Good evening from the Major who writes the Saturday Sermon on a Friday evening for a change. The evening is pleasant, children are deposited in Birmingham and the good lady accompanied me down to the local pub for dessert after dinner.
Pendleton was an inspirational victor on the track today and joined the club of swelling medallion clad olympians instilling pride in the nation. I am surprisingly into the Olympics – Please do not take my views on the opening ceremony as indicative of my attitude towards the sporting endeavour. Pendleton is the Olympic spirit and far more inspirational to a generation than a few chimneys arising from the ground. My favourite medal to date though has to be rowers Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins. The former is competing in her fourth olympics with the prevailing three offering silver medals – Always the bridesmaid. What emotion for her to power on to glory, a nation willing her on. Steely determination. There is desire and then, there is sheer force of will, the latter is majestic in it’s beauty. It was a wonderful moment.The Major had the pleasure of visiting Goodwood this week and seeing the legendary Frankel, I use that word with consideration.
Goodwood has been ticked off the list for the Major and it is a meeting I heartily recommend. The track is as stunning as you conceive from the description and TV coverage. It is not unlike a picture of hills you might draw as a child, each arcing from behind the last into the distance.
The facilities are fantastic. Queues are minimal, everything clean – The denizens of this corner of the world sport good teeth, good shoes, clean clothes and impeccable manners – Good show all round.
Frankel took his race like you want a 20/1 shot to. The buzz around the course is what captures you. You know you are in the company of pegasus and you feel honoured.
Today we have the conclusion of Glorious Goodwood and the Major has tips from there, from the Galway festival and from Newton Abbot. To the sports my loyal followers, my band of brothers.
The Major has been on the cold list – It is time to daub thy war paint and prepare for battle. Stay the course.
3.45 Newton Abbot
Newton Abbot has some decent races and I wanted to start the Saturday Sermon tips with a tip in the feature race – the SIS Handicap Chase.
It is definite summer jumping ground down in Devon and this is a major factor for the Major. Most of the horses are equipped for this but it is still a must. This is a very good race and there are some decent form horses turning up here.
Spock was a reasonable chance for the Market Rasen Plate last time out and fell before we knew his real chance. He likes it here too but I am not sure this is far enough to see the best of him.
Mister Matt won really well last time and on a flat tight track in these conditions, his from the front style could be an advantage.
Passato looks to be on a high enough mark although his last win at Stratford showed that there is fire in the stomach. Overlooked.
The one the Major is going to tip is Rio Gael who is available at 8/1 this evening. His recent run on the flat needs to be intepreted as a lung opener as it was dreadful but going back to his Aintree (similar track) form in May, you have to admire the form – He quickened up very nicely that day and I fancy a decent run again.
4pm Galway – 7f Handicap
The 7f handicap feature of the Galway Saturday card is a little cracker. With the ground coming up so soft, I really do have a strong fancy in this race.
Bubbly Bellini has been moving forwards like a train this season, progressing two and a half stone to date. The last time the horse was tried over this distance it seemed to work a charm and the Major is betting that the progress is not done. 7/1 is a fine price for my Galway tip.
Glorious Goodwood Tips – The Nassau Stakes
The Group One event from Goodwood goes off at 3.15pm and there is a quality line up of fillies and mares to go to battle.
The horse in focus for the Major is Izzi Top who has won subsequent Group 3,2 and 1 races. While none of the field has experience of winning at Goodwood, with its rolling unudualting ground, at least Izzi Top has performed well on similar tracks.
Gosden is having a wonderful season and with confidence ebbing from young Buicks presence (who has got off The Fugue to ride Izzi Top), I am backing my tip all the way to Nassau victory… 7/4, have a slice.
3.55 Goodwood – Stewards Cup Tips
Hoof It bucked a trend last year winning off a significant mark and the Major is preferring to ignore and go back to type for a Stewards Cup tip.
The ones I like are Jamesie who ran a blinder in the Wokingham but had an ill fated draw – Neil Callan is one of my favourite jocks too.
I am sure Bodog are wrong about Grissom offering 66/1 – This horse might be back up the weights a bit but I am not sure it will stop him from being involved and having young Barzalona booked is a bit rare.
May your dinner be taken in rare circumstances. As a loyal follower you placed the lucky fifteen that was blessed by Jesus – Izzi Top, Bubbly Bellini, Rio Gael and Grissom.
Courage and roll those dice.