Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Saturday Sermon – 33/1 York Ebor Tip, Betfred Celebration Mile Tips…. Shabash

Good morning from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire rural scene of dampness, the sort that hangs in the air so heavy that you get a taste of it – Last night, we had a biblical downpour leaving streets that turned to rivers, impromptu ponds forming where they serve no purpose, dramatic lightening popping in the sky, crackling, bristling…. Tis good to be an Englishman in such times, I sense a big day.

Ebor day is one of my favourites, the richest handicap in Europe, coupled with some good group action.

The Major is on twitter if you do not follow already (@tdl123 is my home) – Two subjects in that forum have caught my eye this week.

First of all, Frankel.  If you go back through my tweets you will find that I was suggesting something that the rest of the racing community is now backing.  I am not a pleasant person and this is a thinly disguised I told you so moment, but Frankel for the Arc is now a possibility.

If Ebor day is one of my favourite flat races then the Arc must top the list.  There is no doubt in my mind Frankel would stay it.  He only looked a non stayer in his generation year because of the fact he raced so lit up.

Connections owe us nothing, the Arc is a dirty race – Rough and bustling – It would leave a horrible taste if he finished fourth after getting rough treatment on the right hand bend before having no open on the straight.

If it were me, I think I would go to Ascot and then taken him to the Breeders Cup meeting for the turf mile.  Finishing unblemished would be a key aim.  What a  pleasure to have been able to see Frankel race – A legend of our time.

While one legend was cementing a position this week, another in Lance Armstrong found his starting to fall apart.

Choosing not to go to arbitration over allegations of doping, Armstrong now faces the loss of all seven Tour titles.  This is a hugely divisive issue.  He has never tested positive and as a regular top three finisher will have been tested hundreds of times.

Yet he achieved times that seem now impossible.  Towards the late nineties and turn of the millenia, cyclists were going faster than the time Wiggins achieved to win this year.  Over 70 cyclists from those tours have tested positive, essentially it was rife, some of those were in the teams that Lance played a leading role in.

At this time, Armstrong was dominating the sport.  He was also doing some fantastic work with his foundation which has raised half a billion dollars – As an inspirational figure who rebuilt himself after almost losing his life to cancer, his fans simply will not want to believe his sporting achievements were based on cheating.

Yet, plenty of his former colleagues say they were.  There are individuals who claim to have been there while he was doping and he has a former PA who claims she was sent to Spain to buy drugs.

We do not know the truth, yet his decision this week seems to be an admission of guilt.  While he has never been proven a cheat, why on earth would he pull out at this stage having fought strongly in court to prevent it getting this far.  It seems to the Major that rather than being tired of the battle, Armstrong simply does not want the evidence aired as it will be pretty damning.

Unfortunately for the sport, most of the riders who would be promoted to winners by Armstrong losing his titles also have a cloud hanging over them.  Wherever you stand on th Armstrong debate, cycling itself is a damaged sport.  To think it is now clean is also an error.  This years Tour also had positive tests – One of the greatest physical tests on earth has attracted cheats and the sport has some work to do to restore its credibility.

To the sp0rts…

York – Tips for the Ebor

Motivado has been all the rage and the 4/1 favourite is well drawn, well handicapped and I am sure would be a bad result for the enemy.  Motivado got in after receiving a penalty for dismissing a field at Goodwood – He only just got into the race – There is a lot to like.

Yet, this is not a race in which you can rule too many out and I prefer backing something with a sporting price.

Qahriman is second favourite and is in with a serious chance.  Luca Cumani has won the Ebor twice in the last ten years and has picked up handicap wins already at the York festival – Considered.

The Major though is going to chance his arm on a 33/1 shot.

There is nothing wrong with the top performances on Hurricane Higgins.  He is a horse that can give terrible problems at the start and his last win on the Sussex downs was under a flag start.  That might have given the horse some confidence and if they have got him settled then I think he could give us some great fun.

3.05 York Lonsdale Cup – Group Two

This is a simple race to tip for the Major who sees no holes in the prospects of the favourite, 6/4 Saddlers Rock.

His Goodwood win, with most of his protagonists behind, was solid and deserved.  This track will suit and the nice long straight at York means that there will be none of the luck in running issues the horse has had.  Confident selection.

3.20 Goodwood – Celebration Mile Tips

This is a race that has been dominated by Saeed Bin Suroor and Sir Michael Stoute in recent years but neither yard is represented today.

Last year, noone could beat the Richard Hannon trained Dubawi Gold and the trainer sends Trumpet Major to Goodwood for this.    The Majors 3/1 selection should confirm form with Aljamaaher who has been a tad unlucky at times.  Yet Trumpet Major is the selection in a race that could get messy – My main reason is the ground which has taken a good dose of rain and this is likely to set the race up for my selection.

3.25 Newmarket – Tips for the listed race

Desert Law was a winning selection for the Major on Ascots Shergar Cup day but it is not a horse I would follow up with – He is a difficult horse to win with and is anything but certain to confirm that running.

Instead the Major is going to tip Markhab at 13/2 – Newmarket may have escaped the worst of the band of rain and Markhab prefers a rattling surface.  He is going to be well wound up for this listed contest and has gone well after a break before.  I am expecting the Windsor win to signal that we are on the upgrade again…. Have a small slice.

To the football.

One tip – I fancy Wigan to win at Southampton much to the dissapointment of @pinstripedave.  13/5 seems a big price and I thought they were playing OK against Chelsea.  It is easy for these promoted clubs to get a bit over-priced earlier in the season.

May your dinner tonight be exotic and lavish, fuelled by the bundle of notes which sit causing beautiful discomfort as they dig into your rib cage.  33/1 is a price you know… Stick it in a trixie, I dare you.

Courage, roll those dice.

Thursday York Tips – Yorkshire Oaks Day – All races covered…. Shabash

Good evening from the Major who writes from the comfortable position of a man who has drunk good wine and eaten pork belly.

Tomorrow is the Yorkshire Oaks day and the Major writes with tips aiming to win us valuable ground on the enemy positions.

2pm York – Yearling Stakes

This is a very difficult contest with pretty much every animal contesting it progressive.  I am favouring the higher draws and seeking trainer credibility, form, experience (can be over-rated) and breeding.

The Major cannot dismiss 5/1 shot Blessington on that evidence.  While he messed up his debut chances with a tardy exit from the gates, his subsequent win at Glorious Goodwood had a lot of promise.  That day he had a couple of winners in behind as the Racing Post points out but… they were not that close to him that day – It might prove a hot race…. not convinced enough for 5/1 despite the good impression that the Goodwood win left.

The Major instead opts for terrific value 10/1 shot Body and Soul – Clearly a decent juvenile, she has won on a range of ground types – The trainer has a good record in this stakes race having won it twice in the last ten years.  The Super Sprint win would have hardened her up and is as good a piece of form as the Major can recognise in the field….. Great Chance.

2.30 York – Lowther Stakes

It is hard to make any argument against Newfoundland at evens – She is surely the best juvenile we have yet seen.  While her wins have been on softish ground, there is no reason to assume that she will not mind the firmer York conditions.  The filly, out of New Approach, is my NAP of the day.

3.05 York – 1m Handicap

These major handicaps can be hard to tip but there is an obvious over-priced candidate here for the Major in Navajo Joe at 16/1.

My selection is a past winner (and placed) off this mark, if you take into account the apprentice claim – That could be a concern but I do not know of a better 7lb claimer than Michael Murphy.  The tip seems to like York and I am sure that the last run simply stretched the selection on distance – Have a slice.

The Major must point out the gamble on Strictly Silver whose earlier 33/1 prices have evaporated and the ever contracting 16s, 14s bandwagon seems to be an act of perpetual motion.

3.40 Yorkshire Oaks

It is hard to discount the form of Arc second Shareta – While she has not won in 7 races, each has been a top class affair and she is never beaten far.  In the Majors’ mind it is a battle between that class and the fact that she often finds herself beaten… on balance I am just against on the balance that she travels…

This leaves me with The Fugue – The Major was wrong to suggest Izzi Top was the better of the two mares when they met earlier this month.  Buick got that choice wrong too so no disgrace their but it seemed to me that The Fugue finally had a clear run and showed us the class.  Why would that change today?  Confident tip for the Fugue.

4.15pm – Galtres Stakes

The Queen seems to have an excellent chance of taking the Galtres with her runner, Sequence – The last Newmarket win was very good and Her Majesty has a favourites chance.

Many of these are handicappers stepping up in class.  That sort often struggles to win, despite the (again Queens horse) victory of Set to Music last year.

I have to take the Weld raid with Pale Mimosa very seriously at 3/1 – The Galway win was something special and the aiming at this race, significant (a very rare York raid)… a confident selection.

4.50 York – Tips for the EDF Stakes

I cannot believe that Boylesports are currently 16/1 about last years winner Shesastar who has won off a higher mark since.  This must be the target and everything points to a major run.

Courage, roll the dice.

York Festival – Wednesday Tips, Great Volitigeur and the Juddmonte

Good evening from the Major who writes a short post from the cool Worcestershire clear evening. The major has had winning posts of late, let us hope the form continues.

Wednesday is the opening day of the York festival and so I write with a very short post.

The Great Voltigeur

Main Sequence is shaping up as market favourite at 2/1 and it is easy to like his chances. An unbeaten animal until taking on superstar Camelot in the Derby, this Lingfield Trial winner also when down in the Grand Prix de Paris where thedeep conditions would not have suited. This good to firm will be better but there is strong opposition.

Noble Mission claimed group 3 glory last time out and the horse famous for his sibling will be seeking to set up a famous day for the family in the preceding race to Frankels’.

A strong form line can be taken from Noble Mission to Thomas Chippendale who is seeking a hat-trick and clearly morose improve. The Ballydoyle raider is surely better value than Noble Mission at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.

Enke and Energiser, the Godolphin representatives don’t make much appeal and while Thought Worthy represents Gosden who has a terrific record in the race, I think this is a strong enough field.

On balance there is a 9/4 price about Main Sequence with Betvictor and I think it is a price worth taking.

The only other York race that appeals as a betting medium is the open sprint handicap which opens the day.

2pm York – Sprint Handicap

If it was not for trainer form the Ponty Acclaim would be the selection in this – a horse with a touch of class and one that is drawn on the side I want to be on. That trainer form is bad though….

The 9/2 favourite is Rex Imperator who has looked a group horse in the making. Charlton does not take that man to York so it has to be respected, clearly on the upgrade.

Tax Free is available with Boylesports at 10/1 – this is a horse. Gave a big mention to at the weekend at a big price. He is knocking on and not a certainty to string two good races together but he is turned out again before the handicapper gets a chance to put his mark back up and his second was very decent on Saturday.

The one the Major goes for though is another who competed with far less distinction in the St Wilfred. Lexis Hero is a general 16/1 shot and a classy enough horse on the day. I don’t think the drop to this trip will be a problem – the horse is one to lead and I would not be shocked to see a return to form.

The Juddmonte

It is an enormous leap to think Frankel will struggle over 10f – the way he finishes his races, I cannot think he will do anything other than smash this lot. St Nicholas Abbey on best form might get within ten lengths but Frankel is playing a different game to the rest of them.

If you are looking for each way value then the two that appeal are Sri Putra who gained a well deserved top class victory at this course last time out and Twice Over who won the race last year.

Courage one and all, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Perth Summer Hurdle Tips – Ripon Great St Wilfred and Newbury for the Hungerford Stakes

Good evening from the Major who writes from a damp warm Worcestershire where the air is heavy and warm filling the nostrils with an unpleasantness, heavy splats of rain and a dirty light.

If Strong Suit returns to form, it is game over in the Hungerford

The Major is writing this evening as I have commitments in the morning and so I thought I would get my Ripon, Newbury and Perth tips up tonight.Last weekend the Major returned to form with a short post that contained two tips and two winners… kabooooom!  They returned 11/2 and 2/1 on the SP but were at 7/1 and 9/2 when advised – Either way it paid for a good dinner.Let us hope that this signals that I am back on the hotlist.  Today I am offering you a nice trixie taking in three of the day’s feature races.  Although Chester have a good card I have gone for the Great St Wilfrid handicap at Ripon, the Summer Hurdle at Perth and the Hungerford at Newbury.

The plans I have in the morning are running ones, 15 miles to be specific.  I am preparing myself for the Berlin marathon which I am running for the magnificent Whizz Kidz charity.  Should you have a couple of quid to spare for a fantastic children’s cause then please visit my justgiving page.  We have called the project 26 miles and 26 pints and with 6 weeks to go, I can declare that I am match fit for one of those legs!

Tomorrow I am at the Hawthorns after my morning run – I am taking my two young sons for the visit of Liverpool.  Thank you to Mr Hill for the use of his tickets while he is in Turkey.  I shall get the man a betting slip as a Thank You.

To the sports…..

3.05 Newbury – Tips for the Hungerford Stakes

Strong Suit has surely got the measure of these on his best form which appears to be the problem as we have not seen that for some time.  2/1 would be a fine price if you had the certainty of Strong Suit putting his best foot forward.  Newbury is a fair track and Strong Suit does have an excuse for his latest flop as the ground was heavy – Hannon has won the race a couple of times in the last twelve years most recently with Paco Boy….. of significant interest and enough to earn the selection – Strong Suit.

Alanza and Red Jazz are the threats to the Majors tip

3.30 Ripon – Great Wilfrid Handicap Tips

This looks a top class renewal of the race with some very well rated horses turning up.  Our Jonathan is top rated on 108 but there are a further five horses rated 100 or above keeping him company at the heavier end of the card.

In truth this is a wide open handicap and it is hard to completely rule many out.

Our Jonathan looked in fine fettle when last out and it is hard not to see him running a good race – He finished second in this last year off 6lbs lighter and one for the shortlist.

Alben Star is at the head of the market after an eye-catching late run in the Stewards Cup.

David Barron has gone mob handed with four entries Colonel Mak looks my favourite of his representatives but Bertiewhistle also has some appeal.

A quick mention for 25/1 shot Tax Free who at the age of ten is still in with a shout.  It is only the uber high draw which puts me off.

On balance, 8/1 Alben Star should give us a terrific run with an excellent chance of winning.

4.15 Perth Tips – Summer Handicap

The Summer handicap is a limited handicap race and this year looks like a nice number.  Trainers from far and wide have sent representation.

Cause of Causes is likely to be a very hot ticket after his Galway Hurdle second.  He is 5/2 favourite – Cause of Causes can run prominent and can be held up – With Timmy Murphy in the saddle, I wonder if we will see him held up to come off the pace.

Kians Delight is another very progressive sort.  Since I like that form line, Absinthe also is in calculations.

One of the Pipe runners, His Excellency, looks of good interest having only just been acquired by the yard.  Yet, I am little off put by the yard going for a 10lb claimer in the saddle, a rider who has not got off the mark in thirteen rides for the yard.

The Major is going to tip Kians Delight for the summer hurdle – This horse ran superbly from out of the handicap to finish second in a similar race at Market Rasen and at 5/1, I am taking the chance that he can get his head in front today – Hugely progressive.

On the opening day of the football season, I am going to throw one team in to allow for a lucky 15.

I am always keen at this stage to go against the promoted squads if they have little premier league experience.  As such, I am sure Stoke rate better than 44/19 shots (Pinnacle whoever they are!).

May tomorrows dinner be something fine, a Scotch Beef Fillet perhaps; a fine wine to accompany and good company.

We drift by just the once, enjoy what comes your way on the tide.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Service

Good morning from the Major who writes from a sunny Worcestershire backdrop.

There is no Saturday Service today owing to other commitments.

Apologies to Mr H and ensemble who are Ascot for Shergar Cup day – Some dislike this part of the racing calendar but the Major thinks it is harmless fun ad anything that draws Chantal Sutherland to our shores cannot e wrong.

To compensate I shall post comprehensively on tomorrows better cards from France and Ireland.

I do think Desert Law has an excellent chance in the sprint and Sunn Central is less exposed than most and will surely go well.

Until tomorrow.