Good morning from the Major who writes full of hangover from the grey dampening scenes of a Worcestershire landscape that has the civility to be calm to my raging senses.
I am starting to think that this drinking game is a young mans sport. I supped beer with the finest company, good friends, we dined for curry which is a tremendously social cuisine and I was to bed before 1am the worse for 6 pints.
In my day, I would have shrugged that off without missing a beat but in these straining years, the weight is heavy in my head, rolling around like a giant marble. Still I do my best work drunk or hungover so bring on the mothership.
Last weekend I asked my mother to go to the Arc with me. An autumn day in Paris, I was thinking a night or two at a decent hotel and some good food. She didn’t say no but the response was lukewarm. Something amiss there, a son has some work to do for an ill I do not yet understand.
The new website for my business went live. I am quite happy with it since a friend built it for free. I shall pay him back with kindness and respect, nothing of any tangible value though.
The main news of the week of course has been the shocking new images about an old problem. Economic migrants and refugees continue to risk all to reach Europe and claim asylum. Not one person can not have been moved by that image. Myself, I wanted to see it, which I knew was voyeuristic in part, I did see it and was quite stuck on it.
I know that children have been drowning in the seas for years in their families desperate bid to reach a new life. It took an almost artistic picture of a perfectly shaped yet lifeless poor soul though to break through a defence fortified by years of bad news promoted by a media most interested in the death count.
As always though, the decision about what to do is a devilish and complex one. What I cannot fathom is the desire of a family to leave Turkey where they are under no immediate threat on inflatable dinghy craft. They know they are risking their lives. I don’t know what drives that madness but it is clearly a powerful force and I cannot judge.
I must be the only person though to think that the Government were already doing a good job on the problem though. Sometimes, when something horrific happens, our tendency is to lash out at any player on the stage.
Confusing the willingness to accept refugees who have made it to Europe with the death of a child in the sea is to simplify. Even if we were accepting more migrants / refugees from within Europe, the child would have died. Arguably more would have because we have created incentive to make the hazardous trip.
We have spent almost a billion pounds at the camps in Lebanon and Jordan where cities of people fleeing a warren need shelter and water. Should we have taken more folk directly from those camps, yes. Yet the long term solution is to bring the war in Syria to an end and allow rebuilding to take place. It seems Russia is taking the best lead on that. Life is complex.
On that note, on a short sermon, we dash to the sports.
Haydock and Ascot Tips
I am going to start with the main race of the day, the Bettered Sprint. 7/1 the field tells you the nature of this years renewal and many top sprinters are represented who have lost recent form.
Three interest me, I want one at a price, a fallen angel ready to be resurrected.
Tiggy Wiggy was a sensational speedball until injury and she has not been the same since. If she manages to get back to best, her cruising speed might have them at it.
G Force is an old favourite and last years winner. Again, it seemed to crown a career but who knows if he can get there again. At his price, I don’t want to find out.
No, my selection is the rank outsider, Due Diligence, 33/1. He was second in a fine Diamond Jubilee and although that was the end of his strong form, I am still hopeful he might pop up in one of these races. After all, the top G1 sprinters rarely hold their form, it is like a merry-go-round.
Talking about needing to recover form, Ivawood should be streets ahead of the opposition based on his placed efforts in two classics this year. Let’s Go mullered a bob average field before being awful in listed company at Pontefract. That latter form just cannot be right and so he remains unexposed.
Sovereign Debt is a solid alternate too. His form is very decent, winning a couple of listed events and he arrives with possibly the least question marks over him.
So… proven class that has fallen somewhat. A potential star with a single bad blot or an animal that won’t be troubling the G1 records but is sure to run a race?
If in doubt, pick your best jockey. I like James Doyle, Let’s Go it is 10/1.
At Ascot, I have looked at the Appletiser Handicap, 3.25pm.
A cracking handicap in which you are trying to read the finest form as plenty come to the race in good shape.
Hard to argue with Dartmouth who has done exceptionally well in his last two races. A further stone hike in the weights provides the only question, will that catch up to his potential?
The one I am going to oppose with is She is no Lady at 10/1 (Paddy Power). We get Jamie Spencer and this one has to bear another 4lbs for a victory over what could be a decent one, Rhythmical, at Newmarket.
That is it. Short, I know. If you feel like you have been short-changed, well, let you wish for more.
I am sorry, it is all my state can manage.
The Martin Hill: Stick the three in an each way trixie.
May your dinner be simple and to follow lots of paracetamol.
Courage, roll the dice.