The Saturday Sermon Stratford Special

Good morning from a Worcestershire countryside coming to life, like souls awakening.  The hedgerows are buzzing, the sky is busy, chattering birdsong; the Festival has signalled the move from darkness to light; happy days ahead.

Small but perfectly formed, a nice day at Stratford races for the Major

The Major has updated his results from the festival (see the menu above) and you will see, I am in fine form.  +80% this month is a blinder and let’s hope it continues today.With the Major taken by the turn of the season, how apt that todays forecast is glorious and that Stratford, the marvelous little summer jumps track hosts a Saturday fixture.  I am taking the two boys, Matthew and Daniel, aged 4 and 5.They have been racing with me before.  I have taken them once at a time to Cheltenham and took them both once all the way to Fontwell on a whim.

Daniel enjoys it but Matthew really loves it; I can see from his eyes that this apple fell not far from the tree; I am proud.  His favourite horse is Champion Court who young watched win at Cheltenham on New Years Day.  Afterwards I was treated to days of him galloping around the house claiming to be Champion Court!  At that age winning is important but I think the dark colours helped too.

So, today, I go across the Stratford card and offer you my thoughts on each race.

Stratford Races Tips

2.10 Novices – I like the chances of Five Rivers at 9/2 who hopefully will respond well to cheekpieces.

2.45 Handicap Chase – 7/2 Newton Tonic is the selection – This horse goes chasing for a yard that does well here and looks the least exposed.  Plenty of questions about the others.

3.15 Selling Hurdle – Gud Day at 2/1 looks a fine bet, I thought he was very unlucky last time out and with any natural improvement, looks good enough for this

3.45 Handicap Chase – Vin du Roy should go well but That’s the Deal could improve further and see off his penalty.

4.20 Condisional Jockeys – I am always about the jockey and not the horse in these events and so I look beyond the temptation of Lilac Belles recent win and opt for the very steady Jack Quinlan aboard Pob’s Trophy at 14/1

4.55 Novice Handicap – Speedy Directa at 11/8 makes plenty of appeal – He may not be an obvious chase candidate but anything like his hurdle form over the larger obstacles and he should go in.

5.25 Handicap Hurdle – Finding a winner here is not easy but top weight 6/1 shot Mister Chancer is sure to at least give a run for the money.

Todays other races….

The Blue Square Lingfield Winter Derby runs tomorrow and I shall point you in the direction of The Young Racegoer who has blogged his tips.

In the football, I have to say that Norwich at home to Wolves 4/5, Swansea to beat Everton 5/4 and Bolton at home to Blackburn 6/4 are the Majors selections.

Wolves look in freefall and Norwich should have little problem knocking them over.  Swansea are very good at home and on a high, I think they will deal with Everton.  As for Bolton, after the tragic events of a week ago, I think the team will react well and be highly motivated in front of a passionate home crowd.

For dinner, enjoy mexican, the sort of food to eat with your fingers.

Courage and roll those dice.

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