Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Saturday Sermon – Newmarket Cambridgeshire Tips – Group 1 Tips for the Cheveley Park and Sun Chariot – Plus Market Rasen Listed Chase

Good evening from the Major who writes from a dark Birmingham where a busy weekend awaits.

I am up in the second city as it is the home of my parents and tomorrow, I fly with my father, brother and friend to Berlin.  On Sunday, I am competing in the Berlin marathon, my debut and nerves and excitement are mingling.

Elusive Kate is a hot bet for the Major

It is motivating to think of those that sponsored you (click here if you can spare a few bob) – I must mention Vicki O’Connell who tweeted Mo Farah asking for a message of support.  Given how much of a hero Farah is to me, the very thought was beautiful – Cheers Vick.

It is also uplifting to consider the cause.  In my case it is Whizz Kidz – A magnificent charity who provide mobility equipment for severely disabled children.  It makes an awful lot of difference to the lives of these young people and the waiting list for the kit runs to 70,000 – What will you bet today… £20?  £40?  Why not consider donating 10% on my Justgiving page, just add the note that the Major sent you and I will be proud to consider that just one of my followers supported me.

After all – This blog is free, unhinged and provided come rain or shine.  I never ask anything of you…. Well that is not strictly true.  I ask that you behave accordingly, bet with vigour and feel life coursing through your veins.  These things I ask are for your own good but you are not welcome here unless you agree to them.

Regular readers will be familiar with my penchant for Victorian military history. This week, given my own need, come Sunday, for stimulating verse, I give you the poem Vitai Lampada by Sir Henry Newbolt.

The title translates from the latin as Torch of Life…..  It describes a game of cricket which it tight and tense at the end and how it calls for bravery and a stiff upper lip.  Then, jumping to later in life, it translates that scene of sport to the field of war and suggests the same cry might muster the sinew and steel the nerve in a more earnest context, with blood spilt on the desert sand…

There’s a breathless hush in the Close tonight
Ten to make and the match to win
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
Play up! play up! and play the game!
The sand of the desert is sodden red,
Red with the wreck of a square that broke;
The Gatlings jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England’s far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
Play up! play up! and play the game!
This is the word that year by year,
While in her place the school is set,
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind
Play up! play up! and play the game!
To the sports…
The Cambridgeshire Tips – Newmarket
Cambridgeshire winners tend to weighted in the sub nine stone category and this is the starting point for the Major in hunt of a winning tip.
It is not much of a starting point – This is the trickiest of handicaps.  In the last ten years we have had a 100/1 winner and last year, Prince of Johannes returned 40/1.  It is the sort of race one might leave to Pricewise, but you must have a view.
Check the terms with your bookmaker too.  Skybet go an incredible six places on the race which is a nice touch.  Hills, Laddies and Coral remain the first four with most paying to five.
Richard Hughes is an interesting booking on Chil the Kite (10/1 Laddies) – The listed Haydock form was good and the favourite is of interest.  However, I am not sure that the low numbers are where you want to be and out of stall 1, there could be problems.  This horse will be doing good late work though.
Mijhaar has been popular and Neil Callan is the Majors favourite jockey – The horse is the wrong profile though and I will look elsewhere.
I like the look of 16/1 Jacks Revenge – He lacked the breaks in his last race having won the two previous outings.  His french jockey is an eye catching booking and there is money tonight.  
The Major is going to tip two at fancy prices for your consideration.
Ian Williams runs 33/1 Postscript (Laddies) – This is a horse on the upgrade who has won four times this season.  Low weight and drawn 28, he fits the bill for the Major perfectly and with the assistance of Graham Lee, I am anticipating a big run.
My second tip for the Cambridgeshire is Stevie Thunder.  This is another 33/1 selection and a horse that finished second in the race last year.  He is 15lbs better off with last years winner Prince of Johanne and I just fancy a big run.
Cheveley Park Tips
The six furlong Group 1 for fillies is a cracking renewal.  Maureen is all the rage at 5/2 but the Major has a tip further down the prices.
Richard Hannon is always to be feared in these juvenile contests but this is a race he has not had the richest of pickings from and I think he targets other contests more vigorously.  This race also seems to throw up few surprises and no winner has been priced bigger than 5/1 in the last six years.
Ceiling Kitty is going to take them along at a decent clip and I think might set it up for a decent closer.  
The horse I want to be on is Roshdu Queen – My tip is an unbeaten filly who might be good enough to take this.
Tips for the Sun Chariot
Beauty Parlour is a French classic winner and now in the Henry Cecil yard, looks like a dangerous horse to back against.  I do wonder though if a little more time might be required before we see the best from the horse. 
The other Cecil horse Chachamaidee has the assistance of Queally and ran well when awarded the G1 Matron in Ireland last time out.
Laugh Out Loud is a better bet at 14/1 if Mick Channons grey filly can relax into the race and this is a considered horse.
For me though there are two compelling reasons to back Elusive Kate at 9/4.  The first is that we are at a time of season where we might not be getting the best running from some of these animals.  Elusive Kate though is fresh.  Secondly, this horse has had Moonlight Cloud in behind in France and frankly, I don’t see any reason why we should consider John Gosdens filly as anything other than top class.  Feeling good about this one.
2.40 Market Rasen – Tip for the Listed Chase
How exciting that we are getting to the stage of £28k chase races being contested.  The jumps is upon us and this Market Rasen race looks cracking to me.
Paul Nicholls runner, Rebel de Marquis carries a hefty weight and is an 8/1 shot but not for the Major.  This is a reasonable field to master after a lengthy time off the course.
Bobowen is much more interesting having been an improver all summer, winning four races and finishing second to a decent sort at Worcester.  13/2 seems fair.
Qulinton at 14/1 is of some interest.  There are mixed messages about the best ground for this horse but what is certain is that he loves Market Rasen almost always finding himself in the places here.
I am going to go two handed.  7/1 Bobowen should be backed.  I am having a saver though on the 35 (Betfair) available on Idarah.  The nine year old probably is not going to improve too much but I think the best form is fine anyway.  Venetia Williams does not send many here and has had a winner amongst them.  
On the football fields – I would back Newcastle to win at Reading at 17/11. Sunderland look attractive to at 7/8 as do Man Utd at 5/8.  Doubles from this lot for me.
May your dinner be fine and the wine flowing generously.  For me, pasta, chicken, rice and maybe just a little of the grape juice to remind me I am alive.
Courage, roll those dice.
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Saturday Sermon – Ayr Tips – Gold Cup, Silver Cup, Bronze Cup – Mill Reef at Newbury and Premier League Football

Good evening from the Major who writes on a Friday evening as I rise with the lark to engage in my last long distance training run before heading to Berlin next weekend for the marathon.

Moohaajim is very well fancied by the Major – 10/3 for the Mill Reef

I am running a considerable section of the picturesque Staffordshire and Worcester canal.  This old canal runs from the Trent and Mersey canal to the east of Stafford all the way down to the Severn river at Stourport.  Until the Worcester Birmingham canal opened this waterway was a major industrial route.  I am negotiating the bottom third starting to the west of Wolverhampton and running under the Kinver ridge, through a few tunnels before running through Kidderminster and finishing in the elaborate canal basin on Stourport.

Wish me luck, or don’t.

Luck, fate, fortune.  Such things are for children and the feeble.

A conjurer may beat you with a sleight of hand coupled with distraction but will rarely claim to be anything other than entertainment.  They deploy a skill to beat your eye and mind with a show.

As for genuine coincidence, well that happens all the time.  It really should not surprise people as much as it does.  Those that choose to interpret the statistical inevitability of something massively unlikely happening as meaning unseen forces are at work, simply fail to acknowledge the scale of interaction we have with the world.  We interact millions of times in ordinary situations that offer a possibility of an amazing coincidence.  Thus it is logical that several times in our lives, one in a million shot, coincidences will happen.

A lady friend of the Major recently visited a medium at a local pub night.  While she was a little sceptical, she was taken by some of what she saw and could not explain some of the connections made.

While I cannot claim to know the tricks used by the medium in question, I can guess that throwing lots of generic information out quickly is key.  Knowing the audience demographic, and the most common fatal diseases, it would not he hard to strike lucky.  Trickery.

A medium preys; on the feeble-minded, those that should know better and those who are looking for something; such as the recently bereaved – That is poor form, distasteful.  I consider them the lowest of people.

To the sports…

Why I am taking on the Ayr treble of Bronze, Silver and Gold Cups I do not know.  This really should be left to Pricewise but like a moth to the light that will kill me, I feel inexorably pulled in.  The death star has engaged the tractor beam.  We have the benefit of extreme heavy ground and that might give us some help but we are fishing in deep waters here.

Ayr Bronze Cup Tips

My goodness, do you think Dandy Nicholls the King of the sprinters wants to win this race?  He has entered seven of the twenty seven entrants for this handicap sprint.

The trainers son is on Tajneed who may be well prepped for this.  Amenable has Mulrennan aboard who has a good strike rate for the yard and was a winner last time out, interesting – especially as the horse has form on soft (untested on heavy).  Yet given the win came from the front, it is unlikely that he will get that opportunity here.

Jack Dexter looks like a certain improver and seems very capable in the mud.  why on earth would you back a favourite in a race like this though?  Graham Lee will certainly give the horse a power packed ride, no doubt will be backed.

Cheveton has a great chance too.  Not only has he won this race but he has won the Silver Cup too and returning on a similar mark, he will surely be tuned up and ready for action.  Of distinct interest.

Llewelyn is stepping up in class but will handle conditions.  Best Trip is very interesting running for Ellison.  This is a yard that can ready a gamble and if money comes I would be more confident.  The horse does well on soft and I do think it has a chance.

The Major is opting for Frequency at 20/1.  The selection is not proven on this  heavy surface and has only won once on soft from five starts.  That is the bad news.  the good news is that he gets the assistance of Robert Winston who won with the horse earlier in the season and his method of racing may be helped by the fact that he is drawn on the rail.  With enough pace on the low stalls then perhaps we might be in luck.

Ayr Silver Cup Tips

Although my tip in the first is not influenced as strongly by the ground as by the draw and quality of the animal; I am staying with the mudlarks for the Silver Cup tip.

The challenge is being certain which ones will love these conditions as many of them will not have experienced it before.  I suspect they are going to be finishing these races strung out like three-mile chasers.

The Silver Cup horses in focus for the Major are…

9/1 favourite An Saighdiur who has shot to fame on the all-weather but has transferred that ability to very soft ground.  Clearly on the way up and very easy to back at this price.

Spinatrix and Gatepost are not without chances.  The later is no 40/1 shot and certainly worth a small each way investment.  Highland Colori will be fine with the ground but is carrying much more weight now and I am not sure it is the likely profile.

Cadeaux Pearl is of some interest but without the usual winning headgear it is hard to be overly positive.

the Major is going to opt for two in the Silver Cup.  The first tip is Klynch at 28/1.  This horse is back to a winning mark and has taken 4 from 6 on soft.  There is a suggestion this is not the right time of year but I think it is worth a small punt.

The other selection is Grissom at 25/1 with Ladbrokes.  The horse has a good record here and although never placed in five runnings on heavy until this summer, he went in under these conditions at Hamilton showing that he can handle the ground.

Ayr Gold Cup Tips

No respite from these conundrums and the Gold Cup is as equally perplexing.

It is hard to ignore the race record of Dandy Nicholls in these contests.  He saddles just two for the gold cup.  Rodrigo de Torres and Beacon Lodge are rank outsiders but are surely worth a look.  Of the two the former rates the more interesting.  He didn’t change hands into the Nicholls yard for a lot of money and it is interesting that they are going with a drop in trip in this company.  40/1 is interesting.

Maarek is going to love these conditions and this horse is in fine fettle this year.  I am not sure that the improvement has stopped with this multiple group winner.  The ground is right up his street and top weight burden could pose no problem.  12/1 is a superb each way price.

Again I am going to have two on my side in the Gold Cup.  Firstly Pintura at 20/1 – I think this will prove an ideal race for the Kevin Ryan inmate and William Hill are over priced.

The second gold cup tip is Doc Hay at 16/1 (BetVictor).  This horse won a great trial race and like my other selection is drawn relatively low.

Mill Reef Group 2 – Newbury Tips

I love the Mill Reef race and despite being a race for the best two year olds where often new talent comes to the fore, the recent winners have all been short prices.  I think it will pay to concentrate on the top of the market again.

That said, Taayel is an interesting runner having won a maiden at Yarmouth.  Could be anything but although interesting, I want a more certain profile.

Heavy Metal showed a turnaround when taking the Richmond and the improvement since he met and beat Cay Verde (who has also improved) seems to suggest he would be the better prospect.

Cougar Ridge is not the sort I am after.

That leaves me with Moohaajim at 10/3 (Hills).  My tip won a debut nicely before being a close up fifth in the Prix Morny.  That form is right up there and given he had more work to do than the others, he was unlucky not to have won.  Normal improvement makes him a serious contender for this years Mill Reef.

In the football, Villa strike me as bet of the weekend at 11/5.  Southampton have played well but the young Villa team are coming together and their win over Swansea might be the start of collecting a few useful points.

I also like the chances of Wigan to beat Fulham at home (6/4) and I like West Brom too at 5/6 to overcome Reading.

May your dinner be delightful a juicy steak of the finest cut, paid for by finally nailing one of these big handicap Ayr specials.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Doncaster Tips (St Leger), 20/1 Chester Tip and the St Leger Curragh Action – Mr John Dunlop and the subject of patience….

Good morning from the Major who writes from the Birmingham suburb of Yardley where an overcast heaven misleads.  The air has a lightness, it will be a nice day.

Camelot bids to be the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky…. Good luck Team Ballydoyle

This is the time of year for the Major.  It is dark enough at night and in the morning for a man who sleeps lightly to rest properly.  the sun does not burn at my fair Northern skin and my eyes relax more having to squint less against the bright light.

What a cracking day of racing too.  Both the English and Irish St Leger meets (although two entirely different races) and Camelot bids very strongly to become the first triple crown winner the Major will have had the pleasure to witness.

Fair play to connections for taking this route.  Doncaster races must be absolutely made over – The St Leger has lost a good deal of lustre over recent years.  Watching Masked Marvel struggle yesterday, I wonder what impact this grueling affair can have on three year old horses.  This might be why top owners have taken the best horses into other races, I do not know for sure.

What is certain is that the St Leger has lost some of the Group One class it is bestowed with.  The arrival of unbeaten Camelot is a shot in the arm for the last of our classics.

John Dunlop announced retirement this week and what better way to mark your retirement announcement than to have the winner in the feature race on Friday, Times Up ran the trainer proud.

Plenty of accolades have been sprayed about regarding Mr Dunlop and the Major will not try to do what others know better.  I will say something about patience though.

Last night, my father in law watched the Shawshank Redemption.  Like many, it is a film he has seen quite a few times before and knowing the outcome adds to the enjoyment.  The subtleties that transpire over a period of time are nurtured and grow.

What a different film it would be if the prison break had been effected over the course of a year., not through guile and perfection but through reaction and urgency?  Where we buy into the aloof lead character is that without uttering a word, he spent half a lifetime achieving something in silence.  A thing he was happy to carry on his soul alone.

The Major sadly is a product of the modern generation.  I am used to having desires fulfilled here and now.  Food is cheap and available and not something you grow.  Purchases of aspiration come immediately, saving is something you do not need to do when you can acquire cheap credit, why wait… This is the lesson of the modern generation.

As someone whose hungers are avaricious and grasping, I think I am able to spot a patient man better than most and Mr Dunlop strikes me as such.  The manner in which he built a training empire.  The manner in which his main owner won the Gold Cup (his stated personal dream) the year before he died after decades of trying.  The manner in which Mr Dunlop carries himself.  Ah yes, I recognise what I do not exhibit.

Mr Dunlop leaves a racing legacy through his sons, again something deliberate which he created.  Spoils of satisfaction are greater for those who built rather than bought.  I imagine he is a content man and wish him all the best for retirement.

To the sports

Doncaster St Leger Tips

Camelot has brushed aside all opposition he has faced and is n better than 4/9 to complete his triple crown bid at Donnie this afternoon.  His turn of foot when putting the derby to bed was devastating and why would we think that staying would be an issue over this 500m odd further?  He won the derby by five lengths being eased, why would the St Leger distance pose a greater problem?

Main Sequence, second in the derby has no right to be reversing the form in my view.  Yet O’Brien has issued a slight warning about staying the distance.  If you ask me, that is simply bluster, the sort of thing a Premier League manager does to deflect potential blame – Camelot should win and O’Brien should accept that as fact.

It is a race in which you can score terrific each way value.  Gosden has a terrific record in this race and when pushed, Buick has selected to ride Thought Worthy.  I am not sure he has got this choice right but perhaps the sluggish look to his Irish Derby race might be ground connected, it was slow that day.

I am going to suggest two lively outsiders for you.

Thomas Chippendale is lightly raced but was beaten well by Thought Worthy at York.  I am not reading too much into that as conditions were rattling and I do not think that this one acted on it – I would not put you off an each way slice at 28/1.

However, the Major is going for a 16/1 tip for the St Leger (Ladbrokes go quarter odds the place) with Guarantee.

If we are going to get Camelot beat, it will be the unlikely circumstance that the favourite does not stay.  Dartford is in the race to ensure a decent pace and I think they might go quickly enough to try to exploit any potential stamina issues – This would set things up well enough for Guarantee who will be doing his best work at the death.

Late and fast, grimly staying on…. Let us see if Guarantee can give us the each way value.  If you can take it, have a lumpy bet on the favourite too at 4/9.

The Irish St Leger – Tips for the Curragh

the Irish St Leger is an open aged affair and Gosden sends Aiken over on a raid.  This could bear fruit as the Chantilly race he won was a very good Group affair.  That said, his form in the Hardwicke was not brilliant.

Fame and Glory has won several times at the Curragh and the O’Brien trained favourite will no doubt be popular.

Brown Panther is another British raider with a sporting chance and the form with the others is well tied.

Hartani looks progressive to me and while he did not win his Leger trial, it was an eye-catching run all the same.  The classic generation gets a generous lump of weight in this race but do not have a great race record.  Interesting but I am not convinced this will be the first three year old in the last eleven years to win the Irish St Leger.  Incidentally the last horse to do so was the incredible Vinnie Roe who won the first of four St Leger crowns for Dermot Weld at the age of three.

The Major has thought long about the likely way the race will pan out and in the finish I am going to suggest that Britain can complete a hat-trick of wins in this race.

I am opting for Aiken, his trainer works miracles with these sorts and 5/1 looks generous to me.

2.40 Chester – Listed Mile

After the loss of Never Can Tell yesterday, what better result that if Area Fifty One or Good Morning Star could win the feature Chester race for Dr Khoukash.

The market seems to think that Modun is the main threat but the Major has some serious doubts about this 13/8 favourite.  He has been tried at a higher level than this and I am pretty sure he is under-priced here.

Instead the Major is going to stick with a horse that I still think has some class to show, if they can crack the code.

Naseem Alyasmeen is 20/1 with Ladbrokes and at this price, I suggest an investment.  The Hamilton run did not look right to the Major and I remain optimistic that we will get a tune out of this girl sooner or later.  Crucially she has form around the tight turns of Chester winning a handicap here in the summer (although off a lowly mark).  Have a slice and thank me later.

Doncaster Tips – Champagne Stakes

Having covered the St Leger, I am back to Donnie for the second race of the day, the Group Two Champagne Stakes.

Toronado won a decent listed Ascot contest and looks well worth a crack at the Champagne Stakes.  Representing last years winning trainer, surely a decent chance.

Tha’ir continues to run well for Godolphin who have won the race twice in the last five years.  The last run at Sandown in Group Three company was pretty good – I just wonder if the bridesmaid position beckons again for this one who looks difficult to place.

5/4 shot Dundonnell won the Acomb Stakes very well last time out and you can see why he heads the market.  Under pressure at the end of that race, he seemed to lug right for the Major though and that is enough to put me off.

On balance, I am tipping Toronado for the Champagne at 11/4 (Hills or Ladbrokes) – Decent price that.

Football Tips

International breaks give teams a chance to regroup and I would not be over-keen to read too much into the form of teams entering the break.

As such, the football tips the Major likes are 17/19 shots, Spurs to win at Reading and 16/11 Villa to do the business at home to Swansea.  Have a double on that!

May your dinner be fuelled by a long-awaited 20/1 winner.  A generous hearty meal awaits where wine may flow and hours pass.  With good company a man can be simply content.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Haydock Sprint Cup Tips, 33/1 Ascot Tip and a 33/1 shot at Leopardstown!. Shabash

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a rural Worcestershire scene, dark at an hour forboding the coming cold of winter.

How the Major loves the change of season. Of fair complexion, I have always struggled in the sun, it makes me ill. Nice dark nights, cold air on your face and less brightness with which to ache my northern eyes, winter is my time.

The Major is in decent form with some nice winners last weekend. Let us hope the run continues and we strike gold with the huge amount of tips provided below.

I am writing the post on a Friday evening as I am running in the morning. I am taking on 9 miles and then I am going to repeat the dose on Sunday. This is all in preparation for the Berlin marathon which I run with my brother and Adam Redmond, both also avid gambling spirits.

Our cause is Whizz Kidz – A superb charity giving young disabled people mobility. The way in which their equipment and training can boost a childs confidence and change their lives is a wonderful thing. If you have a few pounds to spare, the Major urges you to consider a small donation at our justgiving page.

After all, what has the Major ever asked of you. You remain anonymous, arriving here to read these words each week. You are one of a few hundred regulars. You know me; I ask little, I know I am barely profitable – I offer my ideas for free neither expecting praise or condemnation after the result. I serve you no adverts, I don’t pester you to sign up for anything. You get the Major every weekend, unhinged and honest. Free, no strings attached. Just once, might I appeal to your generosity.

If you don’t really know me, then just donate the cost of a pint – Remain anonymous if you will, it would move me to receive such generosity. After all, you don’t have to, it is merely a choice.

Betfred Sprint Day and the main race looks a cracker. Another in the British Champions Series which has been a roaring success. Below I have compiled tips for that, alongside some racing tips for Leopardstown where the Group One Irish Champion Stakes is lit up by the presence of Snow Fairy and Nathaniel. As usual, the Major brings you the highlights and I cover the entire and I must say entirely impenetrable Ascot card. As a close colleague of the Majors, Mr Smith, is attending, should there be winners, I trust a man of considerable means, might consider a donation to the cause.

Be ready to daub thy war paint my dear followers, be ready to bear arms. Bravery in the face of our enemy; he who makes markets of the most devious nature to fool us and confound our minds. Allow me to cut through the clouds of misdirection.

For real bravery, consider the tale of Airmen Sergeant Norman Jackson VC. You have to do some magnificent things to win a Victoria Cross, in this case, he crawled onto the wing of his Lancaster which had sustained fire after a raid on Schweinfurt, a Bavarian town on the Main river. The wing was on fire and Sergeant Jackson resolved to put the fire out with an extinguisher. His parachute accidentally opened on the way out, meaning he knew that if he fell, he was doomed.

In those circumstances, would you crawl onto a plane wing at 200mph, 20,000 feet in the air? What is more, he knew that even if succesful, he would never be able to get back into the aircraft.

He fell from the wing after dropping the extinguisher, his chute partially worked and in addition to his broken bones and burns, he suffered being captured. That is the sort of action that requires recognition with our highest honour, a small cross of bronze (legend has it from the cannons at Balaclava where our thin red line and light brigade saw action… although a more likely source is Chinese bronze).

To the sports….

3.25 – Haydock Betfred Sprint Cup Tips

This is a proper Group One race with top class sprinters taking each other on – On rattling ground at Haydock it is going to be fast and furious.

Aussie sprinter Ortensia is on a hat trick bid after superb Goodwood and York wins this term. Her early form in Britain looked ropey but on balance she had plenty of excuses for those first two runs. The Nunthorpe win was particularly good and she remains of clear interest at 11/4.

Society Rock has the assistance of Kieran Fallon and if breaking on terms could be a threat to all. 11/1 is a great each way price.

Strong Suit has been on the wrong side of a Frankel beating and I think Hannon is doing the right thing dropping him back to sprint distances. Quicker ground seems the key to the horse who is a general 6/1 chance.

Three year olds have a reasonable record in the Haydock Sprint Cup but Es Que Love is surely outclassed.

The Major is going instead to rely on my old favourite Bated Breath at 7/2 with Totesport and Betfred. My selection set a course record in the Temple Stakes and I think the quick ground we get here is the key to him. His Haydock record is outstanding and I fancy him to go one better than his second here last year.

A forecast with Ortensia is also a bet I would like to take on.

Ascot Tips – The Full Ascot Card

1.30 Juvenile Maiden

There is not a lot of form evidence with these two year olds and so the Major advises you to keep stakes at a minimum.

Telescope and Meshardal are very interesting debutantes, both have derby entries. On breeding, this looks like it might be a bit sharp for the former, a son of Galileo. The Sharmadal bred Mershardal might go well on debut. Mershadal is from the Hannon yard, possibly the most effective trainer for bringing the best from two year olds, even if other trainers seem to surpass him with older horses.

Interestingly, with Richard Hughes not available for Hannon, Pat Dobbs, the next stable pick is on Bursledon, a horse I would be interested in.

In these races, money can be crucial and at this stage, no market is open and so the Major is advising blind. Keep stakes small but I would chance a small bet on King Muro at 33/1 or so (guessing the price here so use your own judgement!)

2pm – Fillies Juvenile Maiden

Half an hour later and it is the turn of the girls. Only seven runners and three of them are representatives of the Mohammed Al Zarooni stable. That is an interesting yard for juveniles, they are focussed on their breeding operation. The market seems to have little feel for the genuine chances suggesting that they are not a gambling yard. The Major likes this as if you find one at a price, you need not be put off.

While there are less runners, the quality is all there.

Taking Al Zarooni’s runners, then jockey booking suggests they are happiest with Desert Blossom, who won her debut race with the field strung out. I would not jump to judge the bare form as superb but clearly she has ability.

Fleeting Spirit is an interesting runner, a big filly, she is sure to improve with time as she comes to herself. She had the bad luck of meeting the ill-fated Newfangled on debut and went one better subsequently. Her last third was a bit dissapointing off what looked like a winnable mark.

While I think Desert Blossom is the likeliest winner, I prefer at the prices, rank outsider, 12/1 shot Nice Story. The Chepstow race she won was entirely ordinary. We do not get many Suave bred horses in the UK, the sire is out of AP Indy and the Major is happy that this could be a well bred sort. While the Chepstow run was only OK, the ground here will be more suitable and at 12/1 I fancy a slice.

This is also not a race to get too involved in. I might have a small reverse forecast with Desert Blossom too.

2.35 Ascot – Class 2 Nursery Sprint

Another two year old race, this time over a sprint distance. A very difficult contest to tip.

The market is wide open at 9/2 the field and that reflects the open nature of the affair.

Kodiac bred, Foxy Forever is very interesting. The yard have used young Barzalona twice and have won with him on board twice. His debut win at Wolverhampton followed some significant support and so you have to be interested at 15/2 (Paddy Power).

Experience brings Opt Out into the frame with this being the seventh race of the colts career. He has moved on in leaps and bounds in the last two although the last win at Warwick saw another 5lbs lumped on. I love the toughness of Johnstones horses but prefer Fanning in the saddle.

While Foxy Forever is a very interesting horse with an eye catching booking, it is 6/1 shot Stand of Glory that the Major is going to tip in the Ascot nursery sprint. The ground at Thirsk was pretty rattling and Ascot can dry to include firm tomorrow – There is no way that the Ripon race is true form having led in unsuitable ground, I am sure a place is the minimum we could expect.

3.10 Fillies Handicap

Sharmadal filly Wahylah probably ran her best race at Beverley last time out and the manner of the race suggests that this step up in trip is well in favour.

Ted Durcan gets a rare eye catching ride (2 wins from 3 in last two years) for the yard or Mrs Greeley who has a fair each way chance.

Speedi Mouse is a most interesting runner seeking a hat-trick. The inexperienced jockey has clearly got a good tune out of the horse and the mild weights increase won’t stop further improvement. Of interest.

The Major though is going to tip Honeymead at 12/1. My selection only managed fifth last time out but that was only a few lengths down to the very useful Dutch Rose. That was probably the best run for some time and while many will overlook on the grounds of being exposed, the Major has a sense that there might be a bit more to come.

3.45 Ascot – Class 2 Handicap

A series of the usual handicap suspects have turned up for this class 2 Ascot handicap.

There are few easy races at Ascot today with either mind bendingly difficult handicaps or juvenile guesswork at the heart of these difficult connundrums.

Ladbrokes are generous offering 14/1 about Global Village from the Ellison yard. I would suggest that ground conditions are not ideal and I have given up on trying to guess when the yard have one ready – Money would be significant.

Primaeval is very interesting to the Major who would have hated the soft draining conditions last time out. Returned to suitable conditions, a big run could be on the cards.

In these sorts of races though, the Major prefers the class acts playing off higher weights and the sort that fits the bill is Johnstones Bannock. 10/1 is generally available this evening for my tip who benefits from the best 7lb claimer in Michael Murphy. Get involved.

4.15pm Ascot – 12f Handicap

This is another mind bending puzzle with many horses that enter the equation.

Gospel Choir beat the very useful Sun Central who went on to win again, that form has pushed Gospel Choir to the top of the market. Sir Michael Stoute has a successful relationship with Baker and this horse has won two handicaps here from three wins this year. Very interesting.

Stencive, narrowly defeated by Gospel Choir has to be in the calculation too with some pretty blue blood. In fact the horse is closely related to my favourite ever horse, George Washington. Clearly very useful and on balance, irresistible – the Major tips 10/1 Stencive. My selection, a son of Dansili, should give us a decent run at a decent price.

Incidentally, Fennell Bay is no way a 33/1 shot. OK, the busy schedule may have effected recent performances but if Johnstone has freshened up this outsider then he could make a mockery of that price.

Castilo Del Diablo is another witha great chance. Entirely unexposed, well drawn and a formerly expensive purchase, who knows? I would not put you off.

4.50 Ascot Food and Wine Handicap

Last Sovereign is a rejuvenated animal under the inexperienced jockey Jacob Butterfield, I think the improvement may be stopped by the best part of half a stone extra burden.

Fitz Flyer is the 5/1 favourite and did well just behind the Majors tip Tax Free last time out. Hardly a strike rate to fill you with confidence but signs of a big run are there.

The Major has to decide between Intransigent at 8/1 – A potentially progressive beast whose latest all weather win was decisive and there is little reason why it cannot be replicated on turf. My other fancy is equal 8/1 shot Ajjaadd, who looks like he sort that has been laid out for the race. It is coming to his time of year, the market knows it and while a few more pounds off the weight would help, surely he will be tuned up.

On balance, I just think Ajjaadd will be a major player at 8/1.

5.45 Leopardstown – Irish Champion Tips

The weight allowance normally means that the classic generation have a very good chance in the Champion but this year, the proven class is in the older horses.

Snow Fairy at 2/1 would be my favourite of them, the admirable mare has won 6 group one affairs including her last race at Deauville.

Good luck to Buick who is making the helicopter dash across the Irish Sea to ride Nathaniel. The favourite is clearly a talented animal but I am not sure this is his race.

As for St Nicholas Abbey, the shortness of the trip is one concern but the effect that Frankel inflicted with his Juddmonte demolition act is as much a concern.

Instead the Major opts for 33/1 shot Daddy Long Legs and I ask for your imagination. My tip won the UAE derby and looked set for a globe trotting career but his runs in the states were awful. Given a fresh turf chance back at home, with the three year old allowances, I’m not ruling out some chance for the horse in what might be a tactical affair.

That’s it from the Major who gives you nine sporting horsey tips. If I had to pick a nap, then I would be hard pressed between Bated Breath and Stencive.

May your winnings pay for a dinner to which you can take the classiest of sorts. Bedecked in expensive trinkets and reeking of perfume, she might be full of herself, but after a decent bottle or three and a sight of a fat wallet, the look in the eye will run to more than decent steak. Airs and graces or not, we are all the same in the end.

Courage, roll those dice.

Flash Thursday Salisbury Tip

The Major cannot sleep – Tonight I ran 16 miles in preparation for the Berlin marathon in three and a bit weeks.

Three hours have passed since the run but I am still unable to get a chemical balance in my body that will allow rest. If you think this effort deserves some reward then please (in a Paralympic year too) consider a donation to the my justgiving account for the marvellous Whizz Kidz charity who provide mobility equipment for severely disabled children.

So a flash post on some thoughts from tomorrows cards.

Firstly a nice Clonmel mixed card – These mixed flat and jumps cards are popular in Ireland and I think we should have more of them in the UK too.

Salisbury Thursday Tips

In the feature listed race (3.15) I cannot get away from the well backed horse, El Manati. This horse set a record at Leicester last time out when winning by a wide margin, the money has poured in for the horse who faces a much more tricky assignment here but the suggestion is the there is some class here in the daughter of Ilfraaj. The draw is important here with a bias on low numbers as they swing right handed into the long straight, my girl is in stall 3, what else do you need? 4/1 is available as I type with BetVictor so have a slice.

How about a Tip for the States?

In the Futurity (Grade 1) being run in the States, I would back a bit of course experience even in the face of fancied debutantes from top yards such as Baffert. Know More seems obvious at 5/2 but I am happy to be obvious with this horse whose Sires side comes out of Tales of the Cat and the Dams sire is through the Seattle Slew line… Lovely.

Good luck folks…..