Tag Archives: trumpet major

The Saturday Sermon – Doncaster, Navan and Kempton – 25/1+ tips in the Spring Mile and Lincoln

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.

Doncaster Tips

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!

Kempton Tips

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.

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 – 33/1 York Ebor Tip, Betfred Celebration Mile Tips…. Shabash

Good morning from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire rural scene of dampness, the sort that hangs in the air so heavy that you get a taste of it – Last night, we had a biblical downpour leaving streets that turned to rivers, impromptu ponds forming where they serve no purpose, dramatic lightening popping in the sky, crackling, bristling…. Tis good to be an Englishman in such times, I sense a big day.

Ebor day is one of my favourites, the richest handicap in Europe, coupled with some good group action.

The Major is on twitter if you do not follow already (@tdl123 is my home) – Two subjects in that forum have caught my eye this week.

First of all, Frankel.  If you go back through my tweets you will find that I was suggesting something that the rest of the racing community is now backing.  I am not a pleasant person and this is a thinly disguised I told you so moment, but Frankel for the Arc is now a possibility.

If Ebor day is one of my favourite flat races then the Arc must top the list.  There is no doubt in my mind Frankel would stay it.  He only looked a non stayer in his generation year because of the fact he raced so lit up.

Connections owe us nothing, the Arc is a dirty race – Rough and bustling – It would leave a horrible taste if he finished fourth after getting rough treatment on the right hand bend before having no open on the straight.

If it were me, I think I would go to Ascot and then taken him to the Breeders Cup meeting for the turf mile.  Finishing unblemished would be a key aim.  What a  pleasure to have been able to see Frankel race – A legend of our time.

While one legend was cementing a position this week, another in Lance Armstrong found his starting to fall apart.

Choosing not to go to arbitration over allegations of doping, Armstrong now faces the loss of all seven Tour titles.  This is a hugely divisive issue.  He has never tested positive and as a regular top three finisher will have been tested hundreds of times.

Yet he achieved times that seem now impossible.  Towards the late nineties and turn of the millenia, cyclists were going faster than the time Wiggins achieved to win this year.  Over 70 cyclists from those tours have tested positive, essentially it was rife, some of those were in the teams that Lance played a leading role in.

At this time, Armstrong was dominating the sport.  He was also doing some fantastic work with his foundation which has raised half a billion dollars – As an inspirational figure who rebuilt himself after almost losing his life to cancer, his fans simply will not want to believe his sporting achievements were based on cheating.

Yet, plenty of his former colleagues say they were.  There are individuals who claim to have been there while he was doping and he has a former PA who claims she was sent to Spain to buy drugs.

We do not know the truth, yet his decision this week seems to be an admission of guilt.  While he has never been proven a cheat, why on earth would he pull out at this stage having fought strongly in court to prevent it getting this far.  It seems to the Major that rather than being tired of the battle, Armstrong simply does not want the evidence aired as it will be pretty damning.

Unfortunately for the sport, most of the riders who would be promoted to winners by Armstrong losing his titles also have a cloud hanging over them.  Wherever you stand on th Armstrong debate, cycling itself is a damaged sport.  To think it is now clean is also an error.  This years Tour also had positive tests – One of the greatest physical tests on earth has attracted cheats and the sport has some work to do to restore its credibility.

To the sp0rts…

York – Tips for the Ebor

Motivado has been all the rage and the 4/1 favourite is well drawn, well handicapped and I am sure would be a bad result for the enemy.  Motivado got in after receiving a penalty for dismissing a field at Goodwood – He only just got into the race – There is a lot to like.

Yet, this is not a race in which you can rule too many out and I prefer backing something with a sporting price.

Qahriman is second favourite and is in with a serious chance.  Luca Cumani has won the Ebor twice in the last ten years and has picked up handicap wins already at the York festival – Considered.

The Major though is going to chance his arm on a 33/1 shot.

There is nothing wrong with the top performances on Hurricane Higgins.  He is a horse that can give terrible problems at the start and his last win on the Sussex downs was under a flag start.  That might have given the horse some confidence and if they have got him settled then I think he could give us some great fun.

3.05 York Lonsdale Cup – Group Two

This is a simple race to tip for the Major who sees no holes in the prospects of the favourite, 6/4 Saddlers Rock.

His Goodwood win, with most of his protagonists behind, was solid and deserved.  This track will suit and the nice long straight at York means that there will be none of the luck in running issues the horse has had.  Confident selection.

3.20 Goodwood – Celebration Mile Tips

This is a race that has been dominated by Saeed Bin Suroor and Sir Michael Stoute in recent years but neither yard is represented today.

Last year, noone could beat the Richard Hannon trained Dubawi Gold and the trainer sends Trumpet Major to Goodwood for this.    The Majors 3/1 selection should confirm form with Aljamaaher who has been a tad unlucky at times.  Yet Trumpet Major is the selection in a race that could get messy – My main reason is the ground which has taken a good dose of rain and this is likely to set the race up for my selection.

3.25 Newmarket – Tips for the listed race

Desert Law was a winning selection for the Major on Ascots Shergar Cup day but it is not a horse I would follow up with – He is a difficult horse to win with and is anything but certain to confirm that running.

Instead the Major is going to tip Markhab at 13/2 – Newmarket may have escaped the worst of the band of rain and Markhab prefers a rattling surface.  He is going to be well wound up for this listed contest and has gone well after a break before.  I am expecting the Windsor win to signal that we are on the upgrade again…. Have a small slice.

To the football.

One tip – I fancy Wigan to win at Southampton much to the dissapointment of @pinstripedave.  13/5 seems a big price and I thought they were playing OK against Chelsea.  It is easy for these promoted clubs to get a bit over-priced earlier in the season.

May your dinner tonight be exotic and lavish, fuelled by the bundle of notes which sit causing beautiful discomfort as they dig into your rib cage.  33/1 is a price you know… Stick it in a trixie, I dare you.

Courage, roll those dice.

First Day of Ascot – Horseracing Tips

Good Evening from the Major on the eve of the flat racing spectacular, Royal Ascot.

Canford Cliffs and Italo make a nice 40/1 Double!

Admist the top hats, finery and plum accents, we are about to embark on 5 days of the finest racing in the world, full stop.  There may be richer races in Dubai and Hong Kong but no-one can match the history and worthiness of our very own Berkshire track.

The Major visited Ascot earlier this year for Sagoro Stakes day, it was only the second time I have been, having previously been during last years Royal Ascot week.  The new stand is immense and a credit to British racing.

To all those attending Ascot tomorrow, I wish you good luck, envy your good fortune and hope that the Majors tips strike home.

If you are going just tomorrow, you have arguably picked the best day of the week.  Although there are a plethora of Group One races at Ascot later in the week, tomorrow sees the explosive Frankel reappear after his 1,000 Guineas win as well as Goldikova, the relentless French raider taken on Canford Cliffs, apple of Hannons eye and we may well find out who is the best miler of a strip of Berkshire track.

2.30 Queen Anne Stakes

What a way to kick the racing festival off.  After the pomp and ceremony of watching the Queens carriage roll down the straight, the proper entertainment opens with what is race of the week for the Major.

The ground is a rare good to soft for Ascot, this could be influential.  I think it is already having an impact on the betting.

For me, the best miler full stop is Canford Cliffs.  He has a wonderfully explosive turn of foot and a great cruising speed.  The ground is the only question.

That said the ground is not much more likely to suit Goldikova, the French wonder mare.  Her record is insane, yet she is less likely to be at her best now soft appears in the going.  She has only lost 6 races of 22 and just once has failed to place.  Every none-victory came with good to soft or worse conditions.

Cape Blanco is one that will relish true good to soft ground.  Even with softer conditions, the view has to be that he needs further.

Rio de le Plata owes a big race, he is probably in too rich company here but I have always suspected this formerly well-regarded Godolphin horse will eventually come good.

On balance, Canford Cliffs for the Major at 6/4.  Goldikova won this so impressively last year beating Paco Boy.  Richard Hughes knows all about Goldikova having been soundly beaten on Paco more than once.  He knows what it takes to beat her and in Canford Cliffs he believes, and I am minded the same,  he has the ammunition.

Let’s get the week off to a flyer.  With the Queens colours being lowered by Pour Moi in the derby and a french flag flung over the victors neck as he trooped to the Epsom winners enclosure, we are due a slice back.  Let’s send Freddy Head home empty-handed and with just a small note explaining that we are coming in September and bringing Workforce to claim the Arc!!  I love racing, the heritage and story, few other sports offer us such riches.

3.05 Kings Stand Sprint

Well if that was not enough, why not follow-up with the Kings Stand Sprint, the 5 furlong sprint is furious and exhilarating.

The line up is as international as you can get.  Overdose the Budapest Bullet, soundly beaten on his last start in Britain is a tasty 12/1 but too much has to be taken on trust.

Star Witness the Australian raider is favourite at 9/2 and is well fancied.  The Aussies have a tremendous record in the Kings Stand and he has to feature on the short list.

A few weeks ago, the Major nailed Sole Power in the Temple Stakes at Haydock and that win was probably the best British springing form this year.  8/1 make Sole Power a decent each way shout as if he does not hit trouble in running, he will be finishing best of all.  The faster the pace the better.

Kingsgate Native is a high-class entrant for Middleton Park, 9/1 is fair.

This is wide open and so the Major is willing to take a wild stab at Monsieur Chevalier.  As a juvenile, Monsieur Chevalier was hugely impressive but he has clearly had his problems, missing all of last season.

On his return in average company he should beat, he ran into trouble and despite never threatening the leaders, had a satisfactory blow out staying on nicely in the final furlong.  25/1 makes Monsieur a superb bet – Bet365 and Boylesports are the only two bookies offering 4 places at quarter odds at the best price.

3.45 Ascot – St James Palace Stakes

Now it is simply absurd, three top class Group Ones to open the racing and here the superstar of his classic generation, Frankel looks to add to his hyper impressive CV.

If you were reading yesterday when guest blogger The Green Flash, put up his 2011 US Open Tips, you will have read the shocking news that I want to get Frankel beaten, is this possible?

My case is hardly bullet proof and a little based on gut instinct, but here we go.

No doubt, Frankel is a wonderful animal.  As a juvenile he was awesome and making his debut in the 1,000 guineas, he ran a freak of a race, bursting from the stalls to blaze his own pace maker and destroy the field.  It was a bizarre race to watch, he went off so quickly.  Most of his rivals tried to stay close and could not.  In the closing stages, opinion was divided, some believe he idled slightly but was fine, some like me feel he struggled to maintain the pace.

Crucially for the Major, Frankels time was not as phenomenal as the visual impression.  He caught them out.

Frankel should win.  2/5 gives little room.  Maybe I will regret this, maybe tomorrow night I will wonder why I didn’t back the banker that many believe Frankel to be.  I just feel that he may be a bit temperamental and he is against top class opposition.

What do I think will win?  Rerouted is 200/1 – Last time as Frankels pacemaker, he never got a foot in front!  Remember that this horse has one a group 3 in soft ground and 200/1 looks big, if Frankel shoots off again, this one could finish closer than many think.  Michael Hills will aim for a best finishing position if allowed.

The two I fancy are Grand Prix Boss and Wooten Bassett.  Grand Prix Boss at 20/1 is a bit of an unknown quantity.  If he has travelled well (Japan) then he could be better than many in this field and will come with a Far Eastern fan club.  Of interest.

Wooten Bassett was a well used quality juvenile.  While his reappearance run was poor, this is probably been the target and at 16/1 I give him an each way squeak.

Overall, I am going to risk Grand Prix Boss.

4.25 Coventry Stakes

This is the last race the Major is looking at on the opening day of Royal Ascot.  It is a Group Two and worthy of a tip!

The Coventry Stakes is a high-class sprint race for two-year olds where a lot is taken on reputation, trust and breeding which are factors that provide more evidence than form at this stage.

Gatepost 8/1 beat a host of subsequent winners at York but there are so many smart prospects that I want a bigger price.

The ones that interest the Major are Brocklebank 20/1, Campanology 33/1, Italo 16/1 and Trumpet Major 14/1.

Rather than make a case, I suggest Italo at 16/1.  This American raider made light work of a decent Longchamp field and although even more of an unknown quantity than most, will carry the Majors each way money.

Good luck for Royal Ascot

The Majors Saturday Service – The Preakness Stakes, The Budapest Bullet, The Irish 2,000 Guineas and Premier League Football Tips

Good morning fair punters of Britain (and those followers from Spain, Singapore and Hong Kong!).  The Major reaches out to you this fair morning from his kitchen table in lowly Pershore.  Another bright May morning, Britain’s turf is slightly parched but the Major has ensured a good liquid intake this last week which may explain the later post today.

A tasty double on Sole Power and Roderic O Connor could pay for a nice new fur you know.....

For those that like to track my results, I have finally updated them.  It took some time but showed April at nearly 20% profit, May is off to a good start too and we shall not rest today from our ceaseless battle with the enemy.

I was provoked into updating the results by a good friend who follows the Major.  He is to emigrate to the United States next week and a few evenings before, we set about a last Hoorah which was an event in itself.  Suffice to say that the evening culminated in a police incident, thankfully no-one was hurt and the Majors likely inferior wrestling skills were left untried.  My friend, the ever upstanding citizen ensured that justice prevailed.

A life in the States… I would say I am excited for him but lack envy.  St Louis is the destination for the good man of Yorkshire. 

At the turn of the 19th century, it is hard to believe that only one town in the States had a population of more than 50,000, New York.  A total population of less than 6 million lived there lives in small dwellings and farms.  The 20th century bought an explosion in growth that is breathtaking.  A 14 fold increase in population including the creation of three cities with over 1 million inhabitants.

No greater catalyst for growth existed than the railway.  Originally conceived to enable cattle to be sold at more expensive Northern prices, by 1893, the States had a transcontinental railway which had line running from Kansas City to St Louis, a lifeline for the city. 

St Louis was a fur station unsurprising given it’s position where the great Mississippi and Missouri rivers join before continuing their journey south ultimately joinging the Gulf of Mexico.  The settlement developed as part of the westward expansion throughout the 19th century.  

In the early 20th century during prohibition, the town had a fair share of gang based crime.  Bootlegging was the game and it led to men being gunned down on the streets of St Louis – I am sure my friend, young Adam, will use his crime fighting prowess to effect should any dissident souls remain.  They do not know who they are messing with, he is from Barnsley you know….

Those great rivers that converge near St Louis, roll on relentlessly like our own quest for sporting profit.  Good luck to you young Adam, there may be less gold, fur or pig iron empires to be built but the dice said you would prosper and they never lie.  This Saturday Service is for you.

To the sports……

The Temple Stakes, 3pm Haydock – The Budapest Bullet

Hype is part of horseracing and there is plenty surrounding the British debut of Overdose, the Budapest Bullet.  The winner of 15 races from 16 starts, this sprint sensation comes with a fan base – The Temple Stakes from Haydock will be televised in Hungary!

Despite the visual impact of the horses victories (often winning by 10l+ in 5f sprint contests!), it is hard to weigh up this horses achievements given many of his wins have been in Germany, Italy and Austria.  In fact there is only one piece of form the Major would use as a benchmark.  In 2008, at the Arc meeting, Overdose contested the 5f sprint.

The race was a farce as one set of gates failed to open, unawares (although the flags were prominent), half the field contested a race which Overdose won.  The race was void and re-run.  Half the field stood down including Overdose and the official winner was the lovely grey sprint machine Marchand D’Or.

It might not be on the official records but the opposition and the time of that non-race were impressive – Any of that form and Overdose wins.  He has been off with serious injury in-between but has also won a further 5 races, losing the once. 

Tangerine Trees looked impressive in the Palace Stakes.  He is one of a few front-runners and on good ground, I suspect we want a closer at Haydock.

Sole Power fits that bill. 12/1 with Bet365 this is the selection – The York run last year was in similar conditions and I think this race will suit.

As for the Bullet, well he is friendless in the market.  He has drifted to 10/3 with Stan James and I am going to suggest we take a piece of that too.  I think it is the fair price with a lot of questions remaining to be answered.  I hope he destroys them, it will be great for the sport.  Even better if Henry Cecil announces afterwards that Frankel is going to step back to 5f to settle the score!  Unlikely.

The Irish 2,000 Guineas, 3.45 The Curragh

This is about the weakest running of the 2,000 Irish Guineas as I can remember.

The way Frankel set about the British Guineas field was explosive but made the race a bit of a farce.  While Richard Hughes is confident that the form of Dubawi Gold was solid and fair, the Major is less certain.  Frankel had so many horses off the bridle in under 2 furlongs , it both took the breath and ensured that no other horse was likely to run it’s planned race.  I think the form should be thrown out and get back to basics.

That day the Major fancied, Roderic O’Connor, the O’Brien horse.  If you take the face value 38l defeat, you would send it to a seller!  Clearly this was not the expected running and I think back in Ireland, this horse might show us why he was the choice to be number one miler for O’Brien at the Guineas.

Currently 4/1 with Stan James, load up the cannon and thank me later.

The Preakness

It is the second of the American classics tonight with the Pimlico Preakness.  Animal Kingdom was impressive in the Kentucky derby. 

You could argue that the way the race panned out with slow early sectional times, that Animal Kingdom may well be better tonight and represents terrific value as 2/1 favourite.

The Major is less sure.  The weather contributed to track conditions for the Derby and although I am sure the experience helped Animal Kingdom, I fancy others to come good this evening.

Top of my list is Dialed In.  He will be better primed for this than the Kentucky as he stands to gain a whopping 5.5$m bonus.  He has improved with every run, I have great expectations.

6/1 generally, a win bet is required.  Quarter past eleven, channel 415!

7.05 Newbury

The Major sniffs an opportunity in this with handicap debutante Poltergeist.  Currently 4/1 I expect it to be smashed up a bit given the 1 in 3 strike rate of Haggas horses on their initial handicap marks!  Fallon on board too, it is a money printing exercise…. Reboot it young Powell and change the toner cartridge!

3.50 Goodwood

I have been waiting for Ewell Place to reappear for the Robert Mills yard.  Last time out at Goodwood, the horse finished up second and was unfortunate to run into one of the many riches of juvenile talents that Richard Hannon trains.

There seems to be a similar story today with Richard Hannons Trumpet Major probably much better for the outing at Newbury given he seemed to run green before staying on to take a reasonable third. 

Update: Before I finished the post, Ewell Place was a non runner.  the advice is 8/13 with Paddy Power get stuck into Trumpet Major.

Have Ewell Place on your watch list though.  Last time out, it was backed into 3s from 8s….. someone thinks it has a decent maiden race in it.

To the sports fields….

Premier League action is all tomorrow but I advise you now to take Manchester United at 4/6 to beat Blackpool, Liverpool 13/10 to win at a lifeless Villa.

If you believe that Blackpool will lose at Manchester and that Spurs will beat Blues at home.  You are left with some tricky conundrums.  If Blues are losing by two goals, Wigan only need a point.  Likewise, Wolves Blackburn might be happy to share the spoils the longer the game goes on.

This makes the 9/4 about a draw at Molineux attractive too, get stuck in.

It is Henieken Cup day and I have to say that Northampton +6 in the handicap looks appealing.  The Irish are strong, but Northampton have a great front row and it should be a tight exciting affair.  Have a slice.

May your evening be graceful and elegant.  Entertain at home is the suggestion, how about that bright-eyed well decorated sort, great fun not likely one to want you to turn Bloomberg on.  Wine, spanish red.  Food, Hearty pasta with Chorizo, pepper, tomato, a nice oil and a grated fine parmesan…… enjoy.  As her taxi arrives, allow the quarry to see the roll of notes you extract from your jacket.  That should take her breath and she may even send the driver packing. 

Courage followers and roll those dice.