Tag Archives: society rock

The Saturday Sermon on July Cup Day 2013

Good Evening from the Major who is writing from Birmingham and the home of the in-laws.  The evening has darkened, I am sat at the rear of the house with the glass doors flung open and the cooling air flooding in and washing over me gloriously.

The Major did not fare much better on the second day of Newmarket.  Elusive Kate held on.  More typical of my tipping form is that in the opener I talked myself off the winner and onto the third placed horse.

I don’t mind a few losers though, it makes winning all the sweeter… Bear with me my friends, the mothership cometh soon.

I am too tired to deliver a significant Saturday sermon, I am sure many of you skip it and go straight to the tips anyway.  What is the point of that?  If you are here seeking immediate profits from a knowledgeable tipster, you are in the wrong place.  If I were able to make lots of money from my hobby, I would not be sharing the riches of my mind.  That’s probably a lie, my crippling desire to be liked always overwhelms any reluctance to deploy generosity.

To the sports.

Newmarket – July Cup Day

I have such fond memories of Hayley Turner galvanizing Dream Ahead to win the July Cup, weaving her way through at pace…. Her first Group One, that would take some beating!

Before we get to the feature, we have some other contests to cut our teeth on.

Defendant is of interest in the opener for Ryan Moore – The horse won a Beverley maiden and although has not excelled since, has run with credit against older more experienced horses.  I am more persuaded by the Queens horse Princes Trust at 4/1.  My selection won nicely last time out and looks on a mark that leaves plenty for improvement.  With the Hannon yard in fine fettle, what is not to like?

Hannon also has a good record in the second race, the Superlative Stakes with his recent winners being King Torus and Olympic Glory.  His representative Washaar needs serious respect, retained jockey Dane O Neill means usual rider Hughes is on Chapple Hyam’s horse, Noble Metal.  Not without a chance in the Majors view.  The one I am putting up though is Somewhat at 6/1.  He has been setting himself up a bit by leading out in his races but must be respected and Murtagh is still a top class rider.

You could beat yourself up trying to find the solution in the 3.15 Bunbury Cup.  The Major liked Emilio Largo, Bertiewhittle and I’m so Glad, all for different reasons but the dart landed on Redvers at 14/1.

In the big race, I have a strong strong fancy.  While I love Society Rock and would not begrudge him the win, I think he is up against it.  Shea Shea was my idea of a good thing at Ascot but am less convinced now.  The horse that blew me away though was Lethal Force, 9/2.  The Clive Cox runner did it the hard way at Ascot but more improvement is still available and I am a fan.

Emirates Flyer looks the best bet for the 4.25 but I am keeping it calm at the prices.

The 5pm came down to a call between Dutch Courage and Al Baz.  I went with the latter at 3/1 because I think Neil Callan is a pus and while the last race form was at Redcar, it was pretty powerful.

In the lucky last, I am sticking with Cousin Khee.  He is more experienced than most but his Plate form showed that he is a very capable sort and 11/1 is big.

May your dinner be generous and in good company  Courage and roll those dice.

The Martin Hill lucky 15 is Emirates Flyer, Al Baz, Somewhat and Princes Trust

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The Saturday Sermon – Royal Ascot Trouncing…. Bookies 4 – The Major 0

Good morning from a bright and grey Worcestershire as the Major rises, licking his wounds and opening the Ascot cards with a trepidation born from a week of losses.

The Major has struggled badly this week, lumbering on clumsily, stumbling blindly and lashing out wounded and hurt.  The troubling thing is that this poor run is not bad luck, I have been consistently wrong in the thinking.  If a few 25/1 shots had finished out of the places and our 3/1 sorts were beaten by a nose then I would take some succor from the outrageous slings and arrows of fortune.  As it is, I have no place to hide.  If you have been backing them with me, what can I say?  Thank god, those that frequent the Major require no apology, it is not how we work.  Neither do I expect your thanks…

I provide thoughts, free.  You get to open the top of my skull and extract from the darkly fertile material.  The product is often unhinged but it is yours to do with as you please.   When you act and back a horse, then this is your choice.  I take no responsibility for your action so any credit is yours as is the invoice of loss.

However, I need something special today to rise like the phoenix, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Just a decent day would do for me, nothing dramatic, something I could cling to Dunkirk style.  Something I could attach the virtue of victory to.

Royal Ascot Saturday Tips

The Chesham is always an exciting affair and Bunker is the present favourite after winning his Haydock race is fabulous style.  When he got down to work he quickly parted company from the rest…  Hannon and Hughes have only one dart at this and they could have had many so you would imagine he has a good chance.

Ballydoyle only have one bullet too and their Friendship only managed third on debut but I am sure will leave that well behind.

It pays to stick with those that are prominent in the market and for the Major, this is simple.  Bunker looked far the most impressive, have a slice.

The Hardwicke is a race that always makes me think of Harbinger who was a stunning winner of the 2010 renewal.  It was such a shame that he was injured seriously and forced to retire as I had him chalked up as that years Arc winner and would have loved to have seen if I was right!

You cannot ignore the recent Hardwicke record of Stoute who lines up with Sir John Hawkwood.  I am not that enamoured by the form but anything with Moore aboard at the moment has to be respected.  Can the handicapper step up?

Noble Mission has had the moniker of Frankels brother thrust upon him on every racecourse appearance.  He is clearly a very decent horse but seemingly no better than that.  Seems harsh that he should be heavily criticised for only being listed class but the Major thinks that is where his level is.

I am convinced the winner is from Ektihaam and Sir John Hawkwood.  I am backing the latter as it is available at 9/1 with Betvictor.  I also advise a reverse forecast on the pair.

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes is always the plan for Society Rock.  He has won the race, been placed in it and been a fifth in recent years.  His fifth was a little unlucky in my view having been drawn the wrong side to get at Black Caviar.  At 9/2, he is a fair chance.  This race throws up some surprises though.  There is not a right age to be, draw is important but more so to be on the pace side than anything… Plenty of big priced winners have had success and Reply is one for me that might just improve from the generally available 33/1 chance he is branded with here.  He will be fine with conditions and is drawn where I would like…

Duke of Firenze was impressive at Epsom, getting up nicely with the Moore drive.  He is well drawn and should go well in the Wokingham.  The race normally goes to a classier sort nearer the top of the weights aged 4-5.  Duke of Firenze meets that bracket too.  He is also ridden by Moore who, as I have already stated, is the best jockey riding this week.  What is not to like?  I am also having a saver on Rex Impersonator who gets Callen and has a chance if finally showing the true potential.

The Duke of Edinburgh is the penultimate race and I want a progressive looking beast.  As such, I am supporting Lahaag, 9/1, who was only just pipped at York and looked very useful last season.  I can’t leave Sir Graham Wade, 25/1,  alone in this either as I remain convinced the horse has a damn good win or two to come.

I am closing a disastrous Royal Ascot out with a bet on the favourite in the Queen Alexandra.  Since Shahwardi was runner up last year to none other than Simenon, who almost stopped the Queens estimate Gold Cup party earlier in the week, it is fair to assume Shahwardi will take some stopping and frankly, I am surprised it is 7/2.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Shahwardi, Sir John Hawkwood, Bunker and Lahaag…

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon – Racing Tips from Ascot, Cheltenham and Cork, plus Frankel – Time at Ascot…

Good evening from the Major who writes to you from a Defford where the sky hangs heavy with the threat of a downpour, it feels as if it were sagging and clinging to my cheek, cold and damp… my sort of weather.

The Household Cavalry dressed in Sheikh Abdulla’s colours in honour of Frankel, the finest horse of our generation

Tomorrow I ride for Ascot, I am taking my father and meeting a friend there for a beer too. Whatever happens we are in for a terrific day of racing but it would be dishonest to say that if Frankel fails to run, it would not be a touch deflating.The way they have handled this horse has given us every chance to enjoy the champion that he is. On Twitter (@tdl123) I rated my top three Frankel races and decided that my favourite was the Queen Anne. Having had longer to reflect I have changed the order slightly and now have a top four in the following order.

4th – The Guineas

This will be top of most peoples lists – The way he flew from the gates and had them at it from half way. A stunning performance and the way they finished strung out like 3 mile chasers was testament to what the great horse had achieved.

3rd – Royal Lodge

The more I watch the Royal Lodge he won, the more I love it. The move he makes on the bend to put the race to bed was stunning and although Treasure Beach was stopped in his tracks, Frankel would still have won by half a furlong!

2nd – The Queen Anne

What a way to open Royal Ascot – As a performance, this was his highest rated in my view. He did not just win, he destroyed a field of top horses and left everyone gasping for air. Awesome.

1st – His First Sussex Stakes versus Canford Cliffs

Context is important and this race was full of it. Goldikova a winner of more Group One races than seems possible was reaching the end of her career. Canford Cliffs, one of the best Hannon has ever had, lowered her colours and rightfully claimed the best miler in Europe crown. Then Frankel met him at Goodwood. The camber at Goodwood means many horses do not act there. The combination of factors meant that the Major tipped Canford… Then this happened…

Let us hope that Frankel runs – The generosity of connections have given us more than we needed but we are like gluttons and want it all. Treasure the moment. The only possible upside of him not running tomorrow is a possible crack at the States and the breeders cup meeting… Personally I would like him to finish his career at Ascot tomorrow.

To the sports….

Ascot Tips – 1.50 – The Stayers

At this stage of the season, I am looking for the slightly more lightly raced sorts. The Ascot ground will also be very soft which should rule a few out…

In the opener, most of the animals will be fine with the soft conditions. Gold Cup winner Colour Vision beat a number of these including Fame and Glory back in July. Opinion Poll, the other Godolphin horse was second that day and goes off as 3/1 favourite here. Aiken is a horse I really like but feels like he might just be a bit short of top draw. Ile de Re is an interesting runner but has to make a big step up in class. Rite of Passage is a fascinating runner and could play a part at 8/1 if well tuned up.

After some thought though, the Major is going to offer Fame and Glory at 11/2 – A former winner of the race who has lost some of his lustre – If he wins tomorrow, it will be a fitting end to a sparkling career… words that we may well repeated later in the day!

2.20 Ascot – Tips for the Sprint

The sprint is a fascinating contest and I would love to back Maarek, especially with the booking of Jamie Spencer. I am wondering though whether the horse is feeling the effect of the campaign and I may well give him a miss. The muddier the better for that one so if more rain arrives, it may be a persuading factor.

The Major is siding with a horse packed with potential in Slade Power who looked a horse going places in the summer. After a break to freshen him up, I expect a top draw performance and although there are proven G1 horses in the field, I do not want to back Wizz Kid unless in France and Society Rock is the main danger. Blue Square offer 15/2 and a quarter odds the place, have a slice.

2.55 Ascot – Group 2 Mile and a Half

The two to concentrate on seem to be Great Heavens and Sapphire. The former took an Irish Classic in the slop and loves these conditions. She was my idea of the Arc winner as I am a massive fan. She cruised into the straight at Longchamp looking a likely challenger but faded badly and I just wonder if the season and he travels are catching up.

Thus the tip is Sapphire for the Weld team. She is a horse of immense talent and seems to be much better the further she goes, seemingly tapped for toe over 400m shorter in the Pretty Polly. She is a true mud lark and at 10/3 generally I think a great bet to beat Great Heavens who I would like to see racing agin next year where hopefully connections might give her a light schedule with a hopefully soft ground Arc as the target.

QE II 3.30 Ascot

Excelebration is an absolute bolt on here and I suggest a reasonable investment at just shading odds on. He has been beaten by Frankel so often yet is still a top class horse and now placed to avoid a battle with the inevitable, he is gaining very well deserved Group One successes.

The Queen is in attendance and so Carlton House would be a popular winner but it is Excelebration for the Major.

Ascot Champion Stakes

It is not often that the Major here whispers but I have it on good authority that Frankel might be a decent sort! This race requires no bet, it is a moment of historic racing importance. I hope Frankel serves it up to Cirrus Des Aigles

Enjoy it…

4.45 Amateur Riders Handicap

I find it disappointing that this race exists on the card of what is meant to be the climax of the flat season. It really seems out of place.

Smarty Socks would be the one I would want but I am dubious that these are his conditions. Boring as it may seem, Jack Dexter is the 5/1 selection. The Ayr Bronze Cup winner loves a bit of mud and is surely goi to have a big say. Kingscroft (16/1) and Atlantic Sport (33/1) also make some appeal.

Cheltenham Selections

It is so good to see racing back at Cheltenham. Fridays action saw The New One take a decent Novice hurdle. Given that he hit most of them, he must be some animal to still win, I expect a big season.

Rendl Beach should be a good thing in the opener at 6/4. Curtis horses often need a warm up but this one won smartly on reappearance and a big run is surely on the cards tomorrow.

In the second race, I am going to take a chance on 22/1 shot Quito Du Tresor. I think that there may be more to come from this one. The Henderson horse Nadiya De La Vega at 10/1 is decent value too.

Baby Mix and Dodging Bullets are two rising stars and the latter looks a great evens bet based on the 4th position achieved in the Triumph.

In the 4th race, I like the look of two Qianshan Leader at 22/1 catches the eye as does Darna at 16/1. The latter looks an intriguing sort.

In the 4.20 I am a big fan of Irish raider Defence of Duress and suggest a decent investment.

Third Intention should see the field off in the penultimate race if match fit. 3/1 is a very fair price as he should be much better than this field, many of whom have a readiness advantage.

In the last maybe Southfield Theatre on a strict reading of form with The New One but honestly, stick a pin in!

Cork Tip

I like Rock Critic in the listed contest and at 2/1 am having it in several selections…

May your dinner be fine, in the company of someone nice. Each day we are above ground is an opportunity so do not waste yours. Let us hope that Frankel gives us something to cheer.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Haydock Sprint Cup Tips, 33/1 Ascot Tip and a 33/1 shot at Leopardstown!. Shabash

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a rural Worcestershire scene, dark at an hour forboding the coming cold of winter.

How the Major loves the change of season. Of fair complexion, I have always struggled in the sun, it makes me ill. Nice dark nights, cold air on your face and less brightness with which to ache my northern eyes, winter is my time.

The Major is in decent form with some nice winners last weekend. Let us hope the run continues and we strike gold with the huge amount of tips provided below.

I am writing the post on a Friday evening as I am running in the morning. I am taking on 9 miles and then I am going to repeat the dose on Sunday. This is all in preparation for the Berlin marathon which I run with my brother and Adam Redmond, both also avid gambling spirits.

Our cause is Whizz Kidz – A superb charity giving young disabled people mobility. The way in which their equipment and training can boost a childs confidence and change their lives is a wonderful thing. If you have a few pounds to spare, the Major urges you to consider a small donation at our justgiving page.

After all, what has the Major ever asked of you. You remain anonymous, arriving here to read these words each week. You are one of a few hundred regulars. You know me; I ask little, I know I am barely profitable – I offer my ideas for free neither expecting praise or condemnation after the result. I serve you no adverts, I don’t pester you to sign up for anything. You get the Major every weekend, unhinged and honest. Free, no strings attached. Just once, might I appeal to your generosity.

If you don’t really know me, then just donate the cost of a pint – Remain anonymous if you will, it would move me to receive such generosity. After all, you don’t have to, it is merely a choice.

Betfred Sprint Day and the main race looks a cracker. Another in the British Champions Series which has been a roaring success. Below I have compiled tips for that, alongside some racing tips for Leopardstown where the Group One Irish Champion Stakes is lit up by the presence of Snow Fairy and Nathaniel. As usual, the Major brings you the highlights and I cover the entire and I must say entirely impenetrable Ascot card. As a close colleague of the Majors, Mr Smith, is attending, should there be winners, I trust a man of considerable means, might consider a donation to the cause.

Be ready to daub thy war paint my dear followers, be ready to bear arms. Bravery in the face of our enemy; he who makes markets of the most devious nature to fool us and confound our minds. Allow me to cut through the clouds of misdirection.

For real bravery, consider the tale of Airmen Sergeant Norman Jackson VC. You have to do some magnificent things to win a Victoria Cross, in this case, he crawled onto the wing of his Lancaster which had sustained fire after a raid on Schweinfurt, a Bavarian town on the Main river. The wing was on fire and Sergeant Jackson resolved to put the fire out with an extinguisher. His parachute accidentally opened on the way out, meaning he knew that if he fell, he was doomed.

In those circumstances, would you crawl onto a plane wing at 200mph, 20,000 feet in the air? What is more, he knew that even if succesful, he would never be able to get back into the aircraft.

He fell from the wing after dropping the extinguisher, his chute partially worked and in addition to his broken bones and burns, he suffered being captured. That is the sort of action that requires recognition with our highest honour, a small cross of bronze (legend has it from the cannons at Balaclava where our thin red line and light brigade saw action… although a more likely source is Chinese bronze).

To the sports….

3.25 – Haydock Betfred Sprint Cup Tips

This is a proper Group One race with top class sprinters taking each other on – On rattling ground at Haydock it is going to be fast and furious.

Aussie sprinter Ortensia is on a hat trick bid after superb Goodwood and York wins this term. Her early form in Britain looked ropey but on balance she had plenty of excuses for those first two runs. The Nunthorpe win was particularly good and she remains of clear interest at 11/4.

Society Rock has the assistance of Kieran Fallon and if breaking on terms could be a threat to all. 11/1 is a great each way price.

Strong Suit has been on the wrong side of a Frankel beating and I think Hannon is doing the right thing dropping him back to sprint distances. Quicker ground seems the key to the horse who is a general 6/1 chance.

Three year olds have a reasonable record in the Haydock Sprint Cup but Es Que Love is surely outclassed.

The Major is going instead to rely on my old favourite Bated Breath at 7/2 with Totesport and Betfred. My selection set a course record in the Temple Stakes and I think the quick ground we get here is the key to him. His Haydock record is outstanding and I fancy him to go one better than his second here last year.

A forecast with Ortensia is also a bet I would like to take on.

Ascot Tips – The Full Ascot Card

1.30 Juvenile Maiden

There is not a lot of form evidence with these two year olds and so the Major advises you to keep stakes at a minimum.

Telescope and Meshardal are very interesting debutantes, both have derby entries. On breeding, this looks like it might be a bit sharp for the former, a son of Galileo. The Sharmadal bred Mershardal might go well on debut. Mershadal is from the Hannon yard, possibly the most effective trainer for bringing the best from two year olds, even if other trainers seem to surpass him with older horses.

Interestingly, with Richard Hughes not available for Hannon, Pat Dobbs, the next stable pick is on Bursledon, a horse I would be interested in.

In these races, money can be crucial and at this stage, no market is open and so the Major is advising blind. Keep stakes small but I would chance a small bet on King Muro at 33/1 or so (guessing the price here so use your own judgement!)

2pm – Fillies Juvenile Maiden

Half an hour later and it is the turn of the girls. Only seven runners and three of them are representatives of the Mohammed Al Zarooni stable. That is an interesting yard for juveniles, they are focussed on their breeding operation. The market seems to have little feel for the genuine chances suggesting that they are not a gambling yard. The Major likes this as if you find one at a price, you need not be put off.

While there are less runners, the quality is all there.

Taking Al Zarooni’s runners, then jockey booking suggests they are happiest with Desert Blossom, who won her debut race with the field strung out. I would not jump to judge the bare form as superb but clearly she has ability.

Fleeting Spirit is an interesting runner, a big filly, she is sure to improve with time as she comes to herself. She had the bad luck of meeting the ill-fated Newfangled on debut and went one better subsequently. Her last third was a bit dissapointing off what looked like a winnable mark.

While I think Desert Blossom is the likeliest winner, I prefer at the prices, rank outsider, 12/1 shot Nice Story. The Chepstow race she won was entirely ordinary. We do not get many Suave bred horses in the UK, the sire is out of AP Indy and the Major is happy that this could be a well bred sort. While the Chepstow run was only OK, the ground here will be more suitable and at 12/1 I fancy a slice.

This is also not a race to get too involved in. I might have a small reverse forecast with Desert Blossom too.

2.35 Ascot – Class 2 Nursery Sprint

Another two year old race, this time over a sprint distance. A very difficult contest to tip.

The market is wide open at 9/2 the field and that reflects the open nature of the affair.

Kodiac bred, Foxy Forever is very interesting. The yard have used young Barzalona twice and have won with him on board twice. His debut win at Wolverhampton followed some significant support and so you have to be interested at 15/2 (Paddy Power).

Experience brings Opt Out into the frame with this being the seventh race of the colts career. He has moved on in leaps and bounds in the last two although the last win at Warwick saw another 5lbs lumped on. I love the toughness of Johnstones horses but prefer Fanning in the saddle.

While Foxy Forever is a very interesting horse with an eye catching booking, it is 6/1 shot Stand of Glory that the Major is going to tip in the Ascot nursery sprint. The ground at Thirsk was pretty rattling and Ascot can dry to include firm tomorrow – There is no way that the Ripon race is true form having led in unsuitable ground, I am sure a place is the minimum we could expect.

3.10 Fillies Handicap

Sharmadal filly Wahylah probably ran her best race at Beverley last time out and the manner of the race suggests that this step up in trip is well in favour.

Ted Durcan gets a rare eye catching ride (2 wins from 3 in last two years) for the yard or Mrs Greeley who has a fair each way chance.

Speedi Mouse is a most interesting runner seeking a hat-trick. The inexperienced jockey has clearly got a good tune out of the horse and the mild weights increase won’t stop further improvement. Of interest.

The Major though is going to tip Honeymead at 12/1. My selection only managed fifth last time out but that was only a few lengths down to the very useful Dutch Rose. That was probably the best run for some time and while many will overlook on the grounds of being exposed, the Major has a sense that there might be a bit more to come.

3.45 Ascot – Class 2 Handicap

A series of the usual handicap suspects have turned up for this class 2 Ascot handicap.

There are few easy races at Ascot today with either mind bendingly difficult handicaps or juvenile guesswork at the heart of these difficult connundrums.

Ladbrokes are generous offering 14/1 about Global Village from the Ellison yard. I would suggest that ground conditions are not ideal and I have given up on trying to guess when the yard have one ready – Money would be significant.

Primaeval is very interesting to the Major who would have hated the soft draining conditions last time out. Returned to suitable conditions, a big run could be on the cards.

In these sorts of races though, the Major prefers the class acts playing off higher weights and the sort that fits the bill is Johnstones Bannock. 10/1 is generally available this evening for my tip who benefits from the best 7lb claimer in Michael Murphy. Get involved.

4.15pm Ascot – 12f Handicap

This is another mind bending puzzle with many horses that enter the equation.

Gospel Choir beat the very useful Sun Central who went on to win again, that form has pushed Gospel Choir to the top of the market. Sir Michael Stoute has a successful relationship with Baker and this horse has won two handicaps here from three wins this year. Very interesting.

Stencive, narrowly defeated by Gospel Choir has to be in the calculation too with some pretty blue blood. In fact the horse is closely related to my favourite ever horse, George Washington. Clearly very useful and on balance, irresistible – the Major tips 10/1 Stencive. My selection, a son of Dansili, should give us a decent run at a decent price.

Incidentally, Fennell Bay is no way a 33/1 shot. OK, the busy schedule may have effected recent performances but if Johnstone has freshened up this outsider then he could make a mockery of that price.

Castilo Del Diablo is another witha great chance. Entirely unexposed, well drawn and a formerly expensive purchase, who knows? I would not put you off.

4.50 Ascot Food and Wine Handicap

Last Sovereign is a rejuvenated animal under the inexperienced jockey Jacob Butterfield, I think the improvement may be stopped by the best part of half a stone extra burden.

Fitz Flyer is the 5/1 favourite and did well just behind the Majors tip Tax Free last time out. Hardly a strike rate to fill you with confidence but signs of a big run are there.

The Major has to decide between Intransigent at 8/1 – A potentially progressive beast whose latest all weather win was decisive and there is little reason why it cannot be replicated on turf. My other fancy is equal 8/1 shot Ajjaadd, who looks like he sort that has been laid out for the race. It is coming to his time of year, the market knows it and while a few more pounds off the weight would help, surely he will be tuned up.

On balance, I just think Ajjaadd will be a major player at 8/1.

5.45 Leopardstown – Irish Champion Tips

The weight allowance normally means that the classic generation have a very good chance in the Champion but this year, the proven class is in the older horses.

Snow Fairy at 2/1 would be my favourite of them, the admirable mare has won 6 group one affairs including her last race at Deauville.

Good luck to Buick who is making the helicopter dash across the Irish Sea to ride Nathaniel. The favourite is clearly a talented animal but I am not sure this is his race.

As for St Nicholas Abbey, the shortness of the trip is one concern but the effect that Frankel inflicted with his Juddmonte demolition act is as much a concern.

Instead the Major opts for 33/1 shot Daddy Long Legs and I ask for your imagination. My tip won the UAE derby and looked set for a globe trotting career but his runs in the states were awful. Given a fresh turf chance back at home, with the three year old allowances, I’m not ruling out some chance for the horse in what might be a tactical affair.

That’s it from the Major who gives you nine sporting horsey tips. If I had to pick a nap, then I would be hard pressed between Bated Breath and Stencive.

May your winnings pay for a dinner to which you can take the classiest of sorts. Bedecked in expensive trinkets and reeking of perfume, she might be full of herself, but after a decent bottle or three and a sight of a fat wallet, the look in the eye will run to more than decent steak. Airs and graces or not, we are all the same in the end.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon – 20/1 July Cup Newmarket Tips – Chester Tips – Betting and striking an agreement

Good morning from the Major who writes from a freshly doused Worcestershire.  The coffee has been bubbling away and the Major has been at the form to bring some tips from Newmarket who hold their July Cup feature race today.

Hayley in the drive position on Dream Ahead last year – Superb ride, fantastic horse

In the Majors top ten moments from racing 2011, Hayley Turner featured at number nine with her scintillating ice cool ride to victory on Dream Ahead.  Leaving it late and confident the gaps would appear, her mount had exactly the same thoughts – Awesome stuff.

If you are looking for tips for Chester today, follow the link – I covered the whole card late on Friday night, some difficult racing but I did find some 50/1 tips in there!

There is so much British racing today it hurts.  Perhaps too much – I am quite unfamiliar with some of these jockeys!  Sadly the only casualty of the weather was Salisbury – They have a good track and it is unusual for them to cry enough but that shows just how relentless the weather has been.

Daub your war paint and let us go to battle – We shall find the value and once again attempt to land the mothership – It is coming, it is coming!

When striking any agreement most people consider it fair that both sides are obligated to fulfil their end of the bargain regardless.  If you enter an agreement in sound mind, surely you have a moral obligation?

Consider though the knowledge each party has ahead of an agreement.  For example, if I sell you a car I know that will break down, this is not moral.  Thus in any agreement it is not just consent but equality of knowledge that is required for a moral obligation to be formed.

I was thinking of this when considering whether a moral obligation exists to settle a debt with a layer who knows a horse will not perform.  When you struck a bet, the layer had knowledge that you did not, if the jockey had instructions to drop it out and the horse was overweight and unfit; this is an unfair bargain.  This is what angers punters more in my view when you see a non trier – It is not the lost money but the moral inequality of the bargain struck.

Yet, this is a fine balance.  Should I share my knowledge and thoughts of how a horse is likely to perform on the ground?  Not really.  Succesful punting is about finding an edge, seeking the pricing that the bookmaker has gotten wrong.  We would not feel this is unfair?

I imagine the difference in most people’s mind is that of honest endeavour.  If I research the stats for Mark Johnston’s juveniles running at Thirsk then I have earned the right to use that knowledge in striking a bet.  The similarity between this and the crooked trainer is that we are both trying to use information we have to strike a bargain in our own favour.

I am not morally justifying crooks, yet I get less angry when I back a horse and then watch as it drifts remarkably in the market, gets away slowly, jockey loses irons, makes late headway and remains unplaced…. My lack of anger is simply a reflection that I accept this as part of our game.  Watch enough racing and you get a sixth sense for the horse who might be about to turn their form around, one way or another… That’s information you can use too.  Morals? questionable… fun and intrigue? aplenty.

To Newmarket and the July Meeting….

1.40 32Red Casino Handicap

Three non runners so far including the very interesting Bronze cannon.

This soft ground is going to play havoc later in the season when it will be harder to assess form from these earlier races.

This is a cracking opening handicap with lots of these horses looking like they are capable of better.  Sir John Hawkwood has won on soft ground in very impressive style early in the season.  That Windsor form might not be massive but the horse settled well early, looked squeezed but once free ran on impressively.  11/8 is the price, fair enough because the potential is there.

Ardmay is of significant interest at 8/1.  The ground presents no problems and Graham Lee is an ideal jockey.  The only thing that puts me off is trainer form.

Instead of the obvious Sir John Hawkwood though, the Major is interested in the more experienced Compton at 12/1.  The horse ran very well at Royal Ascot on soft ground and a big run could be on the cards for the in form yard – Compton is the tip in the opener.

2.10 Superlative Stakes

Some top class juveniles on show here and perhaps the pick of the form is Olympic Glory whose run in behind Dawn Approach in the Coventry was very strong.  This Choisir inmate at the Hannon yard will be well prepped and there is no reason to suspect anything other than a decent run.  Richard Hannon has taken this race three times in the last fifteen years.

The only off-putting matter is whether soft ground is going to be ideal.  It was good to soft at Ascot but this is going to be deeper something that Choisir colts are not famous for.

Instead the Major is taking a chance on proven mudlark Operation Chariot.  Another suitable sporting name!  12/1 is very fair because while the four runner race our colt won at Sandown is unlikely to be the hottest of maidens, it was on soft ground and the selection has similar conditions here.  Certainly worth a punt.

2.40 Newmarket – Bunbury Cup Handicap

An incredibly competitive handicap that needs a lot of sorting out.

Bonnie Brae is all the rage having raced on the unfavoured side at Ascot last time out – Soft ground is manna from heaven for this one and it is sure to give a good account.

Jamesie would be an obvious threat to the favourite but the draw has done the Irish raider no favours and while the ground might level that up a bit, I am probably against that on value.

The two that catch my eye are Seal Rock and Captain Bertie.  The first will enjoy getting his toe in and while on a high winning mark, I think has a chance.

It is 12/1 Captain Bertie that the Major tips for the Bunbury Cup though.  The latest Sandown run was promising enough and soft conditions play into hand here – WEll worth a shot but I would not put you off Bonnie Brae either.

3.20 July Cup Tips – Newmarket

What a shame that the ground has had such an impact on this race.  Bated Breath the favourite has come out as had Libranno, a succesful tip for the Major on last appearance.

This gives plenty of horses a chance to claim a Group One.

One horse that already has that on his CV is Society Rock.  The new favourite at 10/3, this still represents value.  The 5th in behind Black Caviar at Royal Ascot was solid and arguably the best career performance for Society Rock came on soft ground when winning the Golden Jubilee last summer.

Sepoy is retiring to stud and so this is a last racecourse start for the horse who achieved a lot in Australia.  I hope Godolphin have some joy in breeding with him as this is the sort of horse they tend to make worse – Seriously, how many top class imports to Godolphin improve?  I am struggling to think of some but can think of plenty who disappointed after making high-profile moves.

Dandy Boy is attempting a very difficult Wokingham, July Cup double but is not without hope.

The Major would have been very interested in Strong Suit if connections were not so nervous about the soft conditions – It does not sound like he will make the line up – I think they should try with him – If coming back to the best of his form, the shorter distance might help him put in a challenge and 12/1 prices ground concerns in.

The value choice for the Major though is the O’Brien horse Reply at a whopping 20/1.   I find it interesting that the yard are persisting with the horse and indeed have dropped him back into sprint distances.  Like many, the ground is an unproven quantity but I am sure they are not throwing darts with this entry – The sole representative of Ballydoyle in any group one race is a danger to all.

That’s it from Newmarket for the Major – The 3.55 has been decimated down to three runners as the conditions play havoc with the trainer plans.

Whatever you back, I hope the bargain you strike with the bookmaker is in your favour, have no moral qualms about it – After all you are reading this to try to glean an advantage yourself*.

May your dinner be a fine fillet steak shown just a glimpse of the flame, please put no sauce on it, perhaps a little salt and eat with a fresh bread.   I will permit mustard if you need.  Accompanying is a nice bottle of Malbec and eat before company as the nature of the contents of your maw may be off-putting… At the witching hour, think of me – I shall be awake, thoughts racing, hopes building that tomorrow is the day when we land the mothership – That is the beauty of life, there is always a tomorrow.. until there is not and then you have no worry or care at all… Remember the Major and my view on life… we go by the once grab hold of what is next to you on the tide, enjoy and ask few questions.

Enjoy the steak.

Courage, roll those dice.

* If you think the Major and my tips are going to give you a significant advantage, please seek urgent medical attention