Good evening from the Major who writes on a Friday evening as I rise with the lark to engage in my last long distance training run before heading to Berlin next weekend for the marathon.
I am running a considerable section of the picturesque Staffordshire and Worcester canal. This old canal runs from the Trent and Mersey canal to the east of Stafford all the way down to the Severn river at Stourport. Until the Worcester Birmingham canal opened this waterway was a major industrial route. I am negotiating the bottom third starting to the west of Wolverhampton and running under the Kinver ridge, through a few tunnels before running through Kidderminster and finishing in the elaborate canal basin on Stourport.
Wish me luck, or don’t.
Luck, fate, fortune. Such things are for children and the feeble.
A conjurer may beat you with a sleight of hand coupled with distraction but will rarely claim to be anything other than entertainment. They deploy a skill to beat your eye and mind with a show.
As for genuine coincidence, well that happens all the time. It really should not surprise people as much as it does. Those that choose to interpret the statistical inevitability of something massively unlikely happening as meaning unseen forces are at work, simply fail to acknowledge the scale of interaction we have with the world. We interact millions of times in ordinary situations that offer a possibility of an amazing coincidence. Thus it is logical that several times in our lives, one in a million shot, coincidences will happen.
A lady friend of the Major recently visited a medium at a local pub night. While she was a little sceptical, she was taken by some of what she saw and could not explain some of the connections made.
While I cannot claim to know the tricks used by the medium in question, I can guess that throwing lots of generic information out quickly is key. Knowing the audience demographic, and the most common fatal diseases, it would not he hard to strike lucky. Trickery.
A medium preys; on the feeble-minded, those that should know better and those who are looking for something; such as the recently bereaved – That is poor form, distasteful. I consider them the lowest of people.
To the sports…
Why I am taking on the Ayr treble of Bronze, Silver and Gold Cups I do not know. This really should be left to Pricewise but like a moth to the light that will kill me, I feel inexorably pulled in. The death star has engaged the tractor beam. We have the benefit of extreme heavy ground and that might give us some help but we are fishing in deep waters here.
Ayr Bronze Cup Tips
My goodness, do you think Dandy Nicholls the King of the sprinters wants to win this race? He has entered seven of the twenty seven entrants for this handicap sprint.
The trainers son is on Tajneed who may be well prepped for this. Amenable has Mulrennan aboard who has a good strike rate for the yard and was a winner last time out, interesting – especially as the horse has form on soft (untested on heavy). Yet given the win came from the front, it is unlikely that he will get that opportunity here.
Jack Dexter looks like a certain improver and seems very capable in the mud. why on earth would you back a favourite in a race like this though? Graham Lee will certainly give the horse a power packed ride, no doubt will be backed.
Cheveton has a great chance too. Not only has he won this race but he has won the Silver Cup too and returning on a similar mark, he will surely be tuned up and ready for action. Of distinct interest.
Llewelyn is stepping up in class but will handle conditions. Best Trip is very interesting running for Ellison. This is a yard that can ready a gamble and if money comes I would be more confident. The horse does well on soft and I do think it has a chance.
The Major is opting for Frequency at 20/1. The selection is not proven on this heavy surface and has only won once on soft from five starts. That is the bad news. the good news is that he gets the assistance of Robert Winston who won with the horse earlier in the season and his method of racing may be helped by the fact that he is drawn on the rail. With enough pace on the low stalls then perhaps we might be in luck.
Ayr Silver Cup Tips
Although my tip in the first is not influenced as strongly by the ground as by the draw and quality of the animal; I am staying with the mudlarks for the Silver Cup tip.
The challenge is being certain which ones will love these conditions as many of them will not have experienced it before. I suspect they are going to be finishing these races strung out like three-mile chasers.
The Silver Cup horses in focus for the Major are…
9/1 favourite An Saighdiur who has shot to fame on the all-weather but has transferred that ability to very soft ground. Clearly on the way up and very easy to back at this price.
Spinatrix and Gatepost are not without chances. The later is no 40/1 shot and certainly worth a small each way investment. Highland Colori will be fine with the ground but is carrying much more weight now and I am not sure it is the likely profile.
Cadeaux Pearl is of some interest but without the usual winning headgear it is hard to be overly positive.
the Major is going to opt for two in the Silver Cup. The first tip is Klynch at 28/1. This horse is back to a winning mark and has taken 4 from 6 on soft. There is a suggestion this is not the right time of year but I think it is worth a small punt.
The other selection is Grissom at 25/1 with Ladbrokes. The horse has a good record here and although never placed in five runnings on heavy until this summer, he went in under these conditions at Hamilton showing that he can handle the ground.
Ayr Gold Cup Tips
No respite from these conundrums and the Gold Cup is as equally perplexing.
It is hard to ignore the race record of Dandy Nicholls in these contests. He saddles just two for the gold cup. Rodrigo de Torres and Beacon Lodge are rank outsiders but are surely worth a look. Of the two the former rates the more interesting. He didn’t change hands into the Nicholls yard for a lot of money and it is interesting that they are going with a drop in trip in this company. 40/1 is interesting.
Maarek is going to love these conditions and this horse is in fine fettle this year. I am not sure that the improvement has stopped with this multiple group winner. The ground is right up his street and top weight burden could pose no problem. 12/1 is a superb each way price.
Again I am going to have two on my side in the Gold Cup. Firstly Pintura at 20/1 – I think this will prove an ideal race for the Kevin Ryan inmate and William Hill are over priced.
The second gold cup tip is Doc Hay at 16/1 (BetVictor). This horse won a great trial race and like my other selection is drawn relatively low.
Mill Reef Group 2 – Newbury Tips
I love the Mill Reef race and despite being a race for the best two year olds where often new talent comes to the fore, the recent winners have all been short prices. I think it will pay to concentrate on the top of the market again.
That said, Taayel is an interesting runner having won a maiden at Yarmouth. Could be anything but although interesting, I want a more certain profile.
Heavy Metal showed a turnaround when taking the Richmond and the improvement since he met and beat Cay Verde (who has also improved) seems to suggest he would be the better prospect.
Cougar Ridge is not the sort I am after.
That leaves me with Moohaajim at 10/3 (Hills). My tip won a debut nicely before being a close up fifth in the Prix Morny. That form is right up there and given he had more work to do than the others, he was unlucky not to have won. Normal improvement makes him a serious contender for this years Mill Reef.
In the football, Villa strike me as bet of the weekend at 11/5. Southampton have played well but the young Villa team are coming together and their win over Swansea might be the start of collecting a few useful points.
I also like the chances of Wigan to beat Fulham at home (6/4) and I like West Brom too at 5/6 to overcome Reading.
May your dinner be delightful a juicy steak of the finest cut, paid for by finally nailing one of these big handicap Ayr specials.
Courage, roll the dice.