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

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

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

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

4th – The Guineas

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

3rd – Royal Lodge

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

2nd – The Queen Anne

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

1st – His First Sussex Stakes versus Canford Cliffs

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

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

To the sports….

Ascot Tips – 1.50 – The Stayers

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

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

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

2.20 Ascot – Tips for the Sprint

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

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

2.55 Ascot – Group 2 Mile and a Half

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

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

QE II 3.30 Ascot

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

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

Ascot Champion Stakes

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

Enjoy it…

4.45 Amateur Riders Handicap

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

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

Cheltenham Selections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cork Tip

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

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

Courage, roll the dice.

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The Saturday Sermon – Tips (11/1, 9/2, 9/1) from Chester, Killarney and Sandown – Premier League Tips too – Plus why Frankel is the best

Good morning from the Major who writes from a grey and dull Worcestershire, it feels like a place in limbo, waiting for a magnificent sun to break through or for those heavens to douse us.  Death or glory.

When they back Noseda with his two year olds – It is significant – Fantastic Moon looks a solid bet today

So Frankel is being aimed at Champions Day after all and not the Arc.  This has left some mixed feelings for the Major.  What I would like them to do and what I would do myself are two entirely different courses of action!What I would have dearly loved is for a glorious shot at the Arc.  For the Major, the Arc is the best race in the world, matching the best classic generation sorts against the best older horses that stayed in training.  Big fields can be carnage, coming off the bend, there are many a hard luck story.  Yet it is the premier race and Frankel was 1/4 with a run.

What were his chances?  Well pretty good I would say.  The days of doubting Frankels staying credentials are long gone.  They only existed because of that lit up racing style he exhibited but that has long been gone.  When he has finished his races, he has needed the full strength of Queally to stop him!  I think with a fair run he would have won the Arc as easily as he has beaten all other valid Group One opposition.  We are in the era of a wonder-horse and we should revel in it.

I am sorry if you are missing the odd diatribe on modern life or a run down of a Victorian military conquest.  The aura of Frankel is mesmerising for the Major and I want to capture it in my blog.

I know you read this and I have a duty to you, I suppose to vary the content, to try and entertain even.  I also write it though and it is just as much for me – In years to come, I have my very public racing journal of memories.  Frankel is such a big part of it, I apologise little if I over-focus a little on him.  Fogive me, allow me this.

Are you in doubt that he is the best you have seen?  Are you thinking Camelot is a worthy adversary?

Frankel has routinely beaten the best there is…. – His beaten foes have won 45 Group Ones between them as well as 39 Group Twos.

…and he has smashed them! – While other ‘wonder-horses’ Sea The Stars, Zenyatta and Rock of Gibraltar won their 26 G1 races putting a grand total of 40 lengths between them and their pursuers.  Frankel has won 9 G1s….. he has put 49 lengths between him and his opponents.

We float by just the once people, if you get the chance to go to Ascot, go – It will likely be the last race of possibly the greatest horse ever to run.  Yes, comparisons like that are possible if not provable.  Secretariat, Brigadier Gerard and Mill Reef might be in the comparison.  Possibly the fly in the ointment belongs to a different age.

Eclipse was not only the undisputed champion of the mid-nineteenth century but went on to be the most influence in bloodstock of all time.  97% of modern racehorses are through his bloodline, perhaps Frankel has something to achieve yet…. not on the track but at the stud.

Go to Ascot, revel in the might and power of a hero.  To the sports…

Sandown Tips – Solario Stakes included

The Group race of the day is at Sandown and the Major has had a good look at these cards.

Master of War was second in a group two last time out and is installed here as favourite.  As a Hannon two year old, you have to fancy his chances in this and I am sure he will step up his performances for the increased distance.

The Major prefers the prices of the following two though who I think have equally good chances at bigger prices.

Thair is coming down from G2 company and this Chesham winner looks a tasty prospect to the Major.

Fantastic Moon could be anything after winning wha looks like a useful maiden (several winners to emerge since).  Noseda took this race last year and surely this is a useful sort at 9/2.

On balance, I am tipping Fantastic Moon – Thair deserves to be thereabouts, Master of War achieved as much but I like the unexposed nature of this one and give the colt an equal chance so the 9/2 with Hills is value.

I cannot get an angle into the handicap or the fillies Group 3 and so I am going to leave the obvious in and say that Law Enforcement, evens, will win the Nursery… easily!

Chester Tips – 2.30 Listed Handicap

Communicator is up 9lbs for his recent exploits and it is enough for the Major to look elsewhere, mind you the yard don’t send that many to Chester and have had some decent results here

The money is coming for Tominator who was arguably very unlucky in the Ebor.  Again, I am not sure this is the sort or the price I want.

Rosslyn Castle is more like it, a gambling yard, bottom of the weights and a horse who is returning from a disappointing effort when finishing last of seven last time out.  7/1 and supported – shortlist.

Quiz Mistress looks a great each way shout at 12s – Stepping up into group company proved too hot last time out but these conditions will be perfect.

Never Can Tell should not be 28s (Coral) – Dr K’s horses are used to turning up at Chester and throwing the form book away – I would not put you off if you fancied a punt on a massive price.

The horse I am settling on though is Midsummer Sun at 11/1 (Stan James) – The Sir Henry Cecil 5yo will appreciate this drop in class and the form of his last G3 has worked out very well.  While 5th of 7, the distance was not so far and perhaps the camber of Goodwood was off-putting – The horse is one of a few (Communicator included) to have won at Chester and it is a track that throws a few off due to its tight corners and need to be prominent at the home turn.  Queally is a master and the horse knows what to do – 11/1, have a Major slice that makes your eyes water and your spine tingle!

Killarney Tips – Flat and Jumps

I do love these mixed jump and flat cards and patrons of Killarney will no doubt have a wonderful day.

In the 3.20 I am going to stick with the obvious and suggest that Count of Limonade will improve significantly to take this.  Having to concede a few pounds should be no problem for the son of Duke of Marmalade if the expected improvement that the Major thinks is there comes in.

In the 5pm Grade C hurdle – 16 runners are due to post – I am confident one non runner will spoil the each way, four place fun but it is still a race to find a well priced horse.

This is a fantastic conundrum with the field priced at 5/1.

Rattan destroyed his three rivals last time out and while it might not be the best of form, Run with the Wind, defeated that day was a supported horse in the Galway hurdle so might not be as bad as we think.  Mullins is on fire too.

Baily Green has been improving over the larger obstacles and comes back to hurdles a stone better off than the chase mark – Interesting at 11/1.

The Shepherd King was pulled up when favourite on his last outing and this is his first stint on track for some time.  20/1 is massive and takes a huge chance that the improvement had stopped after a two mile hurdle and bumper win – Interesting, particularly as the trainer goes to Robbie Power (1 win from 2 runs for the yard).

9/1 Rattan is the Killarney hurdle tip whose trainer form gives it the nod.

Enjoy your Saturday racing punting, may your bets be blessed from above.

In the Premier League, I am having some good form – So far this season, Everton paid well at 2/1 at Villa and last week, my only bet Wigan won at 19/10 at Southampton.

I am basing my choices on momentum (on the pitch and off the pitch) at clubs and trying to factor in some natural variance.  This feels a stronger approach than form alone.

Both Everton and West Brom are on a confidence peak – 41/17 the draw is a very attractive bet, a score draw even more so – Back 1-1 and 2-2 – A result either club would probably be happy with.

It won’t be pretty but West Ham at 8/5 buoyed by popular signings and playing their own way should be strong enough at home to overcome a Fulham team that probably don’t have enough to impose themselves.

Newcastle should beat Villa but no tip as variance scares me on this – Are Villa genuinely that bad?  At the moment they look like relegation contenders but surely Lambert will sort them out?

Sunderland are my other selection.  Yes, Swansea are flying and full of confidence but Sunderland are also on a high after sealing the services of Johnson and 43/15 is massive – Almost quadruple your dough!

May your dinner be fuelled by a succession of blows inflected on the enemy.  May he yearn for the day when your eyes had never seen his prices.  Eat well tonight and drink some good beer.  Heartiness is goodness.

Courage, roll those dice.

York Festival – Wednesday Tips, Great Volitigeur and the Juddmonte

Good evening from the Major who writes a short post from the cool Worcestershire clear evening. The major has had winning posts of late, let us hope the form continues.

Wednesday is the opening day of the York festival and so I write with a very short post.

The Great Voltigeur

Main Sequence is shaping up as market favourite at 2/1 and it is easy to like his chances. An unbeaten animal until taking on superstar Camelot in the Derby, this Lingfield Trial winner also when down in the Grand Prix de Paris where thedeep conditions would not have suited. This good to firm will be better but there is strong opposition.

Noble Mission claimed group 3 glory last time out and the horse famous for his sibling will be seeking to set up a famous day for the family in the preceding race to Frankels’.

A strong form line can be taken from Noble Mission to Thomas Chippendale who is seeking a hat-trick and clearly morose improve. The Ballydoyle raider is surely better value than Noble Mission at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.

Enke and Energiser, the Godolphin representatives don’t make much appeal and while Thought Worthy represents Gosden who has a terrific record in the race, I think this is a strong enough field.

On balance there is a 9/4 price about Main Sequence with Betvictor and I think it is a price worth taking.

The only other York race that appeals as a betting medium is the open sprint handicap which opens the day.

2pm York – Sprint Handicap

If it was not for trainer form the Ponty Acclaim would be the selection in this – a horse with a touch of class and one that is drawn on the side I want to be on. That trainer form is bad though….

The 9/2 favourite is Rex Imperator who has looked a group horse in the making. Charlton does not take that man to York so it has to be respected, clearly on the upgrade.

Tax Free is available with Boylesports at 10/1 – this is a horse. Gave a big mention to at the weekend at a big price. He is knocking on and not a certainty to string two good races together but he is turned out again before the handicapper gets a chance to put his mark back up and his second was very decent on Saturday.

The one the Major goes for though is another who competed with far less distinction in the St Wilfred. Lexis Hero is a general 16/1 shot and a classy enough horse on the day. I don’t think the drop to this trip will be a problem – the horse is one to lead and I would not be shocked to see a return to form.

The Juddmonte

It is an enormous leap to think Frankel will struggle over 10f – the way he finishes his races, I cannot think he will do anything other than smash this lot. St Nicholas Abbey on best form might get within ten lengths but Frankel is playing a different game to the rest of them.

If you are looking for each way value then the two that appeal are Sri Putra who gained a well deserved top class victory at this course last time out and Twice Over who won the race last year.

Courage one and all, 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 – Tips for Newmarket, Bangor, Preakness Stakes, Uttoxeter

Good morning from a permanently grey and damp Worcestershire.  A cold gentle wet blanket hangs in the air, not the weather that Frankels return should be honoured with.  We should have had lightning or blazing heat.

Frankel might be the headliner today but Uttoxeter is where the Major plans to have it away

This week, the Major suffered an injury, a badly bruised, potentially broken toe.  It came about from a wrestling match where my opponent was a mighty octopus, I kid you not.My enemy had the element of surprise, attacking in the small hours, trying to suffocate me as I slept but I was quick…… not tonight my friend, I just ain’t ready to go yet….  I leapt from the bed and fought him to the floor.  The kicks I delivered were those of a deranged man whose heart is going at the maximum rate.  Accuracy of blow was sacrificed for a ferocious random savagery driven by blind fear for my life.  I am not experienced at this and recognise now that a coolness was needed in the heat of the moment.

Yet, I must have landed one or two decent blows on my powerful foe because my cephalopod friend retreated as quickly as he came.  An extensive search of chambers did not reveal a hiding place or the beasts method of entry or exit. intruiging.

The whole thing makes me suspicious it was a all a dream.  In the moment, it was real, I was there.  As Confucious (I believe it was he and due to the lateness of the hour, have no time to check) said: I dreamt I was a butterfly and now I am awake, I am unsure if I am a man who once dreamt about being a butterfly or a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.  Who knows?

I am aware that I need a couple of hours to update the stats… it will get done.  Last week was not great but this week I feel it.  Polish up the saddles men, we ride to victory.

With the focus on Frankels return, I feel some attention should be given to some of the summer jumping scene and I am offering tips from Bangor and Uttoxeter as well as Newbury and Newmarket.  This is where the Major does his best work.

Frankels return is special.  the Major is hoping to attend Sussex Stakes day at the other end of the summer where we might get the great match between Frankel and Black Caviar.  I think the Sussex Stakes conditions will be hugely in Frankels favour.  Firstly the distance, we know that Frankel will get a mile easily and we know he is as comfortable over shorter.  It would inconvenience him less to meet over 7f than it will Black Caviar to step up to a mile.  Secondly is the track.  Goodwood has an alarming camber and not all horses act there.  We know from Frankel destroying Canford Cliffs (His best performance in the Majors view) last year that this is no problem for Frankel, yet Black Caviar is uncertain…  I say get them at Ffos Las for a match race over 7f!!

Finally before the sports tips, as you know, the Saturday Service is a blog of habit.  You get the spiel, you know when you read ‘To the Sports’ we are into the tips, you understand the indicators of the things I really like… load the cannons (of varying size, have a slice (of varying size), money printer and other regular parlance of the tipster.  You get your dinner suggestion, sometimes with an indicator of the company you should take.  You get some military history or philosophy and the barely profitable tips…. All of it, the rambling of an unhinged mind.  Well I am adding something… soundtracking of my breakfast.  It made a debut last week and I continue it today….

Soundtracking my breakfast: The farm shop furnished me with the Racing Post and a pack of pork and asparagus sausages.  For those not in Worcestershire, it is Asparagus season, something that we celebrate in the Vale enthusiastically.  Accompanying I have some English Mustard and Rocket, it needs to be powerful and some Bramley Apple Juice, chilled to perfection.

To the sports…

Will Frankel Win at Newbury?

Tipping a horse at 1/3 is not much fun and I am not going to offer a tip.  Frankel is the best, a complete machine.  He has improved as he has learned to settle and that means he can now get further…. much further.  I think you should consider him an Arc horse although I am in a minority.

He has reportedly gained more physique over winter but these things can be more speculation than fact.

There is nothing on the racecard to scare him, only Black Caviar can do that.  Yet he had his setback so if we are going to get him beat it would be today.  His key rival in the race may also be better tuned after having a prep run.

No bet.

Bangor Tips

As much as I admire evens favourite Golden Call in the 3.10, I think we can get it beaten.

The horse represents trainer McCain who is in great form and has a super record at Bangor.  Yet we are taking the fact it jumps a fence well on chance.  Over this shorter distance, it will test that ability.

Instead I am going to tip Kauto Relko who has proven he can go over the larger obstacles and represents a yard who also have a good Bangor record.

I would suggest doubling that with Fabrika in the bumper (4.55).  Henderson always has a litany of these sorts winning and only the beautiful Rebecca Curtis has a chance of stopping him in the Majors view.

Newmarket Tips

Frankels brother races in the 2.15.  What a tag that is – A little unfair on the expectations of the colt really!

Thought Worthy who looked a really nice type coming out of a good maiden win.  His seasonal reappearance second was good form and in desperate conditions and I expect him to be fine with the better ground today.

That said, just because Noble Mission is always going to carry the moniker of being Frankels little brother, he is a progressive derby entry in his own right.  He has tasted one defeat, unlike his brother! The application of a hood is also a small concern but overall 15/8 is very fair.

I like the 3.20 listed race and in it I fancy Saigon at 11/2.  This represents a serious lowering of expectations back from Group 1 company in the 2,000 Guineas.  Previous pattern class form was OK.  The trainer does not have many Newmarket runners and not many winners from that but I think this unfashionable pick may prove decent value.

In the 3.55 I do not think Spice Fair has finished improving yet and so 6/1 Corals is decent pricing.  This horse owes me after last time.

Uttoxeter Tips

The track has started the day being described as good.  With the rain the Midlands is getting though, this could easily change and I fancy some rather dead ground.  In turn I am looking for some big priced fancies to spice up our Champions League warm up.

In the 6.25, Connections alone have Spate River trading as second favourite and with my gamble on the ground changing, I am ruling him out (never a more dangerous word said).  Jolly Roger the favourite also might not fancy it if it gets a bit squishier.

I give a squeak to Smalib Monterg who gets a 7lb claimer and comes from a yard with a good track record at Uttoxeter.  He has probably been running a bit honestly though and remains in the grip of the handicapper.

Flash Harriet was entitled to her reappearance run for which she has been raised 5lbs.  The Mare may be well treated and I would not put you off at 9/1.

The tip though is Hit The Switch at a massive 25/1 price.  The horse has been fairly well tried over hurdles without success but connections persist and I think there could be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I certainly think Hit the Switch will  benefit from a turn in conditions which will inconvenience many of his rivals.

The Preakness is off at 11.18 this evening and the Major is sticking with defeated Derby runner Creative Clause at 8/1.  Hills have taken an aggressive stance that Bodemeister will be defeated and offer 2/1.

The Champions League final is interesting as a sporting contest.  Chelsea have been successfully bloody minded and it is dangerous to back against such teams.  That said, Bayern are clearly a better outfit and have home advantage.  No bet.

Blackpool at 3/1 look too large.  The Championship play off can throw up some odd results and I think the frail camaraderie at West Ham will come under pressure today.

May your dinner be home made and a casserole.  So 1983.  Some good beef, fresh vegetable and some loving care will create a hearty dinner to be shared with close friends.  Crack a nice bottle of something dark red and settle in for the Preakness.

Courage and roll those dice.