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.
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.