Good morning from the Major who unfolds slowly, creaking and moaning into a bright new dawn, the light in Birmingham swishing around, flooding the cracks and leaving no peace.
Birmingham Major? Well yes, I am relying on the hospitality of family following a day at the cricket. Some day too.
I met my partner in crime for the day at New Street, goodness that redevelopment is taking some time. New Street Station has always been a diesel fumed underground dark nest of sin, let’s see what hundreds of millions of investment can do.
We made the ground for the start of play and missed the first over only because decanting the Pinot from the bottle to the Edgbaston acceptable vessel took though extra few moments. I must confess, I have form in this area. At Edgbaston in 2005 (I think, but some intrepid cricket fan might correct me), Onions took two wickets in the first over of play. I heard those cheers with bacon sandwiches and good coffee in hand as I made my way back to my seats and my father. The local crowd laughed as I took my seat awaiting the second over and I loudly asked if I’d missed anything.
Our seats yesterday were excellent for cricket but slightly exposed. I have several sun hats suitable for the cricket and I always fail to remember them. Each test game I attend, I seem to be purveying the hats and as the morning session matured, with it evident that we were going to get past lunch, I went and made the necessary purchase. This morning, I can see that I made this decision too late.
We had a second bottle, a Chablis I think, over lunch, which was light but delicious. Mine a pork belly wrap with all manner of tasty accoutrements. The afternoon saw us sitting back, having made the switch to ale and cheering Bell and Root ticking the runs off with some flashing strikes of the blade. Bravo.
Then, the Cube. A smart set sort of place with spectacular views. Another bottle of god knows what now. We charmed some ladies into sharing their seating with us, they were spirited and full of mischief, themselves almost as cut as we were. My brother joined us. We made our way to some place he recommended for dinner, gourmet curry basically. My friend generously picked up the tab. I don’t recall much afterwards.
There was a casino. My bank was depleted heavily when I hit a single 8 with sole £5 chip on the table to restore some order. My brother had been hitting his numbers and leaving with far more notes than he arrived with, for once he picked up the beer tab and the taxi home.
I cannot remember that part of the evening well. I have images of tottering women, gaggles of friends. I awoke in my parents lounge in the small hours, no sign of anyone and retired to a bedroom for sleep. Then the sun rudely awoke me and I knew it was time.
Apologies Adam who offered me a drink up in members. As you can see, by the time I could have done so, my organisational capacity was severely reduced. Next time, would liked to have seen you.
April 23rd 2009 . That was the Majors first post. 650 posts later, having not missed a Saturday through inclement weather, health, holidays et al; I feel a commitment. I could not stop now, you are stuck with it. Cursed.
Am I better for it? Are you? Still, the unrelenting nature of life requires a few regular drum beats to retain the sanity.
If I could, I would go back and change a few things. I would make the name less clunky for a start. Plus, it turns out that a racing tipster working for the BBC used to use the moniker, The Major, nothing to do with me and I certainly didn’t intend to infringe his copyright.. Anyway.
To the sports. I do my best work in drunken recovery. Signal the mothership, six and a half years and I feel we are finally ready.
Goodwood and Galway Tips
I know you want the winner of the Stewards Cup. Don’t we all, it is 7/1 the field after all.
Tropics is a good old bean. He has some quality and classy horses win the Stewards. Plenty of more mature types with the form in the book have done the business here. Goodwood is a track where experience counts.
It looks like Ninjago, placed in the race last year, has been laid out for this and who would not wish for Hughsie to retire winning a Stewards Cup. I know he is not everyones favourite jockey but he has worked damn hard.
I lie Magical Memory, it looks progressive and Frankie has been riding very well. Yet, as advertised, three year olds do not have the strongest race record.
I am going to have two. Tropics run in a poor July Cup was excellent and back in handicap company and on good song, I want him in the stable. You can get five places and 16/1 with Boylesports (remember, no affiliations, no deals, no links). I also want Ninjago, I suspect a step up in form today in his third running in the race. You can get 22/1 with Bet365, again for five places.
If you fancy something else, just watch those place markets. I note that Sportingbet are seemingly a stand out in only offering four places.
Goodwood is at least one day too long. Unlike Cheltenham or Royal Ascot, they do not have enough quality races to lay on a festival of this length. Hence, the only group race of the day is the Nassau. It has been a John Gosden benefit in recent years. Sutanina, Windily and The Fugue all bringing back the spoils. He throws three in; Bright Approach, Jazzi Top and Star of Seville .
Star of Seville races prominently and will ensure a good gallop. I was very impressed with her in France last time out, where she won a French Oaks and I would not put you off a bet.
In a good renewal, Legatissimo and Diamondsandrubies renew rivalry with the former probably edging the latter. Excellent Guineas and Oaks form on the table there.
I am going to bet Lady of Dubai though. She was third in the Oaks, a little behind Legattissimo. She has some class and goes well at Goodwood, a sizeable asset. 13/2 is available but again, watch your place terms, about half the market are fifth odds.
If Goodwood is stretching out the quality, Galway has practically cut your fine whisky to one part, five parts water. The race of the day is the handicap hurdle. I have watched a little of the racing from Galway this week and have noted Tony Martins runners are in fine fettle, as they often are for this week. Hence, Pyromaniac looks a fine sort to have onside and can be backed at 5/1, but 9/2 and 4/1 is more common.
Galway always have a number of runners at the weekend who competed earlier in the week and Wood Breizh goes hurdling in the same race after a flat performance on Tuesday. Definitely an interesting runner and I have it down to the two of them but as you can see, I have declared my hand.
In the 4.25, expect Hoppala to break and make the fractions. It will give backers a good run for their money but I hope it just sets the scene nicely up for Leath Na Hoimbre (translation anyone?) who was visually impressive last time.
Last week, Speculative Bid made the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. A runner, then a non runner, then runner again; the stewards did not cover themselves in glory. He was well supported that day and assuming there are no stalls jitters again, I want to be on at 9/4 in his Newmarket race today (4.35).
At Thirsk, I think 7f is ideal for Highest Level and note the excellent stable form at Thirsk. 6/1 is widely available.
The Martin Hill: Highest Level and Ninjago in a powerful double.
May your dinner be excellent and in wonderfully relaxed company. Feel for the Major. I have to ante up on the drinks again shortly.
Courage, roll the dice.