Tag Archives: Desert Law

The Saturday Sermon – 33/1 York Ebor Tip, Betfred Celebration Mile Tips…. Shabash

Good morning from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire rural scene of dampness, the sort that hangs in the air so heavy that you get a taste of it – Last night, we had a biblical downpour leaving streets that turned to rivers, impromptu ponds forming where they serve no purpose, dramatic lightening popping in the sky, crackling, bristling…. Tis good to be an Englishman in such times, I sense a big day.

Ebor day is one of my favourites, the richest handicap in Europe, coupled with some good group action.

The Major is on twitter if you do not follow already (@tdl123 is my home) – Two subjects in that forum have caught my eye this week.

First of all, Frankel.  If you go back through my tweets you will find that I was suggesting something that the rest of the racing community is now backing.  I am not a pleasant person and this is a thinly disguised I told you so moment, but Frankel for the Arc is now a possibility.

If Ebor day is one of my favourite flat races then the Arc must top the list.  There is no doubt in my mind Frankel would stay it.  He only looked a non stayer in his generation year because of the fact he raced so lit up.

Connections owe us nothing, the Arc is a dirty race – Rough and bustling – It would leave a horrible taste if he finished fourth after getting rough treatment on the right hand bend before having no open on the straight.

If it were me, I think I would go to Ascot and then taken him to the Breeders Cup meeting for the turf mile.  Finishing unblemished would be a key aim.  What a  pleasure to have been able to see Frankel race – A legend of our time.

While one legend was cementing a position this week, another in Lance Armstrong found his starting to fall apart.

Choosing not to go to arbitration over allegations of doping, Armstrong now faces the loss of all seven Tour titles.  This is a hugely divisive issue.  He has never tested positive and as a regular top three finisher will have been tested hundreds of times.

Yet he achieved times that seem now impossible.  Towards the late nineties and turn of the millenia, cyclists were going faster than the time Wiggins achieved to win this year.  Over 70 cyclists from those tours have tested positive, essentially it was rife, some of those were in the teams that Lance played a leading role in.

At this time, Armstrong was dominating the sport.  He was also doing some fantastic work with his foundation which has raised half a billion dollars – As an inspirational figure who rebuilt himself after almost losing his life to cancer, his fans simply will not want to believe his sporting achievements were based on cheating.

Yet, plenty of his former colleagues say they were.  There are individuals who claim to have been there while he was doping and he has a former PA who claims she was sent to Spain to buy drugs.

We do not know the truth, yet his decision this week seems to be an admission of guilt.  While he has never been proven a cheat, why on earth would he pull out at this stage having fought strongly in court to prevent it getting this far.  It seems to the Major that rather than being tired of the battle, Armstrong simply does not want the evidence aired as it will be pretty damning.

Unfortunately for the sport, most of the riders who would be promoted to winners by Armstrong losing his titles also have a cloud hanging over them.  Wherever you stand on th Armstrong debate, cycling itself is a damaged sport.  To think it is now clean is also an error.  This years Tour also had positive tests – One of the greatest physical tests on earth has attracted cheats and the sport has some work to do to restore its credibility.

To the sp0rts…

York – Tips for the Ebor

Motivado has been all the rage and the 4/1 favourite is well drawn, well handicapped and I am sure would be a bad result for the enemy.  Motivado got in after receiving a penalty for dismissing a field at Goodwood – He only just got into the race – There is a lot to like.

Yet, this is not a race in which you can rule too many out and I prefer backing something with a sporting price.

Qahriman is second favourite and is in with a serious chance.  Luca Cumani has won the Ebor twice in the last ten years and has picked up handicap wins already at the York festival – Considered.

The Major though is going to chance his arm on a 33/1 shot.

There is nothing wrong with the top performances on Hurricane Higgins.  He is a horse that can give terrible problems at the start and his last win on the Sussex downs was under a flag start.  That might have given the horse some confidence and if they have got him settled then I think he could give us some great fun.

3.05 York Lonsdale Cup – Group Two

This is a simple race to tip for the Major who sees no holes in the prospects of the favourite, 6/4 Saddlers Rock.

His Goodwood win, with most of his protagonists behind, was solid and deserved.  This track will suit and the nice long straight at York means that there will be none of the luck in running issues the horse has had.  Confident selection.

3.20 Goodwood – Celebration Mile Tips

This is a race that has been dominated by Saeed Bin Suroor and Sir Michael Stoute in recent years but neither yard is represented today.

Last year, noone could beat the Richard Hannon trained Dubawi Gold and the trainer sends Trumpet Major to Goodwood for this.    The Majors 3/1 selection should confirm form with Aljamaaher who has been a tad unlucky at times.  Yet Trumpet Major is the selection in a race that could get messy – My main reason is the ground which has taken a good dose of rain and this is likely to set the race up for my selection.

3.25 Newmarket – Tips for the listed race

Desert Law was a winning selection for the Major on Ascots Shergar Cup day but it is not a horse I would follow up with – He is a difficult horse to win with and is anything but certain to confirm that running.

Instead the Major is going to tip Markhab at 13/2 – Newmarket may have escaped the worst of the band of rain and Markhab prefers a rattling surface.  He is going to be well wound up for this listed contest and has gone well after a break before.  I am expecting the Windsor win to signal that we are on the upgrade again…. Have a small slice.

To the football.

One tip – I fancy Wigan to win at Southampton much to the dissapointment of @pinstripedave.  13/5 seems a big price and I thought they were playing OK against Chelsea.  It is easy for these promoted clubs to get a bit over-priced earlier in the season.

May your dinner tonight be exotic and lavish, fuelled by the bundle of notes which sit causing beautiful discomfort as they dig into your rib cage.  33/1 is a price you know… Stick it in a trixie, I dare you.

Courage, roll those 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 Service – York Handicap Tips | Tip for the Belmont Stakes | William Hill Greyhound Special | U21 Football Tips

Good morning to British punters, one and all, from sunny Pershore.  We have some winners lined up today…. The Majors coffee has been bubbling away for several hours and the thinking cap is worn and fraying.

The Major needs to build a war chest – Get all in on the lucky 15

It is a day of thin sporting gruel ahead of the feast of Royal Ascot which thunders on the horizon, menacing and exciting – Relentless in it’s approach, dramatic it’s entry, breathtaking and humbling.

The Major plans on posting ahead of each day of the Royal Festival.

Shockingly I am looking to get Frankel beaten.  Yes, you read those words, no need to rub your eyes or adjust your browser.  The more I have considered it, the more I regard his 2,000 Guineas win warily.  The time was unexceptional, the opposition have done little since.  It was a freak performance and against better opposition, I think he needs to settle much better, 1/3 is no price and I will be looking at Dubawi Gold, Excelebration and the Japanese hyper horse, Grand Prix Boss who is priced up dismissively at 16/1.

The Major needs a winning weekend.  I need a couple of tasty winners.  If I am to make it through Royal Ascot, I need to get hold of some ammunition.

At times like this, it is tempting to look down the slips to find longer priced horses with better chances.  This temptation can be the fast way to the poorhouse, we need best value whether it lies in a 2/5 on shot or a 200/1 effort.

Desire is a curious thing.  If there were a cure we might be better as a species, I doubt it though.  The bible teaches that to covet is wrong and that envy is a deadly sin.  In this view, gambling is also a sin.  There is an old Chinese fable of the Stonecutter which seems apt….

There was once a stonecutter, who was dissatisfied with himself and with his position in life.

One day, he passed a wealthy merchant’s house, and saw many fine possessions and important visitors. “How powerful that merchant must be!” thought the stonecutter. He became very envious, and wished that he could be like the merchant.

To his surprise, he suddenly became the merchant, enjoying more luxuries and power than he had ever dreamed of, envied and detested by those less wealthy than himself.

Soon, a high official passed by, carried in a sedan chair, accompanied by attendants, and escorted by soldiers beating gongs. Everyone, no matter how wealthy, had to bow low before the procession. “How powerful that official is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a high official!”

Then he became the high official, carried everywhere in his embroidered sedan chair, feared and hated by the people all around, who had to bow down before him as he passed.

It was a hot summer day, and the official felt very uncomfortable in the sticky sedan chair. He looked up at the sun. It shone proudly in the sky, unaffected by his presence. “How powerful the sun is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the sun!”

Then he became the sun, shining fiercely down on everyone, scorching the fields, cursed by the farmers. But a black cloud moved between him and the earth, so that his light could no longer shine on everything below. “How powerful that storm cloud is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a cloud!”

Then he became the cloud, flooding the fields and villages, shouted at by everyone. But soon he found that he was being pushed away by some great force, and realized that it was the wind. “How powerful it is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be the wind!”

Then he became the wind, blowing tiles off the roofs of houses, uprooting trees, hated and feared by all below him. But after a while, he ran up against something that would not move, no matter how forcefully he blew against it — a huge, towering stone. “How powerful that stone is!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!” he thought. “I wish that I could be a stone!”

Then he became the stone, more powerful than anything else on earth. But as he stood there, he heard the sound of a hammer pounding a chisel into the solid rock, and felt himself being changed. “What could be more powerful than I, the stone?” he thought. He looked down and saw far below him the figure of a stonecutter

The Majors pursuit of gambling glory is less about material gain than the journey itself.  If you have felt the sinews of your body tighten as your horse cruises into contention two furlongs from home with the jockey motionless and your mind furiously computing the risks to you, shortly collecting from the desk a donkey choking wad of notes, then you have lived.

On the subject of good things, the Major suggests the great American novels ‘A Man in Full’ and ‘Bonfire of the Vanities’ both by Tom Wolfe.  Funny and powerful – I cannot think of a greater insight into your existence and what greater compliment can I put forward than that.  See the Major is here to make you money on horses, lose you some on football and enhance your live in ways you never imagined.

To the sports and the racing tracks of Britain.

Selecting races to have a pop at today has been tricky.  I have dismissed a massive amount of contests but have a couple I think are worth a punt.  Firstly, the handicap at York which is race of the day in Britain on a card that is light on quality ahead of the coming Berkshire based riches.

3.15 York – Bond Tyres Trophy Stakes

Pricewise has to be the best racing tipster of our time, who else literally moves markets?  This can be a right royal pain in the derriere when he selects the same horse you have had your eye on and your 10/1 evaporates before your eyes.  Thankfully today, the racing Post maestro is on What About You, a horse the Major has a line through.  His other selection Acclamazing is considered in my book but also has the red line through it.

Seal Rock has to have a superb chance.  Only three races (all won) he is certainly unexposed yet his last win in a four runner event is so markedly different to this, I would be worried about it as a prep run.

Swiss Dream is of big interest and I think race conditions will suit this son of Oasis Dream.  The stable will have had this as the big target and not a lot puts me off apart from the fact that they have had just one winner and a handful of places from 16 starts in the last fortnight.

The main selection though is the favourite Desert Law at 6/1 generally.  The services of one of the Majors favourites, Jimmy Fortune will help this colt.  His reappearance run was solid and surely he has more to offer.

The advice, for clarity, is simple.  A hefty lump on Desert Law to win.  For those that prefer my other selection, I must point out that Skybet are 5 PLACES! on the race.  At 8/1 Seal Rock makes a decent each way saver and so, what the hell, the Major advises that too.

Stating the Obvious – Four Winners – Four Steps to Tipping Heaven

Having covered the major race, I am now settling in to win us a Royal Ascot fund.  No messing around, winners is what we need.  I have cooked up the uber-bet, settle in, prepare your cannon for the four leg lucky 15.

Leg One is the 3.50 at York, get on Sea Moon now, he will only shorten but in my view is a 1/2 shot and is currently 10/11.

Never ready for the Derby, Sea Moon should see this lot off

I can only see the money going one way, get stuck in early.

Sea Moon was a derby entry early in the seaason – Surely he has enough to see off these handicappers off a mark in the low 90’s – This would be a major dissapointment if it did not go in.

Leg two is the 11/8 about Iceland (with Hills) to win against Belarus in the U21 championship.

Iceland U21s to explode like a volcano….. sorry

I think the 11/1 about the Icelanders winning the tournament is decent value too but they should definitely have the firepower to overcome a Belarus team missing their key striker.

Live on Sky, this can give all of you football fans a well needed injection of your favourite stuff!

Leg three is the 10.12pm Greyhound Derby live on Sky Sports.

Taylors Sky a lovely white dog ready to be the Majors best friend

The betting suggests that this is a wide open affair but the Major thinks that track record holding TAYLORS SKY is the answer.  Trainer, Charlie Lister has won the Greyhound Derby 5 times, 2/1 is available at William Hill and Ladbrokes.

While tipping the Greyhound Derby, I also like the market Ladbrokes have open on the last finisher.  11/4 Westmead Guru is the advice.

Leg Four is Animal Kingdom to win the Belmont tonight.

Unlike the Preakness, the Berlmont is live on At the races (415 on Sky)

I have not had much joy tipping up winners in the American Classics but hope to make amends.  Shacklefords Preakness win really went to show what a poor crop of three years olds have come through this year.  That day, Animal Kingdom had a hellish ride and could only get to within a half length.  I think all jockeys will be wary of a crawling pace being set again and this will suit Animal Kingdom.  I hope the heavy rain stays off the Belmont track as this will not improve the race at all.

This lucky 15 is best placed with Hills, for the Majors record, I will only count the advices above in the record as singles.

If you only want one shot to glory today…. go for a tasty double on Iceland and Sea Moon.  Right now they are 11/8 and 5/6 with Hills.  A £25 strike will return £110 less the change and you can thank me later.

I cannot mention the Belmont Stakes without referring you to the most breathtaking horse the Major believes ever to have lived.  The only horse that graces the Majors office in picture form, I have a signed (jockey) photo of Secretariat 30l clear in the straight with the jockey having a long look behind him to see glorious fresh air.

Secretariat set a (still held) world record, in the 73 Belmont, on his own, in the straight with not even a hint of the whip.  Wonder horse.  My favourite piece of commentary is in this race… there are two bits that make my hair stand on end… Secretariat is blazing along…. he is widening now, he is moving like a tremendous machine,……  he is all alone, he is out there all alone…. watch and understand followers, it is good to live while legends do – Messi, I salute you.  Frankel, I may be against you but I hope you are a wonder horse too.  Watch the video and see what you are up against!

Tonight’s entertainment should be hamper style in the open air.  Within a ten mile radius of the Majors humble abode in Worcestershire, we have two beautiful rivers, the Avon and the Severn.  On their banks at this time of year, you can watch swallows in the field as the sun sets.  Take a nice cold Chablis and plates of Serrano ham, soft cheeses, fresh bread, olives, pate and a good blanket.  Most women enjoy this sort of arrangement so take your pick, if you want to be at partners, I suggest taking a guide to the stars, what more romantic notion could their be than kicking back and looking upon the Lords heavenly panorama with a buxom filly sighing on your shoulder.

Good luck to you all, courage and roll those dice.

Champions League Tips on the Saturday Service – Haydock and Newmarket Tips too

The Major has been in terrific form, more mid-week winners followed last week-ends fabulous winners of 12/1, 4/1, 8/13 and more – Shabash!

Let us have more of that oh happy band of punting warriors.  Well done if you were on, let us go back to the breach and drive our lance point in to the enemies torso again.

Good morning and welcome to the Saturday Service, not from Defford but from rural Oxfordshire. Yes the Major has gone to sample the Oxon air and is camping. The Major has not camped in some while and after one night, I can say it has returned long forgotten dusty memories. Cold hands, tent fabrics flapping, the smell of grass….

Camping reminds you of how luxurious our lives have become. Needing to travel to collect water, using commodities like heat and dry space sparingly, carefully calculating each move. A few nights yes, any more, I can suggest some nice Oxford hotels. Nothing stops the Major from posting on a Saturday though and so I hope you appreciate the effort required to get into a wi-fi zone as equally as you understand the brief nature of the post.

To the racing. It is not the most spectacular weekend of racing and we certainly feel in the shadow of two looming racing bonanza’s. The Derby is around the corner with the interest of the Queens horse being favourite and a French upstart looking to upset the national pride. Then we have Royal Ascot where a number of cracking contests are bubbling up. We do have a few punting opportunities today though.

3.25 Newmarket – coral.co.uk Sprint

This is a tasty little 6f contest for three year olds and a number of conundrums are set to be answered. The ground could be a significant factor as it is uncertain how much rain Newmarket is set to have. The favourite and one that certainly looks likely is L’ami Louis.

This handicap debutante seems to have improved for each run, particularly when winning on second appearance this term at Salisbury, form that has been held up.

You cannot deny that the Pricewise selection, Desert Law, is interesting. Thrown in to contest the Mill Reef, this one finished a respectable 7th. That was only the second run and Desert Law finished the season with an impressive maiden win at HQ, no run this season but looks a likely sort.

Off these two, I prefer L’ami Louis mainly due to the two runs the horse has enjoyed this season. Of the others, What About You is a dangerous entry and the Major does like Avonmore Star. Not an obvious candidate, this one looks quite highly tried but represents top connections and I think 6f on the Rowley Mile will be up this ones street. 16/1 (general) is a bit dismissive.

On balance, considering that this race normally goes to a higher rated individual with a bit more experience, I am not afraid to look further up the weights. Avonmore Star is the each way selection, have a slice – Corals go 18/1, see if you can get that.

3.35pm Timeform Jury Stakes (Group 3)

Regal Parade looks all the rage this morning. A high class individual with a couple of Group 1 successes under his belt, he is due to be penalised for the second which would have meant racing off 9 stone 7 lbs, rather than his allotted 9 stone 0. From a highly respected sprinting yard, a worthy favourite. I always like my Dandy Nicholls horses when well backed in a sprint.

Beacon Lodge has started his campaign well and looks a place prospect at least. Both he and Regal could do with a drop of rain and it is uncertain as to the starting conditions, which adds to the challenge of picking a winner.

The Cheka is an interesting contender. This one looks like a semi permanent bridesmaid but I am sure there is a win out of it one day. It almost picked up a Group 3 in Ireland this season but was mugged on the line, Tom Queally is one of the Majors favourite jockeys.

Overall, I am swayed to think the ground will not soften up appreciately. This allows me to seek a bit of value from Kakatosi who will want it as firm as he can get it. He will be stripping fit and further improvement can be expected.

Two pieces of advice. Get stuck into Regal Parade who really should win and have a saver on Kakatosi who is overpriced. 2/1 and 10/1 available.

7.05 Cartmel

Regular readers know that the Major brings you the big races and the betting opportunities he spots at lesser meetings. Cartmel holds one of it’s bank holiday feasts – If you are ever in the lakes it is well worth a visit. The racing is basic but the course delightful.

In the 7.05 the eye catcher on jockey booking is Mighty Magnus. Denis O’ Regan turns up for just one ride.

To the sports…

Champions League Final Tips

As a win bet, I advise Barcelona at 11/10. A lot will be made of Alex Ferguson and his ability to coax a good result from the scenario but he is playing with a busted flush. Giggs and Carrick may look good against the normal Premier League fare but against an all time great looking Barcelona three, I doubt they will look as controlled.

The bet of the game for me would be 0-0 at half time. Neither side is going to be too enthusiastic in coming forward too early and 15/8 generally is a great shout.

It is well worth having a scout around the free bet offers for this game. Bet365 offer a £50 free in play bet for £50 staked before kick off (that will be popular), Paddy Power offer to refund first goalscorer and other markets if Barca win, generous!

Finally, Torquay look a terrific price at 7/4 too to win against Stevenage. The latter will be missing key defender, Jon Ashton and Torquay look like they have the tools to do the job.

Tonight, the Major eats Al Fresco, I suggest you do the same, barbecue some nice Kebabs and down a nice Prosecco. Enjoy, it is good to bet, to live under the stars, to return to basic emotion for a while, feel alive young men.