Tag Archives: colour vision

Saturday Sermon – Racing Tips from Ascot, Cheltenham and Cork, plus Frankel – Time at Ascot…

Good evening from the Major who writes to you from a Defford where the sky hangs heavy with the threat of a downpour, it feels as if it were sagging and clinging to my cheek, cold and damp… my sort of weather.

The Household Cavalry dressed in Sheikh Abdulla’s colours in honour of Frankel, the finest horse of our generation

Tomorrow I ride for Ascot, I am taking my father and meeting a friend there for a beer too. Whatever happens we are in for a terrific day of racing but it would be dishonest to say that if Frankel fails to run, it would not be a touch deflating.The way they have handled this horse has given us every chance to enjoy the champion that he is. On Twitter (@tdl123) I rated my top three Frankel races and decided that my favourite was the Queen Anne. Having had longer to reflect I have changed the order slightly and now have a top four in the following order.

4th – The Guineas

This will be top of most peoples lists – The way he flew from the gates and had them at it from half way. A stunning performance and the way they finished strung out like 3 mile chasers was testament to what the great horse had achieved.

3rd – Royal Lodge

The more I watch the Royal Lodge he won, the more I love it. The move he makes on the bend to put the race to bed was stunning and although Treasure Beach was stopped in his tracks, Frankel would still have won by half a furlong!

2nd – The Queen Anne

What a way to open Royal Ascot – As a performance, this was his highest rated in my view. He did not just win, he destroyed a field of top horses and left everyone gasping for air. Awesome.

1st – His First Sussex Stakes versus Canford Cliffs

Context is important and this race was full of it. Goldikova a winner of more Group One races than seems possible was reaching the end of her career. Canford Cliffs, one of the best Hannon has ever had, lowered her colours and rightfully claimed the best miler in Europe crown. Then Frankel met him at Goodwood. The camber at Goodwood means many horses do not act there. The combination of factors meant that the Major tipped Canford… Then this happened…

Let us hope that Frankel runs – The generosity of connections have given us more than we needed but we are like gluttons and want it all. Treasure the moment. The only possible upside of him not running tomorrow is a possible crack at the States and the breeders cup meeting… Personally I would like him to finish his career at Ascot tomorrow.

To the sports….

Ascot Tips – 1.50 – The Stayers

At this stage of the season, I am looking for the slightly more lightly raced sorts. The Ascot ground will also be very soft which should rule a few out…

In the opener, most of the animals will be fine with the soft conditions. Gold Cup winner Colour Vision beat a number of these including Fame and Glory back in July. Opinion Poll, the other Godolphin horse was second that day and goes off as 3/1 favourite here. Aiken is a horse I really like but feels like he might just be a bit short of top draw. Ile de Re is an interesting runner but has to make a big step up in class. Rite of Passage is a fascinating runner and could play a part at 8/1 if well tuned up.

After some thought though, the Major is going to offer Fame and Glory at 11/2 – A former winner of the race who has lost some of his lustre – If he wins tomorrow, it will be a fitting end to a sparkling career… words that we may well repeated later in the day!

2.20 Ascot – Tips for the Sprint

The sprint is a fascinating contest and I would love to back Maarek, especially with the booking of Jamie Spencer. I am wondering though whether the horse is feeling the effect of the campaign and I may well give him a miss. The muddier the better for that one so if more rain arrives, it may be a persuading factor.

The Major is siding with a horse packed with potential in Slade Power who looked a horse going places in the summer. After a break to freshen him up, I expect a top draw performance and although there are proven G1 horses in the field, I do not want to back Wizz Kid unless in France and Society Rock is the main danger. Blue Square offer 15/2 and a quarter odds the place, have a slice.

2.55 Ascot – Group 2 Mile and a Half

The two to concentrate on seem to be Great Heavens and Sapphire. The former took an Irish Classic in the slop and loves these conditions. She was my idea of the Arc winner as I am a massive fan. She cruised into the straight at Longchamp looking a likely challenger but faded badly and I just wonder if the season and he travels are catching up.

Thus the tip is Sapphire for the Weld team. She is a horse of immense talent and seems to be much better the further she goes, seemingly tapped for toe over 400m shorter in the Pretty Polly. She is a true mud lark and at 10/3 generally I think a great bet to beat Great Heavens who I would like to see racing agin next year where hopefully connections might give her a light schedule with a hopefully soft ground Arc as the target.

QE II 3.30 Ascot

Excelebration is an absolute bolt on here and I suggest a reasonable investment at just shading odds on. He has been beaten by Frankel so often yet is still a top class horse and now placed to avoid a battle with the inevitable, he is gaining very well deserved Group One successes.

The Queen is in attendance and so Carlton House would be a popular winner but it is Excelebration for the Major.

Ascot Champion Stakes

It is not often that the Major here whispers but I have it on good authority that Frankel might be a decent sort! This race requires no bet, it is a moment of historic racing importance. I hope Frankel serves it up to Cirrus Des Aigles

Enjoy it…

4.45 Amateur Riders Handicap

I find it disappointing that this race exists on the card of what is meant to be the climax of the flat season. It really seems out of place.

Smarty Socks would be the one I would want but I am dubious that these are his conditions. Boring as it may seem, Jack Dexter is the 5/1 selection. The Ayr Bronze Cup winner loves a bit of mud and is surely goi to have a big say. Kingscroft (16/1) and Atlantic Sport (33/1) also make some appeal.

Cheltenham Selections

It is so good to see racing back at Cheltenham. Fridays action saw The New One take a decent Novice hurdle. Given that he hit most of them, he must be some animal to still win, I expect a big season.

Rendl Beach should be a good thing in the opener at 6/4. Curtis horses often need a warm up but this one won smartly on reappearance and a big run is surely on the cards tomorrow.

In the second race, I am going to take a chance on 22/1 shot Quito Du Tresor. I think that there may be more to come from this one. The Henderson horse Nadiya De La Vega at 10/1 is decent value too.

Baby Mix and Dodging Bullets are two rising stars and the latter looks a great evens bet based on the 4th position achieved in the Triumph.

In the 4th race, I like the look of two Qianshan Leader at 22/1 catches the eye as does Darna at 16/1. The latter looks an intriguing sort.

In the 4.20 I am a big fan of Irish raider Defence of Duress and suggest a decent investment.

Third Intention should see the field off in the penultimate race if match fit. 3/1 is a very fair price as he should be much better than this field, many of whom have a readiness advantage.

In the last maybe Southfield Theatre on a strict reading of form with The New One but honestly, stick a pin in!

Cork Tip

I like Rock Critic in the listed contest and at 2/1 am having it in several selections…

May your dinner be fine, in the company of someone nice. Each day we are above ground is an opportunity so do not waste yours. Let us hope that Frankel gives us something to cheer.

Courage, roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – 16/1 Royal Ascot Tips, Black Caviar – ‘The Wonder from Down Under!’ – The rights and wrongs of racing and Ascot reflections….

Good morning from a bright and cheery Worcestershire where the Major types happy in the knowledge that the world of this age is perfectly organised for an Englishman with a few spare pounds in his pocket and a cheery outlook on life.

Aahhhh – A day the Major has waited for – Black Caviar racing on British soil

I make no apology for being content.  If you are not, then please do not begrudge those of us that are.Royal Ascot has been a triumph.  The spectacle, the racing and the Majors form have been the ingredients of a tasty week.  I shall write something of it here, if you feel the need to skip it and go to the tips, please leave my site – Your sort is not welcome here, when you go to church, you listen diligently to the sermon.

Firstly the spectacle of racing.  Last year I compiled my top ten racing moments of 2011.  Apologies if many of the video feeds might not be working!  I am sure when I compile this years come the close of the year, many Royal Ascot moments will be contenders.

I loved Frankel demolishing the field, it made my heart sing.  I know Excelebration took him on which may have flattered the final distance but seriously, people might knock the field but there were plenty of decent Group 1 animals in behind.  Let us just accept that we live in an age of the machine and enjoy – Thanks again to connections who kept him racing at the age of four instead of fulfilling a potentially lucrative stud career.

Frankie winning on Colour Vision was probably my moment of the week though.  I was on Fame and Glory and thought the O’Brien horse was a shoe in.  Frankie though showed his superb handling of the track and sheer will to boot home the Godolphin inmate. Frankie has had a tough time of it.  Godolphin are short of a star or two and the winners have dried up.  Rumours of retirement were put down by Dettori but it left a waft in the air… was the great man done?

The way he bought Colour Vision home told you what you needed to know, the fire burns brightly.  How sweet for Frankie that Barzalona (a friendly rivalry), the 20 year old Derby winning emerging star was unable to pass when seemingly coming with a winning run on Opinion Poll.

The stories racing throws up, no other sport competes.

The Major has had a great week with tips for Royal Ascot.  Eleven tips (13 with 2 non runners) yielded 4 winners.  Most Improved 8/1, So You Think 6/4, Princess Highway 13/2 and Estimate 4/1 (all advised prices).  Following to £1 level stakes,  make that a £24 return for £11 invested.  More than double your money…. lovely jubbly!

Sadly Fame and Glory let down my brother in laws treble, sorry Dave.

The week also got me thinking about the morality of horse racing.  It is something the Major is confronted with from time to time.  The Majors dear lady is an avid animal lover (not in the biblical sense you understand) and opposes the sport deeply.  We do not talk much about it as you can imagine!

The Major is also confronted from time to time with anti-racing campaigners at Aintree or Cheltenham.

This week, hundreds of thousands of people who are not racing fans filed through the gates at Ascot in their finery to take part in the racing festival.  Many will not have a strong view on racing but it got me thinking about the morality of the sport.

My good lady has the objection that the horses are put to racing purely for our enjoyment and this is morally wrong.  It is based on a view that a horse has a right not to be forced to do something it does not want to do, a classic libertarian stance.  I sympathise with it but do not agree.

I think the overall benefit of the sport outweighs a horses individual right.  I would ask you to consider the benefit, there is the employment offered by the racing tracks, hospitality services, trainers and media; not even considering the considerable contribution from the gambling industry to the economy and therefore society.  There is the joy that enthusiasts like I take from the sport; readers know how passionate I am – Enough to continue getting up early on a Saturday to deliver this drivel each week!

Finally, some horses do enjoy racing so it is not every horse that is coerced into the sport.  Indeed, Racing could be argued to have a net positive impact on horses lives.

Overall the benefit of our great sport far outweighs the violation of a horses right, if indeed they have one.  As a race we use animals for enjoyment and sustenance.  Race horses are well looked after in their lives, no intention of harm exists in the sport, though we have to accept the risk of horse death is a certainty.

My utilitarian argument, of the greatest benefit, I believe stands up and I hope that we have more converts to our magnificent sport today when the ‘wonder from down under’ graces our turf.

What a shame it is her only European race.  I made the argument last week that it seems an endeavour only based in principle, not financial or career defining that she win today.  Then to Hong Kong and greater riches.  I hope she gives us a show.

I have often debated the Frankel v Black Caviar question and it is an understandable shame they will never race.  Why ask either of them to race at an un-ideal distance.  I thought the fair answer was 7f but it would endanger Frankels attitude as lighting him up over shorter distances might bring back some of those free running tendencies from his youth, something that his training team worked hard to eradicate allowing him to take shots at prizes over 10f.

As it is, I always thought she was the better horse but now I am unsure again.  I shall go to the grave not knowing but I take pleasure from it.  As I have made the point in previous posts, instead of racing them, let us breed them and call their foal Pegasus Devil, a horse with fire red eyes that roars fire from the nostrils.

To the sports…

Chesham Stakes – 2.30 Ascot Tip

This is a nice line up and the Major is looking forward to the Chesham.

On trends, only two winners in the last 15 years have gone off at bigger than 10/1 prices and I am looking for something near the top of the market.

On a bloodstock note, five runners in the race are out of Sixties Icon!  Thanks to @emmakgts on twitter for that observation.  The Major makes a further note on breeding – New Approach has Thair in the race, Godolphins 6/1 hope – The sire is having a terrific time with his progeny currently heading the markets for several of next years classics….

However, Thair is not the way I am going.  Key trainers in the Chesham have been Hannon and Johnstone and the Majors tip comes from the first.

Jalaa at 4/1 could be anything, won well at Leicester, not inconvenienced by the ground. Have a taste.

3.05 Hardwicke Stakes

The Hardwicke is another cracker this year.  I truly confused myself last night while figuring out which side I want to be on.

Sea Moon should run better than he did in the St Leger and has the benefit of a decent warm up race at Goodwood.

There is a lot to like about Memphis Tennessee with that derby form looking rock solid, the Major fears on this course though that his front running style might be setting this up for a closer.

The horse I am tipping in the Hardwicke is Aiken.  William Buick abandoned Masked Marvel (non runner) for Aiken who has some superb form to his name.  The formline that takes the eye is the beating of Dunaden who is a Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase winner.  With soft ground no problem, Aiken looks to me a top class prospect and I suggest a very healthy investment at 4/1.

3.45 Ascot – Diamond Jubilee Tips

The Major will not be betting in what should be a procession for Black Caviar.  I wonder what our Australian racing friends think we make of Black Caviar.  I sense that down under their is a feeling of ‘go show them Black Caviar, go beat those English doubters’.

Just for the record, the Major is praying for her to destroy the field – She is amazing and this is a part of her story I want to go well.  Go on girl.

She is also a monster having topped 600kg – That is almost a third more horse than some of our finest!

Although the form is hard to translate, there is a line through Group one winning Star Witness that suggests she is 13lbs or so ahead of Prohibit, one of our finest.

If you were looking for each way value, I would be wary of Moonlight Cloud, the Major thinks that the horse will love the cut but might sacrifice a place by having a pop at BC.

You are as well looking for a horse that is racing for a place and might be staying on at the death passing beaten, tired horses that took the Black Caviar machine on and failed.  That horse for the Major would be The Checka who is a new propsect since being dropped in trip this year.

One word of warning to Black Caviar, there have been upsets in this race in the past…. best of luck girl.

4.25 Ascot – The Wokingham

The Wokingham is the usual puzzle at 9/1 the field.  The Major was happy last night to get a touch of 25/1 on Waffle.  I could see the money piling up and figured it was the Pricewise horse.  14/1 is still available.

If you follow me on twitter (@tdl123) you would have benefitted from that tweet last night.  I am chuffed that I got it right and feel very happy sticking with my selection.

The trainer readied it for last year where it ran superbly only beaten by the unbelievably handicapped Deacon Blues.

Have a cannon loaded!

I am going to be double handed in this race though because of the draw.  My first tip, Waffle is coming out of 23 so I want something in the other pack too and I am looking at Desert Law at 16/1 – Going back to 6f is certainly a plus for this animal and he will represent the Major on that side of the track.

5pm Ascot Tip – The Duke of Edinburgh

The Major wanted to be on a horse finishing well in this handicap and the one that carries my penalty is Cill Rialig, 16/1. 

Cill Rialig competed in the same warm up Goodwood affair as Sea Moon and I think this has been the long term target for this previous listed winner, even if the last win was a couple of years ago in this race off a mark of 7lbs lower.

Being in foal and the ground are both concerns but the Major is going to stick with her.

5.35 Ascot – Tips for the Queen Alexandra

Anyone who watched Simenon smash the opposition on Tuesday would have been taken with the manner of victory.  This step up in trip again should be a further advantage and the likelier risk to getting as good run is merely whether the exertions of racing have taken a toll.

The Major though is going to side with Zuider Zee whose form got a good boost by Opinion Polls running earlier this week.  Flat trainers have a better record in the Queen Alexandra and I think my stead can do the business at a tasty 5/1.

Enjoy today and be happy.  Tonight eat well and with good company, see a film, relax, observe, pass no judgement.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Betting Sermon from the Major – Cesarewith Tips, Newmarket Juvenile Champions Day Tips, Rockingham Tips for York, Champagne Group 1 in the States, Shabash!

Good morning from the Major who writes to you from a Defford that has turned the corner of the cool seasons.  It is dark outside, a consuming darkness which would threaten the sentiment of ease in a mans mind.  Allow the Major to awaken you then to winters glory, soon there will be top class jumps action.  Let your spirit rise up like souls awakening.

Sir Clement, rest in peace – I am gunning in on La Estrella at 40/1 for you!

When you bet, is faith a factor?  Each time you make a selection and wager your hard won money, you take a risk, a risk based on your belief versus that of the enemy, the dark twisted mind of the turf accountant.

William James the American philosopher said that faith was a belief where in theory doubt was possible.  This is surely apt in a gambling mans mentality.  Yet the Major urges you to question each faith, this requires you to do something very simple.

You must, in your mind, price every choice before betting and then bet on value, not outcome.

Some have faith in a team that they will win regardless.  If Barcelona were playing Nottingham Forest every week then they would be priced at perhaps 1/16 for the win.  If I priced at 1/1000 and was the only market available, people would only be forced to bet it at my price and I am sure some would include it in accumulators.  Faith is ridiculous in betting analysis.

In sport, anything can happen.  Using that as the basis for gambling will allow you to make better decisions.  Trends, not faith.

Uncertainty is the beauty of gambling.  The bible taught that faith should be unerring and unswerving.  That you could not enter heaven without it and that it could move a mountain.

The Major teaches a separate lesson of gambling.  Learn to have faith in nothing.  Manchester United can lose at home to weak teams.  Not often, but they can.  The only question is whether the price offered is a fair reflection of the chance taken.

To the sports.

What a fantastic card at Newmarket where we are indulged with two Group 1, two Group 2 and two Group 3 races.  The Major has looked at all and selected a couple of punts, I like the look of…

The Middle Park Stakes

At this stage of the season and with nearly £100k for the winner, it is not a surprise that there is rarely a big surprise in the Middle Park Stakes.

Some of the best two year old colts line up against each other for their last efforts of the campaign before being put away for the winter and prepped for their classic campaigns, if they are good enough.

The Major thinks it has been a cracking juvenile season, we have had some great horses emerge and I am excited about the year to come.

At this distance, Casper Netscher is one of the likely winners.  I think 11/2 is a fair price.  Earlier in the season, he seemed to me to be the best I had seen.  Being a Dutch Art colt and from his racing style, I am not sure he will get much further than 6f and so he is unlikely to be a guineas horse but this could be his day.  One slight doubt is the amount of racing he has done.  While experience in a big field on a day like this is invaluable, he might have had enough for the season.  That said, he has been made slightly less use of since August (2 races) than the height of summer (4 races in June and July).  Shortlist material, particularly as Casper has won both his last two starts in lesser Group company.

Family One is of terrific interest.  Only Dabirism got the better of this one in the Prix Morny at the Deauville festival.  Dabirism went on to win on Arc day and surely looks the best we have seen in Europe this year.  Connections of Family One, perhaps sensibly, skipped another show down with Dabirism and bought their colt here.  9/2 leading contender too.

Rebellious Guest is an interesting horse for george Margarson.  Winning a maiden before being firmly put in place at a better level at Ascot, you might have thought we had seen the best.  However, the horse showed that maybe, the Ascot form was all wrong by winning a lower level race at Windsor next time but doing so in a visually superb way.  12/1 is perhaps not as big as the Major wants but interesting.  This horse is one of the first out of Cockney Rebel, the 2,000 guineas winner.  Needed 20/1.

The horse that is current favourite though is lightly raced, unbeaten, Bapak Chinta.  Out of American stud, Speightstown, Bapak Chinta is one of only a few progeny riding in the UK.  He looks good having won both starts and the stud record shows that the sires fee will soon be rising.  I am not sure that a horse with only two starts under his belt and a huge question mark on whether the ground will suit is a good proposition at this price.  Not for the Major.

For those that like a huge price, I think B Fifty Two at 50/1 is the one to take a piece of.  He is not the Majors selection but using Dabirism as my yard stick, this one has a lot more ability than shown of late.  Crucially, he has also won on the Rowley Mile before.

The Major opts for Family One.  It is not just the Dabirism form or the targeting of this race.  The Major likes the style in which Family One won group races at Chantilly and Maison Lafitte…. Shabash!

The Dewhurst 

Just nine go to post in the 2011 Dewhurst but there is plenty of quality.

Jim Bolger has won this race three times in the last five years with horses such as Teofilo and New Approach.  Parish Hall does not seem in their league but could he make the step up.  That is what Intense Focus did three years ago for the same connections, scoring at 20/1.  Could this 22/1 shot repeat the dose?

Ektihaam is unbeaten but has not beaten much in his two starts.  5/1 seems skinny for this one.

Bronterre is one of two entries for Richard Hannon, the star juvenile trainer.  Both look decent shouts.  Bronterre won in such ready style at Goodwood latest, beating in the process Justineo who races in the Middle Park which could give a late form clue.  Clearly highly thought of, jockey booking suggests it is the best of the two Hannon horses.

It is not that unusual though to see Hannons second string defeat the first on the big stage.  Trumpet Major is the mount of Murtagh which you would think is an advert in itself.  In reality, Murtagh seems to have a poorish record on Hannon horses.  Trumpet Major looked good taking the Champagne Stakes last time out.  HE stayed on very well.  Surely of interest at 16/1.

The O’Brien horse, Power, is the 10/3 favourite and if anything I think the price is in our favour.  An impressive Group one winner and second (half a length) on his last two starts and from connections who have a number of juveniles they could throw at this race, he is worthy of favouritism.  The form here is as strong as anything in the race.

Overall Power and Trumpet Major are the two I am interested in.  Both represent great value and therefore I am using a staking plan of 1pt Power, 0.5 pt e/w Trumpet Major, .25pt rev f/c the pair.  Good luck.

3.50 Newmarket – The Cesarewitch

Four years ago when my personal hero, Sir Clement Freud was alive and writing his excellent Racing Post column, he tipped up Legspinner in the Cesarewitch as a 14/1 winner.  It may well be that this is the only time I manage to win this race in my own lifetime but I will have another go today.

Worth noting that if you fancy a win bet, returns are doubled through the Racing Post app which ties in to William Hill.  I say win bet because the tight so and so’s at Hills are not making the usual concession of going to 5 places on this race.

This is a forum where flat trainers of stayers meet well handicapped hurdlers from the jumps yard and that gives the race interesting angles and makes it a damn hard read.  When there are more than 30 horses, it becomes a true challenge.

In the last three years we have had a dual purpose ELEVEN year old carrying 9 stone six win and a three-year old stayer win, last years winner carried just 7 stone 11lbs.  Anything can win, what is overpriced?

I have decided that the profile I want is an eye-catching jockey booking and a reason to believe the handicap mark could be entirely false.  I also need the draw to be sub 15 as the wide horses are at significant disadvantage.

None fits the bill better than La Estrella at a mahooooosive 40/1.

Dane O’Neill has ridden for this stable 8 times in the last two years.  Six of those rides have been wins.  Out of stall 14, he can drop in just off the pace and this eight year old may just show that his last few runs have not been true.

Colour Vision and Palomar were the other two of interest.  Given it is 14/1 the field, I wish you serious luck!


Chepstow 4.45pm.

Domtaline, the Paul Nicholls runner is of huge interest to the Major.  Although Nicholls runners often come on for their first blow out of the season, this 11/10 chance looks to have been well placed for a confidence boosting win.

Formerly he mixed it in good company and while he was prone to blunder, the way he travelled into races suggested a good horse.  Now recovered from a long break, I would think a mark of 130 could be easily defied even if Ditcheat have left some off for the more serious races he will face later.

Load the big cannon on this one.

I hope you were on last weeks big paying patent advised on the Group races in the states.  For those night birds who like a late fancy, at just prior to twenty past ten, the Champagne Stakes go at Belmont.  Union Rags will win.

The Rockingham can go to Desert Gazelle.  She is a chestnut filly and you know what they say about their precocious natures but at 13/2 I think this Godolphin runner has a likely profile.

That is it from the Major today, make sure your dinner is of fine wine and impeccable service.  Tip well from that donkey choking roll of notes in your jacket pocket.  Drink good port and a brandy.  As the head hazes, remember the Majors words.  It is good to be a gambler and alive today.  Courage, roll those dice.