The Saturday Sermon – Chester, Haydock, Navan, Newmarket, Newbury and Stratford

Good morning from the Major who writes from an early summer Worcestershire.  An enveloping bright cloud encloses us in a warmth that is somewhat disappointing.  The zenith of our climate is, so far, underwhelming.

Lots of racing to review today and I have been hard at work reviewing cards.  There are times where I feel I am learning something, making terrific progress towards some nirvana of knowledge and experience meriting greater profit.

At other times the sheer ludicrous nature of that process is clear.  How could I suggest that it is possible to consider racing a pre ordained event.  These horses are so complex, fortune plays a big a part as fate.

The world we live in is highly confusing and fast changing.  What is your best answer for why the universe exists? or why it exists with this precise set of physical laws?  The Major may only be concerned with solving a seven furlong handicap at Catterick, but I would suggest it is equally as baffling.  Both problems are philosophical tests of the mind.

For what my opinion is worth, I think accepting your lack of knowledge and allowing your conscience to enjoy itself, is as admirable a trait as the pursuit of complete understanding.

You my friend, my dear follower, you are alive.  Breathe and feel the air fill your lungs.  One day, that will be the last breath you take so savour it… Today, make sure you are free from the barbs of others.  Your freedom is the only thing you truly own.  It partners you as you disintegrate to nothing in a way which nothing else does.

Busy week on Twitter (@tdl123) – The plight of Scriptwriter was raised and saved.  Several winners were tipped (if that sounds big-headed, you must be new).  Come join the conversation.

To the sports and daub thy war paint.  The melee of battle is spread widely today, which brings danger.  Bring up thy charger, we shall pick at each battle, discerning choosing our battles.

Chester Notes

I love betting at Chester.  The draw and tight track gives a reliable filter for slimming down the list of possibilities.

In the opener, some of the choicer horses are drawn wide and a lack of experience would concern me for their chances.  However, Atlantic Affair is drawn in 4 and has more experience than most of the field.  I take a strong view of the Ascot form of this runner who was 3 lengths down on a subsequent listed winner.  Small stakes advised at 7/4.

The 3.55 is the other race I am interested in at Chester and it looks to me a straight bust up between Star Lahib and Our Phylli Vera.  Of the two, marginal preference is for Our Phylli Vera, Alan King has saddled a few winners in the last fortnight and I am always respectful of his runners in competitions like this – He tends to run those with a good chance of winning!

In the 5.05, @lukeyboy1325 recommends you have a slice of 10/3 Dutch Masterpiece.  I don’t often put up others tips but the horse is ridden by one of my preferred jockeys in Jimmy Fortune, I wouldn’t put you off a quick fire Fortune double with 5/2 Finesse in the last.

Haydock Tips

The opening handicap is a bit of a puzzle.  Sun Central is going off as favourite but I have reservations.  The return victory on paper was excellent but the slow pace of the Salisbury race throws some doubt over the worth.  De Rigeur has some claims, especially in first time cheekpieces and with Adam Kirby up.  He is a strong jockey, although one I like to follow at all weather tracks rather than these big Saturday handicaps.  I also feel Oriental Fox has a decent call on his last run, Murphy is well worth 5lbs and you have to fear Mark Johnstone in these races.  However, the pin rests on one at a massive 20/1….

Dazinski was second in this race lst year off a 3lb higher mark.  He was ridden that day by Robert Winston and I consider Neil Callan a considerable upgrade to the piloting.  York last time out was too bad to be true, but possibly the soft ground was too much.  His Newmarket run was also a disgrace at the end of last season but it was his seventh contest.  He wasn’t knocked around in defeat last time and I have a feeling that a top jockey like Callan might eek some improvement.

I am going to show the German raider some respect in the second race.  Nymphea is here for business and I am sure she stands a chance, even if it is hard to assess what second in a German Oaks means.  Personally, I am more confident in the abilities of Prussian who has made the customary transition from Mark Johnstone to Bin Suroor.   He handles these sorts very well and this Dubai Destination filly is the type to go on again after a satisfactory reappearance.

In the 3.15, the old familiar Monsieur Chevalier goes again.  I have a soft spot for this horse ever since his juvenile year.  He looked like he had the world at his feet but I suspect was raced too much.  Ever since he has been hit and miss but I did claim a place on him at 50/1 in a big Ascot handicap… shabash.  I think many of these are too good for him and this might not be his day.

Eton Forever beat Gregorian who then went on to win a nice race on Oaks day. 5/2 and that is enough for me although Premier Loco is a threat to all if retaining some of the old spark at nine years of age.

In the 3.50, Jim Crowley may have been on the wrong Oaks Beckett horse but I think he might be on a winner in 11/2 City Girl.  Juvenile form includes a fine run in the Lowther and only Zanetto (who will be contesting some top class contests) was too good on reappearance this year.  In the same race, there is a British debut for Scandanavian based jockey Oliver Wilson who rides for the German trainer Moser – I love how these names pop up in the build up to Ascot.


4pm – In a top three year old Irish race, it is always hard to look beyond the Ballydoyle entrant.  Forester is a Danehill Dancer colt who was put away after some early strong juvenile form.  That might suggest he has had some issues and thus might be best watched but be warned, he has placed form with Dawn Approach and has a July Cup entry.  Stepwise is the principle opponent and he settled his maiden field in style last time when odds on.  Won Diamond has evident claims too since his trainer won this last year and he has not made the trip for nought.

It is tricky.  It is weighing up the highest potential colt (for me the grey Forester) with an impressive maiden winner in Stepwise and the Mick Channon raider Won Diamond.

The first to get the line is the latter.  His only win is on the all weather, although his turf run last time was a little unlucky, something that won’t repeat in a small field like this.  On balance I do just prefer the home grown two.  Then it is tough.  Forester is clearly talented and the break is a slight worry but not insurmountable given Master O’Brien is in charge.  Stepwise has the benefit of a recent run though and I think 7/4 is very fair…

The 4.35 looks easier, One True Love was doing her best work at the end on Monday and I expect her to do the business here at 7/4.

Newbury and Newmarket

I am raiding these courses for some bankers.  I always like them as they seem to me to give horses their best chances on merit.

Ligeia in the 7pm at Newbury looks worth a punt at evens.  She has the benefit of experience and came very close to winning on debut.  Should have enough.

In the 5.15 at Newmarket, I am having a slice of Marias Choice at 7/4.  Should be plenty of improvement for this one in the hands of Stoute.


Finally…. While we are accepting third party tips, @efc1967 suggests that Clondaw Draft in the 9.15 is not to be beaten on strong point to point form… Enough for me to have a chunky slice.

May your dinner be fine and kept in wonderful company.  The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is an each way effort on Eton Forever, Dazinski, City Girl and Dutch Masterpiece.

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