Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Saturday Service – Irish 2,000 Guineas Tips | Temple Stakes Tips – Eurovision Song Contest Tips!!!

Good morning from the Major who writes to you from the kitchen table of my modest Worcestershire home.  We are bathed in warmth this morning, summer has arrived.

The Major is not a summer man.  Born with a fair red head, the sun causes me pain.  I cannot operate well in it, it burns my skin.  It causes insects to flourish and at nights the heat of the land keeps me awake well into the troubled souls hour.

This last week, the Major has been in poor form.  I tipped an Ian Williams handicap debutante yesterday to some friends and family.  I was quite confident that the 10/1 shot could be a steamer.  10th.  Not that many people are speaking to me, I fear some may be giving me the Agincourt Salute.

Redemption shall come.  Faith can move mountains.  Any road, I fear not for when the great auditor shall check my ledger, pounds and pence will not matter, the style of acquisition will only matter.  I remain free, unhinged and marginally profitable.

This morning, my breakfast is soundtracking a slice of nutty bread, topped with carver ham and a duck egg, kindly donated by my generous neighbours.  A little salt… lovely.

To the sports.

Tips for the Irish 2,000 Guineas – 3.15 The Curragh

The Irish 2,000 Guineas runs today on good ground where Jim Bolgers Parish Hall goes off as marginal favourite.

I have to say that there is a lot to like about the runner.  He took a bit of time getting warmed up for the game in his juvenile year but came good by the end winning the Dewhurst and defeating Coventry Stakes winner, Power.  No prep run is not a real concern for me normally in the Guineas but given this is a horse who seems to need to build a momentum in his season, on the watch list.

For the Major the race boils down to two.

Hermival, 6/1,  was in the places in the English 1,000 Guineas behind Camelot.  That day, French Fifteen (the likely best French 3 year old) occupied a place too.  That form is rock solid and for me is as good as we have on offer here.

The more intriguing horse is Takar.  7/1 is probably a bit skinny but it is interesting that Murtagh has abandoned Born to Sea to get on this horse who has some form to find but was an impressive winner of a listed contest.  That is a great advert and despite the price being skinny, I would want this one on side.

Finally, 16/1 shot Daddy Long Legs must not go without a mention.  If an ill fated visit to the Kentucky Derby (pulled up) can be put behind him, he looked a classy horse to the Major.

On balance, I want this year to have a tuned up animal with three year old race experience.  I want good form in the book too.  This leaves me with Hermival and Takar and of the two, Hermival is the more compelling at 6/1 (BetVictor).

Haydock Tips – The Temple Stakes

Is there anything in the Temple Stakes that is going to trouble Black Caviar this summer?

The short answer is no – She is a machine and over any distance under a mile I consider her the worlds finest racehorse.

So what could chase her home?  Well Bated Breath is a fine animal.  He opposes Tangerine Trees here who got the better of him in France by a short head.  I also think his July Cup defeat is the best form in this race though it is worth noting that Bated Breath did come last season needing his first run.  For this reason alone I would normally overlook him.  However, Roger Charlton has his string in fine form so he might have the animal better tuned today…. mmmmmm.  Bated Breath is a half brother to Cityscape – This is a classy animal.  Granted, he might be better over 6f but I still think he is the best horse on the track today.

Sole Power is the main threat who will also benefit from conditions.  We are likely to get some hair-raising pace here with Tangerine Trees and Swiss Dream known to be the explosive sorts.  On Good to Firm ground this could be very quick early quarters.

I would fancy Sole Power or Bated Breath to benefit from that sort of race, just which to pick….

Although he might drift further, I am going to stick with the best horse in the race and that in my view is Bated Breath… 4/1 Hills, have a slice.

Tips for The Eurovision Song Contest 2012

Yes you read correctly, tips for the Eurovision from the Major.  Now I know a lot of my regular readers who consider themselves elegant gentleman would scream horror at the thought.  Yet, the Major feels a need to provide a tip for Eurovision for those who like their Saturday evening entertainment to be easy on the mind.

This is a 26 runner event and on trends, later draws seem to help.  Sweden are clear market favourites at 5/4 – No chance we will back that!

Russia have entered a pair of grannies from the Ural mountains.  The one toothed cute appeal may be the sort of bizarre act to claim a win but not for the Major.

The British entry Humpadinck is 20/1 and frankly I would not take 2000/1.  Britain is not popular anymore in these contests, something we should take great pride from.  Plus, drawn in trap 1, we have literally no chance – Words I do not use lightly.

The Major is going to suggest you have a slice of Serbia at 10/1.  The Balkan countries have the most powerful voting block of all and they are ideally drawn.  The money has been coming all week and so I think an investment is required!

Tonight may dinner beal fresco. Enjoy a cold beer as the last of the suns rays warms your face.  At this stage of the evening, a summers day is pleasant, I grant you.  Have good company around and be merry.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Service – Tips for Newmarket, Bangor, Preakness Stakes, Uttoxeter

Good morning from a permanently grey and damp Worcestershire.  A cold gentle wet blanket hangs in the air, not the weather that Frankels return should be honoured with.  We should have had lightning or blazing heat.

Frankel might be the headliner today but Uttoxeter is where the Major plans to have it away

This week, the Major suffered an injury, a badly bruised, potentially broken toe.  It came about from a wrestling match where my opponent was a mighty octopus, I kid you not.My enemy had the element of surprise, attacking in the small hours, trying to suffocate me as I slept but I was quick…… not tonight my friend, I just ain’t ready to go yet….  I leapt from the bed and fought him to the floor.  The kicks I delivered were those of a deranged man whose heart is going at the maximum rate.  Accuracy of blow was sacrificed for a ferocious random savagery driven by blind fear for my life.  I am not experienced at this and recognise now that a coolness was needed in the heat of the moment.

Yet, I must have landed one or two decent blows on my powerful foe because my cephalopod friend retreated as quickly as he came.  An extensive search of chambers did not reveal a hiding place or the beasts method of entry or exit. intruiging.

The whole thing makes me suspicious it was a all a dream.  In the moment, it was real, I was there.  As Confucious (I believe it was he and due to the lateness of the hour, have no time to check) said: I dreamt I was a butterfly and now I am awake, I am unsure if I am a man who once dreamt about being a butterfly or a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.  Who knows?

I am aware that I need a couple of hours to update the stats… it will get done.  Last week was not great but this week I feel it.  Polish up the saddles men, we ride to victory.

With the focus on Frankels return, I feel some attention should be given to some of the summer jumping scene and I am offering tips from Bangor and Uttoxeter as well as Newbury and Newmarket.  This is where the Major does his best work.

Frankels return is special.  the Major is hoping to attend Sussex Stakes day at the other end of the summer where we might get the great match between Frankel and Black Caviar.  I think the Sussex Stakes conditions will be hugely in Frankels favour.  Firstly the distance, we know that Frankel will get a mile easily and we know he is as comfortable over shorter.  It would inconvenience him less to meet over 7f than it will Black Caviar to step up to a mile.  Secondly is the track.  Goodwood has an alarming camber and not all horses act there.  We know from Frankel destroying Canford Cliffs (His best performance in the Majors view) last year that this is no problem for Frankel, yet Black Caviar is uncertain…  I say get them at Ffos Las for a match race over 7f!!

Finally before the sports tips, as you know, the Saturday Service is a blog of habit.  You get the spiel, you know when you read ‘To the Sports’ we are into the tips, you understand the indicators of the things I really like… load the cannons (of varying size, have a slice (of varying size), money printer and other regular parlance of the tipster.  You get your dinner suggestion, sometimes with an indicator of the company you should take.  You get some military history or philosophy and the barely profitable tips…. All of it, the rambling of an unhinged mind.  Well I am adding something… soundtracking of my breakfast.  It made a debut last week and I continue it today….

Soundtracking my breakfast: The farm shop furnished me with the Racing Post and a pack of pork and asparagus sausages.  For those not in Worcestershire, it is Asparagus season, something that we celebrate in the Vale enthusiastically.  Accompanying I have some English Mustard and Rocket, it needs to be powerful and some Bramley Apple Juice, chilled to perfection.

To the sports…

Will Frankel Win at Newbury?

Tipping a horse at 1/3 is not much fun and I am not going to offer a tip.  Frankel is the best, a complete machine.  He has improved as he has learned to settle and that means he can now get further…. much further.  I think you should consider him an Arc horse although I am in a minority.

He has reportedly gained more physique over winter but these things can be more speculation than fact.

There is nothing on the racecard to scare him, only Black Caviar can do that.  Yet he had his setback so if we are going to get him beat it would be today.  His key rival in the race may also be better tuned after having a prep run.

No bet.

Bangor Tips

As much as I admire evens favourite Golden Call in the 3.10, I think we can get it beaten.

The horse represents trainer McCain who is in great form and has a super record at Bangor.  Yet we are taking the fact it jumps a fence well on chance.  Over this shorter distance, it will test that ability.

Instead I am going to tip Kauto Relko who has proven he can go over the larger obstacles and represents a yard who also have a good Bangor record.

I would suggest doubling that with Fabrika in the bumper (4.55).  Henderson always has a litany of these sorts winning and only the beautiful Rebecca Curtis has a chance of stopping him in the Majors view.

Newmarket Tips

Frankels brother races in the 2.15.  What a tag that is – A little unfair on the expectations of the colt really!

Thought Worthy who looked a really nice type coming out of a good maiden win.  His seasonal reappearance second was good form and in desperate conditions and I expect him to be fine with the better ground today.

That said, just because Noble Mission is always going to carry the moniker of being Frankels little brother, he is a progressive derby entry in his own right.  He has tasted one defeat, unlike his brother! The application of a hood is also a small concern but overall 15/8 is very fair.

I like the 3.20 listed race and in it I fancy Saigon at 11/2.  This represents a serious lowering of expectations back from Group 1 company in the 2,000 Guineas.  Previous pattern class form was OK.  The trainer does not have many Newmarket runners and not many winners from that but I think this unfashionable pick may prove decent value.

In the 3.55 I do not think Spice Fair has finished improving yet and so 6/1 Corals is decent pricing.  This horse owes me after last time.

Uttoxeter Tips

The track has started the day being described as good.  With the rain the Midlands is getting though, this could easily change and I fancy some rather dead ground.  In turn I am looking for some big priced fancies to spice up our Champions League warm up.

In the 6.25, Connections alone have Spate River trading as second favourite and with my gamble on the ground changing, I am ruling him out (never a more dangerous word said).  Jolly Roger the favourite also might not fancy it if it gets a bit squishier.

I give a squeak to Smalib Monterg who gets a 7lb claimer and comes from a yard with a good track record at Uttoxeter.  He has probably been running a bit honestly though and remains in the grip of the handicapper.

Flash Harriet was entitled to her reappearance run for which she has been raised 5lbs.  The Mare may be well treated and I would not put you off at 9/1.

The tip though is Hit The Switch at a massive 25/1 price.  The horse has been fairly well tried over hurdles without success but connections persist and I think there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I certainly think Hit the Switch will  benefit from a turn in conditions which will inconvenience many of his rivals.

The Preakness is off at 11.18 this evening and the Major is sticking with defeated Derby runner Creative Clause at 8/1.  Hills have taken an aggressive stance that Bodemeister will be defeated and offer 2/1.

The Champions League final is interesting as a sporting contest.  Chelsea have been successfully bloody minded and it is dangerous to back against such teams.  That said, Bayern are clearly a better outfit and have home advantage.  No bet.

Blackpool at 3/1 look too large.  The Championship play off can throw up some odd results and I think the frail camaraderie at West Ham will come under pressure today.

May your dinner be home made and a casserole.  So 1983.  Some good beef, fresh vegetable and some loving care will create a hearty dinner to be shared with close friends.  Crack a nice bottle of something dark red and settle in for the Preakness.

Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – 33/1 Ascot Victoria Cup Tips, 40/1 Haydock Tips…. Madness! Plus Soapbox – Balance and Reason in Arguments… More Black Caviar and the Breakfast of Champions

Good Morning to you all from a bright Worcestershire countryside where there is a chill on the breeze.  It disguises the warmth relentlessly emitted, 8 minutes ago, from that burning ball of gas 150,000,000,000 metres above us.

Ascot…. Victoria Cup Tips today…. The beautiful venue is soon to host the wonder mare Black Caviar

Of course, that distance is an approximation as the Earths orbit is not perfect and therefore the distance differs to a degree of around 2% depending on the time of year but did not need me to point that out.  The Majors readers are an academic elite.The Major is a little late going to post today so apologies for the tardiness.  I have walked to my farm shop who are kindly shipping in my Racing Post on a Saturday.  Bless their dark hearts.  It makes me feel special.

It is a 15 minute stroll to the store and is a lovely start to a weekend.  It also means that these organic grocers have me in their evil cross-selling grasp.  For I leave loaded up like a Victorian military pack animal with sacks of fresh bread and breakfast materials that Jesus would approve of…. probably.  Marvelous.

Being familiar with how social media works does not make you part of the scene.  I have never understood or written the words Soundtracking until this moment.

It appears to be a smug way of saying ‘I am listening to’.  So, as I have a taste for breaking formats, I am Soundtracking this mornings fine breakfast which is a Baguette (Tewkesbury Bakery) containing two types of sausage.  The Teme Vale farm ‘Malvern Victorian Chipolata’ a 70% pork beauty and winner of the prestigious ‘West Midlands Tastiest Sausage’ award and the Orchara Cottage Farm hand-made Pork Chipolata (68% pork).  Mushrooms are local and fresh. Shabash! Smack thy lips.

Black Caviar won her 21st race on the bounce today with the ease of the monster she is.  I fanything it looked her easiest win yet.  Worth setting the alarm for but I post a video below for the rest of you.  Anyone for Ascot?

Although it is unlikely she will ever meet Frankel on a course, I pray daily for it to happen, I would side with the Girl Power.  More interesting would be if they bred them together.  If Frankel succesfully covered Black Caviar then the very rules of the universe would stretch, I am sure of it.

A horse would be foaled that could breath fire through its flared nostrils, Shaitan himself would kneel before it as it spake in a powerful Baritone (think James Earl Jones), glowing red eyes that pierce your soul…. you get the picture.  Perhaps on balance we should not mess with such powerful forces.

Allow me to clamber aboard my soapbox.  This week we have had general strikes over public sector pension reform with an undercurrent of general unhappiness with some over austerity measures.

Fear not, the Major is not going to give you my political view which is irrelevant but I am going to draw on the debate.  The arguments are laid out broadly as I heard them.

In the red corner, the extreme of the argument is that the government is being led by rich toffs who have cut tax for the wealthiest yet are hellbent on punishing the public sector as they believe in a smaller state.  Pensions for the public sector are deteriorating and workers are expected to work longer, pay more and receive less.  Simply unfair is the call – Workers feel shafted as the T-shirts say.  While public sector pensions may be better than private sector workers, it should not be a race to the bottom, private workers should be campaining to raise the standards of their pensions.  Strikes are legitimate protest and the only thing that will make our leaders change course.  Austerity is not working, France have gone socialist and we need to follow, invest our way to growth and not punish workers and continue with a failed austerity programme that is destroying growth.

In the blue corner, the extreme of the argument is that a smaller state is better, that public sector workers get much better pension rights than their equivalent folk in the private sector.  There is also simply not enough money to pay for maintaining what we have.  Plus as we live longer, we should work longer.  Strikes are irresponsible, we are in this together.  The last administration overspent and we are not even cutting debt yet, merely cutting how much we overspend each year.  France may have gone socialist but it will fail, they won’t have the cash to spend anyway.  Tough times, tough decisions but the responsible thing to do is to continue to cut the burden of debt which will be born by our children.

It is likely that you favour one side of the debate over the other.  More than that, perhaps, you found yourself resenting the opposing view, believing it so wrong that the holder of the view angers you to a degree?  This debate has dominated the weeks media and we have seen countless people argue some or all of either argument.

My point is this, to calculate a view in any matter, even who will win a horse race, polarisation is the thing we should ridicule not the individual components we may or may not agree with.

Any horse can win any race.  The red or blue corner could be right.  Balance is the key.  Understanding the arguments and taking a view requires an open mind and a lack of prejudice that most cannot muster.

Next time you feel anger rising in any debate, close your eyes and imagine being doused in water.  Imagine that water cleaning you and washing away that anger.  Open your eyes again and actively listen.  Then use reason to take a position.

Rarely is a polarised view correct and in this weeks political debate some of all of those arguments will be true.  Cool judgement to decide balance makes you a better person than partisan support.

One thing I want to leave my children is that blind loyalty to an argument is wrong.  Many political ties are born from family, generation after generation.  Cast it all aside and reclaim your free independent mind, it is the only thing that no-one can take from you without killing you.

To the sports…..  This week, a regular reader asked me to post only winning tips today…. here we go!

Ascot Victoria Cup – 3.25pm

24 runners, 9/1 the field.  This is a bit of a puzzle but here goes.  Soft ground helps and also looking for a decent jockey to make the right judgements in this big field.

Bonnie Brae finished last season strongly and crucially winning his only start on soft ground.  6lbs higher might be lenient and Ryan Moore is booked which is eye-catching as he has had three rides for the yard in the last two years, winning two.  12/1.

Hawkeyethenoo loves these handicaps but would do well to improve off a higher weight to go in today.

Tariq Too heads the market and has improved again at the start of this season, following a gelding operation.  I think the horse has a decent chance and would not put you off.

Global Village is another with decent easy ground form although I have given up predicting when Ellisons horses will put their best foot forward.

At a massive 33/1 (Betvictor) I would give a shout to Rodrigo de Torres who is only on a second handicap start and will strip fitter for his run this season.  This is a different ask but the price is enticing.

The other big price horse I want on side is Nasri.  He will have been aimed at this and 2lbs lower for last seasons third, I think you will get a great run for 20/1 (Bet365)

So, to my friend who asked for winners, I am going balls out for my Victoria Cup tips (pardon the technical punting term).

3pts win each – Bonnie Brae 12/1, Nasri 20/1, Rodrigo de Torres 33/1

1pt all way rev f/c the same selections. Boom.

3.40 Haydock – Swinton Hurdle Tips

The Swinton has a strong trend towards 6 year olds (or younger) who are improving and unexposed.  This gives me a shortlist including Caravel (to be fair is 8), Red Merlin (Pricewise selection) and All the Aces (the other Pricewise tip).

The Major was going to opt for Makbullet but the selection is a non runner.  Arab League is interesting and may have been laid out for this by the Pipe yard… not for me though.

I am going to tip two in the Swinton.

Firstly, the outsider of the field 40/1 shot Ruler of All.  Going for a visor on his second run for the yard might not be a great advert for the animal but his Irish form was good and the yard know what they are doing.  Entering him in a race like this might not be a shot to nothing.

My second Swinton tip is Charm School at 9/1 who on a line of form with Dream Esteem looks more useful than the current mark.

Tips for Lingfield

Marvada at 14/1 caught the eye in the opener at Lingfield.  K J Condon crosses the Irish Sea with this horse who has placed in every British race contested.  There is nothing else coming over in the horse-box so I conclude they think it is worth the trip.  There are plenty of alternate races at Dundalk….. I am loading the cannon!

In other sports, Norwich to beat Villa at 5/4 is a superb price.  The Villains will be exhaling a huge breath of sheer relief at not being involved in the relegation fight today and Norwich looked damned businesslike at Arsenal last week.  With Holt bossing things…. well.

Liverpool look a value 23/20 bet at Swansea too.  Now the pressure is off due to failure in the league, the team seem to be more comfortable and their performance against Chelsea was much better.

May your dinner be peaceful and elegant.  Slices of beef, fine wines, a port perhaps….. May the company be spectacular and the fun continue with gusto.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Service – Newmarket 2,000 Guineas Tips, Goodwood Tips – FA Cup Final Tips

Good evening or good morning from a grey sodden Worcestershire where the Major is at the Kitchen table to pen the Saturday Tipping Service early.

Camelot who? The Major thinks O’Brien might win but that Power might be the victor

The reason being that the Major has an engagement at the Emirates and has to catch the early morning London Paddington bound Great Western Train from Pershore. Forgive then, this shorter than normal post.It is a fantastic day of sport including the first classic of the season and the FA Cup final. I have a whirlwind tour of the action with the Majors thoughts below.

First of all, my usual soapbox moment. I found it incredible this week the sheer abuse that Roy Hodgson got as he was named England manager. As an intelligent, polite, internationally experienced, multi-lingual candidate, I think he is as good as anyone for the job. Yet the Sun managed to focus on his speech impediment.

I should not be too surprised, the UK press includes The Express, a publication whose headline today was ‘EU want to shut down Britain’ or words to that effect.

Depressing. I do not mind awfulness, misery, stupidity or arrogance in measure, live and let live is the Majors mantra. Remember we float by just the once and we have little time for small matters such as anger. Yet, the fact that someone buys these rags somehow does leave a mark.

I shall let it wash away with the wine, which this evening is a nice South American Malbec which is currently breathing and awaiting it’s certain fate.

To the sports.

Tips for the 2,000 Guineas – Newmarket

Ever since George Washington won the 2,000 Guineas, the sparkle of this race has diminished a little for the Major.

I know they are not my possessions and thus my view is only the wish of an interested party but…… I so wish that owners would aim the best horses at the triple crown. There are probably some sorts that are better milers than these being held back for the Derby. So many decisions these days are based on stud value and less on the excitement of the racing calendar.

Frankel did a wonderful job of returning some razzamatazz to the race last year. Who will forget his barnstorming surge from the gates, leaving his poor pacemaker floundering and unable to get on terms. I distinctly remember Richard Hughes paddling away from halfway in a vain effort to close the gap but the machine was not for catching.

It seems that no Frankel exists in this 2,000 Guineas field but the race has to be won. Earlier suggestions that the ground would be very very soft have eased and the Major expects good to soft ground, siding towards soft, perhaps a little dead.

There are two that the Major is putting up as 2,000 Guineas tips. Firstly, I am not convinced at all by Ballydoyle favourite Camelot with suggestions that he prefers good ground. However, the second of the O’Brien team Power has plenty to like about it. Second in the Dewhurst with many of these rivals in behind, Power won the National Stakes on softer going and will be fine with these conditions. 11/1 with Betvictor is too big.

The second Guineas tip is the French raider Abtaal. The Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons Lafitte is starting to look like an exceptional race and Abtaals second looks very solid – 7/1 and shortening, they aren’t coming over for the air.

Goodwood Saturday Tips

The Major was asked to put up some Goodwood tips so here we go….

In the listed contest at 2.15, I would expect Vita Nova to go off as 4/7 favourite. Not a working mans price but the form to Blue Bunting is streets ahead of anything else on show. At a more workable each way price in the race, Western Pearl is one of only two horses that has raced at Goodwood and experienced the track – That could prove vital as Goodwood has a particular camber and some just don’t like it. The selection is 14/1 and the French pattern form is fine.

In the 3.30 I am a very big fan of Spice Fair at 9/1 (Bet365). This horse was solid and arguably progressive as a four year old and if tuned up could go well. A Goodwood winner, a soft ground winner and a jockey (Neil Callan is one of the Major’s favourites) who has ridden once for the yard (a winner) in the last two years……. shabash! Have an obscene slice and thank me later.

Finally a tip in the second listed contest which goes off at 4.05. This is a cracking open contest in which Esentepe, the Nell Gwyn winner takes on last years Nell Gwyn champ, Barefoot Lady. Of the two I prefer the latter who has proven her ability to go well fresh. The Major however, suggests Winters Night who herself showed a good level of ability at Ascot last term and if primed, could be a danger to all… 5/1.

The FA Cup Tips

Chelsea… simple. 13/8… pay for dinner.

May that dinner be exquisite, the company fine, why not entertain a group of friends, cook and be social.

Courage to you all and roll those dice…..