Tag Archives: rebellious guest

The Saturday Sermon – Newbury and some other bits!

Good evening from the Major writing enveloped in the cool evening air of Worcestershire where high clouds pass over at speed and closer to the earth, the air scurries around, droplets of dirty water thrown in the gusts.

The Major writes from a peaceful home, the endeavours of Dundalk and Wolverhampton playing out jovially in the background, a cool beer is at my side, it is good to be alive.

The week was another in which the Major slept in snatches, stop-start nights, with consciousness existing in short fraudulent periods.  When drifting from the real, into the darkness, there comes sharply focussed dreams, involving vast cavernous places, dimly lit and full of danger.  I have no idea what these portend, in many of them I am climbing, sometimes with other people, often in silence.  The vividness fools me into thinking it is authentic life, as Zhuangzi, I dreamed I was a butterfly and now I am uncertain whether I have awoken or am a butterfly dreaming I am a man.

I know of folk who seem entirely normal, thoroughly so, every move precise, each action measured.  You know the sort, living lives that exist in childs books, Ikea or Channel 4 property documentaries.  I am never sure whether it is a veneer covering a seething ocean underneath, or indeed whether such a state of utter normality is abnormal in itself, it is hard to tell.

I prefer the former thought, I think such folk are terrified of letting it slip and slide, lest the mask fall further.  Yet I would say this, as Freud pointed out, the ego, our survival tool fashions what we see, it fashions it in our own image – We perceive everything as we wish and what terrifies me is that an uneven keel might be so unusual.  We are not masters in our own house, please let it be so.

Oscar Wilde described the condition well during his time spent in Reading Jail.  He was serving time for indecency, unkind and unfair times you would agree.  While a resident, Wilde penned some of his darkest works and they are well worth your time.  In describing the abuses he caused to himself which ended with his spell incarcerated, he used the line, I ceased to be lord over myself,  I was no longer the captain of my soul.

This was a line he borrowed and inverted from the oft quoted poem Invictus by Henley, of which the final stanza…

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul

To be in charge of our future or to be washed about on the tide.  I might want us all to be touched by madness but in the case of ascertaining destiny?  Well, I am for the former, read Frankl Mans Search for Meaning – He more than most men knows how to find purpose in the deepest recesses of existence.

I embrace my beating heart when I awake from my active sleep, I can’t describe the dreams themselves as pleasurable, they do serve to remind me though that I am alive.  In the night, I may not be master of the house, come the day, I retain captaincy of my soul, for now.  The night world and the day world remain separate.

To the sports.


It is not the best day of racing we are going to witness.  While I might throw a few thoughts in regarding the Lingfield listed races, I am going to have a closer examination of affairs at Newbury.

The card is to be run on good ground and we must seek out the fair spring horses that prance across the surface!

In the opener, it looks a penalty kick for Signs of a Victory who think will go off at 8/13.  I quite liked the chance of Shes Late who will go well on the ground but oddly, jockey booking (McCoy on Matripajo) suggests the other Jonjo horse .  All this is irrelevant – Henderson had three bullets at Newbury on Friday and hit the bullseye each time.

I like two at bigger prices in the 2.20.  Grandads Horse ran respectably at Cheltenham until belting a fence and letting his chances slip.  He has a good strike rate on the ground and in general – 11/1 is OK.  The other I like is Pepite Rose – She is unusual in the Venetia yard, being a horse that favours decent surfaces.  Her last two runs may not be sparkling but she gets her surface here and with plenty of others not guaranteed to act, she is worth a squeak at 12s.

The third race is a wide open listed mares limited hurdle.  As such, we have some decent sorts turning up.  There are a lot of progressive sorts in the field – Fairytale Theatre looks one that will come in for support, being a Nicholls horse and showing great improvement – Her last two wins coming on heavy temper my enthusiasm.  Down Ace will like the ground and a line through her effort in the Mares hurdle at Cheltenham which was a huge step up in class and you can see her chances.

Free Thinking goes in the Long Run colours and given my advertisement for Hendersons form, she has to be considered.  To amplify that, his record in this specific race is impressive too having won it with Polly Peachum, Line Freedom, Ryde Back and Karello Bay in the last ten years.  Considered.

Yet the Major settles on an unfashionable runner up in Joanne One who is going to love the ground and since I don’t trust the form of jumpers bumpers in relation to proper hurdling, I see her as a danger.  Yet, I cannot help but be taken by Massannie at 16/1 (14s generally) for the Pipe team.  She has not been the same since a heavy fall but Pipe persists and a return to form puts her right back in this.  She won thrice from three on good to firm, so let the sun shine.

Having had entries for the race in the name of his stable, Alan King has withdrawn them all… odd.  It is darn hard to find a winner in this, Bucks Bond makes up his own mind but is a threat if going for it.  It is dangerous opting for a front runner in such a big field but despite having an instinct that he might set the race up, I am going to back Highland Retreat with a small fun stake as I have always admired him and on a going galloping day, he is good.  Newbury from the front just might suit him and he may have a number of these at it turning to home.

I love Newbury.. Its straight is as fair as they come, long, flat, tough jumps – The best horse wins.

Aldopicgros looks the best choice in the 4.05 – He won’t mind the ground and up half a stone for the defeat of a very progressive rival should be fine.

That is it for Newbury.

The Lingfield races are not my area of specialism – In the big one, the Winter Derby, Vodkata looks interesting making the trip from France.  Rebellious Guest loves the all weather, Grandeur boasts solid claims but has a hell of a draw – I am going to throw a dart at the popular former Johnstone horse Windhoek (13/2) – He has some tapeta form and there is no reason to think the surface will be an inconvenience.  De Sousa is a jockey I like and 13/2 is available with Hills – Have a slice.

Vicky De L’Oasis is a penalty kick 4/5 shot at Gowran.  Her form is easily the best and I see no obvious reason to oppose.

In the football Newcastle are 17/20 to beat Crystal Palace and that should go in.  Man City -2 at evens is in too – I think they are coming back to the boil.  I’d have Derby to beat Forest at 23/20.  The add a dash of Wigan at just the right side of evens…

The Martin Hill bet is Windhoek, Aldopicgros, Vicky De L’Oasis and Wigan in a Yankee, straight.

May your dinner be excellent, with a fine accomplice, her raven hair flowing down onto bare shoulder – Tip well, it is good to be alive.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Betting Sermon from the Major – Cesarewith Tips, Newmarket Juvenile Champions Day Tips, Rockingham Tips for York, Champagne Group 1 in the States, Shabash!

Good morning from the Major who writes to you from a Defford that has turned the corner of the cool seasons.  It is dark outside, a consuming darkness which would threaten the sentiment of ease in a mans mind.  Allow the Major to awaken you then to winters glory, soon there will be top class jumps action.  Let your spirit rise up like souls awakening.

Sir Clement, rest in peace – I am gunning in on La Estrella at 40/1 for you!

When you bet, is faith a factor?  Each time you make a selection and wager your hard won money, you take a risk, a risk based on your belief versus that of the enemy, the dark twisted mind of the turf accountant.

William James the American philosopher said that faith was a belief where in theory doubt was possible.  This is surely apt in a gambling mans mentality.  Yet the Major urges you to question each faith, this requires you to do something very simple.

You must, in your mind, price every choice before betting and then bet on value, not outcome.

Some have faith in a team that they will win regardless.  If Barcelona were playing Nottingham Forest every week then they would be priced at perhaps 1/16 for the win.  If I priced at 1/1000 and was the only market available, people would only be forced to bet it at my price and I am sure some would include it in accumulators.  Faith is ridiculous in betting analysis.

In sport, anything can happen.  Using that as the basis for gambling will allow you to make better decisions.  Trends, not faith.

Uncertainty is the beauty of gambling.  The bible taught that faith should be unerring and unswerving.  That you could not enter heaven without it and that it could move a mountain.

The Major teaches a separate lesson of gambling.  Learn to have faith in nothing.  Manchester United can lose at home to weak teams.  Not often, but they can.  The only question is whether the price offered is a fair reflection of the chance taken.

To the sports.

What a fantastic card at Newmarket where we are indulged with two Group 1, two Group 2 and two Group 3 races.  The Major has looked at all and selected a couple of punts, I like the look of…

The Middle Park Stakes

At this stage of the season and with nearly £100k for the winner, it is not a surprise that there is rarely a big surprise in the Middle Park Stakes.

Some of the best two year old colts line up against each other for their last efforts of the campaign before being put away for the winter and prepped for their classic campaigns, if they are good enough.

The Major thinks it has been a cracking juvenile season, we have had some great horses emerge and I am excited about the year to come.

At this distance, Casper Netscher is one of the likely winners.  I think 11/2 is a fair price.  Earlier in the season, he seemed to me to be the best I had seen.  Being a Dutch Art colt and from his racing style, I am not sure he will get much further than 6f and so he is unlikely to be a guineas horse but this could be his day.  One slight doubt is the amount of racing he has done.  While experience in a big field on a day like this is invaluable, he might have had enough for the season.  That said, he has been made slightly less use of since August (2 races) than the height of summer (4 races in June and July).  Shortlist material, particularly as Casper has won both his last two starts in lesser Group company.

Family One is of terrific interest.  Only Dabirism got the better of this one in the Prix Morny at the Deauville festival.  Dabirism went on to win on Arc day and surely looks the best we have seen in Europe this year.  Connections of Family One, perhaps sensibly, skipped another show down with Dabirism and bought their colt here.  9/2 leading contender too.

Rebellious Guest is an interesting horse for george Margarson.  Winning a maiden before being firmly put in place at a better level at Ascot, you might have thought we had seen the best.  However, the horse showed that maybe, the Ascot form was all wrong by winning a lower level race at Windsor next time but doing so in a visually superb way.  12/1 is perhaps not as big as the Major wants but interesting.  This horse is one of the first out of Cockney Rebel, the 2,000 guineas winner.  Needed 20/1.

The horse that is current favourite though is lightly raced, unbeaten, Bapak Chinta.  Out of American stud, Speightstown, Bapak Chinta is one of only a few progeny riding in the UK.  He looks good having won both starts and the stud record shows that the sires fee will soon be rising.  I am not sure that a horse with only two starts under his belt and a huge question mark on whether the ground will suit is a good proposition at this price.  Not for the Major.

For those that like a huge price, I think B Fifty Two at 50/1 is the one to take a piece of.  He is not the Majors selection but using Dabirism as my yard stick, this one has a lot more ability than shown of late.  Crucially, he has also won on the Rowley Mile before.

The Major opts for Family One.  It is not just the Dabirism form or the targeting of this race.  The Major likes the style in which Family One won group races at Chantilly and Maison Lafitte…. Shabash!

The Dewhurst 

Just nine go to post in the 2011 Dewhurst but there is plenty of quality.

Jim Bolger has won this race three times in the last five years with horses such as Teofilo and New Approach.  Parish Hall does not seem in their league but could he make the step up.  That is what Intense Focus did three years ago for the same connections, scoring at 20/1.  Could this 22/1 shot repeat the dose?

Ektihaam is unbeaten but has not beaten much in his two starts.  5/1 seems skinny for this one.

Bronterre is one of two entries for Richard Hannon, the star juvenile trainer.  Both look decent shouts.  Bronterre won in such ready style at Goodwood latest, beating in the process Justineo who races in the Middle Park which could give a late form clue.  Clearly highly thought of, jockey booking suggests it is the best of the two Hannon horses.

It is not that unusual though to see Hannons second string defeat the first on the big stage.  Trumpet Major is the mount of Murtagh which you would think is an advert in itself.  In reality, Murtagh seems to have a poorish record on Hannon horses.  Trumpet Major looked good taking the Champagne Stakes last time out.  HE stayed on very well.  Surely of interest at 16/1.

The O’Brien horse, Power, is the 10/3 favourite and if anything I think the price is in our favour.  An impressive Group one winner and second (half a length) on his last two starts and from connections who have a number of juveniles they could throw at this race, he is worthy of favouritism.  The form here is as strong as anything in the race.

Overall Power and Trumpet Major are the two I am interested in.  Both represent great value and therefore I am using a staking plan of 1pt Power, 0.5 pt e/w Trumpet Major, .25pt rev f/c the pair.  Good luck.

3.50 Newmarket – The Cesarewitch

Four years ago when my personal hero, Sir Clement Freud was alive and writing his excellent Racing Post column, he tipped up Legspinner in the Cesarewitch as a 14/1 winner.  It may well be that this is the only time I manage to win this race in my own lifetime but I will have another go today.

Worth noting that if you fancy a win bet, returns are doubled through the Racing Post app which ties in to William Hill.  I say win bet because the tight so and so’s at Hills are not making the usual concession of going to 5 places on this race.

This is a forum where flat trainers of stayers meet well handicapped hurdlers from the jumps yard and that gives the race interesting angles and makes it a damn hard read.  When there are more than 30 horses, it becomes a true challenge.

In the last three years we have had a dual purpose ELEVEN year old carrying 9 stone six win and a three-year old stayer win, last years winner carried just 7 stone 11lbs.  Anything can win, what is overpriced?

I have decided that the profile I want is an eye-catching jockey booking and a reason to believe the handicap mark could be entirely false.  I also need the draw to be sub 15 as the wide horses are at significant disadvantage.

None fits the bill better than La Estrella at a mahooooosive 40/1.

Dane O’Neill has ridden for this stable 8 times in the last two years.  Six of those rides have been wins.  Out of stall 14, he can drop in just off the pace and this eight year old may just show that his last few runs have not been true.

Colour Vision and Palomar were the other two of interest.  Given it is 14/1 the field, I wish you serious luck!


Chepstow 4.45pm.

Domtaline, the Paul Nicholls runner is of huge interest to the Major.  Although Nicholls runners often come on for their first blow out of the season, this 11/10 chance looks to have been well placed for a confidence boosting win.

Formerly he mixed it in good company and while he was prone to blunder, the way he travelled into races suggested a good horse.  Now recovered from a long break, I would think a mark of 130 could be easily defied even if Ditcheat have left some off for the more serious races he will face later.

Load the big cannon on this one.

I hope you were on last weeks big paying patent advised on the Group races in the states.  For those night birds who like a late fancy, at just prior to twenty past ten, the Champagne Stakes go at Belmont.  Union Rags will win.

The Rockingham can go to Desert Gazelle.  She is a chestnut filly and you know what they say about their precocious natures but at 13/2 I think this Godolphin runner has a likely profile.

That is it from the Major today, make sure your dinner is of fine wine and impeccable service.  Tip well from that donkey choking roll of notes in your jacket pocket.  Drink good port and a brandy.  As the head hazes, remember the Majors words.  It is good to be a gambler and alive today.  Courage, roll those dice.