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.
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.