Tag Archives: camelot

Wednesday Ascot Tips – Bookies 1 Major 0

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire country scene where the heavy air settles uncertainly around me.

Tuesday was not a good day.  Losses are one thing but the way I decided against 20/1 winner War Command on the mere whim of Coventry winners being generally a lot shorter in the market… it sounds as daft as it looks now typing it.  Still, below I have prepared the Wednesday card and absolutely, one hundred percent, without question or hesitation, guarantee you nothing, nothing at all, other than the inner most thoughts of the swirling dark vortex of my mind.

War Command was the most exhilarating display of Tuesday simply blasting clear from the field, SHABASH! and coming home in glorious isolation – He is 10/1 for next years Guineas with Ladbrokes.  Yet for me, as eye-poppingly sexy as that performance was, it plays second fiddle to the return to the top of Dawn Approach.

His win lacked the spike of adrenaline one feels from a horse, clearly superior, surging clear of a defeated field… no, it was for rather different reasons that I thought it was a rather famous Royal Ascot performance.  Like the derby, Dawn approach pulled hard and I feared the worst but unlike the derby, he did finally settle.  There was some interference that effected Toranado slightly more than Dawn Approach but the two of the settled down to a traditional eye to eye, nostril searing, lung bursting battle to the post.  Dawn Approach prevailed.

Was he the better horse? Yes.  Wait, I hear Toranado fans cry, Major, we must object, you have already ceded that Dawn approach suffered less bumping and won by a nose, surely there is a moral victory for Toranado?

Well no.  You see, when it gets to fight time, when the bell rings, talent and running fast is one thing but I have no doubt that Dawn Approach worried Toranado out of it.  Well done, Dawn Approach, you gave us a race that shows off the magic of our sport, the backstory, the talent, the raw athleticism and, in the end, the heart.  To quote Kipling;

And so hold on when there is nothing in you, except the will which says to them ‘Hold on’!

Wednesday… the Major needs to tip some winners, I know.  I rely on your good will.  All I can promise are a few simple truths that hopefully you can carry with you during our barren runs.  I always follow what I write up.  I have no deals with bookmakers, there are never any affiliate links, or adverts – I get offers from time to time but this blog is just for us.  What I ask from you is that you act like gentleman, if you cannot manage that, please leave.

To Wednesday and the tips of glory.

Wednesday Ascot Tips

The Jersey Stakes

The Jersey Stakes is a bit of a consolation prize in many ways.  Not that anyone would bemoan or underestimate the value of a Group 3 prize but these horses are the ones that are not quite top draw.

Tawhid has been travelling already with the Godolphin horse contesting in Germany – of some interest.  Gale Force Ten competed in the French 2,000 guineas and I am a bit surprised he is being dropped in trip, I won’t be on the favourite.

Garswood was the great northern hope in our guineas but disappointed a bit after being supported.  The trainers comments suggest he was still a baby and might be seen better here.

My eye settles on two.  At a massive 20/1 price, Ajraam looks a real likely sort having won the Wood Ditton and then beating a very useful looking sort in Henry the Aviator.  My second selection is the French raider Mutin – Surely to goodness, this horse has made the trip with victoire in mind and I want to be on at 15/2.  If you want one, go with our Gaelic friend.

The Duke of Cambridge Stakes

Duntle is very unlucky not to have a Group one to her name after losing the Matron Stakes to a stewards decision.  She looks likely to go off favourite here.  She did win the Sandringham last year and has clearly been upgrading since, of serious interest.

I think we can get her beat though and I am looking at Thistle Bird, Dank and Chigun.  This lot have raced each other twice already and it is a score to Dank, a score to Chigun and a blank to date for Thistle Bird.

I like Thistle Bird but think the other two edge it.  The problem then is I cannot split Queally and Moore easily… I mean if push come to shove, I prefer Moore but they are both class pilots.

The fine balance though falls in favour of Dank on grounds that when beating Chigun, she was giving 3lbs.

Prince of Wales Stakes

Then the one we have been waiting for.  Al Kazeem versus Camelot.  I have to admit that I was caught out by Al Kazeem giving a good beating to Camelot last time out.  There were no obvious extenuating circumstances, in fact, Al Kazeem was the one with something in hand so it is surprising to see them again jostling for position at the head of the market.

To be honest, that is where my search starts and finish for the winner of the Prince of Wales.  I mean, you can make a case for the French one, Maxios who has looked good at Longchamp this term.  I think the main threat is The Fugue, the Nassau was amazing

I was very taken with Al Kazeem and he is reportedly Arc bound, all being well – His trainer has always thought the most of him and I think 9/4 is a tremendous price.

Royal Hunt Cup

If you get to the Royal Hunt Cup and are in need of a winner, you know you are in trouble.

Stirring Ballad will be the first port of call for many ships in the Ascot maelstrom.  Trainer Balding declared him his best chance of the week and given that man knows how to win a handicap like this, many have taken a keen interest.

I am going to take a risk on there being a story in it’s own right.  I am backing Burke’s Rock at 16/1 with Frankie Dettori, to rise like a phoenix and remind us of some of his former Ascot exploits.  This filly has a good draw and while you cannot be too confident in the Royal Hunt, I shall have a slice.

Queen Mary

Reroute is both the Pricewise horse and my own selection after recording an eye-catching time on racecourse debut last Friday at York.  Much of the early evening value has gone but 8/1, you want to be involved, you know it!

The Sandringham

The Sandringham is another head twisting puzzle, a mass of horses coming down the straight course,

You would do better than simply to back Bracing Breeze who is sent over y the Weld team.  His Ascot runners are small in number but high on success and Pricewise has already suggested this as a likely winner.

Zurigha would have been high on my list but has to contend with draw 8.  The middle stalls are OK but lower middle is definitely a hindrance, Bracing Breeze is next door so both have some work to do.

The Major is opting for Mango Diva, 6/1 who is the best drawn of the horses I fancy.  Ryan Moore does the steering and like many of those lining up, has plenty of potential improvement.

Courage, luck and I hope we have a better day two.

The Saturday Sermon – Doncaster Tips (St Leger), 20/1 Chester Tip and the St Leger Curragh Action – Mr John Dunlop and the subject of patience….

Good morning from the Major who writes from the Birmingham suburb of Yardley where an overcast heaven misleads.  The air has a lightness, it will be a nice day.

Camelot bids to be the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky…. Good luck Team Ballydoyle

This is the time of year for the Major.  It is dark enough at night and in the morning for a man who sleeps lightly to rest properly.  the sun does not burn at my fair Northern skin and my eyes relax more having to squint less against the bright light.

What a cracking day of racing too.  Both the English and Irish St Leger meets (although two entirely different races) and Camelot bids very strongly to become the first triple crown winner the Major will have had the pleasure to witness.

Fair play to connections for taking this route.  Doncaster races must be absolutely made over – The St Leger has lost a good deal of lustre over recent years.  Watching Masked Marvel struggle yesterday, I wonder what impact this grueling affair can have on three year old horses.  This might be why top owners have taken the best horses into other races, I do not know for sure.

What is certain is that the St Leger has lost some of the Group One class it is bestowed with.  The arrival of unbeaten Camelot is a shot in the arm for the last of our classics.

John Dunlop announced retirement this week and what better way to mark your retirement announcement than to have the winner in the feature race on Friday, Times Up ran the trainer proud.

Plenty of accolades have been sprayed about regarding Mr Dunlop and the Major will not try to do what others know better.  I will say something about patience though.

Last night, my father in law watched the Shawshank Redemption.  Like many, it is a film he has seen quite a few times before and knowing the outcome adds to the enjoyment.  The subtleties that transpire over a period of time are nurtured and grow.

What a different film it would be if the prison break had been effected over the course of a year., not through guile and perfection but through reaction and urgency?  Where we buy into the aloof lead character is that without uttering a word, he spent half a lifetime achieving something in silence.  A thing he was happy to carry on his soul alone.

The Major sadly is a product of the modern generation.  I am used to having desires fulfilled here and now.  Food is cheap and available and not something you grow.  Purchases of aspiration come immediately, saving is something you do not need to do when you can acquire cheap credit, why wait… This is the lesson of the modern generation.

As someone whose hungers are avaricious and grasping, I think I am able to spot a patient man better than most and Mr Dunlop strikes me as such.  The manner in which he built a training empire.  The manner in which his main owner won the Gold Cup (his stated personal dream) the year before he died after decades of trying.  The manner in which Mr Dunlop carries himself.  Ah yes, I recognise what I do not exhibit.

Mr Dunlop leaves a racing legacy through his sons, again something deliberate which he created.  Spoils of satisfaction are greater for those who built rather than bought.  I imagine he is a content man and wish him all the best for retirement.

To the sports

Doncaster St Leger Tips

Camelot has brushed aside all opposition he has faced and is n better than 4/9 to complete his triple crown bid at Donnie this afternoon.  His turn of foot when putting the derby to bed was devastating and why would we think that staying would be an issue over this 500m odd further?  He won the derby by five lengths being eased, why would the St Leger distance pose a greater problem?

Main Sequence, second in the derby has no right to be reversing the form in my view.  Yet O’Brien has issued a slight warning about staying the distance.  If you ask me, that is simply bluster, the sort of thing a Premier League manager does to deflect potential blame – Camelot should win and O’Brien should accept that as fact.

It is a race in which you can score terrific each way value.  Gosden has a terrific record in this race and when pushed, Buick has selected to ride Thought Worthy.  I am not sure he has got this choice right but perhaps the sluggish look to his Irish Derby race might be ground connected, it was slow that day.

I am going to suggest two lively outsiders for you.

Thomas Chippendale is lightly raced but was beaten well by Thought Worthy at York.  I am not reading too much into that as conditions were rattling and I do not think that this one acted on it – I would not put you off an each way slice at 28/1.

However, the Major is going for a 16/1 tip for the St Leger (Ladbrokes go quarter odds the place) with Guarantee.

If we are going to get Camelot beat, it will be the unlikely circumstance that the favourite does not stay.  Dartford is in the race to ensure a decent pace and I think they might go quickly enough to try to exploit any potential stamina issues – This would set things up well enough for Guarantee who will be doing his best work at the death.

Late and fast, grimly staying on…. Let us see if Guarantee can give us the each way value.  If you can take it, have a lumpy bet on the favourite too at 4/9.

The Irish St Leger – Tips for the Curragh

the Irish St Leger is an open aged affair and Gosden sends Aiken over on a raid.  This could bear fruit as the Chantilly race he won was a very good Group affair.  That said, his form in the Hardwicke was not brilliant.

Fame and Glory has won several times at the Curragh and the O’Brien trained favourite will no doubt be popular.

Brown Panther is another British raider with a sporting chance and the form with the others is well tied.

Hartani looks progressive to me and while he did not win his Leger trial, it was an eye-catching run all the same.  The classic generation gets a generous lump of weight in this race but do not have a great race record.  Interesting but I am not convinced this will be the first three year old in the last eleven years to win the Irish St Leger.  Incidentally the last horse to do so was the incredible Vinnie Roe who won the first of four St Leger crowns for Dermot Weld at the age of three.

The Major has thought long about the likely way the race will pan out and in the finish I am going to suggest that Britain can complete a hat-trick of wins in this race.

I am opting for Aiken, his trainer works miracles with these sorts and 5/1 looks generous to me.

2.40 Chester – Listed Mile

After the loss of Never Can Tell yesterday, what better result that if Area Fifty One or Good Morning Star could win the feature Chester race for Dr Khoukash.

The market seems to think that Modun is the main threat but the Major has some serious doubts about this 13/8 favourite.  He has been tried at a higher level than this and I am pretty sure he is under-priced here.

Instead the Major is going to stick with a horse that I still think has some class to show, if they can crack the code.

Naseem Alyasmeen is 20/1 with Ladbrokes and at this price, I suggest an investment.  The Hamilton run did not look right to the Major and I remain optimistic that we will get a tune out of this girl sooner or later.  Crucially she has form around the tight turns of Chester winning a handicap here in the summer (although off a lowly mark).  Have a slice and thank me later.

Doncaster Tips – Champagne Stakes

Having covered the St Leger, I am back to Donnie for the second race of the day, the Group Two Champagne Stakes.

Toronado won a decent listed Ascot contest and looks well worth a crack at the Champagne Stakes.  Representing last years winning trainer, surely a decent chance.

Tha’ir continues to run well for Godolphin who have won the race twice in the last five years.  The last run at Sandown in Group Three company was pretty good – I just wonder if the bridesmaid position beckons again for this one who looks difficult to place.

5/4 shot Dundonnell won the Acomb Stakes very well last time out and you can see why he heads the market.  Under pressure at the end of that race, he seemed to lug right for the Major though and that is enough to put me off.

On balance, I am tipping Toronado for the Champagne at 11/4 (Hills or Ladbrokes) – Decent price that.

Football Tips

International breaks give teams a chance to regroup and I would not be over-keen to read too much into the form of teams entering the break.

As such, the football tips the Major likes are 17/19 shots, Spurs to win at Reading and 16/11 Villa to do the business at home to Swansea.  Have a double on that!

May your dinner be fuelled by a long-awaited 20/1 winner.  A generous hearty meal awaits where wine may flow and hours pass.  With good company a man can be simply content.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Curragh Irish Derby Tips – Newcastle Northumberland Tips – Tour de France tips – Stories are more powerful than facts

Good morning from the Major who writes from the bright breezy and highly changeable climate of Worcestershire.  The kitchen table is bedecked with breakfast goodies…. Soundtracking my breakfast – Mikes Smokehouse salmon pate on a toasted Bredon Hill bakery bun with a duck egg topping the lot… Magnifique.

Camelot – The new Frankel, the new Sea the Stars…. Whadda ya reckon?

Your correspondent believes that stories are more powerful than facts.

The case agin is one I have plenty of sympathy for.  After all, my approach to selecting tips is a statistical approach.  I often advise on strike rates, form and history purely as a game of numbers.  This jockey is 2 from 2 for the yard, the horse has a 50% win rate on ground worse than soft or the trainer has a 33% win rate with his runners at this track… you know the sort of thing.  Yet evidence is a less powerful force than internal analysis.

We like to think as a rational beings which use facts to govern and dominate decision-making.  Yet, before we create a belief we stir in the most important ingredient, a story…. A story that we tell ourselves.

Stories make us feel more right about the judgement we have made.  As primeval needs go, the need to feel safe and right is paramount.  This is the force that allows people to convince themselves of things despite the evidence.  It is the reason it can be hard for someone to break from an abusive partner.

The Major is suggesting then that facts + your internal story = your belief.

Consider… The sun has risen every morning of your life and science has given you reasons as to why the sun comes up in the morning, or more accurately that our celestial orb turns so that you are on a part of our Earth facing the sun.

You add to this your own story, given you have no reason (I sincerely hope) to not think the sun won’t be up in the morning, then a certain belief is created in your head.

It is however, the internal story and not the fact that is more important.  Sometimes you might choose to control that story to your benefit.  The Majors greatest example of this dates to the Falklands conflict.

You may have forgiven a little trepidation on behalf of British Harrier crews heading steaming through the South Atlantic.  Understanding that his aircraft were outnumbered five to one, Cmdr Nigel ‘Sharkey’ Ward who commanded the 801 Naval Air Squadron from HMS Invincible stated that this created a ‘target rich environment’ for his pilots.

The facts remain, his forces were outnumbered, but the belief is changed because of what you tell yourself and others.

In calculating a good tip, I am not suggesting that you dismiss the facts, I am merely suggesting that in assessing your chances with the enemy, consider both the facts available and what you are telling yourself about them.

Facts: Camelot has only raced on good to soft.  He won on it.  His Sire has a worse strike rate on soft than Galileo or Dubawi (responsible for three of todays opponents), his connections have warned about soft being a concern, the forecast is for more rain, he his 10lbs ahead of his nearest rival today on RPR…… What story should we tell ourselves about these facts… that Camelot is the class act and will overcome them or that the ground and the rain will conquer him and 30/100 is no price?

The Major will not answer the question for you, I merely offer you a reflection on critical reasoning so that you may start to discern in your decision-making process the fact from the story.  Only then might you start to understand how you created a belief and thus the confidence with which you might proceed.

To the sports….

Tips for the Irish Derby – The Curragh 7.40pm

Well done to the racing authorities that are trying an evening slot for the Irish classic.  I hope their attendance is up and think it is a good thing to try.

I have already laid out the main issue facing Camelot here which needs answering as he is in a field of seven meaning some tight each way terms.

Without question, Akeed Mofeed is an interesting runner – John Oxx does not tilt at many and surely we are yet to see the best from this Dubawi colt.

If Astrology is getting pacemaking duties then Imperial Monarch holds some appeal.  A winner on soft, the son of Galileo has had a litany of hard luck stories.

Overall – I am minded to back Camelot at 4/11 on.  When I weigh up the ground versus class argument, I come down in favour of the sheer brilliance of what we have seen so far.

Not a price for many, apologies.

Tips for the Northumberland Plate, Newcastle – 3.20pm

First of all, congratulations to the track for getting the race on.  The pictures from Newcastle earlier this week were incredible… black skies and a paddock under water.  Getting the Northumberland, or the Pitmens Derby as it is known, on was a good achievement.

The key to this race will be a preference for heavy conditions, to the point where I would like to see my tip have a decent breast-stroke action.

Il de Rey has been all the rage all week and it is easy to see why – He will relish this and the trainer won the plate the year before last with Overturn.  Add to that the fact that Il de Rey is the Pricewise selection and boom…. 7/2 is now the available price!

The Major has to look beyond that, principally because the horse is carrying nine stone and three pounds, a weight only carried once in the last fifteen years to victory.

The Major is going to suggest two.

Montaff 12/1 and Lexington Bay 14/1.  Please take both with Betvictor who are still four places on the race and thank me later!  If you do not like going double handed then opt for the former.

Montaff went close in this race last year off a mark almost a stone heavier.  He has also won on heavy (although it was some time ago) – I am fairly confident we will see a different horse to the one that flopped in the middle east and has been running with some lack of ability for the last twelve months.

2.15 Newcastle Betfred Chipchase Stakes Tip

Fair play to Betfred who after sponsoring the race, have gone best price on all runners.  That shows some price, n’est pas?

The Major’s bet of the day goes in this and I am very confident about this tip.

Eton Rifles is a 4/1 shot and drifting in places but one in which I suggest you load the cannons.

His form ties in well to the market leaders but it is his love for the mud battles which attracts me strongly.  I fully expect the horses to be finishing this sprint like they have been running in the Eider, strung out and twenty lengths….

Looks to me like the Bank has been ordering up a bit more quantitative easing!  Get stuck in to Eton Rifles.

4.05 Maiden Stakes at Newmarket

I know it seems a bit random throwing in a suggestion for a maiden at Newmarket.

Yet, the Major is drawn to the Godolphin runner, Inaad; out of New Approach.  Suroor is having a decent time of it and New Approach has been a revelation as a bloodline with his offspring holding several leading market positions in next years classics.

Stan James are over-priced for the Major at 7/1… thank me later.

Tips for the Tour de France

The Major is no huge fan of cycling but has a huge respect for these athletes.  They are competing in what has to be one of the hardest competitions to man.

The Major does have a couple of family/friend members who do follow the sport closely and they are suggesting that the Tour this year is cut and dried.

Bradley for green and Wiggins for the yellow.  Interestingly, Betvictor have opened a market on that double and priced it at 9/1….. well well, that could pay for a nice drop of Bordeaux.

Tonight may your dinner be a kebab.  No, not from your chip shop but from a man who knows how to cook lamb tenderly over smoking charcoals.  Allow yourself to eat alone, company is not everything.

Courage, roll those dice……

The Saturday Sermon – Tips for the Epsom Derby, Haydock Tips, Euro 2012 Thoughts – Near death experiences, Camelot, world politics…..

Good morning from the Major who writes to you from a duller than recent Worcestershire.  A grey sky drapes over us, choking the early summer and leaving a permanent dampness on the air.  A coolness the Major welcomes.

OK Camelot – Sea the Stars and Frankel have trod the path…. Your move

The Major is much happier in this weather.  What is to like about the summer anyway?  The heat brings insects, sunburn (particularly for my fair Northern skin) and sleepless nights.It is Derby Day.  Only 8 runners go to post,  the smallest field in over a hundred years caused by the presence of Camelot, the Ballydoyle number one.  The hype, tension and razzamatazz of these occassions make for great sport.

Indeed, now unbeaten in four races, including the 2,000 Guineas, you have to wonder why there is not more fuss being made.  The 4/6 shot for the Derby is rumoured to be bound for Doncaster and the St Leger if he wins today.

That would be fantastic for racing, the last triple crown winner, Nijinsky, conjured his magic before the glorious age of the Major.  Camelot’s presence would breathe new life into the last of the seasons classics which in recent years has looked pretty thin on quality – Stud value dictates dear friends… it’s all about the stud value.

I often wonder what my fee at human stud would be.  Fair shock of red hair, short of limb, cut of jib and dash in the eye that suggests mischief.  I imagine a solid £4,000 and most would try to breed me with a speedier sort.  I wouldn’t fight it.

A decent friend of the Major had a near death experience with fire a couple of weeks ago.  He was within 90 seconds of his own demise.  Such things allow time for reflection, he has had his moment to do just that.  I had one too, also with fire but in entirely different and embarrassingly stupid circumstances many years ago.  As these things will, that moment comes to me at odd times, a little flutter of the heart, what could have been.  The sheer quantity of paths we could take.

These things serve as worthy reminders of the Major’s regular Saturday Sermon lesson.  We float by just the once so enjoy yourselves and ask no question of good fortune, carry no grudge against ill.

The Major was taken with Mr Blairs appearance this week.  As time goes by I like the devious tinker more and more.  He still has that look of a man whose confidence arrived as the first air hit his face.  He not only thinks he is right, he knows it.  As a rascal myself, I know one when I see one.

Anyway with tips from the Epsom Derby, Haydock and some Euro 2012 thoughts, let us address our enemy today as a united front.  Allow a surge of adrenaline in your veins, daub thy war paint and mount thy charger.

To the sports…

The Epsom Derby

I have said enough in the past on my BBC v Channel 4 views so no need to delve into that, suffice to say, I look forward to the 2013 Derby.

The Ballydoyle team have a tight grasp on this seasons Classics.  Why picked up their third British classic yesterday to follow the earlier successes of Camelot and Homecoming Queen in the guineas.

This looks like the best chance the stable have of ridding a ten-year absence from Derby success.   It is a shame we have no Sir Michael Stoute runner.

A key question then is can we get Camelot beat?  Well if you like the odds on chances of the O’Brien star then I hope you caught the wager with Ladbrokes who offer a £20 bet refund if he loses! Giving it away!

Andrew Baldings Bonfire will be popular, despite the question of whether he will stay the full mile and a half.  Mind you, the same question mark hangs over Camelot – This is the furthest he has attempted, could he become undone – The Major thinks not.

In fact, I think this is a new star.  What Camelot lacks is the same PR machine that Frankel had – I think this will be in full overdrive if he wins today and then we might be salivating about the pair meeting at over a mile and a quarter or even the Arc!

At a bigger price, I did like the chances of Thought Worthy 16/1 – For the record I am going to tip an each way stake on that and possibly a reverse forecast with Camelot.

Tips for The Epsom Dash

I dop my cap to the good denizens of Paddy Power who go five places and quarter odds on the dash – That tempts a man into looking for a big price.

Epsom is a tricky course, the camber is quite pronounced and so many horses can suffer.  Less than half the field have track form and only three have won on course.

Dandy Nicholls has won this four times in the last ten years and the sprint King normally has half a dozen runners.  It is interesting then that his single handed with Fitz Flyer a 33/1 chance under Kieran Fallon.  This horse has only joined the yard this season but it is only trends that say he has a chance.

Like a moth to a flame though, the Major is drawn to Catfish at 9/1 – The reappearance run at York was tough and damn fine considering the time spent off track beforehand.  Entitles to be better and with Barzalona booked, I think she will enjoy the ground more than most of these…. have a slice.

Tips for Haydock Timeform Jury Stakes

The Haydock card looks good fun today too so enjoy if you are on track.  The Major has a fancy in the Timeform sponsored Group 3.

Sometimes it pays to keep things simple.  Red Jazz won nicely over course and distance recently and is top joint rated.  The rival in the ratings (Royal Rock) has a penalty to carry and the Major thinks more of Red Jazz anyway.

Load the heavy cannon at 7/4.

Euro 2012 Betting Advice

This is the Majors last chance before the European Championships start to impart some advice.

William Hill are offering 16/1 the chances of England winning in Eastern Europe as a special and I think you should have a slice.  Think me mad but this low key build up and lack of expectation is exactly what England needs.

Many saw the loss of Frank Lampard as a hit, the Major thinks the more that the under-achieving old guard are removed to make way for players with something to prove, the better.

Contrary to many views, I think that a front line of Young, Welbeck and Oxlade-Chamberlain is extremely threatening and with a level headed manager who knows what he wants and is not influenced by external forces (such as the clammer to take more strikers), I think we have a better than usual chance.

Couple that with the fact that Spain and Germany have some pretty bad injuries and I am very positive about 16/1.

My three top goalscorer tips are:

Benzema 16/1 Hills – Decent French team and a good in form top class striker….

Jelavic 50/1 General – This seems way too big for the on-fire Toffeeman

Welbeck 100/1 Bwin (Betfair 227) – If you take my line on England then you have to follow that Welbeck is a stunning price.

May your dinner be a hearty beef dish with seasonal vegetables.  Did you know that the Majors local crop of Asparagus is reaching record prices after early season flooding produced a poor crop?  That should mean some local farmer sorts with money to burn, enjoy yourselves, remember that we have just one ticket to the show, choose wisely.

Courage, roll those dice…….

The Saturday Service – Newmarket 2,000 Guineas Tips, Goodwood Tips – FA Cup Final Tips

Good evening or good morning from a grey sodden Worcestershire where the Major is at the Kitchen table to pen the Saturday Tipping Service early.

Camelot who? The Major thinks O’Brien might win but that Power might be the victor

The reason being that the Major has an engagement at the Emirates and has to catch the early morning London Paddington bound Great Western Train from Pershore. Forgive then, this shorter than normal post.It is a fantastic day of sport including the first classic of the season and the FA Cup final. I have a whirlwind tour of the action with the Majors thoughts below.

First of all, my usual soapbox moment. I found it incredible this week the sheer abuse that Roy Hodgson got as he was named England manager. As an intelligent, polite, internationally experienced, multi-lingual candidate, I think he is as good as anyone for the job. Yet the Sun managed to focus on his speech impediment.

I should not be too surprised, the UK press includes The Express, a publication whose headline today was ‘EU want to shut down Britain’ or words to that effect.

Depressing. I do not mind awfulness, misery, stupidity or arrogance in measure, live and let live is the Majors mantra. Remember we float by just the once and we have little time for small matters such as anger. Yet, the fact that someone buys these rags somehow does leave a mark.

I shall let it wash away with the wine, which this evening is a nice South American Malbec which is currently breathing and awaiting it’s certain fate.

To the sports.

Tips for the 2,000 Guineas – Newmarket

Ever since George Washington won the 2,000 Guineas, the sparkle of this race has diminished a little for the Major.

I know they are not my possessions and thus my view is only the wish of an interested party but…… I so wish that owners would aim the best horses at the triple crown. There are probably some sorts that are better milers than these being held back for the Derby. So many decisions these days are based on stud value and less on the excitement of the racing calendar.

Frankel did a wonderful job of returning some razzamatazz to the race last year. Who will forget his barnstorming surge from the gates, leaving his poor pacemaker floundering and unable to get on terms. I distinctly remember Richard Hughes paddling away from halfway in a vain effort to close the gap but the machine was not for catching.

It seems that no Frankel exists in this 2,000 Guineas field but the race has to be won. Earlier suggestions that the ground would be very very soft have eased and the Major expects good to soft ground, siding towards soft, perhaps a little dead.

There are two that the Major is putting up as 2,000 Guineas tips. Firstly, I am not convinced at all by Ballydoyle favourite Camelot with suggestions that he prefers good ground. However, the second of the O’Brien team Power has plenty to like about it. Second in the Dewhurst with many of these rivals in behind, Power won the National Stakes on softer going and will be fine with these conditions. 11/1 with Betvictor is too big.

The second Guineas tip is the French raider Abtaal. The Group 3 Prix Djebel at Maisons Lafitte is starting to look like an exceptional race and Abtaals second looks very solid – 7/1 and shortening, they aren’t coming over for the air.

Goodwood Saturday Tips

The Major was asked to put up some Goodwood tips so here we go….

In the listed contest at 2.15, I would expect Vita Nova to go off as 4/7 favourite. Not a working mans price but the form to Blue Bunting is streets ahead of anything else on show. At a more workable each way price in the race, Western Pearl is one of only two horses that has raced at Goodwood and experienced the track – That could prove vital as Goodwood has a particular camber and some just don’t like it. The selection is 14/1 and the French pattern form is fine.

In the 3.30 I am a very big fan of Spice Fair at 9/1 (Bet365). This horse was solid and arguably progressive as a four year old and if tuned up could go well. A Goodwood winner, a soft ground winner and a jockey (Neil Callan is one of the Major’s favourites) who has ridden once for the yard (a winner) in the last two years……. shabash! Have an obscene slice and thank me later.

Finally a tip in the second listed contest which goes off at 4.05. This is a cracking open contest in which Esentepe, the Nell Gwyn winner takes on last years Nell Gwyn champ, Barefoot Lady. Of the two I prefer the latter who has proven her ability to go well fresh. The Major however, suggests Winters Night who herself showed a good level of ability at Ascot last term and if primed, could be a danger to all… 5/1.

The FA Cup Tips

Chelsea… simple. 13/8… pay for dinner.

May that dinner be exquisite, the company fine, why not entertain a group of friends, cook and be social.

Courage to you all and roll those dice…..