Saturday Sermon: Hungerford Stakes

Good evening from the Major from a magnificent Bassetlaw evening where fingers of blood-red cloud stretch across the palest blue sky which falls away into such dark deep peacefulness.  A cacophony of pastels, dark enough that Saturn’s bright light pops from just beyond the moon, a sky so huge I feel lost, as if bobbing on the ocean and only able to gaze longingly down into the shimmering surface reflection, the dancing blue shallows; like a man could be content in such confines until you consider the darkness and depth beneath.  Endless falling

I am most content in the new home, several weeks have passed, the Majors family bought together under a new roof.  Our new shores are comfortable, the safety of a converted barn which used to serve as the village bakery, a spacious kitchen, entirely incompatible with my abilities to create fine cuisine, a quiet village dating back 1,000 years, a very neat pub, an ancient church and an elevation on a great plain, allowing the eye to wander to distant coal power stations strung together by pylons racing across the land.

Aye, I like it here.  The comforts are tinged with an unfamiliarity, bread cakes are cobs and a pot is both general pans and cups to be washed up, as it is a cast on a broken leg.  It is not like being a stranger, more like an alien edge to your normal life.

I have been reading The Grand Design by S. Hawking and for the most part I have followed it.  As the science got into eleven dimensions which can break down into four mathematically and how quantum science has made astonishing predictions which have proven true; well no amount of re-reading of those paragraphs is going to further my understanding of the words beyond a mere repetition of the central themes.

The world of the quantum though is certainly alien to our sensibilities.  We were able to grasp Newtonian physics, we understood our ball spinning around our own nuclear reactor.  We understood our own sun as one of billions on an arm turning every quarter billion years around a black hole at the heart of our ‘milky way’.  We understood that being one of billions of galaxies and our minds, while not able to make the computation, could at least appreciate our insignificance.

Einstein took Newton and straightened him out on a few things.  Matter didn’t simply attract other matter, rather, any matter, bent space and time causing things to fall towards each other

The quantum small though asks us to confront God.  Things that don’t exist until we observe them, things that are in existence in two places at once and infinite paths of particles that are as likely to behave as we might expect or as likely to loop twice around Pluto and pop around a distant galaxy before forming part of your morning coffee.

The early universe occupied a space so minuscule that it barely existed, time exploded as did space and all matter, after that, rules that Newton could interpret at some point came into place, Einsteins revisions got us closer to the start and now CERN and eminent quantum theorists are getting us the closest to God yet.

I am not religious but I do believe in God.  Why this set of rules rather than another?  Maybe this mindset we occupy is just as small-minded.  We once thought the Earth was flat and then, in great turmoil, Galileo (later) and the ancient Greeks (first) flew in the face of our faith our showed us our place, our meaningless space.

Maybe another such revelation is to come, maybe what we think is simple, common sense (such a dubious concept) or linear is actually so mis-fired, so vast and so incomprehensible, it is as though we were the ant encountering the computer for the first time.

Whether we can ever understand this great complexity.  Are there infinite universes?

We have to leave that to the future generations.  Sadly, they do not have long left, even on the long-span of time we have, we are likely to remain predisposed to internal argument and conflict to recognise that we could do more.  The boundaries of our very countries tell us all we need to know. The subjectivity of opinion split between ‘cultures’ like we don’t have a greater responsibility.

As far as we know, we are the only beings, capable of searching for God.  We will forgive this honour and replace it with our own competitiveness and inward nature.  We made devices enough to wipe us out.

Either that, or an ice age or asteroid strike.  Our life might seem long enough but in the eons of time, it is but a blink.  The Earth has already turned over enough species, one more will not matter, we will still spin, we will still orbit our celestial master.

Every bit of us was made in another star so far away in space and time.  Flung across space to coalesce once more, first as loose bits of rock around a young sun and we went from there.

In the end, we are left as we started just the most complex dust in a dead cold and dark space. Before we get there, make sure you take your due back from God.  Whoever made these rules did not value us.

Our right is to live, breathe and enjoy whatever we see.  We have no other rule than that.  Yes, the rule of man, if fair, is reasonable.  Yet, such laws interfere so little with our needs.  To breathe, to absorb, to contemplate… the order of our own minds is the only God we have.

Until then, there is the sport.

Sporting Advice 

The Hungerford: It is firm going tomorrow for the G2 race at Newbury and in a race that has had many three-year old winners, none compete tomorrow.  In fact, I am not that enamoured by the quality of the race.  OK, it is not a highlight of the season but Paco Boy and Excelebration have won this before and I don’t see that quality here.

Honestly, the line up is much of a muchness.  I am struggling to find a clear path through. The yards have no form issues, the horses are proven on rattling ground.  In such circumstances, form and jockey must be prevalent.

With this slightly flimsy pretext, I choose Convey who can be backed at 5/2 widely and has the advantage of Smullen in the saddle. That man knows his beans.

I am throwing a longer ball in the Geoffrey Freer (1.55 Newbury) where I am a big admirer of King’s Fete but feel we can get him beat.  The one I like is as unfashionable as mussels being served at 11 in the pub.  You can get some 9/1 about Red Cardinal  who has the habit of getting his head in front and seemingly is effective on firmer ground.

Yes Red Cardinal is behind them on form produced but he is improving and well-bred for these distance tests.  Unfashionable he might be, it has no influence on his talent.

In the 3.10 at Doncaster, Thankyou Stars will win, 2/1.  Streaked clear with a subsequent winner last time and there is a false favourite (I reckon, cheap words to write) in the race. Load up.

There is also football.

I am not a fan of betting on the opening days of the football season.  Temperatures are high, mistakes are made, players are trying to knit together. A surprise is available.

I would rather go with the sense of optimism in a club rather than transfer dealings or pre season form, though the former is attached to my preference, I grant you.

Sheffield Wednesday played well last year with little reward, they started this year with a win over Villa although the latter were the better team for much of the game.  I’d be happy to be aboard the Wednesday train though for the trip to Norwich, 3/1.

I also want Everton at 21/10 to beat Tottenham who left last season like an ugly rag whose stains you recognise but can’t remember how they were received.

5 bets.

Fingers crossed.

May your Saturday night be blessed.  Good company, fine food, a nice drink.  Your confidence in the wheels spinning on, either unshakable or forgotten, either will do, paradise lies there.

Courage friends, roll the dice.


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