Good morning fair punters from a sodden Defford where the thunderous cacophony of weather pours down relentlessly as though some tear has occurred in the normal fabric of existence.
The Major ate ham for breakfast this morning, unremarkable but slightly odd don’t you think. It is an odd day. I am ready to do battle but have set my mind for a thunder busting Kabooooooom – I am looking to land the mother of all lucky 15s. Come with me brave warriors, dare to look through the eye of the needle.
Lately results have been poor. The savage tyrant of the bookmaker, like Lenin and Trotsky have tightened their iron grip on my bank and act without mercy. The Bolsh boys may feel the certainty of their control, I however, have the certainty of my conviction. Good will triumph.
I have cause to think of Russia lately with a relative who has a love of the country laid up in hospital. Such is his fanaticism, he can recall the top ten lowest temperatures recorded across the Siberian wilderness. 5400 miles of bleakness, let’s not have our betting account go the same, to waste.
It is an average day of sport but the weather must be having an impact on conditions. Newbury is not so far as the crow flies and they must be getting enough to get soft in the description.
This makes it an intriguing day and I am looking down the SPs to find the value for the mothership of all Lucky 15s. If this bad boy lands, it is steak tonight!
Leg One – The Super Sprint – Newbury
These 5f sprints for two year olds are insanely difficult to predict and todays conditions just make matters worse.
Hannon has a terrific record looking at the winners of the Super Sprint but he has also saddled an enormous amount of runners, making the achievement slightly less spectacular. Reading Richard Hughes column, there was not a lot of choice between his market favourites, the Major looks elsewhere.
Pricewise has two, Sweet Chilli and Ponty Acclaim – Excellent write-up from Tom Segal, cannot fault the logic but their contracting prices mean I go elsewhere too.
Lilys Angel is sure to find conditions OK but her habit of breaking slowly is not ideal over 5f in a big field. If she gets away she is my idea of the likeliest winner. I like those with big field experience and she has seen more of the racecourse than all of these bar Pymans Theory, which is a good factor for juveniles. I think the same of Banimpire, running in tomorrows Irish Oaks, she has won races on experience not so much talent.
The one I opt for to be the first line of the Lucky 15 though is On the Dark Side at 16/1. Off a weight of 8-1, I think Kevin Ryans runner could be a big factor. Franny Norton is unspectacular but knows where to place a horse and although this one was a Royal Ascot flop, it was in the Queen Mary. Drawn 13, connections have the choice of which side to run her.
Last danger would be the eye-catching booking of Frankie aboard Orders From Rome. Unlikely we have seen the best of this one and if the high draw has the advantage, then 33/1 could look insane.
Leg 2 – The Curragh Group 3 Minstrel Stakes
The Cheka has obvious claims to this as a consistent horse that has been above the levels of todays rivals.
I am going to chance an outsider her though in Ger Lyons Future Generation. Sporadic bits of form look good and I am intrigued that this handicapper has been thrown in at this level, especially with this shrewd trainer. A line through the last appearance and the rest of the form looks half decent. He gets a stone pull on the Cheka and it might be enough.
A not too inspiring Group 3, Mr Murtagh might just be able to steal it on this 14/1 shot.
Market Rasen 3.45 Summer Plate
This is a very difficult race to pick through which makes it a superb betting puzzle, if we can solve it. There are some likely types at big prices and so finding an angle to put lines through many is the key.
The Summer Plate is a handicap that normally goes to a known improver. We are looking for recent winners the handicapper has underestimated, horses on the up, not old timers dropping to respectable marks.
Thus (and to Mr Andy Lyons disgust as I know this horse has a place in his heart!), I rule out Grand Slam Hero and Kangaroo Court.
Sonny Mullen has to shoulder too much weight in the Majors view and if Jason Maguire had instead opted for Points of View, I would have been making a different call.
If it gets very soft, Saphir Des Bois could be the call and I can see from the market that the shrewdies are getting stuck in already. The other they are ignoring but is well worth a check if the word soft appears is Buck Mulligan, always placed in such conditions, he is 2-3 running when he gets his toe in, considered.
I am sticking to my prefered profile though and am looking at Qulinton and Ostland. Of the two, Ostland is the standout, 15/2. Thank me later, this one is taking to fences well and if his jumping improves from his last course will ( he is only 6 so plenty of scope for that ) he might be hard to peg back.
Leg 4 – 6f Maiden – The Curragh 2.10
At a tasty 16/1, I offer up the Bolger second string, Siansa.
On debut, this Teofilo sired filly was bustled out of it at Tipperary but had gone off a warmish 4/1 shot and had shaped nicely for the most.
Dan Parkes is an excellent 10lb claimer and with much of the rest of the field yet to show anything truly noteworthy, I take a chance that the second running of this juvenile proves she is a horse of merit.
Stall 1 is a bit of a nightmare position in a 6f race at the Curragh but I think that is priced in. If she can avoid trouble, my spidey senses are telling me she may run well.
That is it folks, a lucky 15 at 16/1, 14/1, 15/2 and 16/1. If that lands, the Majors tipple is good brandy, very good brandy.
Tonight may you dine like a King at a restaurant with impeccable standards and service. Take a refined sort with a sharp beaky nose, defined features and an air of establishment that leaves you absolutely certain of her unshakable confidence that this world was entirely ordered around her. Watch as the mask falls when your roll, fit to choke a horse, tumbles to the table. Apologise, order more good champagne and retire to partners. They are all the same in the end.
Good luck and roll those dice.