Tag Archives: thair

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 – The Lockinge at Newbury | Last Weekend of Premier League | The Preakness

Good morning from the Major who writes from his bed gazing our across the green Worcestershire rural scene towards Bredon Hill with a low but bright cloud hugging the Earth.  Cool air, thoroughly underwhelming conditions leading to a malaise in my mind which I shall share with you to lift the burden somewhat.  Come take a seat.

The Major is planning on spending some time in the garden this weekend.  By tea time, I will be engaged in the gardening activity of men from time immemorial…. burning.  I intent to build a fire so considerable that several military intelligence organisations record it as a global event.

I have borrowed my fathers pressure washer and its usage is a thoroughly addictive activity.  Endlessly cleaning, my mind spirals as I do it, realising the futility, it leaves me hollow. It is why I both love and despise gardening.  It is a pleasant enough activity with a payoff when enjoying the fruits of labour, relaxing in glorious green serenity on a fine day.  Yet it also touches the inevitability of life, death.  Killing weeds, trying to keep plants alive, the steady decay of things.  This weekend I am hoping to treat some wood to prolong its life.  Not to save it, simply to prolong, to keep stumbling on.  We are all on the same cycle, our clocks are ticking, we too are in steady decay as is everything you can see.  Nothing is permanent.

Sport offers me salvation.  I would struggle to do justice to the feeling I get watching a top class equine athlete changing gears after a subtle and simple nudge of the reins, or a jockey well-balanced on a powerfully travelling horse.  The thrill transcends our terminable existence, just for the moment.  Such things surround us in life and your only hope is to absorb them and be temporarily distracted from your own irreparable decline.

To the sports.

Tips for Newbury – The Lockinge 

To me this looks a below average standard for the Lockinge.  The favourite is Declaration of War a Ballydoyle raider who won his Leopardstown reappearance.  O’Brien has a poor record in the Lockinge, having won the race just once in the last fifteen years with the magnificent Hawk Wing ten years ago.  I think yard reputation has carried Declaration of Independence into favouritism and 5/2 is a bit short for me.

One trend I am mindful of is age.  Of the last eighteen winners, seventeen were four or five and just one runner was aged six.  Following this line, I reluctantly put a line through Cityscape.  The global traveller boasts damn fine form and can be ready first time up but at aged seven, does not boast the profile I am after.  I am a little reluctant because Cityscape has chased Frankel home a few times and as Roosevelt said, it is better to have dared even if chequered by failure.

Beauty Parlour is the horse I would like to be selecting.  On French form, I think it is a serious challenger but I am fearful that the firming ground will be against.

The forecast is for dry weather but a small risk of rain around midday.  With the ground good to firm, this is a factor to be reckoned in our calculation.  It leads me to my selection.

My horse comes from the yard that has won the race two times in the last three years.  The horse has a record on good to firm of raced 4, placed in all, won 3 of them.  My horse has had a reappearance run already, and won it.  It represents a yard with a current 19% strike rate.  The jockey has a 22% strike rate in the last two years, the best of all competing jockeys.  I am talking about Trumpet Major.

He has been dismissed by many and I can’t blame them – He is definitely a sort that has two ways of running.  Yet he is in excellent hands.  If anyone can cajole the best from a reluctant sort, it is Mr Hannon.

Not the best Lockinge and I am on the Trumpet Major to bring us some joy.

In the 3.15 I am willing to stick with Hillstar at 5/4.  On reappearance there was plenty of support for the horse who took silver prize – In the context of todays opposition, that was still pretty good form and so I am in again.

At Newmarket, there are a series of impenetrable races which I haven’t the inclination to work through.  Instead, I am having a punt on Dundonnell.  Connections made clear that he needed the reappearance run last month and so third can be forgiven.  Nothing in the field boasts his juvenile credentials and 2/1 is plenty of encouragement for me.  Tha’ir also looks an obvious pick in the following 4.05 contest, again, he might not be perfect but he has an entry in the big one at Epsom so clearly has been well thought of at some point – Plus again, the two year old form is best in field… another 2/1 shot.

The Preakness

The second leg of the US Triple Crown runs tonight at 11.20 but sadly it appears not to be on At The Races.  Hopefully I will find a feed later but I am watching it to see Orb strut his stuff.

This one is potentially a triple crown winner and remains unbeaten in a 5 race career.  The talent was proved in the Kentucky and I don’t think rain will be any hindrance.  Get stuck right in.

The Football

Last day of the season and I have just one bet but it is going to be a sizeable investment.  I really think Villa, 13/5,  are entirely the wrong price to win at Wigan.  OK, they are missing Benteke but they have other dangers and from a preparation point of view, surely Wigan are cooked.  They looked weary at Arsenal and after receiving a tanking and being relegated, I am confident that the upper hand lies with Villa who would want to put a big gap between them and relegation to prove it was never a real risk.

The Martin Hill lucky 15 is Villa, Hillstar, Dundonnell and Orb – Not as much Napalm as you like but confident picks.

I wish you the finest of dinners in the best company.  Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Doncaster Tips (St Leger), 20/1 Chester Tip and the St Leger Curragh Action – Mr John Dunlop and the subject of patience….

Good morning from the Major who writes from the Birmingham suburb of Yardley where an overcast heaven misleads.  The air has a lightness, it will be a nice day.

Camelot bids to be the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky…. Good luck Team Ballydoyle

This is the time of year for the Major.  It is dark enough at night and in the morning for a man who sleeps lightly to rest properly.  the sun does not burn at my fair Northern skin and my eyes relax more having to squint less against the bright light.

What a cracking day of racing too.  Both the English and Irish St Leger meets (although two entirely different races) and Camelot bids very strongly to become the first triple crown winner the Major will have had the pleasure to witness.

Fair play to connections for taking this route.  Doncaster races must be absolutely made over – The St Leger has lost a good deal of lustre over recent years.  Watching Masked Marvel struggle yesterday, I wonder what impact this grueling affair can have on three year old horses.  This might be why top owners have taken the best horses into other races, I do not know for sure.

What is certain is that the St Leger has lost some of the Group One class it is bestowed with.  The arrival of unbeaten Camelot is a shot in the arm for the last of our classics.

John Dunlop announced retirement this week and what better way to mark your retirement announcement than to have the winner in the feature race on Friday, Times Up ran the trainer proud.

Plenty of accolades have been sprayed about regarding Mr Dunlop and the Major will not try to do what others know better.  I will say something about patience though.

Last night, my father in law watched the Shawshank Redemption.  Like many, it is a film he has seen quite a few times before and knowing the outcome adds to the enjoyment.  The subtleties that transpire over a period of time are nurtured and grow.

What a different film it would be if the prison break had been effected over the course of a year., not through guile and perfection but through reaction and urgency?  Where we buy into the aloof lead character is that without uttering a word, he spent half a lifetime achieving something in silence.  A thing he was happy to carry on his soul alone.

The Major sadly is a product of the modern generation.  I am used to having desires fulfilled here and now.  Food is cheap and available and not something you grow.  Purchases of aspiration come immediately, saving is something you do not need to do when you can acquire cheap credit, why wait… This is the lesson of the modern generation.

As someone whose hungers are avaricious and grasping, I think I am able to spot a patient man better than most and Mr Dunlop strikes me as such.  The manner in which he built a training empire.  The manner in which his main owner won the Gold Cup (his stated personal dream) the year before he died after decades of trying.  The manner in which Mr Dunlop carries himself.  Ah yes, I recognise what I do not exhibit.

Mr Dunlop leaves a racing legacy through his sons, again something deliberate which he created.  Spoils of satisfaction are greater for those who built rather than bought.  I imagine he is a content man and wish him all the best for retirement.

To the sports

Doncaster St Leger Tips

Camelot has brushed aside all opposition he has faced and is n better than 4/9 to complete his triple crown bid at Donnie this afternoon.  His turn of foot when putting the derby to bed was devastating and why would we think that staying would be an issue over this 500m odd further?  He won the derby by five lengths being eased, why would the St Leger distance pose a greater problem?

Main Sequence, second in the derby has no right to be reversing the form in my view.  Yet O’Brien has issued a slight warning about staying the distance.  If you ask me, that is simply bluster, the sort of thing a Premier League manager does to deflect potential blame – Camelot should win and O’Brien should accept that as fact.

It is a race in which you can score terrific each way value.  Gosden has a terrific record in this race and when pushed, Buick has selected to ride Thought Worthy.  I am not sure he has got this choice right but perhaps the sluggish look to his Irish Derby race might be ground connected, it was slow that day.

I am going to suggest two lively outsiders for you.

Thomas Chippendale is lightly raced but was beaten well by Thought Worthy at York.  I am not reading too much into that as conditions were rattling and I do not think that this one acted on it – I would not put you off an each way slice at 28/1.

However, the Major is going for a 16/1 tip for the St Leger (Ladbrokes go quarter odds the place) with Guarantee.

If we are going to get Camelot beat, it will be the unlikely circumstance that the favourite does not stay.  Dartford is in the race to ensure a decent pace and I think they might go quickly enough to try to exploit any potential stamina issues – This would set things up well enough for Guarantee who will be doing his best work at the death.

Late and fast, grimly staying on…. Let us see if Guarantee can give us the each way value.  If you can take it, have a lumpy bet on the favourite too at 4/9.

The Irish St Leger – Tips for the Curragh

the Irish St Leger is an open aged affair and Gosden sends Aiken over on a raid.  This could bear fruit as the Chantilly race he won was a very good Group affair.  That said, his form in the Hardwicke was not brilliant.

Fame and Glory has won several times at the Curragh and the O’Brien trained favourite will no doubt be popular.

Brown Panther is another British raider with a sporting chance and the form with the others is well tied.

Hartani looks progressive to me and while he did not win his Leger trial, it was an eye-catching run all the same.  The classic generation gets a generous lump of weight in this race but do not have a great race record.  Interesting but I am not convinced this will be the first three year old in the last eleven years to win the Irish St Leger.  Incidentally the last horse to do so was the incredible Vinnie Roe who won the first of four St Leger crowns for Dermot Weld at the age of three.

The Major has thought long about the likely way the race will pan out and in the finish I am going to suggest that Britain can complete a hat-trick of wins in this race.

I am opting for Aiken, his trainer works miracles with these sorts and 5/1 looks generous to me.

2.40 Chester – Listed Mile

After the loss of Never Can Tell yesterday, what better result that if Area Fifty One or Good Morning Star could win the feature Chester race for Dr Khoukash.

The market seems to think that Modun is the main threat but the Major has some serious doubts about this 13/8 favourite.  He has been tried at a higher level than this and I am pretty sure he is under-priced here.

Instead the Major is going to stick with a horse that I still think has some class to show, if they can crack the code.

Naseem Alyasmeen is 20/1 with Ladbrokes and at this price, I suggest an investment.  The Hamilton run did not look right to the Major and I remain optimistic that we will get a tune out of this girl sooner or later.  Crucially she has form around the tight turns of Chester winning a handicap here in the summer (although off a lowly mark).  Have a slice and thank me later.

Doncaster Tips – Champagne Stakes

Having covered the St Leger, I am back to Donnie for the second race of the day, the Group Two Champagne Stakes.

Toronado won a decent listed Ascot contest and looks well worth a crack at the Champagne Stakes.  Representing last years winning trainer, surely a decent chance.

Tha’ir continues to run well for Godolphin who have won the race twice in the last five years.  The last run at Sandown in Group Three company was pretty good – I just wonder if the bridesmaid position beckons again for this one who looks difficult to place.

5/4 shot Dundonnell won the Acomb Stakes very well last time out and you can see why he heads the market.  Under pressure at the end of that race, he seemed to lug right for the Major though and that is enough to put me off.

On balance, I am tipping Toronado for the Champagne at 11/4 (Hills or Ladbrokes) – Decent price that.

Football Tips

International breaks give teams a chance to regroup and I would not be over-keen to read too much into the form of teams entering the break.

As such, the football tips the Major likes are 17/19 shots, Spurs to win at Reading and 16/11 Villa to do the business at home to Swansea.  Have a double on that!

May your dinner be fuelled by a long-awaited 20/1 winner.  A generous hearty meal awaits where wine may flow and hours pass.  With good company a man can be simply content.

Courage, roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Tips (11/1, 9/2, 9/1) from Chester, Killarney and Sandown – Premier League Tips too – Plus why Frankel is the best

Good morning from the Major who writes from a grey and dull Worcestershire, it feels like a place in limbo, waiting for a magnificent sun to break through or for those heavens to douse us.  Death or glory.

When they back Noseda with his two year olds – It is significant – Fantastic Moon looks a solid bet today

So Frankel is being aimed at Champions Day after all and not the Arc.  This has left some mixed feelings for the Major.  What I would like them to do and what I would do myself are two entirely different courses of action!What I would have dearly loved is for a glorious shot at the Arc.  For the Major, the Arc is the best race in the world, matching the best classic generation sorts against the best older horses that stayed in training.  Big fields can be carnage, coming off the bend, there are many a hard luck story.  Yet it is the premier race and Frankel was 1/4 with a run.

What were his chances?  Well pretty good I would say.  The days of doubting Frankels staying credentials are long gone.  They only existed because of that lit up racing style he exhibited but that has long been gone.  When he has finished his races, he has needed the full strength of Queally to stop him!  I think with a fair run he would have won the Arc as easily as he has beaten all other valid Group One opposition.  We are in the era of a wonder-horse and we should revel in it.

I am sorry if you are missing the odd diatribe on modern life or a run down of a Victorian military conquest.  The aura of Frankel is mesmerising for the Major and I want to capture it in my blog.

I know you read this and I have a duty to you, I suppose to vary the content, to try and entertain even.  I also write it though and it is just as much for me – In years to come, I have my very public racing journal of memories.  Frankel is such a big part of it, I apologise little if I over-focus a little on him.  Fogive me, allow me this.

Are you in doubt that he is the best you have seen?  Are you thinking Camelot is a worthy adversary?

Frankel has routinely beaten the best there is…. – His beaten foes have won 45 Group Ones between them as well as 39 Group Twos.

…and he has smashed them! – While other ‘wonder-horses’ Sea The Stars, Zenyatta and Rock of Gibraltar won their 26 G1 races putting a grand total of 40 lengths between them and their pursuers.  Frankel has won 9 G1s….. he has put 49 lengths between him and his opponents.

We float by just the once people, if you get the chance to go to Ascot, go – It will likely be the last race of possibly the greatest horse ever to run.  Yes, comparisons like that are possible if not provable.  Secretariat, Brigadier Gerard and Mill Reef might be in the comparison.  Possibly the fly in the ointment belongs to a different age.

Eclipse was not only the undisputed champion of the mid-nineteenth century but went on to be the most influence in bloodstock of all time.  97% of modern racehorses are through his bloodline, perhaps Frankel has something to achieve yet…. not on the track but at the stud.

Go to Ascot, revel in the might and power of a hero.  To the sports…

Sandown Tips – Solario Stakes included

The Group race of the day is at Sandown and the Major has had a good look at these cards.

Master of War was second in a group two last time out and is installed here as favourite.  As a Hannon two year old, you have to fancy his chances in this and I am sure he will step up his performances for the increased distance.

The Major prefers the prices of the following two though who I think have equally good chances at bigger prices.

Thair is coming down from G2 company and this Chesham winner looks a tasty prospect to the Major.

Fantastic Moon could be anything after winning wha looks like a useful maiden (several winners to emerge since).  Noseda took this race last year and surely this is a useful sort at 9/2.

On balance, I am tipping Fantastic Moon – Thair deserves to be thereabouts, Master of War achieved as much but I like the unexposed nature of this one and give the colt an equal chance so the 9/2 with Hills is value.

I cannot get an angle into the handicap or the fillies Group 3 and so I am going to leave the obvious in and say that Law Enforcement, evens, will win the Nursery… easily!

Chester Tips – 2.30 Listed Handicap

Communicator is up 9lbs for his recent exploits and it is enough for the Major to look elsewhere, mind you the yard don’t send that many to Chester and have had some decent results here

The money is coming for Tominator who was arguably very unlucky in the Ebor.  Again, I am not sure this is the sort or the price I want.

Rosslyn Castle is more like it, a gambling yard, bottom of the weights and a horse who is returning from a disappointing effort when finishing last of seven last time out.  7/1 and supported – shortlist.

Quiz Mistress looks a great each way shout at 12s – Stepping up into group company proved too hot last time out but these conditions will be perfect.

Never Can Tell should not be 28s (Coral) – Dr K’s horses are used to turning up at Chester and throwing the form book away – I would not put you off if you fancied a punt on a massive price.

The horse I am settling on though is Midsummer Sun at 11/1 (Stan James) – The Sir Henry Cecil 5yo will appreciate this drop in class and the form of his last G3 has worked out very well.  While 5th of 7, the distance was not so far and perhaps the camber of Goodwood was off-putting – The horse is one of a few (Communicator included) to have won at Chester and it is a track that throws a few off due to its tight corners and need to be prominent at the home turn.  Queally is a master and the horse knows what to do – 11/1, have a Major slice that makes your eyes water and your spine tingle!

Killarney Tips – Flat and Jumps

I do love these mixed jump and flat cards and patrons of Killarney will no doubt have a wonderful day.

In the 3.20 I am going to stick with the obvious and suggest that Count of Limonade will improve significantly to take this.  Having to concede a few pounds should be no problem for the son of Duke of Marmalade if the expected improvement that the Major thinks is there comes in.

In the 5pm Grade C hurdle – 16 runners are due to post – I am confident one non runner will spoil the each way, four place fun but it is still a race to find a well priced horse.

This is a fantastic conundrum with the field priced at 5/1.

Rattan destroyed his three rivals last time out and while it might not be the best of form, Run with the Wind, defeated that day was a supported horse in the Galway hurdle so might not be as bad as we think.  Mullins is on fire too.

Baily Green has been improving over the larger obstacles and comes back to hurdles a stone better off than the chase mark – Interesting at 11/1.

The Shepherd King was pulled up when favourite on his last outing and this is his first stint on track for some time.  20/1 is massive and takes a huge chance that the improvement had stopped after a two mile hurdle and bumper win – Interesting, particularly as the trainer goes to Robbie Power (1 win from 2 runs for the yard).

9/1 Rattan is the Killarney hurdle tip whose trainer form gives it the nod.

Enjoy your Saturday racing punting, may your bets be blessed from above.

In the Premier League, I am having some good form – So far this season, Everton paid well at 2/1 at Villa and last week, my only bet Wigan won at 19/10 at Southampton.

I am basing my choices on momentum (on the pitch and off the pitch) at clubs and trying to factor in some natural variance.  This feels a stronger approach than form alone.

Both Everton and West Brom are on a confidence peak – 41/17 the draw is a very attractive bet, a score draw even more so – Back 1-1 and 2-2 – A result either club would probably be happy with.

It won’t be pretty but West Ham at 8/5 buoyed by popular signings and playing their own way should be strong enough at home to overcome a Fulham team that probably don’t have enough to impose themselves.

Newcastle should beat Villa but no tip as variance scares me on this – Are Villa genuinely that bad?  At the moment they look like relegation contenders but surely Lambert will sort them out?

Sunderland are my other selection.  Yes, Swansea are flying and full of confidence but Sunderland are also on a high after sealing the services of Johnson and 43/15 is massive – Almost quadruple your dough!

May your dinner be fuelled by a succession of blows inflected on the enemy.  May he yearn for the day when your eyes had never seen his prices.  Eat well tonight and drink some good beer.  Heartiness is goodness.

Courage, roll those dice.

Saturday Sermon – 16/1 Royal Ascot Tips, Black Caviar – ‘The Wonder from Down Under!’ – The rights and wrongs of racing and Ascot reflections….

Good morning from a bright and cheery Worcestershire where the Major types happy in the knowledge that the world of this age is perfectly organised for an Englishman with a few spare pounds in his pocket and a cheery outlook on life.

Aahhhh – A day the Major has waited for – Black Caviar racing on British soil

I make no apology for being content.  If you are not, then please do not begrudge those of us that are.Royal Ascot has been a triumph.  The spectacle, the racing and the Majors form have been the ingredients of a tasty week.  I shall write something of it here, if you feel the need to skip it and go to the tips, please leave my site – Your sort is not welcome here, when you go to church, you listen diligently to the sermon.

Firstly the spectacle of racing.  Last year I compiled my top ten racing moments of 2011.  Apologies if many of the video feeds might not be working!  I am sure when I compile this years come the close of the year, many Royal Ascot moments will be contenders.

I loved Frankel demolishing the field, it made my heart sing.  I know Excelebration took him on which may have flattered the final distance but seriously, people might knock the field but there were plenty of decent Group 1 animals in behind.  Let us just accept that we live in an age of the machine and enjoy – Thanks again to connections who kept him racing at the age of four instead of fulfilling a potentially lucrative stud career.

Frankie winning on Colour Vision was probably my moment of the week though.  I was on Fame and Glory and thought the O’Brien horse was a shoe in.  Frankie though showed his superb handling of the track and sheer will to boot home the Godolphin inmate. Frankie has had a tough time of it.  Godolphin are short of a star or two and the winners have dried up.  Rumours of retirement were put down by Dettori but it left a waft in the air… was the great man done?

The way he bought Colour Vision home told you what you needed to know, the fire burns brightly.  How sweet for Frankie that Barzalona (a friendly rivalry), the 20 year old Derby winning emerging star was unable to pass when seemingly coming with a winning run on Opinion Poll.

The stories racing throws up, no other sport competes.

The Major has had a great week with tips for Royal Ascot.  Eleven tips (13 with 2 non runners) yielded 4 winners.  Most Improved 8/1, So You Think 6/4, Princess Highway 13/2 and Estimate 4/1 (all advised prices).  Following to £1 level stakes,  make that a £24 return for £11 invested.  More than double your money…. lovely jubbly!

Sadly Fame and Glory let down my brother in laws treble, sorry Dave.

The week also got me thinking about the morality of horse racing.  It is something the Major is confronted with from time to time.  The Majors dear lady is an avid animal lover (not in the biblical sense you understand) and opposes the sport deeply.  We do not talk much about it as you can imagine!

The Major is also confronted from time to time with anti-racing campaigners at Aintree or Cheltenham.

This week, hundreds of thousands of people who are not racing fans filed through the gates at Ascot in their finery to take part in the racing festival.  Many will not have a strong view on racing but it got me thinking about the morality of the sport.

My good lady has the objection that the horses are put to racing purely for our enjoyment and this is morally wrong.  It is based on a view that a horse has a right not to be forced to do something it does not want to do, a classic libertarian stance.  I sympathise with it but do not agree.

I think the overall benefit of the sport outweighs a horses individual right.  I would ask you to consider the benefit, there is the employment offered by the racing tracks, hospitality services, trainers and media; not even considering the considerable contribution from the gambling industry to the economy and therefore society.  There is the joy that enthusiasts like I take from the sport; readers know how passionate I am – Enough to continue getting up early on a Saturday to deliver this drivel each week!

Finally, some horses do enjoy racing so it is not every horse that is coerced into the sport.  Indeed, Racing could be argued to have a net positive impact on horses lives.

Overall the benefit of our great sport far outweighs the violation of a horses right, if indeed they have one.  As a race we use animals for enjoyment and sustenance.  Race horses are well looked after in their lives, no intention of harm exists in the sport, though we have to accept the risk of horse death is a certainty.

My utilitarian argument, of the greatest benefit, I believe stands up and I hope that we have more converts to our magnificent sport today when the ‘wonder from down under’ graces our turf.

What a shame it is her only European race.  I made the argument last week that it seems an endeavour only based in principle, not financial or career defining that she win today.  Then to Hong Kong and greater riches.  I hope she gives us a show.

I have often debated the Frankel v Black Caviar question and it is an understandable shame they will never race.  Why ask either of them to race at an un-ideal distance.  I thought the fair answer was 7f but it would endanger Frankels attitude as lighting him up over shorter distances might bring back some of those free running tendencies from his youth, something that his training team worked hard to eradicate allowing him to take shots at prizes over 10f.

As it is, I always thought she was the better horse but now I am unsure again.  I shall go to the grave not knowing but I take pleasure from it.  As I have made the point in previous posts, instead of racing them, let us breed them and call their foal Pegasus Devil, a horse with fire red eyes that roars fire from the nostrils.

To the sports…

Chesham Stakes – 2.30 Ascot Tip

This is a nice line up and the Major is looking forward to the Chesham.

On trends, only two winners in the last 15 years have gone off at bigger than 10/1 prices and I am looking for something near the top of the market.

On a bloodstock note, five runners in the race are out of Sixties Icon!  Thanks to @emmakgts on twitter for that observation.  The Major makes a further note on breeding – New Approach has Thair in the race, Godolphins 6/1 hope – The sire is having a terrific time with his progeny currently heading the markets for several of next years classics….

However, Thair is not the way I am going.  Key trainers in the Chesham have been Hannon and Johnstone and the Majors tip comes from the first.

Jalaa at 4/1 could be anything, won well at Leicester, not inconvenienced by the ground. Have a taste.

3.05 Hardwicke Stakes

The Hardwicke is another cracker this year.  I truly confused myself last night while figuring out which side I want to be on.

Sea Moon should run better than he did in the St Leger and has the benefit of a decent warm up race at Goodwood.

There is a lot to like about Memphis Tennessee with that derby form looking rock solid, the Major fears on this course though that his front running style might be setting this up for a closer.

The horse I am tipping in the Hardwicke is Aiken.  William Buick abandoned Masked Marvel (non runner) for Aiken who has some superb form to his name.  The formline that takes the eye is the beating of Dunaden who is a Melbourne Cup and Hong Kong Vase winner.  With soft ground no problem, Aiken looks to me a top class prospect and I suggest a very healthy investment at 4/1.

3.45 Ascot – Diamond Jubilee Tips

The Major will not be betting in what should be a procession for Black Caviar.  I wonder what our Australian racing friends think we make of Black Caviar.  I sense that down under their is a feeling of ‘go show them Black Caviar, go beat those English doubters’.

Just for the record, the Major is praying for her to destroy the field – She is amazing and this is a part of her story I want to go well.  Go on girl.

She is also a monster having topped 600kg – That is almost a third more horse than some of our finest!

Although the form is hard to translate, there is a line through Group one winning Star Witness that suggests she is 13lbs or so ahead of Prohibit, one of our finest.

If you were looking for each way value, I would be wary of Moonlight Cloud, the Major thinks that the horse will love the cut but might sacrifice a place by having a pop at BC.

You are as well looking for a horse that is racing for a place and might be staying on at the death passing beaten, tired horses that took the Black Caviar machine on and failed.  That horse for the Major would be The Checka who is a new propsect since being dropped in trip this year.

One word of warning to Black Caviar, there have been upsets in this race in the past…. best of luck girl.

4.25 Ascot – The Wokingham

The Wokingham is the usual puzzle at 9/1 the field.  The Major was happy last night to get a touch of 25/1 on Waffle.  I could see the money piling up and figured it was the Pricewise horse.  14/1 is still available.

If you follow me on twitter (@tdl123) you would have benefitted from that tweet last night.  I am chuffed that I got it right and feel very happy sticking with my selection.

The trainer readied it for last year where it ran superbly only beaten by the unbelievably handicapped Deacon Blues.

Have a cannon loaded!

I am going to be double handed in this race though because of the draw.  My first tip, Waffle is coming out of 23 so I want something in the other pack too and I am looking at Desert Law at 16/1 – Going back to 6f is certainly a plus for this animal and he will represent the Major on that side of the track.

5pm Ascot Tip – The Duke of Edinburgh

The Major wanted to be on a horse finishing well in this handicap and the one that carries my penalty is Cill Rialig, 16/1. 

Cill Rialig competed in the same warm up Goodwood affair as Sea Moon and I think this has been the long term target for this previous listed winner, even if the last win was a couple of years ago in this race off a mark of 7lbs lower.

Being in foal and the ground are both concerns but the Major is going to stick with her.

5.35 Ascot – Tips for the Queen Alexandra

Anyone who watched Simenon smash the opposition on Tuesday would have been taken with the manner of victory.  This step up in trip again should be a further advantage and the likelier risk to getting as good run is merely whether the exertions of racing have taken a toll.

The Major though is going to side with Zuider Zee whose form got a good boost by Opinion Polls running earlier this week.  Flat trainers have a better record in the Queen Alexandra and I think my stead can do the business at a tasty 5/1.

Enjoy today and be happy.  Tonight eat well and with good company, see a film, relax, observe, pass no judgement.

Courage, roll those dice.