Saturday Sermon – Paddy Power (or BetVictor) Gold Cup Day

Good evening from the Major who writes from a slightly hazy but still crisp aired Nottinghamshire with the moon filtered through a wispy layer of condensation suspended silently, covering me from the empty blackness, silence and cold depths of the nether.  It is out there though, always.

The moon is close to the Earth in the next 48 hours, a perigee.  Due to the oscillations of orbit, the timing of our marbles rolling round our solar system, the moon was last this close in 1948.  All this means for you is that is about 10% bigger than usual.

The Major slips through another week.  Some week too.  Trump.

Firstly let me lance the boil.  I tweeted that not only was a 40% profit on Clinton the finest bet you might find, I added that you should contact your money holders to free up capital for investment.  My fingers are burned but this is not the worst injury, the degradation to my pride is near complete.

My humbleness is fortified by a personal reduction in wealth…. Mock me greatly but remember, I paid a capital price for my error.

What a shock too.  Let me make no bones about it, Trump is a pretty ungentlemanly sort to run the US Government.  As an observer I would say he is equal in parts stupid and the same obnoxious.

Regular readers will know that the Major is not a particularly proud individual.  I confess my sins and I know that they do not reflect well on my soul.  As such, you can be reassured that any scrutiny I apply to myself, however accurate, is at least honest.

As a midnight owl sort, I have found myself watching some pretty poor TV over the years.  At times, I have strayed into watching the American version of the Apprentice.  Goodness me.  It was a hard watch.  C-list celebrities going through stage-managed tasks and culminating in The Donald pontificating across the boardroom.

So often, his direct speech to people reverted to their looks.  You could not watch him without concluding that he is horrible.  He is.  Subsequent footage of him and allegations against hims are entirely predictable.  I also disagree with his politics and I say this as a centre right-minded liberal (in the proper use of the word, rather than the Farron abuse of it).  Trump is a protectionist, I am in favour of open markets.

I could never have voted for him.  That and my losses I have to put aside to a dark point of history.

Incredibly, to my mind, he garnered enough support to get him to the White House.

Enough has been said publicly to analyse the anguish the ‘mainstream’ feels about their loss of the public confidence.  Some blame the majority that voted for him (as per Brexit), some believe that his core vote was lied to (as per Brexit) and few reflect on a growing disdain for folk being preached to.

When Michael Gove said that Britain had suffered enough of experts, he was derided.  ‘Experts’ felt their intelligence impinged and the trend setters felt their fact bases core strength eroded.  Yet, Gove was taping into something.  You cannot blame him for identifying it, whether you like the thing or not.

We are falling out of love with the ‘facts’, in so much as they are presented.  Consider the markets.  At the off, they were certainties that… the Tories could not win a majority, we would remain and that Clinton would win.  Are pollsters asking the wrong questions, the wrong people or are folk not willing to reveal heir thoughts as willingly?

I do not know.  What I would offer is this. The drama is overplayed.  When I see a child under 7 years of age proffering distress at the outcome of an election on social media, my eyes thin and I consider the parenting.  When I see anguished young people gnashing their teeth and wringing their hands, I wonder how we won wars.

I cannot criticise the people in a functioning democracy for the choice they made.  No matter how incompatible with my own thoughts.  It is called being an adult.  Get over it, people think different things.

My own experience of the election night was something else.  I drifted into the wee hours sober and wide-eyed.  Even when I put my head to pillow, my mind was racing with the then inevitable surprise that most of Britain was to wake up to in shock.

Winter arrived this week.  Darkness, cold.  My favourite season.

I drove home through this bleakness, the road became a lonely place in the lanes between my office and the home-place.  A rain slicked road under a canopy of darkened oak, a light fog… my mind wandering as it will.  I felt I was sliding down the road, like it was a tunnel, quiet and for a moment, I was lost until my heart quickened under the danger of throwing half a tonne of metal out of control and my concentration snapped into action.

I have a good wife.  I rarely mention her but I am lucky that she puts up with me.  I hope that so many years (16) make us immune to the wilds of youth and I think it does.  I have not always been a good man, neither do I want to explore all her errors too.  We can grow old like this too and the thing is, we know each other, we are with each other knowing it.

There is a lot to be said for familiarity too.  We spin round once on the ride of life.  I will forgive a few thrills and spills to gaze into the eyes of a friend at the end.

I hope you have what you want, whether it be the same or the opposite.

To the sports.


You might be hesitant about a man who proffered such strong misguided advice about the American election.  I’d support that view.

However, there is a case for the defence.  My start to the National Hunt season has been much more respectable.  We are at Cheltenham too and I always play my hand well there…

The opening Triumph Hurdle trial is always a nice race.  Many of the horses never go on to the greatest NH heights, as many Triumph winners do wilt on the vine, not being proper NH bred sorts.  There was a sense of a chance in direction when Alan King sent out Katchit and then Franchoek to win in 06 and 07.  The former was a tough Champion Hurdle winner and the latter threatened to be good too but drifted wildly.

You cannot trust these juveniles to go on to the big careers, not in the way a darn fine points winner might.

Anyway… After a slow start, Hobbs is warming up and Defi du Seuil fit s the bill for me.  The Nicholls french import is a massive risk but our boy has already won well over hurdles in the UK and has a win on decent ground under his belt.  Invest 2/1.

Thistlecrack should win but 1/6 is a never a price to take about a novice chaser no matter what their hurdle exploits.  That said, Thistlecrack looked mighty professional at Chepstow.  No bet.

The staying handicap chases are a minefield early in the season.  Ground changes will swing form but more than that, some of these horses will be on a path to the national and so it is a race in which I want is a trier.

I like Beg to Differ but am not feeling that one will be wound up.  I like both the McManus horses and am settling on Minella Rocco, 13/2  who I think might have a big hand in these staying chases.  That said, I would not put you off Upswing either so… takes your pick!

I know what you are thinking.  Taquin Du Seuil, an irresistible pill.

You can keep More of That, wind op’s often are a sign of better to come, I am not sure that this World Hurdle winner will come good again.  That said, he put Annie in her place in that race and that is strictly a fine line of form!

My pick is Frodon at 7/1.  It is an unlikely pick a he is stepping up from small novice fields into big boy company.  However, he has performed so well at that lower level that maybe this mark is well within reach.  We shall see.

That is it for me.

I am so tired.

Courage, roll the dice.

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