Tag Archives: canford cliffs

First Day of Ascot – Horseracing Tips

Good Evening from the Major on the eve of the flat racing spectacular, Royal Ascot.

Canford Cliffs and Italo make a nice 40/1 Double!

Admist the top hats, finery and plum accents, we are about to embark on 5 days of the finest racing in the world, full stop.  There may be richer races in Dubai and Hong Kong but no-one can match the history and worthiness of our very own Berkshire track.

The Major visited Ascot earlier this year for Sagoro Stakes day, it was only the second time I have been, having previously been during last years Royal Ascot week.  The new stand is immense and a credit to British racing.

To all those attending Ascot tomorrow, I wish you good luck, envy your good fortune and hope that the Majors tips strike home.

If you are going just tomorrow, you have arguably picked the best day of the week.  Although there are a plethora of Group One races at Ascot later in the week, tomorrow sees the explosive Frankel reappear after his 1,000 Guineas win as well as Goldikova, the relentless French raider taken on Canford Cliffs, apple of Hannons eye and we may well find out who is the best miler of a strip of Berkshire track.

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes

What a way to kick the racing festival off.  After the pomp and ceremony of watching the Queens carriage roll down the straight, the proper entertainment opens with what is race of the week for the Major.

The ground is a rare good to soft for Ascot, this could be influential.  I think it is already having an impact on the betting.

For me, the best miler full stop is Canford Cliffs.  He has a wonderfully explosive turn of foot and a great cruising speed.  The ground is the only question.

That said the ground is not much more likely to suit Goldikova, the French wonder mare.  Her record is insane, yet she is less likely to be at her best now soft appears in the going.  She has only lost 6 races of 22 and just once has failed to place.  Every none-victory came with good to soft or worse conditions.

Cape Blanco is one that will relish true good to soft ground.  Even with softer conditions, the view has to be that he needs further.

Rio de le Plata owes a big race, he is probably in too rich company here but I have always suspected this formerly well-regarded Godolphin horse will eventually come good.

On balance, Canford Cliffs for the Major at 6/4.  Goldikova won this so impressively last year beating Paco Boy.  Richard Hughes knows all about Goldikova having been soundly beaten on Paco more than once.  He knows what it takes to beat her and in Canford Cliffs he believes, and I am minded the same,  he has the ammunition.

Let’s get the week off to a flyer.  With the Queens colours being lowered by Pour Moi in the derby and a french flag flung over the victors neck as he trooped to the Epsom winners enclosure, we are due a slice back.  Let’s send Freddy Head home empty-handed and with just a small note explaining that we are coming in September and bringing Workforce to claim the Arc!!  I love racing, the heritage and story, few other sports offer us such riches.

3.05 Kings Stand Sprint

Well if that was not enough, why not follow-up with the Kings Stand Sprint, the 5 furlong sprint is furious and exhilarating.

The line up is as international as you can get.  Overdose the Budapest Bullet, soundly beaten on his last start in Britain is a tasty 12/1 but too much has to be taken on trust.

Star Witness the Australian raider is favourite at 9/2 and is well fancied.  The Aussies have a tremendous record in the Kings Stand and he has to feature on the short list.

A few weeks ago, the Major nailed Sole Power in the Temple Stakes at Haydock and that win was probably the best British springing form this year.  8/1 make Sole Power a decent each way shout as if he does not hit trouble in running, he will be finishing best of all.  The faster the pace the better.

Kingsgate Native is a high-class entrant for Middleton Park, 9/1 is fair.

This is wide open and so the Major is willing to take a wild stab at Monsieur Chevalier.  As a juvenile, Monsieur Chevalier was hugely impressive but he has clearly had his problems, missing all of last season.

On his return in average company he should beat, he ran into trouble and despite never threatening the leaders, had a satisfactory blow out staying on nicely in the final furlong.  25/1 makes Monsieur a superb bet – Bet365 and Boylesports are the only two bookies offering 4 places at quarter odds at the best price.

3.45 Ascot – St James Palace Stakes

Now it is simply absurd, three top class Group Ones to open the racing and here the superstar of his classic generation, Frankel looks to add to his hyper impressive CV.

If you were reading yesterday when guest blogger The Green Flash, put up his 2011 US Open Tips, you will have read the shocking news that I want to get Frankel beaten, is this possible?

My case is hardly bullet proof and a little based on gut instinct, but here we go.

No doubt, Frankel is a wonderful animal.  As a juvenile he was awesome and making his debut in the 1,000 guineas, he ran a freak of a race, bursting from the stalls to blaze his own pace maker and destroy the field.  It was a bizarre race to watch, he went off so quickly.  Most of his rivals tried to stay close and could not.  In the closing stages, opinion was divided, some believe he idled slightly but was fine, some like me feel he struggled to maintain the pace.

Crucially for the Major, Frankels time was not as phenomenal as the visual impression.  He caught them out.

Frankel should win.  2/5 gives little room.  Maybe I will regret this, maybe tomorrow night I will wonder why I didn’t back the banker that many believe Frankel to be.  I just feel that he may be a bit temperamental and he is against top class opposition.

What do I think will win?  Rerouted is 200/1 – Last time as Frankels pacemaker, he never got a foot in front!  Remember that this horse has one a group 3 in soft ground and 200/1 looks big, if Frankel shoots off again, this one could finish closer than many think.  Michael Hills will aim for a best finishing position if allowed.

The two I fancy are Grand Prix Boss and Wooten Bassett.  Grand Prix Boss at 20/1 is a bit of an unknown quantity.  If he has travelled well (Japan) then he could be better than many in this field and will come with a Far Eastern fan club.  Of interest.

Wooten Bassett was a well used quality juvenile.  While his reappearance run was poor, this is probably been the target and at 16/1 I give him an each way squeak.

Overall, I am going to risk Grand Prix Boss.

4.25 Coventry Stakes

This is the last race the Major is looking at on the opening day of Royal Ascot.  It is a Group Two and worthy of a tip!

The Coventry Stakes is a high-class sprint race for two-year olds where a lot is taken on reputation, trust and breeding which are factors that provide more evidence than form at this stage.

Gatepost 8/1 beat a host of subsequent winners at York but there are so many smart prospects that I want a bigger price.

The ones that interest the Major are Brocklebank 20/1, Campanology 33/1, Italo 16/1 and Trumpet Major 14/1.

Rather than make a case, I suggest Italo at 16/1.  This American raider made light work of a decent Longchamp field and although even more of an unknown quantity than most, will carry the Majors each way money.

Good luck for Royal Ascot

The Majors Saturday Service – The Lockinge at Newbury – Tips for horseracing, football (FA Cup Final) plus Chinese Philosophy

Good morning from sunny Pershore where the Major has been at the study for your benefit (arguable) for many hours.  The coffee is bubbling away leaving its traces on the air. 

Mika Newton represents Ukraine at 150/1 for Eurovision - Shabash!

This weekend the Major ventures north to the Lakes, such a beautiful spot, serene, the greens and blues, marvelous; the purpose is a christening, I am aiming for all things to be quality this weekend, including some winning selections, allowing for a hearty donation to the childs university fund.

The fighting fund has been bolstered already.  I hope you had an opportunity to see Thursday nights post, picking apart the Yorkshire Cup in which Duncan duly delivered, advised at 4/1 – The Major was delighted and never mind waking Duncan with thy knocking, the Major might have with his cheer.

The Major offers a free service alerting people of new posts.  You can sign up on twitter @tdl123 or in the left hand column there is an email subscription service run by the good people at WordPress. 

We get a fair few hundred readers per week and normally a handful of new subscribers signing up.  I often wonder what those that arrive for the first time think.  Tip quality, middling……. effort and enthusiasm A+……. unhinged, definitely – They keep coming though, it seems there is an appetite for a mix of horseracing and football opinion with a dash of nonsense.

Last night the Major entertained.  We drank a nice prosecco, ate good curry and finished the night with friends singing around the piano.  The piano is in a far-flung corner of the estate, one where the power of the Majors broadband signal dwindles.  My guest asked if I was able to connect to the network, no doubt he wanted to check the runners at Keeneland, we were beyond the witching hour.  When the Major reported his technology also incapable of picking the signal up, my friend declared himself pleased that it was not his equipment that was less superior.  He is a nice person normally.

This struck a note.  It reminded me of Taoist philosophers whose message was one of taking lifes journey in good order.  You do not really know what is good or bad and you should never begrudge another man his good fortune and that you should never look at any event and evaluate it too much for merit.  Although the author of the following passage is unknown, the following is a nice illustration.

On day a Chinese farmer awoke to find wild horses on his land which he was able to catch.  What great luck his neighbours decried, how do you know said the farmer?

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?  Who knows?

One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

The Major must be the only man alive who wishes the bankers well with those telephone number bonus payments – good luck to you all, to the sports.

The Lockinge – Newbury 3.45pm

The feature of the day is very tricky. 

The trainers of Shakespearean, Beacon Lodge and Cityscape have all made noises about not running without more rain.  This would reduce the field to 7 which of course reduces the places paid on each way stakes to 2. 

This is significant because Twice Over was in my thoughts originally as an 8/1 each way punt.  I am sure that he would not be being dropped back to a mile if he was not going to show well at that distance.  Backing just for the two places though seems tough.  I am sure the Dubai efforts will have him fit and his last run was a mixed race so would be happy to believe he is in good fettle, I think the thing that puts me off the most is his miserly strike rate on any ground containing the word firm (1 from 6) – overlooked.

The two market leaders are the Hannon trained Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, apple of the trainer and jockeys eyes.  Dick Turpin has beaten Canford Cliffs twice already, losing their final encounter – Even that was only a modest defeat of half a length in an oddly run race that saw Dick Turpin stretched after a pretty big pace.   Both will love conditions.

Dick Turpin is stripping fit so the calculation between the two is this.  Is Dick Turpins form better or worse? Hard to say.  Visually how do you assess them?  Canford Cliffs beating of Rip van Winkle was very eye-catching, smooth headway to destroy the classy O’Brien horse.  Is race fitness an issue?  Well Dick Turpin has the benefit of a run but Canford goes well fresh so no.  What about Canford as the stable star though?  No doubt they do love him but they have been wrong before about who their number one horse is.

On that strength, 7/2 Dick Turpin does not sound a bad prospect but the Major has deliberated the decision and has to advise elsewhere.

The outsider I give a squeak to is Red Jazz.  If was assured that eight would get to post then 20/1 is a nice each way bet – Meydans artificial track did not suit this one but last years third at Royal Ascot in the QEII was no fluke, he has some class and could be one to have developed into a smarter four year old.

The advice is simple, get stuck into Canford Cliffs at the 5/6 on price.  He does not have to beat a lot, will love conditions and is the one horse here that looks a super star.  Head said Turpin, value suggests Red Jazz.  The fact that Canford could prove today he is one from the top draw is irresistible.  Let’s have a resounding win that sets up the heavyweight contest with Frankel.  If Canford is the class beast we hope him to be, he will win.

Frankel versus Canford.  Boom, my heart just fluttered.  All in today chaps.

 Bangor 5.20 – The Bumper

Value has to be sought in all corners!  Straight from the Lockinge to tips at Bangor – The Major seeks it all for you.

Nicky Henderson sends in a bumper horse and he is always to be feared at these provincial tracks.  He has them ready first time up and took this last year with a similar sort. 

Two markets are open, they both price Western Approaches at 5/2, have a slice.  Henderson is 36% with debut bumper sorts in the last twelve month – This looks a tepid affair, get stuck in and thank me later.

I am not going to try to solve the complex handicap at Newbury, I shall leave that to the others.  Instead to Newmarket.

2.15 King Charles II Stakes

This looks an interesting contest and the Major has a sort he likes in this.

Utley and I Love Me have arguably done the most on track but I am not convinced by either.

The one I like is Trade Storm.  Never out of the front three when firm is in the description, this one will relish conditions.  He is guaranteed to be fit enough and while the others have some major entries (Coronation Cup for I Love Me), I am not sure they are good enough.  Trade Storm did enough in the Gimcrack to show he can be a player at this level.  10/1 generally available – Get stuck right in.


The Major enjoys having a crack at the Lockinge, reviewing the classier animals and deciding on the best.  That said, there is money to be made at Uttoxeter on good to firm ground.  I would be looking for those that are proven on it and there are a couple I like.

Breaking Silence in the opener at 5/1 would have been one but is a non-runner.  Spirit is needed in the 6.45 is a definite selection at 6/4 – This one also comes with greater experience.  Bet365 go 9/2 about Danehillsundance in the 7.30, punish them vigorously.    The same turf accountant offers 8/1 about Daraz Rose in the last, take them on that too!

To the sports fields of Britain.  The Major should offer you an FA Cup Final Tip. 

Man City seem to me a team devoid of spirit.  Ballotelli sums them up neatly in my view.  They have bought badly, appointed an unexciting manager and celebrated achieving 4th in the league as though it were the title itself.  I think the manager will go, they are a team whose sum is far worse than the component parts.

Stoke at 7/2 seem an outstanding price.  I think the game will be disjointed and 15/8 for 0-0 at half time is also worth a punt.

Sunderland and West Brom seem to have checked out for the season and so I oppose both with Everton at 7/4 and Wolves at 2/1.

The same accusation could be made of Bolton who have looked poor in a few recent outings.  That said, they are a better outfit than Blackpool and I cannot miss out on the 13/5 – Take a piece now.

 Betfred go 150/1 that Ukraine win the Eurovision song contest.  Trust me on this one.  I feel dirty.

I would put a double in today on Wolves and Canford Cliffs.  2/1 and 5/6 with Hills.  £50 returns £275 – Thank me later. 

Tonight no formal dinner.  Fish and Chips in the sea air.  Plenty of vinegar.  I wager you at levels that the rather stiff sort you took along succumbs to the wholehearted goodness of this atmosphere and relents.  You will be at the gallop before midnight.

Courage friends.

The Major Returns – Big QEII Bet

The Major has returned from his two week Italian refresher and ready to carry on our profitable performance.  There is an outstanding bet coming in this weeks QEII.

Classic winning Mafki is as short as 4/5 on for this contest with Canford Cliffs now ruled out after a dirty scope.  Although Mafki is clearly a class act, I am not sure I would want to get involved at that price.

Until dropping out Canford was odds-on.  However Rip Van Winkle gave Canford a beating earlier in the year while in receipt of 11 pounds.  Mafki gets less than that on Saturday and has mixed form with Canford so how can he be 4/5 to Rips 5/2? Value to me…

Rip will find the mile sharp but hs two other O’Brien horses to ensure a good clip although oddly the likely pacemaker, Air Chief Marshall, is ridden by Jamie Spencer – Strange choice if the only job is to set a fair clip for 5 furlongs….

Take the 5/2, have a little cheeky bet and leave plenty of grapeshot for the return of the Saturday morning service.