Good morning from sunny Pershore where the Major has been at the study for your benefit (arguable) for many hours. The coffee is bubbling away leaving its traces on the air.
This weekend the Major ventures north to the Lakes, such a beautiful spot, serene, the greens and blues, marvelous; the purpose is a christening, I am aiming for all things to be quality this weekend, including some winning selections, allowing for a hearty donation to the childs university fund.
The fighting fund has been bolstered already. I hope you had an opportunity to see Thursday nights post, picking apart the Yorkshire Cup in which Duncan duly delivered, advised at 4/1 – The Major was delighted and never mind waking Duncan with thy knocking, the Major might have with his cheer.
The Major offers a free service alerting people of new posts. You can sign up on twitter @tdl123 or in the left hand column there is an email subscription service run by the good people at WordPress.
We get a fair few hundred readers per week and normally a handful of new subscribers signing up. I often wonder what those that arrive for the first time think. Tip quality, middling……. effort and enthusiasm A+……. unhinged, definitely – They keep coming though, it seems there is an appetite for a mix of horseracing and football opinion with a dash of nonsense.
Last night the Major entertained. We drank a nice prosecco, ate good curry and finished the night with friends singing around the piano. The piano is in a far-flung corner of the estate, one where the power of the Majors broadband signal dwindles. My guest asked if I was able to connect to the network, no doubt he wanted to check the runners at Keeneland, we were beyond the witching hour. When the Major reported his technology also incapable of picking the signal up, my friend declared himself pleased that it was not his equipment that was less superior. He is a nice person normally.
This struck a note. It reminded me of Taoist philosophers whose message was one of taking lifes journey in good order. You do not really know what is good or bad and you should never begrudge another man his good fortune and that you should never look at any event and evaluate it too much for merit. Although the author of the following passage is unknown, the following is a nice illustration.
On day a Chinese farmer awoke to find wild horses on his land which he was able to catch. What great luck his neighbours decried, how do you know said the farmer?
Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”
Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck? Who knows?
One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?
The Major must be the only man alive who wishes the bankers well with those telephone number bonus payments – good luck to you all, to the sports.
The Lockinge – Newbury 3.45pm
The feature of the day is very tricky.
The trainers of Shakespearean, Beacon Lodge and Cityscape have all made noises about not running without more rain. This would reduce the field to 7 which of course reduces the places paid on each way stakes to 2.
This is significant because Twice Over was in my thoughts originally as an 8/1 each way punt. I am sure that he would not be being dropped back to a mile if he was not going to show well at that distance. Backing just for the two places though seems tough. I am sure the Dubai efforts will have him fit and his last run was a mixed race so would be happy to believe he is in good fettle, I think the thing that puts me off the most is his miserly strike rate on any ground containing the word firm (1 from 6) – overlooked.
The two market leaders are the Hannon trained Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, apple of the trainer and jockeys eyes. Dick Turpin has beaten Canford Cliffs twice already, losing their final encounter – Even that was only a modest defeat of half a length in an oddly run race that saw Dick Turpin stretched after a pretty big pace. Both will love conditions.
Dick Turpin is stripping fit so the calculation between the two is this. Is Dick Turpins form better or worse? Hard to say. Visually how do you assess them? Canford Cliffs beating of Rip van Winkle was very eye-catching, smooth headway to destroy the classy O’Brien horse. Is race fitness an issue? Well Dick Turpin has the benefit of a run but Canford goes well fresh so no. What about Canford as the stable star though? No doubt they do love him but they have been wrong before about who their number one horse is.
On that strength, 7/2 Dick Turpin does not sound a bad prospect but the Major has deliberated the decision and has to advise elsewhere.
The outsider I give a squeak to is Red Jazz. If was assured that eight would get to post then 20/1 is a nice each way bet – Meydans artificial track did not suit this one but last years third at Royal Ascot in the QEII was no fluke, he has some class and could be one to have developed into a smarter four year old.
The advice is simple, get stuck into Canford Cliffs at the 5/6 on price. He does not have to beat a lot, will love conditions and is the one horse here that looks a super star. Head said Turpin, value suggests Red Jazz. The fact that Canford could prove today he is one from the top draw is irresistible. Let’s have a resounding win that sets up the heavyweight contest with Frankel. If Canford is the class beast we hope him to be, he will win.
Frankel versus Canford. Boom, my heart just fluttered. All in today chaps.
Bangor 5.20 – The Bumper
Value has to be sought in all corners! Straight from the Lockinge to tips at Bangor – The Major seeks it all for you.
Nicky Henderson sends in a bumper horse and he is always to be feared at these provincial tracks. He has them ready first time up and took this last year with a similar sort.
Two markets are open, they both price Western Approaches at 5/2, have a slice. Henderson is 36% with debut bumper sorts in the last twelve month – This looks a tepid affair, get stuck in and thank me later.
I am not going to try to solve the complex handicap at Newbury, I shall leave that to the others. Instead to Newmarket.
2.15 King Charles II Stakes
This looks an interesting contest and the Major has a sort he likes in this.
Utley and I Love Me have arguably done the most on track but I am not convinced by either.
The one I like is Trade Storm. Never out of the front three when firm is in the description, this one will relish conditions. He is guaranteed to be fit enough and while the others have some major entries (Coronation Cup for I Love Me), I am not sure they are good enough. Trade Storm did enough in the Gimcrack to show he can be a player at this level. 10/1 generally available – Get stuck right in.
The Major enjoys having a crack at the Lockinge, reviewing the classier animals and deciding on the best. That said, there is money to be made at Uttoxeter on good to firm ground. I would be looking for those that are proven on it and there are a couple I like.
Breaking Silence in the opener at 5/1 would have been one but is a non-runner. Spirit is needed in the 6.45 is a definite selection at 6/4 – This one also comes with greater experience. Bet365 go 9/2 about Danehillsundance in the 7.30, punish them vigorously. The same turf accountant offers 8/1 about Daraz Rose in the last, take them on that too!
To the sports fields of Britain. The Major should offer you an FA Cup Final Tip.
Man City seem to me a team devoid of spirit. Ballotelli sums them up neatly in my view. They have bought badly, appointed an unexciting manager and celebrated achieving 4th in the league as though it were the title itself. I think the manager will go, they are a team whose sum is far worse than the component parts.
Stoke at 7/2 seem an outstanding price. I think the game will be disjointed and 15/8 for 0-0 at half time is also worth a punt.
Sunderland and West Brom seem to have checked out for the season and so I oppose both with Everton at 7/4 and Wolves at 2/1.
The same accusation could be made of Bolton who have looked poor in a few recent outings. That said, they are a better outfit than Blackpool and I cannot miss out on the 13/5 – Take a piece now.
Betfred go 150/1 that Ukraine win the Eurovision song contest. Trust me on this one. I feel dirty.
I would put a double in today on Wolves and Canford Cliffs. 2/1 and 5/6 with Hills. £50 returns £275 – Thank me later.
Tonight no formal dinner. Fish and Chips in the sea air. Plenty of vinegar. I wager you at levels that the rather stiff sort you took along succumbs to the wholehearted goodness of this atmosphere and relents. You will be at the gallop before midnight.