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.