Good morning from the Major who writes to you from the wooden kitchen table of the Defford pile. The day has awoken with the glorious countenance of opportunity. Can you smell the crackle of excitement? It is good to be alive.
Champions Day at Ascot. The richest card ever put together in the UK. A real showcase to the end of the flat season. Credit to the good people of Racing for Change who have worked hard and made big choices carving up the racing calendar to make this day.
The ground though makes me nervous at Ascot. Good weather would have produced a naturally firm surface but of course, to attract the best, then they needed the word good, preferably on its own. To attain it they watered and the Major is concerned that there may be some false / dead ground and some expected results might get turned over.
In short it might be a day for the enemy. That dark and twisted man plotting to fool us with perplexing markets and swirling clouds of confusion. Surely the New International bible in Proverbs 2 was referring to same…
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
Allow the Major to be your punting shepherd.
To the track………
I have said enough about Frankel already. He seems to me to be the horse that will mark recent times. Although Sea the Stars has probably achieved more than Frankel ever will, unless he can stay to win next years Arc… Frankel is unbelievable.
Can he get beaten at 4/11, of course he could. Does 4/11 represent value….. Hard to read for the Major. It feels perhaps generous but the margin is small. Immortal Verse is the only other one to give a squeak to but surely we know Sundays headline. If you fancy Frankel to smash them, I suggest the evens price with William Hill that he wins by two lengths. Not for the Major. If you like your bets served with a side dish of massive kahunas, I suggest Side Glance e/w 66/1 – Track form.
Just one note on breeding. Frankel is out of Galileo, his Dam was out of Danehill, true blue blood. If he did (as the Majors heart cries out) go for the Arc as a 4yo, he would, incredibly, be the first Galileo colt to do it.
4.10 Ascot – Tips for the Middle Distance Champions Race
So You Think looks terrific value on a pure form line with most but I have to say that he has been well used this season and although there were excuses in the Arc, I already had concerned he may be over the top. One to avoid in the Majors view.
The horse that the Major opts for is one I think coming well to hand and worthy of a pop, Snow Fairy.
She was a gamble for the Arc in which she finished one place better than SYT and she is tough as nails. Her win record could put you off but I really feel obliged to give her another chance, take a slice.
Cheltenham – The Showcase Saturday Tips
I had a cracking day tipping up Cheltenham yesterday with three winners at 11/8, 5/2 and 10/1.
I am following the same logic to pick out my best bets on the Saturday Showcase card. Good luck to those at Prestbury.
2.05 – The first four in the market all have a shout but I opting for the 11/2 Nicholls trained Round Tom. The Hereford handicap which is sandwiched by two wins may just have been over too far a distance. He has shown a liking for firm surfaces and as hinted at yesterday, in the early meetings of the season, I am inclined to avoid Nicholls with his winter brigade but am happy to back his summer jumpers who are fit as a fiddle – Don’t forget Nicholls took this novice last year.
2.40 – Benbane Head looks very interesting back on his prefered firm surface, the Major would not put you off. However, 4/1 is a shortish price. The Major is going to take the plunge on Edgbriar. He won this last year and his mark is pretty much the same. He has a more likely stable companion running but since top jock has defected, the Major has too, 9/1, load the medium cannon with the chain shot. Perhaps a Benbane Head saver.
3.15 This is a classic example of a horse I want to dodge in Tonic Mellysse, the Nicholls favourite. Plan A is the definite form selection but having failed to record a win on three starts on good to firm, there is a question. I am persuaded to take a chance that third favourite Palawi at 4/1 might be the solution. He has been prepped with a flat run and while his last course visit was pretty poor, his Aintree form, prior to fall, looked very good in this context. Take a substantial slice.
3.50 – Plenty of potential winners including Galaxy Rock, Benny be Good, Ethiopia and Balthazar King. It is Galaxy Rock and Balthazar King I struggle to split, I just opt for the latter at 6/1 but would think a saver in order. Not a certainty, just a value proposition.
4.25 – Queen of Cool will be seen in better light on this ground, small stake advised.
4.55 – Health is Wealth and Pure Faith both have claims on the ground but the Majors preference is for Zaynar. This former placed horse in the Champion Hurdle is clearly the best here and despite a poor season last year and an uncertainty of adapting to fences, the Major says, stick with quality.
5.30 – The lucky last, good luck to you. Alexandr Nevsky for Tom Taafe and Ruby Walsh is an obvious contender, Ruby having an extremely rare ride for the Taafe team. As much as I will probably regret it though, I am going for Clondaw Warrior whose stable has a tremendous record with this young jockey and the last win was both well executed and well franked.
I always find it difficult to back Premier League games after the international break. Many form teams suffer, losing momentum and it gives teams with recent poor results time off to regroup… no bet scenario.
As for the Rugby, I am going to opt for France. They are an odd team and I understand the drive behind such a youthful upcoming Welsh contingent but France will be a different proposition…. 11/8, easy.
May your dinner be in a half reasonable establishment with the sort you have your eye on in the office. Always awkward, have a few glasses of champagne and then a pastis aperitif. As dinner starts she will loosen up. By the time the bill is presented and she sees the roll from which you settle it, her mind will be made up. La Gallop, enjoy.
Courage, shuffle the cards.