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.
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.