Tag Archives: star lahib

The Saturday Sermon – The Ascot Shergar Cup Card, Newmarket and Haydock – Telescope and Simple Good Fun

Good morning from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire scene of early morning beauty.  The sky is a fine profusion of god’s elegant palette.  The palest blue melts gently into formless agreeable white clouds made peachy by the pale weak lemon sun yet to impress it’s forceful splendour upon us.

The Major is up early as in need of a productive day to fulfil numerous and important obligations.  The mind is whirring away with a thousand matters at hand to be seen to.  For reasons I am unable to fathom, I can feel the force of intent, my body galvanised behind the task, seeping out a chemical balance that had me up with the sun, eyes narrow and full of intent.

To be able to control one’s own mind wholly – What power.  How much are we slaves to our own emotion?  The Major is of the camp that believes the answer to be ‘as much as you want to be’ but it would be rude to get started on that puritanical tract now, you do not need such preaching at this hour on a Saturday.  Relax in this company stranger.

Instead consider the question of happiness?  Are you in control of that at least?  What makes you content?  Is it important to be happy?  I shall summarise for your delectable taste, some of the findings of the studies on happiness….

Modern wisdom seeks happiness at the heart of everything but what is it that truly makes you happy?  Science suggests a number of factors.  You would guess the first, I am at pains to write it, for fear of sounding mawkish, but it is seeking deep loving relationships.  That makes some sense but for the Major, I have always felt comfortable in my own skin and not felt the deep need of company.  I must admit to wishing I had more friends, or more time with friends but have come to accept with contentment that I alone am OK.

Some studies suggest more important that relationships is having a clear picture of life’s meaning.  Well make your own because whatever you fabricate is your invention and only has personal value.  The Major has a simple understanding of life’s meaning.  Have fun, we float by the once – This is well trodden land for the Major – Regulars know that I believe of all wastage on earth, the greatest is of the joys of today that pass you by while you were busy.

For true happiness you also need to think you are good-looking, yet it is less important that it be true.   So spend some time with beautiful people, that will perk you up, so to speak.  In this, I suggest you exert vigorous discipline.  The good lady often accuses me of only liking her best looking friends…  I, for one, do not defend the position, after all, why would that not be true?

Eat out more – The Major has been urging you to do this every Saturday for these many years.  People who eat out are happier souls and this I heartily agree with, if combined with the latter point regarding beautiful company, it is a heady mix.

The most powerful stimulant of a happy life I have yet to mention though.  It is activity.  Yes, the happiest people are the most active.  This, I can understand.  If you take pleasure from a roll of the dice, roll them more often.  Is this not in tune once more with the Major’s weekly urgings.  Do I not ask of you to roll those dice each week?

In this, I have started to understand my own meaning.  I am here as one small ingredient in your happiness recipe.  I am here on each Saturday urging you all to do those things to make you happy.  Roll the dice, eat well in fine company and seek pleasure in the small.

Today, we go to the well again in search of the mothership.  Our search thus far has not been fruitless but we know out there is the ‘life-changer’.  The Saturday where the stars align and the momentous result lifts us up.  What I fear is the aftermath of that day, for searching for it has meaning n’est pas? Losing that meaning is as equal as the spoils we gain from finding it.

Yet, we shall not tackle that fear until the mothership has landed.  So daub thy war paint once more young lancer, straighten that fine blue tunic with gold braid and raise that lance so it’s point glitters in the morning light.  We shall go forwards with great victory in mind.  Think of Hannibal who with fewer men, enveloped the deep Roman lines at Cannae, defeating their flanking cavalry and circling in behind the heavy infantry to complete the rout.

To battle friends.

The Ascot Shergar Cup Card.

For many horseracing purists,  know that the Shergar Cup is a bit of a tasteless distraction.  Competing teams of jockeys change the emphasis from horse to rider, the razzamatazz seems shallower and cheap.

Well bah humbug to you, it is good fun, simple.  While the card is compromised of a variety of handicaps and jockeys whose skills may be untested at Ascot on horses that are unfamiliar to them, we shall regardless have a pop at the key races.

The opener is a race that revolves around Nine Realms.  Last year, he won a decent looking Leicester maiden that has produced subsequent winners, some of whom are rated in the 90’s.  Clearly he was fancied on seasonal debut where he was backed before being help up and then making no impression when asked for his effort.  That was his first attempt at racing at York and I would be comfortable putting a line through that form and giving another chance to this one.  Of serious interest at 4/1.

The Major though is suggesting Roserrow as a 15/2 shot – This selection looked entirely trustworthy and progressive until his last run too where he was used up too quickly in an effort to get prominent.  You could argue he faces the same problem here today but I am backing his jockey to play his hand well and put us in the race neatly.  Andrew Balding has won this race several times before which is a plus and the jockey is a skilled and experienced as you like.  Gary Stevens is an American who came out of retirement this year to ride again, if you are worried about whether he still has it… He won the Preakness on 16/1 shock Orb  – Think ‘American’ Johnny Murtagh.

In the staying race, I want a proven stayer and non stands out more than Broxbourne whose record at 2m+ is 4 runs, 3 wins and 1 place.  If they go quick, this girl will be doing her best work in the last two furlongs.

Yet, the Major is sticking with red-hot trainer Sir Mark Prescott and his Ffos Las winner Mutual Regard who is available at 11/2 with Coral and 9/2 generally.  The appeal here is in both the trainer form and the nature of the last win.  A small field at Ffos Las might not be the most reliable of yardsticks to count on a  horses worth but there seems merit in the run.  The second Estyaaq went back to Ffos Las to simply destroy the field in his next race.  I would accept that it represented a drop in grade but it was still eye-catching and considering that Mutual Regard has a 5 from 11 strike rate, I am willing to bet, there could be more to come.  Mark Johnstone has an obvious danger in Broxbourne.

We jump from staying into sprint company for the class 2 dash.  With these sort of highly strung racehorses, it is difficult to judge which are to be at the peak of their game and for me, this is the hardest race to take a firm view in.  As such, I like the chance to 20/1 shot, first reserve Swan Song who is in the race after the defections of Prohit and Stone of Folca.  You need improvement from this girl who was behind Steps and Ahtoug but she does keep getting better.  Yet the key form to me is the 4th of Racy in the Stewards Cup.  This is not a horse that has shown superstar tendencies but that form is very solid and he has only been in the hands of Brian Ellison for this stage of his career – 7/2 is available.

The 2.40 is a middle distance contest that Mark Johnston seems to own having sent half of the field down on a northern raid.  Yet the favourite is Charlie Applebys Chesterfield – The yard is in tremendous form and there is a lot to like in the progressive sort.    There is still some 3/1 available and I would gobble it down like the glutton you are.

Mark Johnston is well represented in the following race too and if Star Lahib continues recent form, then I would expect to see it involved at the business end.  She ran very well over 12f when getting up late to win the Old Newton Cup and had some solid handicapping sorts in behind.  Dropped two furlongs next time out, it looked too sharp – She ran with credit and was running on when many had cried enough but it simply looks like 10f was too quick.  Thus today’s 12f with a stiff finish should be ideal.  I may well regret not backing Star Lahib but I am tempted away by Beaufort Twelve who is available at 13/2 in a few places and was a very capable looking younger horse that seems not to have quite fulfilled the promise.  He ran earlier in the week at Pontefract with credit and runs off the same mark, I hold a candle.

Finally the 3.50 – In the lucky last I am with Tom Dascombe and Barracuda Boy at 8/1 (Ladbrokes / Betfred).  We need to find form but when we do, the line with Body and Soul shows it is meaningful.  Have a large slice, I think this is the day.

Haydock and Newmarket.

I know purist racing fans will be analysing these cards with much more vigour than the shallow fun being had at Ascot – Well, I do not blame you.

Patrons of Haydock are rewarded today at 2.55 with the second appearance of the highly fascinating Telescope who is 4/6 to win.  Let us remember a few points about this one… He was the most expensive yearling, he was favourite for the derby, he was injured and missed the lot and then hacked up in a Leicester maiden by as far as you like.  There is no reason to think he is anything other than a class above this lot and more interesting is the 16/1 about him for the Arc.

Haydock also host a listed fillies contest and I am interested in Expressly and Zurigha.  I settle on the latter at 7/1 for the value of Levey in the saddle who I readily prefer to Barzalona.

At Newmarket, I am going to take my chances with 4/1 Conduct who runs in the 3pm contest.  She is the most lightly raced 6 year old you might find having run only three times in her injury beset career. Yet she is in good hands in the Haggas camp and was well fancied for the Ebor last year before being withdrawn.  Anything like decent fitness and I think she is a danger to all.

The Martin Hill lucky 15 is Conduct, Zurigha, Chesterfield and Mutual Regard… Load a cannon young man.

That is it from the Major – May your dinner be taken out with fine beautiful company, may the tip swell the waiters pocket, a mere slice of the days excess.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Chester, Haydock, Navan, Newmarket, Newbury and Stratford

Good morning from the Major who writes from an early summer Worcestershire.  An enveloping bright cloud encloses us in a warmth that is somewhat disappointing.  The zenith of our climate is, so far, underwhelming.

Lots of racing to review today and I have been hard at work reviewing cards.  There are times where I feel I am learning something, making terrific progress towards some nirvana of knowledge and experience meriting greater profit.

At other times the sheer ludicrous nature of that process is clear.  How could I suggest that it is possible to consider racing a pre ordained event.  These horses are so complex, fortune plays a big a part as fate.

The world we live in is highly confusing and fast changing.  What is your best answer for why the universe exists? or why it exists with this precise set of physical laws?  The Major may only be concerned with solving a seven furlong handicap at Catterick, but I would suggest it is equally as baffling.  Both problems are philosophical tests of the mind.

For what my opinion is worth, I think accepting your lack of knowledge and allowing your conscience to enjoy itself, is as admirable a trait as the pursuit of complete understanding.

You my friend, my dear follower, you are alive.  Breathe and feel the air fill your lungs.  One day, that will be the last breath you take so savour it… Today, make sure you are free from the barbs of others.  Your freedom is the only thing you truly own.  It partners you as you disintegrate to nothing in a way which nothing else does.

Busy week on Twitter (@tdl123) – The plight of Scriptwriter was raised and saved.  Several winners were tipped (if that sounds big-headed, you must be new).  Come join the conversation.

To the sports and daub thy war paint.  The melee of battle is spread widely today, which brings danger.  Bring up thy charger, we shall pick at each battle, discerning choosing our battles.

Chester Notes

I love betting at Chester.  The draw and tight track gives a reliable filter for slimming down the list of possibilities.

In the opener, some of the choicer horses are drawn wide and a lack of experience would concern me for their chances.  However, Atlantic Affair is drawn in 4 and has more experience than most of the field.  I take a strong view of the Ascot form of this runner who was 3 lengths down on a subsequent listed winner.  Small stakes advised at 7/4.

The 3.55 is the other race I am interested in at Chester and it looks to me a straight bust up between Star Lahib and Our Phylli Vera.  Of the two, marginal preference is for Our Phylli Vera, Alan King has saddled a few winners in the last fortnight and I am always respectful of his runners in competitions like this – He tends to run those with a good chance of winning!

In the 5.05, @lukeyboy1325 recommends you have a slice of 10/3 Dutch Masterpiece.  I don’t often put up others tips but the horse is ridden by one of my preferred jockeys in Jimmy Fortune, I wouldn’t put you off a quick fire Fortune double with 5/2 Finesse in the last.

Haydock Tips

The opening handicap is a bit of a puzzle.  Sun Central is going off as favourite but I have reservations.  The return victory on paper was excellent but the slow pace of the Salisbury race throws some doubt over the worth.  De Rigeur has some claims, especially in first time cheekpieces and with Adam Kirby up.  He is a strong jockey, although one I like to follow at all weather tracks rather than these big Saturday handicaps.  I also feel Oriental Fox has a decent call on his last run, Murphy is well worth 5lbs and you have to fear Mark Johnstone in these races.  However, the pin rests on one at a massive 20/1….

Dazinski was second in this race lst year off a 3lb higher mark.  He was ridden that day by Robert Winston and I consider Neil Callan a considerable upgrade to the piloting.  York last time out was too bad to be true, but possibly the soft ground was too much.  His Newmarket run was also a disgrace at the end of last season but it was his seventh contest.  He wasn’t knocked around in defeat last time and I have a feeling that a top jockey like Callan might eek some improvement.

I am going to show the German raider some respect in the second race.  Nymphea is here for business and I am sure she stands a chance, even if it is hard to assess what second in a German Oaks means.  Personally, I am more confident in the abilities of Prussian who has made the customary transition from Mark Johnstone to Bin Suroor.   He handles these sorts very well and this Dubai Destination filly is the type to go on again after a satisfactory reappearance.

In the 3.15, the old familiar Monsieur Chevalier goes again.  I have a soft spot for this horse ever since his juvenile year.  He looked like he had the world at his feet but I suspect was raced too much.  Ever since he has been hit and miss but I did claim a place on him at 50/1 in a big Ascot handicap… shabash.  I think many of these are too good for him and this might not be his day.

Eton Forever beat Gregorian who then went on to win a nice race on Oaks day. 5/2 and that is enough for me although Premier Loco is a threat to all if retaining some of the old spark at nine years of age.

In the 3.50, Jim Crowley may have been on the wrong Oaks Beckett horse but I think he might be on a winner in 11/2 City Girl.  Juvenile form includes a fine run in the Lowther and only Zanetto (who will be contesting some top class contests) was too good on reappearance this year.  In the same race, there is a British debut for Scandanavian based jockey Oliver Wilson who rides for the German trainer Moser – I love how these names pop up in the build up to Ascot.


4pm – In a top three year old Irish race, it is always hard to look beyond the Ballydoyle entrant.  Forester is a Danehill Dancer colt who was put away after some early strong juvenile form.  That might suggest he has had some issues and thus might be best watched but be warned, he has placed form with Dawn Approach and has a July Cup entry.  Stepwise is the principle opponent and he settled his maiden field in style last time when odds on.  Won Diamond has evident claims too since his trainer won this last year and he has not made the trip for nought.

It is tricky.  It is weighing up the highest potential colt (for me the grey Forester) with an impressive maiden winner in Stepwise and the Mick Channon raider Won Diamond.

The first to get the line is the latter.  His only win is on the all weather, although his turf run last time was a little unlucky, something that won’t repeat in a small field like this.  On balance I do just prefer the home grown two.  Then it is tough.  Forester is clearly talented and the break is a slight worry but not insurmountable given Master O’Brien is in charge.  Stepwise has the benefit of a recent run though and I think 7/4 is very fair…

The 4.35 looks easier, One True Love was doing her best work at the end on Monday and I expect her to do the business here at 7/4.

Newbury and Newmarket

I am raiding these courses for some bankers.  I always like them as they seem to me to give horses their best chances on merit.

Ligeia in the 7pm at Newbury looks worth a punt at evens.  She has the benefit of experience and came very close to winning on debut.  Should have enough.

In the 5.15 at Newmarket, I am having a slice of Marias Choice at 7/4.  Should be plenty of improvement for this one in the hands of Stoute.


Finally…. While we are accepting third party tips, @efc1967 suggests that Clondaw Draft in the 9.15 is not to be beaten on strong point to point form… Enough for me to have a chunky slice.

May your dinner be fine and kept in wonderful company.  The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is an each way effort on Eton Forever, Dazinski, City Girl and Dutch Masterpiece.