Tag Archives: sky lantern

The Friday Newmarket July Meeting Tips

Good evening from the Major who writes dead tired from a pretty Worcestershire evening whose full value I cannot absorb.

It has been a long week and some rest is in sight.  The 9pm at Leopardstown is about to go off and I am hoping the hot thing will go in and shortly be followed by Cabuchon at Bath for a late boost to the war chest.  Let us use those picks as a barometer for Fridays thinking!

Certainly today we failed to land any sort of mothership.  In fact, we fired relentless blind bullets that ricocheted off betting slips, casually burning our monies until it was all gone.  Only Hughsie on a very nice looking Ivawood restored any pride.

It was a shame, the Major has been in reasonable form.  What excuses might I reach for?  Well, the ground was a bit funny, I scored up the card on very decent ground but clearly the rain had an impact.  Look, I am not one to claim victim-hood, I had the forecast from our meteorological friends, I just failed to acknowledge it.

I would let rip with a tale of derring-do from the suppression of one of the Indian Mutinees but I am tired.  Plus, I am recording the new drama on BBC, the Honourable Woman – It has been created by the man who bought us The Shadow Line and is cut from the same cloth.

Sometimes, when I write a blog, I can feel it was good.  Some part of me was left on the page, part of my soul, captured and buzzing gently inside this digital realm.  Tonight I am jaded and am firing only on the starter motor.  I feel like I am short-changing you.

Alors, les sports…

Friday Newmarket Tips

A juvenile fillies handicap gets the day underway and it is a bit of a puzzle.  Some progressive sorts of course and some contrasting form-lines.

The form I am opting for is that belonging to Etaab who ran well on debut at HQ before two wins, the first on the all-weather and then subsequently beating Halation, a Botti horse at Yarmouth.  The Botti horse has upheld the form by going on to win well at Newcastle, only a narrow margin but always looking better of the two out front and they were a good few lengths clear.

Halation is now off 85 and looking progressive so Etaab off just a pound higher looks OK to me, I give my vote to the Haggas Street Cry girl at a general 5/1.

I am calling the second race the Cherry Hinton simply because it is a beautiful old name for a race.  We have a hot favourite in High Celebrity who was very good at Chantilly and Fabre hardly brings his string over for the air and the good food, I cannot look elsewhere, this one did not win at Chantilly, she destroyed them, she had scooted a dozen lengths clear and was heavily eased at the finish.  An Invincible Spirit filly, 10/11 is available and any reproduction of that form and I think she will serve orders to this lot too.  Load the cannon.

Then the big one, the Falmouth.  I love Sky Lantern but I am worried that she likes to be held up and there might not be a lot of pace on here.  The same issue will face Purr Along.  One that will set a tidy pace and thus is the recipient of the Majors touch of death is Rizeena.  This Clive Brittain star is a very, very good horse.  Having not performed to expectation in the Guineas, she showed her true colours when taking a decent renewal of the Coronation and since I have doubts about both market principals, she is the one…. 5/1, pile in strong.

The handicap at 3.15 is wide open, I liked the look of High on Life for a lucrative Osbourne and Hughes combination (6 from 18 last year) but surely this will be tough to see them all off from the sharp end – That said, it really caught the eye because Hannon has released Richard from Remember to ride….. Interesting but No Thankee sir.

My sensible choice is Golden Steps at 8/1 who won most recently at Doncaster and looks progressive.  Botti knows the score and I am happy enough to be on it but not until I have had a saver on 40/1 Supplicant.  Richard Fahey can pull off some shocks and it takes a bit of imagination but there is some form hidden away in the history.

Then the maiden and in the circumstances I am happy to go with a bit of proven form, even if it is only half decent.  The thing is at Newmarket, previous race experience is a big plus and Lexington Times is going for the top juvenile handlers – SP 2/1?

The following maiden at 4.25pm is likely to also go to the market favourite in Obsidian who has already beaten a subsequent winner and is going for Gosden.

In the lucky last, I like Johnno but he has gone up the weights and is competing here in a better class of race.  The same can be said of Billingsgate too.  The unknown quantity I am chancing is Zeshov in a race where I can see some of the main actors not playing their role.  Clearly the horse has had a few issues and has missed some racing but that is the attraction.  This is a curious route to go if they do not think there is some talent and so I am taking some of the 12/1.

Now for that health check… Starlet hosed up in the 9pm but Cabuchon travelled well, was held up ridiculously far back and never really got into it… Hmmmmm I don’t know what to tell you.

Courage, roll the dice.

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The Royal Ascot Wednesday Sermon – Tips for each race…. RT your appreciation of the effort!

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire scene that has eased from a syrupy thick air to a pleasant airy late evening.  I sit with the windows wide open, the Goldfinch content, their rapid trills and occasional harsh tone carrying on the breeze, coming in staccato their wondrous communication sweetly fills the ear.

The earlier close turgid weather rather sullied a fine day in our Capital on business.  The Major had meetings, those meetings went well, the city looked as glorious as it can in the mid Summer. New construction signals the funeral of our economic malaise; great spires of newly erected concrete and steel, shimmering with confidence and investment, bursting from the ground, propelling themselves skyward with vigorous ambition, it is majestic and imperious.  Something about these fledgling skyscrapers; the anticipation of their completion, it thrills me, a childish response and what more could you want dear reader than that?  To be taken back to how you felt as a child, we are but sparks from the fire, growing dimmer and to be returned, ah just for that moment, to feel the heart flutter.  I had the pleasure of the same feeling later in the afternoon, stopping to buy football stickers for number two sons’ panini album.

Tuesday at Ascot was not that bad, 2 winners from 6 at 13/2 and 6/1.  OK, Night of Thunder got beat despite my protestations and I must accept the version of events that my eyes witnessed, Kingman is the best miler of his generation.  Accepting error improves your gambling, it is easier to do in defeat than in victory, I shall let you ponder that thought and may return to it at some future Saturday Sermon.

My NAP landed though, 13/2 (advised) The Wow wowed us and was not unbacked, was that the Majors influence, I shall leave that for your own judgement.  Toranado was a hugely popular winner with Hughsie steering him later down the outside to clinch victory.  Sole Power delivered a power packed performance and was a hugely popular winner having been backed into 3/1.  What a great time the people there must have had, the sun shone, the stars delivered.  The sad loss of two horses cast a shadow but we shall not linger there, not tonight.

I am going to get straight into the Wednesday Royal Ascot card – I fancy catching some football and some sleep.

Wednesday Royal Ascot Tips

We start with the Jersey Stakes.  A race that has in the last two years gone to Ballydoyle but hardly to their top beasts.  No, that is not an angle.  If you were struggling with the question earlier about whether the Major moved the Coventry market then I submit for evidence the following fact.  On Wednesday, Great White Eagle is 25/1 for the Jersey, I held a 5/1 ticket for him to win the Guineas… yes…. let that sink in.  This is not the place for refined punting, more blind lumbering desire but even the blind squirrel finds the odd nut and we are feasting of late my friends.

Muwarry looked good and despite not troubling the principles in the French Guineas field, his former work was promising.  The Major though is opting for a slightly wilder card in French raider Redbrook – This is a classy looking set of genes and while his juvenile career was a little stilted, he is making progress now, winning a Longchamp listed event latest.  They haven’t come for the superior food and drink you know.  12/1, with Paddy, have a serious slice.  These Qataris, they really are a tremendous addition to high level ownership.  They keep horses in the same yards, spreading the quality amongst the lesser trainers…. They are having a blinding week already and it could continue here.

Then the Queen Mary Stakes.  A Group 2 for some of the speedster fillies and I like two near the head of the market.  Hannon has two decent shouts but the fact that Hughsie has gone for the more experience Tiggy Wiggy gives her preference in my mind, although Moore has an unexposed type in Dangerous Moonlite who could be anything having won a decent little contest readily.  Anyway, Tiggy Wiggy was one of my fancies, the other and the tip is the Lynam runner, Anthem Alexander who is a 4/1 shot and a bit of a hype girl.  She absolutely hammered a reasonable field 7l over this minimum trip at Tipperary.  Beware the American raider, Spanish Pipedream – We know the yards excellent Ascot record.

Straight after that Treve wins the Prince of Wales at 1/2.  Take as much 4/6 as you can and then take as much 1/2 as you can.  How much liquidity can you shake?  Speak to your money man and free up some of those international assets, this is not a time to mess about.  Courage.

On to the Duke of Cambridge – I have always thought that Ascot (especially with the crowd in full cry) is a tough ask for a racehorse.  Fillies coming down the straight mile, their jockeys piloting them to the best ground or to track the best horses, you really need a level-headed sort of beast.  As such, I have eyes for one girl only, Sky Lantern. She has already won the Coronation Stakes here and despite coming last in the Hong Kong Mile, I think she is in with a tremendous chance.  Integral looked an awkward sort in the Dahlia not wanting to work with Ryan Moore but was not far behind Sky Lantern at Newmarket.  That was in the Sun Chariot off level weights and Sir Michael Stoutes’ girl gets a 5lb pull here.  I don’t care.

The Royal Hunt Cup is the penultimate race on the card.  There was loads to like about Abseil at Chester, coming from deep to win well and he looks one of the most interesting runners having his best days ahead.  There is quite often a turn up though in the Hunt Cup.  Christ, so many possibilities… I want one drawn high, weighted 8-7 to 9-3… It is loose the reasoning but that is not a bad profile to go with.  Belgian Bill, previous winner?  Sea Shanty for Her Majesty?  Field of Dream would have been prepared for this well by Osborne with a stellar record in the race… interesting.  In the end, I have sacrificed my high draw requirement for one I really like.  I am hoping that Jim Crowley, hero of last years Oaks with Talent, can track nicely across on Niceofyoutotellme, 20/1.

The Sandringham is as much as puzzle.  Psychometry is a nice profile but in stall 1, will need some luck.  This race normally goes to one at the head of the market and Muteela at 8/1 looks a great bet.  Unbeaten, this Dansili filly may well have more to offer and we certainly know she likes a fight.  Drawn 22, Hanagan hopefully checks her, tracks across and delivers on the line.  I do not know if the Emirates see their racing interests as competitive.  I imagine as the ego of man works that they do.  Perhaps this will be a chance for Sheikh Al Maktoum to pull one back.

Courage friends, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon…. Newmarket, Chester and Market Rasen…

Good evening from the Major who writes from the settee, restless and unsettled.

This may be the shortest Saturday Sermon in some time for various reasons. Mainly though it is time of which I am short. This weekend, I must repay a debt and spend a day with my two boys so I was committed to publishing before midnight. Having being under siege with a head cold for two weeks, my downtime plans first involve sleep.

I am so tired. It has been hectic at work and while I won’t dwell on the detail it has been an unsettling time of late. Coming home tonight, I left the motorway to beat a cross country path after a bad accident had closed a lane. The words are quickly passed over on a traffic report. Closer to home another road was closed following a head on collision. I am so tired, it comes over me like waves each threatening to dislodge my sea anchor and sweep me away, thrown in a tumult, spinning out of control.

There is so much to do. I have a lawn that needs cutting, runs that need to be set upon, decorating, business to tend to, purchases outstanding, lots of things that remain unread. These things pile up, each compresses the last like layers of coal and over time, the pressure squeezes out any enjoyment or contentment, nothing is pleasing, confused I slump and lunge from each item outstanding to the next, all purpose gone, acting not on impulse anymore but out of some strange conviction that salvation lies in ticking items off. How foolish. I am so tired. Sleep will come soon.

Newmarket Tips

Rumours abound that Betfred will go 16/1 the field for the Cambridgeshire in the morning. It is not a race I normally enjoy, 35 runners. I will get to my thoughts on that shortly…

The Royal Lodge opens the card and it looks a fair match up from Chesham winner Berkshire and 4th Somewhat. The latter has had more experience since and shown improved form and with match fitness assured I am on at 2/1.

It was a bit of a turn up yesterday when Charles Hill won the Falmouth but I think he has an excellent chance of another big prize with Kiyoshi in the 2.35. Truth be told though, I think Joyeuse has a solid claim too as is still improving and 6/1 is a fine price.

The Sun Chariot is a cracker with the rematch between Sky Lantern and Elusive Kate. These two have history and it is a hotly awaited showdown. I am all for Sky Lantern at 7/4 who I thought would easily have beaten Elusive Kate if not for the carry in the Falmouth. That is some form too as we are talking about a star European filly.

In the Cambridgeshire, my instinct is to go with Educate but having been let down so often, I have settled on two bets on Tha’ir and Forgive both of whom are 25/1 shots. I think both have been laid out for this and both have capable pilots…. It’s fun but not a race I’ve committed serious thought to.

At Chester, in the 3.05, I am struggling to split Zain Eagle and Gabrials Kaka both of whom have excellent chances. The former benefits from my favourite non retained jockey, Neil Callan and the latter has the crucial course form. On balance I am siding with Gabrials Kaka at 6/1.

At Market Rasen the Summer Plate is another open contest but I am opting for 10/1 shot Grandads Horse. My pick comes with Noel Fehily aboard and looks an improver over fences.

In the football, I have strong fancies for Arsenal away at Swansea (7/5) and Spurs (7/4) who I think will beat Chelsea. I also think Birmingham could win at Reading (10/3)

For Martin, I suggest a Sky Lantern, Grandads Horse and Spurs trixie.

The rest of you, I wish you a fine dinner in the best of company. Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Goodwood and Galway Festival Tips #crowdsourcingmultiple

Good evening from the Major who writes from bed, tonight alone, the warm air that held Worcestershire tightly has been disrupted by newer fresher air.  The scene is turbulent as these two competing forces skirmish across the sky, flashes of battle, the roar of conflict.

The good lady has left for Birmingham for the evening, my two boys sensing my lack of true paternal control have sought some ruin, getting amok among the house.  At first it seemed that they were not to be quieted but like all things, decay came to their once seemingly perpetual energy, at last, peace fell.

Peace is a precious commodity for the Major, such is the nature of my work and home, that seldom is there time to spare and nothing to think of, all is vigour, rush and noise.

As I lie here now, listening to the wind and rain rising again in the country air, the window flung open, one can appreciate the tremendous value of peace.  It is akin to being free….. freedom is choice, I choose to listen to the fat rain, thrown down in a childish tantrum.  The good lady finds the occasional passing traffic a reason for the fenetre to always be ferme.  Yet in these moments alone, well the kiss of tyre on wet tarmac is a pleasurable a sound that I could wish for, a sound that denotes my free will.  In such small things is my happiness grounded.

Doing things that please you is a common theme in these parts.  We float on the breeze just the once.  Latch on to whatever meaningful pleasure you can my friend, you have my explicit permission.

This year, I received a piece of advice from a respected fellow gentleman gambler that struck me at first as an odd suggestion but it stuck with me as sometimes these things do and I dwelt upon it, which improved it.  He suggested that unless you are one of these snooty professional gambling sorts (if you came here for highly reliable tips by the way, you have made a grievous turn) then you can do worse than simply waging on outcomes that please you.  If there is a football game on, back the team you would like to win.  If a horse runs and you like it, or the trainer, or silks, or jockey, or name… you get the idea.  Wage on your desire.

This may seem simple but it is unusual.  Most gamblers I know select the most likely outcome they can imagine with the caveat that the outcome gives them a return that will excite them.  Fools.  Such men will happily bet a horse to win but even if they think an odds on horse is an utter certainty, they refuse to wage because the rewards of success are too slender for them.

The slightly more sophisticated approach, that more seasoned and considered sorts preach concerns value selection.  Us ‘value’ advocates consider ourselves more refined than the other ‘hoi polloi’, we certainly accept defeat more readily, seeking to learn it’s precious lessons.  Indeed ‘value seekers’ regard themselves as superior,a  wonderful feeling I can tell you.  It is not the likeliest outcome we seek but the greatest difference in our favour between likely outcome and bookmakers price.  This can have you backing all sorts of weird and wonderful outcomes, solely because you feel them ‘over-priced’.  I once was explaining this to a man who asked me for a tip.  I gave him a 20/1 horse and just before the off, he asked whether I thought it could really win.  I said it was unlikely, I thought the correct price for the horse to be 8/1, thus unlikely to win anyway.  He seemed perturbed.  The tip came last.

What about this  advice then, to back outcomes you simply desire?  Well, I have to say, it bears examination well.  Consider with me a moment.  Permit yourself to forget our continuous crusade,  our strain against the dark enemy who prices his markets in such wickedly deceptive ways and would have us twisting and writhing in our own doubts.  Imagine instead that each sporting wager was determined by your preferred outcome.  It may not be sophisticated but it would make winning somewhat more pleasurable, n’est pas?  Pleasures enhanced, simplicity, no need for calculation.

Anyway, I wish I was at Goodwood tomorrow.   Regular gentleman @iamnotluke  is reading this on a train, travelling across our green and gold land, hurtling towards those Sussex Downs – Train travel can be the most pleasing.  I hope that his train carries good coffee, I hope the Racing Post is spread on the table, that the company is excellent, that the choices made, the freedoms expressed, whether resulting in bounty or defeat are appreciated for the wonderment they bring.

We float by on this breeze just once and I pity those that never savour the moment, the anticipation building towards a great sporting event, that childish tremor inside, the moment where all dreams of tremendous successes and beautiful equine explosive displays and beautiful people, the colour, the muscle, the definition and the ambiguityLike strands flung far out, weaving their stories, it comes back together in the end, for all of us.  In that you can trust, it is one of your only certainties.

Goodwood is one of our sports finest days and know this, racing is the finest of all sports, to all in attendance today, enjoy – It is good to be alive in England on such a day.    To the sports.

Goodwood Tips

I love Goodwood – It is such a stunning course and while the racing is top class, the atmosphere mingles smartness, down to earth anti-snobbery and damn fun in fine measure.  I also think that Goodwood is a specialist track.  It has quite a camber and not every horse will act upon it.

It is Nassau day at Goodwood and Hannon and Hughes will unleash Sky Lantern, she seemed desperately unlucky not to master Elusive Kate at Newmarket.  Carried across the track by the winner, who has previous when it comes to a leftwards drift.  We will come to the Nassau.

We start in the 2.40 RAC handicap.  This is very strong handicap and it would not be surprising to see some of these sorts competing at a higher level before the autumn closes.  

Sir Michael Stoute has had a few winners in the last few years and he is represented by the Queens horse Bold Sniper.  When it comes to potential improvers, he is high on the list as he bears a St Leger entry… interesting.  He looked a little unlucky at Ascot to me as his draw did not help and considering that, he performed well.  Royal Signaller appeals at 14/1 as one that is overpriced but I am happy with the 11/2 about my selection (Stan James / 888).

The Nassau looks a cracker and it seems to revolve around Sky Lantern.  She was a powerful winner of the Guineas and was unlucky against the older Elusive Kate at HQ.  She has also won here before, which is a huge plus too.  Perhaps the big question is whether she will step up well.

The same question applies to Just the Judge who is also asked to race over a further distance for the first time, having finished in the places behind Sky Lantern twice.  Connections could have put Secret Gesture into this but opted for another crack at Sky Lantern with Just the Judge – Will she exert a Toronado style revenge?

Just Pretending is the O’Brien main threat and is seeking to improve on classic places too.  Ambivalent has won a G1 in Ireland when doing it from the front in the Pretty Polly.  I imagine that style will make her vulnerable here.

Two very interesting runners are Hot Snap and Sajjhaa.  The former was the big let down in the Guineas.  She beat Sky Lantern as a juvenile and surely the 1,000 guineas was not her running, yet it worries me that she has been off for this time.  Sajjhaa is an international sort that has won at the highest level in Dubai and run well in Hong Kong.  Suroor suggests she will be better for the run and conceding a chunk of weight here would be hard.

For all of these intriguing sorts, the Nassau normally goes to a fancied sort.  The biggest winner in the last 15 years was an incredible 11/2.  As such, I suggest Integral as a valid alternate to Sky Lantern.  My selection gave such a blistering display at Sandown in a listed contest that you had to take notice.  As Moore v Hughes hots up, I shall be on the former here.

In the Stewards Cup, I could get immersed in terrible detail but instead I am going to gamble that Hoof It has been campaigned with this in mind.  The horse is 16/1 (Bet Victor / Stan James) which could look huge if so.  He is only a pound higher than his last victory in this and although he looked bob average in the listed debut this year, it is noteworthy that he carries two G1 entries later in the season.  The race has a history of quality – Some winners of this have lumped the big weight, let us hope Hoof It can do the same.  Heavens Guest is just one of a host of dangers.

Mezel did well to win up north combatting inexperience and may be a much better prospect here.  That is my last selection at 4/1 in the 5pm, that is my last Goodwood selection but a strong one – That form was well advertised by the second, Free Code who went on to win at Thirsk next time… plenty of scope for Mezel.

Galway Tips

I am going to have a pop at Iniesta in the opener which looks both an obvious and ill-informed choice.  I care not.  Princess Aloof looks similarly well placed to win the second.

Stuccodor last lost a year ago in the Galway festival of 2012! Since then he has won 5 times and has risen 30lbs in the handicap as a result! Now you might worry that such a rise might put pay to his chances back in hotter company but there are two reasons to stay aboard.  Firstly, the horse loves the slop and not all of these will.  Secondly, his last victim has since won three times, hardly suggesting the handicapper has caught up!

Three favourites I hear you cry! Well look, I think they are the best value.

Now, something from the other shelf, the winner of the Ladbroke Hurdle.  Two appeal and I am having a slice of both.  Security Breach is only a 4 year old and has taken some backing but did get off the mark at Gowran last time and has won on heavy too.  If Landero did not have such concerns over the ground, I would have been investing.  He was pulled from a race earlier in the week when the ground went soft and it is much worse now.  This leaves me with my Mullins runner, a 9/1 chance with Paddy Power.

The football season has kicked off but I shall watch for now.  Sheff Utd looked mighty impressive tonight although lack a finisher.  They may be my new money train, watch this space.

May your dinner be held in the most upliftingly beautiful company.  Courage, roll those dice.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15: All Goodwood Mezel, Integral, Hoof It, Bold Sniper

The #crowdsourcingmultiple

Thanks to all who submitted their tips – If you are not part of the conversation on Twitter… get involved!

@h103efa 3.05 Thirsk Blockade

@onedeswalker 3.15 Goodwood Just The Judge

@Spinitg  2:35 Galway Princess Aloof

@Lukeyboy1325 3:30 Newmarket Urban Dance

@IamNotLuke 2.30 Goodwood Bold Sniper

@cafcbrad  3.10 Galway Stuccodor

@mytentoryour 4.30 Newton Abbot Union Saint

@danieldrazek 3.45 Galway Landero

Newmarket July Meeting – Friday Tips

Good evening from the Major who writes from a pleasant warm Worcestershire where the most beautiful of evenings departs gracefully and the clear shimmering celestial  plafond is revealed.

For some, such a pristine summers evening is the pinnacle of the environmental condition and I can see the merit.  Earlier tonight, I was sat as an uninvited guest at my company’s Finance team rounders barbecue.  The sun was setting, turning the vista coral and warming soft skinned arms, the air gentle, the birdsong in perfect proportion to the mood.  Yes, it is the finest that the season can offer.

Yet the Major looks to winter for the true splendour of nature.  For a start, I prefer the season in general.  Being born of Northern skin, summer’s blessings are always tempered by my inclination to burn and a strong dislike of insects.

Winter bears the gifts of darker nights in which I sleep contented.  Ah, to awaken on a bitterly frosty morning and to be about the Worcestershire countryside, drawing sobering cold air to pain the lungs.  The frost crackling on brittle looking branches, all the land a wonder, pristine whiteness, the air thickening in front of your face with your own breath…. Yes, it is better, I know, I was there.

Thinking of sleep, this week, there was news that Karl Burke has his trainers licence back.  It reminded me suddenly of an unfortunate dream I endured that Frankel had been billeted, not into the intricate and delicate hands of the late Cecil but instead into the Burke yard.

The dream revolved around me backing Frankel for a seller at Southwell and I was the only person there who knew his true ability and of course, I could not have explained to others what I knew.  It turned out that it was not to be Frankel’s day and he toiled across the sand stamping his stride down hard as a course specialist took the race.  I was angry at the insulting performance, at the wasted magnificence but being powerless, what could I do?

That morning, I woke with a sadness.  Now do not get me wholly wrong, I do like a touch of skullduggery in racing as well as life, it adds flavour.  There is a fine line which I often cannot draw myself between a plot horse laid out for a race and darker practices afoot.  As for Burke and where the Major stands on his licence, I have my view, I shall let you draw your own.

It is such a beautiful night.  The stars above, seemingly everlasting, immeasurable, so distant.  For many, considering such vastness seems overwhelming, the fear, a realisation of mortality, of insignificance.  For the Major, while the realisation is undeniably true, the feeling invoked is one of liberation.  For understanding the simplicity of your existence, well… you have a duty my friend, a duty to yourself, you are the lucky one.

So Let us enjoy ourselves and be good to others.  Care little for the pointlessness which others may fixate on.  Savour in the moment of the small detail, we float by the once my friends, just the once.

To the sports and fair warning.  The Major did not manage a post for Thursday but it is to your own benefit.  My race reading for Thursday radiated defeat.  Let us hope it is done with.

Newmarket Friday Tips

In the opener, I am opting for Nardin who is generally priced at 6/1.  Stepping up a furlong will probably draw more advantage and watching her last race (at Newmarket) she did well coming late to get up for second.  It is a little off-putting that Ed Dunlop has only managed 4 places from his 20 runners at HQ in the last few years but I shall overlook this.  Indignant is a viable alternative to my selection, Hannon had two winners yesterday and I thought his string looked in reasonable order.

In the 2.10, much of the focus is on Rizeena and rightly so.  She looked a very good winner at Ascot, though Fig Roll was not far behind and may improve again now with an extra 200 yards to exact the damage.  Bye Bye Birdie has a question mark after being well and truly beaten at Ascot by Rizeena, before turning in a much better performance on home soil… interesting.   On balance, I think Fig Roll is a generous 15/2 with Betvictor and she goes on the slip.  Hannon has won this race a couple of times in the last ten years, most recently with Memory, a Highclere horse that I had a soft spot for but was never the same afterwards.

The Falmouth  sees just three oppose Sky Lantern and my first reaction to the card was of surprise.  I had to exclaim to the heavens that this was a gift from God as I could not understand why Sky Lantern was only just shading odds on at 10/11.  Giofra is the most interesting opponent but one that strikes me will be ill at ease with the small field and firm conditions.  It was while considering this contender that the style of Sky Lanterns wins started to gnaw at me.  She has been a hold up horse and I wonder how tactically versatile she is.  The same is not true of Elusive Kate at 5/2 – Make no mistake about it, my tip is hard as nails and can have them stacked up to accelerate off a slow pace… In my head, it is mapped out for victory already!

The 3.15 handicap is 8/1 the field which tells you what you need to know.  The Major is keeping stakes low on Barracuda Boy at 14/1 with Stan James – Plenty of time to improve yet and last time was not his likely best, in a yard that does well in this sort of race too.

Regulars who know me well understand that I like my two year olds with a run in them.  That leaves me Collaboration, Expert, Right of Appeal, Edge and True Story to concentrate on in the maiden at 3.50.  True Story is an obvious contender but was not first choice for the yard on debut and either surprised or is simply not a top player for them.  Expert ran well at Bath which is a tough course to make a debut on, the step up is a bonus and I like Sean Levey in the saddle.  He looks the Hannon second string though and Edge is a preferable sort and almost got the nod.

Instead the Major tips Right of Appeal at a likely 16/1 or bigger.  Johnstone had a fine first day of the festival and this horse has some strong credentials.  He has seen a racecourse, his form is nothing to shout about but his trainer would not have him in this without a chance.  I like his breeding and will trust that, being out of Dubawi, he will relish the rattling ground.  All in a decent long shot.

The second maiden looks a better race and only the booking of Fallon for the favourite, Vermont, puts me off.  I just do not think Fallon is the jockey he once was and I much prefer to stick with Mark Johnstone and a maiden double if de Sousa can bring Lions Park home at a likely 7/2.

Famous day for Johnstone?  Could well be if I am right because I really fancy Henry the Aviator in the last.  I was absolutely stunned in the horses defeat last time out and now having been freshened up with a small break, am ready to believe that normal service will be resumed – 7/2, have a significant slice and thank me later.