Daily Archives: June 30, 2012

The Saturday Sermon – Curragh Irish Derby Tips – Newcastle Northumberland Tips – Tour de France tips – Stories are more powerful than facts

Good morning from the Major who writes from the bright breezy and highly changeable climate of Worcestershire.  The kitchen table is bedecked with breakfast goodies…. Soundtracking my breakfast – Mikes Smokehouse salmon pate on a toasted Bredon Hill bakery bun with a duck egg topping the lot… Magnifique.

Camelot – The new Frankel, the new Sea the Stars…. Whadda ya reckon?

Your correspondent believes that stories are more powerful than facts.

The case agin is one I have plenty of sympathy for.  After all, my approach to selecting tips is a statistical approach.  I often advise on strike rates, form and history purely as a game of numbers.  This jockey is 2 from 2 for the yard, the horse has a 50% win rate on ground worse than soft or the trainer has a 33% win rate with his runners at this track… you know the sort of thing.  Yet evidence is a less powerful force than internal analysis.

We like to think as a rational beings which use facts to govern and dominate decision-making.  Yet, before we create a belief we stir in the most important ingredient, a story…. A story that we tell ourselves.

Stories make us feel more right about the judgement we have made.  As primeval needs go, the need to feel safe and right is paramount.  This is the force that allows people to convince themselves of things despite the evidence.  It is the reason it can be hard for someone to break from an abusive partner.

The Major is suggesting then that facts + your internal story = your belief.

Consider… The sun has risen every morning of your life and science has given you reasons as to why the sun comes up in the morning, or more accurately that our celestial orb turns so that you are on a part of our Earth facing the sun.

You add to this your own story, given you have no reason (I sincerely hope) to not think the sun won’t be up in the morning, then a certain belief is created in your head.

It is however, the internal story and not the fact that is more important.  Sometimes you might choose to control that story to your benefit.  The Majors greatest example of this dates to the Falklands conflict.

You may have forgiven a little trepidation on behalf of British Harrier crews heading steaming through the South Atlantic.  Understanding that his aircraft were outnumbered five to one, Cmdr Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward who commanded the 801 Naval Air Squadron from HMS Invincible stated that this created a ‘target rich environment’ for his pilots.

The facts remain, his forces were outnumbered, but the belief is changed because of what you tell yourself and others.

In calculating a good tip, I am not suggesting that you dismiss the facts, I am merely suggesting that in assessing your chances with the enemy, consider both the facts available and what you are telling yourself about them.

Facts: Camelot has only raced on good to soft.  He won on it.  His Sire has a worse strike rate on soft than Galileo or Dubawi (responsible for three of todays opponents), his connections have warned about soft being a concern, the forecast is for more rain, he his 10lbs ahead of his nearest rival today on RPR…… What story should we tell ourselves about these facts… that Camelot is the class act and will overcome them or that the ground and the rain will conquer him and 30/100 is no price?

The Major will not answer the question for you, I merely offer you a reflection on critical reasoning so that you may start to discern in your decision-making process the fact from the story.  Only then might you start to understand how you created a belief and thus the confidence with which you might proceed.

To the sports….

Tips for the Irish Derby – The Curragh 7.40pm

Well done to the racing authorities that are trying an evening slot for the Irish classic.  I hope their attendance is up and think it is a good thing to try.

I have already laid out the main issue facing Camelot here which needs answering as he is in a field of seven meaning some tight each way terms.

Without question, Akeed Mofeed is an interesting runner – John Oxx does not tilt at many and surely we are yet to see the best from this Dubawi colt.

If Astrology is getting pacemaking duties then Imperial Monarch holds some appeal.  A winner on soft, the son of Galileo has had a litany of hard luck stories.

Overall – I am minded to back Camelot at 4/11 on.  When I weigh up the ground versus class argument, I come down in favour of the sheer brilliance of what we have seen so far.

Not a price for many, apologies.

Tips for the Northumberland Plate, Newcastle – 3.20pm

First of all, congratulations to the track for getting the race on.  The pictures from Newcastle earlier this week were incredible… black skies and a paddock under water.  Getting the Northumberland, or the Pitmens Derby as it is known, on was a good achievement.

The key to this race will be a preference for heavy conditions, to the point where I would like to see my tip have a decent breast-stroke action.

Il de Rey has been all the rage all week and it is easy to see why – He will relish this and the trainer won the plate the year before last with Overturn.  Add to that the fact that Il de Rey is the Pricewise selection and boom…. 7/2 is now the available price!

The Major has to look beyond that, principally because the horse is carrying nine stone and three pounds, a weight only carried once in the last fifteen years to victory.

The Major is going to suggest two.

Montaff 12/1 and Lexington Bay 14/1.  Please take both with Betvictor who are still four places on the race and thank me later!  If you do not like going double handed then opt for the former.

Montaff went close in this race last year off a mark almost a stone heavier.  He has also won on heavy (although it was some time ago) – I am fairly confident we will see a different horse to the one that flopped in the middle east and has been running with some lack of ability for the last twelve months.

2.15 Newcastle Betfred Chipchase Stakes Tip

Fair play to Betfred who after sponsoring the race, have gone best price on all runners.  That shows some price, n’est pas?

The Major’s bet of the day goes in this and I am very confident about this tip.

Eton Rifles is a 4/1 shot and drifting in places but one in which I suggest you load the cannons.

His form ties in well to the market leaders but it is his love for the mud battles which attracts me strongly.  I fully expect the horses to be finishing this sprint like they have been running in the Eider, strung out and twenty lengths….

Looks to me like the Bank has been ordering up a bit more quantitative easing!  Get stuck in to Eton Rifles.

4.05 Maiden Stakes at Newmarket

I know it seems a bit random throwing in a suggestion for a maiden at Newmarket.

Yet, the Major is drawn to the Godolphin runner, Inaad; out of New Approach.  Suroor is having a decent time of it and New Approach has been a revelation as a bloodline with his offspring holding several leading market positions in next years classics.

Stan James are over-priced for the Major at 7/1… thank me later.

Tips for the Tour de France

The Major is no huge fan of cycling but has a huge respect for these athletes.  They are competing in what has to be one of the hardest competitions to man.

The Major does have a couple of family/friend members who do follow the sport closely and they are suggesting that the Tour this year is cut and dried.

Bradley for green and Wiggins for the yellow.  Interestingly, Betvictor have opened a market on that double and priced it at 9/1….. well well, that could pay for a nice drop of Bordeaux.

Tonight may your dinner be a kebab.  No, not from your chip shop but from a man who knows how to cook lamb tenderly over smoking charcoals.  Allow yourself to eat alone, company is not everything.

Courage, roll those dice……