Tag Archives: seville

The Saturday Sermon – St Leger at Doncaster (14/1 tip) and Premier League Tips

Good morning from the Major who has been at the good coffee early to study the card and bring you the winner of the St Leger.

Sea Moon with beautiful white blaze first, noone but fresh air second

The last classic of the season is a true stayers test and unlike any other classic is open to both colts and fillies. This gives us the interesting task of assessing Blue Buntings ability against the boys, more of that in a moment.

The Major would like to land a catastrophic blow on the enemy today, let us land the perfect left right pincer movement.

We shall be decisive like Sir Robert Napiers expeditionary force of Irish, British and Indian troops in Abysinnia or Sir Hope Grants mixed British, Indian and French force which went to Peking to force the emporer to sign our trade treaty in the second Opium war. Well disciplined, well executed. Sir Hope Grant took the forts at the river head with a perfect pincer movement, infantry skirmishing ahead of his position and as the enemy approaches, the flags go up and the lights will come out like a mighty fist to run the enemy down, the heavies follow to finish the job. Swift and decisive against a far numerically superior force.

Sir Hope got to Peking and got the treaty signed but had to fight his way there. There was also subsequent outrage as the Chinese tortured to death many of the small numbers of prisoners of war they held. British and Indian troops of the Queen as well as Parkes and Loch, two envoys, were given horrendous treatment in the ‘Board of Punishment’. Their bodies were returned after peace had been negotiated which seemed a deliberate act of subterfuge.

Lord Elgin who travelled as the lead political on the embassy decided that retribution would take the form of the sacking of the Summer Palace.

It took thousands of troops to destroy the greatest collection or architecture and art ever amassed. While he was merely a descendent of the Elgin who lifted marbles from Greece, the family certainly had their vandal moments!

Lets start our own rout with the St Leger.

3.10 Doncaster St Leger

The St Leger has lost some of its lustre in recent years. Gone are the horses who want triple crown glory. Now bloodstock demand is for mile to mile and a half horses. The super rich owners want Derby horses and Arc horses, not Yorkshire Cup types.

It would have been a thing of great beauty if Sea the Stars had opted to take in the Triple Crown in his classic year…. alas, Guinea and Derby horses tend not to think St Leger any more. Perhaps we will never have another triple crown winner. If we were to, I would suggest it would be a filly.

In fact, recent St Legers have been pretty poor affairs (relatively speaking for a Group 1 and a classic!) – This year looks different though. What makes the contest an intriguing one is the ground which has hardened up and with no more rain expected until ten past three, it is changing the shape of the market.

The principle victim of the top of the ground turf seems to be Sea Moon. A long term favourite for the race after demolishing a Great Voltigeur field by nearly ten lengths, this lightly raced sort is clearly happier with cut. His form could suggest so and so does the reaction of connections to the dry weather forecast.

The Great Voltigeur also featured Seville who was third, vanquished by Sea Moon that day. Seville was second in an Irish Derby and so a serious O’Brien horse but was likely unsuited by York – This makes me question the form of the Great Voltigeur and seek a different form line for the winner. That said, O’Briens horses look like they are coming to their own of late.

We have Blue Bunting, a 2,000 guineas winner, Irish Oaks winner and Yorkshire Oaks winner – Probably filly of the season. She gets a 3lb pull on account of her being of the fairer sex and must be reckoned with at a best priced 7/2. Good to firm would be no inconvenience. Two of the last five runnings have gone to Godolphin, significantly interesting.

A regular poster Michael put up Masked Marvel last week and you can see the good points. Beating Census was great form although watching that race, I would question whether he is the better horse. 9/1 is fair but not for the Major – Good luck Michael.

Brown Panthers form is tied into Census and Masked Marvel and at 14s is arguably the best value of that trio. Yard form is also a slight concern here with just the one winner from the last twenty five runners. While Census may have taken Brown Panther on their latest run, it was notable that the Panther had a lot of picking up to do. The previous German raid did not go brilliantly but the travel may have been a factor. With Fallon booked, this is a serious contender in my view.

I really think the winner will come from Sea Moon, Brown Panther and Blue Bunting. Splitting them is tough. Sea Moon on the drift is a concern but how sure can we be he will not act on firmer ground? The Sire, Beat Hollow, has had 355 of his progeny run in Britain on good to firm and 50 won. This is not out of line with his form with more cut and so the evidence is conjecture on behalf of connections. Now, connections know their stuff but….. could we go where others dare tread?

Sea Moon is a horse that looked a true star. What he did to the Great Voltigeur field was highly impressive, not just the beaten foe but the turn of foot. He was eased down at the finish that day and the Major has a simple belief, if he shows the Great Voltigeur form today, he will win. It is hard to leave him but those ground worries are ominous.

I have settled on Brown Panther. 14/1 is a good price for one whose form is mixing it up with the best here. We have the services of Fallon doing the steering – Come on the Panther.

3.15 The Curragh – Goffs National Stakes Group 1

The Curragh hosts the Irish St Leger card and although it is a fine race, I fancied a crack at the Goffs Stakes for juveniles.

Soft conditions in Ireland make it interesting working through this card and the Majors choice is Dragon Pulse a 11/4 joint favourite.

Dragon Pulse on breeding is fancied to handle the soft and did win a maiden in conditions too. While Power, is the main rival, I suspect he will not like the cut in the ground at all.

Have a chunky slice of the Dragon.

There are other great races at Doncaster, the Curragh, Goodwood and Chester. The Major does think Berling is the most reliable in Chesters listed race but overall I am going to stick with Brown Panther and Dragon Pulse to bring home the weekend beans.

In other sports…. Villa are a massive 3/1 to win at Everton, given the Toffees current woes, it could well effect the team on the pitch who are now without Arteta. Villa are organised if not spectacular and 3/1 (Victor Chandler) is a price to take on them stealing the goodies from Goodison. Everton have protesting fans as well as a shortage of options in the final third with Yakubu and Beckford joining Arteta on the outward transfer pile. The new boys may take time to settle in and I am willing to take a chunky slice of the Villa pie at a lovely 3/1.

May your dining this evening be punctuated by a fine string quartet and a magnificent lady of grace who steals the attention of any dining room. For all of her well-heeled manner, her thoughts will run the same way as the rest of them when good lobster and Sancerre have been devoured.

Courage and shuffle those cards….

The Majors Derby Post – Why I think Recital wins the Derby…. Saturday Service to Follow

The Major will publish the Saturday Service seperately but have decided to get my Derby thoughts out at 8am so we can catch the early worm.

Recital for the Major - Fallon, Smullen - Either will do!

Before the race analysis, a word of praise for Channel 4.  The BBC have the rights to the Derby and if the Major is to be blunt, it galls me. 

Channel 4 provide decent racing coverage every weekend of the year, they provide a morning show and tailor the coverage to satisfy new fans and seasoned followers, their presenters don’t just match up, they smash their BBC counterparts.  Just consider the line ups.  Clare Balding is honest but poor.  Rishi, the Major cannot take and as for the clowns they have near the betting rings, do not get me started.

I am no massive fan of John McC who hiumself, is the clown of Channel 4 but he has more racing in his little finger than Rishi.  The rest of the Channel 4 team are utter class.  Cattermole, Plunkett, the marvellous  Tanya.  If the BBC cannot be bothered to even televise the Arc without putting it behind a red button, I would rather see them drop racing coverage and hand it over to Channel 4 who know what they are doing with it and evidently care more.

The Derby at Epsom

Rant over, the 2011 Investec Derby is a fascinating renewal.

The interest of the Queen who may win her fist Derby with Carlton House adds a spice to the race that will entice the public.  The quality of the race will be lost on many who will be drawn by the regal story which has a touch of romance about it.

The Queen would never have owned Carlton House if it were not for Highland Glen and her Majesty’s impeccable integrity.  A wonderful novella which in the Majors mind will remain his memory of her Majesty when her time comes.

Sheikh Mohammed is one of racings most influential mega-owners, despite his influence in racing which extends across the globe, has never had a Derby winner, this is astonishing.

The good Sheikh had eyes on Highland Glen and made a very fair cash offer for the horse in the summer of 2009.  The Queen, who has such a racing passion (she insists on knowing each intimate detail of all of her string and breeding operation) knew Highland Glen was temperamental and so sent the horse to the good Sheikh but refused the fee, you can set your watch by that, say what you like but she is a class act.

For those that believe in Karma, Sheikh Mohammed responded, the same autumn, by sending over four yearlings from his own breeding operation.  The most handsome looking was named by the Queens racing operation as Carlton House after the old building which stood on The Mall. 

The Queens honesty gives the Major a tremendous sense of pride.  It also garners a deep seated sense of unease, for when she is gone, where is the nations moral heart?  Leave that though… Consider the Sheikh though too, what a gentlemen.   

The Major decrees this was good cricket all round.

The Queen has such composure that should Carlton House win, I cannot imagine anything other than dignity in the face of euphoria.  C’mon Ma’am, a little wink at the camera costs nothing!

Do we need more drama?  Well perhaps you could throw in the former disgraced champion jockey having to win an appeal to avoid being legally barred from taking his intended Ballydoyle ride because the Turkish owner of Native Khan feels aggrieved that Fallon abandoned the ride!  We learn from the High Court of Kieran Fallons fate this morning at 9am, sensational drama.  So this years Derby is both a Royal affair and a court room drama – Who will win?

Carlton House suffered a setback this week which threatened participation.  At one point, he was trading 9/2 on Betfair but those prices have dried up and 11/5 is the current order.

The setback will be a concern to those who hold tickets on Carlton House.  Cast your mind back and the Major was not for Carlton House when he appeared in the Dante – I was wrong but while he won well enough, I wonder of the fitness of the O’Brien runners has led to a general mis-shapen view of the form itself.

Dante form is not a problem but across the board it is evident that the O’Brien team came out of the blocks slowly this season.  There are too many examples of this, including last nights racing at the Curragh which saw previously dismissed prospects from Ballydoyle suddenly coming on massively for their second run.  How trustworthy was Carlton House’s Dante win against Seville?

There is nothing wrong with Seville particularly; after two modest enough 2yo wins, he went down to Cassemento, a leading Godolphin two year old when unfancied.  He ran wide but gave good chase without troubling.  Over a mile, on breeding it was not that surprising.  This year he went down by a short distance to Carlton House when Ballydoyles string were all in desperate need of a run.

If I felt Seville were the real Ballydoyle first string I would back at 7/1.  The Major has other thoughts.  I want to abandon the Dante form.  I never thought Seville was the Derby hope from the O’Brien team, they normally do not send their best to the Dante, the Derristown is where they send their number one colt and that puts Recital right in the frame. 

Native Khan is tough and short of top class.  I think he will come short even if he gets his preferred rattling surface.  It is interesting though that this is Murtaghs stead.  Having won the Oaks on a long shot, perhaps it is foolish to let this one go…. Particularly as with more sun on the earth, it is not inconceivable that firm appears in the going.  Could Kierans day get worse, after hearing the courts judgement in the morning, could he then watch Native Khan romp in?  Beating Libranno by 2l is probably going to be the pinnacle of this ones career.  Not for the Major. 

Pour Moi is utterly blue blood bred.  The French form looks good but the travel and the brilliant teenage jockey both dissuade the Major.  They have bought him over from France early to acclimatise to Epsoms rolling track, a serious contender but not for the Major.

This leaves Recital.  The only question for the Major is, will he fire at Epsom given he has shown a few quirks in the past.  I offered Recital up to a friend on debut this year.  What got him beat, in my view was not form but was the now convincing early poor season Ballydoyle were embroiled in.  As a derby horse you have to question reliability but his class has been more than hinted at in his Jekyll and Hyde history.  O’Brien knows how to sort these sorts out.  If Fallon is ruled out, perhaps Joseph O’Brien the winning Irish classic jockey will take over, mere speculation.

Dalakhani seems to breed decent sorts but I would be surprised if he sired a derby type.  This puts a line through Vadamar who needs softer ground and Ocean War, although the latter will like it the more the moisture comes out of the ground and is a decent e/w shout at nearing 20/1.

Overall.  Recital 9/2 and Carlton House 5/2.

I think Recital was sent on O’Briens premier route to the derby.  He may have mis-fired but Carlton has the measure of Seville and O’Brien was trying to put his top jockey Fallon on Recital.  If Fallon is chucked off in the morning which seems unlikely, there are plenty of decent replacements and Recital will not know of the drama!  If at 9am, Fallon is stood down, I understand Smullen to be the man who picks up the rather attractive ride and that is decent in the Majors view.

9/2.  Should be 3/1 for the Major…. Get stuck in, yet good luck Ma’am.  Oh and if you agree, use the Racing Post app to place the bet with Hills.  They offer a full refund if Carlton House goes on to win….. value. 

The Majors Yorkshire Cup Fancy – Friday Thunderbolt – Let’s build the fighting fund for the weekend

York Racecourse - Stands

York Races - Anyone up for a trip to the Knavesmire?

The York Dante meeting threw up a terrific race today in which Carlton House took the feature in quite eye catching style.  Were we watching the derby winner?  The Major thinks not. 

I will definitely be in the minority but I felt that Carlton House got first run on Seville who seemed to peck into him and lose momentum.  Given that Seville is definitely going to be the Ballydoyle second string, then the Queens runner is no certainty. 

The Major needs to post a significant weekend win and I desperately need to update the records which are now many weeks out of date.  The tardiness will stop this weekend.

I have been looking at the York card tomorrow seeking a winner to boost the weekend fighting fund.  

The Yorkshire Cup looks like a solvable puzzle.

I like Asker Tau – This one won at Ascot on seasonal reappearance with the Major in attendance.  This is tougher.  That said, Asker has a great strike rate and is the sort that may be a wafer thin slice short of being top class but is consistent, likes a fight and will exploit weakness in others.  In this field, that last facet could be all important as there are some sorts that are Group One quality and Folkestone seller in the space of two races!  Tregoning is 3 winners from 5 runners in the last fortnight – Each way banker at 6/1.

Native Ruler for the on fire Cecil team has certainly got the best chance.  The horse missed all of 2010 – I would be a bit worried that it might bounce but it certainly seems a better horse at 5 than 3.   Cecil took this race last year with Manifest – Everyone loves Henry but I am not convinced that Native Ruler is the answer although it is tough to leave him out, especially when piloted by Tom Queally.

Duncan has not had the best of luck – Both the Arc effort and the Goodwood run saw him hampered badly.  Maybe he creates his own luck but the Major is relatively forgiving – Looks classy.  Gelded over the winter is a little off-putting, probably more so for Duncan than I.  The 3 length defeat to Harbinger is superb.  Harbinger was going to be an Arc winner until the life threatening injury, clearly Duncan has some class.

The other significant runner is Manighar for Luca Cumani.  Luca doesn’t take pot shots in races like this and both form and jockey booking create the impression that Manighar will be involved.  It is hard to assess some of the Aussie form and the record suggests that this one can find a way of losing. 

Electrolyser has two ways of running.  He seems more likely to offer the poor version than the good and is not one the Major would trust.


1. Take the jockey booking on Manighar as significant and back it – Overruled – Form inconsistent, at this level there is no right to assume the jockey booking is that significant

2. Back the consistent Asker Tau – He clearly loves the ground and has a great attitude – If stepping up then he could win, I am less sure but an each way certainty

3. Native Ruler all in – Cecil / Queally group form, looking better than ever back from injury, bounce factor a concern – Of significant interest.

4. Bet like a man on Duncan – This is the call.  I trust that the gelding has focussed this classy animal.  He was good enough to win this on his Harbinger form, any development and he can go in again.

Staking strategy……….

Duncan 2pts win, Asker Tau 1pt ew, Native Ruler 1pt win, .25 pts on 6 stakes combination f/c, same number of stakes and size on tricast.

Hold thy nerve young warriors.  Duncan will see us well.  To quote from King Duncan….

Stars, hide your fires:
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see