Tag Archives: es que love

The Saturday Sermon – Haydock Sprint Cup Day. Mothership Scoop 6. My Worcestershire landscape.

Good evening from the Major who writes from the comfort of the drawing-room gazing out over a dull hazy Worcestershire. The day has been unseasonably close and the Major has been out running in the busy lanes that fall from Defford to the old Eckington Bridge.  The backdrop to my endeavours was serene with the fields flowing towards Bredon Hill to the South East and Malvern far to the West.  Indulge me with a brief essay on my locale, we all live in richness if we were to lift our eyes from the floor.  We shall weave and meander through, not staying for long, just like the Avon which winds through this land peacefully still, the brown waters calming and banks teaming with life.

Eckington Bridge, a gorgeous stone multiple arch construction, has crossed the Lower Avon at this point since the early fifteenth century, although the present version is three centuries old.  It is of red sandstone and has a turreted design, very pretty and gloriously impractical for modern traffic.  The elegance of this scene inspired a poem by Quiller-Couch, a Cornishman who was writing in the early 19th century;

Of green days telling with a quiet beat
O wave into the sunset flowing calm
O tired lark descending on the wheat

The bridge always echos to me Parsons Folly, a small tower that sits atop of the aforementioned Bredons Hill just a few miles off.  The two structures are of entirely different material and style but the quaintness of them, the smallness, they sit almost lost in this sweeping English rural scene.  Yet these small man-made structures have disproportionate  impact.  From my bedroom as the summer sun sets against pale blue cool skies, I can see the sun glinting pink off the stone walls of that tower.  It is always there, watching over us.  There was a real Mr Parson that built the tower, he had purpose too, it stands at 39 feet tall and brings the hill height, including the tower to a round 1,000 feet.  The folly had an incumbent hermit before the second world war but now stands alone and locked.

Our ancient fathers were a literal lot.  Bre is ancient English for hill, as is Don, so Bredon is hill hill.  Later in our language, Bredon also became a word for hill, confused, you should be.  Avon comes from the Welsh, Afon meaning river, England has several Avons, this one, joins the Severn at Tewkesbury having been born in the Midland springs.

I once climbed Bredon Hill and met a fellow walker on the long broad ridge that leads to the summit.  He was a local historian and told me that the manor house, half way up the Western face of the hill, served as a magistrate in centuries past.  Capital punishment was served there and the method would chill you.  They would stake criminals onto the hillside and leave them there to starve and be taken by the wolves.  I have never been able to verify those claims, which to me seem improbable.  Certainly though, boar, wolf and even bear would have roamed here in centuries past.

It is a nice walk to the top of the hill and it has inspired several other poets.  Housman, a nineteenth century writer penned verse and I have added it to the post for your delectation.  I felt one poem snippet was enough to subject for your mandatory Sermon read and so have left it for you as a present at the bottom.  It speaks of death.

Mandatory reading you cry! Well, yes, skipping to the tips is ungentlemanly given I expect you to read the outpourings of my dark soul and share with me the riches and worthless thoughts contained in my spirit.  In any event, you are a damn lot poorer for cheating your way to the sports as you certainly cannot be coming here for the punting profits.  God alone knows that.

My entire locale has ancient secrets, the English Civil War came through with major battles at both Evesham and Tewkesbury with a warm skirmish over the destroyed Pershore Bridge.  That war bought Englishman upon Englishman, musketry, cannon, mortar and for the close warm work, the Pike.  What stories these old fields and trees could tell us.  What lessons we might learn.

What stories, perhaps one day, one might tell of a stubbornly brave or foolish Englishman who against all teaching pursued his dream and landed his morthership in the Ladbrooks at Pershore, thus driving the enemy foot and hand into the river mercilessly.  Daub thy warpaint friends and join me, we will meet them man to man with bayonets fixed, they shall see our intent, see in our eyes, our deep resolve and tremor shall infect their hand.

To the Sports

Haydock Tips – Including the Betfred Sprint.

The evergreen Martin Hill called me this week.  For those who did not catch my news a few weeks hence, I am leaving my employer for pastures new.  That the pastures are unidentified yet is both exciting and terrifying.  Mr Hill is a business contact who in short time, became a friend.  I could tell early in our acquaintance, from the glint in his eye, that his mind ran to skullduggery.  He became a regular reader and would always ask me to post him a multiple.  To this day he backs them all religiously.  We have had some good results too but in recent weeks, the negative ledger has seen plenty of entries and so I promised him today that I would find him gold.  Stand on me, today’s Martin Hill bet will land.

The Group 3 Superior Mile, 2.40pm, is a race in which I am going to advise a bet.  Ocean Tempest landed a 14/1 win at Chester last Saturday and what an incredible performance that was.  He carried the burden of a welterweight around that tight little track and was brave in the home straight to come between horses and get up, incredible stuff, what we all love to see.  Can he repeat it here, no.  That is my verdict!  For one, that win was the only piece of worthwhile form his yard have recorded in the last few weeks and it must have taken some toll, he is brave but not super-equine.

Anyway, Charlton has a great record at Haydock and has won this race twice in the last 5 years… Thus Captain Cat is an excellent bet at a general 7/4.  Yes he swings his head high but does not look ungenuine and both his G3 win at Salisbury and his effort in the Celebration Mile give him excellent chances here. Particularly the last run which if you had been one of his many backers (went off 9/4), you might have validly vented your spleen as jockey error gave the horse (cruising a few furlongs out), way too much to do.  To be fair to Mr Doyle, he was quick to apologise, fair enough, public error, public apology.  Anyway, lump on.

In the 3.15, I can smell a Prescott gamble developing and am advising an early investment on Big Thunder.  My case is such m’lord.  This time last year, the horse looked highly progressive and won off a mark of 93 here in a campaign that saw him lower the colours of Salutation and Glenard.  This campaign has been poor and the handicapper has not yet released his icy grip, the bastard.  MAJOR!  Where did that outburst come from!  I do hope my mother is not reading.  Anyway, Prescott is in form and that yard is one that are well worth following when in good spirits so the last remnants of 12s should be gobbled up before they are mere memories, because those prices are not long for this world.

The the big Saturday race, the G1 Betfred Sprint.  This race was won by Gordon Lord Byron last year and prior to that Society Rock, Dream Ahead; names to earn that top draw status.  This line up is worthy.  Gordon Lord Byron is back, Sole Power one half of a powerful sprint duo et al.

First of all, Es Que Love.  No chance.  Yet how much racing has this horse seen?  When with Johnson, he seemed to be declared every other day!  A worthy yardstick but not a G1 sprinter surely.  Sole Power troubles me.  This is going to be an all out pace assault and the horse has never seen out 6f having had 5 attempts at it.  I am going to look for something else.

I like G Force although he has yet to fulfill on some of his potential.  He looked a G1 sprinter in the making to my eye early in the season but maybe next year is the time to return to this project.   He only gets 2lbs from some serious top draw sprinters here.

I am left with wanting some value and I am going to opt for two.  Tropics is available at an astonishing 11/1 with Paddy Power and if you can get it take some.  His July Cup form is not to be sniffed at.  The other I think is worthy of a tickle at a big price is Pearl Secret  at 28s with Corals and 25s generally.  The horse has a good Temple Stakes piece of form and came back to form with a listed win last time.

Finally at Haydock, I can smell a talented Godolphin runner with Latharnack in the 5pm.  The competition seems to be the Prescott horse and I have extolled the stable form there already but I have a feeling that this boy in blue might give them a well needed quality boost a genuine contender for the G1 juvenile Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Ascot Tips

Have a few shekels on Highland Acclaim in the Ascot opener.  Course form is important here as it is deceptively tough.  The O’Meara yard is in OK touch and the Shergar Cup win last time was decent enough.  A small rise was justifiable and at a 14/1 stand out BetVicotr price, well worth a punt.

I am jumping to the 4.40 at Ascot and the Ryan Moore assisted Fray.  I thought the horse deserved to be whacked for a very smart Newmarket handicap debut win and the rise of 7lbs did not stop a good effort behind Water Hole, last time out.  That her conqueror went on to place in a G3 gives me some hope, that she is lightly raced and progressing helps me more, go for it at 3/1 with Paddy Power.

Scoop 6 Mothership

It is another Scoop6 mothership.  Here is my full single sniper shot at the massive prize.

Race 1 : 1:55 Ascot – Highland Acclaim
Race 2 : 2:05 Haydock – Barnet Fair
Race 3 : 2:55 Kempton – Tenor
Race 4 : 3:15 Haydock – Big Thunder
Race 5 : 3:30 Ascot – Montaly
Race 6 : 3:50 Haydock – Tropics

The Football

One bet this weekend and it is Sunday.  Portsmouth are 21/10 to win at (admittedly top of the league) Burton on Sunday and I would urge a lumpy lumpy bet on the visitors.

The Martin Hill Winning Bet

Mr Hill.  Take a sprinkling of Captain Cat, add to a base layer of Latharnack and then Fray at Ascot.  Mix in a trixie 1pt (to be 4pts) and add a further 1pt treble.

I trust that all of you dear readers are bedecked in your finery at dinner with cash to spare.  Good wine, delectable dining and the finest company.  A raven haired sort with lilting mesmeric voice and dark watery eyes that you can swim right into.

Courage friends and roll the dice.

Bredon Hill by Housman

In summertime on Bredon
The bells they sound so clear;
Round both the shires they ring them
In steeples far and near,
A happy noise to hear.
Here of a Sunday morning
My love and I would lie,
And see the coloured counties,
And hear the larks so high
About us in the sky.
The bells would ring to call her
In valleys miles away;
“Come all to church, good people;
Good people come and pray.”
But here my love would stay.
And I would turn and answer
Among the springing thyme,
“Oh, peal upon our wedding,
And we will hear the chime,
And come to church in time.”
But when the snows at Christmas
On Bredon top were strown,
My love rose up so early
And stole out unbeknown
And went to church alone.
They tolled the one bell only,
Groom there was none to see,
The mourners followed after,
And so to church went she,
And would not wait for me.
The bells they sound on Bredon,
And still the steeples hum,
“Come all to church, good people.”
O noisy bells, be dumb;
I hear you, I will come.

The Saturday Sermon, from foreign shores – Chester, Sandown and Newton Abbott

Good evening from the Major who writes from Northern France where a deeply comforting set of tones to the dying night sky draw my foreign trip to a fine conclusion.

It has been a fine foray into Europes good weather, fine cuisine and pleasing inhabitants and I shall not linger on the detail for which you have little interest.  Of Switzerland I wrote last week, this week I visited Paris for the second time this year.  On my last visit I was running a marathon, this time, with family, we saw the more traditional tourist spots.

After the clean well-disciplined Swiss towns, each set against their thunderous mountain ranges, France has struggled to reassert to it’s former pinnacle in the list of places I enjoy passing time.  Paris is a town full of mischief, rats, smoke, rogues, history and glorious French women, who I regard with the greatest respect.  Cities like this seem to take on a persona all of their own.  Paris is sulky but talented and damned dangerous too.

This Parisian visit may well have been on the well trodden visitors paths but still some moments of clarity were evident.  None more so than being stood with my back to a red and pink stained sky, marvelling at Notre Dame and wondering if, 850 years ago, they calculated the beautiful tone of pink elicited in such conditions on that façade.  For it seems calculated.

Overall I prefer the cleanliness of Switzerland but Paris still has it, particularly if you have mischief in mind.

My travelling adventures meant less interest in UK racing and threatened the annual rhythm of the racing schedule that comforts me in the same way others look to the signs of the seasons changing.  My downtime spanned across the York festival, of which, I caught snatches of information, dripped to me where the occasional ‘wi-fi’ signs permitted a quick drawing back of the curtain.

All other day to day racing, I have been entirely absent from and my hunger has grown.  There have been other things that have remained unchecked too, news sources I frequent, small but seemingly important daily rituals that have been challenged as their absence has determined no noticeable difference to me.  Being out of context, it does make you question how you fill your time.

No greater example can I give of this that in watching my two sons at play.  They have had occasion while away to enjoy a series of standard holiday fare, visiting famous attractions, climbing mountains, much fun has been had.  Yet, the true gleam of excitement in their eye came when set free on bikes.  At age 5 and 6, freedom is a rare commodity, each action you take is observed and calculations and adjustments made on your behalf.  Ah, to be free of that, to ride and make choices over where you go… well.  Freedom has an incalculable value, it is what drives our desires for wealth as it is so often the key to choice.  Savour your own freedoms my friends and exploit them by making the wisest of choices.  Most of all, keep rolling those dice.

Yes, this down time has been refreshing and last weeks blog benefited from such renewed spirits.  We scored many winners amongst the racing tips, that sweet taste of success on our lips carries us into this weeks action.

Once again, charge that lance and prepare for action at close quarters, we shall meet the enemy one to one with 10 rounds per man and bayonets fixed if necessary.

To the sports.

Chester Tips

I am interested in a couple of horses at Chester, starting with one in the opener.

Free Zone would have been my selection but his wide draw has done the fella no help.  Some might cry that this race was won last year from a wide draw but it is far more likely to see a low drawn horse win.

For those unfamiliar with Chester and the significance of draw, it is a tight left handed track with a short run in.  This means that getting to the front early is essential and the low draws are against the rail.

Now some would argue that draw is of secondary importance to early speed and I have some sympathy with this argument.  Essentially as long as you are fast from the stalls you can achieve good position without being drawn there. This is true but patently you burn more energy doing so than a horse who breaks adequately from a low draw.  That said, it is a good reason to not back a slow starter drawn well.

Regardless of all of this, I fancy Captain Dunne at 16/2 to provide an upset.  If you look at the form, you might struggle to find good reason but the old warrior is still there at 8 and I believe there to be some talent still.  It has been three years since he was in the winners enclosure but this is not that strong a race and there have been runs from this campaigner of credit this year.  Plus, Graham Gibbons is pretty much the best jockey in the race and since Captain Dunne has shown he handles a tight track and accompanied by a capable pilot, let us hope he has a sudden recollection of his former self.

I am also going to back Es Que Love in the second at Chester.  There are few horses I bet that have run as many times as the Mark Johnstone inmate this year and at age 3, it is testament to the horses sturdiness that he is bearing that racing well.  You cannot make a strong argument for him being particularly well handicapped as we have surely by now seen what there is to be seen, yet I do feel that Chester is a track that will suit.  Plus, what other trainer on the planet is as good as coaxing a bit more out of a horse than Johnstone? I have always felt that they think Es Que Love is an under achiever and let us hope that at 7/1, today is the day.

Newton Abbott Tip

There is a good listed chase at Newton Abbott and many will be on Shoegazer who is bidding to follow up a win last year.  I am less concerned by the going (was soft last year after some terrible summer weather) as he has won on good to firm but the near stone increase he shoulders may stop him.

There are plenty of front runners on show so a hold up sort might prevail if they try and cut each others necks at the front.  Regardless of tactics, I am opting for Kians Delight at 5/1 who is showing greater form as a novice chaser than a hurdler.  Backing such youngsters (5) at such odds requires what the purist gamblers refer to as balls of steel.

Sandown Tips

The Group action of the day is from Sandown and the Major is going to be brief.

Firstly, all the talk of the racing world is whether Kingman deserves his 5/1 quotes for next years Guineas.  I would balance the two sides of the debate and conclude that he does not warrant it, quite yet.  He has been, arguably, the most impressive juvenile we have seen with a blistering display at Newmarket, yet a nagging doubt.  Firstly, the obvious, we are judging him on a single run, this is wrong.  His hype is big too, I have my doubt on that foundation too as I fear that folk are reading Kingman on the card and thinking Frankel in the colours.

To cut to the chase, I see enough talent in Music Theory to have faith in case the banker fails.  This Acclamation colt is happy to make it, has more experience and was not extended to put away lesser rivals with consummate ease last time out.  He would have a perfect three from three record if not breaking severely left  when green on debut.  His RPR is as good as Kingmans and 5/1 versus 2/5 makes my selection easier.

In the fillies Group race at 3.15, I am siding with Sir Michael Stoutes, Integral at 6/4.  This is exactly the sort of horse that Stoute excels with and she looked like she was going to be involved in the Nassau at Goodwood but found a wall of equine flesh stopping her momentum at the crucial stage.  She was not knocked about and I would have a large bet here.  I am always a bit wary of ‘unlucky’ sorts, Mars springs to mind but feel she will shed that tag in this contest.

In the football….

I fancy three teams.  Firstly, Sunderland have played adequately well and that might be all they need to get a win at Palace so 2/1 is good enough.  Wigan and Sheffield United I had selected as unfashionable teams to outperform expectation this year… both have started badly but I am staying with them for now.  The former have Forest and the latter the MK Dons, both Wigan and United are 13/10.

May your dinner be excellent and in fine company.  Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – King George Day plus #crowdsourcingmultiple

Good evening from the Major who wrote this introduction, dead tired, slumped in the kitchen in a Worcestershire air brewing with trouble.  Clammy and suffocating, in it I cannot rest, my eyes are alert and dart to each sudden noise.  In old houses such as this, the bones creak and groan, each new sound aggravates the heart, palpitating with vigour.  Perturbed, the mood, something dark hangs over me.

In these moments deep in the night, when the thoughts deep down bubble to the surface, fears emerge untethered by their daytime confinement.  I am scared that when dawn breaks, this feeling will last, that somewhere in the system, it went wrong.  Things that should be leashed at the midnight hour are somehow free to plague me.

My emotions stir thinking of Daniel Pelka a tragic loss of life.  Just 4 years old, starved and beaten at home, he received further punishments for stealing food from other children at school.  His mother warning teachers not to feed him and herself bribing the child with sweets to maintain his silence.

What confusion in that poor childs mind.  What darkness seeps through the whole thing.  The fragility of a child, the innocence.  The intent, powerful emotions stir.  Still and deep.

What troubles me most is whether the thoughts that run through my mind in the small hours could escape, somehow seep into the day world where everything carries with it, a sense that all will be well.

Morning breaks, a close cloud covered morning.  The Major has risen and arrived at the office, fresh and revived, the words above appear now to be written by a stranger, let us move on.

What a load of nonsense the Royal Baby saga turned out to be.  Journalists, standing outside a hospital with nothing to report on, straining to make something, anything newsworthy.  Have you noticed the stock question a journalist asks any passer-by in such circumstances… ‘Can we have your reaction to…’  Then gushes forth the incontinent thoughts of the masses.  I have no strong view on our monarchy itself, in fact, since the Queen is of a racing mind, I feel a kinship, tough old bitch.

In the coming weeks, I would like to pen a piece on my favourite jockeys and why I like them.  I have commented often that I find, next to horse ability, the jockey ability to be a crucial part of my race reading.  Although I gave up keeping records some time ago (when they were mildly profitable, I would point out!), my feeling is that this is a profitable field to plough, particularly in amateur races where the gulf in jockey quality is greatest.

The article will come, although maybe not as I have the habit of promising things I don’t get round to.  Yet, I shall share with you now, some of the riches of my thinking so that you might judge me.

The top five flat jockeys, based on class and season form, that spring to the top of my mind are… Ryan Moore, of course, Neil Callan, the best damn independent there is, Jimmy Fortune, simple and strong, Silvestre de Sousa, what a season and Adam Kirby, not so much style as brute strength – A man I like to follow in the class 6 races at Lingfield that you know you should never be betting on.  Clearly this needs some thought because Murtagh and Manning are missing, it might turn out to be a top ten – Don’t be upset, I am making this up as I go along, in case you failed to notice.

As for the jumps boys… McCoy, once again, a little obvious, forgive me, Slippers Madden, Jason Maguire, always presents his horses so well to a fence, Ruby, is like watching poetry and then take your pick from some under-rated sorts in Tom O’Brien, Doyle, Maurice Linehan….

Let us get to the sports… Sharpen that lance point young man, bring yourself up to attention for god is on parade and he wishes to see the cleanliness of your tunic.  The deep red colours of our gallant Victorian splendour, looking so dapper in the full light of day, ready to fight the hoards of Satan himself….. Courage and Shabash.

King George Day Tips

Ascot is a hard card to read today, as a big uncertainty remains over the ground they will race upon.

Regardless, it is nothing short of a tragedy that St Nicholas Abbey, the splendid Ballydoyle warrior is fighting for his very life on King George day.  This year the toll of casualty has been high in our sport both on the track and off it, both human and horse.  Good luck old boy, just imagine it is 2009, you are back at Doncaster and Johnny Murtagh is just giving you that little squeeze, digging in his heels just a little and you know it is business time, quickening clear to be one of the most impressive winners of the Racing Post trophy I have seen.  A touch of that spirit and the team of vets will soon be brushing you down and preparing you for your new kept life.

It has left the King George a poorer race.  While Cirrus des Aigles is a fine horse, I am not with him.  Don’t get me wrong, I like him – How can you not?  Gelded, so lacking the illustrious connection to future progeny – That probably helped connections with their decision to come and take on the mighty Frankel when others cried enough and looked for cover.  He gave Pegasus a damn good race too and on his preferred soft ground.

Today, I am not sure the rain will be there in time and as these top horses get older, they get less reliable.

The problem today is that we do not have much in our armoury to get him beat.  Many are allotting credit to the Ascot form of Hillstar that I am not sure it is due.  He is a handicapper who has clearly improved significantly but this is the top table now and we shall see how his form holds, shan’t we.

Trading Leather is interesting.  The Irish Derby winner seems to me to be a horse that has kept below the radar.  The son of Teofilo is one that wants those storms to keep clear until after the race.  Here is the rub though, to win the King George as a three year old you have to be elite.  Galileo, Nathaniel etc etc… Trading Leather? Really?

Novellist is interesting… He has beaten Cirrus des Aigles this season and looks a certain improver – Of the main protagonists, this would be my call

So, the Major is going off piste… In a race I think could fall apart, I am going to advise you to back the outsider of the field Red Cadeuax at a freely available 40/1.

What is my case?  Well OK, the first thing is that we need to ignore two poor runs this season, easily done – Both races were over 2f shorter than this and I think the old boy needs further these days.  His Singapore form was not brilliant and he never got going at Ascot.  Yet, let us not forget he was runner-up in the Dubai World Cup in March.  Ed Dunlop knows the time of day, he is not in this to make up the numbers, they think they can get in the prize money.

If you follow the Majors thinking, then you have a favourite who might be beyond his best before date (as is my own selection to be fair), some three year olds that I don’t think are Galileo-esque and then this campaigner who is the most experienced of the lot of them.  Have a slice and thank me later.

The Rest of Ascot

In the last 15 years, just one horse has won the Princess Margaret at odds larger than 6/1 and that was 25/1 shocker Mixed Blessing in 2005.  It seems sensible thus, to focus upon Wind Fire, Queen Catrine, Along Again and Wee Jean.

My guess is Chroussa will lead them along like she did at the Curragh and again will play second fiddle to one of those four.  Queen Catrine is the least appealing of them, I think the Newmarket form is good but needs to be better.  Hannon is keen on Fig Roll and the master of juvenile horses is hard to ignore but I shall – She is too small (exactly what they said about Messi by the way)

Windfire came close in the Norfolk against the colts and that is very solid.  She started that race at 16/1 and I am not convinced yet that is was our strongest renewal.  It is dangerous to ignore Wind Fire because stepping up a furlong from the Norfolk looks exactly what this girl needs… but I am.

I am sticking to my ‘jockey angle’ and opting for Along Again to make the necessary improvement, take the 7/1.

The next race I am interested in is the 4.25 Lady Amateurs race – Let us test my amateur jockey record.  We want experience and a good strike rate and completely ignore the horse!

Four of the jockeys have a 10%+ strike rate in the last two years, Jane Mangan, Miss Walton, King and Brotherton.  Miss King has only had three winners from 18 rides in that time so slips off my considered list through inexperience.

Now I have to consider the horses and of them, Jane Mangan’s appeals the most, 7/1 shot, the most aptly names… See the Storm.  Some good form preceded the third at Chester which was a dampener, I will admit.  Yet, Chester is not to every horses liking with its tight turns and back on a more suitable track with what I consider the best jockey aboard… well.

Incidentally, do you remember poor Jane Mangan being thrown from her mount, Oscar Delta, as she was coming up the Cheltenham hill on a tight reign to victory?  I have never felt so sorry for a jockey, about to claim her most famous moment on the famous Prestbury Park, in front of a huge throng and Oscar Delta decides that 4m is not enough and he is off for another circuit.  Dumped on the floor, having to stand and tramp back past the crowd, many of whom were on the favourite Salsify, who was gifted the race, ouch.  Not that I feel too bad for her, she has had plenty of days in the sun since then and good luck to her…..

Finally, Emirates Flyer looks a shoe in in the last and 15/8 should be taken with gusto.

Meanwhile at York

It is the Sky Bet York Stakes, group two action and Mukhadram is the obvious choice even at 8/13.  He was desperately unlucky not to be second Ascot behind Al Kazeem after being snatched up on the rails.  Before you get all angry at me for putting up the obvious, go and read the Red Cadeaux bit again… it’s about the balance, yin and yang… calm.

The #crowdsourcingmultiple

The contributions from twitter are as follows:

@TheParadeRing  5.00 Ascot Emirates Flyer

@Lukeyboy1325 boring, but Cirrus Des Aigles

@TheGolfBandit ES QUE LOVE 1515 ASCOT – The Major loves this horse!

@IamNotLuke Contemplating 2:05 Wild Fire but going for a bit better odds with Y 2:20 Smarty Socks

@mattjcollins165m Henry the aviator 2.40 ascot ew around the 12/1 mark – and this one too!!

@LegalWiggy 8s Lilo Lil 1720 Lingfield and Expert  1410 Newmarket

@h103efa captain royale 4.50

May your dinner be opulent in the company of ravishing beauties with the wanton look in their eye that tells you where their mind runs to.  Eat lustily at a bloody steak, ah yes, allow the blood to rise a little, we are on the ride just the once you know.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Red Cadeaux, Along Again, See the Storm and Emirates Flyer.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Haydock Sprint Cup Tips, 33/1 Ascot Tip and a 33/1 shot at Leopardstown!. Shabash

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a rural Worcestershire scene, dark at an hour forboding the coming cold of winter.

How the Major loves the change of season. Of fair complexion, I have always struggled in the sun, it makes me ill. Nice dark nights, cold air on your face and less brightness with which to ache my northern eyes, winter is my time.

The Major is in decent form with some nice winners last weekend. Let us hope the run continues and we strike gold with the huge amount of tips provided below.

I am writing the post on a Friday evening as I am running in the morning. I am taking on 9 miles and then I am going to repeat the dose on Sunday. This is all in preparation for the Berlin marathon which I run with my brother and Adam Redmond, both also avid gambling spirits.

Our cause is Whizz Kidz – A superb charity giving young disabled people mobility. The way in which their equipment and training can boost a childs confidence and change their lives is a wonderful thing. If you have a few pounds to spare, the Major urges you to consider a small donation at our justgiving page.

After all, what has the Major ever asked of you. You remain anonymous, arriving here to read these words each week. You are one of a few hundred regulars. You know me; I ask little, I know I am barely profitable – I offer my ideas for free neither expecting praise or condemnation after the result. I serve you no adverts, I don’t pester you to sign up for anything. You get the Major every weekend, unhinged and honest. Free, no strings attached. Just once, might I appeal to your generosity.

If you don’t really know me, then just donate the cost of a pint – Remain anonymous if you will, it would move me to receive such generosity. After all, you don’t have to, it is merely a choice.

Betfred Sprint Day and the main race looks a cracker. Another in the British Champions Series which has been a roaring success. Below I have compiled tips for that, alongside some racing tips for Leopardstown where the Group One Irish Champion Stakes is lit up by the presence of Snow Fairy and Nathaniel. As usual, the Major brings you the highlights and I cover the entire and I must say entirely impenetrable Ascot card. As a close colleague of the Majors, Mr Smith, is attending, should there be winners, I trust a man of considerable means, might consider a donation to the cause.

Be ready to daub thy war paint my dear followers, be ready to bear arms. Bravery in the face of our enemy; he who makes markets of the most devious nature to fool us and confound our minds. Allow me to cut through the clouds of misdirection.

For real bravery, consider the tale of Airmen Sergeant Norman Jackson VC. You have to do some magnificent things to win a Victoria Cross, in this case, he crawled onto the wing of his Lancaster which had sustained fire after a raid on Schweinfurt, a Bavarian town on the Main river. The wing was on fire and Sergeant Jackson resolved to put the fire out with an extinguisher. His parachute accidentally opened on the way out, meaning he knew that if he fell, he was doomed.

In those circumstances, would you crawl onto a plane wing at 200mph, 20,000 feet in the air? What is more, he knew that even if succesful, he would never be able to get back into the aircraft.

He fell from the wing after dropping the extinguisher, his chute partially worked and in addition to his broken bones and burns, he suffered being captured. That is the sort of action that requires recognition with our highest honour, a small cross of bronze (legend has it from the cannons at Balaclava where our thin red line and light brigade saw action… although a more likely source is Chinese bronze).

To the sports….

3.25 – Haydock Betfred Sprint Cup Tips

This is a proper Group One race with top class sprinters taking each other on – On rattling ground at Haydock it is going to be fast and furious.

Aussie sprinter Ortensia is on a hat trick bid after superb Goodwood and York wins this term. Her early form in Britain looked ropey but on balance she had plenty of excuses for those first two runs. The Nunthorpe win was particularly good and she remains of clear interest at 11/4.

Society Rock has the assistance of Kieran Fallon and if breaking on terms could be a threat to all. 11/1 is a great each way price.

Strong Suit has been on the wrong side of a Frankel beating and I think Hannon is doing the right thing dropping him back to sprint distances. Quicker ground seems the key to the horse who is a general 6/1 chance.

Three year olds have a reasonable record in the Haydock Sprint Cup but Es Que Love is surely outclassed.

The Major is going instead to rely on my old favourite Bated Breath at 7/2 with Totesport and Betfred. My selection set a course record in the Temple Stakes and I think the quick ground we get here is the key to him. His Haydock record is outstanding and I fancy him to go one better than his second here last year.

A forecast with Ortensia is also a bet I would like to take on.

Ascot Tips – The Full Ascot Card

1.30 Juvenile Maiden

There is not a lot of form evidence with these two year olds and so the Major advises you to keep stakes at a minimum.

Telescope and Meshardal are very interesting debutantes, both have derby entries. On breeding, this looks like it might be a bit sharp for the former, a son of Galileo. The Sharmadal bred Mershardal might go well on debut. Mershadal is from the Hannon yard, possibly the most effective trainer for bringing the best from two year olds, even if other trainers seem to surpass him with older horses.

Interestingly, with Richard Hughes not available for Hannon, Pat Dobbs, the next stable pick is on Bursledon, a horse I would be interested in.

In these races, money can be crucial and at this stage, no market is open and so the Major is advising blind. Keep stakes small but I would chance a small bet on King Muro at 33/1 or so (guessing the price here so use your own judgement!)

2pm – Fillies Juvenile Maiden

Half an hour later and it is the turn of the girls. Only seven runners and three of them are representatives of the Mohammed Al Zarooni stable. That is an interesting yard for juveniles, they are focussed on their breeding operation. The market seems to have little feel for the genuine chances suggesting that they are not a gambling yard. The Major likes this as if you find one at a price, you need not be put off.

While there are less runners, the quality is all there.

Taking Al Zarooni’s runners, then jockey booking suggests they are happiest with Desert Blossom, who won her debut race with the field strung out. I would not jump to judge the bare form as superb but clearly she has ability.

Fleeting Spirit is an interesting runner, a big filly, she is sure to improve with time as she comes to herself. She had the bad luck of meeting the ill-fated Newfangled on debut and went one better subsequently. Her last third was a bit dissapointing off what looked like a winnable mark.

While I think Desert Blossom is the likeliest winner, I prefer at the prices, rank outsider, 12/1 shot Nice Story. The Chepstow race she won was entirely ordinary. We do not get many Suave bred horses in the UK, the sire is out of AP Indy and the Major is happy that this could be a well bred sort. While the Chepstow run was only OK, the ground here will be more suitable and at 12/1 I fancy a slice.

This is also not a race to get too involved in. I might have a small reverse forecast with Desert Blossom too.

2.35 Ascot – Class 2 Nursery Sprint

Another two year old race, this time over a sprint distance. A very difficult contest to tip.

The market is wide open at 9/2 the field and that reflects the open nature of the affair.

Kodiac bred, Foxy Forever is very interesting. The yard have used young Barzalona twice and have won with him on board twice. His debut win at Wolverhampton followed some significant support and so you have to be interested at 15/2 (Paddy Power).

Experience brings Opt Out into the frame with this being the seventh race of the colts career. He has moved on in leaps and bounds in the last two although the last win at Warwick saw another 5lbs lumped on. I love the toughness of Johnstones horses but prefer Fanning in the saddle.

While Foxy Forever is a very interesting horse with an eye catching booking, it is 6/1 shot Stand of Glory that the Major is going to tip in the Ascot nursery sprint. The ground at Thirsk was pretty rattling and Ascot can dry to include firm tomorrow – There is no way that the Ripon race is true form having led in unsuitable ground, I am sure a place is the minimum we could expect.

3.10 Fillies Handicap

Sharmadal filly Wahylah probably ran her best race at Beverley last time out and the manner of the race suggests that this step up in trip is well in favour.

Ted Durcan gets a rare eye catching ride (2 wins from 3 in last two years) for the yard or Mrs Greeley who has a fair each way chance.

Speedi Mouse is a most interesting runner seeking a hat-trick. The inexperienced jockey has clearly got a good tune out of the horse and the mild weights increase won’t stop further improvement. Of interest.

The Major though is going to tip Honeymead at 12/1. My selection only managed fifth last time out but that was only a few lengths down to the very useful Dutch Rose. That was probably the best run for some time and while many will overlook on the grounds of being exposed, the Major has a sense that there might be a bit more to come.

3.45 Ascot – Class 2 Handicap

A series of the usual handicap suspects have turned up for this class 2 Ascot handicap.

There are few easy races at Ascot today with either mind bendingly difficult handicaps or juvenile guesswork at the heart of these difficult connundrums.

Ladbrokes are generous offering 14/1 about Global Village from the Ellison yard. I would suggest that ground conditions are not ideal and I have given up on trying to guess when the yard have one ready – Money would be significant.

Primaeval is very interesting to the Major who would have hated the soft draining conditions last time out. Returned to suitable conditions, a big run could be on the cards.

In these sorts of races though, the Major prefers the class acts playing off higher weights and the sort that fits the bill is Johnstones Bannock. 10/1 is generally available this evening for my tip who benefits from the best 7lb claimer in Michael Murphy. Get involved.

4.15pm Ascot – 12f Handicap

This is another mind bending puzzle with many horses that enter the equation.

Gospel Choir beat the very useful Sun Central who went on to win again, that form has pushed Gospel Choir to the top of the market. Sir Michael Stoute has a successful relationship with Baker and this horse has won two handicaps here from three wins this year. Very interesting.

Stencive, narrowly defeated by Gospel Choir has to be in the calculation too with some pretty blue blood. In fact the horse is closely related to my favourite ever horse, George Washington. Clearly very useful and on balance, irresistible – the Major tips 10/1 Stencive. My selection, a son of Dansili, should give us a decent run at a decent price.

Incidentally, Fennell Bay is no way a 33/1 shot. OK, the busy schedule may have effected recent performances but if Johnstone has freshened up this outsider then he could make a mockery of that price.

Castilo Del Diablo is another witha great chance. Entirely unexposed, well drawn and a formerly expensive purchase, who knows? I would not put you off.

4.50 Ascot Food and Wine Handicap

Last Sovereign is a rejuvenated animal under the inexperienced jockey Jacob Butterfield, I think the improvement may be stopped by the best part of half a stone extra burden.

Fitz Flyer is the 5/1 favourite and did well just behind the Majors tip Tax Free last time out. Hardly a strike rate to fill you with confidence but signs of a big run are there.

The Major has to decide between Intransigent at 8/1 – A potentially progressive beast whose latest all weather win was decisive and there is little reason why it cannot be replicated on turf. My other fancy is equal 8/1 shot Ajjaadd, who looks like he sort that has been laid out for the race. It is coming to his time of year, the market knows it and while a few more pounds off the weight would help, surely he will be tuned up.

On balance, I just think Ajjaadd will be a major player at 8/1.

5.45 Leopardstown – Irish Champion Tips

The weight allowance normally means that the classic generation have a very good chance in the Champion but this year, the proven class is in the older horses.

Snow Fairy at 2/1 would be my favourite of them, the admirable mare has won 6 group one affairs including her last race at Deauville.

Good luck to Buick who is making the helicopter dash across the Irish Sea to ride Nathaniel. The favourite is clearly a talented animal but I am not sure this is his race.

As for St Nicholas Abbey, the shortness of the trip is one concern but the effect that Frankel inflicted with his Juddmonte demolition act is as much a concern.

Instead the Major opts for 33/1 shot Daddy Long Legs and I ask for your imagination. My tip won the UAE derby and looked set for a globe trotting career but his runs in the states were awful. Given a fresh turf chance back at home, with the three year old allowances, I’m not ruling out some chance for the horse in what might be a tactical affair.

That’s it from the Major who gives you nine sporting horsey tips. If I had to pick a nap, then I would be hard pressed between Bated Breath and Stencive.

May your winnings pay for a dinner to which you can take the classiest of sorts. Bedecked in expensive trinkets and reeking of perfume, she might be full of herself, but after a decent bottle or three and a sight of a fat wallet, the look in the eye will run to more than decent steak. Airs and graces or not, we are all the same in the end.

Courage, roll those dice.