Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Majors Saturday Service – Northumberland Plate Tips, Pretty Polly Tips

Good morning from a changeable Pershore where downpours have been usurped by a brightness that defies the early hour.  The air is fresh and so is the Majors mind as we set about trying to score a profitable Saturday Service.

Midday is one for maximum faith at 8/11

Once again, the Major is tardy about updating the numbers, forgiveness is sought and I will get on to it shortly.

One of my betting resolutions is to try to bet with small stakes on inexperienced races.  I am set to challenge that philosophy at the end of this year.  The thinking is evidently that lesser experience gives us less chance to evaluate the standard of the horse and can lead to horse error, particularly in hurdling / chasing debuts.  Some of this logic remains but actually some of the easiest selections come in maidens for two year olds in my newly formed view.

The fact there is not too much to go on gives you more chance of evaluating every run.  While the job is to pick the classier animal, the prices reflect the fact that this may be an unknown.  When this is baked into the tissue, if you are unable to unlock the form maybe by using bloodstock lines or the routes that the big yards take to getting experience into their top two year olds then you can get great prices on horses that are classier than their competitors.

Quick link for those who like their gambling scientific, as does the Major.  You could advance your technique twenty years reading the excellent blog by James Willoughby – The figures never lie.

This year is the thirtieth anniversary of the Penlee Lifeboat disaster (December).  The BBC showed a terrific documentary about the disaster some years ago.  It was the most moving piece of television I have witnessed.  The closing scenes which replayed the transcript between the helicopter pilot and the doomed Penlee lifeboat which ended in him repeatedly calling to them with a tragic silent reply; is as poignant a moment you will portray on a box in your living room.  The Major offers a Kings ransom for anyone who has a copy.

If you are unfamiliar with the Penlee lifeboat disaster, I would recommend you to reading up on it.  The Bravery of the people who man our lifeboats is outstanding and a credit to our land.  You know where the RNLI is, next time your lucky 15 lands, you could give yourself a healthy mental dose by making a donation to those of the purple and orange livery whose boats and crews have been the only call of distressed mariners.

To the sports….

Nod of credit to William Hill.  Staking £20 on any of the first 2 races at Newcastle or Newmarket and you get a £10 bet on the Northumberland Plate.  This is open to current accounts as well as new accounts.  It is warming to see them extend promotions to current account users.

3.05 Northumberland Plate

Let us start with the Plate.

This is a tough nut to crack and I will point out to followers that I cut my preparations shorter when I came to the conclusion that I want a horse who is currently under-rated, rather than one with experience and noted quality whose exploits are well seen and accounted for in the current mark.

I think the ground is only going to be genuine good to soft and that it will be pretty fair.  It looks like drying conditions.

The Northumberland Plate is a race where you could make an argument for any one of a dozen runners and so it is with caution that I put forward English Summer at 16/1 generally with all betting to four places at quarter odds.

Mark Johnston can have a horse well in on a mark in these big handicaps and his horses are tough as nails.  Stall 8 is fine.

High Office was my other consideration at 11/1.

As you would expect the Pricewise horses are being backed.  Since my selection differs, he has done me a favour!

Newmarket 2.15 Empress Stakes

As I indicated in the preliminaries, I am starting to appreciate the opportunities juveniles give you.  The Empress Stakes is a race for two year old fillies and they are 8/1 the field barring My Propellor, the Chapple Hyam entry which is a hot 5/4 favourite.  You have to acknowledge that with a huge ban hanging over Richard Hughes, the fact he takes this race on a two year old is noteworthy but the price is plenty short enough.  Turned out quickly, I am trying to get her beaten.

This gives us an excellent each way opportunity.

Misty Conquest is considered and ruled out.  Her races have shown some tasty form which include two wins from the front.  She will no doubt try the same here and I cannot see that style of racing on the 6f straight July course being helpful to her chances.

Lilys Angel is well considered as her experience (5 races) could stand her well.  Of those starts, there is plenty of form to pick at.  She is probably just short of top class but an each way option.

I however, want my each way goose to have a chance of being top class.  Lilys Angel is probably a great bet for a place but not the winners berth and I want that!

The two I am drawn to are on the strength of jockey booking and breeding.

The Clan MacDonald is the first consideration.  Riding sensation (which I think is the agreed descriptor) Michael Barzalona (Great name) is set to ride for David Barron on this Intikhab filly who won her Hamilton maiden with comfort.  It is the young jockeys first booking for the stable and 10/1 is reasonable.

Queens Revenge could not overcome the worst draw in the Hilary Needler.  That day she was sideswiped as she left the stalls but stayed on to be within 2 lengths of the leader at the close.  The extra furlong of the Empress Stakes is likely to suit and Ryan Moore is a significant booking for Tim Easterby.  9/1 with Corals is a decent price.

Of the rest, Red Larkspur should not be quite as big as 50/1 and Nayarra has had her chances to show us she has the talent to match her impeccable breeding.

On balance, The Clan MacDonald in an each bet at 10/1 generally.  My Propellor could be top class but I am willing to take her on given the short break since her last run.

3.35 Group 1 Pretty Polly Stakes

Keeping things simple, I am willing to back Midday at 8/11.

The bottom line is she is the proven best horse in the race.  Her recent defeat at Ascot to top class colt, St Nicholas Abbey was disappointing to the Major but more down to riding tactics (sent out to win 3f from home) than anything else.  Even so, that form is good enough to win this.

Given her top rival (Snow Fairy) has not raced this year and that 3 year olds (Misty for Me) have a poor record in this contest and these sorts of races, I think it is a good thing.  8/11 beats the 4/7 I was expecting and I am happy to take a humongous single.

To other sports….

I am often told that Tennis is a great betting medium.  I am quite sure that 2pac is also at the forefront of hip hop but it does not make me want to buy his music.  On the marmite subject of Murray I am on the hate side.  A strong word and one not meant in it’s full sense, I just do not like him.  It has not much to do with the English / Scottish tension and absolutely nothing to do with his ‘winners’ assertive attitude.  Given the choice of enjoying a meal with Federer, Nadal, Murray or any other top tennis player, he would be bottom of my list, he does not strike me as a nice person.  I am sure he will be quite concerned.

Switzerland are tough to break down and could be a thorn in Spains side.  7/2 for the Swiss to lift the trophy is a generous enough price and while the Spaniards look impressive and a real chip off the senior team, I think it is dangerous to over-estimate their abilities at this stage.

Tonight, let English Summer pay for a delectable dinner at a fine establishment.  If you took a succesful double with The Clan MacDonald then the Major likes brandy and needs to see four letters not three on the bottle neck.  If you are dining well, take an appropriate lady.

Good luck and roll those dice.

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The Majors Saturday Service – Tips for the Final Day of Royal Ascot

Good morning good punters of Britain from bright Pershore.  As I gaze from my kitchen and up the hill that sits behind my home, Royal Ascots soft conditions seem imponderable.  The land looks green and lush but dry and with a blazing sun and light breeze, it is perfect racing ground.

You will know what to do

Yet soft conditions is what we have at Ascot and that has to have a huge say in the outcomes.  Today we have the Wokingham, the Hardwicke, the Chesham and the Golden Jubilee but the racing is nowhere near as star-studded as Tuesday.  With Delegators expected withdrawal (he won’t get his conditions) the day looks like it has to make it’s own star.

The Major has had a frustrating gambling week.  Having had three solid losing days at Royal Ascot, I may have been in an OK shape if I had been able to place on Thursdays advices which returned a 22/1 place and a 20/1 winner.  I left staking a wager until the morning and then was travelling to London and eventually in a busy day gave up.  My one winning day was the day I was not on.

Still, perspective is what gambling teaches you.  Frustration is mere water to roll from my back.   Emotion plays a role in selecting horses.  Often, a punter frustrated by poor luck will make selections in haste not properly considering options.  They might find themselves betting in contests they know little about.  They might also start ignoring well priced favourites in order to strike lucky at longer odds where they might reclaim some stake – As ludicrous as it sounds, to a frustrated gambler, sporting events take on a fatalistic edge.  I knew I should have backed that…  Nothing is going right for me today….. That’s the first favourite to go in….. It is as if the world is solely ordered around them.

Followers of the Major I urge you to take defeat like men.  I am delighted I did not back anything on Thursday – It is a good conversation piece and I received half a dozen texts and emails suggesting friends and followers had a slice of my better selections – Good on you.  I am sorry for those that did not but as I have often said to people who criticise when having followed a selection of mine have lost their money… It is not the information I write up which is wrong, just how you choose to use it!  If you do not think I can make a profit in racing (The stats tell a different story, although they are out of date!  35% profit on racing selections) then lay every single selection.  This is the beauty of modern punting, more information is available than ever, selecting the right stuff and using it wisely is the challenge.

Guest blogger the Green Flash (US Open Guest Blogger) contacted me last night.  Seems he has also lost his dough this week, hard luck champ.  He is however adamant that looking to get McIlroy beaten from a seemingly unassailable lead is no forlorn hope (9/4 with Hills that McIlroy fails to win).  Snedeker is his idea of the man to come from the pack and gobble up our baby-faced man from Northern Ireland, that does not sound quite right does it!

I am still looking for my first successful guest tipster, please do not let the record put you off!  There is a man known as the waving hand (or something like it) who has a decent record tipping by text – He has promised me an ‘on the day’ mothership bet for the blog but we have to be patient, his system throws one out every three weeks or so and has been barren for a little bit, he is due one!

Part of taking defeat well, is dusting oneself down, stretching your muscles, putting a sanguine smile on your face and clicking on the deposit button.

I read in the Racing Post today that a man who had a long-term wager on the success of Roger Federer has left the bet to Oxfam in his will, it should pay £100k+ – What a legend.  The Major one day hopes to land a legendary bet and I hope if you are reading this now that you join me there.  Christ alone knows what toil we have suffered, what painful slings and arrows we have sustained, at times stumbling on like a terrible wounded animal with the gnashing jaws of the enemy at our heels, at other times we have soared gracefully above, those of you that stick with me, whether you follow the bets blindly or pick and choose or ignore them, there is a special place in heaven* reserved for you.

* May in fact be hell.

If the good lord has a sense of justice, surely he will indicate to me when my enemies day of reckoning is.  I imagine he will do this through a dream, showing me my enemies face as I land the 1000+/1 lucky 15 that I have often reached for yet have felt distant, bright in splender but out of reach.

The Indian Mutiny of the 19th century started like a disease in a small corner of the British Indian empire.  The Hindu and Muslim sepoys were rising though unhappy with their lot.  Once the fire was lit, the Bengali awakening which was to end in such bloodshed, spread rapidly, frighteningly quickly, like electricity.  A key sign that the game was afoot and that something momentous was occurring was the simple, humble brown chapatis.  They were used as a sign of mutineers, handed to people in office discreetly, British officers cowered at the sight of a plate left discreetly on a table where they should not be.  It was a sign, an act of terrorism against the oppressor, your time cometh.

If one day, someone hands you a plate of bacon butties smeared in brown sauce, whispering, The Major says go….. you had better log on because I will have just awoken from my one to one with the almighty and that day, the enemy will regret for a lifetime.

Enough dreaming, to the sports….

Normally the Saturday service starts with racing and proceeds to other sports.  Today, the one bet outside of racing I am willing to have comes first..

Switzerland look great 4/5 shots to get the job done against Belarus – This is a standout bet – They look a decent side to be and when they meet Spain in the latter stages, they might prove quite a tough nut to crack.

To the racing….

The last day of Royal Ascot.  I am not covering all races as some of them I found no desirable angle on!  I have to say that the ground going soft is a big win for good punters in my view.  It helps rule out many and I do not see it as a randomising effect.

The French Champion Hurdle

Forget Ascot for one moment though as we focus on Auteil.  Four or five bookmakers have priced up the French Champion Hurdle (run over 1f further than our own World Hurdle) and it has an interesting shape to it.  I was quite surprised to see Grand Crus kept on the go and who would have thought a price of 2/1 (Blue Square) would be available here.

The prize of nearly £150k has drawn the Pipe team over and what on earth will stop Grand Crus winning?  Major bet advised.

The Chesham

This is a tough race to solve with not only a lack of experience to judge but also ground conditions throw a big curve ball at the field.

The key O’Brien player is hot in the market, suggesting connections think Maybe will cope fine with the cut.

Falls of Lora though is a serious contender and Street Crys progeny seem to be fine on soft.  There is also hope on the Dams side that conditions will be OK.  5/1 is generous as the Doncaster win looked mighty impressive and the clock suggested so too.  This is the selection and rather than Maybe, I think the main danger might be Telwaar.

3.05 The Hardwicke Stakes

Await the Dawn looks a horse absolutely on the upgrade.  Having already won on soft ground, I am surprised to see that there is not more money for Ryan Moores mount – 4/5 is available with Coral.

One factor in the pricing remaining is that there are other horses racing with confirmed soft ground experience.  Laaheb, Drunken Sailor, Poet and Harris Tweed all do not mind rolling around in the mud.

With just ten runners, I am looking for the each way bet and for me it is Laaheb.  The Ascot win in 2010 was a battling affair and in soft conditions, I would want this gritty sort on my side at 14/1.  Bet with Paddy Power, avoid Hills, the price is the same but Hills have opted for a fifth fraction on the place terms.

The Golden Jubilee Sprint

These top sprint races always seem difficult to predict with uncertainty over where the pace will be, which part of the straight course to race on and speed of the break can make all the difference.

The added complication of soft makes the selection easier for the Major and I am going to give one last chance to 50/1 shot (Stan James) Monsieur Chevalier.  He ran earlier in the week when I tipped him on the opening day.  Fallon was due to ride but injury prevented, Monsieur Chevalier ran poorly overall but at the closing stages was passing some horses and I think the drop to 6f, addition of Fallon, extra fitness and wide open nature of the contest will give more than a fighting chance to the Hannon horse who, let us not forget, like Strong Suit, was once the apple of his trainers eye.

The Wokingham

Find a pin, stick it in good luck to you.

4.05 Ayr Maiden 6f

From the six figure sum races of Royal Ascot to the Scottish £3,885 contest where the Major advises you to get stuck into Holy Roman Warrior.  Out of the first crop of Holy Roman Emporer, the selection was runner-up at Ayr on debut, 4 weeks previously.

That form is not that special, although the winner looked good.  Fahey debutantes like many often need the run and I expect a lot more today.  The stable won this race with a high-class sort a couple of years back, it is clearly a route they use for decent prospects.  More money to tighten up the 3/1 which I thought was mighty generous.

Apostle is the danger, the Sire Dark Angel is one of the revelations of the bloodstock season for the Major.  On this occasion though, I expect the Warrior to prevail.

Todays Lucky 15: Falls of Lora, Switzerland, Holy Roman Warrior and Grand Crus.

Todays Double of Destiny: Grand Crus and Switzerland – £100 with Boyles pays £540 – It is what Jesus wants you to do.

Tonight, enjoy an evening at the theatre with a pretentious sort.  Get a bottle of Chablis in her and they are all the same, poor, rich, titled…..

If someone hands you a bacon sandwich smeared in brown sauce and winks…… you know what to do.

Day Four – Friday Royal Ascot Tips – The Major Strikes with a 20/1 winner and a 22/1 place on Thursday

Well after a disastrous Wednesday, Thursdays Ascots tips came good at the double with Opinion Poll chasing home impressive Fame and Glory at a hefty advised 22/1 before slamming in a 20/1 winner with Pisco Sour from 4 advices.

Kaboom.

Memory (nearside) winning the Albany – More of this please Hughsie

The Major has had a long day in London and so the post tonight is brief and focussed.  Two strong bets for singles and a double.

3.05 King Edward VII Stakes

This is a nice Group 2 mile and a half for colts and geldings and the Major has a strong fancy in World Domination.  This was always a highly thought of Derby contender and with the Dante form being franked by Pisco Sour, the once favourite for the Derby can improve beyond his 5/1 odds.

I do not fancy Nathaniel at 11/4 – I do not rate the Chester run to Treasure Beach as much as the bookies.

Equally, Mijhaar, who while winning like he had anything in hand, faces a different proposition today.

World Domination is the confident selection.

3.45 Coronation Stakes

This Group One mile for fillies sees a number of Guineas horses and potential improvers come together to clash again.  A top quality line up and a cracking race.

More than Real is the first under the spotlight.  The form of the two year old Breeders Cup meeting win looks excellent – It is turf form too.  The Americans have not had that much success this Ascot and I am planning on this not being the turn around moment.

Theyskens Theory is under consideration, particularly as she has a win on soft.  Interesting but probably just a little short of top class.

The one the Major opts for though is Memory at 8/1.  Connections had a strong view that they had a Guineas winner on their hands with this one but she was quirky and finished last after giving the field half the track at the start.  Hannon has a record of getting these sorts right, just like Strong Suit on Tuesday, if so 8/1 looks a monstrous piece of value.

Day Three – Thursdays Royal Ascot Horseracing Tips

Disaster…. Day two at Ascot was unmitigated and relentless in its sheer awfulness.  Not only did the Major’s selections not win, several I shortlisted did win.  The best example being the 12/1 Strong Suit who I was so close to backing it was untrue.  Frustration is not a good recipe for further betting, say no more.

Yeats the Wonder Horse – The Gold Cup is not the same without him

I very nearly abandoned ship and offered no suggestion for Day Three but for what it is worth (not a lot this week it seems), I give you some of my thoughts for day three.

I have only covered the Group races as have not the time to go through the handicaps tonight.

2.30 The Norfolk Stakes

I would dearly love to back Bapak Chinta who had Frederik Engels, Mondays victorious youngster behind last time out.  However, while my strong belief is that he is the best horse in the race, stall 2 might be difficult to overcome.  This week the stand side bias has been notable and even if Bapak Chinta were to race the far side, he might be alone or without pace.

That said he is joined by what I think will be a popular Hannon / Hughes horse in Crown Dependency.  An easy winner first time up, it is hard to deny connections look like they might play a part.  Stall 5 means an honest 15/2.

The one I have settled on is Silverheels who is well drawn, like many could be anything, the booking of Moore looks interesting.

3.05 The Ribblesdale

This race looks a mess to solve.

The most obvious candidate is the one the Major opts for and that is Zain Al Boldan.  If you put a line through her Oaks run, her previous form is as good as anything.  Kieran Fallon is booked and I expect a big run from this girl.

3.45 Ascot Gold Cup

The Gold Cup is an enthralling contest and for my generation will always be associated with Yeats.

Rain could be hugely significant and it is in the forecast.

The significance is largely for the favourite.  Fame and Glory is a very worthy head of the market horse and 2/1 is good value.  The main risk is whether he will last stepped up to this trip, being from Montjeu.  Extra rain and Good to Soft could make that ask tougher.

It is a lively outsider in Opinion Poll that the Major has selected – 22/1 is damn generous for one I suspect will step up to this marathon distance well and will happily roll in the mud if the good lord turns the taps on.

5.00 Tercentenary Stakes

I have had a look through the card and can see a number of potentials but am persuaded to give another chance to 20/1 shot Pisco Sour.  This horse has some good soft ground experience so if the expected rain comes, he will not be inconvenienced.  As a Dante third, I am hopeful to get a place.

Day Two Royal Ascot Tips

Despite my bet of the week Canford Cliffs going in, day one of Royal Ascot, was a loss maker for the Major.

Canford Cliffs did the business for the Major – Bring on Day Two

What a great days racing.  I wanted to get Frankel beaten (but wanted to see him win!) – While he held on, surely they will stop what I consider to be ridiculous riding tactics.  Just because Frankel can win when you ask him for his major effort 4 furlongs from home, does not mean you should.  Tom Queally is adamant that Frankel was simply idling and that no horse has yet given him a race.  Well he was almost chinned on the line today.  I don’t understand why they want to ride him in a sort of Secretariat way, he has the cruising pace of the devil and a devastating turn of foot.  It feels like that they almost want to get a breath-taking victory, not needed.  I am sure the back to back Group 1 winners will take the advice.  (THE MAJOR, HORSES TRAINED: 0 OWNED: 0 RIDDEN: 0)

It almost feels like we have had the best of Royal Ascot and getting as excited about Wednesday is hard.  Tuesdays opening 4 races were as good as racing gets.  The sun shined on Berkshire, I am sure he approved.

2.30 Jersey Stakes Group 3

This is a tough nut to crack.  There are a few bits of European classic form on show.  I am not sure which is the strongest but suspect that the Irish form of Oracle may hold out well.

Strong Suit for Hannon who was off the mark with Canford Cliffs yesterday is an interesting contender.  Clearly there are a few questions to be answered but if Hannon has Strong Suit back to some sort of form, his 12/1 is interesting.

The one the Major opts for though to get the day off to a flyer is lightly raced Western Aristocrat.  On form, it has a lot to make up but there is reason to think it can.  After winning its maiden easily, it went on to battle home in a class 3 last time out.  Nothing too remarkable about that but watching the run, he was hampered and did well to get up on the line.

Fury with the assistance of Fallon does not look good enough for the Major.  Perfectly possible that more improvement is to come but so far at the top-level he is wanting.

I am not sure that Codemaster is a worthy favourite at 3/1 – Not one for the Major.

I am finding it hard to pick the class horse.  This is why I am opting for Western Aristocrat at 13/2.  The yard have taken the Jersey Stakes twice in recent years and this is a versatile looking sort who has scope to improve into the frame.  Noseda has booked Murtagh which caught the eye.  I would not put anyone off Strong Suit each way.

3.05 Windsor Forest Stakes

Jaqueline Quest, owned by Mr Martin and if I remember rightly named after his late wife, Jaqueline Quest was denied a classic win last year after finishing first past the post in the 1,000 Guineas.  No wins since, yet has never finished more that 4l off the winner in any subsequent race.  A great each way bet at 25/1 in the Majors view.

Music Show is a horse which the Major was a big fan of yet she has had her chances this year and I am no longer following it with good money!

Basically the race will pan out with Sajjha trying to lead a quick steady tempo from the front and draw the string from the field.  I’m a dreamer who won from last to first last time out at HQ will be held up ( as he has been in every race) – Against this quality opposition, I would rather be on Sajjha – 7/2 I’m a Dreamer needs to be extremely good to come from last to first past a horse of this quality.

3.45 Prince of Wales Stakes

Here we go, at last Grade One action, the top notch cuts.

This on the face of it, looks all about So You Think, the Australian superstar resident in the Ballydoyle operation.  4/9 shows what this horse has achieved down under and in two runs this year in Europe, the horse has shown it has translated to the Northern hemisphere.

That said, I have been a big fan of Planteur and think this one has improved if anything.  The Longchamp runs look good.

It is a tough call.  There are only 7 runners and so looking down the field for value seems unwise.

Overall Planteur offers me enough hope at 4/1 that So You Think won’t make this a procession.

4.25 Royal Hunt Cup

What a terrific handicap.  30 are due to go to post – This is essentially Christmas for Pricewise.

The Major has found a few of more obvious interest.  I am interested in those from the high draws given the result of the Coventry.

The two I have settled on are Bronze Prince and Kay Gee Bee at 20/1 and 33/1 respectively.

Bronze Prince gets in to the race at the bottom of the weights.  Green Destiny being a drop out.  Not fully exposed and of interest with some useful form recorded, I want this one on side.

Kay Gee Bee is just as interesting , I think the York form could work out well and at 33/1 with the assistance of Hanagan, I suggest a slice.

5.00 Queen Mary Stakes

Back to Group action as the fillies line up for a sprint.

There is always a risk in getting stuck into short price favourites in fillies races for juveniles.  Yet, the way Shumoos beat yesterdays victor Frederick Engels has to be eye-catching.  11/8 seems more than reasonable and the Major suggests a reasonable bet although my betting resolutions dictate not getting carried away with two year olds.  The breeding is a new line from Distorted Humor and is proving very interesting.

Dozy and Best Terms are the risk, both unbeaten.  Of the two, probably Best Terms at 12/1 makes the most appeal.  The wins look better, this Exceed and Excel filly could be a danger.

Gypsy Robin has not come across the pond for the air yet the Major would want to se a run on dirt previously, not for the Major.

5.35 Sandringham Handicap

If you need a winner at this stage, you might go home in the poor house.

If Western Arisocrat goes in earlier in the day then there will be plenty of support for Rhythm of Light who was 2nd on their last blow out.

The Queens horse, Humdrum, is evidently a player.  Having won on the all-weather on its return, the form has been boosted by the 2nd winning next time out, making the 10lb rise looking at best compensation from the handicapper.  9/2 is short enough in this field but real chances.

I am happy to have a pop at another outsider.  33/1 Wrekin Sunset for an in form small yard, I think this one is on the upgrade.  It might not be as fashionable as the Luca Cumani, Kieran Fallon ridden sort but is not without a chance.

Good luck one and all.