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The Majors Saturday Gambling Sermon – Ripon tips, The Hungerford – Tasty horseracing tips plus Best Premier League Bet – Kaboooom

Good morning from murky heavy Defford where the sky weighs heavy on the earth, holding all in a cold and damp embrace.  Let us awaken the heavens with a punting celebration.

The Royal Ascot win of Brown Panther with Dubawi Gold in behind (red white arm stripe)

What a fantastic sporting weekend we have laid out before us.  The Premier League is back and I have the best bet of the weekend (in the Majors humble opinion), maybe Ipswich winning 3-0 last weekend after being offered to you at 2/1 is a sign that this is my football season?  Unlikely, the Major prefers math to superstition.

We have the 4th day of the test which may well be weather effected.  1/16 for England to win with two days left?  What other bank pays out at near on 7% for a maximum two-day investment??  Not for the Major…

We have Group 2 racing at Newbury with the Hungerford.  A sign of the quality, is that 6/1 is freely available about Delegator.  No Frankel and no Dream Ahead but with Dubawi Gold and Excelebration, we have plenty of options from the classic generation, see the Majors view below.

Test matches, premier league, group racing, Wales v England rugby, Tri nations rugby….. it is like a great banquet.

There is a far eastern parable of heaven and hell which may well be of Buddhist origin.  As a child, I remember my vicar telling us about a heaven and hell.  In this hell, men (there is probably a ladies section too) sit around a grand table on which is a mighty feast.  The insanity is that each man has only chop stick creating a bedlam as noone is able to eat the great delights before them.

In heaven, the scene is much the same but each man works with his neighbour to feast.  In this way, I urge you to join the Major today to find winners.  Let us meet the enemy on the field of battle with a steel eye, ready for the coolness of battle.  Daub your war paint on your face young man, it is time.  To the sports…

3.30 Ripon – Great St Wilfred Stakes

Let us start with the mother ship of the days selections.  The ground so often a key factor is an essential element today.

I do like it when ground gives you a real advantage.  It is the Majors view that ground specialists, especially when conditions are reasonable extreme (and soft with rain expected for 6f sprinters is definitely extreme!).

Not only are we looking for something that can handle true soft, we want to be drawn low that can take advantage of a significant advantage on Ripons 6f course when the ground is soft.  On this note, the Major is happy to share something – This is where I go to check my draw bias data, just so you know I am not always winging it!

This takes a huge field of 20 conundrums and filters it down to three for the Major.  Atlantic Sport, Parisian Pyramid, Fathsta and Confessional.  28/1, 16/1, 14/1 and 12/1 respectably…. tasty.

There may be others lurking that will be fine in the more testing conditions but the Major thinks that these are the likely 4.  For example, Tajneed, handles good to soft but on 3 runs on anything worse has yet to place.  Plus 9 stone 7 lbs may be a fair weight to lump in these conditions.

Splitting the final four has worked through like this.  Atlantic Sport is a Mick Channon horse and I am not sure his string are in the best touch.  He has had a few winners in the last few weeks but less than a quarter of his horses are placing.

The one that appeals the most is Fastha.  Simcock is in reasonable touch and this horse has placed 9 from 12 runs on good to soft or soft.  Interestingly, Robert Winston gets a debut ride for the stable and stall 2 is a nice spot to be in with speedsters Tajneed and Evens and Odds ready to set it up for this soft loving closer.  William Hill are holding their 12/1, get involved.

3.05 Newbury – Geoffrey Freer – Group 3

I can forgive Brown Panthers poor show in Germany and suggest backing the Michael Owen owned horse for this.  The race looks like a decent trial for the St Leger and on those grounds, the Highclere horse (not that many in the Hannon stable?) must rate as a major danger.

I like Brown Panthers chances here.  Racing off the same price as Census does not seem right.  Don’t get me wrong, Census could win but my market would be 3/1 Brown Panther, 13/2 Census.  On these grounds, 5/1 is a bit of a price in my view and advise you to take a slice.

p.s. Claremont could be a huge 14/1 shot if putting his best foot forward.

3.40 Newbury CGA Hungerford Stakes – Group 2

This is a decent enough renewal, and we have a warm enough favourite in Excelebration.

There is a very even record between the older generations and the classic generation in the Hungerford.  Given that many three-year olds are showing this is a decent crop with major prizes like the King George going top Nathaniel, you have to fancy the two feasible winners that start here.  Dubawi Gold and Excelebration.

Of the two I have to say I think the hot favourite Excelebration is the horse for me.  Although the ground is currently good, I think good to soft will be more likely at the off and it is probably that way already.  I read with interest Richard Hughes article recently in the Racing Post regarding the reticence of courses to declare the word soft in order to keep horses in races…. interesting!

Excelebration won on the continent in soft conditions and the form behind Frankel has a certainty to it.  Dropping to 7f is not a problem.  5/2 is available with Ladbrokes and William Hill, smash that in is the Majors strong advice.

11.15 Arlington Million – Chicago

We have a number of European raiders for the card that holds the Arlington Million.  I think the racing story of the day will unfold here too.

After we have seen Treasure Beach try to take the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (9.52pm) (Secretariat being the Majors favourite ever horse watch the Belmont win) which I think will be too short for him, we get a cracking Arlington Million.

The story that I think will make the front page of the Sunday morning Racing Post is Hayley Turner winning a Grade One in the States and catapulting herself into the international racing centre stage.

Make no mistake, I think Hayley is a cracking jockey but not being too shabby a looking lass as well, she has a touch of star quality too.  Her ride in a premier American race tonight on Wigmore Hall is no forlorn hope.  In fact, 5/1 shows it is seriously considered.  I just have a sense that the race might pan out with the two big guns, Cape Blanco (O’Brien horse praying for rain) and Gio Ponti going at each others throats and allowing Hayley to come over the top of them as the Americans say… ‘on the drive, down the stretch’ a strange people.

On that note, this week I finally realised that if I were not British, I would want to be Indian.  Not American or Australian or Canadian or any other English speaking nation.  Indian culture sits well alongside British culture.  Watching the whole episode of British rioting you cannot fail to be impressed with the demonstration of family and community values in the Sikh community.  That…. and who can refuse a decent Chicken Tikka Massala?

Off the track and to the sports……

In the 4th day of the test, I fancy Graeme Swann to make the most of the pitch and 5/2 that he is the top English bowler is a good bet in my view.

In the Premier League I think it is useful to think of what happens on opening days.  There is a perception and an overplay in books that the Major has examined.  It is to do with promoted teams showing they are better than expected.

I think there is a touch of overpricing on matches involving average Premier League teams and newly promoted clubs that people think might be good.

No better example than the Majors big tip of the day.  I love the 23/10 about Bolton to win at QPR (Victor Chandler).  Bolton have a couple of injuries notably to Elmander, but they are still a respectable Premier League club.  I am not sure all is well at QPR.  They have not bought in the summer and at one point the dogs were barking that Warnock was on his way out (traded at evens).  No smoke without fire.  I would back QPR for the drop and I would back Warnock to be the first manager out of work.  I would definitely back Owen Coyles outfit to win today at better than 2/1…. Shabash!  Take a hefty slice and if you are brave enough to wager the stake that Jesus tells you to, send me a postcard.

Cardiff look a certainty to take Bristol City at 8/11 – Maybe the double with Bolton appeals to you.

That is it from the Major this week.  I hope your dinner is fine.  I suggest seafood, a medley of fish, scallop and other various shell-fish.  Drink with a nice New Zealand white wine and do this in good company with a sparkling attractive sort that knows not to talk too much.  As the bill arrives it is rude to show her the roll of notes fresh from the enemies grasp but she will be looking eagle-eyed so as long as your deliberate revelation is subtle, well, you will be at partners that very night, see if I am wrong.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Majors Saturday Service – July Cup Tips

Good morning from fine Defford where the Major welcomes you warmly into his Saturday Service.

It has been many weeks since I last updated the results.  My apologies for the tardiness but raising the effort is difficult when you know the last few weeks have been utterly barren.  The Major has not had a good Saturday in a long time and we are in desperate need of a decent day.

Never forget the Majors motto though, relentless positivity.  We will try again and we will find ourselves a tasty set of tips to boost those accounts back into the green

Beachfire was an eye catcher at Ascot – Lots of headgear though, reliable?

Never give in.  Churchill had that right.  The master of oratory once raised the men of Thermopylae as a standard in one of his great speeches and surely those brave Spartans fighting in their impenetrable square would make the right reading to set our minds for a days battle with our old enemy.

No, the Major evokes a different spirit.  Given the parlous state of the account right now, it seems more apt to think back to the sinking of HMS Birkenhead, 1852.

Named after her yard, the Birkenhead was a transport iron frigate used to ferry troops to our war in South Africa, the Kaffir War, more commonly known now as the Xhosa War.

HAving left Portsmouth, HMS Birkenhead collected Irish troops before docking at Cape Town.  A short hop around the treacherous waters of the cape to the destination Algoa Bay was the doomed final leg.

In pitch black, HMS Birkenhead struck rock and foundered leaving 643 souls on a sinking piece of wreckage.  100 men are thought to have drowned in their beds as water poured in through the fissure in the bulkhead.

On deck, the survivors had to deal in quandary, there were only enough lifeboats for maybe a third of the people.  Step forward Captain Seton, who was given command not of the vessel but of the military personnel.

There were women and children of the officers being transported and realising the carnage that could ensue, Captain Seton called on high discipline on board a 2,000 lump of wood and metal, fast sinking into the cool Southern Ocean and into the shark occupied, hideous depths.

This is where the phrase ‘women and children’ was coined.  Survivors recall the utter discipline of our armed men as they stood silently to attention while the last of the lifeboats was launched, knowing fully what this meant but not one man breaking rank.

The ship foundered 2 miles from shore and some men managed to swim.  Most were taken by shark and some died trying to land on the rocky South Africa shoreline.  Just shy of 200 survived, most in the lifeboats.  Afterwards, our great rouser of youth, Kipling wrote a wonderful line….

But to stand an’ be still to the Birken’ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew

The Prussian military so impressed by the account of discipline ordered it be read and postered at every barracks in the land.  You see, British military discipline is famed the world over.  Where else bar Balaclava has such strong evidence of our conviction been given to Johnny Foreigner, which brings to mind the response to the famous charge of the lights from a Frenchman ‘C’est magnifique, mais c’est ne pas guerre’.

The Major calls on this discipline today.  Bet like men, with calm mind and steady hand.  Losses in recent times do not shake our unfounded belief in the 16/1 price mistakenly put up by our enemy.  His time cometh, and that right soon.

To the sports…..

The Darley July Cup – Newmarket

This is the best sprint in Europe and at 3.35 we have a cracking field.  The real key to this is what the weather does.  The BBC says cloudy and dry and I am going to put my faith in Auntie.

This puts in favour Delegator and Bated Breath while Monsieur Chevalier*, Dream Ahead and Regal Parade are negatives.

Of the two I think will go well, Delegator makes the most appeal.  While he was a quality miler and was a little unlucky in his classic year, the recent drop to sprinting class has reawakened him and his best season could well be this one.

What I really like about Delegator is the gears.  This years Derby showed that at Group One level, having the gears is the crucial element between top class and very good.  Watch his York reappearance over a sprint distance and Delegator moves smoothly away when asked.  Todays race will be off equally a strong pace and so I expect Frankie to get him settled off the pace and at the crunch moment, let’s see what he can do.

He does not look that popular in the market and 5/1 is available.  Dream Ahead is my selection if the ground gets more moisture.  While the Middle Park form looks a little exaggerated, let us not forget that he was joint champion juvenile with Frankel.  This could be just his thing in receipt of handy weight from Delegator.  Unbeaten at 6f, a right danger if the rain comes.

*Monsieur Chevalier is also one that will drift as unfancied on anything without soft in the title.  I am less sure that proper good will be a hindrance.  MC was a sterling 50/1 placed bet for the Major at Royal Ascot and you might wonder why I do not press up on him at 9/1.  Well, I do think that Royal Ascot form is as good as anything this set of horses has produced this season, arguably the best.  Society Rock looked a superb horse and MC was best of the rest.  My concerns more lie in that I am unsure he will race twice the same in any consecutive outings – He looks unreliable to me but has the ability and 10/1 prices that in.

Overall I am looking at Delegator 5/1 with Hills.  Incidentally, the Racing Post app are out to get Delegator so if you fancy another in the Darley July Cup, bet on their app with William Hill and you get your money back if Delegator wins… nice.

3.15 John Smiths Cup York

This was a conundrum of a race but a few things stood out.

I was really taken by the manner of Beachfires win at Royal Ascot, this might not be the track to attempt such back to front tactics again but with a clear run, I would be very interested in 9/1.

Modun had excuses at rain-soaked Ascot and he could put the record straight today.  Pricewise clearly thinks a lot of Pekan Star who with the Majors favourite Neil Callan aboard is now 10/3 favourite after trading earlier at 5/1.

At a big price, I think Kay Gee Bee could be interesting.

Overall though, I am settling on 9/1 Beachfire, I hope he gets a cleanish run for young star William Buick and he is certain to be finishing well.

I am going to back an outsider to in Tepmokea.  The reappearance run has to be questioned a little for value but that factor and a wide draw, which is not necessarily a hindrance any more, I think create a false price at 20/1.  Lee Topliss takes off 5lbs and gives the Major a strong sense of value.

In other races, 8.55 Salisbury, interesting to see Michael Hills make the trip for just one ride on Rougette.  12/1 is available.

In the States – The Man o War stakes, Belmont Park can go to Gio Ponti – Closely matched with the O’Brien traveller Capo Blanco, I fancy the globe-trotting Gio Ponti to prove his worth.  9/4 is too good to resist in a race he took last year.

In other sports…

Javeen Mendis look completely over-priced at 8/1 to be Sri Lankas top wicket taker, have a slice of that – The slow pitch should suit…

We have not beaten the French women for decades so why we think we will start now I am not sure, 5/4 France to beat England is a must bet.

You could double that with 2/7 German ladies to beat Japan, that pays close to 2/1.

Tonight may you dine on fresh fish, bake yourself a simple fish pie, simply acquire some nice steaks of cod, smoked haddock as well as some mussels and maybe prawn.  Cook in a little cream and white wine before putting in the base of a nice ceramic pot, topping with mash and finishing off.  Invite a simple sort who will delight in home cooking, she need not be too well-heeled, watch a simple film and let nature take his course.  She may well be encouraged to the gallop when your money clip falls from your breast pocket.  Tell her the Major had his lucky 15 come in, and you were there.  If you are lucky enough to retire up the flight of stairs in company, remember Captain Seton and those steely minded chaps on the Birkenhead, ‘women and children first’

Courage men and roll those dice.

The Majors Saturday Service – Stratford, Newbury, Lingfield Winter Derby, Dubai World Cup – The Hatty Special!

Good morning fair punters of Britain and welcome back to the Majors Saturday Service.  No mid-week posts due to alternate priorities I am afraid – I have also have no chance to update the stats in the menu bar either – I will get round to this and it will make the numbers look a little less rosy.  That said, we are having a good March and we shall continue today.

Tragic scenes from the electrical accident which struck Newbury earlier in the season

I was asked to have a look at the Stratford card and so I have a couple I fancy there.  Newbury has some decent jumps action but Lingfields winter derby card and the action from Meydan is where the best racing is to be had.

There is also competitive international football and cricket, a trove of riches to be plundered.

The Major is relentless in quest, never shaken by the multitude of misfortunes that befall a brave punter warrior of this tribe.  Sharpen that pin-like needle spear young man, daub paint, wide-eyed, we stare into the possible, it is an echoing chasm of expectation and dashed fears of fallen gamblers.  To the sports and hold that steeley gaze.

Stratford ground is good and this could be quite significant.  We are definitely looking for horses with a bit of pace who can take advantages of firmer conditions around this flat track.

The first race to catch the eye is the 3.30.  Himrayn has a nice win at Market Rasen under his belt but a 10lb rise might be a bit steep although third that day has gone on to perform well.  The favourite Piment D’Estruval has a 3lb rise for a recent win to contend with too but if anything that seems harsher.

It leaves for me Phoenix des Mottes who is one of three who has won on the ground. It needs to put in a clean round.  Putting a line through the last run which was on unsuitably boggy ground, the february form of 4th is not bad, that was a 3l defeat to Handtheprizeover who went down to Meet the Critics in a better race at Newbury next time out. 

Have a win bet on the Phoenix at 9/2 with Skybet.

Happy Birthday to Charlie Wheelwright whose family have sponsored the race! 

2.55 Stratford – The Seller

As always the Major brings you the big races and the seller at Stratford!

Claimant makes the most appeal in a decidedly trappy event.  Only Hypnotic Gaze has any winning form in this seller but at 2/1 it makes little solid appeal.  I am hoping the headgear can have some positive impact and we see a better run – 10/1 Betfred, have an each way piece if there are no drop-outs resulting in a 2 place payout.

Newbury 3.25 Handicap Chase

Some decent horses are looking for a return to form in this race.  At Newbury I am often looking for a sound jumper and most here fith the bill.  Possibly Scots Dragoon is an exception and is overlooked. although he is one of a few that will like the good ground 

The others are Maktu, Ogee, Briery Fox, Winterwood and possibly Rey Nacardo. 

The only risk outside of these is Theatre Dance whose trainer is sizzling hot at the minute and this is a classic falling through the handicap horse – A revival could mean a big run for the money – not for the Major though.

Winterwood gets the line because he ran 48 hours ago!  This is probably a bit of a big ask for Rey Nacardo who fits many of the other criteria I was looking at.  That said 6/1 Boylesports is a fair price and he is taken as the tentative selection over a disappointing Maktu and Ogee who might find the fences a bit stiff.

5.35 Meydan – Dubai World Cup

Classy stuff.  Twice Over has had the misfortune of a shocking draw which is a shame because surely Cecil has the preparation nailed this year.  Twice Over has been in Dubai for some time…. shame but overlooked (good luck Martin!)

The Major gives another chance to Gio Ponti who is no doubt high quality and although the synthetic surface record is not great, it disguises some very good runs.  The lack of a prep race is not a concern at this level.  12/1 with Corals is a huge price – Get stuck in.

On the sports fields.

The Major is a big fan of 10/3 for Charlton to get a win at Bournemouth.  Both of these teams are suffering a dive in form.  It is well publicised that Chris Powell had a classic honeymoon period after which he lost 8 on the bounce for Charlton.  Bournemouth are missing Eddie Howe though and I fancy Bradley Wright Phillips a real danger at this level.  With the cherries having lost their last 3 too, 10/3 seems massive for Charlton to pick up the points – Get stuck right in.

At the prices I would back England in the cricket (7/4) and leave them in the football for Wales (8/1).  Football – Wales will make it a tight game and the move to appoint a new young captain could prove inspirational.  Cricket – England have been disrupted by injury this tournament but seem to play at their best when the pressure is off.  Not many are expecting anything other than a loss and I think Strauss may surprise a few.

The Hatty Special, named in honour of a new follower on Twitter (@tdl123) is a lucky 15 for Phonex Des Mottes, Claimant, Rey Nacardo and Charlton.

Tonight, dinner will be pasta, nice and simple.  Cook it with a little fish.  A sancerre to accompany.  Eat out, entertain that haughty sort you have had your eye on.  Two bottles in you will break the guard, the Major is sure.

Good luck followers.  Courage and shuffle the cards.