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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