Tag Archives: delegator

The Saturday Service – Sprint Cup Tips for Haydock

Good morning from the Major who writes to you from still, grey Defford.  The air this morning is cool yet still feels close, a pending storm.

Dream Ahead for the Major

The coffee has bubbled away for some hours and the Major has been preparing.  For some reason today, maybe it is my head cold, I am not in such a rebel rousing mood.  If you came for the Victorian military history or scorching call to arms, I apologise there is none.  Instead I give you one of my favourite exchanges that the late, great, Sir Clement Freud once wrote about in his Racing Post column.  It concerns, Kerry Packer being asked to go elsewhere having strolled into Wynn Casino’s high stakes room.  It apparently went like this…

Man: This is the private room for high rollers…

Packer: That’s OK by me

Man: No you need to go out there and play, this is out of your league

Packer: Whats your league?

Man: I’m worth sixty mill

Packer: Toss you for it

Betfred Sprint Cup – Haydock

This is the finest Sprint Cup I can remember.  Worthy of Group 1 status in every sense, we have an absolute cracking line up.  There are a few horses the Major has got beaten or at least shaken up.

The first is Hoof It who went down to the Majors 33/1 selection Margot Did last time out.  He has looked Group class in sprint handicap company but he is not proven enough for the Major and I prefer the chances of others, I would have chalked him 10/1.

Society Rock looked so good at Ascot, he is hard to ignore.  That day, my selection 50/1 Monsieur Chevalier rattled home second.  He had a slightly more successful trip to France and the Deauville festival than did Dream Ahead and at 11/2, this one is on the shortlist.

Dream Ahead is the one to beat if he can put the Deauville run behind him and return to the form that gave Hayley Turner her first Group 1 win.  The Major wishes her well in recovering from her broken ankle.  As for Dream Ahead, he can be excused a poor run in France, it is easy to assess that he did not travel well.  His form previous is enough to show that the Deauville run was all wrong.

This season has been a fantastic flat affair so far and Group 1 affairs have been littered with winners who have all had a first class view of Frankels behind!  It goes to show what an absolute monster Frankel is that Dream Ahead (who, let us not forget, was champion juvenile) has been beaten by Frankel, fair and square twice and yet won the Darley July Cup with ease.  Roderic O Connor and many others have shown that we have a good set of three year olds but that Frankel is an absolute star for the ages.

Such is the quality of this card that Delegator is 10/1 and Wooton Bassett, a star in the eye of Fahey is 20/1.  The later I could countenance a little wager on but I think the winner will be from the 4 at the head of the market.

This is a terrific race in which it is exceptionally hard to separate the first few on merited form.  The view I take is one of where the pace will unfold from.  There is according to clerk of the course, little draw bias.

The Major disagrees and thinks stand side is where the winner will end up.  Thus, high draw is an advantage.  Society Rock is drawn one which is a crying shame as I fancied him.  Dream Ahead, who I think is the best horse in the race is drawn 9 which is acceptable.  Bated Breath is drawn 15 and I think it is between him and Dream Ahead.

On balance, I have to side with Dream Ahead.  Put a line through the French form and this is the best form for me.  Not only was the July Cup a stand out form result (Bated Breath in behind that day), it was visually stunning too with Hayley Turner producing him off the fence in the final throes.  A nudge was all it seemed to require that day to go past plenty of proven horses.  Given this animal has probably fared best against Frankel to date, I want it on side at 11/2 – What a price – Thank You Hills!!!

2pm Haydock – Listed Race

King Torus has been put about a lot this morning as the likely winner of the opening listed contest on the Haydock card and on ground, good to firm in places,  he is a stand out.

First City is the type of horse I like to overlook.  Running very credibly in higher grades does not translate to, will smash these!  I just do not go for horses who are overly used tto the taste of defeat against better rivals.

Rainfall who has defeated First Type is of clear interest for Godolphin and I would side with it but this seems to be the three year olds year and so despite her fillies allowance I go elsewhere.

This reveals my hand.  King Torus at 9/2 is the selection.  Have a chunky slice.

Just the two selections for the Major today.  May you dine well tonight on lobster and champagne.  Take the showy piece, she won’t need much encouragement.

Courage followers and shuffle those cards.

Day Two Galway, Day One Goodwood Shabooooom

Goodwood Racecourse Stand, West Sussex, England
Goodwood is Open for Business

The opening day of Galway and the Major could not find a winner from the two fancied selections in the feature race.

Tomorrow Goodwood opens and we are into day two of Galway.  The Major has a couple of races in which I think there is a value selection.

Before we get on to that I want to repeat a view I have of racing on terrestrial TV.  Channel 4 = legends.  BBC = bit part, part-time and irritating.

Here is my case… OK John McC is a bit of a clown but he is a racing man with an opinion – I might not choose to dine with him but I am interested in his views on the whip and he is racing every week.  That is my main point.  Channel 4 are there every week.  Rain or shine, Group 1s or the lowly fare served up the Saturday before some major festivals.  They run a morning show as well as the main event.  In my view they deserve the lot.

The BBC have been cutting back on racing consistently.  Balding I do not mind.  Rishi, I think is weak.  Most of the rest are simply not great presenters.  As they only drift in and out of the big race days they have lost their common racing touch.  It is all show and nonsense.  Too many hats not enough serious racing.  They choose to keep the Welsh National on the schedule but the Arc this year is behind the red button.  Does that not say it all.

I would like to see channel 4 get all of the racing on terrestrial, they would do a better job and they deserve it.  Lecture over.

Goodwood Day One Tips…..

OK.  I am going for the Gordon Stakes as an opener.

There is a hot favourite in the Stoute trained Fiorente.  The warm way in which this one is being treated in the market reflects the manner in which Nathaniel won the King George.  Fiorente was a decent second to Nathaniel last time out, that form is serious.  Now Nathaniel is a first-rate Group 1 performer, down in Group 3 company, Fiorente only need show the same level of form to be well involved.  Is there anything that could?

Well the one that I think could possibly do it and the each way selection is 12/1 Hunters Light.  The listed race at Hamilton it narrowly won was pretty impressive and with Saeed Bin Suroor in good form, this three year old may just have improvement to come.

If this were a handicap, Fiorente would be in receipt of 9lbs which makes you think that Sir Michael Stoute must know he has a good horse to go straight into Group company, there are valuable handicaps he could target with Fiorente who would be on an absolute featherweight.  In a way that is a sign of great confidence but there is plenty of that baked into a price of 11/10 already.  No it is the less fashionable Hunters Light for the Major.

Now for the Group 2 Lennox Stakes….

This is a cracker, no doubt.  Delegator who last was seen racing over 6f which was an interesting move and one the Major thought would suit… it did not work out!  Now tried back over 7f, is it a class horse but at 5, we know plenty about it – one for a place… the 3l 5th to Dream Ahead was good.

Libranno is one of those horses that will never carry the Majors money.  Good but now insanely difficult to place in my view.  Not quite group class, has run way to well to find handicap company easy…. not one for me.

The selection is Strong Suit.  This is a horse that Hannon has always fancied strongly.  A little bit like Monsieur Chevalier, it has flattered to deceive at times or perhaps, more accurately, not quite fulfilled potential.  It has a strong tendency to edge left under pressure but I do think it is an improver and the Chantilly Group 1 it contested was strong, although third, it was within a half length.  In receipt of 10lbs from Delegator, it is my 11/4 selection.

Then the Molecomb….

This Group 3 is a real puzzle, there are no obvious answers at all.  Hannons Crown Dependency and O’Briens Boris Grigoriev are the two that the Major fancies the most.

While the latter has not excelled in every race, Ryan Moores booking and the fact that O’Brien has targeted this race for his juvenile is enough to suggest that there could be more to come.

Crown Dependency is more of a sensible suggestion.  A good third in decent company last time, this good looking bay Acclamation colt would have learned a lot.  Hmmm

Charles the Great is also on the shortlist after a great listed win…. also gets the assistance of Jimmy Fortune, one of the Majors favourites.

Hard to call, on  balance a win stake is suggested on Crown Dependency who, in an embarrassment of riches in the two year old stables of the Hannon yard, is the sole representative here….

Although I have not covered the 4.20, 9/4 is still available tonight about Warcrown.  This debut runner for Fahey has the dogs barking – the Major warned you before the midnight hour… it is apparently the yard pigeon catcher

To Galway…

Galway Festival Day Two

In the opener, I do not fancy any of the first few in the market.

Sublime Talent has achieved little so far although lightly exposed over hurdles.  Never dismiss a Weld horse at Galway but 7/2 has way too much trainer-factor baked in…

Princeton Plain was knocked over  by Sulwaan last time out – With that one doing little to frank the form yesterday, I am unconvinced.

The one the Major opts for is First in the Queue – This is a Henderson raider who gets the benefit of one of the finest, Barry Geraghty..

8/1 reflects the fact that improvement is needed but I am sure that Nicky has not made the trip for the air.  Although the experience is mixed, it has a lot of it.  Some of it is quite good, under this pilot I back it to get me a result.

The Majors Saturday Service – July Cup Tips

Good morning from fine Defford where the Major welcomes you warmly into his Saturday Service.

It has been many weeks since I last updated the results.  My apologies for the tardiness but raising the effort is difficult when you know the last few weeks have been utterly barren.  The Major has not had a good Saturday in a long time and we are in desperate need of a decent day.

Never forget the Majors motto though, relentless positivity.  We will try again and we will find ourselves a tasty set of tips to boost those accounts back into the green

Beachfire was an eye catcher at Ascot – Lots of headgear though, reliable?

Never give in.  Churchill had that right.  The master of oratory once raised the men of Thermopylae as a standard in one of his great speeches and surely those brave Spartans fighting in their impenetrable square would make the right reading to set our minds for a days battle with our old enemy.

No, the Major evokes a different spirit.  Given the parlous state of the account right now, it seems more apt to think back to the sinking of HMS Birkenhead, 1852.

Named after her yard, the Birkenhead was a transport iron frigate used to ferry troops to our war in South Africa, the Kaffir War, more commonly known now as the Xhosa War.

HAving left Portsmouth, HMS Birkenhead collected Irish troops before docking at Cape Town.  A short hop around the treacherous waters of the cape to the destination Algoa Bay was the doomed final leg.

In pitch black, HMS Birkenhead struck rock and foundered leaving 643 souls on a sinking piece of wreckage.  100 men are thought to have drowned in their beds as water poured in through the fissure in the bulkhead.

On deck, the survivors had to deal in quandary, there were only enough lifeboats for maybe a third of the people.  Step forward Captain Seton, who was given command not of the vessel but of the military personnel.

There were women and children of the officers being transported and realising the carnage that could ensue, Captain Seton called on high discipline on board a 2,000 lump of wood and metal, fast sinking into the cool Southern Ocean and into the shark occupied, hideous depths.

This is where the phrase ‘women and children’ was coined.  Survivors recall the utter discipline of our armed men as they stood silently to attention while the last of the lifeboats was launched, knowing fully what this meant but not one man breaking rank.

The ship foundered 2 miles from shore and some men managed to swim.  Most were taken by shark and some died trying to land on the rocky South Africa shoreline.  Just shy of 200 survived, most in the lifeboats.  Afterwards, our great rouser of youth, Kipling wrote a wonderful line….

But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew

The Prussian military so impressed by the account of discipline ordered it be read and postered at every barracks in the land.  You see, British military discipline is famed the world over.  Where else bar Balaclava has such strong evidence of our conviction been given to Johnny Foreigner, which brings to mind the response to the famous charge of the lights from a Frenchman ‘C’est magnifique, mais c’est ne pas guerre’.

The Major calls on this discipline today.  Bet like men, with calm mind and steady hand.  Losses in recent times do not shake our unfounded belief in the 16/1 price mistakenly put up by our enemy.  His time cometh, and that right soon.

To the sports…..

The Darley July Cup – Newmarket

This is the best sprint in Europe and at 3.35 we have a cracking field.  The real key to this is what the weather does.  The BBC says cloudy and dry and I am going to put my faith in Auntie.

This puts in favour Delegator and Bated Breath while Monsieur Chevalier*, Dream Ahead and Regal Parade are negatives.

Of the two I think will go well, Delegator makes the most appeal.  While he was a quality miler and was a little unlucky in his classic year, the recent drop to sprinting class has reawakened him and his best season could well be this one.

What I really like about Delegator is the gears.  This years Derby showed that at Group One level, having the gears is the crucial element between top class and very good.  Watch his York reappearance over a sprint distance and Delegator moves smoothly away when asked.  Todays race will be off equally a strong pace and so I expect Frankie to get him settled off the pace and at the crunch moment, let’s see what he can do.

He does not look that popular in the market and 5/1 is available.  Dream Ahead is my selection if the ground gets more moisture.  While the Middle Park form looks a little exaggerated, let us not forget that he was joint champion juvenile with Frankel.  This could be just his thing in receipt of handy weight from Delegator.  Unbeaten at 6f, a right danger if the rain comes.

*Monsieur Chevalier is also one that will drift as unfancied on anything without soft in the title.  I am less sure that proper good will be a hindrance.  MC was a sterling 50/1 placed bet for the Major at Royal Ascot and you might wonder why I do not press up on him at 9/1.  Well, I do think that Royal Ascot form is as good as anything this set of horses has produced this season, arguably the best.  Society Rock looked a superb horse and MC was best of the rest.  My concerns more lie in that I am unsure he will race twice the same in any consecutive outings – He looks unreliable to me but has the ability and 10/1 prices that in.

Overall I am looking at Delegator 5/1 with Hills.  Incidentally, the Racing Post app are out to get Delegator so if you fancy another in the Darley July Cup, bet on their app with William Hill and you get your money back if Delegator wins… nice.

3.15 John Smiths Cup York

This was a conundrum of a race but a few things stood out.

I was really taken by the manner of Beachfires win at Royal Ascot, this might not be the track to attempt such back to front tactics again but with a clear run, I would be very interested in 9/1.

Modun had excuses at rain-soaked Ascot and he could put the record straight today.  Pricewise clearly thinks a lot of Pekan Star who with the Majors favourite Neil Callan aboard is now 10/3 favourite after trading earlier at 5/1.

At a big price, I think Kay Gee Bee could be interesting.

Overall though, I am settling on 9/1 Beachfire, I hope he gets a cleanish run for young star William Buick and he is certain to be finishing well.

I am going to back an outsider to in Tepmokea.  The reappearance run has to be questioned a little for value but that factor and a wide draw, which is not necessarily a hindrance any more, I think create a false price at 20/1.  Lee Topliss takes off 5lbs and gives the Major a strong sense of value.

In other races, 8.55 Salisbury, interesting to see Michael Hills make the trip for just one ride on Rougette.  12/1 is available.

In the States – The Man o War stakes, Belmont Park can go to Gio Ponti – Closely matched with the O’Brien traveller Capo Blanco, I fancy the globe-trotting Gio Ponti to prove his worth.  9/4 is too good to resist in a race he took last year.

In other sports…

Javeen Mendis look completely over-priced at 8/1 to be Sri Lankas top wicket taker, have a slice of that – The slow pitch should suit…

We have not beaten the French women for decades so why we think we will start now I am not sure, 5/4 France to beat England is a must bet.

You could double that with 2/7 German ladies to beat Japan, that pays close to 2/1.

Tonight may you dine on fresh fish, bake yourself a simple fish pie, simply acquire some nice steaks of cod, smoked haddock as well as some mussels and maybe prawn.  Cook in a little cream and white wine before putting in the base of a nice ceramic pot, topping with mash and finishing off.  Invite a simple sort who will delight in home cooking, she need not be too well-heeled, watch a simple film and let nature take his course.  She may well be encouraged to the gallop when your money clip falls from your breast pocket.  Tell her the Major had his lucky 15 come in, and you were there.  If you are lucky enough to retire up the flight of stairs in company, remember Captain Seton and those steely minded chaps on the Birkenhead, ‘women and children first’

Courage men and roll those dice.

The Curragh – First Irish Classic 2,000 Guineas

3.45 Curragh – Irish 2,000 Guineas

This race would be much easier to work on if the ground was so stinkingly sticky which throws up a number of unknown factors into the equation.

Looking at this last night I was tempted into just focussing on proven ground horses and I had the market priced differently to the major bookmakers.  This morning it was shaped more how I priced it with Mastercraftsmen as favourite.  Sadly, my money was not down!

I was attracted to Drumbeat and Mastercraftsmen who certainly have proven form on this type of surface.  The former is the pricewise horse and seemed decent value at 12/, 11/1 guaranteed with skybet  until 9am.

Here is the current market (1.50pm)

Mastercraftsman 2.8
Delegator 4.3
Rayeni 5.4
Drumbeat 13
Recharge 14.5
Soul City 17.5
Fergus Mciver 38
Hail Caesar 95
Viceroy Of India 400

Certainly the usual Pricewise crash has not happened and in a sense it does not surpise me.  Drumbeat looks the second string of four for Coolmore and whilst it is not unusual for them to have the supposed first horse beaten by a stablemate, I would be surprised if they would do it today at the Curragh and manage to leave the money behind.  Certainly Drumbeats second to Fame and Glory is decent enough form but at the crunch, does he have the class?

Delegator is a mixed message horse.  Hard to intepret whether his second to See the Stars in the English Guineas is as good as the form book suggests.  I think he had to come off the bridle earlier than Jamie Spencer would have liked and on the day that made him an easy target for Sea the Stars – He is entitled to be better today but is he going to handle the super sticky surface. The dam says yes, the sire says no!  Who knows, probably in terms of potential, Delegator is probably the most exciting prospect but I am not sure he will shine.  The flip flop with Mastercraftsmen says a lot, again I would be surprised if the confidence was rock solid if they were prepared to leave their money behind on this one.. good but not solid enough.

Mastercraftsmen was the one for me last night – At the price, sadly I hesitated and it has gone.  Frankly he has won it dire conditions over course and distance and I am confident he will finish in front of Delegator which on most form lines is enough to win it.  Coolmore have taken the race 4 out of the last ten runnings and out of their embarrasment of riches, it is telling they rely on Mastercraftsmen.

Viceroy of India is a pacemaker and I hope that Coolmore avoid any moer controversy as he gets out of the way two furlongs from home.

Recharge has no proven ground form and the trainer has shown a bit iof reservation about conditions and I choose to overlook.

Rayeni is more of a threat to Mastercraftsmen than Delegator is my view.  5.4 is not a bad price for a horse that enjoys a bit of a mud battle as shown in his 2yo season runs.  Mick Kinane is as proven a jockey as required for these occassions and I can see him adding to the English version (making it a trainer and jockey guineas double) with his booked ride today.  Less exposed than most, a danger to all…

Soul City for me is an intruiging runner.  Having beaten Gan Ahmras and Intense Focus, this is no mug horse.  The ground looks less of a concern as he has acted on it before and he has plenty of experience.  He is well travelled and experience.

The three in the mix for the Major are Mastercraftsmen, Reyani and Soul City.  I think the market hasgot the pricing about right which makes it tough to call it.  However, the eyecacther for me is Rayeni.  Unexposed, unbeaten.. interesting.  Mastercraftsmen has to possibly improve although ground no concern, Delegator has ground questions……… load your weapons

Advice Rayeni £20 win 5.5 – Best of luck