Tag Archives: hot snap

The Saturday Sermon on ‘Talents’ St Leger Day

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a heavy grey Worcestershire where a hissing and thudding signals the rains violent persistence.

The Major carries a heavy head full of cold, dulling the senses and slowing the reactions.  Fear not, for some this might result in sluggish thought but for me, deep down here between the moments, a clarity emerges.

Last week was a catastrophe of misfortune.  Each and every piece of advice faltered.  The sort of day where beyond financial ruin, not even a solitary winner can lift the soul, taking the edge away, I prayed but was not answered for just a small token.  Nothing, darkness, the empty void.

I was at Doncaster this week on business.  I had not been before and shall file a brief report for your examination.  I was in the Lincoln restaurant and the atmosphere was lively.  The hosts were generous and my immediate company a mixture of sorts embellishing all facets of life’s rich tapestry.  The sights were part glorious, part terrifying.  There were police dogs sniffing for drugs, barrel chested men drinking furiously, throaty voices shouting and smiling northern faces.

The course is not my favourite, a significant part is shrouded from view but the straight is long and fair.  The racing was wallet emptying, I should have been with The Lark who won like you would want an Oaks placed horse to canter away but bet foolishly.  I watched the Park Hill from an old stand that looked so empty, I assumed it was owners and trainers, it was not, the denizens of Doncaster, concern themselves greatly with their frivolity and those of us cut from the racing cloth are free to access the parade ring where plentiful prime seats tell of the crowds other intentions.

The Lark was impressive but I was on Seal of Approval who crashed to the floor in an horrendous moment leaving Hayley Turner momentarily and terrifyingly lifeless.  As the winner thundered past the post, my eyes were two furlongs back up the course waiting for Hayley to move.  The screens went up and it was not until twenty minutes later that the racecourse kindly informed patrons that Hayley was conscious and on her way to Hospital.  Get well soon.

Doncaster would not be my choice of course in the north.  York is finer, better views, more pleasant and slightly less like a stag do.  I hold no quibble with the fayre on offer at Donnie.  Leaving though, amidst the heavy police presence, amidst the tatoo’d heroes seeking more pleasure while their cups already overfloweth, amidst the stumbling happy, the doleful few, I saw the sight that shall stick with me.

Envision three ladies, two props holding up a dazed hooker who can barely support her own weight.  The three of them swaying and stumbling, as though competing in a slow motion three-legged race.  Not an unusual sight and but for the medical atrocity that had befallen the inebriated middle stump of our trio.

Some images shock the sense so that you might recoil again when they revisit you later.  Horror that peels away the calm surface we portray, the shield defences are momentarily lowered, scenes that awaken the senses.

I think the technical term is sharted.  I was informed of this term by a colleague I was escorting.  She is a fine soul, impeccable in turn out and manner.  I don’t imagine it is a word she uses often.

To the sports…

Doncaster – St Leger Card

Let us start with the St Leger and my appeal for you all to join me in a major investment in Talent.  You may remember that I was with Talent in the Oaks when she recorded a shock 20/1 win.  How she won that day still baffles me a bit, despite me tipping her up on the morning.  Coming down the hill, she was headstrong and spent plenty of energy fighting for her head.  Turning at Tattenham corner though, she came back to herself, I still thought her goose was cooked but as she went through the gears, she absolutely left the field for dead.  The Oaks form has been dragged through the mud but with the Lark winning so well in the Park Hill on Thursday, it removes much doubt from my mind.

Her last run in Ireland was too bad to be true and connections think the lively ground may have had a role to play.  No such problems exist on Leger day, plenty of rain has fallen.  My girl will love the softened ground and Doncaster suits a horse coming last from the back on the stands side, which is exactly where I envisage her run.

Since Galileo Rock is likely to run in Ireland on Sunday, the spirited opposition is going to come from Excess Knowledge who runs for Gosden.  On breeding, I think the ground will be against his runner but the yard has an excellent Leger record and so the lack of book form is no concern.

Foundry is unexposed but his second to Telescope looks a little more ordinary now we see the extent of the limitations for that hype horse.  Stablemate Leading Light is my main concern.  He has been laid out for this race and has already demonstrated a stamina appetite.

The Champagne Stakes opens the card at 2.05.  Hannon and Bin Suroor have shared the spoils in the last 4 years and Hannon took the last two.  He bids for a hat trick with 7/2 Anjaal, who was a very tasty winner at Newmarket last time out.

At 7/2 I think Gregorian is also a bet in the Park Stakes at 3.15.  The softened conditions can help him reverse form with Aljamaheer.  Gregorian was a winner on the Oaks car so it could bear a good omen if he were to take this.

The Curragh – The Blandford

On Thursday, Hot Snap was due to race at Doncaster but was removed from the race and now pops up at the Curragh in the Group 2 Blandford.  I liked the chances at Doncaster and I like the chances here too, especially as the Cecil yard have made the effort to cross the Irish Sea.

I hope their efforts are rewarded and 7/4 is the best you can get.

Chester Listed Race – 2.55

The patchy form of Allied Power might be a little off-putting but I see enough merit in the horse to not give out all hope.  Yet, my ready preference is for Tac de Boistron who has won in much better company – 7/2 is a must bet.  This is a little unusual for me as I am flouting one of my golden rules which is to only back horses at Chester with course form.  Still, the usual rules have served me little use in the last few weeks!

The Football

I would always treat the return from an international break as an opportunity for teams to reverse their form, whether they entered the break on a high or low, the loss of momentum gives an opportunity for confidence to ebb or flow.

As such, a bet I fancy that will not be too popular is for Newcastle to win at Aston Villa.  Now I quite like the Villa who look a threat this year and they have started the campaign looking a half decent unit.  Yet, the team is workmanlike and at 14/5, I am following an instinct.

More obvious is the claim of Chelsea at Everton.  This is a banker surely!  11/8 seems massive for an accomplished team against an Everton side that might struggle even with young players like Berkley breaking through.

Sheffield United travel to Carlisle and will take to the pitch without the burden of my money on them for the first time this season.  You know what will happen.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Talent, Tac de Boistron, Gregorian and Hot Snap.

May your dinner be a sensational onslaught of the senses taken in good company and as you settle the bill from a wallet bulging with the days excesses, remember just how good it is to be alive.  Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Goodwood and Galway Festival Tips #crowdsourcingmultiple

Good evening from the Major who writes from bed, tonight alone, the warm air that held Worcestershire tightly has been disrupted by newer fresher air.  The scene is turbulent as these two competing forces skirmish across the sky, flashes of battle, the roar of conflict.

The good lady has left for Birmingham for the evening, my two boys sensing my lack of true paternal control have sought some ruin, getting amok among the house.  At first it seemed that they were not to be quieted but like all things, decay came to their once seemingly perpetual energy, at last, peace fell.

Peace is a precious commodity for the Major, such is the nature of my work and home, that seldom is there time to spare and nothing to think of, all is vigour, rush and noise.

As I lie here now, listening to the wind and rain rising again in the country air, the window flung open, one can appreciate the tremendous value of peace.  It is akin to being free….. freedom is choice, I choose to listen to the fat rain, thrown down in a childish tantrum.  The good lady finds the occasional passing traffic a reason for the fenetre to always be ferme.  Yet in these moments alone, well the kiss of tyre on wet tarmac is a pleasurable a sound that I could wish for, a sound that denotes my free will.  In such small things is my happiness grounded.

Doing things that please you is a common theme in these parts.  We float on the breeze just the once.  Latch on to whatever meaningful pleasure you can my friend, you have my explicit permission.

This year, I received a piece of advice from a respected fellow gentleman gambler that struck me at first as an odd suggestion but it stuck with me as sometimes these things do and I dwelt upon it, which improved it.  He suggested that unless you are one of these snooty professional gambling sorts (if you came here for highly reliable tips by the way, you have made a grievous turn) then you can do worse than simply waging on outcomes that please you.  If there is a football game on, back the team you would like to win.  If a horse runs and you like it, or the trainer, or silks, or jockey, or name… you get the idea.  Wage on your desire.

This may seem simple but it is unusual.  Most gamblers I know select the most likely outcome they can imagine with the caveat that the outcome gives them a return that will excite them.  Fools.  Such men will happily bet a horse to win but even if they think an odds on horse is an utter certainty, they refuse to wage because the rewards of success are too slender for them.

The slightly more sophisticated approach, that more seasoned and considered sorts preach concerns value selection.  Us ‘value’ advocates consider ourselves more refined than the other ‘hoi polloi’, we certainly accept defeat more readily, seeking to learn it’s precious lessons.  Indeed ‘value seekers’ regard themselves as superior,a  wonderful feeling I can tell you.  It is not the likeliest outcome we seek but the greatest difference in our favour between likely outcome and bookmakers price.  This can have you backing all sorts of weird and wonderful outcomes, solely because you feel them ‘over-priced’.  I once was explaining this to a man who asked me for a tip.  I gave him a 20/1 horse and just before the off, he asked whether I thought it could really win.  I said it was unlikely, I thought the correct price for the horse to be 8/1, thus unlikely to win anyway.  He seemed perturbed.  The tip came last.

What about this  advice then, to back outcomes you simply desire?  Well, I have to say, it bears examination well.  Consider with me a moment.  Permit yourself to forget our continuous crusade,  our strain against the dark enemy who prices his markets in such wickedly deceptive ways and would have us twisting and writhing in our own doubts.  Imagine instead that each sporting wager was determined by your preferred outcome.  It may not be sophisticated but it would make winning somewhat more pleasurable, n’est pas?  Pleasures enhanced, simplicity, no need for calculation.

Anyway, I wish I was at Goodwood tomorrow.   Regular gentleman @iamnotluke  is reading this on a train, travelling across our green and gold land, hurtling towards those Sussex Downs – Train travel can be the most pleasing.  I hope that his train carries good coffee, I hope the Racing Post is spread on the table, that the company is excellent, that the choices made, the freedoms expressed, whether resulting in bounty or defeat are appreciated for the wonderment they bring.

We float by on this breeze just once and I pity those that never savour the moment, the anticipation building towards a great sporting event, that childish tremor inside, the moment where all dreams of tremendous successes and beautiful equine explosive displays and beautiful people, the colour, the muscle, the definition and the ambiguityLike strands flung far out, weaving their stories, it comes back together in the end, for all of us.  In that you can trust, it is one of your only certainties.

Goodwood is one of our sports finest days and know this, racing is the finest of all sports, to all in attendance today, enjoy – It is good to be alive in England on such a day.    To the sports.

Goodwood Tips

I love Goodwood – It is such a stunning course and while the racing is top class, the atmosphere mingles smartness, down to earth anti-snobbery and damn fun in fine measure.  I also think that Goodwood is a specialist track.  It has quite a camber and not every horse will act upon it.

It is Nassau day at Goodwood and Hannon and Hughes will unleash Sky Lantern, she seemed desperately unlucky not to master Elusive Kate at Newmarket.  Carried across the track by the winner, who has previous when it comes to a leftwards drift.  We will come to the Nassau.

We start in the 2.40 RAC handicap.  This is very strong handicap and it would not be surprising to see some of these sorts competing at a higher level before the autumn closes.  

Sir Michael Stoute has had a few winners in the last few years and he is represented by the Queens horse Bold Sniper.  When it comes to potential improvers, he is high on the list as he bears a St Leger entry… interesting.  He looked a little unlucky at Ascot to me as his draw did not help and considering that, he performed well.  Royal Signaller appeals at 14/1 as one that is overpriced but I am happy with the 11/2 about my selection (Stan James / 888).

The Nassau looks a cracker and it seems to revolve around Sky Lantern.  She was a powerful winner of the Guineas and was unlucky against the older Elusive Kate at HQ.  She has also won here before, which is a huge plus too.  Perhaps the big question is whether she will step up well.

The same question applies to Just the Judge who is also asked to race over a further distance for the first time, having finished in the places behind Sky Lantern twice.  Connections could have put Secret Gesture into this but opted for another crack at Sky Lantern with Just the Judge – Will she exert a Toronado style revenge?

Just Pretending is the O’Brien main threat and is seeking to improve on classic places too.  Ambivalent has won a G1 in Ireland when doing it from the front in the Pretty Polly.  I imagine that style will make her vulnerable here.

Two very interesting runners are Hot Snap and Sajjhaa.  The former was the big let down in the Guineas.  She beat Sky Lantern as a juvenile and surely the 1,000 guineas was not her running, yet it worries me that she has been off for this time.  Sajjhaa is an international sort that has won at the highest level in Dubai and run well in Hong Kong.  Suroor suggests she will be better for the run and conceding a chunk of weight here would be hard.

For all of these intriguing sorts, the Nassau normally goes to a fancied sort.  The biggest winner in the last 15 years was an incredible 11/2.  As such, I suggest Integral as a valid alternate to Sky Lantern.  My selection gave such a blistering display at Sandown in a listed contest that you had to take notice.  As Moore v Hughes hots up, I shall be on the former here.

In the Stewards Cup, I could get immersed in terrible detail but instead I am going to gamble that Hoof It has been campaigned with this in mind.  The horse is 16/1 (Bet Victor / Stan James) which could look huge if so.  He is only a pound higher than his last victory in this and although he looked bob average in the listed debut this year, it is noteworthy that he carries two G1 entries later in the season.  The race has a history of quality – Some winners of this have lumped the big weight, let us hope Hoof It can do the same.  Heavens Guest is just one of a host of dangers.

Mezel did well to win up north combatting inexperience and may be a much better prospect here.  That is my last selection at 4/1 in the 5pm, that is my last Goodwood selection but a strong one – That form was well advertised by the second, Free Code who went on to win at Thirsk next time… plenty of scope for Mezel.

Galway Tips

I am going to have a pop at Iniesta in the opener which looks both an obvious and ill-informed choice.  I care not.  Princess Aloof looks similarly well placed to win the second.

Stuccodor last lost a year ago in the Galway festival of 2012! Since then he has won 5 times and has risen 30lbs in the handicap as a result! Now you might worry that such a rise might put pay to his chances back in hotter company but there are two reasons to stay aboard.  Firstly, the horse loves the slop and not all of these will.  Secondly, his last victim has since won three times, hardly suggesting the handicapper has caught up!

Three favourites I hear you cry! Well look, I think they are the best value.

Now, something from the other shelf, the winner of the Ladbroke Hurdle.  Two appeal and I am having a slice of both.  Security Breach is only a 4 year old and has taken some backing but did get off the mark at Gowran last time and has won on heavy too.  If Landero did not have such concerns over the ground, I would have been investing.  He was pulled from a race earlier in the week when the ground went soft and it is much worse now.  This leaves me with my Mullins runner, a 9/1 chance with Paddy Power.

The football season has kicked off but I shall watch for now.  Sheff Utd looked mighty impressive tonight although lack a finisher.  They may be my new money train, watch this space.

May your dinner be held in the most upliftingly beautiful company.  Courage, roll those dice.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15: All Goodwood Mezel, Integral, Hoof It, Bold Sniper

The #crowdsourcingmultiple

Thanks to all who submitted their tips – If you are not part of the conversation on Twitter… get involved!

@h103efa 3.05 Thirsk Blockade

@onedeswalker 3.15 Goodwood Just The Judge

@Spinitg  2:35 Galway Princess Aloof

@Lukeyboy1325 3:30 Newmarket Urban Dance

@IamNotLuke 2.30 Goodwood Bold Sniper

@cafcbrad  3.10 Galway Stuccodor

@mytentoryour 4.30 Newton Abbot Union Saint

@danieldrazek 3.45 Galway Landero