Good morning from fine Defford, where the Major has been studying over the hot steaming coffee for hours in order to rectify our Goodwood and Galway weeks.
We were off to a flyer with horses like Strong Suit going in and Hunters Light filling places at fancy prices. Yesterday, we found a nice 13/2 second but the Majors guaranteed winner (the shame is a burden I will carry for at least the weekend) flopped.
Today we have a tasty Nassau which remains high quality despite the absence of Misty for Me, Aiden O’Briens highly impressive filly. We also have the Stewards Cup and the usual quality Galway racing.
When people ask you what your hobbies are, do you ever hesitate? I do. Not because I am embarrassed to talk about the magic of horseracing, on the contrary, I am proud to know with certainty that the good lord gave us horseracing to separate those with quality from those that prefer reality TV.
It is however, hesitancy with which I sometimes talk about the Major. Why? Well, it is just not that simple explaining why your amateur blog about horseracing happens to strongly feature facets of Victorian military history. The fact that we have quite a few subscribers, most of whom are strangers to me, suggests there is a small but niche market for such a publication! Who you all are is a big a mystery to me as why this seems to work. Welcome to you.
There are plenty of lectures I want to give you on the Saturday Sermon from the Major but this week I want to give you something slightly different.
In Victorian times, Britain conquered vast swathes of the globe in order to bring the three C’s of Christianity, Commerce and Civilisation to the world. In parts we were very successful, building much of the worlds railway and introducing democracies that stand to this day. Other aspects of our impact were less helpful and exploitation was often not far away.
Our power was based on both purpose and a strong military arm. We had the finest army of the world and the biggest navy. Our army expanded to include garrisons of Indian troops and to this day, the Nepalese Gurkhas still take the Queens salt.
If there was a reason we developed an impermeable view of superiority and righteousness, it was partly due to that military strength. In itself it was drawn from our stronger equipment and sheer discipline. That and the bravery or insanity of a group of men that could have been driven by an idealism. Nothing else explains the actions of those who were awarded the Victoria Cross for outstanding bravery in the face of the enemy. Those bronze medallions were said to be cast from cannon captured in our campaigns in the Crimea which featured the charge of the lights and the heavies as well as the standing of the thin red line. This is unlikely to be true, tests suggest the lump of metal originated in China but regardless, we use the same materials today as we did over a hundred years ago. Want one? Well you can buy one for tens of thousands or you can try to win one……
When in action with a Lewis gun section. His company met with a most determined resistance from a strong point, which was strongly garrisoned, manned by numerous machine guns, and undamaged by our artillery fire, was also protected by strong wire entanglements.
The heavy concentration of machine gun fire caused many casualties and held up our advance. His Lewis gun having come into action and silenced enemy guns in one direction, enemy gunfire opened from another direction.
Private Dalziel dashed at it, and with his revolver killed and captured the entire crew and gun and allowed our advance to continue. He was severely wounded in the hand, but carried on and took part in the capture of the final objective. He twice went over open ground under heavy enemy artillery and machine gun fire, to secure ammunition, though suffering from considerable loss of blood. He filled magazines and served his gun until he was severely wounded through the head.
His magnificent bravery and devotion to duty was an inspiring example to all his comrades, and his dash and unselfish courage at a most critical time undoubtedly saved many lives and turned what would have been a severe check into a splendid success.
Good luck to you. To the sports…
Roll the Dice – 3.45 Blue Square Stewards Cup
28 runners bowling down the hill, pace from either side, this really is as absurd a race to solve as you will find. I have it down to eight and have isolated one for your delectable persuasion.
Stand side could be where they want to go but we will not know until 2.10 when the Stewards Sprint Stakes is finished. When that warm up is done we will know where the preferential ground is and be able to judge the draw better.
PErsonally at this stage, I want to be on one drawn centrally to give us choice. This is not sitting on the fence either, they often come up the middle in the Stewards Cup.
Who fits the bill? I am opting for Nasri… He is a Dandy Nicholls entry (one of many!) and has the benefit of being in this specialist yard and already has big race experience under his belt.
Whoever you fancy, avoid Hills, Corals and Stan James in this – They only go 4 places – Every other bookmaker offers five.
28/1 Nasri (Paddy Power), thank me later.
3.10 Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes
I have to say that Snow Fairy is a superb 9/4 shot in the Majors eyes. She looked top class when taking two classics last year before some pretty impressive globe-trotting antics.
This season, she has had a delayed start and then did not perform to her own high standards in the Eclipse. These conditions will suit better, there is no Workforce to beat and I think she will come on in leaps and bounds….
Take a chunky piece…
4.00 Galway Premier Handicap
Rock Critic is the absolute stand out in the market after his easier than simple handicap win on Thursday. He looks every inch the certainty but the Major has a slight hope that two races in as many days might undo him a bit. It is not that likely given the nature of his win, it is hard to argue he really exerted himself but I would say that he has raced best fresh.
Jamesie might have made the shortlist but up 7lbs and a poor draw make life tougher.
The one that also caught the Majors eye for a potential Betfair place proposition is Collingwood. With a line through his Curragh run on unsuitable ground, this old-timer is still running well enough 14/1 is reasonable.
When it comes down to it, Rock Critic is the best evens shot of the day… Get right stuck in.
Why not double up Rock Critic with Cowdenbeath who look a nice price at 10/11 to beat Stenhousmuir. This way a £110 stake returns £420 which is enough for you to dine well this evening.