The Major has enjoyed a sojourn in the Vendee of France and must apologise for the first Saturday Sermon we have missed in some time.
When I left England’s fair shores we were in tremendous form, notably picking up Margot Did (adv 33/1) which seemed to score most of Birmingham’s fine denizens a tidy sum judging by the texts, emails, tweets, pints and phone calls received.
Well the Major returns and while the Saturday Sermon may have had an unusual break, Sunday racing is red hot and there are several group races. Two of which the Major has taken a particularly keen view…..
3.20 Good Wood – Supreme Stakes – Group 3
Good to Soft at Goodwood is about as strong a punting condition as the Major likes. In a field trading at 4/1 bar, it is manna from horseracing gambling heaven.
Essentially we have a track not suited to all, in conditions not suited to all with 4/1 the shortest price of just ten runners.
I think this is a good storm of clues to the winner in a wide open market so…. where do we go…
Well first, let’s assess those with a decent strike rate on softer ground. I can rule out most on this score and just about throw Doncaster Rover into the off cuts too. While he has placed several times on good to soft, it seems good is his best ground and as a 4/1 shot, I want better.
Certain positives for the ground are Balthazars Gift, Hooray, Libranno and The Cheka.
The Cheka is going to have a hard job giving weight all round to this field so is ruled out. The jury has to remain out on Hooray who would not be a shock at 4/1 if coming good but really has something to prove after flopping in Ireland.
Libranno has some superb Ascot form against Society Rock but followed it up with a stinker at Deauville where if soft ground got the better of him, there are concerns about conditions for tomorrow. Richard Hughes has spoken softly about this one in the past though and it is reasonable to expect the horse has more to offer. My main concern is that this is the eighth race this season for the three year old who may just be the type to be well served by a break.
With the three at the top of the market with question marks, you have to take a look at Balthazars Gift at 14/1. At 8, the horse has few secrets and has little form to his name this year but may be better suited by these softer conditions.
There is rarely a shock in the Supreme with one 14/1 winner the only big price victor of the last 12 years. After that a 7/1 and 5/1 and then it is favourites largely. I am not sure I trust the trend emphatically though.
Instinct leads me a different way. Karam Albaari at 16/1 (Paddy Power / Boylesports) might just be my answer. Now you must have an imagination for this one but here goes…
On debut he won a reasonable handicap at Kempton before being stepped up in class to Group 2 company in last years Champagne Stakes. He finished fourth at a royal 50/1 price, no disgrace. He went on to Group 1 company in the Racing Post Trophy finishing 6th in that Group 1 to Casamento, Native Khan, Master of Hounds and Seville – Blue blood company indeed.
His reappearance has been delayed and conditions have to be taken on trust but…. I cannot help myself from taking a slice of the unknown at 16/1 when so many of the main bunch look dodgy. Hooray and Libranno are possibly next best but it is Karam Albaari for the Major.
The Moyglare – The Curragh
What a cracker we have to decide on the best current filly in Ireland. No British raiders, this is an all Irish affair.
Maybe is trading as the warm 5/6 favourite and you can see why… this will be her 5th success on the bounce to maintain an impeccable career.
She is ridden by the young JP O’Brien, who without his claim could have been a liability but after his ride earlier this year on Roderic O Connor, you have to feel the young man is a star in the making alongside William Buick and Michael Barzalona.
I do not feel like backing Maybe though. This race often springs a surprise and the bet of the card for me is Fire Lily. 10/1 is a fair price for this filly who has gone down to the smart looking Best Terms twice but has beaten After, inbetween.
That form is fine enough but I also think this lady has been looking for a step up to 7f the way she is often flat to the boards and staying on. In fact I think a mile might be already her optimum distance but an extra 200m tomorrow will certainly help her style of racing.
If anything is to beat the O’Brien star filly, I go for the one from the same ownership, Fire Lily.
Good luck all and shuffle those cards.