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.
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.