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.
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.
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.
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.
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.