Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Saturday Sermon – Hay (don’t ask) Haydock, York and Chester

Good morning from the Major who writes from Hay where the light mist off the Wye is wispy, shrouding the horizon but offering little likely defence against even the feeblest of early summer suns, should this grey sky break.

The drive to deep Herefordshire was wonderful, winding A roads through undulating country, dominated by my personal colour of choice, Racing Green. The land is resplendent in it, a calm deep coolness.

I am in Hay for the festival and you might ask why I didn’t publish last night when surely this is a significant impediment, you might well ask and it have precious little to offer in my answer.

Yet surely attendance at Hay for the literary festival signals some great intellectual pursuit is at hand? Is it a philosopher of great acclaim with discerning sagacity or some Nobel laureate? Well no, not quite. Julia Donaldson, author of a body of work which possibly (or possibly not) asks the greatest question of all ‘what am I here for?’ And who could ask more of a great mind than that? Take her seminal piece The Gruffalo, disguised in a childens tale, a deep monologue of the inequality of the distribution of wealth, Marxism, brutal Capitalism – clashing ideologies played out by a mouse, a fox, snake and owl. The repayment for siring children is such.

The festival is a busy tented industrious and self conscious mess. The folk are bedecked in striking colours, summery dresses, a length of limb that tells a of good nutrition and breeding, Wellies that are making statements more than they are repelling the heavy ground – their wearers ache to embrace diversity but everyone here looks the same to me. Aspirational grasping, their associations to environmental issues, recycling bins and green energy, picnic baskets brimming with organic vittels, hoping it all somehow runs off into them, by osmosis they seek in this place a healthy glowing meaning to life…. yet the car park is full of high powered cars and these tourists will clear out back to their suburban lives and the whiff in my nostrils will clear. The hypocrisy is thick, tight jeans against well tended middle aged thighs, blues undone enough to glean interest, a care free look so painstakingly built. Ah, perhaps my mood but it sticks in my throat.

Something about it takes me back to earlier in the week when a business trip to Brighton (Hotel Du Vin) gave me just a few moments to take in the town. Something prickles me when I see a cafe advertising ‘goodness over profits’ for the sake of profit. Is it that I am cynical or is this faux attitude this bourgeois world as distasteful to others as I.

As a man who often lives a pretense, I know more than most that to deceive your audience, the protagonist works hardest of all to convince, in the first instance, himself of the deception. Forgive them, they know not what they do.

With this, let us venture into the sports and attempt once more at the glorious mothership.

Saturday Racing Tips

You will forgive the brevity of my sermon this morning. Circumstances and surroundings dictate.

The listed race at York looks a great chance for the Peter Niven runner, Clever Cookie to score under Graham Lee. He is a Grade 2 hurdle winner and won’t mind conditions here. As time has developed I consider York more to be quite a test and I trust in the Cookie to deliver 4/1.

I am always a bit dubious when arguments are made for reversing form and one is presented to us in the Group 3 fillies race at Haydock where Cubanitas upper hand over Astonishing is being called into question. Now I do prefer Hughes to Crowley, though no slur is intended on the latter man and Stoute can be relied upon to work his magic on Astonishing but I dodge both for a pop at Sultanina who made a late start to racing due to poor legs but kept going to win on debut. That form is someway off group form but surely we can expect a Gosden horse to go on again? Plus Buick had the pick of this and a decent stablemate – 10/1 is a gift.

In Haydocks 2.40 – Garswood holds a key piece of form with his French travelling group placing behind star Gordon Lord Byron. I might well (as often proven) be wildly amiss of the mark but I feel that might be his crowning achievement and I readily prefer the Varian runner, Eton Forever at 9/2 and drifting. My selection has proven fitness, winning a return in a listed Leicester race and this is a logical next step in his career.

If I have done Messrs Fahey, Armstrong and Cheveley Park a disservice in discounting Garswood, then let it be corrected when Parbold takes to the track in the 3.50. I expected a much shorter price after the stable hit the winners on Friday – Normally I am a bit more reserved about unlucky types that have run with credit but no rosettes. Yet I feel compelled to treat the form on merit in this case and not a lot else jumps off the page in a winnable race.

Dare I back a horse outside of trap 5 at Chester on their tight 6f circuit? Well a case can be made for Milly’s Gift in the 2.30 race who has the assistance of Kirby from stall 7. I think we have one on the improve and I find fault with either the credentials of man or beast in the favoured boxes so why not at 5/1!

Then finally, tonight is the greyhound derby. I have some tickets on Mind the Net and would dearly love to collect. If this lot go well, I shall make the investment lumpier as would a fool.

I trust your dinner is taken in fine surroundings, company and in good fettle. Tip well and give that girl your charming best.

The Martin Hill bet is a Sultanina, Eton Forever and Clever Coolie each way Trixie.

Courage, roll the dice.

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The Saturday Sermon – MOTHERSHIP SCOOP 6 – The Curragh for the 2,000 Guineas, Haydock and Goodwood

Good evening from the Major who writes weary from a breezy Worcestershire where torrents of unrestrained and ungovernable precipitation from the heavens pool in still cold accumulations until the high winds and dry air, vanquish them, leaving a desolate earth and an unsettled Major.

I could never hope to describe what ails me.  Restless mind, palpitating heart; I think my state is the natural product of many years of debauchery.  I know nice people, lots of them.  The sorts whose essence is virtuous, an integrity they were born with.  I think I spot these traits so well in others because I know myself to be neither nice or normal.

As I lie in the dark hours, doubts aggregating, skin tingling, mind racing, heart speeding; I can fathom not the cause.  Many thoughts trouble me, some rooted in reality, many fantasies.  Fixating on each new thought as the greatest trouble, I know, at last, that the fear and anxiety is wasted, yet in the moment, it is indiscernible.

Feel no sorrow for me, I am sure I deserve some burdens to bear, I know plenty of those nice and normal people undeservedly encumbered.

I like where I live.  I am a few miles into country from Pershore and there is plenty of interest.  I am close to a huge dish pointing at the skies – part of the Jodrell Bank array.  Pershore and Upton are ancient towns steeped in history, particularly the former with an abbey of the finest order dating back over a millennia.  The civil war was active in these parts, most notably Tewkesbury but we saw some local action, indeed, the matter was settled in Worcester and we reap the benefits today, such as those enshrined to the people to freely vote UKIP, god help us.

King Charles was on the retreat in 1644 from Oxford, his rearguard harassed and skirmishing, the enemy with the taste of blood, mercilessly raking forays against the isolated; the Royalists sought safe camp to regroup.  Crossing the Avon at Pershore, Charles saw the opportunity and ordered the destruction of the bridge.  The job was botched and with the enemy closing, the close warm work saw the deaths of 40 men, mostly drowned under the cool oaks in the dark brown still waters of the summer Avon.  The same that I gaze upon.

The retreat continued and in finality, the first stage of the war ended with small pockets or Royalists holed up in North Wales and Cornwall.

Charles himself may have exuded poor judgement at Pershore Bridge, but you might conclude, that time served him for his deeds, well enough.  He was executed after the second phase of the war, beheaded.

I have no idea of what I live in fear of.  The irrationality beguiles me, paddle folks, keep your head above the waterline and seize the moments of ecstasy as they present.  Courage, roll the dice.

To the sports, Saturday racing….. Haydock is a challenge, am I meant to work on the forecast firm ground or interpret the weather?  I am playing good to soft.

Scoop 6

At 7/1 the field, I can see a lot of our dreams being made extinct in leg one.  Alas.  For a free share of this stake, make a comment, or retweet the blog before the first race starts and on good faith, I shall cut you in.  I long for the mothership and perhaps, just maybe.

2.05 – Bear Behind – In highly competent new hands and watch out!

2.50 – Henry The Aviator – Will kill some tickets! May yet have more to come.

2.55 – Penny Drops – The penny has dropped

3.10 – Perfect Blessings – Pray for rain

3.25 – Khelman – At least is in form, a vulnerable pick

3.45 – What About Carlo – Going to revel in the rain, improving

Haydock

Now to the real picks, the ones I choose, rather than the contests thrust upon me.

Ah, the pressure is greater.

The Temple feels like a solvable race this year.  I am banking on good to soft, which is a subjective view based on the forecast.  Such a thought brings Pearl Secret and Jack Dexter right into it.  That precipitation will also end the chances of Sole Power who is a proven top class athlete in these muscle sprint events.

There is a worry that Jack Dexter has done his racing and so I side with progressive soft ground loving Hot Streak – 5/2.

The 2,000 Guineas (Irish)

Kingman is all the rage and there is every reason to be a fan.  In the English version, I felt he was lonely and unlucky in the dying stages and his lofty reputation equals odds-on.  Yet I feel, there is value afoot….

and the pick for the Major is War Command – The Coventry, not always the greatest guide but this one remains in my mind.  My selection had such an incredible turn of foot, yet flopped in the Guineas.  Put off? No, why? Well, I am reminded of that juvenile performance and I would put Roderic O Connor forwards as a Ballydoyle Epsom to Curragh improver, in which template, War Command might follow.

Goodwood

With rain, I trust Totalize to give us a run at 6/1.  Over timber, performances have been perfectly fine overall and I think this might turn into a gamble…. I get Ellison wrong a lot, just a warning.

Football

The Championship final can often go to the disciplined over the moral winner, yet I still feel compelled to back the youth of Derby over the well-drilled QPR.  Just on principle, never a good betting calculation factor.   I also will be backing more goals that anticipated in the Champions League final.  I know how well Atletico press, high up the pitch, I know how that will kill creativity, I know that no team will want to lose…… yet +3.5 goals is a siren call to me, 3/1.

The Martin Hill bet is a Hot Streak, Totalize and War Command trixie.

I trust your dinner is taken while you are in good spirit.  The lady on your arm presses gently against you, the mild skin contact racing the pulse and the softened warmness maddening your senses.  Order well, shellfish, in spite of the bible.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury Lockinge Day, Scoop 6 and an FA Cup

Good morning all from the Major who resides in temporary accommodation deep towards the Welsh borders beyond Worcester.  The sky is clear blue, the air breezy and a barbecue is preparing the morning vittels.

Yes my friends, the Major has condescended to a little camping, just the night and I can report that it is dreadful.  Not the company you understand, that is marvellous but the experience of evenings under canvas is, in my humble estimation, severely over rated.  Since I have been able to afford it, a decent hotel with a wicked looking piece serving the reception and a chef that can prepare an Eggs Benedict; that is for me.

Yet, it is not without compensations.  Last night, we stoked a roaring fire and sat late into the night talking.  I slept well enough too, open air you see.

The week was broken by business in Manchester.  A fine time was had too, including an early evening dinner served in an excellent Italian restaurant.  The company was excellent with the exception of one of the party who arrived, in a state fit for the witching hour.  He continued to drink, at pace and was generally causing a stir with his language which would have had sailors blushing.  What I can tell you about this mans girlfriend is information I should not have in my mind.

I might have been minded to have a word with him but you know, I liked the chap!  The more outrageous he got, the more acceptable he became.  Once the taboos fell away from the rest of the guests we were left to admire his unique outlook on life.  You meet them, unique people.

This morning, I am gazing over a lake where a whole gaggle of hardened tri-athletes are bobbing up and down in the distance, red and white hats, lazy flaling arms like some dumb wounded lumbering beast.  Last night, as the moon rose, whitening from it’s dust induced bloody orange low on the horizon; I walked and took the shore of the lake.  Out on the cold glinting mirror surface, two white ghostly swans glided silently, majestic bold necks rigid – Quite some contrast.  I wonder about the swimmers.  Do they really enjoy the sensation, cold water on skin, open air swimming, the camaraderie, the healthiness both physical and mental.

Ah yes, I can construct the case in my mind that they do.  Yet, I wonder as I will, whether actually the joy is in telling their colleagues on Monday morning that this is what they enjoy.  Do they like it or do they want to like it, so badly, yearning and striving?  Such time is wasted, for me, I will have the Eggs Benedict please and show the Ham the Hollandaise.

To the sports, a mothership of a Scoop 6 and a damn decent card of racing at Newbury.

Saturday Racing Tips

The Scoop 6 rolled over once again and a ten million pound pot is up for grabs.  Once again the Majors selections fell at the first hurdle but perhaps this is what we have been waiting for…. These are not my recommended tips but they are my genuine Scoop 6 picks.  You might wonder, quite rightly, while given a tote based system, I am sharing them with you – Well, I would be happy with a far smaller cut, say a 50th – You see, finding the mothership might present as much as a problem to me as searching for it.  Better 50 of us be rewarded gently, than one monstrously.  As such, usual ruls apply – Want a share of my Scoop 6?  Drop your name in the comments before Leg 1 or retweet my blog.

Leg 1 – Staffhoss – That should kill a few of the competition off – Fanning on, up in trip, leave those last runs behind.

Leg 2 – Burano – Needs a bit of luck but Jimmy can help him get it – NON RUNNER – Bronze Angel it is

Leg 3 – Aeolus – Obvious form with the Guineas winner

Leg 4 – As much as I would love Tax Free, the grand warrior, I go with Keep it Dark

Leg 5 – Charlton has Buick on Stars Above Me 

Leg 6 – Mysterial 

The Proper Saturday Advices

Following our whistle stop tour of the Scoop 6, allow me to proffer for your delectation some of the finest cuts of the bookmakers meats.  Let’s not revisit that euphemism, it didn’t feel right did it.

The Lockinge – This does not look an above average Lockinge to me, although the presence of Olympic Glory and an American Ballydoyle sort at least raise an intrigue.  The firming ground is likely against the Hannon favourite but the yard have made a very good start to their 2014 campaign and that is more than can be said for some of the other runners.

Newbury is a good course for a fair race, a long straight, wide enough for all challenges, sweeping and relentless, it rewards class and stamina.  Few hard luck stories here.  I am assured by my American twitter racing friends that Verrazano will enjoy the firm conditions, he has not raced on them and I am less than convinced.  Irrespective of conditions, it is darn hard to relate his Amercian dirt exploits to those Group 1 wins in Europe for Olympic Glory.

I am quite torn between a few facets.  O’Brien only fires this one bullet in Britain today, that says something – Did not even bother to fill the horsebox with a second runner.  Yet, his yard remain for me, slightly behind their usual standards and I cannot bring myself to bet him.  Chopin, some interest.  Montiridge is the one that could pick up the pieces if my lump on Olympic Glory fails.  With the ground drying, bet with a best odds firm, although a touch of 11/10 is available, I think 11/8 might be the SP.

The Aston Park Stakes greats a high class runner in Mount Athos.  Koukash is such a great supporter of British racing and is quite the character, a big supporter of Rugby League and a generous soul in charity and spirit; who might begrudge him a top class performer?  Certainly not I and in Mount Athos he has a horse he has gone to war with in Meydan and has snatched a place in the Melbourne Cup.  This is a lower grade than he has been campaigned at but I am hesitant that he was targeted for Chester and has been diverted here, perhaps, perhaps not.

Returned to these shores also is Forgotten Voice, when last seen was impressing but clearly he did not take to travel as some of us do not.  I like that one and he is certainly a solid dual purpose horse.  The form of Brass Ring behind Gospel Choir last time is looking half decent but he would need to improve.  Another horse that needs to improve and happens to be the Majors selection is Battalion.  Haggas and Moore is a powerful attraction and while the exploits committed to the formbook do not add up to the principals here, Battalion has plenty of potential to improve at 4.  Anyway, his form is not to be sniffed at either, his Ripon win was dominant and placed third was subsequent Chester Cup winner Suegioo.  Load a cannon at 4/1.

Punchestown stokes the dying embers in the National Hunt grate but they drum up a good Beginners Chase which I fully expect, nay demand that Steps to Freedom wins.  I have a soft spot for this Harrington horse after it won a famous victory in the Aintree bumper some years ago on National Day, restoring an ill deserved reputation for the Major as a tipster.  By the way, if you are here for the tips, I do worry for you.  I am barely profitable, as always, entirely free and most certainly unhinged.  Now we have covered that, bet the house on this – He can jump a fence, his form in behind Jezki is perfectly respectable, if not down right outstanding in this company… One for the banker side of your slips, 11/10 indeed, gifts my friends, gifts.

The 4.40 maiden at Newmarket shows Yuften as a warm order but I think plenty of improvement from Kinshasa at 11/2 is entirely reasonable and would urge a bet.  Backing a maiden at 4/6 on third attempt at losing the tag is dangerous territory in my view and Kinshasa comes with solid connections, good blood (Pivotal and Sadlers Wells cross) and while needing certainly longer in future, can cause Yuften some trouble, I am sure.  Great name for a horse that – Quite a troubled city Kinshasa, plagued by crime and war, baked in the central African heat on the shores of the Congo, birthplace of Benteke, Leroy Lita and Yousef Mulumbu – Ha! Bet I taught you that!

Finally the football.  The FA Cup has fallen from a graceful perch of one of the sporting highlights of the year.  Audiences falling, less glamour, less reward.  Frankly, Fourth spot in the league is a far more important outcome.  Still, Hull fans would be in heaven if they won this and Arsenal fans might purge some ill feelings with a first trophy since the invention of colour TV too.  My bet?  Nil nil half time – 9/4.  Put the bet on and do the gardening.

The Martin Hill bet is a yankee on Olympic Glory, Steps to Freedom, Battalion and Kinshasa.

May your dinner be magnificent, the Italian I ate reminded me that it is the finest food in the world.  Their treatment of the humble tomato, garlic and pasta foodstuffs is a manifest statement of the genius of man.  May you be in the company I enjoyed too – Raven thick hair, pleasantness oozing to charm and a swift hearty laugh.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Share in my Scoop 6 Glory… Final Premier League Round – Courage, roll the dice..

Good morning from a Worcestershire scene that has exploded to life, like souls awakening.  The sky is blue and dominated by a terrifying brightness, lush greens fed by a week of precipitation and a busyness about the place as Goldfinch, Blue and Grey Tits and the rarer Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Long Tailed Tit are at their business while the Major takes his morning constitutional.  While out, I can sense the air is turning and the weather omens look poor.

Two of the previous four working days saw me on the early Pershore to Paddington train as my commission in insurance (every boys dream) took me to our great capital again.  I always enjoy these visits as, for free, I enjoy what tourists pay a treasure to witness, how the greatest of civilisations built the finest city.  A miracle on earth and entirely built of mans hand.

Now, I find travel the greatest bore but I feel in-dispensed to tell you somewhat of my day yesterday if you are to understand the tardy timing of the Saturday Sermon.  On the outbound leg, a delay at Honeybourne was a common occurrence that my fellow travellers seemed entirely accustomed to.   That was until the punchy voice of the Train Manager explained that a medical emergency was in full swing in Carriage E and would any Doctor or Nurse on board, please make themselves known at the scene.  All ended well, within twenty minutes, we pulled out gently leaving a heaving gentleman on the platform attended by the finest Gloucestershire medics and probably regretting a life of debauched eating, drinking and playing… or on reflection, perhaps not regretting it at all.

Then an incident which to this moment I am at a loss to rationalise.  The Major maintains a joint account for the good lady to pilfer, a credit account for expenses of a business nature and then separate funds for skullduggery which are entirely private.  There I was, sat at a table of four, the Train Manager over me and I clean forgot my PIN number.  Now, I use this card daily and have been using it without incident for two years, yet clean gone.  The teller at my bank in London sought to reassure me that it happens infrequently, I remain perturbed.

I shall not linger on the day’s business, save to say it was a veritable success in the company of some find folk.  In fact, agreements were made with such proficient efficacy that I was stood back in the cavernous arching structure of Paddington in short time.  With a short wait for my train, I took to a good spot and allowed the world to wash over me, absorbing the myriad of people flowing past.

In a queue, a smart lady caught my eye.  Dark neat hair dropped to the shoulder, a fine-cut of cloth to her business suit and dark silkened legs with an appetising curve of calf contained within.  I do delight in a well turned out lady.  In front of her in the queue was an odd cove.  A giant of a man, a curved back and curved nose too, but boy was he lithe for a big man, he moved powerfully like a cat and with a confident air.  To my surprise, as I believed them entirely independent entities from how they had assumed their queuing positions, his back to hers, my lady stepped inside his guard, reached up to brush her lips against his and nestled her head half way up his chest…. Money and Power.

I tell you this because I was to be acquainted once more with this man rather surprisingly within a few hours.  If I had known the course of events for the return leg, I would have turned foot and found myself a hostelry to keep me a few hours.

I was not keen to see that the return train was a short stocky type with the carriages more tightly packed and no first class refuge either.  We all crammed in, the Major secured a cramped seat in an uncomfortably warm carriage with sour faces feeling the same thing.  The last passengers packed in, the whistle blew and it was heave ho and off.  Stops on the route to Oxford did little to ease the crowding and a slight delay at Oxford did nothing to ease the mood either.

Explaining the delay, due to no train manager, even the driver sounded flustered, with good reason it appears.  For no sooner than had he informed us of this than our ears detecting the faint words of the station announcer on the drift of the air… The train to Worcester was … cancelled.

Queue a stampede, a bustling mass of seething folk, the situation stretching their British humour and manner.  I was slow to alight, thinking that we all will reach the same resolution so speed is no current virtue.  There on the platform was the enormous frame of my man, bellowing at the driver, for all the good it would do him.  I slipped by, crossed the bridge, dug for my ticket to exit the barriers and joined a crush of people on the main concourse, straining to hear the words of a single unaided member of staff organising alternate transport.  Then my man appeared at the barriers and the time to walk the bridge had done little to sober his ugly mood.  He demanded the barriers be opened as the travellers were angered enough, though I shall not weary you with his tiresome language.

The young man who refused his request received his full glare and as he spilled through the turnstile, his great gangly frame tumbling, his grace gone with his anger, he exploded into a new fit of activity.  He demanded of his fellow passengers some volunteers to share an onward taxi fare.  Now this may have been quite convenient for the Major but to share a confined space with this bristling brute was off-putting to say the least and at this point, there was no sign of his raven haired beauty.  The thought that struck me most was what an enormous waste of energy.

On the concourse, arrangements were being made with precious little communication but it transpired that coaches were to arrive to move the passengers on.  I turned and met the eye of a member of staff, a pleasant lady with a bob of blonde hair tied tightly back.  I asked politely and received appropriate assurances that the same fate would not befall the next train due in an hour and a half.

The sun shone, a pleasant stroll and the Major had a pot of beer and a lovely spot over the Oxfordshire canal with the sun on my face.  I held a pleasant conversation with a Liverpudlian (a blue one) over the comparison of Coleman with Gary Stevens and all was well in the world.

Why go to such great lengths to divulge the trivia of my day to you readers?  Well not the strongest reason I suppose but I wish you to recognise a value in allowing the falseness of ill fortune to wash by you.  We float past on the tide just the once my friends, waste it not in anger dealing with the mundane but embrace the experiences that present themselves.  As Mr John Lennon pronounced, ‘life is what happens while you are making other plans‘.

To the sports…

The Scoop 6 – £7.5 million plus

This is it my good friends, I have a tremendous opportunity for riches for you.  I am going to place a single Scoop 6 ticket on my tips for the card.  I am not making this the sole focus of my sporting advice to you but offer you a share of the riches.  To claim yours, simply retweet my blog (@tdl123) or post a comment if you are not on twitter, explaining you are in.

There you are!  I estimate we will have just 12 good folk on the share.  Assuming I have the sole winning ticket (almost a certainty I assure you), and assuming we win the bonus pot, we shall collect a half million.  OK, it may not be a generous offer but it would be nice to know you are with me.

Leg 1 – L’unique

Leg 2 – Moonrise Landing

Leg 3 – Area Fifty One

Leg 4 – Taurus Twins

Leg 5 – Dubawi Island

Leg 6 – Purcell

Courage Friends

Saturday Sporting Tips

Here is the Major’s blueprint for Saturday fortunes….

4pm Lingfield – I am really taken by the chances of the Ed McMahon and Ryan Moore ridden, Winning Express.  The Major having a tardy start means that the 3/1 has long gone but a trace of 5/2 is about.  She just missed the places in last years Guineas and if she can take the measure of the French raider, I think we have a winner on her hands.

The Haydock listed 7f race at 4.05 has only attracted four runners but it is a wide open field.  The Major has opted for 7/2 shot, Breton Rock who is going to benefit from any precipitation, let it rain, let it rain.  His penultimate race at Thirsk is strong form and I can ignore a slightly below par effort at Leicester latest, Lockwood concerns me more than Highland Colori but at 7/2, back my runner and sacrifice your fist born to the rain gods.

In the last at Ascot, 5pm, I recommend a stake on 10/1 shot Marmalady.  This horse was a revelation last term and kicked things off well enough over an inadequate distance at Windsor.  A continuation of the upward trend, coupled with a return to a more suitable distance and the Major is interested.

Although it is a chasing debut, I would be backing Master Murphy at 7/2 in the 1.55 at Hexham.  He has a good course record and is fairly treated at his first attempt over the bigger obstacles.  You may well ask why I am raiding Hexham for winners, you may well ask, I have no good answer.

I do not know if Avonmore Star will take up his assignment at Warwick at 6.55 after exertions just 24 hours prior but if he does, 10/1 with BetVictor is a gift.  The chances of my pick come down to his ability to jump from the stalls, something he has let down his supporters with on the last twice.  Yesterday, he made good progress after his sluggish beginnings.  While at Warwick, Sea Defence at a no fun 8/11 can form a part of any multiple you like.

In the football…. Last weekend we scored with our two selections both at odds against prices, including a juicy 7/1 Sunderland tip.  A further two for you to assess.  Peterborough 13/10 and Palace at 15/8 – The latter looks a treat of a price given the moods in the Fulham and Palace camps must be a world apart and I would expect that to be played out in the game as it unfolds.

The Martin Hill bet should be… Sea Defence, Winning Express, Breton Rock and Palace in a straight Yankee.

I trust your dinner will be in good company, why not try kebabs, fine cuts of lamb and chicken cooked on an open barbecue with onions and tomatoes.  Find yourself a good Lebanese chef and a finer piece of company to enjoy it with you.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday 2,000 Guineas Sermon… Courage and roll the dice

Good morning from a glorious Worcestershire scene where the near unblemished sky carries a sole vapour-trail scar.  It zigzags across the higher strata as though the plane that left it led an effected path across the heaven.  First light was cool, as it is at this time of year but soon the brightness came and now the horizon glints and dazzles aggressively and my dislike of it alludes to a few glasses too many.

The Major has little time to hold court this morning but thank goodness I stopped Punchestown when I did.  We were in clover on day one with a good strike rate and a 12/1 winner.  Day two was ugly with a sole 3/1 winner and plenty of shorties getting turned over.  I did not blog for Thursday and Friday and it was divine intervention as my own thoughts turned out to be poisoned feral errors that would only have weakened your bank and put your fine weekend dining in some doubt.  Courage to those who roll the dice today.

The Guineas day has often served me well, I feel good that we will be back to form today.  We also have a monster Scoop 6 to go at – Ah, it is good to be alive.

We shall not dwell in the pulpit this week, No – Let us get straight into the sports.  Suffice to say, I wish on us the fortune of the light brigade, we shall ride hard into the gunners positions, taking fire from all sides in our foolish endeavours but the glory is ours.  C’est magnifique, mais c’est ne pas guerre.

As a final thought – The Major must promote a fine endeavour undertaken by Simon Dawkins who is encouraging us gentleman gamblers to share the wealth of our winnings, or indeed to not bet and make a donation instead all for the good cause of Macmillan.  We all know someone touched by cancer and we all feel better in our hearts and souls for giving some of our own resources to provide better care for those effected by it.

Make a donation, or just give a share of your winnings, quantum is less important than participation.  Click here.

2000 Guineas Tips

What an absolutely cracking Guineas.  We have the main protagonists lining up to settle a fascinating dispute.  The stalls being central, I trust that the jockeys will chart a single course which would be good for all.

Kingman leads the market and, as with most of these, a lot of hype surrounds this horse.  We certainly did not get to see him in the bigger autumn juvenile challenges as he was recovering from ankle surgery.  Thus his key form line to supplement the stable noises is a very impressive victory in the Greenham on reappearance where he fairly demolished a decent field.  His breeding is not as blue-blooded as some of his rivals, he is match fit…

In the UK and Ireland, we have gotten used to Galileo and Montjeu being the stallions of our choicest colts but now there are new players on the scene.  New Approach had a tremendous season and is sure to be bred to better mares as a result.  Plus, Coolmore are importing to race War Front colts and War Command looks an excellent type.

I was really taken with his win in the Coventry and some of his subsequent loss of lustre is explainable.  He gets conditions and the worlds best flat jockey in Ryan Moore and so is not easy to dismiss.

Last season, Toranado stepped up to be a major player for Team Hannon and this year, that flag is flown by Toormore.  He has a lot of support, quite rightly as juvenile champion and has done little wrong.  Breeding does not support him as being the best of the best but we should not be dictated solely by the qualities of the blood.

Shocks in the race do occur, see Mafki.  Normally, they are under-rated European raiders and Noozhoh Canarias is going to have a popular support.  The Major however would give a token chance to Bookrunner at a massive 66/1 (BetVictor) – He was not disgraced in the Prix Djebel and the yard would not be over here for nothing.

The Major though opts for Australia at 4/1 with Coral.  Ballydoyle have been outspoken about this son of Galileo who has clearly being doing his best work off the course.  His form is little to crow about but being the pick of Joseph O’Brien from a yard that has won this classic in four of the last ten runnings, you have to take notice.  He is clearly a derby prospect, probably more than a miler but I am less concerned about that as I think he will have a tremendous lung bursting pace to aim at.

I do not think this will be the popular pick as the ‘thinkers’ will be angling into the other horses with a snazzy line about the ground or a line of form.  Let us not be afraid to be simple though.  Best yard, only Galileo in the race, highly talked of.  Shabash, load the large cannon.

The Monster Scoop6

I ma not going to dwell for long in these waters but thought I would share the single ticket I am entering:

Leg 1 – 2.05 Newmarket – Big Baz

Leg 2 – 2.40 Newmarket – Pearl Secret

Leg 3 – 3.oo Thirsk – Music in the Rain

Leg 4 – 3.30 Goodwood – Pal of the Cat

Leg 5 – 3.40 Thirsk – Off Art

Leg 6 – 3.50 Newmarket – Australia

Our chances of winning are nil if we have not entered.

Saturday Racing

I am looking forward to seeing Annie Power at Punchestown, I thought she was desperately unlucky not to be a winner of the World Hurdle although you can take little away from the winner.  She will slaughter this lot even if she were carrying an extra stone.  Her style of hurdling is a delight to watch, so fast and accurate over the obstacles, a joy to behold and one to look forward to chasing.  1/5 clearly shows that I have simply stated the obvious.

A horse that I would give a chance to at Punchestown is Adriana Des Mottes who fell early at Cheltenham but subsequently won a mares event.  12/1 might be a bit dismissive there.  Guitar Pete is a danger too, especially reunited with Carberry who delivered a peach of a ride at Aintree, yet Tiger Roll looked very good in the Triumph and remains lightly raced and full of top class potential.  3/1 Ladbrokes, get stuck right in!

Goodwood is very much a ‘horses for courses’ track.  In the 2.55 we have a runner that has won three times from three attempts here and it is a strong facet for the Major to punt Magic City at 7/2 with BetVictor.  The reason the course form is so important is that, like Epsom, Goodwood carries a significant camber and you need a runner that has experienced it and enjoys it.

On a Saturday where the Major seeks certainty, Trading Leather at Newmarket goes in at 5/4 (drifting).  The thing is, the horse has proven Group credentials with an Irish Derby win on his CV.  Nothing in this field boasts anything similar and it would be disappointing if we did not get a comfy win here.

The Major brings you the classics and the snippets… Hexham, 6.30; I bet you did not think you would read those words… Mohawk Ridge – I think this is an excellent handicapping mark and am able to draw a line through some of his rivals…. 3/1, get on.

To the football…. Just two selections.

Sunderland at 7/1 are a bet – Their resurgence gives them a squeak at United.  Millwall are 5/4 at home to Bournemouth and the great motivator will have the home team fully wound up.

The Martin Hill bet is Mohawk Ridge, Tiger Roll, Australia and Magic City – Yankee.

I trust that your dinner will be silver service and the finest of cuisine.  A choice wine and choicer company with her flaxen hair curled to the shoulder in a lazy effect.

Courage and roll the dice.