The Saturday Sermon – Newmarket and Chepstow

Good morning from the Major who writes wearily but contented.  It has been a long week and I shall not trouble you, my good friends, with the travails that sapped at the energy, suffice to say that there are many slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Yet here we are at Saturday, the moment of the week I long for, before the sport has gotten underway, all of our hopes and dreams remain intact, untouched by the real world and the hazardous existence we live spinning on this fragile globe.  We can believe, just for a moment that today, we land the mothership.

In one sense I dread that day.  I think you know why.  I have such well tuned readers, the sorts of folk that risk it all in one turn of pitch and toss and lose and start again at their beginnings but never breathe a word of their loss.  You know why I fear catching the thing I chase, purpose.

For 200 odd Saturdays I have galvanised myself, come rain or shine, sickness and health, from green Worcestershire scenes to foreign fields; to collect and record my views of the weekend sport, maintaining the view that one day an amazing combination would land.  The pursuit gives me something to hold on to, a steady post in the maelstrom of existence, a commitment and a piece of unfinished business. Purpose.

To land the mothership, to remove that purpose, what then dear friends.  We do not know.  Things would change immeasurably, beyond the wild celebrations, accepting the accolades, a darkness exists, that I could fall between those cracks is certain..

So why pursue it then.  Why keep writing and sharing racing tips? Well for one, (and I shudder at the realisation) I must love the sound if my own voice. A fool uttereth all his mind but the wise man keep it in till afterward, Proverbs.

Is that it? Well no, consider this dear friends, imagine not pursuing glory, just think about that, 200 less moments of hope, of virgin dreams.  That is not to slip to the chasm, it is to lose your grip and plunge hurtling down permanently, twisting through the darkness, losing any sense of direction – The spark leaps from the fire and dims until extinguishing itself, so stay close to the fire, stay bright.  It is good to be alive.

To the sports.

I love Cesarewitch day, ever the heady days of 2007 when Sir Clement Freuds column which was worth the Racing post cover price alone tipped up Legspinner at 14/1.  I was at Cheltenham races that day and me and a couple of good friends were having a decent day, I seem to remember Joe Lively being our big course winner and topped up with Legspinner well, we had a royal time and steak for dinner.

Newmarket Future Champions Day

The ground at both Newmarket and Chepstow where the Major concentrates his energy could be a significant determinant factor in the outcome of the races and the Major has to take a view.  The decision I have made based on reports and forecasts is that both courses will play slow and soft and I want to be on horses where those conditions play to strengths.

The Dubai Challenge is the opener on the cards at Newmarket and one could do worse than focussing on three year olds who have a good record in the race.  Highland Colori showed last time that he has plenty of ability and a reproduction of that run might put him close.  My issue is though that with these sorts of runners, a reproduction of anything is a big question mark and so with a little caution I am opting for Amarillo the German raider who is certain to like soft conditions (should they arrive).

The Middle Park is the first of two Group 1 races where we get to see two of the big guns from the O’Brien yard unleashed and ready to do some damage.  Great White Eagle was about as visually impressive a winner as you can get on debut and I think may be very good.  He is out of Elusive Quality who is bred out of the Darley US operation and so you might be forgiven for thinking, what not a Galileo, not a Montjeu?  Elusive Quality has a progeny record of excellent juveniles (4 times has produced the US juvenile champion) and we would probably know his son Ravens Pass best.  Look, I know you are probably thinking, why did I come here to read that Great White Eagle might be brilliant, but what can I do?  He might be.  Get on.  2/1.

By the way, if Supplicant outruns his 8/1 price in this race, have your trigger finger on the bet button for the 3.55 at York where Rufford is 7/2 at the moment – The tied Mill Reef form would get a tremendous boost from Supplicant.

It gets worse.  I think War Command will also trounce the Dewhurst opposition.  A lot was made of the form of the Coventry with most speakers detracting from its value but again, the visual prowess of the win for War Command spoke volumes of the class he has.  He is out of another American Sire, War Front who has also sired Declaration of War (following all this?) – The Sire works out of Clairborne Farm and in the last few seasons seems to be producing much better crops (6th crop in all).  Dont shoot the messenger, I just think a tasty O’Brien double is in order.

In the big handicap, the Cesarewitch, I haven’t a clue.  I am guessing as much as the next man and so will opt for the well drawn, Murtagh assisted, Oriental Fox at 11/1.

Chepstow Tips

Chepstow has a decent day of racing for National Hunt fans and one stand out on the cards for me is Double Ross at 3/1.  This horse had to work hard to win over the chase fences at Perth but that was decent form and since he is proven over the big timber, I would take him against the obviously progressive looking Balder Success (Champion Hurdle runner) and Nicholls’ Chase debutante, Easter Day.

he 4.45 has a great value bet in my view in Swynmor at 15/2.  The Rebecca Curtis trained hurdler came down when arriving with a winning chance in the Grade 1 Future Champions race here in January and I think subsequent lacklustre performances were as a consequence of that fall.  If that proves right then this could prove a tremendous price.

The Martin Hill bet is a double on Swnymor and Amarillo.

May your dinner be of the finest quality and in the finest company.  courage and roll those dice.

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