Tag Archives: tac de boistron

The Sermon for Royal Ascot – Thursday Tips – The Majors good form continues!

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a very humid Worcestershire scene where the gentlest of cool breezes brings welcome relief.  There is a dirty haze itching away at my clammy skin and my other comfort is a cold beer.  Such a delight on the tongue.

Now Wednesday at Ascot came and went and once more the Major was at the payout counter.  We scored another two winners advised at 4s and 8s.  Anthem Alexander and Muteela delivered and both were well backed… I am starting to believe my own hype. 

However, I backed Treve like I had Thursdays Racing Post in hand and advised anyone foolish enough to listen, to do the very same.  Oh dear, drop in trip, good ground? Heavy race against Cirrus Des Aigles…. I don’t want to think about it. 

Look, I want you to come, I want you to win but I cannot pretend that I have any of the magic beans.  No no dear friends, all I have is endeavour, attritional losses and hope – That is all your Churchillian correspondent can offer.

I am tired and I have other work to do so you will excuse me getting down to work.  Forgive me for lacking the usual verbosity, a slice of history or a touch of philosophy would normally be on offer but the guage is dropping and wavering close to the red line. 

I need to do need some sleep.  That is not always straight forward for a mind like my own.  Wandering lost in the loneliness of night, the good lady asleep beside me, I like to drift through ‘Sailing By’ and end up empathising and projecting myself into the lives of fisherman in some vast barren desolate oceanic monotony…. Utsire, Dogger or Trafalgar, the gale and storm force winds the moving systems….. losing their identity.  In that moment, my own thoughts are calmed and the fear that sits beneath, the one we all share, it is at peace in my momentarily serene self… we are all going to die but for a moment, it is OK.

Morbid, maybe.  It is the tragedy of human existence but while there is moonlight, love and romance, we shall blunder on like some thoughtless wounded animal.  To Ascot and to the mothership…. I have no idea whether landing my mothership will bring me satisfaction, pleasure or peace.  I doubt it, it won’t be enough in all likelihood.  Then again, I do not know what trinket or experience can, so I guess I will have to settle for chasing it, how empty we feel when the game is no longer afoot; I fear the morthership as much as I yearn for it.  Perhaps that is where the pleasure lies… The pursuit, the thrill, the game, adventure my friends, adventure.  To Royal Ascot.

Thursday Ascot Tips

The Norfolk opens the card and I would not be anyones friend by suggesting it could go to The Great War.  I expected him to rock up in the Coventry on Tuesday and while the Ballydoyle trooper that did go turned out to be short of the required class, I think they have a contender here.  He has not been under pressure in either of his wins to date.

However, it was 2001 when O’Brien last won a Norfolk Stakes and the price of the Great War is no fun for anyone.  As an alternate, I present the American raider, To Be Determined.  Wesley Ward has done well with his previous raiders and he is 1 from 2 this week, after Hootenanny absolutely scooted up on Tuesday.  Now I found it telling, that in the aftermath of that victory, Ward suggested he greater chances yet to run this week (confidence you see)…. since todays runner, Spanish Pipedream, was not quite as good, I am thinking that his Elusive Quality filly might offer some great value at 8/1 (Coral and a few places, 7/1 generally).  He won the Norfolk last year with a Scat Daddy colt, No Nay Never and despite the poor record for fillies in the race, I am suggesting a turn up.

Then it is the Hampton Court, or whatever they call it these days!  I have been a fan of Cannock Chase who has been performing very well indeed.  I used to cycle and walk on Cannock Chase and having lived close to Litchfield (well Rugeley if I am entirely honest) I would drive late across those darkened woods and see the huge bright eyes of the deer watching me from the forest, haunting, especially with the engine off and glorious silence heightening your senses.

Anyway, let us leave that scene and figure out who wins… Well there is one I like in this, Barley Mow.  It is a Hannon / Hughes combo and I really like the way this horse has progressed.  I think his last run on soft ground at Epsom was not a set of conditions he would handle and as such am happy to draw a thick line through it.  Prior to that he had half this rabble behind him at HQ and is one of the runners here who will enjoy the firm conditions.  13/2, have a slice.

Then the Ribblesdale and I like the look of the filly Bracelet who ran a disappointing race in the Guineas but has been a progressive filly before that.  She is a mighty price for that one stain on her record at 12/1, take your chances.

Leading Light is the hot property for the Gold Cup and the Leger winner has plenty of positives on his ledger including a very good strike rate of 6 from 8.  Yet, borderline evens is not much value given the quality of the opposition and I want to be with something else.  Last years winner Estimate would be a popular repeat for Her Majesty and there are positive yard noises being made. 

Brown Panther has always been a decent sort but this season has really come into his own with two performances of high order at Chester and Sandown.  He has never been out of the first three when the ground is firm and he is a leading contender.  I am also a growing admirer of Richard Kingscote in the saddle too.  Respected, possible.

Simenon is a horse I have followed on his global adventures but to the detriment of my wealth, he could come good and I would be most displeased, Mullins has his runners well tuned…  Tac de Boistron is a fine animal but everything points to him  needing to get his toe in and he will not get that here.

At some point, you have to push your chips in and I have to think the market has things about right.  Leading Light is unexposed and a Leger winner and Brown Panther looks in the form of his life.  Both are unbeaten on the ground.  On price and on slightly superior trainer form and with a jockey I have signalled my liking for… Brown Panther – 8/1 in a place.

The schedule of Royal Ascot leaves us with two conundrums to solve at the end of the card.  If you have not made your money yet, you are in trouble!

The Brittania is a real enigma, wrapped in a puzzle and then rammed down your throat!  Idea looks one of the real unexposed sorts and after his easy win at Kempton it is hard to assess the merit of the form versus the near stone rise he has to shoulder.  Not for me, I am never sure about transferring the Kempton form, I shall leave that where it is!

Ger Lyons does not bring that many over to Ascot and so I have to think that Third Dimension is good value for his last win at Limerick.  16/1 is generally available about the gelding and drawn 31, I hope he can break, get prominent and get us another big price winner.

Then the lucky last, which helped us enormously today.  Many are of interest… Fire Fighting who would not have liked the Doncaster conditions he got bogged down in.  I do like Windshear a lot but given I have overlooked Cannock Chase earlier, I would be reneging on my line of thought to switch formlines now.  Clearly earlier results might dictate a change of position…

No, I am going to signal a great day for Team Dascombe and suggest Art of War can go well at a tasty 18/1 – He was dogged in victory rather than spectacular over 9f previously and it suggests two things.  One, his attitude is not in question and secondly, this step up is likely a good move.  Good luck to Manor House.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Wednesday Punchestown Gold Cup Sermon and the Ascot Sagaro Stakes

Good Evening from the Major who writes from an extremely pleasant Worcestershire scene where spring light lasts deep into an evening of Gods creation blending deep greens, pale blue sky and clean cool air.

The Major had a flying visit to London today and with the tube strike in full militant action (there were real trade unionists with colourful ancient RMT banners), chaos was the order of the day.  Great snaking queues led to tables with volunteers handing maps of bus routes, the taxi rank was a seething mass of impatience and all of the time, outside, unknown to the panicking masses, a highly gratifying temperate climate awaited the walkers.

My destination was Kings Cross, two and a half miles, taking in some of the fine architecture and seeing the full spectrum of the denizens of this great city, very good indeed.

The return train, late in the afternoon was thick with homeward bound weary travellers.  The pressure released once we had despatched the Oxford crowd, then the remaining West Country folk collectively stretched into the new-found comfort and space and admired the North Oxfordshire countryside whirring past the window.

One of the memories I have from the Lambourn open weekend was of the drive home.  The landscape was spectacular, monstrous fields that stretched as far as the eye could see without interruption by hedge, thicket or even an old oak.  Industrial scale farming but the conformity and the scale, these things stayed with me as they sometimes do. In contrast, Worcestershire has a rural scene that is a patchwork of irregular design, variance, colour; what it lacks in grandeur, it makes up for in variety.  I am boring myself.

The blog had a decent opening day at Punchestown.  We had seven selections, one went non runner (Djakadam).  Three did not feature.  Diplomatic rattled the top of two down the back straight and lost interest.  Module fell and Disputed in the last led the field into it before demonstrating a lack of ability at the business end.

On the positive side, Be Positive was the only game in town as indicated and I advised a significant investment on Faugheen and you could have joined the queue for payout half way through the race, he simply loved leading them off the front, tremendous.  The turn up was our Mullins bumper selection that drifted to 12/1 (adv 7/1) but held on all the same, as they say, the horse knows not the price.

Faugheen may rightly feel a bit overshadowed this evening.  While his performance had us racing fans purring, it was not as stirring as the spectacle of Sizing Europe, admiral old servant, pinging away off the front like he was rolling back the years.  A tremendous win, a wonderful story but for the Major – I do not like my G1s won by a 12 year old.  Yes, I can hear the names you are calling me.

Wednesday Punchestown, Cheltenham Hunter Chase and Ascot Tips

I may not cover every race, certainly the opening race for conditional jockeys looks a minefield and an unappetising one for me to unpick.

The second is much more interesting and Cheltenian is an excellent starting point now that this former Champion Bumper horse has commenced a belated hurdling career.  He is proving a decent handicapper and his mark of 141 is marginally superior to anything else we have seen here, with Le Vent D’Antan a pound behind.  I prefer the British raider and 11/4 is available this evening.  The big danger must come from Carraig Mor who looked to the world a champion at Uttoxeter but has disappointed since, King is nobody’s fool and he brings him across, moderation, as my mother would say.

The third race, a Grade 1 novice hurdle is much more of Championship ilk and seemingly, two of the three key protagonists are Gigginstown.  I have an easy decision here because I think the Albert Bartlett form is superior and thus Very Wood gets a strong recommendation at 9/2 with Paddy Power.

This is not the strongest Gold Cup I have seen.  Do not be upset, it still is an interesting race but Boston Bob has never really translated from an accomplished hurdler to a top class chaser.  This might seem harsh given he just won a Grade 1 at Aintree but that Melling Chase was much poorer than this, even if Ballynagour ran respectably today (without beating the admirable pensioner).  Boston gets the benefit of a Ruby ride and there is enough to like.

Three of the last five winners returned at long prices, 14s and two at 20s.  I do not see something from left field but do suggest Lyreen Legend might go well off the front.  This has not been one of my favourite horses but is exceptionally capable and this track is sure to suit more than Cheltenham where the horse travelled but did not stay.

On balance, I think Boston Bob is the bet.  It was not his fault he beat lesser beasts well in the Melling.  He at least has a strike rate over fences that suggests more might be to come if he gets his jumping together.  The flatter track will suit I guess…. I feel dirty, 3/1.

This is turning into an obvious blog but why can anyone see any of the Champion Hurdle horses reversing form with Silver Concorde? I cannot, Carberry gave the horse a great ride and is replaced here by McNamara who had the Dermot Weld winner today (ps looked like an Ascot Gold Cup sort to me!).

To Ascot…..  I once took a group to the Sagaro Stakes day for charity – We had a spring buffet in the car park and a tremendous day of racing ensued.  Someone remind me of the horse (First Something?) definitely two words, that raced and won in the Mill reef colours – Very useful sort has had a good career – Well it won that day…. Interesting? Not really is it.

This is an excellent renewal and worthy of greater than a Group 3.  Simenon returns from his adventures including an excellent fourth in the Melbourne Cup, he will not mind the soft ground and is in good company because neither will Harris Tweed or Tac de Boistron, the latter boasts superb form from Longchamp after closing the season with a tremendous win.

When it comes down to it, I want trainer form at this stage and while Botti is only getting started, Mullins and Haggas are providing plenty of evidence that their string are in top order.  I am backing Simenon who is available at 5/1.

Courage, roll the dice.

The Saturday Sermon on ‘Talents’ St Leger Day

Good Evening from the Major who writes from a heavy grey Worcestershire where a hissing and thudding signals the rains violent persistence.

The Major carries a heavy head full of cold, dulling the senses and slowing the reactions.  Fear not, for some this might result in sluggish thought but for me, deep down here between the moments, a clarity emerges.

Last week was a catastrophe of misfortune.  Each and every piece of advice faltered.  The sort of day where beyond financial ruin, not even a solitary winner can lift the soul, taking the edge away, I prayed but was not answered for just a small token.  Nothing, darkness, the empty void.

I was at Doncaster this week on business.  I had not been before and shall file a brief report for your examination.  I was in the Lincoln restaurant and the atmosphere was lively.  The hosts were generous and my immediate company a mixture of sorts embellishing all facets of life’s rich tapestry.  The sights were part glorious, part terrifying.  There were police dogs sniffing for drugs, barrel chested men drinking furiously, throaty voices shouting and smiling northern faces.

The course is not my favourite, a significant part is shrouded from view but the straight is long and fair.  The racing was wallet emptying, I should have been with The Lark who won like you would want an Oaks placed horse to canter away but bet foolishly.  I watched the Park Hill from an old stand that looked so empty, I assumed it was owners and trainers, it was not, the denizens of Doncaster, concern themselves greatly with their frivolity and those of us cut from the racing cloth are free to access the parade ring where plentiful prime seats tell of the crowds other intentions.

The Lark was impressive but I was on Seal of Approval who crashed to the floor in an horrendous moment leaving Hayley Turner momentarily and terrifyingly lifeless.  As the winner thundered past the post, my eyes were two furlongs back up the course waiting for Hayley to move.  The screens went up and it was not until twenty minutes later that the racecourse kindly informed patrons that Hayley was conscious and on her way to Hospital.  Get well soon.

Doncaster would not be my choice of course in the north.  York is finer, better views, more pleasant and slightly less like a stag do.  I hold no quibble with the fayre on offer at Donnie.  Leaving though, amidst the heavy police presence, amidst the tatoo’d heroes seeking more pleasure while their cups already overfloweth, amidst the stumbling happy, the doleful few, I saw the sight that shall stick with me.

Envision three ladies, two props holding up a dazed hooker who can barely support her own weight.  The three of them swaying and stumbling, as though competing in a slow motion three-legged race.  Not an unusual sight and but for the medical atrocity that had befallen the inebriated middle stump of our trio.

Some images shock the sense so that you might recoil again when they revisit you later.  Horror that peels away the calm surface we portray, the shield defences are momentarily lowered, scenes that awaken the senses.

I think the technical term is sharted.  I was informed of this term by a colleague I was escorting.  She is a fine soul, impeccable in turn out and manner.  I don’t imagine it is a word she uses often.

To the sports…

Doncaster – St Leger Card

Let us start with the St Leger and my appeal for you all to join me in a major investment in Talent.  You may remember that I was with Talent in the Oaks when she recorded a shock 20/1 win.  How she won that day still baffles me a bit, despite me tipping her up on the morning.  Coming down the hill, she was headstrong and spent plenty of energy fighting for her head.  Turning at Tattenham corner though, she came back to herself, I still thought her goose was cooked but as she went through the gears, she absolutely left the field for dead.  The Oaks form has been dragged through the mud but with the Lark winning so well in the Park Hill on Thursday, it removes much doubt from my mind.

Her last run in Ireland was too bad to be true and connections think the lively ground may have had a role to play.  No such problems exist on Leger day, plenty of rain has fallen.  My girl will love the softened ground and Doncaster suits a horse coming last from the back on the stands side, which is exactly where I envisage her run.

Since Galileo Rock is likely to run in Ireland on Sunday, the spirited opposition is going to come from Excess Knowledge who runs for Gosden.  On breeding, I think the ground will be against his runner but the yard has an excellent Leger record and so the lack of book form is no concern.

Foundry is unexposed but his second to Telescope looks a little more ordinary now we see the extent of the limitations for that hype horse.  Stablemate Leading Light is my main concern.  He has been laid out for this race and has already demonstrated a stamina appetite.

The Champagne Stakes opens the card at 2.05.  Hannon and Bin Suroor have shared the spoils in the last 4 years and Hannon took the last two.  He bids for a hat trick with 7/2 Anjaal, who was a very tasty winner at Newmarket last time out.

At 7/2 I think Gregorian is also a bet in the Park Stakes at 3.15.  The softened conditions can help him reverse form with Aljamaheer.  Gregorian was a winner on the Oaks car so it could bear a good omen if he were to take this.

The Curragh – The Blandford

On Thursday, Hot Snap was due to race at Doncaster but was removed from the race and now pops up at the Curragh in the Group 2 Blandford.  I liked the chances at Doncaster and I like the chances here too, especially as the Cecil yard have made the effort to cross the Irish Sea.

I hope their efforts are rewarded and 7/4 is the best you can get.

Chester Listed Race – 2.55

The patchy form of Allied Power might be a little off-putting but I see enough merit in the horse to not give out all hope.  Yet, my ready preference is for Tac de Boistron who has won in much better company – 7/2 is a must bet.  This is a little unusual for me as I am flouting one of my golden rules which is to only back horses at Chester with course form.  Still, the usual rules have served me little use in the last few weeks!

The Football

I would always treat the return from an international break as an opportunity for teams to reverse their form, whether they entered the break on a high or low, the loss of momentum gives an opportunity for confidence to ebb or flow.

As such, a bet I fancy that will not be too popular is for Newcastle to win at Aston Villa.  Now I quite like the Villa who look a threat this year and they have started the campaign looking a half decent unit.  Yet, the team is workmanlike and at 14/5, I am following an instinct.

More obvious is the claim of Chelsea at Everton.  This is a banker surely!  11/8 seems massive for an accomplished team against an Everton side that might struggle even with young players like Berkley breaking through.

Sheffield United travel to Carlisle and will take to the pitch without the burden of my money on them for the first time this season.  You know what will happen.

The Martin Hill Lucky 15 is Talent, Tac de Boistron, Gregorian and Hot Snap.

May your dinner be a sensational onslaught of the senses taken in good company and as you settle the bill from a wallet bulging with the days excesses, remember just how good it is to be alive.  Courage and roll those dice.