Monthly Archives: July 2012

Saturday Sermon – Ascot, York and Salisbury tips…. Am I the only person to dislike our opening ceremony?

Good morning from the Major who writes from the pub, I kid you not.

I know the sun is yet to reach the yard arm and so in front of me is a fine bacon crusty roll and a coffee infused with so much milk that it has a moniker… One that identifies it as less masculine… What can I say, it is early in the morning and your reluctant correspondent sank a few watching the Olympic opening ceremony last night.

Firstly the camping, or non camping to be more accurate. The Major and family have come down to the New Forest for a few nights in gods air, to see the stars and admire his wondrous glory. The idea was reconnect with nature, live the simple life, glean pleasure from cooking in the open…. Sadly, we left the tent poles, a small but crucial detail that is shaping the weekend.

Upgrading to a log cabin was made a smooth process by the kindly folk at the implausibly comically named ‘sandy balls’ site – I kid you not, look it up! They smiled benevolently, took the plastic card from my hand and assured us that the log cabins were exceptionally well furnished.

Instead of spending last night applying insect repellent and washing up in cold water, I lay back and watched the widescreen, occasionally heading to the galley to replenish a glass that never seemed to stay full.

Now the pub? Well it’s the best spot on site for the wi fi…. Honest guv. You may be dubious, many are despite the Major having only honest intention – It is also not my fault that there is racing ten miles up the road at Sailsbury this evening, a course I have wanted to tick off for some time…. Well since Mrs Major is the other end of the racing fanaticism scale to the Major, I think it will be me and Young Major II who loves the spectacle… Good lad, I can already see that the apple has not fallen far with that one.

What about that opening ceremony though? Even a merry amount of wine failed to make it credible for the Major. I am just not into opening ceremonies. Bond, crazy dressed up actors, light shows… All played out with an over bearing salacious commentary like its the best thing man has ever achieved. I dislike the fact that many applaud it.

I acknowledge the ambition of the show was bold. What on earth was Danny Boyle going to do though? In his position, he is best to go with the flow and offer up treats that would make Bacchus blush.

I would have loved a really understated opening, something that said, we do not need all of this. Alas, we competed on the international ceremonial stage in the competition of ‘who can put the most cliched tat on stage’. Meanwhile the commentators told us what this ‘represented’ while famous actors fawned in their ‘once in a lifetime roles’…

I felt it lacked the presence of Terry Wogan to provide his acerbic analysis of events as he did for so many successful years with Eurovision.

For the Major, the Olympics will be made great, not by some chimneys coming out of the ground or the Morris dancers or the cgi images of David bloody Beckham hammering down the Thames on a speedboat! (did anyone else think Terry Tibbs?)

Looking back in sixty years on my deathbed (more likely twenty with my intake) I trust history treats these things rightly, as a ridiculous way we used to live life. No, the Majors Olympic greatness will be measured on the track, in the pool and in all of the other sporting arenas. Give us the majesty of sports, let us inspire a generation through prowess and endeavour, you can keep the rest.

3.10 York Sky Bet Stakes

What a few weeks of weather. Just eight days ago, meetings were being abandoned for water logging and within a week of unadulterated sun, Uttoxeter had to water! York are good to firm.

Sir Henry Cecil won this last year but I would be surprised if Jet Away is as good as Twice Over, although rattling ground will suit.

Side Glance is a horse I have always liked. I watched him win at Ascot last year on Solaro Stakes day. He will also be fine in these conditions and is considered, his last effort behind Frankel was hard to assess but Frankels defeated tend to run to form. Side Glance no longer runs in the Mill Reef colours so a little romance is lost!

If you are considering Side Glance though you have to look at Sri Putra who had him behind this season. There is a horse who has placed a few times at mammoth odds, never seeming to have the required quality for a group one.

The Major has settled on Planteur for the Sky Bet Takes tip. He is the proven class in the field in my view With his French form as strong as anything. His last race can have a strong line through it as he really sweated up beforehand before never racing well. In the first six runnings of this race, it has gone to the favourite on four occasions. I am planning on no major surprises today either. The tip is Planteur at 9/2 with betfred, Stan James and Totesport.

3.25 Princess Margaret Juddmonte

The fillies race at Ascot is next on the Majors menu and I have a tip I like a lot.

The choice between the favourites is a vote for the form of the Cherry Hinton or the Queen Mary and the Major is opting for the Queen Mary.

While Maureen was unlucky at Ascot (I don’t like unlucky horses by the way, they tend to be repeatedly unlucky), I just think Hoyams run was as good.

My tip also has proven form on a rattling surface. There is no reason to believe this should be a big advantage for Hoyam over Maureen on breeding as Maureen is out of Holy Roman Emporer. However we have not seen the odds on favourite race in these conditions where Hoyam has achieved both her decent runs on good to firm.

4/1 is a fair price for Hoyam who is the tip for the Ascot fillies juvenile group race.

Salisbury Racing

If any reader knows more of this course and can tweet me some tips (or leave as comments) as to how to get the best from a visit – I would be grateful. I am likely to bring my four year old along to racing tonight so will probably go for the first 4 races.

There is a typically open maiden in their third race. Open because we have so little evidence with only the having run so far. I shall probably stick with Bold Prediction for the Hannon team who is one to have benefited from experience.

The opener is an amateur riders affair and the Major always seeks to side with quality of jockey not horse in these. That said, it is hard to ignore the glaring entry of Gallego who is bidding win this for a third time and has conditions to suit. The danger comes from Frosty Berry who is open to any amount of improvement on only the second handicap start and debut for a new yard.

in the 7.45, Stir Trader has been rested since battling away for a place in the mud back in April. Clearly better is expected. That said, shorter than 2/1 is a bit skinny and I prefer the 13/2 shot Bajan Story whose 4l defeat in soft latest is rosier when watching the race pan out. A drop in trip for the selection will be fine and I would be hopeful of a decent run.

May tonight’s dinner be elegant and fine. Fish, delicate and fragrant – the wine cold and fresh on the tongue. The company, an earthy beauty with just a damn honest pleasantness. Simplicity is the key to happiness my faithful readers.

Courage and roll those dice.

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Saturday Sermon – King George Ascot Tips…

Good morning from the rural air of Worcestershire where my entire village has taken to their lawns with all manner of grass cutting devices.  From hand pushed old-fashioned mowers to ride-on machines with horsepower aplenty.  The air is thick with that most delightful of smells, cut grass.

Today I only offer a short post.  The reason is social commitments and I can only apologise.  Feel for me though.

The King George at Ascot today is as good a running as I can remember.  The race is definitely feeling back to top class.  Perhaps the momentum changed when Harbinger won going away from a top field including Derby winning Workforce.

Today though we have represented in the line up winners of a previous King George, an Arc, A Melbourne Cup, a Hong Kong Vase, Derbies of many nationalities, a St Leger, a Coronation Cup; the list of Group One winners goes on…. stunning, a race I am looking forward to.

The Major has been tweeting a lot this week (@tdl123) in recognition of the fantastic achievement of Team Sky.  It looks to all the world like they are going to take a one two in the Tour de France.  For Wiggins, surely a knighthood and a Sports Personality is assured (he was trading at 7/4 for the latter honour), even more certain if he attains some olympic glory too.

His team though deserve so much credit.  Froome has moved up through the field but always remained focusses on his main goal; make Wiggins win it.  He would have been a real threat if this was not a team game and he not a great team player.  His year will come, he deserves it.

I am not a cycling fan but I have been captivated by this years Tour.  What these guys are doing is an incredible feat of endurance and skill.  I admire anyone with a special ability, to bend a free kick, to strike a golf ball further and more accurately.  Yet, the Tour riders are out there day after day riding stages in excess of a hundred miles over mountains, real mountains.  The sheer determination is a thing to behold.  These boys keep going, using their bodies to pump out maximum energy, single mindedly, no choice just commitment… to each punishing climb.  They keep going an eternity after us mortal souls would cry enough.

To the sports.  If you are thinking of following the Majors racing tips today, may I warn you that I am on the cold list.  Not a good week.  Right now I could get Shergar beaten.

Tips for the King George – Ascot

Having paid tribute to the line up, now I have the tricky decision of selecting a tip from the race.

Sea Moon is guaranteed to give a splendid running which can not be said of Nathaniel.  While his returning run was determined and masterful, surely an extra week or two of time to recover would have been useful?

Ascot dries so quickly that I think the ground will ride as perfect good.  This negates some of the benefit that Nathaniel would have from softer condition.  He does not get the same useful weight for age that he received last year… Questions over the prep remain – Dangerous but I am going elsewhere.

The Sea Moon / Dunaden form is striking and with a bit more luck in running, the latter might come out on top.  Connections have flown their favourite jockey over from Australia – Significant?  The horse has won a Hong Kong Vase and a Melbourne Cup; that is fantastic even if both were tight finishes.

I find Deep Brilliante a fascinating runner.  The Japanese Derby horse is the only three year old in the field and thus benefits from a significant weight advantage.  I am not convinced by the form in the far east though and although a massive outsider of interest, I have persuaded myself overnight to go elsewhere.

Masked Marvel is surely not good enough.

Sir Michael Stoute, Godolphin, John Oxx and Ballydoyle have taken 12 of the last 15 runnings of this race.  The interruptions were Gosden (last year – Nathaniel), John Oxx and Andre Fabre.  It is fair to say that the trend is the best of the home team (Britain and Ireland).

On those grounds I am going to ignore Dunaden, Deep Brilliante and Danedream (whose Arc form I didn’t like anyway) and concentrate on the profiles I think likeliest.

I am opting for 9/2 shot St Nicholas Abbey.  His wins in the Coronation Cup and raid on the Breeders Mile were great achievements and even if the horse failed to quite live up to his lofty reputation in his classic year, we are getting to see what he is capable of. So St Nicholas Abbey is the Majors tip for the King George and good luck to all concerned.

5.25 Cartmel

The biggest pot the Cumbrian track has put up has attracted a very decent field including the first horse that Henderson has run at Cartmel.

Royal Riviera is the selection – The Twiston-Davies horse is improving and I fancy the 12/1 shot to put up a good show.

May your dinner this evening be fuelled by the winnings of a huge each way double you placed on my selections.  Bosh.

Courage, roll the dice.

Thursday Racing Tips – Hamilton

Good evening from the Major who writes following the disappointment of Wednesday. I managed to get a favourite well beaten and my hopes that Layline would run ahead of the price were ill founded.

The slate has been wiped.

Thursday has a nice listed race at Hamilton and the major has some observations and a tip for the feature race.

4pm Hamilton

Mick Channon has had some good horses over the years but surely Youmzain who was second in three arcs must have been favourite. Youmzain was a thorough stayer and had a heart of gold. If not for Dylan Thomas, Zarkava and Sea the Stars then he would have been a triple arc winner! Youmzain did have his days in the sun though winning multiple Group ones. The winner of more than £3.1m, that’s £1.5m more than Frankel has amassed, you cannot feel sorry for the horse or connections!

Why mention this piece of history? Well Mick and owner run New Youmzain in this listed contest and surely they wouldn’t have dished that name out too freely? Well the horse has a victory to his name after being runner up on debut. That first run was behind the Queens horse Estimate so that’s fine. His win at Thirsk was nothing special but he was in front. It is a bit alarming that he has been off track for some time and equally that he is already gelded but considered.

The Channon yard also run Naseem Alyasmeen who is the more fancied of the runners. Last weeks Newmarket performance was pretty good and a straight repeat puts Naseem in the frame.

Yet the Major is favouring giving up Ed de Gras as the Hamilton feature tip. Rae Guest the Newmarket trainer has travelled a long and unusual route for the yard to bring the horse to Hamilton. The colt has won once and placed once from two runs on soft ground so that should hold no fear. The yard is in decent touch too – they have given Ed de Gras an entry for the Great Voltigeur. 4/1 have a slice.

I really do like New Youmzain too though and would put no one off a bet at 14s – I plan a saver and a reverse forecast. On a line through stablemate Naseem Alyaseem, New Youmzain has a damn decent chance…

6.45 Leopardstown

The group three Irish action comes from Leopardstown where the major has a serious trend tip in the Silver Flash group three for juvenile fillies.

Aiden O’Brien has won 7 of the previous fifteen runnings including the last three. Last year Ballydoyle was represented by Maybe who was subsequent classic favourite after an unbeaten juvenile season including a group one.

Thus Snow Queen who clearly needed the run is a tremendous 10/1 bet with bet365. She ran a nothing race on debut when a beaten favourite – probably best to ignore that. Get stuck right in!

Wednesday Selection – Single 33/1 tip from Lingfield

Good evening from the Major – The three Tuesday tips returned the most modest of profits after Asker went in well at 5/2. The other selections at bigger prices did not perform well… Still a profit is a profit.

The Major normally only posts his Saturday Sermon, plus the occasional blog. Thus, a hat trick of mid week specials is a bit rare…

Here are Wednesday’s tips, let’s find some winners… I am a man of statistics not feelings, do not expect anything other than a cool approach to our chances.

4pm Lingfield

What a cracking race – At the top of the market are three very progressive sorts in the Godolphin horse Silent Moment 6/4, Montjeu sired Biographer 4/1 and Kuda Huraa whose Windsor form is looking better and has the benefit of an all weather win.

Seriously theae three give the impression of strong improvement – The most obvious candidate is the favourite Silent Moment who is a Giants Causeway filly so boasts a Storm Cat line – very nice. She has already won on handicap debut and on polytrack – she looks hugely progressive and is turned out quickly – clearly a danger to all.

Biographer is also a well bred sort who won as you would expect a 1/5 shot last time out. That might not have been the strongest affair at Doncaster but still a respected opponent.

This memorial race to the trainer Paul Kelleway is a cracking renewal. Last years winner, Layline is trained by the daughter of Paul, Faye Kelleway. Layline is 33/1 and on a mark that requires the very best of past form, but that is not out of question. Surely Layline has been laid out for the race and is a horse that has placed more often than not at the track.

On balance, although there are three progressive sorts making it a tough race to win, you can be assured of Layline giving the very best of running and so 33/1 is over priced in the Majors view.

Catterick 3.10pm

When the truth is staring you in the face, slapping you and shouting I AM THE TRUTH LISTEN TO ME!!! you ought listen

Gowanharry won well at Newcastle in similarly testing conditions. Michael Dods does well with these sorts and given it is only the second race in handicap company, the 3lb rise looks light, very light. The smaller field will negate some of the draw bias but that is also in the selections favour. This is also a Chosir filly and yard form is fine.

There are dangers, some flags… Laura’s Bairn has won on the track and at Southwell which suggests a liking for soft ground.

Gowanharry will win LISTEN TO THE TRUTH

Some Tuesday Tips – Southwell, Ffos Las..

Not much joy for the Major with the Monday selections. Best result was a 12/1 place and I managed to get another 3 selections well beaten… Not good form.

Mars won with suitable ease for a derby favourite on debut and was shortened in to 10/1 for next years classic… It feels bonkers to be talking about Derby favourites this far out. Mars won a maiden well and is clearly fancied in the yard. He is also bred on a very similar line to Frankel and I wonder whether he is more a miler than a middle distance horse. That said so much can go wrong between now and next years classics, that assumptions are crazy.

Nothing as interesting on Tuesdays cards but a few I am looking at….

7.30 Southwell

Alpha Tauri is one of the most interesting runners in the field. Rated a paltry 50 on turf, the latest Hamilton run suggested even that was beyond his ability. Yet on this surface, the horse is rated 80! That’s probably at the top end of ability but being a front runner and well proven here, not dismissed. Definitely a surface specialist.

The major though is opting for 8/1 shot Snow Bay from the Nicholls team. Some similar comments apply as a course winner (two from six at Southwell) and likely front runner but I think this one has a more workable mark.

4.30 Beverley

One of the more interesting runners in this is Markington who has recently transferred into the Honeyball yard, a team I rate highly. Whether they can freshen up this nine year old remains to be seen but I think he deserves a decent day in the winners enclosure again. Surely he has been aimed at this race too. He won it in 2010 and was runner up last year. His marks have been 2010 76, won; 2011 72 second; 2012 68 ?

I am sure that he has been put away for this and 10/1 is well worth a punt….. What makes me confident is that this is also the first runner Honeyball has had at Beverley in years… So a horse who has won once and placed twice from three starts at the track is sent back with a new yard to try the same race…. It all looks well set.

4.15 Ffos Las

My eye was drawn to Sherman McCoy initially purely on name. If you have not read Bonfire of the Vanities, I can promise you that you have missed out hugely, one of modern America’s greatest novels. Sadly I rate the horses chance in less esteem.

Bilidn is of obvious interest having won five on the bounce. His winning run started two and a half stone lower, back on soft ground, there is no reason to suggest he is completely done yet.

That looks very interesting but so does the unexposed Asker. His bumper win at my local track was useful and his flat turf debut impressive and in very deep conditions. A close relative of hurdles warrior Celestial Halo, this could be a very useful horse.

Of the two the Major is opting for 5/2 Asker who the Major fancies to bring the winning run of Bilidn to an end.