Tag Archives: lunique

The Saturday Sermon – Share in my Scoop 6 Glory… Final Premier League Round – Courage, roll the dice..

Good morning from a Worcestershire scene that has exploded to life, like souls awakening.  The sky is blue and dominated by a terrifying brightness, lush greens fed by a week of precipitation and a busyness about the place as Goldfinch, Blue and Grey Tits and the rarer Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Long Tailed Tit are at their business while the Major takes his morning constitutional.  While out, I can sense the air is turning and the weather omens look poor.

Two of the previous four working days saw me on the early Pershore to Paddington train as my commission in insurance (every boys dream) took me to our great capital again.  I always enjoy these visits as, for free, I enjoy what tourists pay a treasure to witness, how the greatest of civilisations built the finest city.  A miracle on earth and entirely built of mans hand.

Now, I find travel the greatest bore but I feel in-dispensed to tell you somewhat of my day yesterday if you are to understand the tardy timing of the Saturday Sermon.  On the outbound leg, a delay at Honeybourne was a common occurrence that my fellow travellers seemed entirely accustomed to.   That was until the punchy voice of the Train Manager explained that a medical emergency was in full swing in Carriage E and would any Doctor or Nurse on board, please make themselves known at the scene.  All ended well, within twenty minutes, we pulled out gently leaving a heaving gentleman on the platform attended by the finest Gloucestershire medics and probably regretting a life of debauched eating, drinking and playing… or on reflection, perhaps not regretting it at all.

Then an incident which to this moment I am at a loss to rationalise.  The Major maintains a joint account for the good lady to pilfer, a credit account for expenses of a business nature and then separate funds for skullduggery which are entirely private.  There I was, sat at a table of four, the Train Manager over me and I clean forgot my PIN number.  Now, I use this card daily and have been using it without incident for two years, yet clean gone.  The teller at my bank in London sought to reassure me that it happens infrequently, I remain perturbed.

I shall not linger on the day’s business, save to say it was a veritable success in the company of some find folk.  In fact, agreements were made with such proficient efficacy that I was stood back in the cavernous arching structure of Paddington in short time.  With a short wait for my train, I took to a good spot and allowed the world to wash over me, absorbing the myriad of people flowing past.

In a queue, a smart lady caught my eye.  Dark neat hair dropped to the shoulder, a fine-cut of cloth to her business suit and dark silkened legs with an appetising curve of calf contained within.  I do delight in a well turned out lady.  In front of her in the queue was an odd cove.  A giant of a man, a curved back and curved nose too, but boy was he lithe for a big man, he moved powerfully like a cat and with a confident air.  To my surprise, as I believed them entirely independent entities from how they had assumed their queuing positions, his back to hers, my lady stepped inside his guard, reached up to brush her lips against his and nestled her head half way up his chest…. Money and Power.

I tell you this because I was to be acquainted once more with this man rather surprisingly within a few hours.  If I had known the course of events for the return leg, I would have turned foot and found myself a hostelry to keep me a few hours.

I was not keen to see that the return train was a short stocky type with the carriages more tightly packed and no first class refuge either.  We all crammed in, the Major secured a cramped seat in an uncomfortably warm carriage with sour faces feeling the same thing.  The last passengers packed in, the whistle blew and it was heave ho and off.  Stops on the route to Oxford did little to ease the crowding and a slight delay at Oxford did nothing to ease the mood either.

Explaining the delay, due to no train manager, even the driver sounded flustered, with good reason it appears.  For no sooner than had he informed us of this than our ears detecting the faint words of the station announcer on the drift of the air… The train to Worcester was … cancelled.

Queue a stampede, a bustling mass of seething folk, the situation stretching their British humour and manner.  I was slow to alight, thinking that we all will reach the same resolution so speed is no current virtue.  There on the platform was the enormous frame of my man, bellowing at the driver, for all the good it would do him.  I slipped by, crossed the bridge, dug for my ticket to exit the barriers and joined a crush of people on the main concourse, straining to hear the words of a single unaided member of staff organising alternate transport.  Then my man appeared at the barriers and the time to walk the bridge had done little to sober his ugly mood.  He demanded the barriers be opened as the travellers were angered enough, though I shall not weary you with his tiresome language.

The young man who refused his request received his full glare and as he spilled through the turnstile, his great gangly frame tumbling, his grace gone with his anger, he exploded into a new fit of activity.  He demanded of his fellow passengers some volunteers to share an onward taxi fare.  Now this may have been quite convenient for the Major but to share a confined space with this bristling brute was off-putting to say the least and at this point, there was no sign of his raven haired beauty.  The thought that struck me most was what an enormous waste of energy.

On the concourse, arrangements were being made with precious little communication but it transpired that coaches were to arrive to move the passengers on.  I turned and met the eye of a member of staff, a pleasant lady with a bob of blonde hair tied tightly back.  I asked politely and received appropriate assurances that the same fate would not befall the next train due in an hour and a half.

The sun shone, a pleasant stroll and the Major had a pot of beer and a lovely spot over the Oxfordshire canal with the sun on my face.  I held a pleasant conversation with a Liverpudlian (a blue one) over the comparison of Coleman with Gary Stevens and all was well in the world.

Why go to such great lengths to divulge the trivia of my day to you readers?  Well not the strongest reason I suppose but I wish you to recognise a value in allowing the falseness of ill fortune to wash by you.  We float past on the tide just the once my friends, waste it not in anger dealing with the mundane but embrace the experiences that present themselves.  As Mr John Lennon pronounced, ‘life is what happens while you are making other plans‘.

To the sports…

The Scoop 6 – £7.5 million plus

This is it my good friends, I have a tremendous opportunity for riches for you.  I am going to place a single Scoop 6 ticket on my tips for the card.  I am not making this the sole focus of my sporting advice to you but offer you a share of the riches.  To claim yours, simply retweet my blog (@tdl123) or post a comment if you are not on twitter, explaining you are in.

There you are!  I estimate we will have just 12 good folk on the share.  Assuming I have the sole winning ticket (almost a certainty I assure you), and assuming we win the bonus pot, we shall collect a half million.  OK, it may not be a generous offer but it would be nice to know you are with me.

Leg 1 – L’unique

Leg 2 – Moonrise Landing

Leg 3 – Area Fifty One

Leg 4 – Taurus Twins

Leg 5 – Dubawi Island

Leg 6 – Purcell

Courage Friends

Saturday Sporting Tips

Here is the Major’s blueprint for Saturday fortunes….

4pm Lingfield – I am really taken by the chances of the Ed McMahon and Ryan Moore ridden, Winning Express.  The Major having a tardy start means that the 3/1 has long gone but a trace of 5/2 is about.  She just missed the places in last years Guineas and if she can take the measure of the French raider, I think we have a winner on her hands.

The Haydock listed 7f race at 4.05 has only attracted four runners but it is a wide open field.  The Major has opted for 7/2 shot, Breton Rock who is going to benefit from any precipitation, let it rain, let it rain.  His penultimate race at Thirsk is strong form and I can ignore a slightly below par effort at Leicester latest, Lockwood concerns me more than Highland Colori but at 7/2, back my runner and sacrifice your fist born to the rain gods.

In the last at Ascot, 5pm, I recommend a stake on 10/1 shot Marmalady.  This horse was a revelation last term and kicked things off well enough over an inadequate distance at Windsor.  A continuation of the upward trend, coupled with a return to a more suitable distance and the Major is interested.

Although it is a chasing debut, I would be backing Master Murphy at 7/2 in the 1.55 at Hexham.  He has a good course record and is fairly treated at his first attempt over the bigger obstacles.  You may well ask why I am raiding Hexham for winners, you may well ask, I have no good answer.

I do not know if Avonmore Star will take up his assignment at Warwick at 6.55 after exertions just 24 hours prior but if he does, 10/1 with BetVictor is a gift.  The chances of my pick come down to his ability to jump from the stalls, something he has let down his supporters with on the last twice.  Yesterday, he made good progress after his sluggish beginnings.  While at Warwick, Sea Defence at a no fun 8/11 can form a part of any multiple you like.

In the football…. Last weekend we scored with our two selections both at odds against prices, including a juicy 7/1 Sunderland tip.  A further two for you to assess.  Peterborough 13/10 and Palace at 15/8 – The latter looks a treat of a price given the moods in the Fulham and Palace camps must be a world apart and I would expect that to be played out in the game as it unfolds.

The Martin Hill bet should be… Sea Defence, Winning Express, Breton Rock and Palace in a straight Yankee.

I trust your dinner will be in good company, why not try kebabs, fine cuts of lamb and chicken cooked on an open barbecue with onions and tomatoes.  Find yourself a good Lebanese chef and a finer piece of company to enjoy it with you.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Newcastle Eider Tips, Arithmetic Gambling

Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire whose glorious air is frozen, so chilling as to be alienating, take refuge indoors and stoke those embers.

For me the evening held an emergency trip to the good lady stranded on the side of the M42. Two small children, traffic flying by, most unpleasant, most unsettling. All is now well, the brood are returned, all is back to order.

How is your arithmetic? The Major spent many a night as a young man at the pub dart board. Traditional etiquette dictates that you chalk your name on the board to indicate your intent to play and then immediately prior to your game, you score the preceding game. This, I hold, is the main reason that my own arithmetic is of a credible level. Calculate the sum of three numbers (often multiples) and detract from a starting point of 501 (after 5 pints), repeat ad infinitum and you have a successful strategy for improving your mental number dexterity.

Yet, my own skill is merely amateur. If you have a few moments of your life to spare, observe the mathemagician.

He reminds me of a story concerning one of the greatest mathematicians of our time. Srinivasa Ramanujan had no formal mathematical training but made a huge contribution to number theory. He came to Cambridge and completed some amazing work. Hardy, a fellow academic famously recalled visiting him in hospital and casually remarking that the number 1729 (the number of the taxi Hardy had arrived in) had no significance. Ramanujan replied that he was wrong and that the number was particularly interesting as the lowest possible number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways.

That’s pretty impressive n’est pas? However I question whether he could have scored 321 down by twenty, treble 17 and twenty five and I suspect he was slow to get the round in too. 225 by the way.

Successful gambling is part art, part maths. I would not put you off a gut instinct but I would encourage you to give yourself maximum advantage. Allow me to stretch your probability muscles in readiness for the day. Imagine I offer you a game of dice. Two die are involved. If I roll a 12, I score. If you roll a seven, you roll again and if you roll a second consecutive seven, you score. We can play for £10 a point – Fancy the game? (answers in the comments!)

Why do this? Well, we need to keep ourselves match fit, the significant engagements are coming. I see the enemy raising and rallying behind his standard. They are going non runner, no bet – BetVictor was the first to break rank but I understand Bet365 have too. Paddy Power tomorrow, mark my words.

Cheltenham is so palpably close my friends. Stand with me, side by side, each man holding the square. We need not flinch yet, keep your nerve young man, they circle us with their superior number, the metal of their blade offers sudden violent glints but do not be panicked. For if each can trust that man at his side then we shall stay strong and defeat their superior number.

To the sports. Take it easy today, protect that war chest of yours.

Newcastle Eider Card

The Eider in soft ground is as searching as test as you get in National Hunt racing. A few runnings on heavy have left a handful of runners out on their feet struggling to the line. Frankly a sight that does not befit our sport, in fact at that level it is no longer fair to describe it as a sport. Tomorrows test, while stretching should not be such a harsh examination.

It is surprising but lumbering a weight around the Eider has not been a hindrance to success. Comply or Die managed it off top weight and last year Portrait King carried eleven eight to victory.

We are however after a thorough stayer. The favourite as I type is Chac Du Cadran. He is young (7) but there have been similar profile winners, such as Portrait King, and his last run was a very good marathon examination. He is up the best part of a stone but has a thoroughly progressive profile.

The presence of Master Overseer has put half the field out of the handicap and while the top weight has a big job on his hands, he is a class act on his day. The big question is which version of the horse turns up. Danger to all if he gets his own way.

To add a further layer of intrigue, the presence of Master Overseer is keeping his stable-mate Big Occasion on bottom weight. He has the distance to prove and has not shown enough yet. Intriguing though.

The other eye catcher is Rapidolyte De Lada at 14/1. This horse won a small time affair at Carlisle but looks the sort to be fancied by this.

On balance, the Major opts for the class act on an each way basis. Master Overseer can be backed at 8/1 with Bet365, have a slice.

Kempton Tips

Starting with the Adonis (2.05) – This juvenile is going to give us a huge pointer as to the Triumph in less than three weeks time.

Irish Saint is well fancied after being denied by the exciting looking Rolling Star last time out at Cheltenham. He has not raced on anything other than soft ground which is a slight concern. He is a listed winner in France and clearly feared as the Ditcheat best pop at the Triumph. That form is pretty hot too and given he has shown an aptitude for the track, I fancy him to come out on top and 6/4 is a decent price. Strong bet advice. L’unique is the only one fear.

The 2.40 is the Pendil Novices Chase and this is a race that Paul Nicholls clearly likes for his top novice chasers. He has won the race an astonishing six years in the last seven, including Cristal Bonus last year and I am backing Grandioso to keep up his marvellous record at 9/4 (Coral). He looks versatile regarding the ground and his Ludlow win was very taking.

The 3.15 Dovecote Novices hurdle is a classic case of a more experienced sort in Brick Red taking on some young pretenders. I am a big fan of the Venetia Williams horse, he has won some good handicaps and deserves a crack at this. Yet I cannot help but feel he is vulnerable. Alan King took this race last year with Grumeti whom he though very highly of and he won it in 06 with Senorita Rumbalita and in 2009 with the well touted Trenchant. Thus I follow Fair Trade in at 8/1 with a fair degree of interest.

The 3.50 has all the signs of being a smash and grab job. JP has just spent a fortune on Wyck Hill and all the signs are that this mark is well within the horses capabilities. 3/1 could look exceptionally generous. Expect him to lead and I think he might be hard to peg back. Nacarat would bring the house down if he could must what it takes, good luck old boy.

Fairyhouse Graded Contests

Fairyhouse has its own warm up show for the Triumph with Dogora and Stocktons Wing seemingly the two to concentrate on. Is it just the Major who thinks this or have a lot of Ricci owned ho pots with Ruby up come a cropper when out in front? Not put off, I stick with the evens favourite to get the job done.

The Bobbyjo chase is one of those contests run after the national weights are out where we get a better idea of the principles chances. Seabass is my tip in the race at 4/1 who I think has been lined up for a pop at the national. While Prince de Beauchene may have all of the form, record and connections to be a worthy favourite, a national plot horse is a national plot horse.

In the football…

Connect your carriages to the Watford money train once again…. choo choooooo 5/6. Oldham to beat Portsmouth 8/11, like last week it feels like a cheap shot. Peterborough to beat Blues 7/5 is a bet too.

May your dinner be served by some fine European sort who treats service as an art form and is reassuringly expensive. This can only be paid for with some significant combinations today so good luck. Go easy on the brandy too, none of the XO, Cheltenham is almost here, save thy liver and thy purse.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Master Overseer, Irish Saint, Watford and Grandioso. UPDATE – NEWCASTLE OFF so replace master overseer with Fair Trade

Courage, roll those dice.


Racing Tips from Warwick, Punchestown and Kempton… Shoreditch and ageing… It is the Saturday Sermon

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a rural Worcestershire scene where the rain comes in waves, relentlessly driving against my windows.  The sense of things coming to a close is palpable.

Before we get started, a new year deserves a new banner.  I would like your ideas please – Leave a comment, greatly appreciated.

I have been in London these last two days, spending a night in a Limehouse apartment that only the Major could have found. I have a talent for unearthing unusual digs, mostly it happens by accident but I never complain.  These were particularly spacious, in fact cavernous, clean and cheap as chips.  When I say cheap, I infer both the frugal nature of the furnishings as well as the bill. All in all, different.

This morning as I walked down Commercial Road to the DLR heading to Bank to start the business of the day, Canary Wharf was draped in cloud.  St Paul’s Cathedral by contrast was brilliant, a true architectural brute, clean white walls, dominant imposition.

On Thursday night, myself and a colleague entertained at dinner in Shoreditch. Decent restaurant, very nice lamb.  Shoreditch carries that reputation of being ‘trendy’ and ‘edgy’. It is successful too if you take the eye watering property prices as a guide.  The area made the Major feel old.

I shall try to explain.  There is more than a dash of excitement immersing yourself in an area with such energy…. Open doors on ambiguous frontages with bouncers are they clubs, art installations or brothels. Who knows, dare try it? The people walking alongside you lack convention in their clothes, hair, tattoos, limps, accessories – each striving to impose their stamp of individuality.

It draws mixed emotions from the Major.  I must be getting old because historically I only have a love for such environs but now I feel a creeping sense of unease.  It is for younger men to tread these streets warily, searching for adventure. I wish to plough for my enjoyment in more serene and stable settings.

There you have it, the words of someone recognising their formerly voracious appetites are in part receding like their hairline.  Each man becomes his father in time but none like to acknowledge it. Well I recognise and embrace ageing, I welcome it as a friend, wondering what gifts it might bestow – As long as it allows me to retain an eye for mischief, then I do not mind.

So what has changed?  Why feel a difference?

Shoreditch, in fact trendiness, tries too hard for its own good.  Everything has to be quirky, laid back, informal, unorthodox…. Every business has to have an angle, everyone and everything desperately trying to distinguish themselves as out of the main stream… It’s tiring.  ‘I don’t care it’s different’ loses appeal when the irony motivation is omnipresent, the new abnormal here is normal.  Gimmicks.

Live Music is compulsory for any establishment in Shoreditch that could conceivably be a venue.  I knew none of the bands advertised and think they were only of local acclaim.   If you feel the urge to set up a four piece bassoon ensemble in the neighbourhood, then allow me to furnish you with a few suggestions of my own…. Slippery Monkfish, Smells from the Cheeseboard, Underworld Botanicals, Mongrel Palace III, Swans of Justice or Prisoner of Slippers. You can have those for free, let me know how you get on.

I must offer a nod to the writer of this article about Dorothy Paget.  A ferocious woman whose appetites for life ran to extremes that we can only admire.  She bet in eye watering sums and took no fools.  Have a little read and if you like, follow the author on twitter @srumblings.

Saturdays sporting delights are laid before us and before we dine, we must acknowledge our gratitude. Fine football, delightful racing….. Let us go into battle with a clear mind and meet the enemy with 5 rounds a man…. Charge thy musket, sharpen thy sword. Fill your heart with vigour, tonight we shall be thankful for the clarity of thought that helped us land the mothership.

We are here, at the cusp.  All of our dreams are intact, no thought unproven… It is a beautiful moment, feel that tension.

To the sports….

 Racing Tips from Warwick

Warwick have a terrific day of racing.  It is a tight little course and experience of something similar can be valuable.  As well as chase fences, these novices have to handle the tight turns, lot’s of momentum can be lost so an easy-going sort is useful.  Let us see if we can find some winners.

The opening race is not a place to look, I like novice races but this handicap hurdle looks a very open contest.  Keep your powder dry.

The second is the Edward Courage cup and is a decent affair.  George Nympton is interesting having won over course and distance last time.  Maybe the shorter distance helped, maybe the assistance of Noel Fehily (the Majors favourite), of interest kept to the minimum trip.  Nick Williams does not send many to Warwick and it has a likely chance.

Eastlake has also been prolific over the minimum distance having won 3 of 4 starts over two miles.  I don’t quite trust the animal but clearly there is some ability.

The Majors tip though is the highly progressive Rody at 9/2, Bet365.  The Tome George yard are in fine nick and my selection won over Christmas with plenty in hand.

The 1.50 is a staying event.  The field is small but select.

Two outstanding bits of form stand out.  The Major and my betting slip on Our Father were slammed by Highland Lodge who provided a turn up at Cheltenham.  Rocky Creek overcame a decent Henderson yardstick in Molotof last time out.  Those lines are good and I look forward to the two clashing tomorrow.

Tour Des Champs appeals most of the others although it is hard to know what to make of his Ludlow form.

Of the principles, while it is a tough call, I am siding with the Cheltenham form of Highland Lodge and suggest a slice at 6/4.

The Pertemps qualifier is full of chasing big guns reverting to light hurdle marks.  You can make cases for too many for me to have a strong bet.  I will take a small slab of Sunnyhillboy at 25/1 (Bet365) to have an interest – The national runner up gets in off 140 only.

I am eagerly awaiting the 3pm race in which exciting hurdler The New One finally gets on track.  If he is to take a leading role in one of the championship novice affairs then he needs to take this.  Evens is a kind price.

The 3.35 sees another cracker because Pete The Feat, seemingly the Hunt Ball of the season gets to try out his new mark.  He has gone up three stone since his first run but deservedly so and the way in which he pulled clear at Newbury last time suggests more is coming.  On soft ground trying to lead around this tight track could be tough.

Restless Harry is another that likes to race prominently and if the two are taking each other on, it might fall into the hands of Rigadin de Beachene.  The tip gets a very handy pull in the weights and I think 6/1 is fair enough.  I will be having an each way saver on 11/1 shot Quentin Collonges too who looks unexposed.

Punchestown Tip – 2.10 Juvenile Hurdle

The two Mullins horses seem to be good starting points.  The yard took this race last year with 1/4 shot Ut de Sivola and field two French imports in the shape of Diakala and Dogora.

The former in the market and in the betting looks the yards idea of the winner and also carries a Triumph entry.

While I might kick myself later, I am going to back the grey Diakala as a result of that, overriding the fact that I was slightly more taken with Dogoras appearance.  Evens is a decent price for my Punchestown tip and it shall be in my multiples.

Kempton – The Lanzarote.

Before we tackle the Lanzarote, consider following Lunique in the opener (likely evens) – With Hendersons French import a non runner I take my tip to smash them up!

In the 1.30 novice affair, I am a supporter of Bucks Bond at 9/2.  The market vibes were all wrong at Taunton but he won anyway.  This is a strapping chaser of the future but is a decent price to get his was again here.

In the Lanzarote, the two Henderson horses top the market.  Clearly Bears Affair has some obvious credentials but I am not sure of why Geraghty would be on Oscara Dara.

Charlie Longsden runs Loose Chips who looks progressive but Noel Fehily went to Warwick which might suggest something.

I am going with Henderson and Geraghty is the persuader – Have a slice of 5/1 Oscara Dara, the Lanzarote is often won by a horse near the head of affairs…

To the football…

All aboard the football money train stopping at Hull (4/6), Charlton (19/10), Cardiff (7/10), Leicester (3/4) and Tranmere (11/8) – Trebles on this lot please.

The Martin Hill Yankee is The New One, Highland Lodge, Rody and Charlton

May your dinner be wholesome and in good spirit.  Allow yourself to imbibe a little too much, we float by the once.

Courage and roll those dice.