Good morning faithful band of warriors from a Defford drizzled in filtered sunlight.
The coffee has been bubbling away for some hours and the Major is ready to unleash the value of the day for your astute gambling assessment. Welcome, come in, immerse yourself in the advice, select and then relax into the days sports allowing yourself to feel alive with the pulse of a man who has staked more than he should on the outcome.
The Major is not a royalist or a republican. Yet I must say that watching some of the early proceedings yesterday, I could not help but think that the young Duke of Cambridgeshire seemed to be marrying in the colours of Cheveley Park Stud, good on him.
What a great days sport. The 2,000 Guineas seems to arrive earlier each season. The first classic, run at Newmarket, over a mile is perhaps not the race it has previously been. The Guineas is eclipsed by the prestige of the Derby and with no class horses wanting to run the St Ledger, the old buzz about attempts at the Triple Crown has gone.
This year is different with super horse Frankel on the scene, the racing world is alight at this years renewal.
My favourite 2,000 guineas winner was George Washington. Gorgeous George. I remember having a slice at 9/4 which seemed like a price from the gods as he travelled like a sports car, watching him slice through the pack before powering away out of the dip like a Grade 1 sprinter, it raises the hairs – Over a mile he could deliver a devastating turn of foot, off very quick paces too.
He was an absolute stunner with a fetching white flash, what I loved most though was his personality. He refused to enter the winners enclosure after his classic win, he was a horse that did things his way.
After his 2000 Guineas win he was a bit hit and miss and was a little injury prone – It didn’t help that he was retired to stud but found to be wanting and so came back to racing. After his first run back, I remember Aidan O’Brien putting his tepid performance down to his failed stud career explaining that getting his mind back on racing was tough when he had been walking around with a fifth leg for the last few months! He did get to win a QEII though and I am glad, it proved his class beating some quality milers.
What a tragic end for the fellow who sadly slipped on the bend while running in a Churchill Downs quagmire in the Breeders Cup Classic, 2007.
Watch his QEII win, he travels so well off a strong pace. With 300m to go, Mike Kinane seems to have him tucked up and in trouble but when the gap comes and the button is pushed, the turbo boosters are applied and it is over in seconds, KABOOM! That is how I remember Gorgeous George Washington, just watch how his head carriage remains prominent and proud as he passes his last rival, he squares him straight in the eye, what a champion.
Tragedy happens in racing, as elsewhere in life. Grief is an odd thing. Longing. Where did George Washington go? Clearly his flesh and bone went the way of the furnace but is that all there is to all of us?
If we hold on to the thought that a horse or a person is merely physical then there is no solution to grief. The Major does not believe in ghosts. Yet George Washington was more than just the sum of his muscle and sinew. He created a memory. Today that memory comes rushing to the fore. If Frankel settles he has a similar turn of foot. The pattern that George was a part of is relived. Read Robert Pirsigs classic before you die.
To the sports young warriors, put your war face on.
The 2011 2,000 Guineas – 3.10 Newmarket
Can Frankel be beaten? Well he has not yet in 5 outings.
Without doubt, this horse is one of the most exciting in recent years. There are some question marks…
Is a mile far enough? Probably not..
Will he like the ground? He probably wants a touch more cut..
Will he settle from his wide draw? He has raced freely before so it is not guaranteed.
Weighing everything up, even with the questions, I think class will tell. I cannot back a 4/7 shot. Pathfork looks the best of the rest although I think Native Khan is the type to strip a lot fitter for his workmanlike seasonal debut win. Fury is an unbeaten sort that is unexposed and at 16/1 in places, I would put nobody off an each way selection. Likewise, Roderic O Connor who at 9/1 looks a decent place prospect and outside of Frankel is probably the best bred horse in the contest.
The selection is Roderic O Connor at 4/1 in the market without the favourite.
Only one other selection in the racing today.
Now as you well know the Major brings you the big races and the snippets that arouse suspicion in the smaller ones too.
Paul Hanagan is at Newmarket today and has a reasonable book of rides. I know he is going to be competing for the flat championship again and that makes me think there is good reason for him to trek to Doncaster to make his single ride in the last race aboard Hawk Mountain. This 11/4 shot should not go unbacked, KABOOOOM, load the big cannons chaps.
To the football fields…
It is the time of the season where a new angle is bought into play. Some teams are fighting for survival, others challenging for promotion. This factor is often over priced and I am a fan of getting after relegation teams who are being shortened because they are playing a team who are safe yet further up the table.
A classic example is Bolton who are priced at 3/1 to win at Blackburn. Can anyone remember Blackburns last win? I will give you some clues…. Libya was a peaceful place, Ian Thorpe was in retirement, Australia was cyclone and flooding free, it was even before the super bowl.
Blackburn are in free fall. More than 3 months without a win. Bolton are in indifferent form themselves sandwiching a win against Arsenal with heavy defeats to Stoke and Fulham. They have a decent record against struggling teams though and Blackburn are without David Dunn who is their creative influence. Bolton make a tasty 3/1 win prospect, SHABASH!
Leeds are 13/10 to win at home to Burnley, have a slice of that.
Just 4 selections from the Major today. Stick them in a lucky 15 and thank me later!
Tonight, drink Mohita before dinner and let the cool minty goodness seep through your veins. Enjoy a classy meal in a decent establishment. Eat alone, it is good for the soul. As you call for a carriage at midnight, I hope your pocket bulges with the rewards from a fruitful day at the evils of gambling. It is good to be alive on such a day.