Tag Archives: olympic glory

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury Lockinge Day, Scoop 6 and an FA Cup

Good morning all from the Major who resides in temporary accommodation deep towards the Welsh borders beyond Worcester.  The sky is clear blue, the air breezy and a barbecue is preparing the morning vittels.

Yes my friends, the Major has condescended to a little camping, just the night and I can report that it is dreadful.  Not the company you understand, that is marvellous but the experience of evenings under canvas is, in my humble estimation, severely over rated.  Since I have been able to afford it, a decent hotel with a wicked looking piece serving the reception and a chef that can prepare an Eggs Benedict; that is for me.

Yet, it is not without compensations.  Last night, we stoked a roaring fire and sat late into the night talking.  I slept well enough too, open air you see.

The week was broken by business in Manchester.  A fine time was had too, including an early evening dinner served in an excellent Italian restaurant.  The company was excellent with the exception of one of the party who arrived, in a state fit for the witching hour.  He continued to drink, at pace and was generally causing a stir with his language which would have had sailors blushing.  What I can tell you about this mans girlfriend is information I should not have in my mind.

I might have been minded to have a word with him but you know, I liked the chap!  The more outrageous he got, the more acceptable he became.  Once the taboos fell away from the rest of the guests we were left to admire his unique outlook on life.  You meet them, unique people.

This morning, I am gazing over a lake where a whole gaggle of hardened tri-athletes are bobbing up and down in the distance, red and white hats, lazy flaling arms like some dumb wounded lumbering beast.  Last night, as the moon rose, whitening from it’s dust induced bloody orange low on the horizon; I walked and took the shore of the lake.  Out on the cold glinting mirror surface, two white ghostly swans glided silently, majestic bold necks rigid – Quite some contrast.  I wonder about the swimmers.  Do they really enjoy the sensation, cold water on skin, open air swimming, the camaraderie, the healthiness both physical and mental.

Ah yes, I can construct the case in my mind that they do.  Yet, I wonder as I will, whether actually the joy is in telling their colleagues on Monday morning that this is what they enjoy.  Do they like it or do they want to like it, so badly, yearning and striving?  Such time is wasted, for me, I will have the Eggs Benedict please and show the Ham the Hollandaise.

To the sports, a mothership of a Scoop 6 and a damn decent card of racing at Newbury.

Saturday Racing Tips

The Scoop 6 rolled over once again and a ten million pound pot is up for grabs.  Once again the Majors selections fell at the first hurdle but perhaps this is what we have been waiting for…. These are not my recommended tips but they are my genuine Scoop 6 picks.  You might wonder, quite rightly, while given a tote based system, I am sharing them with you – Well, I would be happy with a far smaller cut, say a 50th – You see, finding the mothership might present as much as a problem to me as searching for it.  Better 50 of us be rewarded gently, than one monstrously.  As such, usual ruls apply – Want a share of my Scoop 6?  Drop your name in the comments before Leg 1 or retweet my blog.

Leg 1 – Staffhoss – That should kill a few of the competition off – Fanning on, up in trip, leave those last runs behind.

Leg 2 – Burano – Needs a bit of luck but Jimmy can help him get it – NON RUNNER – Bronze Angel it is

Leg 3 – Aeolus – Obvious form with the Guineas winner

Leg 4 – As much as I would love Tax Free, the grand warrior, I go with Keep it Dark

Leg 5 – Charlton has Buick on Stars Above Me 

Leg 6 – Mysterial 

The Proper Saturday Advices

Following our whistle stop tour of the Scoop 6, allow me to proffer for your delectation some of the finest cuts of the bookmakers meats.  Let’s not revisit that euphemism, it didn’t feel right did it.

The Lockinge – This does not look an above average Lockinge to me, although the presence of Olympic Glory and an American Ballydoyle sort at least raise an intrigue.  The firming ground is likely against the Hannon favourite but the yard have made a very good start to their 2014 campaign and that is more than can be said for some of the other runners.

Newbury is a good course for a fair race, a long straight, wide enough for all challenges, sweeping and relentless, it rewards class and stamina.  Few hard luck stories here.  I am assured by my American twitter racing friends that Verrazano will enjoy the firm conditions, he has not raced on them and I am less than convinced.  Irrespective of conditions, it is darn hard to relate his Amercian dirt exploits to those Group 1 wins in Europe for Olympic Glory.

I am quite torn between a few facets.  O’Brien only fires this one bullet in Britain today, that says something – Did not even bother to fill the horsebox with a second runner.  Yet, his yard remain for me, slightly behind their usual standards and I cannot bring myself to bet him.  Chopin, some interest.  Montiridge is the one that could pick up the pieces if my lump on Olympic Glory fails.  With the ground drying, bet with a best odds firm, although a touch of 11/10 is available, I think 11/8 might be the SP.

The Aston Park Stakes greats a high class runner in Mount Athos.  Koukash is such a great supporter of British racing and is quite the character, a big supporter of Rugby League and a generous soul in charity and spirit; who might begrudge him a top class performer?  Certainly not I and in Mount Athos he has a horse he has gone to war with in Meydan and has snatched a place in the Melbourne Cup.  This is a lower grade than he has been campaigned at but I am hesitant that he was targeted for Chester and has been diverted here, perhaps, perhaps not.

Returned to these shores also is Forgotten Voice, when last seen was impressing but clearly he did not take to travel as some of us do not.  I like that one and he is certainly a solid dual purpose horse.  The form of Brass Ring behind Gospel Choir last time is looking half decent but he would need to improve.  Another horse that needs to improve and happens to be the Majors selection is Battalion.  Haggas and Moore is a powerful attraction and while the exploits committed to the formbook do not add up to the principals here, Battalion has plenty of potential to improve at 4.  Anyway, his form is not to be sniffed at either, his Ripon win was dominant and placed third was subsequent Chester Cup winner Suegioo.  Load a cannon at 4/1.

Punchestown stokes the dying embers in the National Hunt grate but they drum up a good Beginners Chase which I fully expect, nay demand that Steps to Freedom wins.  I have a soft spot for this Harrington horse after it won a famous victory in the Aintree bumper some years ago on National Day, restoring an ill deserved reputation for the Major as a tipster.  By the way, if you are here for the tips, I do worry for you.  I am barely profitable, as always, entirely free and most certainly unhinged.  Now we have covered that, bet the house on this – He can jump a fence, his form in behind Jezki is perfectly respectable, if not down right outstanding in this company… One for the banker side of your slips, 11/10 indeed, gifts my friends, gifts.

The 4.40 maiden at Newmarket shows Yuften as a warm order but I think plenty of improvement from Kinshasa at 11/2 is entirely reasonable and would urge a bet.  Backing a maiden at 4/6 on third attempt at losing the tag is dangerous territory in my view and Kinshasa comes with solid connections, good blood (Pivotal and Sadlers Wells cross) and while needing certainly longer in future, can cause Yuften some trouble, I am sure.  Great name for a horse that – Quite a troubled city Kinshasa, plagued by crime and war, baked in the central African heat on the shores of the Congo, birthplace of Benteke, Leroy Lita and Yousef Mulumbu – Ha! Bet I taught you that!

Finally the football.  The FA Cup has fallen from a graceful perch of one of the sporting highlights of the year.  Audiences falling, less glamour, less reward.  Frankly, Fourth spot in the league is a far more important outcome.  Still, Hull fans would be in heaven if they won this and Arsenal fans might purge some ill feelings with a first trophy since the invention of colour TV too.  My bet?  Nil nil half time – 9/4.  Put the bet on and do the gardening.

The Martin Hill bet is a yankee on Olympic Glory, Steps to Freedom, Battalion and Kinshasa.

May your dinner be magnificent, the Italian I ate reminded me that it is the finest food in the world.  Their treatment of the humble tomato, garlic and pasta foodstuffs is a manifest statement of the genius of man.  May you be in the company I enjoyed too – Raven thick hair, pleasantness oozing to charm and a swift hearty laugh.

Courage, roll the dice.

Saturday Sermon – 20/1 July Cup Newmarket Tips – Chester Tips – Betting and striking an agreement

Good morning from the Major who writes from a freshly doused Worcestershire.  The coffee has been bubbling away and the Major has been at the form to bring some tips from Newmarket who hold their July Cup feature race today.

Hayley in the drive position on Dream Ahead last year – Superb ride, fantastic horse

In the Majors top ten moments from racing 2011, Hayley Turner featured at number nine with her scintillating ice cool ride to victory on Dream Ahead.  Leaving it late and confident the gaps would appear, her mount had exactly the same thoughts – Awesome stuff.

If you are looking for tips for Chester today, follow the link – I covered the whole card late on Friday night, some difficult racing but I did find some 50/1 tips in there!

There is so much British racing today it hurts.  Perhaps too much – I am quite unfamiliar with some of these jockeys!  Sadly the only casualty of the weather was Salisbury – They have a good track and it is unusual for them to cry enough but that shows just how relentless the weather has been.

Daub your war paint and let us go to battle – We shall find the value and once again attempt to land the mothership – It is coming, it is coming!

When striking any agreement most people consider it fair that both sides are obligated to fulfil their end of the bargain regardless.  If you enter an agreement in sound mind, surely you have a moral obligation?

Consider though the knowledge each party has ahead of an agreement.  For example, if I sell you a car I know that will break down, this is not moral.  Thus in any agreement it is not just consent but equality of knowledge that is required for a moral obligation to be formed.

I was thinking of this when considering whether a moral obligation exists to settle a debt with a layer who knows a horse will not perform.  When you struck a bet, the layer had knowledge that you did not, if the jockey had instructions to drop it out and the horse was overweight and unfit; this is an unfair bargain.  This is what angers punters more in my view when you see a non trier – It is not the lost money but the moral inequality of the bargain struck.

Yet, this is a fine balance.  Should I share my knowledge and thoughts of how a horse is likely to perform on the ground?  Not really.  Succesful punting is about finding an edge, seeking the pricing that the bookmaker has gotten wrong.  We would not feel this is unfair?

I imagine the difference in most people’s mind is that of honest endeavour.  If I research the stats for Mark Johnston’s juveniles running at Thirsk then I have earned the right to use that knowledge in striking a bet.  The similarity between this and the crooked trainer is that we are both trying to use information we have to strike a bargain in our own favour.

I am not morally justifying crooks, yet I get less angry when I back a horse and then watch as it drifts remarkably in the market, gets away slowly, jockey loses irons, makes late headway and remains unplaced…. My lack of anger is simply a reflection that I accept this as part of our game.  Watch enough racing and you get a sixth sense for the horse who might be about to turn their form around, one way or another… That’s information you can use too.  Morals? questionable… fun and intrigue? aplenty.

To Newmarket and the July Meeting….

1.40 32Red Casino Handicap

Three non runners so far including the very interesting Bronze cannon.

This soft ground is going to play havoc later in the season when it will be harder to assess form from these earlier races.

This is a cracking opening handicap with lots of these horses looking like they are capable of better.  Sir John Hawkwood has won on soft ground in very impressive style early in the season.  That Windsor form might not be massive but the horse settled well early, looked squeezed but once free ran on impressively.  11/8 is the price, fair enough because the potential is there.

Ardmay is of significant interest at 8/1.  The ground presents no problems and Graham Lee is an ideal jockey.  The only thing that puts me off is trainer form.

Instead of the obvious Sir John Hawkwood though, the Major is interested in the more experienced Compton at 12/1.  The horse ran very well at Royal Ascot on soft ground and a big run could be on the cards for the in form yard – Compton is the tip in the opener.

2.10 Superlative Stakes

Some top class juveniles on show here and perhaps the pick of the form is Olympic Glory whose run in behind Dawn Approach in the Coventry was very strong.  This Choisir inmate at the Hannon yard will be well prepped and there is no reason to suspect anything other than a decent run.  Richard Hannon has taken this race three times in the last fifteen years.

The only off-putting matter is whether soft ground is going to be ideal.  It was good to soft at Ascot but this is going to be deeper something that Choisir colts are not famous for.

Instead the Major is taking a chance on proven mudlark Operation Chariot.  Another suitable sporting name!  12/1 is very fair because while the four runner race our colt won at Sandown is unlikely to be the hottest of maidens, it was on soft ground and the selection has similar conditions here.  Certainly worth a punt.

2.40 Newmarket – Bunbury Cup Handicap

An incredibly competitive handicap that needs a lot of sorting out.

Bonnie Brae is all the rage having raced on the unfavoured side at Ascot last time out – Soft ground is manna from heaven for this one and it is sure to give a good account.

Jamesie would be an obvious threat to the favourite but the draw has done the Irish raider no favours and while the ground might level that up a bit, I am probably against that on value.

The two that catch my eye are Seal Rock and Captain Bertie.  The first will enjoy getting his toe in and while on a high winning mark, I think has a chance.

It is 12/1 Captain Bertie that the Major tips for the Bunbury Cup though.  The latest Sandown run was promising enough and soft conditions play into hand here – WEll worth a shot but I would not put you off Bonnie Brae either.

3.20 July Cup Tips – Newmarket

What a shame that the ground has had such an impact on this race.  Bated Breath the favourite has come out as had Libranno, a succesful tip for the Major on last appearance.

This gives plenty of horses a chance to claim a Group One.

One horse that already has that on his CV is Society Rock.  The new favourite at 10/3, this still represents value.  The 5th in behind Black Caviar at Royal Ascot was solid and arguably the best career performance for Society Rock came on soft ground when winning the Golden Jubilee last summer.

Sepoy is retiring to stud and so this is a last racecourse start for the horse who achieved a lot in Australia.  I hope Godolphin have some joy in breeding with him as this is the sort of horse they tend to make worse – Seriously, how many top class imports to Godolphin improve?  I am struggling to think of some but can think of plenty who disappointed after making high-profile moves.

Dandy Boy is attempting a very difficult Wokingham, July Cup double but is not without hope.

The Major would have been very interested in Strong Suit if connections were not so nervous about the soft conditions – It does not sound like he will make the line up – I think they should try with him – If coming back to the best of his form, the shorter distance might help him put in a challenge and 12/1 prices ground concerns in.

The value choice for the Major though is the O’Brien horse Reply at a whopping 20/1.   I find it interesting that the yard are persisting with the horse and indeed have dropped him back into sprint distances.  Like many, the ground is an unproven quantity but I am sure they are not throwing darts with this entry – The sole representative of Ballydoyle in any group one race is a danger to all.

That’s it from Newmarket for the Major – The 3.55 has been decimated down to three runners as the conditions play havoc with the trainer plans.

Whatever you back, I hope the bargain you strike with the bookmaker is in your favour, have no moral qualms about it – After all you are reading this to try to glean an advantage yourself*.

May your dinner be a fine fillet steak shown just a glimpse of the flame, please put no sauce on it, perhaps a little salt and eat with a fresh bread.   I will permit mustard if you need.  Accompanying is a nice bottle of Malbec and eat before company as the nature of the contents of your maw may be off-putting… At the witching hour, think of me – I shall be awake, thoughts racing, hopes building that tomorrow is the day when we land the mothership – That is the beauty of life, there is always a tomorrow.. until there is not and then you have no worry or care at all… Remember the Major and my view on life… we go by the once grab hold of what is next to you on the tide, enjoy and ask few questions.

Enjoy the steak.

Courage, roll those dice.

* If you think the Major and my tips are going to give you a significant advantage, please seek urgent medical attention