Tag Archives: cityscape

The Saturday Sermon – The Lockinge at Newbury | Last Weekend of Premier League | The Preakness

Good morning from the Major who writes from his bed gazing our across the green Worcestershire rural scene towards Bredon Hill with a low but bright cloud hugging the Earth.  Cool air, thoroughly underwhelming conditions leading to a malaise in my mind which I shall share with you to lift the burden somewhat.  Come take a seat.

The Major is planning on spending some time in the garden this weekend.  By tea time, I will be engaged in the gardening activity of men from time immemorial…. burning.  I intent to build a fire so considerable that several military intelligence organisations record it as a global event.

I have borrowed my fathers pressure washer and its usage is a thoroughly addictive activity.  Endlessly cleaning, my mind spirals as I do it, realising the futility, it leaves me hollow. It is why I both love and despise gardening.  It is a pleasant enough activity with a payoff when enjoying the fruits of labour, relaxing in glorious green serenity on a fine day.  Yet it also touches the inevitability of life, death.  Killing weeds, trying to keep plants alive, the steady decay of things.  This weekend I am hoping to treat some wood to prolong its life.  Not to save it, simply to prolong, to keep stumbling on.  We are all on the same cycle, our clocks are ticking, we too are in steady decay as is everything you can see.  Nothing is permanent.

Sport offers me salvation.  I would struggle to do justice to the feeling I get watching a top class equine athlete changing gears after a subtle and simple nudge of the reins, or a jockey well-balanced on a powerfully travelling horse.  The thrill transcends our terminable existence, just for the moment.  Such things surround us in life and your only hope is to absorb them and be temporarily distracted from your own irreparable decline.

To the sports.

Tips for Newbury – The Lockinge 

To me this looks a below average standard for the Lockinge.  The favourite is Declaration of War a Ballydoyle raider who won his Leopardstown reappearance.  O’Brien has a poor record in the Lockinge, having won the race just once in the last fifteen years with the magnificent Hawk Wing ten years ago.  I think yard reputation has carried Declaration of Independence into favouritism and 5/2 is a bit short for me.

One trend I am mindful of is age.  Of the last eighteen winners, seventeen were four or five and just one runner was aged six.  Following this line, I reluctantly put a line through Cityscape.  The global traveller boasts damn fine form and can be ready first time up but at aged seven, does not boast the profile I am after.  I am a little reluctant because Cityscape has chased Frankel home a few times and as Roosevelt said, it is better to have dared even if chequered by failure.

Beauty Parlour is the horse I would like to be selecting.  On French form, I think it is a serious challenger but I am fearful that the firming ground will be against.

The forecast is for dry weather but a small risk of rain around midday.  With the ground good to firm, this is a factor to be reckoned in our calculation.  It leads me to my selection.

My horse comes from the yard that has won the race two times in the last three years.  The horse has a record on good to firm of raced 4, placed in all, won 3 of them.  My horse has had a reappearance run already, and won it.  It represents a yard with a current 19% strike rate.  The jockey has a 22% strike rate in the last two years, the best of all competing jockeys.  I am talking about Trumpet Major.

He has been dismissed by many and I can’t blame them – He is definitely a sort that has two ways of running.  Yet he is in excellent hands.  If anyone can cajole the best from a reluctant sort, it is Mr Hannon.

Not the best Lockinge and I am on the Trumpet Major to bring us some joy.

In the 3.15 I am willing to stick with Hillstar at 5/4.  On reappearance there was plenty of support for the horse who took silver prize – In the context of todays opposition, that was still pretty good form and so I am in again.

At Newmarket, there are a series of impenetrable races which I haven’t the inclination to work through.  Instead, I am having a punt on Dundonnell.  Connections made clear that he needed the reappearance run last month and so third can be forgiven.  Nothing in the field boasts his juvenile credentials and 2/1 is plenty of encouragement for me.  Tha’ir also looks an obvious pick in the following 4.05 contest, again, he might not be perfect but he has an entry in the big one at Epsom so clearly has been well thought of at some point – Plus again, the two year old form is best in field… another 2/1 shot.

The Preakness

The second leg of the US Triple Crown runs tonight at 11.20 but sadly it appears not to be on At The Races.  Hopefully I will find a feed later but I am watching it to see Orb strut his stuff.

This one is potentially a triple crown winner and remains unbeaten in a 5 race career.  The talent was proved in the Kentucky and I don’t think rain will be any hindrance.  Get stuck right in.

The Football

Last day of the season and I have just one bet but it is going to be a sizeable investment.  I really think Villa, 13/5,  are entirely the wrong price to win at Wigan.  OK, they are missing Benteke but they have other dangers and from a preparation point of view, surely Wigan are cooked.  They looked weary at Arsenal and after receiving a tanking and being relegated, I am confident that the upper hand lies with Villa who would want to put a big gap between them and relegation to prove it was never a real risk.

The Martin Hill lucky 15 is Villa, Hillstar, Dundonnell and Orb – Not as much Napalm as you like but confident picks.

I wish you the finest of dinners in the best company.  Courage and roll those dice.

Coral Eclipse Sandown Tips, Murray, Farhh, Rain, Haydock Tips….It is the Saturday Sermon

Good morning to you all from a rural Worcestershire where the pressing warm air still feels charged with the potential of release.

Cityscape with that distinctive white blaze….

Surprising really as like most, we have been deluged.  From the Major’s windows I can see down the hill into the culvert where an impromptu lake has formed, as it does when system cannot cope.The Major loves the Sandown Coral Eclipse race.  An opportunity for the three year olds and four year olds to battle it out.  A chance for the upstarts, fresh from the Guineas exploits to meet their elders and see if the weight for age allowance and impertinence of youth can win over.  It is a chance to judge the classic generation.Only not so this year.  Bonfire may well be a fine horse but he is the sole representative of his age group today.  This does not mean the race is diminished.  In fact there are a number of intriguing angles for the Major, more of that in a moment.

Andy Murray has made the Wimbledon final and good luck to him.  Twitter (the Major is @tdl123 by the way!)  has a habit of repeating jokes and the line about him winning and being British and losing and being a sCot has done many the round.

The Major is happy for him to be Scottish if he loses and retain his miserable dour Scots Presbyterian outlook if he wins too.  Entertainment is part of the modern sports persons brand.  Being liked is as equal to what you have won.  The pure of heart might balk at this – After all the olympian spirit is hardly about popularity n’est pas?  Yet, we chew our lip when we hear that Beckham was not picked for the squad on the grounds of likely contribution…

Beckham has it, Murray does not.  The Major acknowledges that this is nothing to do with the sport.  If you are a tennis buff then you may be content enough to base your view of a man on his forearm smash.  For those tourists of us though, we want more.  Hence, I don’t like Murray… Given the choice of a beer with him or Federer after tomorrows proceedings, no contest.  What you do as well as how you do it count.

To the sports…

Tips for Sandowns Coral Eclipse

Intriguing… The pace is likely to be generous with Nathaniel and Cityscape in the field.  Sandown for me is a course where prominence can help.  There are pointers.

Softer ground (good to soft officially) is also a big component.  Cityscape, Farhh, Twice Over and Bonfire are confirmed toe-in sorts….

The most fascinating runner has to be Crackerjack King who apart from a run in the french Derby which you would have to ignore, has looked hugely impressive.  Now an inmate of Botti, a massively interesting sort.

Let’s sift through a few.  Bonfire was at one point a hot order for the Derby after taking in the Dante.  That field though does not look as strong as it once did and I doubt that Bonfire measures up to other three year old winners of the Eclipse such as Hawk Wing or Sea the Stars…

Nathaniel would be of significant interest having won the race last year.  The Major tipped him up that day.  Having had no run this season and having been looked outpaced, I wonder if Nathaniel might be a bit caught for toe.

Of the bigger prices, I am attracted to Sri Putra who has run into the places in the last two runnings.  That one will be fired up and Varian is in great form.  66/1 is a fine price and although not the tip, neither is 66/1 right.

Twice Over could also outrun 16/1, a lover of soft conditions and proven Group One performer.  He needs to leave behind two poorer runs from this season and not a lot of excuses seem to offer themselves, perhaps at 7, the best days are gone, perhaps not.

Farhh looks of significant interest having finished really well when finally getting out of a pocket at Ascot last time out.  Personally I wonder if the reaction to that performance is a little overboard but 5/2 seems reasonable.  The horse will like conditions and this is a considered animal.  Especially as he was supplemented for this.

The Major though has settled on Cityscape.  As long as the international travel has not taken too much a toll then I think this horse has possibly the best form in the race having won the Dubai Duty Free from the front.  Good to soft should have no major fears and the Major is going to offer my eclipse tip at 5/1 with Paddy Power who refund if you are second to Farhh.

Haydock – Old Newton Cup Tips

The presence of Allied Powers has shoved the weights up enough that he shoulders almost a stone more than the second in the handicap.  The old timer loves testing conditions and cannot be ruled out stepping back into handicap company, although the Major looks elsewhere.

Lexi’s Boy will also relish conditions and McCain is in fine form stealing these flat handicap races having taken the Northumberland last weekend, considered.

The Major opts for 11/1 shot Easy Terms.  The Old Newton tip has won both starts this term and has a penchant for the sot ground.  An awkward draw has made the price honest but he overcame a shocker at Chester to come from the back and win there.  The improvement may well still be ongoing… Have a slice.

3.10 Sandown – Tips for the Coral Distaff

I must have a look at this race because I simply believe evens shot Starscope is wholly the wrong price.  I have a strong suspicion that we will find the form of her races not that strong.  The Guineas race looked odd and with Homecoming Queen now not looking quite so hot a prospect, I think evens that Starscope gets her head in front for the first time this year is a crazily short price.  I accept that I also have to find the Coronation form a bit misleading too…

That’s what I love about my sport, racing is opinion. Fact + Story = Belief and my instinct is that Starscope is over-rated massively here.

I am opting for a 16/1 shot instead in the lightly raced Kunooz.  Only raced twice as a juvenile, I suspect that her second run was not magnificent (behind Falls of Lora) and then she was put away.  I am taking a risk but I think progress could have been made with her being re-introduced at Listed level.

Tonight may your dinner be a simple home cooked pasta…. courage, roll those dice.

Mondays 12/1 Tip at Deauville – Plus, a lot of work for nothing…..

I was dead chuffed to see that my tip for Sundays listed race at Pontefract went so well.  Although never quite looking like it would catch the leader Darajaat returned a 40/1 second to pay a tasty sum on the place.

I have spent most of tonight studying in the hope of publishing a meaningful guide to which route major trainers take their best juveniles through on route to their classics.  I was hoping to get an angle on whether there are specific maidens that some yards target that although low value, they just prefer.

Progress is painstaking, mainly thanks to my slow broadband.  I might pop round to Mr Days and take advantage of his 50 wotsit bits per mega second.

Already I think I bit off a bit much and so I slimmed the job down to focussing solely on O’Brien and the Ballydoyle operation.  I have a few interesting possibilities, maybe just coincidences but too early to tell.  It is harder than you think.  Having set some rules to what I was looking for, you then find them tested by loads of factors such as, should I consider thouse horses used as pacemakers?

I will let you know if I conclude anything or whether I just have to hand those last 4 hours over to the good lord and question my sanity.

Anyway, I promised a 12/1 shot.

There is Group 1 action at Deauville tomorrow as part of their never ending summer festival season.  The Major is in France next Sunday and hopes to get to Deauville for the Prix Morny.  Hannon is sure to send a good one over (haven’t looked at the card yet), could be a cracking day out.

Tomorrows Jaques le Marois is a starfixture in this years festival as Supermare Goldikova the winner of 17 Group Ones rocks up.  She is evens favourite and odds on in places.  Can she be stopped?  Hmmm

This year she has had her colours lowered by the now retired Canford Cliffs.  This was Canfords 5th Group 1 on the bounce and was rightly described as the heavyweight world championship for milers.  Canford then had his own colours lowered by the mighty Frankel who seems to be in a league of his own.

Goldikova bounced back from her Canford defeat with a comfortable win at the opening of the Deauville festival beating Saphresa only narrowly but comfortably, that one reopposes today.

There is no doubt Goldikova is top class but Canford did put a crack in the near perfect visage, is the lady showing an age?

Conditions must play a part too.  It is a shame that given the quality of horse turning up tomorrow, the conditions are heavy.  Noone wanted this iat all.

Goldikova has handled cut pretty well in the past, although genuine good seems to bring the best out in her, bottomless conditions may give us a chance to get her beaten.

Goldikova should win but I am going to highlight the chances of Dick Turpin.  12/1 is reasonable for this Hannon raider who I think is the type to have a good back half to his season at 4.  He has beaten Cityscape before fair and square, yet that rival reopposes at a price of 8/1, doesn’t stack up for the Major.

He has also got close to Goldikova previously on his final 3yo run at Longchamp.  Just a length down, they reoppose off the same weight difference tomorrow (Goldikova gets 3lbs) and Dick Turpin is surely entitled to have developed significantly.

I also think Dick Turpin will handle conditions which is less certain of others.  All in all, I think he has an excellent chance of making the places and perhaps could lower the supermares colours if the conditions get to her.

As a win bet, I do not think Goldikova is bad either so maybe a reverse forecast would be in order too.

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

Horseracing Tips from Sandown, Football Tips – The Majors Saturday Service

Indian Braves - Expert horseman, brutal warriors. Love a bet, probably.

Good morning, I hail to thee, young band of merry warriors.  Defford is a paragon of virtuous sunshine this fair morning, cacophony of spring birds, a brightness so loud it is deafening.

Ah the Major pangs for the short dark days of winter, the peaceful still and cool air, clear sound made on fresh canvas; just fading memories now like the distant pulses of a fast-moving train, but we know it will return.  Let us enjoy our excursion into summers embrace but know it for what it is, we shall await and embrace the coming of winter and restoration of natural order.

The Saturday Service is here and we have a great Easter weekend of sport, a delectable spread of refined temptations to pick from, gorge not, but enjoy the feast – Select well, as the enemy will try to dazzle us with baubles of deception, gaudy and dizzying, remain clear-headed and progress like the river with your mind able to bend round stubborn stone, relentlessly rolling on.

The Majors midweek foray was unsuccessful with three horses selected returning one non runner and two losses.  The Majors April is still very profitable, apologies for not updating the figures in the menu bar, the tardiness will be corrected.  Suffice to say I think we are about 55% up.

Balance is required.  As Kipling wrote, treat both triumph and disaster as equal imposters.  The Major knows this and so vigilance is required today.  Let our success be deliberate and calculated.  Glory comes from perfect practice, not hot-headed folly.

Custer is our cautionary tale.  His exploits for the Union army were legendary being promoted at Gettysburg.  He felt bullet proof and confidence was always sky-high with this dangerous man.  This instinct gave him his greatest moments and cost him his life and that of those he commanded. 

The Americans were continually breaking treaty promises with Indian camps over land rights.  Finding gold in the Black Hills caused inevitable further conflict and an oppressed tribal community rose up.  The Indian tribes of Arapaho, Cheyenne and Lakota (as well as the fighting Brule) united under the leadership of Sitting Bull were prepared to fight.  Their huge camp of 4,000 ugly faced braves, intent on mischief, settled at Little Bighorn.  Custer, the civil war hero was sent to quash the uprising with his 7th Calvary.

Tactically, Custer gave little thought to the job in hand.  His confidence in his men was unimpeachable but foolish.  He split his force into three.  The initial foray lead by Reno was to the South of the Indian encampment, it was bloodily repulsed and it was clear that the force they were fighting was well armed, well-ordered and thirsty for the engagement. 

All could have been recovered after Reno’s failed attack from the South, his retreat to the bluffs standing high to the East of the Little Bighorn river gave them all a chance of digging in.

Custer though was indignant and unaware of the dangers.  He had his forces try to traverse the river to the North East of the camp.  They were easily repelled and then pursued up the bluff by a succesful and swift Indian counter charge led by Crazy Horse. 

A desperate last stand was made in the hill overlooking the sprawling Indian camp.  Indian Calvary made light work of the 7th Calvalry who were trying to form a line, once they smashed through that, all order was lost and it was every man for himself.  The Indian braves used hatchet and lance in close quarters to devastating effect.  After the battle, they scalped the defeated in order to let the soul of their enemy depart, savage yet cathartic.

Why did Custer judge Little Bighorn so badly?  Why lead a force into full frontal assault against a three factor stronger enemy?  Why split your force?  Why when the first skirmish goes horribly wrong would you risk an attack?  Why decline to take more troops in the first place?  Custer wanted the fame, he was drunk on his self-image.

A man compelled to further his career in the spotlight.  A man buoyed by early success.  Over-confidence in your trained troop.  The sense of glory.  No coolness of mind.  Calculate your bravery.  The Major urges you to distance yourself from victory and defeat.  Custer’s lesson.

To the sports young warriors, let us hope to add red dots each symbolising a defeated and fallen member of the turf accountant community to our head-dress.  Daub paint and prepare your hatchet, ready thyself, it is Saturday and there is mischief to be had.

Sandown Bet 365 day is a superb moment in the sporting gentleman’s calendar.  The gauntlet is passed from the jumps to the flat boys and both are on show in a wonderful eight race card.  Next year, this might make the Majors social cycle. 

A glorious day for them too today.  Drenched in sunshine.

The ground will be edging towards the firm, this is a significant factor in assessing todays runners, it will be frenetic stuff.  We are also looking for jumps horses that are not ‘over the top’, ideally ones that have demonstrated they are spring horses.  Thus, Baby Run makes little appeal.

For the flat sorts, prep runs and ones that go fresh is the model of the likely winners in the Majors view.

2.05 Sandown – Bet 365 Handicap

As I write it appears that Kazzene has been backed off the boards down to 4/1.  This price does not reflect his recent form.  Though if something were amiss and it has been rectified, the Pipe yard can land a gamble with this completely unexposed sort racing off a featherweight.

I’ll leave the gamble alone.  Kazzene may be the handicap snip of the century but not for the Major.

I am a keen fan of Extreme Conviction in this 2 and a half mile contest.  His record with good ground or better is raced 6, placed 5, won 4.  He has not won on ground with the word soft in it.

King of the Night might be one for next season.

Back Extreme Conviction each way 10/1 with SportingBet.

2.35 Sandown Celebration Chase

French Opera is one of those sorts that will not carry the Majors money.  Henderson believes conditions are right today, the Major is less sure.

I prefer backing Tataniano who is 6/5 with Hills.  This is exactly the sort of horse the Major is looking for.  Loves the sun on its back, won over good last year at Aintree, odds against for a horse that could still make the top grade, very tasty.

3.10 Bet365 Gold Cup Chase – Sandown

As I previously hinted, I cannot have Baby Run.  OK, it is clearly the best hunter chaser around.  Switching to this company is tough, doing it after several hard races all over extended 3 and a half mile distances on the legs of an eleven year old is a lot to ask – Especially as he won’t have it his own way as he normally does, there will be harrassment today.  It is this and not his potential lenient handicap mark which gives the Major confidence to draw a line through that one.

There is going to be plenty of pace on with the ground as is and plenty that will like to make it, including Baby Run.

This might help settle Poker de Sivola into a better rhythm, he was the Majors Scottish National selection and if the unseating at Ayr still leaves him in decent touch, I think he might come good for one of these races.  I prefer those where this has been the long-term target though.

Triggerman is of interest.  Will be suited by this race and the Major would not put you off a 12/1 interest in this one.

The Majors money though will be carried by 10/1 shot Meanus Dandy.  Nicholls and Walsh team up and I think this one might do well stepped up in trip.  Get involved each way.

3.45 Bet365 Mile

Then the focus is passed to the flat sorts with their fine morning suit attire, keen satirical edge and vintage champagne, good luck to you all.

The Bet365 mile has attracted just 5 runners but it is an intriguing contest.

Dick Turpin has the best form to boast of, just.  4/5 on though is overpriced.

Andrew Balding has sent in  pacemaker (Highland Knight) to ensure a gallop which is a smart move given the small field and good ground.  The intended beneficiary, Dream Eater is not for the Major though, even with the assistance of Jimmy Fortune, amongst the Majors favourite flat jockeys.

I am not convinced Cityscape will love conditions especially as it is only going to get faster.  This leaves me Music Show.  Normally held up, I think the presence of a pacemaker will help the only lady in the field and Ryan Moore, master of the timed run can bring home the bacon at 9/2, have a chunky slice and thank me later.

4.50 Sandown 1m Handicap

This is a wide open handicap but there is a candidate that caught the Majors eye.  Huygens looks set for a big opener.  Holland is booked for the steering and the horse has a good record fresh. 

The Major is not the only one to smell a snip.  The price has come in from 16s to 9s.  I am not putting you off though, dropped back to a mile seems an odd choice but the trainer knows his beans, unleash the light cannon.

3.05 Mussleburgh

The 1m 1f contest is an interesting little affair and the one that catches the Majors imagination is the, bottom of the card, Rastaban.  The Major smells a big run….

William Haggas doesn’t make that many big round trips and when he does, he goes with intent.  This will be a 600 mile round trip and nothing else is going up in the horsebox.

7/2, pile in boys.

To the sports fields……

Last weeks football bets performed well with Wigan and Villa both winning at greater than 2/1.

This week I see no reason not to back them again.

Wigan are back in touch, Sunderland in free fall.  3/1 with Victor Chandler for the Latics, take a slice.

Villa entertain Stoke, fresh from their demolition of Bolton at Wembley.  Tony Pulis men have a poor record away from home and the Houllier illness is not a factor to the Major, well not one that adversely effects Villas chances anyway.  10/11 with Hills, smash that up.

Preston are 4/1 to win at Millwall who are without key players.  Preston are not quite done yet and I fancy them at this price to cause a possible upset.

I like the return of Adams at Blackpool and 2/1 is fair but their morale seems suspect and I cannot touch it.

7/2 the draw at Old Trafford also looks appealing but is left alone.

Tonight let dining be an easy pasta ensemble.  Fresh tiny ripened tomato, garlic, good bread.  Enjoy a light tipple, perhaps a Wye Valley beer or a class of Beaujolais.  Eat al fresco, see if that careful sort wants to join you, her with the measured look in her eye and that certain quiver of the lip that suggests something, perhaps.

Bet more than you should.  On the anniversary of Jesus resurrection weekend where he rose from the dead after three days (I once had a similar experience after an absynthe party); ensure you take a moment to yourself to simply enjoy being.  After all, this happens just the once, make it memorable.