and the horse has a good record fresh. 

The Major is not the only one to smell a snip.  The price has come in from 16s to 9s.  I am not putting you off though, dropped back to a mile seems an odd choice but the trainer knows his beans, unleash the light cannon.

3.05 Mussleburgh

The 1m 1f contest is an interesting little affair and the one that catches the Majors imagination is the, bottom of the card, Rastaban.  The Major smells a big run….

William Haggas doesn’t make that many big round trips and when he does, he goes with intent.  This will be a 600 mile round trip and nothing else is going up in the horsebox.

7/2, pile in boys.

To the sports fields……

Last weeks football bets performed well with Wigan and Villa both winning at greater than 2/1.

This week I see no reason not to back them again.

Wigan are back in touch, Sunderland in free fall.  3/1 with Victor Chandler for the Latics, take a slice.

Villa entertain Stoke, fresh from their demolition of Bolton at Wembley.  Tony Pulis men have a poor record away from home and the Houllier illness is not a factor to the Major, well not one that adversely effects Villas chances anyway.  10/11 with Hills, smash that up.

Preston are 4/1 to win at Millwall who are without key players.  Preston are not quite done yet and I fancy them at this price to cause a possible upset.

I like the return of Adams at Blackpool and 2/1 is fair but their morale seems suspect and I cannot touch it.

7/2 the draw at Old Trafford also looks appealing but is left alone.

Tonight let dining be an easy pasta ensemble.  Fresh tiny ripened tomato, garlic, good bread.  Enjoy a light tipple, perhaps a Wye Valley beer or a class of Beaujolais.  Eat al fresco, see if that careful sort wants to join you, her with the measured look in her eye and that certain quiver of the lip that suggests something, perhaps.

Bet more than you should.  On the anniversary of Jesus resurrection weekend where he rose from the dead after three days (I once had a similar experience after an absynthe party); ensure you take a moment to yourself to simply enjoy being.  After all, this happens just the once, make it memorable.

Midweek Hotpots – Tuesday Tips from the Major – Fontwell, Bath and Pontefract

Good evening from the Major who is horizontal in the hope of a swift recovery for an injured knee.  The mind is unaffected and the sharp sense of adventure leads me to a foray into the Tuesday cards… saddle up young follower, your charger carries your sheepskin, the leathers are clean, your tunic red, bright and pristine; your sabre shining as ready for parade.  To the cards and the riches, fortunes and mysteries of a new day.

Steep, sharp, camber......... Try and pick those with course form at Bath, Fantasy Fry for the Major

Bath 7pm

It is nice when the clocks go back and the evening meets come thick and fast.  Denizens of our creed of gambling men know I prefer the national hunt season but watching the 7.50 from a sun bathed Windsor tonight, one was struck by how simple it would be to sit at one of those tables on the trackside and enjoy a nice Sancerre as the sun sets and one of those Berkshire strumpets tends to wanton fun with a look of utter nothingness in her wonderfully vacant eyes.

None of that has anything to do with the winner of the 7pm at Bath tomorrow night.  Although I hope the good citizens of Bath have the weather too as well as the strumpets.

Fantasy Fry is the 13/2 selection.  I like the fact it is more certain to act on the ground than many.  I also like the fact it is the only one in the field with a course win.  There are some tracks where that is important.  Cheltenham, Southwell and Bath being some.  The extended 5f sprint at Bath can be carnage.  A downhill stretch some on a camber, a tight left hand bend a furlong and a half from home and an uphill finish, I like horses that have proven they can handle it.

3.10 Pontefract

Hoof It at 4/1 is a cracking bet.  In a field of monkeys, this is the potential improver.  Not many are guaranteed to like conditions, this one seems to like a bit of rattle under his feet.  Fallon booked for a second time, get stuck in, load the thunderous cannon, let it boom, let it boom!

2.50 Fontwell

American Trilogy is the forecast favourite and while Fontwell is a left handed track which will suit his sometimes violent digressions to the left when jumping obstacles, I think his tendencies hides deeper issues – For the Major one to watch. 

Fruity O Rooney is being asked to shoulder a fair old burden.   Reliable.

Swansbrook won an easy return to action, as you would expect him to and with that confidence booster under his belt, I put it to you that he is the likeliest sort.

Seven bets to cover Fantasy Fry, Hoof It and Swansbrook in singles, doubles and a treble?  You know what Jesus would do.

I have a few days worth of bets to add to the records, forgive the sloppiness.