Good evening from the Major who flash types a post from the Berkshire countryside where the air is cool and damp. Away from home, fine hotel, roaring fire, all is well.
It is the first time I have posted since the tragic conclusion to the Doncaster listed hurdle on Monday. Watching Darlan cruise into the race hard on the steel before tragically catapulting over the last and clearly lying distressed and fatally injured was a tough watch.
There are often times where the sport of horse racing brings death to the fore. Darlan was just one of three horses that died on course on Monday, an unusually black day. It is an unavoidable consequence of the sport, even if it can be remedied by better safety measures.
Darlan though was no fault of the course, jockey or trainer, it was a tragic fall. My twitter timeline was choked with genuinely distressed racing fans. Some, clearly contemplating whether the sport is worth the cost.
That is not an easy question to answer.
My own view is that while hard to stomach, racing reflects a truth in life that safety is not all. The union of jockey and horse, locked in racing combat, negotiating obstacles… it is hard because it is meant to be.
The thin nature of the answer troubles me and I will dwell on it more.
Bangor Friday Tips
Golden Hoof should win the opener although you might have to hold your nose at the punitive odds on pricing (8/13). He is stepped down from the standard of the Tolworth, soft underfoot conditions pose no problem and it should be an easy winner. Gee Hi is more worrying to the Major than Blackwater King as the former is less exposed and if ready for a big run could be a fly in the ointment… small stakes.
In the second, another small field of novices and another odds on shot 2/5 in Violin Davis for the Major. She looks a better animal than the rest.
The 2.35 is a three mile novice hurdle and I fancy 10/3 shot Dungeel representing the McCain yard to win. Soft conditions are a plus and the two wins at Leicester and Catterick look solid. Midnight Appeal is a tough chase campaigner and might be booked for a place. O Faolains Boy represents Curtis and she has a good record at Bangor. All of them are overlooked in favour of Phillip Hobb’s Ballytober at 7/1 – The first run on return from injury was woeful but that form was left well behind when running on through the mud to score readily at Ascot last time out. 7s is a fine price.
The staying chase over best part of four miles is going to take some getting in the soft ground and there are many dubious contenders in the field. We have a fifteen year old in Victory Gunner and less than half the field have completed their last three assignments. My Boy Paddy finished well in a race that has worked out very nicely at Chepstow but 4/1 feels prohibitive, he should be involved. Instead, the Major is going to opt for complete outsider 40/1 shot Gidam Gidam. You have to get over a patchy record including a woeful return to action recently. Yet, if you do put a line through that, there is some fine form in there, including a win off a stone and a half higher…
I cannot stomach the 3.45, too little quality, find a pin, stick it in and good luck to you.
In the bumper, I am surprised to see Tonvadosa at 2/1 on Betfair this evening. The win at Towcester was eye catching, while the fallen foe may not be up to much, the style of victory was memorable.
The Hunter Chase is an interesting race. That’s Rhythm is at the veteran end of his career and falling last time out may have caused more aches and pains than when he was a young man. Noble Ben has had some issues and missed some time off the track, he is 11 himself but has won at Cheltenham and I am backing him to run well at 6/1.
Courage, roll the dice.