Good morning from the Major who rises a little later than usual to find Worcestershire blanketed in a consuming blue grey cloud. We have fallen between the cracks in the season and all is calm for now.
Whether it be my heavy cold (which persists) I can not tell but I am feeling the chill air a little more than I should and so have lit a fire. Now you might be thinking that it is September and the temperature really does not warrant it and I would find it hard to resist that argument, save this. I am a pyromaniac and I enjoy it, I require little encouragement to reach for the flammables.
There is something enchanting about the dance and lick of flame, the warmth emanating from the violence, I find it irresistible. No work in my garden goes without an incendiary event and my usual aim is to have something so fierce burning that the American military register as a suspicious launch type event.
The sparks that leap from the flame, I think it was Descartes who likened them to our lives. When we are young and at the heart of the fire, things are so pure to us. We are exquisite because we have not polluted our minds with knowledge, we can imagine the impossible because we have not yet blinkered ourselves with common sense. This dulls as we grow, as the spark leaves the fire and spirals away in the air. We might add knowledge but it weighs rather than frees, burdens us, until we fall to the floor, all light extinguished.
This may sound like an urge not to seek learning. Quite the opposite. I advocate a life of learning for you, it is tremendous fun. When you are younger though, you absorb information in a different way, you thirst for it, as you age and weary, we are reluctant, losing the burning intense heat we once had. Hold on to it. Stay close to the fire my friends. Allow wonderment.
Last week was much better, we may not have been sensational but we hit the bar several times. I thought Talent was mighty unlucky in the St Leger, still, she once again stole my heart when barging between colts with just three hundred metres remaining, brave girl.
To the sports… Get on parade soldier, for it is a day of treachery, the enemy has conceived cards so deceitful, that only our best will see us through to a profit. Tread warily and have your bayonet fixed for we will meet them hand to hand if we must.
Ayr Gold Cup Day
Now I must confess that these big sprint handicaps are not really my idea of finding a good bet. Naturally, I understand the attraction of looking at a 28 runner field that is 8/1 but find the calculations too obtuse – Too many obvious candidates is my usual problem.
Therefore today, I shall give you my notes but know this, the Gold Cup is not a betting race for me. You make your choice, this is your divine position and while taking my position is my business, I shall presume how to tell you yours.
One trend really stands out for me. Ten of the last thirteen races have gone to Nicholls, Fahey or Ryan. That is telling and where I would start my appraisals. Such a stance is indeed quite a rough treatment of the data we have available but in this sort of contest, you have to make a stand somewhere. On draw, my preference would be 6-16 but I would not make it a red line either. This in spite that the high numbers seemed advantageous, seems illogical but watching the replay of those races, I am not sure too much bias exists and track record and pace has influenced my target stalls.
Of their runners, Baccarat would be highly interesting but the popular concern is the ground for which he is untested. Being out of Dutch Art, I have no such fears as his sire tend to produce sprinters who like traction. Highly considered with the capable Hanagan up top and drawn 14. Definite candidate.
I would love Hoof It to win but he needs the ground to dry out. From the trainers I discarded, the stand our horse is Red Dubawi who has been bought over from Ireland. Conor King has been riding with such distinction for a teenager and is already able to go toe to toe with the best, his 5lb claim is simply a bonus. Jack Dexter is also going to be popular, looking a group horse in his exploits over the last two summers.
Having meandered through the lot, my single dart is going to be a win bet on the Keith Dagleish trained Lover Man at 33/1 with Coral. He does not fit lots of the trends for a winner in the race but is drawn well (for me) in ten and comes as an unexposed sort, this being his first run in Britain.
A horse I think is a must bet is the 9/2 shot Light Weight. The Danehill Dancer filly looked a good horse winning at Newcastle in tremendous style and only has Braidley to be concerned about in my view. That colt showed well last time too but has a ten pound raise as a consequence and my girl in good to soft (family have good record in it) with a stone in hand looks a must bet. High Confidence.
I am not touching the Silver Cup but am prepared to stick with connections and back Valonia at 5/1 in the 3.15. A lot of money has been invested in this good looking chestnut and she holds plenty of top class entries. Qatar Racing have seen enough to think she is a worthy addition and the trainer has been able to keep her in the yard. I suspect 5/1 might look big.
My bet of the Newbury card is for Meteroid in the nursery who is trading as 2/1 favourite. He won a Warwick maiden with plenty of style and although that form might look nothing more than average, I think there is plenty to come. While the ground may be unproven, the sire, Dynaformer, has a good record of his offspring so it is not off-putting to me.
Sticking with favourites chances, surely Kassiano is a good bet at 6/4 in the 1.50. He has run with high distinction in Dubai (2nd in a G1) and has transferred Tapeta form to turf where he went readily away in a conditions event at HQ, last time out. This is an Arc trial race although you won’t find any of these names prominent in the Longchamp betting!
At Newmarket, I will be having a small interest in Amnesia at 2.30 with Murtagh booked. His raids are so productive now he is more selective. His strike rate in the last 90 days outstrips Buick, Moore, Barzalona et al by 5%. The horse looks OK too!
Jallota on paper ratings looks a shoe in at 6/4 but horses being dropped massively in class after failing further up are not my bet.
Equally there will be no bet but I shall be watching the Cesarewitch trial closely where I would expect Broxbourne to run with credit. This race could throw up all sorts though.
In the football, Liverpool looks a bet at 8/13. I also like Cardiff at Tottenham who are 19/20.
The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is going under some reconstructive surgery. I think Martin himself might be finally losing heart. Yet, I ask him to hold on for one week further as: Light Weight, Valonia, Meteroid, Kassiano is one to set your watch by!
Good luck to all of you today, I hope your dinner is in great company. Courage and roll those dice.