Good morning from the Major who writes to you from a duller than recent Worcestershire. A grey sky drapes over us, choking the early summer and leaving a permanent dampness on the air. A coolness the Major welcomes.
The Major is much happier in this weather. What is to like about the summer anyway? The heat brings insects, sunburn (particularly for my fair Northern skin) and sleepless nights.It is Derby Day. Only 8 runners go to post, the smallest field in over a hundred years caused by the presence of Camelot, the Ballydoyle number one. The hype, tension and razzamatazz of these occassions make for great sport.
Indeed, now unbeaten in four races, including the 2,000 Guineas, you have to wonder why there is not more fuss being made. The 4/6 shot for the Derby is rumoured to be bound for Doncaster and the St Leger if he wins today.
That would be fantastic for racing, the last triple crown winner, Nijinsky, conjured his magic before the glorious age of the Major. Camelot’s presence would breathe new life into the last of the seasons classics which in recent years has looked pretty thin on quality – Stud value dictates dear friends… it’s all about the stud value.
I often wonder what my fee at human stud would be. Fair shock of red hair, short of limb, cut of jib and dash in the eye that suggests mischief. I imagine a solid £4,000 and most would try to breed me with a speedier sort. I wouldn’t fight it.
A decent friend of the Major had a near death experience with fire a couple of weeks ago. He was within 90 seconds of his own demise. Such things allow time for reflection, he has had his moment to do just that. I had one too, also with fire but in entirely different and embarrassingly stupid circumstances many years ago. As these things will, that moment comes to me at odd times, a little flutter of the heart, what could have been. The sheer quantity of paths we could take.
These things serve as worthy reminders of the Major’s regular Saturday Sermon lesson. We float by just the once so enjoy yourselves and ask no question of good fortune, carry no grudge against ill.
The Major was taken with Mr Blairs appearance this week. As time goes by I like the devious tinker more and more. He still has that look of a man whose confidence arrived as the first air hit his face. He not only thinks he is right, he knows it. As a rascal myself, I know one when I see one.
Anyway with tips from the Epsom Derby, Haydock and some Euro 2012 thoughts, let us address our enemy today as a united front. Allow a surge of adrenaline in your veins, daub thy war paint and mount thy charger.
To the sports…
The Epsom Derby
I have said enough in the past on my BBC v Channel 4 views so no need to delve into that, suffice to say, I look forward to the 2013 Derby.
The Ballydoyle team have a tight grasp on this seasons Classics. Why picked up their third British classic yesterday to follow the earlier successes of Camelot and Homecoming Queen in the guineas.
This looks like the best chance the stable have of ridding a ten-year absence from Derby success. It is a shame we have no Sir Michael Stoute runner.
A key question then is can we get Camelot beat? Well if you like the odds on chances of the O’Brien star then I hope you caught the wager with Ladbrokes who offer a £20 bet refund if he loses! Giving it away!
Andrew Baldings Bonfire will be popular, despite the question of whether he will stay the full mile and a half. Mind you, the same question mark hangs over Camelot – This is the furthest he has attempted, could he become undone – The Major thinks not.
In fact, I think this is a new star. What Camelot lacks is the same PR machine that Frankel had – I think this will be in full overdrive if he wins today and then we might be salivating about the pair meeting at over a mile and a quarter or even the Arc!
At a bigger price, I did like the chances of Thought Worthy 16/1 – For the record I am going to tip an each way stake on that and possibly a reverse forecast with Camelot.
Tips for The Epsom Dash
I dop my cap to the good denizens of Paddy Power who go five places and quarter odds on the dash – That tempts a man into looking for a big price.
Epsom is a tricky course, the camber is quite pronounced and so many horses can suffer. Less than half the field have track form and only three have won on course.
Dandy Nicholls has won this four times in the last ten years and the sprint King normally has half a dozen runners. It is interesting then that his single handed with Fitz Flyer a 33/1 chance under Kieran Fallon. This horse has only joined the yard this season but it is only trends that say he has a chance.
Like a moth to a flame though, the Major is drawn to Catfish at 9/1 – The reappearance run at York was tough and damn fine considering the time spent off track beforehand. Entitles to be better and with Barzalona booked, I think she will enjoy the ground more than most of these…. have a slice.
Tips for Haydock Timeform Jury Stakes
The Haydock card looks good fun today too so enjoy if you are on track. The Major has a fancy in the Timeform sponsored Group 3.
Sometimes it pays to keep things simple. Red Jazz won nicely over course and distance recently and is top joint rated. The rival in the ratings (Royal Rock) has a penalty to carry and the Major thinks more of Red Jazz anyway.
Load the heavy cannon at 7/4.
Euro 2012 Betting Advice
This is the Majors last chance before the European Championships start to impart some advice.
William Hill are offering 16/1 the chances of England winning in Eastern Europe as a special and I think you should have a slice. Think me mad but this low key build up and lack of expectation is exactly what England needs.
Many saw the loss of Frank Lampard as a hit, the Major thinks the more that the under-achieving old guard are removed to make way for players with something to prove, the better.
Contrary to many views, I think that a front line of Young, Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain is extremely threatening and with a level headed manager who knows what he wants and is not influenced by external forces (such as the clammer to take more strikers), I think we have a better than usual chance.
Couple that with the fact that Spain and Germany have some pretty bad injuries and I am very positive about 16/1.
My three top goalscorer tips are:
Benzema 16/1 Hills – Decent French team and a good in form top class striker….
Jelavic 50/1 General – This seems way too big for the on-fire Toffeeman
Welbeck 100/1 Bwin (Betfair 227) – If you take my line on England then you have to follow that Welbeck is a stunning price.
May your dinner be a hearty beef dish with seasonal vegetables. Did you know that the Majors local crop of Asparagus is reaching record prices after early season flooding produced a poor crop? That should mean some local farmer sorts with money to burn, enjoy yourselves, remember that we have just one ticket to the show, choose wisely.
Courage, roll those dice…….