Tag Archives: Kingman

The Wednesday Galway and Goodwood Festival Tips…. Short post, out of form… Pray for the Major

Good evening from the Major who writes from a slightly cooler Worcestershire with a pleasant grey and purple sky hangs serenely.

The Major has had a disaster.  At Galway I could not find an angle.  At Goodwood, I was hopeless.  Can I offer you hope that I can resolve these calculation errors?  Well, not exactly.  I shall factor in the Johnson factor more, that felt obvious for Goodwood.

Is it me or does everything cost so much money these days?  The Major has a retaining wall that is failing in the grounds.  It is timber and was clearly never tanalised that well.  It was in place before we bought the place and looked pretty new – It extends for forty odd metres holding back the land of our garden which falls towards our house.  Now, with water eating away at the timber, some of the holding stanchions have faltered and a good downfall of rain might see the land slip.  Cost: A fortune.

The good lady put her car in for a service.  £300.  The dentist (£110 himself) advised me to buy a new toothbrush £60.  The good lady has designs on a whole plethora of activities for her fortieth birthday.  A family meal £500, a New York trip £1,000.

This is not the time to hit the cold streak.  Alas, back to the well and focus.

Galway and Goodwood Tips.

The duel on the downs is not a betting race but Kingman wins.  He was so good in Ireland and is showing that he was a tad unlucky to be racing on the wrong side of the heath for the English Guineas.  I think he will show his talent and then be aimed at Champions Day.

In the 3.40pm I am opting for Tupi Hughsie agrees with me which could be significant as he could have been on Dr No who put up a good show in the Coventry.  That race I suspect is going to turn out as a much better piece of form than a traditional Coventry (I am looking forward very much to seeing the Wow Factor again).  So you see my logic… 6/1 in spots.

The expensive Shahah to repay some of that price tag in the maiden.

At Galway….. the big one is the Plate at 5.30pm.  Now I have a big big soft spot for the Galway Plate runner Alderwood – That he has not been seen since is unfortunate because while it might have protected a mark and even accepting his yards ability, it is hard to substitute race fitness in these sorts of contests.  Plus, the typical profile is less exposed.

Which leads me to….. Burn and Turn – Right profile, Robbie Power for Harrington, good form, improver, 14/1 what is not to like?

That is all I am giving you for Wednesday – I am hoping for a couple of winners and some sort of positive balance in my account.  As things stand, dinner is toast.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Royal Ascot Sermon – Day One

Good Evening from the Major who writes tired following a long weekend and a long first day in the office putting my shoulder to the wheel.

It is cooler tonight in Worcestershire and I suspect deep sleep will come easily.  I am going to keep this brief.  Yet, be warned, the Major is in fine form.  Another Saturday Sermon and another batch of winners…. If I had managed to keep my discipline and not fire in some ill-judged, slightly large, borderline moronic machine gun style bets then I’d have a terrific Ascot  war chest.  Alas.

Still, let us take the form into the finest day of flat racing in the year, the Tuesday of Royal Ascot.  Today, a Frankel foal and his mare, again in foal to Frankel sold for a combined £1.15m – Quite apt on the eve of one of favourite runs of his.  Who can forget the blistering pace of Frankel in the last two furlongs of the Queen Anne.  Go watch it again, at half way, ask yourself how Frankel can possibly win by fifteen lengths over this field of G1 winners he is buried amongst…. then watch the miracle happen.  Splendid – Only surpassed by his Royal Lodge and perhaps his defeat of Canford Cliffs just after the Hannon superstar had lowered Goldikovas colours. 

To Ascot…. 

The Queen Anne normally goes to a real class act, Paco Boy, the aforementioned Frankel, Goldikova and Canford Cliffs…. This does not quite look the same. 

I think the two that have achieved the most are Soft Falling Rain and Toronado.  The latter is of clear interest on his Sussex Stakes form but has not always run to his ability and on his first run back is an uncomfortable odds on shot for the Major.  Instead I side with Soft Falling Rain who has a globe-trotting profile and superb pieces of form including a highly decent runner-up berth behind Variety Club last time.

In one of the finest days of racing, the Queen Anne is followed up by the Coventry, one of my favourite juvenile races. 

You cannot ignore the record of Ballydoyle in this race and the fact that from their abundant riches of youth, they rely on a single runner, it is a great advert for War Envoy.  He is another likely prospect out of American standing sire War Front who gave us last years winner War Command and the highly capable Declaration of War.

Hannon is another with plenty of Coventry credentials and I was very taken with Kool Kompany but my selection is from a less fashionable yard, The Wow Signal who absolutely smashed an Ayr field of five ast time out.  Now that form may not be a hill of beans, or however the saying goes, but second out (beaten 9l) went on to win by 6l next time out and third place, a whopping 20l down to my tip, went on to win his next race too. 

Then it is time for the muscular pumped up sprinters to strut their stuff for Her Majesty.   While I respect Shea Shea and Sole Power greatly, I feel it is time for a new injection of class into the sprinting scene and Hot Streak is near the top of my list having won the Cornwalis in very taking style last year, a subsequent loss to Sole Power was very respectable given it was a seasonal debut and I would expect that form to reverse here. 

That said, near the top of the list, is not top of the list.  That spot belongs to Guerre.  For those of you with a dabbling of French, should my selection lose, I can roll out my favourite Victoria Military French quote attributed to Marshal Bosquet on the hills above the Valley of Death, Balaclava, Crimea, shortly after our light brigade had charged under incorrect orders under battery fire from every side into heavily defended Russian positions at the head of the valley; c’est magnifique mais c’est pas la guerre.  He saw what the rest of the world would come to understand… receiving an incomprehensibly suicidal command, Lord Cardigan (loved a drink) rode his troops from the front directly into the face of danger, such was the good order of our military.  Magnificent, but it is not war.  The Kaiser had an account posted to every barracks in Germany to extol the inspiration of these brave warriors, fearless.

From this, you might have guessed correctly that Guerre is another from War Front, well named you see.  The appeal goes beyond the sentiment I clearly hold.  While it is unusual for a three year old to win this race, it is not unheard of.  His Naas run when beating Maarek was very nice indeed, load a cannon at 11/1 with BetVictor (10s generally).

In case you have not had enough Group 1s, then The St James Palace is next.  What a terrific little contest with Kingman and Night of Thunder reopposing after what now looks like a tremendous Guineas.  All week I have been thinking this market is a bit wrong.  Night of Thunder was a less fashionable sort and for many, his drift across the track, the fact that Kingman did not have him to aim at; thee are facts that denigrate his classic victory. 

When Kingman subsequently turned up and rampaged in Ireland, their minds were made up.  The Guineas was an aberration and it will all be put right in the St James.  Well I think this is a classic case of snobbery.  Night of Thunder did nothing wrong when having the Irish Guineas winner and the Derby winner back in the places at Newmarket, if anything he would have been better in a straight line!  Get stuck in!

Generally speaking if you have the first four races wrong at Ascot on Tuesday, you should head to the bar and forget the last two!  The two handicaps that close the card are very difficult to solve.

In the 5pm, I am siding with Villa Royale who at 16/1 is a great price having won a nice race at York last time, her improvement has not stopped it seems.

In the lucky last, I have to go with Hootenanny Ward has bought him over the pond for this and I wish connections all the best for their endeavour.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday 2,000 Guineas Sermon… Courage and roll the dice

Good morning from a glorious Worcestershire scene where the near unblemished sky carries a sole vapour-trail scar.  It zigzags across the higher strata as though the plane that left it led an effected path across the heaven.  First light was cool, as it is at this time of year but soon the brightness came and now the horizon glints and dazzles aggressively and my dislike of it alludes to a few glasses too many.

The Major has little time to hold court this morning but thank goodness I stopped Punchestown when I did.  We were in clover on day one with a good strike rate and a 12/1 winner.  Day two was ugly with a sole 3/1 winner and plenty of shorties getting turned over.  I did not blog for Thursday and Friday and it was divine intervention as my own thoughts turned out to be poisoned feral errors that would only have weakened your bank and put your fine weekend dining in some doubt.  Courage to those who roll the dice today.

The Guineas day has often served me well, I feel good that we will be back to form today.  We also have a monster Scoop 6 to go at – Ah, it is good to be alive.

We shall not dwell in the pulpit this week, No – Let us get straight into the sports.  Suffice to say, I wish on us the fortune of the light brigade, we shall ride hard into the gunners positions, taking fire from all sides in our foolish endeavours but the glory is ours.  C’est magnifique, mais c’est ne pas guerre.

As a final thought – The Major must promote a fine endeavour undertaken by Simon Dawkins who is encouraging us gentleman gamblers to share the wealth of our winnings, or indeed to not bet and make a donation instead all for the good cause of Macmillan.  We all know someone touched by cancer and we all feel better in our hearts and souls for giving some of our own resources to provide better care for those effected by it.

Make a donation, or just give a share of your winnings, quantum is less important than participation.  Click here.

2000 Guineas Tips

What an absolutely cracking Guineas.  We have the main protagonists lining up to settle a fascinating dispute.  The stalls being central, I trust that the jockeys will chart a single course which would be good for all.

Kingman leads the market and, as with most of these, a lot of hype surrounds this horse.  We certainly did not get to see him in the bigger autumn juvenile challenges as he was recovering from ankle surgery.  Thus his key form line to supplement the stable noises is a very impressive victory in the Greenham on reappearance where he fairly demolished a decent field.  His breeding is not as blue-blooded as some of his rivals, he is match fit…

In the UK and Ireland, we have gotten used to Galileo and Montjeu being the stallions of our choicest colts but now there are new players on the scene.  New Approach had a tremendous season and is sure to be bred to better mares as a result.  Plus, Coolmore are importing to race War Front colts and War Command looks an excellent type.

I was really taken with his win in the Coventry and some of his subsequent loss of lustre is explainable.  He gets conditions and the worlds best flat jockey in Ryan Moore and so is not easy to dismiss.

Last season, Toranado stepped up to be a major player for Team Hannon and this year, that flag is flown by Toormore.  He has a lot of support, quite rightly as juvenile champion and has done little wrong.  Breeding does not support him as being the best of the best but we should not be dictated solely by the qualities of the blood.

Shocks in the race do occur, see Mafki.  Normally, they are under-rated European raiders and Noozhoh Canarias is going to have a popular support.  The Major however would give a token chance to Bookrunner at a massive 66/1 (BetVictor) – He was not disgraced in the Prix Djebel and the yard would not be over here for nothing.

The Major though opts for Australia at 4/1 with Coral.  Ballydoyle have been outspoken about this son of Galileo who has clearly being doing his best work off the course.  His form is little to crow about but being the pick of Joseph O’Brien from a yard that has won this classic in four of the last ten runnings, you have to take notice.  He is clearly a derby prospect, probably more than a miler but I am less concerned about that as I think he will have a tremendous lung bursting pace to aim at.

I do not think this will be the popular pick as the ‘thinkers’ will be angling into the other horses with a snazzy line about the ground or a line of form.  Let us not be afraid to be simple though.  Best yard, only Galileo in the race, highly talked of.  Shabash, load the large cannon.

The Monster Scoop6

I ma not going to dwell for long in these waters but thought I would share the single ticket I am entering:

Leg 1 – 2.05 Newmarket – Big Baz

Leg 2 – 2.40 Newmarket – Pearl Secret

Leg 3 – 3.oo Thirsk – Music in the Rain

Leg 4 – 3.30 Goodwood – Pal of the Cat

Leg 5 – 3.40 Thirsk – Off Art

Leg 6 – 3.50 Newmarket – Australia

Our chances of winning are nil if we have not entered.

Saturday Racing

I am looking forward to seeing Annie Power at Punchestown, I thought she was desperately unlucky not to be a winner of the World Hurdle although you can take little away from the winner.  She will slaughter this lot even if she were carrying an extra stone.  Her style of hurdling is a delight to watch, so fast and accurate over the obstacles, a joy to behold and one to look forward to chasing.  1/5 clearly shows that I have simply stated the obvious.

A horse that I would give a chance to at Punchestown is Adriana Des Mottes who fell early at Cheltenham but subsequently won a mares event.  12/1 might be a bit dismissive there.  Guitar Pete is a danger too, especially reunited with Carberry who delivered a peach of a ride at Aintree, yet Tiger Roll looked very good in the Triumph and remains lightly raced and full of top class potential.  3/1 Ladbrokes, get stuck right in!

Goodwood is very much a ‘horses for courses’ track.  In the 2.55 we have a runner that has won three times from three attempts here and it is a strong facet for the Major to punt Magic City at 7/2 with BetVictor.  The reason the course form is so important is that, like Epsom, Goodwood carries a significant camber and you need a runner that has experienced it and enjoys it.

On a Saturday where the Major seeks certainty, Trading Leather at Newmarket goes in at 5/4 (drifting).  The thing is, the horse has proven Group credentials with an Irish Derby win on his CV.  Nothing in this field boasts anything similar and it would be disappointing if we did not get a comfy win here.

The Major brings you the classics and the snippets… Hexham, 6.30; I bet you did not think you would read those words… Mohawk Ridge – I think this is an excellent handicapping mark and am able to draw a line through some of his rivals…. 3/1, get on.

To the football…. Just two selections.

Sunderland at 7/1 are a bet – Their resurgence gives them a squeak at United.  Millwall are 5/4 at home to Bournemouth and the great motivator will have the home team fully wound up.

The Martin Hill bet is Mohawk Ridge, Tiger Roll, Australia and Magic City – Yankee.

I trust that your dinner will be silver service and the finest of cuisine.  A choice wine and choicer company with her flaxen hair curled to the shoulder in a lazy effect.

Courage and roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – A top draw Greenham, Ayr Champion Hurdle (I hate calling it that) and Grand National

Good evening from the Major who writes from a virile Worcestershire scene where an abundance of colour is framed by a pleasant mid evening light; golden crops of rape, deep green grasses and dark brown earth, festering with pungent manures which gloop onto the roads trailing behind the great field workhorses coughing out their fumes and building a small tail of traffic.

The Major writes tired and failing, beer in hand and the abyss of sleep calling.  Yet, the Sermon, my weekly mistress, or perhaps more accurately master, calls me to her once more.  Penance comes once we are written and I click the blue button just inches away… publish.

The Masters is playing out in the background.  The Major posted a guest piece mid-week and the three runners are not currently dominating the leaderboard… Alas.  Nevermind, The Major also asked twitter for their fancied bets and twitter responded, my Masters stable now includes virtually half the field and since I do not think I have a golfer in the top ten, I am thinking of contacting the Guinness Book of Records.  Incredible performance, if only I had been pressing pink, not blue.

Augusta looks sensational, it always does.  I am no golfing fan but I enjoy tuning in to see the glorious grounds, stunning flora and those white bunkers glaring at you in the brightness.  The birdsong and the shade of the trees dancing across perfect greens with dark curves of water.  Although these things have been arranged by man, they are seemingly close to heaven in their composition.  It is how they wrote of the Old Summer Palace, man-made elements arranged in such a way that the beauty is breath-taking, an undeniable set of complimentary factors, it is almost impossible to fathom why one texture or colour plays so nicely against the next, it just works, some genius beyond my capability compiled it and I, your mere correspondent can only admire it.

From such perfection we slide, I watched Panorama regarding Marine A who has been convicted of murder.  I was amazed at the number of people who were willing to defend his actions.  Yes he was under extreme duress and I have every empathy for that but we cannot let the barbarism of our ancestors guide our moral judgements.  I know many of you may disagree, seemingly there is widespread support, we are partisan, he is one of ours, shooting in cold blood is never right.

I do dislike preaching, so I apologise.  Perhaps it is better if we take in the sports.  Whatever our views of the world, we are united in facing our filthy enemy whose mind so devious works to deceive and disorient.  See clearly my friends, hold a steady lance, close up ranks and despite being outnumbered, stick that chin out and let them see the straightness of our backs and certainty of posture, a certainty that speaks of victory.  Courage, roll the dice.

Newbury

With no patience before the gorging commences, I jump straight to the main dish of the Newbury card.  The Greenham has been, at times, a disappointing Guineas trial.  I am not sure why we do not get some better sorts competing most years, perhaps it is the more modern trend of taking your blue blood straight to Newmarket? Notwithstanding Frankel won the race, there are few true global stars that have emerged from the winners enclosure.  Hence it remains a Group 3.  Maybe the tide is turning though because Olympic Glory, last years winner was certainly no slouch.

Moreover, this year is a very decent looking renewal, Kingman has every chance of being a top class animal, he certainly looked so in the Solario.  He is not the only classy sort lining up as we also have the Chesham and Royal Lodge winner, Berkshire; the Gimcrack and Middle Park winner, Astaire and a host of other decent sorts.

While Kingham may prove the best of these eventually, I am taking Night of Thunder against him at 7/2 (Hills or Paddy Power) – Hannon chooses this one to follow up last seasons win with Olympic Glory (a different Hannon admittedly!) and he was a ready winner of a listed contest when last seen.  I particularly like his breeding being our of that very rich vein of Dubawi and Galileo crosses…

In the 1.50, the other Group 3 on the cards, Frankels full brother Noble Mission is joint favourite and a horse that will not carry the Majors money.  He will be able to cope if there is more cut than expected underfoot but looks vulnerable for a win and it is a winner we want… all repeat after me.. WINNERS WINNERS WINNERS WINNERS… alright, on my own.

Cubanita gave a good beating to Noble Mission and that was useful course form.  I like that at Newbury for its sweeping wide straight suits a real galloping sort.  Of interest.  Astonishing has something to prove on form for me and so by process of thorough and absolute analysis, I give you Mutashaded.  He was only a few lengths down to Hillstar at Ascot and this looks a mighty easier race.

Ayr – The Scottish Champion Hurdle

The renewal of the Greenham is above par and the same can be said of the Scots Champion Hurdle at Ayr.  Being a limited handicap, it is littered with decent winners down the years but again, few that you would argue reached the top of the tree.

This year, at one stage, the entries looked as good as the proper Champion Hurdle… Don’t be offended you Ayr lovers, proper means level weights, a fight between the best!  Anyway, the race had attracted entries from Hurricane Fly, My Tent or Yours, The New One and Pegasus, ridden by Jesus.  Sadly, Flaxen Flare and My Tent or Yours stand their ground but we have to make do with that.

The last five winners of the race won with marks of 141, 143, 144, 130 and 139 and so it is some achievement for Ayr to get the classy My Tent or Yours who runs off 168.  His presence and lofty mark have meant that only Flaxen Flare and Court Minstrel get to race at their proper weights.  Look I am surprised that My Tent or Yours is evens so lump on – I think it is a cunning plan from our new Canadian bank master to allot some extra QE amongst us ordinary folk (you not I my friends).  Flaxen Flares form in the County is the next best on offer but this is a classy classy horse and he deserves this day with the sun on his back.  Bet with conviction and courage, we do not think it, we know it.

Now for the Scottish Grand National.  10/1 the field says is all…. Last year Godsmejudge was the first horse in over a decade to lump round a weight of over eleven stone.  It is also a race that unlike the British equivalent, is won more often by seven and eight year old chasers, most likely on account of the less gruelling contest.

Again though, Tidal Bay is doing to this race what My Tent or Yours has done to the other showpiece.  18 of his 29 opponents are racing off an artificially high weight because of him taking his place.

I am going out on a limb and suggesting 33/1 shot Nuts and Bolts who is ridden by Lucy Alexander and fits the profile I like.  The horse has proven most effective on this sort of ground and may outrun the price, as could possibly so many others.  Merry King will win a race like this one day and I will kick the dog at having left it unbacked.  Before you get mad, I do not have a dog, OK; it will have to be a child.  Lie Forrit would be incredibly popular as a winner and the other horse that may just outrun a massive price is McMurrough.  God alone knows… stick a pin in, or find a proper tipster, you’ll be richer in pocket but less so in spirit.

At Navan, Answered can give us a 9/4 winner… match fitness persuades me over the eye-catching Ebasani.

and the football…

I am worried that Everton will run out of steam and so am hesitant about the 4/5 even though they are playing out of their skin… What the hell, put it in.  Derby to beat Huddersfield 8/11… glorious.  Wolves at Crewe 6/4, Luton at home to Braintree 11/20… They are the bankers.  The spice is Swansea who might outplay 4/1 against a weary legged Chelsea.

The Martin Hill bet is Answered, My Tent or Yours, Mutashaded in a power trixie.

I trust that you can take care of your own dinner plans but wish for you, the most delightful of company over a fine medallion of excellent beef, perhaps a cut from Highland Cattle reared with love in the Welsh hills.  Good wine, good company, a freedom, relaxation, restfulness; a healthy tip to reflect your contentment with proceedings and a knowing glint in your partners eye that tells you as to where her mind runs.  All these things, I wish for you.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon, from foreign shores – Chester, Sandown and Newton Abbott

Good evening from the Major who writes from Northern France where a deeply comforting set of tones to the dying night sky draw my foreign trip to a fine conclusion.

It has been a fine foray into Europes good weather, fine cuisine and pleasing inhabitants and I shall not linger on the detail for which you have little interest.  Of Switzerland I wrote last week, this week I visited Paris for the second time this year.  On my last visit I was running a marathon, this time, with family, we saw the more traditional tourist spots.

After the clean well-disciplined Swiss towns, each set against their thunderous mountain ranges, France has struggled to reassert to it’s former pinnacle in the list of places I enjoy passing time.  Paris is a town full of mischief, rats, smoke, rogues, history and glorious French women, who I regard with the greatest respect.  Cities like this seem to take on a persona all of their own.  Paris is sulky but talented and damned dangerous too.

This Parisian visit may well have been on the well trodden visitors paths but still some moments of clarity were evident.  None more so than being stood with my back to a red and pink stained sky, marvelling at Notre Dame and wondering if, 850 years ago, they calculated the beautiful tone of pink elicited in such conditions on that façade.  For it seems calculated.

Overall I prefer the cleanliness of Switzerland but Paris still has it, particularly if you have mischief in mind.

My travelling adventures meant less interest in UK racing and threatened the annual rhythm of the racing schedule that comforts me in the same way others look to the signs of the seasons changing.  My downtime spanned across the York festival, of which, I caught snatches of information, dripped to me where the occasional ‘wi-fi’ signs permitted a quick drawing back of the curtain.

All other day to day racing, I have been entirely absent from and my hunger has grown.  There have been other things that have remained unchecked too, news sources I frequent, small but seemingly important daily rituals that have been challenged as their absence has determined no noticeable difference to me.  Being out of context, it does make you question how you fill your time.

No greater example can I give of this that in watching my two sons at play.  They have had occasion while away to enjoy a series of standard holiday fare, visiting famous attractions, climbing mountains, much fun has been had.  Yet, the true gleam of excitement in their eye came when set free on bikes.  At age 5 and 6, freedom is a rare commodity, each action you take is observed and calculations and adjustments made on your behalf.  Ah, to be free of that, to ride and make choices over where you go… well.  Freedom has an incalculable value, it is what drives our desires for wealth as it is so often the key to choice.  Savour your own freedoms my friends and exploit them by making the wisest of choices.  Most of all, keep rolling those dice.

Yes, this down time has been refreshing and last weeks blog benefited from such renewed spirits.  We scored many winners amongst the racing tips, that sweet taste of success on our lips carries us into this weeks action.

Once again, charge that lance and prepare for action at close quarters, we shall meet the enemy one to one with 10 rounds per man and bayonets fixed if necessary.

To the sports.

Chester Tips

I am interested in a couple of horses at Chester, starting with one in the opener.

Free Zone would have been my selection but his wide draw has done the fella no help.  Some might cry that this race was won last year from a wide draw but it is far more likely to see a low drawn horse win.

For those unfamiliar with Chester and the significance of draw, it is a tight left handed track with a short run in.  This means that getting to the front early is essential and the low draws are against the rail.

Now some would argue that draw is of secondary importance to early speed and I have some sympathy with this argument.  Essentially as long as you are fast from the stalls you can achieve good position without being drawn there. This is true but patently you burn more energy doing so than a horse who breaks adequately from a low draw.  That said, it is a good reason to not back a slow starter drawn well.

Regardless of all of this, I fancy Captain Dunne at 16/2 to provide an upset.  If you look at the form, you might struggle to find good reason but the old warrior is still there at 8 and I believe there to be some talent still.  It has been three years since he was in the winners enclosure but this is not that strong a race and there have been runs from this campaigner of credit this year.  Plus, Graham Gibbons is pretty much the best jockey in the race and since Captain Dunne has shown he handles a tight track and accompanied by a capable pilot, let us hope he has a sudden recollection of his former self.

I am also going to back Es Que Love in the second at Chester.  There are few horses I bet that have run as many times as the Mark Johnstone inmate this year and at age 3, it is testament to the horses sturdiness that he is bearing that racing well.  You cannot make a strong argument for him being particularly well handicapped as we have surely by now seen what there is to be seen, yet I do feel that Chester is a track that will suit.  Plus, what other trainer on the planet is as good as coaxing a bit more out of a horse than Johnstone? I have always felt that they think Es Que Love is an under achiever and let us hope that at 7/1, today is the day.

Newton Abbott Tip

There is a good listed chase at Newton Abbott and many will be on Shoegazer who is bidding to follow up a win last year.  I am less concerned by the going (was soft last year after some terrible summer weather) as he has won on good to firm but the near stone increase he shoulders may stop him.

There are plenty of front runners on show so a hold up sort might prevail if they try and cut each others necks at the front.  Regardless of tactics, I am opting for Kians Delight at 5/1 who is showing greater form as a novice chaser than a hurdler.  Backing such youngsters (5) at such odds requires what the purist gamblers refer to as balls of steel.

Sandown Tips

The Group action of the day is from Sandown and the Major is going to be brief.

Firstly, all the talk of the racing world is whether Kingman deserves his 5/1 quotes for next years Guineas.  I would balance the two sides of the debate and conclude that he does not warrant it, quite yet.  He has been, arguably, the most impressive juvenile we have seen with a blistering display at Newmarket, yet a nagging doubt.  Firstly, the obvious, we are judging him on a single run, this is wrong.  His hype is big too, I have my doubt on that foundation too as I fear that folk are reading Kingman on the card and thinking Frankel in the colours.

To cut to the chase, I see enough talent in Music Theory to have faith in case the banker fails.  This Acclamation colt is happy to make it, has more experience and was not extended to put away lesser rivals with consummate ease last time out.  He would have a perfect three from three record if not breaking severely left  when green on debut.  His RPR is as good as Kingmans and 5/1 versus 2/5 makes my selection easier.

In the fillies Group race at 3.15, I am siding with Sir Michael Stoutes, Integral at 6/4.  This is exactly the sort of horse that Stoute excels with and she looked like she was going to be involved in the Nassau at Goodwood but found a wall of equine flesh stopping her momentum at the crucial stage.  She was not knocked about and I would have a large bet here.  I am always a bit wary of ‘unlucky’ sorts, Mars springs to mind but feel she will shed that tag in this contest.

In the football….

I fancy three teams.  Firstly, Sunderland have played adequately well and that might be all they need to get a win at Palace so 2/1 is good enough.  Wigan and Sheffield United I had selected as unfashionable teams to outperform expectation this year… both have started badly but I am staying with them for now.  The former have Forest and the latter the MK Dons, both Wigan and United are 13/10.

May your dinner be excellent and in fine company.  Courage and roll those dice.