Good morning from the Major who writes refreshed after a deep slumber to find pleasant light pooling on Worcestershire washed along by a warm breeze that speaks of the Earth being baked later today.
The Major has accepted an offer of purchase on this Worcestershire home from where I have written to you so often. The time has come to move and soon, within weeks; a month or so; you will have to adapt to receiving your Saturday meteorological reports as they will concern the rolling green lands of North Nottinghamshire or South Yorkshire. The times are changing.
I had a 100/1 winner on Wednesday. I managed to complicate my staking strategy in the rush I was in that I did not exactly land a mothership when surely I should have done. Still, 100/1; that does not happen often. Stick with me another 6 years, it will come again!
As if the farce could not descend further, the Labour party took it’s awful democratic process of electing a new leader to new depths this week. So flagrant is the unfairness of banning new members on such wooly grounds without due recourse (before the leadership vote) that one has to wonder whether some of it is a deliberate ploy to get the whole thing called off.
Somebody asked me if I was a Tory on twitter this week. Now, I have always considered it rude to ask someone of their voting record but I guess one’s attitudes and behaviours might signal a political persuasion.
My own is more complex than party politics. I have voted for a full range of people in the past. Sometimes it is based on me supporting a local MP and the value of their community work trumping any preference in my interests at a national party level. After all, your MP is you chosen representative, choose well.
There are two things that I believe mankind would be better served by understanding better. The first is to de-program our minds from believing in certainties. The second is a true understanding of probability.
In considering the first, political persuasion is a an excellent case in point. In asking whether I was a Tory, a person had a clear idea of what that meant and was trying to match me to whatever it was for them. If I replied yes, then I accept the pigeon-hole perception of all the baggage that comes with it. Life is never so simple. You cannot equate politics and sport.
For my sins I am a supporter (with a small s as I struggle to garner much fire for the sport) of West Brom. I once sat in the Birmingham City end to see them beat West Brom many years ago. Andy Johnson was superb for Blues, murdering us on the right flank although oddly, his teammates seemed reluctant to play him into the game much. Sat in that stand, I learned the strength of a partisan spirit. Fouls I saw were called as dives, all logic was lost through a perverted tinted view of events. Unable to show my own feeling on events, I was forced to consider more whether that was a penalty or whether that foul deserved a booking. If you want to learn how unfair your mind is, sit silently with your foe, feigning friendship.
No one political party could possibly capture the range of views I hold. I wish others would stop pretending in the certainty that it could. I know twitter is an awful place for politics but there are so many certain people there that I wish would stop, draw breath and ask themselves. Should I give my undying support to a party no matter what it does. If they did, fewer occurrences of policy disaster would occur. Less Iraq wars and less Poll Tax riots… Complexity exists, stop seeing the world in black and white. Most decisions are made on a spectrum.
It is true that there are some ‘benefit scroungers’ though the term is unpleasant, no doubt there are those engaged in fraud and some downright lazy folk. It is true that there are very vulnerable people who need more support. Where you stand on welfare reform does not mean you dismiss both of these truths. You simply make a decision on where you stand on the spectrum, perhaps based on how prevalent either problem is. Because you think austerity should be tempered and more money given to the sick or unemployed and sanctions relaxed, this does not mean you think that people have no responsibility for themselves. To support a benefit cap does not mean you wish for people to suffer either. Decisions and life is far more complex.
The next time you find yourself vehemently opposed to someones position on any question of politics, morality, sport…. Deprogram from the defensive and ask how they arrived at their standpoint, get under the skin of the intellectual calculation they made. They probably have good reason, as do you. You do not need to adopt their thoughts once you understand them but many good things may occur. You may question your own position from a more informed standpoint and either moderate or fortify it. You might achieve the same for the other person too.
As Socrates said and I shall probably misquote horribly. I am the wisest because I know one thing and that is that I know nothing.
Perhaps this is one of the greatest lessons gambling teaches. The thing with sports though, is that there is a defined outcome. A horse will win the race. A team will win the game, or a draw.
In the face of calculating an opinion on an unknown outcome, in the face of an absolute truth being revealed, our ability to deprogram is vital. To start with a clean slate, to be able to question those things we convince ourselves to be true. To understand those with an opposed view and to reason internally about the merits of factors. To do so without undue influence, without unfair prejudice. This heightened state, it is almost unattainable but it would make us all better gamblers.
As for my politics, well. I believe in a smaller state. I always thought Reagan hit the nail on the head exclaiming that the most terrifying words in the world were…. I am from the government and I am here to help!
We all want the same things, broadly speaking. We might just disagree on how to deliver them. If you fail to see this, then your partisan blinkers will lead you through an intellectually unrewarding life.
To the sports, a clean mind and a mothership to land…. Shabash!
The Strensall Stakes. Four defectors this morning leave ten to go to post.
This Group 3 attracts three year old entries but they do not normally fair so well. We are usually looking for an experienced campaigner and outright shocks are not unheard of. Several 25/1 nags and a 100/1 rag have trotted up in the past ten years.
I like Top Notch Tonto, those blazing white socks and flashing face are a joy to watch and the horse has some fair ability. Yet, I believe he was better suited by the stickier ground earlier in the week and may struggle to reel some of these in on ground that surely will be genuine good.
Mondialiste may blaze along and it is a concern for the field that he may be left out there unflustered.
I am chancing Mahsoob, especially since Totesport and Bettered are currently 7/1 about him while others are 5/1. He looked a smashing sort until last time out at Newcastle and while we have to find an excuse for that performance, I think I can forgive a single bad run. He was very green looking that day and faded the end. Dropped in trip, settled well, he has a great chance. I rate Convey the biggest danger.
2.35 – The Melrose Stakes Handicap. 8/1 the field and the madness begins. I want two.
Outspoken for O’Brien has the burden of top weight but is entirely unexposed and out of Galileo, could be a group horse, 10/1 I will have it in. The other is Wonder Laish who won his last race, a maiden at Lingfield admittedly, by half the straight, 8/1.
The Gimcrack often gets the favourite beaten but not by an outsider. This information does not seem that relevant really, other than, a good horse wins and so concentrate on the top of the market. Haggas has won several times and Ajaya has filed good form in the UK and France.
King of Rooks has done well in defeat. I never like those words, you can keep digging for excuses but we need winners if we are going to land this mothership. Sod it, I love it when Wesley Ward brings his monster juveniles over, they always look like they have been on steroids! Finnegan is on the drift at 4/1 but it does not put me off. Have a slice that the American bullies our frail sorts out of it.
The big one, the Ebor. I cannot recall ever winning this but endeavour is never lacking in the sermon my friends.
My criteria. 5 years old plus. Trained by a shrewdie.
My selection: Clondaw Warrior – 6/1
Mullins had a winner yesterday with Max Dynamite, he does so well sending his string flat racing and while it looks obvious, I am not put off by that. Clondaw has been superb this season, winning at Ascot and Galway. He is ground adaptable too. Quick Jack is a worthy second favourite and I will consider a saver on that too.
In the 4.20, we have an odds on favourite in Ornate. After fading badly at Windsor on debut, he left it all behind winning a Ripon race than now looks mighty good. Of the 4 horses behind him, only one is yet to win. There are some obvious credentials and these conditions are perfect.
Rousseau would do well in this company to go post to post. You feel his job today is to set it up. Riflescope is more experienced and carries an extra burden on account of his listed win. He is good but exposed. It has to be Ornate. Paddy are still evens.
The last two handicaps….
4.55 Pacify 8/1
5.25 Foreign Diplomat 14/1
The Martin Hill: Mahsoob and Clondaw in a power double.
May your dinner be glorious, taken at great state and in fine company. One of those nice Italian restaurants where the waiters scuttle to be a service (finest waiters in the world) and the crisp wines and fresh pasta give you great pleasure.
Courage, roll the dice.