Monthly Archives: June 2014

Tips on request for Uttoxeter and the Pretty Polly

For what it is worth, the Major is a sucker for a request and so when @adamclarke501 asked on behalf of a friend to review the Uttoxeter card, I was hard pressed to resist.

Warning: This post is being written in a terribly hungover state.  The Major dined last night at length with a local farmer friend and I knew there was trouble when the brandy was served.

Uttoxeter Sunday Tips

I cannot claim that Uttoxeter is a track I do well at.  Summer Cup day, let’s see what we can do…

The opener is an interesting contest and the market has marked it down as pretty much a match between Shes Late and No Substitute.  I would have fancied the McCain runner Book of Excuses who comes straight from Point to Point racing but sadly he has been scratched.

No Substitute races in the famous One Man colours but I think they do not know what to do with this horse.  There is some form in his maiden runs and he has been found an amazingly weak race but still, anything could beat it and I am surprised it is so short in the market.

She’s Late is the likely winner to be fair, this ex John Gosden inmate was a decent flat animal and the Market Rasen run, latest, although a bit flat but suggests this new trip is the right call and the application of new headgear and the help of Tony McCoy cement the deal.  Evens is little fun but let’s start with a winner, as we mean to carry on!

Hawderyeerwheesht, the oddly named evens favourite of the second looks uneasy to me.  On strict form, I think the market position is logical but I am not happy with how the horse hung across the track on his last victory.  Unsettling.  Abbeygrey looks like he is earning a handicap mark but would be capable if producing his best.  Deadly Sting was behind Hawderyeerwheesht at Aintree and although I would like to I am struggling to find a reason that form is going to be reversed here – Deadly Sting, although more straight forward did not look like a stamina test was his thing.  Hanging or not, it is a second win for favourite backers in my book.

The third race is also dominated by two at the head of the betting, with the market 14/1 bar.  If I am right about She’s Late, then I have to stick with Rolling Maul at 7/4 who had the earlier selection beaten last time out.  The claim of the jockey levels the weights and while I much would prefer Geraghty as the pilot, the form line overrules.

Then the feature race, the Summer Cup… we get to review a different market.  11/2 the field and it is a teaming pool of well equipped summer jumpers.  There are cases to be made for many but the two that really appeal are No Secrets and Talkonthestreet.  The first is a Pipe runner and the yard do very well in these sort of contests.  There has been money for this runner and it is telling that Scudamore/ was booked for this before Guess Again the other Pipe runner was scratched.  Talkonthestreet meandered all over South Warwickshire when second at Stratford last time but when he had company he was a much better animal.  I think the trick is to sit in and produce late, rather than the prominent style he has utilised.  He has a jockey to effect that and at 8/1 is a confident pick.

Pipe might have a lively chance in the Summer Cup and I would think that Azza is a superb 7/2 shot in the following race.  He has kept exulted company of late and clearly more has been thought of this horse.  Back facing more realistic opponents, I think it is a steal.

The last three races are summed up as follows:

Sureness 9/2 – Handicap debut and plenty of promise, should be able to win this.

Prince Des Marais – 20/1 – Call me mad but this old timer is well in on old form and was entitled to need his comeback run.  They might just go too quick and give him a chance where it matters.

The last race is probably the trickiest and I hope we are not in need of a winner at this stage…. Famousandfearless is definitely the pick if the earlier Pipe horses have gone in.  Jazz Man for the tiny Grand National winning Newland yard is fascinating but in these sorts of contests, I want some value… I am hoping Agent Louise can give best at a massive 33/1 – A course winner that might just have a future.

The Pretty Polly, The Curragh 4.20pm – I think Thistle Bird deserves to pick up a Group 1 and this looks winnable.

Courage, roll the dice.

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The Saturday Sermon on Northumberland Plate Day – Tips for Newcastle, Chester, The Curragh

Good evening from the Major who writes from a changeable Worcestershire scene where high cloud spirals with great panache reaching with ambition for the striking blue sky.  The air is cooler and the ground still kissed with the evidence of earlier precipitation.  Most pleasant.

The Major has been pounding the lanes.  You may recall that a year ago, I ran the Paris Marathon for Meningitis Trust, well a year of loose living and I am 15kg heavier, do not recoil in horror dear readers, I am merely a man of extremes.  Having shocked myself into action, I took my first tentative jog for a long time running a mile and a half last week.  The legs felt weak, the lungs ached and my head turned an angry sweating puce… I was lucky to survive and it was 4/6 that is was the last run I was prepared to make.

A two miler on Wednesday felt no better but tonight, a three-miler through the pretty village of Burlingham where the cricket club quietly rumbled in the background and the old church stood guard… it rekindled old memories.  Tingling sensations in the legs, rounding a corner to be surprised by a new view across the magnificent green rolling summer Worcestershire countryside.  Running is a magnificent pastime, it quiets the mind and expends energy converting the negative to positive, health and vitality.

I have been forced to kickstart training again because in a fortnight, I am to run in the British 10k in London for Footsteps Foundation.  An Oxfordshire based charity that is close to my heart.  You see, I have this wonderful niece, a proper ray of sunshine, who turns four a couple of days before the run.  From birth she has had developmental issues, she was a late crawler, a late walker and as yet has very limited communication skills.  Footsteps have been a fantastic support to Izzy and her family, my sister, Jenny, her husband Pete and their other children, Charlotte and Thomas.

I know you probably have charitable commitments, myself I try to support as many as I can too.  If you have a couple of shekels to spare, I would appreciate any support you can muster on my justgiving page.  As my company (part of Zurich) are doubling contributions, even a £2.50 nudge is worth a fiver.

Outside of half killing myself to shape up in two weeks, it has been a busy week.  Today I gave a leaving speech to a colleague who has been a tremendous support in the last few years.   The man has such class, I admire it and since I fear I am devoid of many of his qualities, I feel well placed to judge them in others.  I had quite the lump in my throat as I considered his wise counsel to me over the last few years.  Still, I can still swing the clubs with him from time to time.  Fare well DC.

It must be the exercise but my mind is cleaner than usual, the dark thoughts that creep under the door in the dark hours are held at bay.  So we go to the sports… Recent form is strong, Ascot played out well enough and while the Major will not be going in with guns blazing today, we shall have enough invested to at least pay for a good dinner.

The Northumberland Plate

This is not a race I have traditionally done so well with but the statistical basis of that is thin, I’ll give it another ten years before deciding this is a bogey race.  Last years winner Tominator was a bit unusual as top weights have a poor record in the race, he was also the first horse to win the Plate twice, bravo.  Typically you want a horse shouldering less than a nine stone burden.  Plots are thick in this handicap and before the off I am sure some of these will be plunge sorts.

Donald McCain has won two of the last five runnings both times with established hurdlers turning their hand at the flat.  Overturn being the first, what a fine horse he has been, keep it simple, get to front and gallop the life out of them!

The McCain runner Mawakeet does not have a promising profile although is a change of accessories sparks him to life, who knows.

There is not a lot of draw advantage in the Plate but being high is a problem for a front-runner as you have to use a lot of energy to get prominent at the first turn.  Not a problem if the plan is to drop in behind.

This race looked easy to me last week when Pique Sous was an Ascot winner for the Major in some style – If turned out again, I was ready to load a large cannon.  Therefore it is interesting that the trainer Mullins has withdrawn a couple and relied solely on Lucky Bridle one of his Graham Wylie horses.  We all know the colours, we have our memories, most recently Boston Bob, On His Own, Shaneshill and of course the one we all love, Tidal Bay.  Graham is from the North East, he made his considerable estate from the Sage Group, the accountancy software which he created himself.  He is from the North East and as a local lad, you must think that he would like to have a winner here.  His string used to be entirely held by Howard Johnson until he had a 4 year ban for all sorts of misdemeanours…. If Lucky Bridle stays, which in this trainers hands is extremely likely, then he is a contender.

The thing that gives me hope of an angle is the ground.  Very often this race is run on soft ground, only twice in the last ten years has firm appeared in the going description.  As a consequence, trainers often have good to soft sorts in the race and not many of the runners are true top of the ground specialists.  It might be a tenuous thread but it is the one I have decided to play.  As such a few horses come under the microscope… Sir Ector, Boite, Noble Silk, Big Thunder, Van Percy, Totalize and Suegioo.

I am going to put the line through Big Thunder (weight and a watching brief on the yard), as well as Sir Ector and Suegioo on the grounds of weight.  Boite has a very very interesting piece of form in the Queens Vase when third to subsequent Gold Cup and Leger hero Leading Light which taken literally means he wins.  It is a bit concerning we have not seen the son of Authorized since last July and so we are relying on the skills of Chapple-Hyam to get the boy ready, 40/1 is wrong.

Noble Silk is unexposed as although has won over the distance on the all-weather, he may have improvement back on grass.  Not sure.

The three on the shortlist are Totalize 14/1, Van Percy 10/1 and Boite 40/1.  Totalize is running for Ellison under the guidance of the strong Robert Winston.  Off the low-end of the weights, I am definitely interested in a horse who may well love these conditions and could be a plot.  Van Percy I like a lot.  Oisin is down to a 3lb claim but it is still a superb 3lbs.  The horse looks like he is going to revel in these firm conditions and finally Boite whose case I have made.  For once, I am going to suggest you back them all as singles and have a cheeky reverse forecast on the three and even a reverse tricast, just in case! Three darts to turn my plate form around.

The Irish Derby, The Curragh 5.30 – Australia meets a group of opponents he conquered at Epsom plus one outsider. I can make absolutely no argument for why the form of this brilliant colt should be reversed. I accept it is only a price for multiples and only put it in because I did not want to stay silent on the best Group One Irish Classic.

In the Railway (4.50), After the Qataris stepped in with an eye watering £1.3m for Capello Sansevero, it will be hoped he can start to pay off some of that investment here.  I do not see any reason why his Coventry form cannot be upheld unless War Front responds to a new array of headgear. (They’ll try a top hat soon) and proves better than currently shown.  In these cases, I find it best to stick to the proven case and that means a chunky investment on Capello, 5/4.

Chester 2.45 – I like the work of Richard Kingscote in the saddle.  He is having a first ride here for Hills on B Fifty Two.  The horse is fine on the ground and is adaptable in running style, 5/1.

Chester 5.05 – I am back in on a Dascombe horse, this time he is riding for Manor House and in a race where the old Holmes adage prevails:

Eliminate the impossible dear friends and whatever remains…..!

There are lots of these I cannot see winning and while Cherowee does not bowl me over, I am left with him as the logical choice.  11/2 looks a very decent price where the other market principles are inappropriately drawn.

The Martin Hill Trixie is Cherowee, B Fifty Two and Van Percy.

I trust your dinner is taken in fine company, fine fish, steamed fresh vegetables adding colour and a crisp white wine.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

Sunday Shots – A few Sunday Tips while I am in form… Worcester and Gowran Park – 50/1 shot in here!

Morning from the Major who writes relaxed from a bright Worcestershire scene.

Royal Ascot is over, the maelstrom complete.  I came out of yesterday remarkably well, despite only one winner in seven selections on the blog (Pique Sous adv 4/1), of the remaining 6, 4 placed, two at 8s and one at 22s – Those each way multiples added up nicely.

As such, feeling flush, I backed firstly Germany and then Bosnia with reckless abandon and managed to rip a good chunk out of the bank.

To complete the evening reckoning, My lucky 15 first goalscorer which started on Gotze (4s) had carried onto Dzeko (7/2) when his perfectly good goal was ruled out for offside.  I believe I swore.

To the Sunday Sports….

Worcester

Proper summer jumps at Worcester where the ground is good to firm.  The simple factors we want are…. Trainer form, Jockey Class and Ground.

In their second race like the favourite Dreamsoftheatre who is trading at a best price 9/4.  Jonjo is in decent nick, this Kings Theatre 6yo has shown an aptitude for decent ground and if getting a little quicker over the obstacles he should show enough to feature.

Yet, on these sorts of cards, it often does you well to take a chance and I am scrolling down the prices to 16/1 shot Mr Satco.  Sam Twiston Davies riding for Donald McCain, the horse has been off since his hurdling days and a lot of things need to come together but they might.

I can make a case for most runners in the 3.20 and would not rule out a bounce back to form for Gallox Bridge at 14s.  Best left alone.

Now in the 3.50 things are interesting and I feel like backing two.  Firstly the one that stands out near the head of affairs is Grey Blue at 10/3.  Henderson is still firing in winners and although he is against a less exposed rival, he is reliable.  However, I said I would back two and that is because of the presences of Secret Beau at 50/1 with Skybet.

It takes some imagination but stick with me.  On the negative side of the ledger, this horse has run 21 times on the flat, never further than a mile and outside of some decent efforts as a youngster, never with a lot of credit.  On breeding, it is no way a stayer either, being out of champion sprinter Sakhee’s Secret.  One effort over the timber at Stratford ended in a predictable heavy defeat.  I am not selling this to you am I?  The thing I would say is that the horse has done all of it’s best work on rattling ground and for connections to persist tells me either inspiration or idiocy is at play.  50/1… Come on this is Worcester!

John Spearing has another being backed in the 4.20 in Table Bluff, not for me but nice to see some confidence in their other runners when bagging a rank outsider.

The 4.50 is a cracking contest for the card and Vulcanite is an obvious place to start as he is clearly benefiting from the wind op which has seen him bounce back to form.  He would be my pick but the jockey change has not filled me with confidence and I shall look elsewhere.

Barizan is an old favourite and he looked much better on soft at Haydock last time, he is a feasible 8/1 shot back on firmer ground.  Yet he will be harassed on the sharp end so I say no.  One of those likely to be fighting up front with him is As I Am who I do prefer on the grounds of trainer form and the yards record at Worcester 4/9 in last two years.

Ballinalacken has some positives at a big 20/1 and Detroit Red although hammered by the handicapper for a Market Rasen win, is being backed again.

With lots of possible winners, I shall keep the interest reasonable but am siding with Bobowen who has a very patchy record, comes from the tiny Grand National winning stable of Dr Newland, has assistance from Sam Twiston-Davies in the saddle and is adaptable to running tactics having won from the front, from chasing the leaders or from being held up.  Fingers crossed, Sam will see the obvious (that there are 3/4 willing to cut each others throats here) and settle him in, turn him off until the last three furlongs…. It is easy being a jockey!

Gowran Park

2.15 Adroit 5/4

4.15 Naoise 6/4

4.45 Port Merrion 11/10

5.15 Ebeyina 4/6

You don’t want explanations do you?  Yankee… Get yourself involved!

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – #RoyalAscot Saturday… Across the card tips from the whole week

Good morning from the Major who writes from a breezy Worcestershire where taking the early morning air has been most pleasant.  The freshness is deceiving as the day is merely breaking and there is an inevitability to the raw heat that is to come.

This week I made the effort to blog each night and cover every Royal Ascot race.  Very profitable it turned out too – Well reasonably so, ‘very’ might have been accurate if the ‘Bank of Treve’ had not failed with no government intervention, I add.  From 30 pieces of advice, we scored 5 winners priced at (advised) Hartnell 4/1, Bracelet 12/1, Anthem Alexander 4/1, Muteela 8/1, The Wow Signal 7/1 and Hootenanny 11/2.  Not a bad haul, especially as we had plenty of places from the other 25 runners – Not bad, not bad but no mothership.

Perseverance.  What a shame for Channel 4 that their viewing figures were down.  By contrast, good weather and an improving product saw Ascot gate numbers swell.  So what is wrong with our TV Coverage then?  Last year, the first that they covered Royal Ascot, the numbers fell off a cliff.  This was to be expected, after all Auntie had an established proposition and being the BBC was able to advertise their product to kingdom come (as a liberal, I would be for abolishing it).  Therefore first time around, you could forgive Channel 4.

To see a further marked reduction in viewer numbers is a little perplexing and quite worrying.  I quite like the overall product.  I think the coverage is excellent, the Morning Line, followed by coverage of every race plus an evening highlights package – Bravo.  You can leave Gok Wan out for me, I am not a fashion sort you see… but even if I would not tune in for him, his segments did not dominate really, they did not distract too badly from the racing.  Plus C4 have offered innovation, the new camera angles, breadth of coverage and I particularly like getting insight into the stewards enquiries, that is excellent.

So, England are out of the World Cup.  In a way I am glad, I can stop pretending to be too bothered.  It was a shame we did not step up against Uruguay but I hope one and all treat Hodgson respectfully, the man is a gentleman – As a cad myself, I spot the real thing easily enough.

Now for a new team to follow.  I think it is going to be wine, cheese, Magret de Canard au miel et aux poires and ‘Vive La France!’ all the way. 

Step gently through the darkened brush, our prey unaware of our presence, the danger carrying on the cold air, we can land this mothership….

Do you know I have written 525 posts – My first was over five years ago, I started not long after Punjabi gave me the biggest win of my life at the time, taking the Champion Hurdle at 22/1 – The following day after that first post, I posted my first tip, Classic Contours running at Beverley.  The step up in trip of three furlongs caught my eye – It came fifth (perhaps I missed this opportunity to stop this foolish endeavour) but then CC went on to win in his next two races after stepping up a further quarter of a mile….. It finished a 46 rated beast after 29 runs with those two wins being the only to he tasted, hardly inspiring stuff but, do you know, I have a soft spot for the beast, I know how he feels you see.    525 times since I have tried for this elusive mothership and 525 failures have been recorded.  Each Saturday, rest assured, I am betting what I propose to you my friends.  I always have a small stake on being entirely right with my thinking, just a few Shekels that would pay off the mortgage.   

Have I made money over this time overall?  Well I do not know.  In two separate spells I tried recording on a register all bets and a marginal profit was the result.  (10-15%) – This is good enough considering the over-round but I haven’t made anyone rich.  I get the occasional thank you, a few drinks and bottles have been offered.  I never accept any praise though beyond a polite thank you.  You see, my philosophy is simple, I offer you my genuine thoughts, what you decide to do is your wanton right.  Your liberty is hard-fought for by our ancestors and I am unable to take it from you.  Therefore whether you bet or not based on the foolish dribble that spills from my mind is entirely your own judicious determination.  Thus I cannot accept the hurrahs and homage and neither can I the slings and arrows – As Buddha imparted his wisdom of being criticised, if you are to offer me a gift and I do not accept it, then to who does the gift now belong?

You might feel that my spirit is dented after so many written words, so many late nights finding an angle, looking for the horse that has favoured conditions, the plot, the class, the breeding… well no dear friends, yes I might feel a little jaded but just to leaf through the Racing Post brings that same childish thrill, the rising passion in my chest, a chemical injection coursing through the veins.  Yes the flame still flickers dear friends, melancholy banished…. to the sports and sharpen those lancepoints, get on parade and look the part, maybe number 526 will be our turn.

To the sports and before we do, spare a thought for @limerickjfk, a regular reader and decent fella too (worth a follow), right now he is indisposed in some foreign far-flung corner of the Earth – well, lying by the pool in Thailand actually preparing his Ascot investments no doubt, choak dee na ka.

Royal Ascot Saturday – Tips Across the Card

If you have jumped to this bit, then stop cheating and head back to the top.  We only accept folk of polite virtue in these parts. 

The Chesham has only gone overseas once in the last ten years (to Ballydoyle with Maybe) but it looks likely to go again.  It could cap an excellent week again for the Irish raiders or it might be making a bigger trip across the water to the States.

We have seen the advantage a higher draw gives you on the straight course at Ascot.  Mainly the winning is done on the stands side of the track.  With inexperienced two year olds, it can be more significant in my opinion as to drop behind from the gates and track across and then take your chances in the traffic is a tricky manoeuver requiring a skillful pilot and a willing and smart accomplice, hard to achieve with a juvenile.

Kool Kompany ran without spark behind The Wow Signal earlier in the week and thus did little to boost the form of Toscanini but ignoring that and the Halford runner has a chance.  Dick Whittington has more experience in the bag and his form was given a lift when his conqueror at Naas, Capella Sansevero came second in what looks a good Coventry to me.  Yet, O’Brien, there is nothing wrong with his wins this year but it just feels a shade below their usual terrifying brilliance.

Wesley Ward has had one winner and one place from his four Ascot runners but you have to respect whatever juveniles he brings over and for me Cordero and Crown the Kitten are the ones to focus on.  Both are beautiful American breeds and they are berthed next to each other.  It is a bit alarming that my tip has the headgear on for debut but that might help and it is a more common call in the States – I like Crown the Kittens jockey, Espinoza but let’s face it, Moore is the best.  11/2 is available with Bet365 and a couple of others.  Load a cannon, this is winnable.

In the Duke of Edinburgh we have a proper race.  This is a difficult handicap to solve asyou suspect there are some very good horses in here that have yet shown their full hand.  To keep it simple, Mick Channon, who has a poor Ascot record by the way, has described Elidor as in great form and my  best chance of the week.  Elidor is on the right side of the track and has won a King George so knows his way home, every sign is that he is coming back to the boil and you suspect he has been targeted at this.  More fashionable picks like Arab Spring will keep the price honest and I suggest loading the small bore for this at a general 12/1.

I love the Hardwicke Stakes because it brings back memories of Harbinger  in 2010.  He went on to win a King George and Queen Elizabeth stakes in the July in utterly devastating style and I was securing my antepost position for the Arc when we got the bad news of his health.  Ah, the memories though, he was impervious that day and we lost him too early.  Stoute has a superb record in this race and it is surely going to be one of his two today.

Telescope is presented as favourite in the same famous Highclere garb, which by the way is probably as nice a racing silk as you can get, you will forgive if reason alone does not dictate the selection.  He was once a hot pick for the Derby but did not appear on track last year until July.  Winning a three runner conditions event easily, then failing behind David Livingstone dented the form as he looked a bit standard.  However, his final 3yo appearance was to take the Great Voltigeur at York, though it hardly looks bullet proof for a G2. 

This year he has been beaten twice by Noble Mission in softer ground.  You might argue that Frankels brother has finally shown some overdue class but I am dubious about all of this form.  Heart fluttering two-tone blue or not, I shall overlook him.

There are plenty of horses with Ascot form here and my tip and a strong one at that is Hillstar.  Pound for pound, he has more in my form book than Telescope and he won in identical conditions in the King Edward VII.  He has two excuses this season; Tapeta in Dubai and a soft ground at an unsuitably tight Chester – It is disconcerting that Ryan Moore, the aforementioned best jockey in the world, does not agree with me but seriously, what does he know?  9/2 – I think I am right.

Diamond Jubilee time and Slade Power is the warm order of the day in a field of high-class runners.  We were all hoping to see Sole Power reappear after the exploits on Tuesday but Lynam reported that he had to be lifted to bed!  I am not surprised!

So many intriguing angles… What do I really want? Draw and Ground feel like the right angles to focus on.

As this is the case, I have a line through Slade Power as he is on the wrong side.  So is Gordon Lord Byron who won a Haydock Sprint in splendid style, hard to say it but has to be overlooked.  Christ this is tough.

I am settling on Due Diligence.  Three year olds have been doing OK in this race of late and this American import looks very nice at Naas – New star sprinter?  Who knows but 8/1 is big enough with Ryan Moore again steering (could be a belting day for him).

The Wokingham…. want the winner? Take a pin, close your eyes, drop the pin, see where it lands, then tear up the paper, burn it and eat the charred remains.

It is a renewal that is dripping in class.  Like many, I was hoping Intrinsic would make the race as it looked like a right plot underway but in the end, no joy.  My pick is drifting like a barge but I am not put off Alben Star who I fully expect to pick up a big prize at some point.  He is well drawn, will be fine on the ground and has Paul Hanagan in the saddle.  22/1 with Bet365 (I have no affiliation by the way!)

Finally, the lucky last… I want to close Royal Ascot out with a winning tip and my choice is…. Pique Sous – Mullins is as dangerous here as he is in a bumper at Punchestown and 4/1 that he gets the better of Tiger Cliff is value.  Of the rest, I like Royal Irish Hussar if a return to the flat helps spark the revival.

Newmarket Sniper Shot

A horse I like the look of (and franked by the thoughts of @lukeelder) is in the 5.50, Dutch Art Dealer.  Gelding is always a wincing thought for us all but often has the desired effect and there are plenty of signs that this year, he might have more to offer.  8/1 with Sportingbet, 7/1 generally.  Load a cannon.

The Martin Hill Trixie is Dutch Art Dealer, Hillstar and Cordero.

I trust your dinner is Pad Thai and in the finest of company.  Allow the cold beer to sink down that gullet with the satisfaction that only a huge bulging inner pocket can bring.  The company both glamorous and sensational, the ambience perfect.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Friday Royal Ascot Sermon – Tips for each race…

Good Evening from a glorious Worcestershire that carries none of the closeness of the previous night, the land basks under a marvelous summer evening.

Today was golf, along the front nine, the overcast conditions and warm air were pleasant and I had plenty of opportunity to explore the full parkland site on which Tewkesbury Park is set.  Along the back nine, a few moments that bought a smile, dropping my 7 iron tee shot into the middle of the tenth hole was one.  The tee is a good height above the green and it makes for a fun shot.  It is a tricky thing dropping mortar fire accurately from height.

I scored badly in the end but was satisfied with the day.  Just below the course, which by the way, affords excellent views across to Bredon Hill (a horse as well you know), the Black Mountains and Cleeve Hill, under which our beloved Prestbury Park resides….  is a very significant historic battlefield.  The Battle of Tewkesbury, a key fixture in the War of the Roses, was a fifteenth century dust-up between the House of Lancaster and the House of York.  The Prince of Wales lost his life along with a few thousand others. 

My racing notes are submitted for your delectation, the Lancastrians suffered from a terribly judged ride.  Having been ill-used on a hot march the previous day, they failed to cross the Severn at Gloucester and marched up river and camped overnight at Tewkesbury. 

By contrast the Yorkists enjoyed a superb toe into the race and arrived at the business end very fresh.  Their leaders were mere youths, many teenagers but damned experienced. 

The Army of the House of Lancaster positioned themselves with the Avon and Severn at their rear, foolish.  York ensured their left flank was defended effectively with a deployment of mounted guards to cover the open woods. 

The ground ahead was poor stuff and with some break, the gunners had their chance to make a mark.  Since many of Lancaster guns had been left behind for expediency of speed on the previous days forced march, York had several advantages.  They used these well, arrows and shot raised panic amongst the Lancastrians and all good order was lost.  In an attempt to flee and cross the river, many souls were cut down remorselessly by the Yorkists in the meadow below the golf club, the Bloody Meadow…. now that’s a spot I don’t fancy losing my ball to.

With the prospect of the big game on the horizon (Japan), I am heading straight for the Friday tips.  Do you know, Tokyo is on the list of must visit cities… alongside Moscow.  Interesting, not really, travel enthusiasts are such a bore.

Friday Ascot Tips

Thursday… ah Thursday.  The strike rate dropped, I was more wrong than right but still a profit was returned with Bracelet getting her well-bred 12/1 assets together when it counted.  Good but not glorious.

As long as Japan win, my bank has a healthy glow to it.  Japan.  What am I doing.

The Albany is a head scratcher but I am going to take Wesley ward at his word… If he has better horses over for Ascot than Hootenanny…. and one of them is Sunset Glow then surely… surely is wins the Albany?  Now it is a leap of faith and a few throw away words do not a gamble make.  Yet, I cannot help but admire, as well as be thankful, how he brings a good string over. 

In the Wolferton, I like Dick Doughtwylie but suspect he needs a bit more juice under foot.  It is a shame as John Gosden is in fine fettle.  I also like Just the Judge but not only does Charles Hills have a poor Ascot record, he is not in the best recent form either.

 I like Cafe Society a lot.  He will be fine in conditions and given he exchanged hands for a third of a million this week, you would think that the new astute owners would be expecting some early returns.

Yet if you like Cafe Society, you have to be on Bold Sniper,  – 5/2,The Queen was perhaps unlucky to lose the gold Cup yesterday when Estimate gave her all and just came short to Leading Light who has an excellent strike rate and is starting to look a touch classy.  My tip is a bit lightly raced and has looked awkward at times but has shown superb class handing weight and a beating to Cafe Society.  Have a slice.

Then the King Edward VII Stakes – Adelaide is being well supported and you can see why having easily won his race at the Curragh, moving up and commanding well.  Western Hymn brings the Derby form which looks good but I am not convinced he will like the ground, I think he has the class mind as he had a shocking fight down the hill, shoulder barging away.  Snow Sky was scratched from the Derby following injury and who knows what was expected?

The ground is an issue for a lot of these in my view and the two I am settled on are the Galileo (his can go on anything!) aforementioned colt Adelaide and the selection Miners Lamp who has an excellent strike rate, takes to his racing well and has a Newmarket win which looks very tidy indeed.

The the feature Coronation Stakes.  I do like Rizeena, in a funny way she reminds me of Long Run, what possible connection I hear you cry… well it is a physical one, she looks the leggy sort, almost spider-like at times… She likes the firmer conditions enough but I do worry that the way she slaps her legs down, it cannot be the best for her, despite that her form has been excellent, I particularly likes her Prix Morny run.

Richard Hughes won this race with Sky Lantern last year and in many ways Lucky Kristale is a similar sort of prospect and is no 201 shot.  Sea The Stars is in full cry now as a stallion and My Titania is sure to win a race in this grade, is this it?  Olivier Peslier takes over on Lightening Thunder who has sterling form in behind Miss France in the Guineas.

Christ… it is tough.  I am steered by the winners of this race being near the head of the market.  My Titania gets the nod at 9/2 with Paddy Power.  She has been skillfully handled and can add to the growing stud reputation of 2,000 Guineas, Derby and Arc winning superstar, Sea the Stars.

Hartnell wins the Queens Vase… Although have at least a few shekels on Anglo Irish at 40/1… Gosden second string I know but come on…

Horsted Keynes wins the last with draw and ground on side.

Courage, roll the dice.