Good evening from the Major who writes from a warm friendly lounge at my in-laws in the Birmingham suburbs.
I have flown in and out of Edinburgh this week for my employer, yet I must confess that there was some pleasure to be had alongside the business. As with all of the Majors travels, I file for your appraisal my report of the Scottish capital – I intend to keep it to the important facets.
The suburbs of Edinburgh are largely low angular, regular bungalow houses in cold and quiet neighbourhoods, most uninspiring, distant feeling, no. This contrasts markedly to the City Centre where pomp and splendour is the order of the day. The horizon is dominated by sheer faces of granite rising from the Earth in chest thumping confidence. The properties amplify the feeling, hulking stone imposing structures, neo-classical and elegant and a little intimidating but pleasing to the eye. Around the city walls, they grow in proportions telling of times when the only way to find space was up.
I undertook a whisky tasting session. I tried to embrace enthusiastically the work at hand but must conclude that the drink is an abomination. The textures and layers of a good brandy achieve the same without making you feel like you are swallowing bad medicine.
As for the folk. The men are upright and have angular noses, speak directly and deal straight. Perfectly acceptable. The women folk are small, black bobs of hair, small dark eyes set into pale white faces. They dress smartly, consistently and with warm sensible black tights and sensible shoes. I always delight in a well turned out sort and compliment their sharp neat style with a wonderful accent of drawling soft burr and excitable inflections and the Major has found a blueprint to fall in love perpetually.
As these sorts age, their stature stiffens slightly and the lips purse but still curl at the edges, I am sure that their mind runs to fun if you can get beyond the conservative defence. I did not have the time to test that supposition.
I stayed at the Balmoral – A friend later told me it is his favourite hotel, I do not rate it quite the same. The views are excellent, the building is impressive, the cocktail barman an expert; yet the rooms lacked something and I felt it just short of some of the other luxury establishments I have had the good fortune to frequent. I am not criticising it, merely applying the high levels of judgement required when someone purports something to be the best.
I am still licking my wounds on one of the most painful punting Gold Cup days in living memory – Each of my selections falling by the wayside, a relentless slaughter with no mercy shown. Given my time again, I would have left the Gold Cup and celebrated instead National Pi day which happened to fall on the same day as the Gold Cup in this year – It would have aided my wallet and saved my emotions and energy. Pi day is always 14th March work it out and is a worthwhile acknowledgement of one of the most beautiful aspects of mathematics.
The answer to the question, ‘What is a Circle?’, Pi is an irrational number, it cannot be expressed completely. Modern computational ability has calculated Pi to over a trillion places. In the sequence, any patterns that emerge in the decimal places are purely accidental. For example, the first five characters are 14159 and that sequence is first repeated when you get to 6954-6959 digits in. The number 9 is repeated 6 times in a row just over 760 characters in, yet this is the only time a ‘6 in a row’ occurs in the first million decimal places. Eventually, any pattern you wish for will emerge, if you looked deep enough into the decimal points, waves and waves of randomness but the scale of it throwing up anomalies. The number is infinite, thus the permutations too. That frightens me or at least unsettles me. Eventually everything will happen – Hold on to that thought as we once again go back to the field of battle and continue our quest, concerned with landing the mothership.
To the sports.
Now last week, the Major fared well, scoring some nice hits of which the highlight was 12/1 Pepite Rose. I am only lightly boasting.
As the Lincoln meeting is the start of the flat season, it can be difficult to assess the form of the various strings flexing their muscles. The Doncaster ground has come up soft and that gives us an angle to work on. These flat horses, by and large, do not like it so and if we can find a few mudlovers, we will fare well.
I am not betting on the Brocklesby – I have enough of my faculties intact to see that as folly.
The listed mile race however….. well. Guest of Honour, Fencing and Emell I suspect all want decent ground and so have the lines through them. Andrew Balding is starting the season in scintillating form with 8 winners from his 17 runners in the last fortnight. He saddles the outsider of the field in Butterfly McQueen who gets a handy fillies allowance and has arguably given her best in her two runs (resulted in a win and a place) on heavy ground. Let it rain. 16/1 in a place, 14/1 generally.
In the 2.40 listed 6f race, I only have eyes for the favourite Jack Dexter who has looked a group horse at 6f on his favoured soft ground. Heavens Guest might be the main danger but I am loading a cannon for the fans favourite.
In the spring mile, I am looking for a soft ground horse that has been drawn in the low numbers. I want a four year old and the ground is key. I have settled therefore on Freewheel at 28/1 with the assistance of the experienced and capable Fortune doing the steering.
Then the big one, the Lincoln. I cannot find an ideal profile horse at all so it is with a little trepidation that I place a small stake on Unsinkable at 25/1 with Skybet (I have no affiliation – The Major is advert free, affiliate free…. always just mildly profitable and slightly unhinged).
One sniper shot tip for Navan and it is to take the 5/2 about Bog Warrior with all your available capital! My favourite horse in training needed his last run and I promise he will put Baily Green to the sword. He gallops for fun and while he is prone to incredible error, he will win! Even if he does not, you will get the pleasure of backing a horse who runs without a care in the world, head in his chest!
The second and third races are the ones I am interested in. In the second race, I like Trumpet Major as a competitor, he has proven class. Yet, I am going with the gal, Modernstone who boasts excellent all-weather form including a second to Grandeur and I am backing her at 7/2.
In the 2.55, I like Rebellious Guest and Uramazin. I have settled on the former. No explanation, 13/2.
In the football, I shall try to deliver a hat trick of winners as per last week… Leicester have checked out a bit and Burnley pack enough punch that 9/5 is a bet. Chelsea are a bet at 4/9 to beat Palace… they will not slip up. Wolves are taking a small army to MK Dons and the fans will be rewarded 11/10…
The Martin Hill bet is Jack Dexter, Rebellious Guest and Unsinkable in an each way trixie. I would also recommend a coverage on Bog Warrior doubled with Burnley.
I hope your dinner is excellent and in the finest of company, a goddess and a sage. Allow yourself to be wineflown for the spring is here and that is cause to celebrate. Tip well.
Courage friends and roll the dice.