Tag Archives: twice over

York Festival – Wednesday Tips, Great Volitigeur and the Juddmonte

Good evening from the Major who writes a short post from the cool Worcestershire clear evening. The major has had winning posts of late, let us hope the form continues.

Wednesday is the opening day of the York festival and so I write with a very short post.

The Great Voltigeur

Main Sequence is shaping up as market favourite at 2/1 and it is easy to like his chances. An unbeaten animal until taking on superstar Camelot in the Derby, this Lingfield Trial winner also when down in the Grand Prix de Paris where thedeep conditions would not have suited. This good to firm will be better but there is strong opposition.

Noble Mission claimed group 3 glory last time out and the horse famous for his sibling will be seeking to set up a famous day for the family in the preceding race to Frankels’.

A strong form line can be taken from Noble Mission to Thomas Chippendale who is seeking a hat-trick and clearly morose improve. The Ballydoyle raider is surely better value than Noble Mission at 4/1 and 5/1 respectively.

Enke and Energiser, the Godolphin representatives don’t make much appeal and while Thought Worthy represents Gosden who has a terrific record in the race, I think this is a strong enough field.

On balance there is a 9/4 price about Main Sequence with Betvictor and I think it is a price worth taking.

The only other York race that appeals as a betting medium is the open sprint handicap which opens the day.

2pm York – Sprint Handicap

If it was not for trainer form the Ponty Acclaim would be the selection in this – a horse with a touch of class and one that is drawn on the side I want to be on. That trainer form is bad though….

The 9/2 favourite is Rex Imperator who has looked a group horse in the making. Charlton does not take that man to York so it has to be respected, clearly on the upgrade.

Tax Free is available with Boylesports at 10/1 – this is a horse. Gave a big mention to at the weekend at a big price. He is knocking on and not a certainty to string two good races together but he is turned out again before the handicapper gets a chance to put his mark back up and his second was very decent on Saturday.

The one the Major goes for though is another who competed with far less distinction in the St Wilfred. Lexis Hero is a general 16/1 shot and a classy enough horse on the day. I don’t think the drop to this trip will be a problem – the horse is one to lead and I would not be shocked to see a return to form.

The Juddmonte

It is an enormous leap to think Frankel will struggle over 10f – the way he finishes his races, I cannot think he will do anything other than smash this lot. St Nicholas Abbey on best form might get within ten lengths but Frankel is playing a different game to the rest of them.

If you are looking for each way value then the two that appeal are Sri Putra who gained a well deserved top class victory at this course last time out and Twice Over who won the race last year.

Courage one and all, roll those dice.

Coral Eclipse Sandown Tips, Murray, Farhh, Rain, Haydock Tips….It is the Saturday Sermon

Good morning to you all from a rural Worcestershire where the pressing warm air still feels charged with the potential of release.

Cityscape with that distinctive white blaze….

Surprising really as like most, we have been deluged.  From the Major’s windows I can see down the hill into the culvert where an impromptu lake has formed, as it does when system cannot cope.The Major loves the Sandown Coral Eclipse race.  An opportunity for the three year olds and four year olds to battle it out.  A chance for the upstarts, fresh from the Guineas exploits to meet their elders and see if the weight for age allowance and impertinence of youth can win over.  It is a chance to judge the classic generation.Only not so this year.  Bonfire may well be a fine horse but he is the sole representative of his age group today.  This does not mean the race is diminished.  In fact there are a number of intriguing angles for the Major, more of that in a moment.

Andy Murray has made the Wimbledon final and good luck to him.  Twitter (the Major is @tdl123 by the way!)  has a habit of repeating jokes and the line about him winning and being British and losing and being a sCot has done many the round.

The Major is happy for him to be Scottish if he loses and retain his miserable dour Scots Presbyterian outlook if he wins too.  Entertainment is part of the modern sports persons brand.  Being liked is as equal to what you have won.  The pure of heart might balk at this – After all the olympian spirit is hardly about popularity n’est pas?  Yet, we chew our lip when we hear that Beckham was not picked for the squad on the grounds of likely contribution…

Beckham has it, Murray does not.  The Major acknowledges that this is nothing to do with the sport.  If you are a tennis buff then you may be content enough to base your view of a man on his forearm smash.  For those tourists of us though, we want more.  Hence, I don’t like Murray… Given the choice of a beer with him or Federer after tomorrows proceedings, no contest.  What you do as well as how you do it count.

To the sports…

Tips for Sandowns Coral Eclipse

Intriguing… The pace is likely to be generous with Nathaniel and Cityscape in the field.  Sandown for me is a course where prominence can help.  There are pointers.

Softer ground (good to soft officially) is also a big component.  Cityscape, Farhh, Twice Over and Bonfire are confirmed toe-in sorts….

The most fascinating runner has to be Crackerjack King who apart from a run in the french Derby which you would have to ignore, has looked hugely impressive.  Now an inmate of Botti, a massively interesting sort.

Let’s sift through a few.  Bonfire was at one point a hot order for the Derby after taking in the Dante.  That field though does not look as strong as it once did and I doubt that Bonfire measures up to other three year old winners of the Eclipse such as Hawk Wing or Sea the Stars…

Nathaniel would be of significant interest having won the race last year.  The Major tipped him up that day.  Having had no run this season and having been looked outpaced, I wonder if Nathaniel might be a bit caught for toe.

Of the bigger prices, I am attracted to Sri Putra who has run into the places in the last two runnings.  That one will be fired up and Varian is in great form.  66/1 is a fine price and although not the tip, neither is 66/1 right.

Twice Over could also outrun 16/1, a lover of soft conditions and proven Group One performer.  He needs to leave behind two poorer runs from this season and not a lot of excuses seem to offer themselves, perhaps at 7, the best days are gone, perhaps not.

Farhh looks of significant interest having finished really well when finally getting out of a pocket at Ascot last time out.  Personally I wonder if the reaction to that performance is a little overboard but 5/2 seems reasonable.  The horse will like conditions and this is a considered animal.  Especially as he was supplemented for this.

The Major though has settled on Cityscape.  As long as the international travel has not taken too much a toll then I think this horse has possibly the best form in the race having won the Dubai Duty Free from the front.  Good to soft should have no major fears and the Major is going to offer my eclipse tip at 5/1 with Paddy Power who refund if you are second to Farhh.

Haydock – Old Newton Cup Tips

The presence of Allied Powers has shoved the weights up enough that he shoulders almost a stone more than the second in the handicap.  The old timer loves testing conditions and cannot be ruled out stepping back into handicap company, although the Major looks elsewhere.

Lexi’s Boy will also relish conditions and McCain is in fine form stealing these flat handicap races having taken the Northumberland last weekend, considered.

The Major opts for 11/1 shot Easy Terms.  The Old Newton tip has won both starts this term and has a penchant for the sot ground.  An awkward draw has made the price honest but he overcame a shocker at Chester to come from the back and win there.  The improvement may well still be ongoing… Have a slice.

3.10 Sandown – Tips for the Coral Distaff

I must have a look at this race because I simply believe evens shot Starscope is wholly the wrong price.  I have a strong suspicion that we will find the form of her races not that strong.  The Guineas race looked odd and with Homecoming Queen now not looking quite so hot a prospect, I think evens that Starscope gets her head in front for the first time this year is a crazily short price.  I accept that I also have to find the Coronation form a bit misleading too…

That’s what I love about my sport, racing is opinion. Fact + Story = Belief and my instinct is that Starscope is over-rated massively here.

I am opting for a 16/1 shot instead in the lightly raced Kunooz.  Only raced twice as a juvenile, I suspect that her second run was not magnificent (behind Falls of Lora) and then she was put away.  I am taking a risk but I think progress could have been made with her being re-introduced at Listed level.

Tonight may your dinner be a simple home cooked pasta…. courage, roll those dice.

The Majors Saturday Service – The Lockinge at Newbury – Tips for horseracing, football (FA Cup Final) plus Chinese Philosophy

Good morning from sunny Pershore where the Major has been at the study for your benefit (arguable) for many hours.  The coffee is bubbling away leaving its traces on the air. 

Mika Newton represents Ukraine at 150/1 for Eurovision - Shabash!

This weekend the Major ventures north to the Lakes, such a beautiful spot, serene, the greens and blues, marvelous; the purpose is a christening, I am aiming for all things to be quality this weekend, including some winning selections, allowing for a hearty donation to the childs university fund.

The fighting fund has been bolstered already.  I hope you had an opportunity to see Thursday nights post, picking apart the Yorkshire Cup in which Duncan duly delivered, advised at 4/1 – The Major was delighted and never mind waking Duncan with thy knocking, the Major might have with his cheer.

The Major offers a free service alerting people of new posts.  You can sign up on twitter @tdl123 or in the left hand column there is an email subscription service run by the good people at WordPress. 

We get a fair few hundred readers per week and normally a handful of new subscribers signing up.  I often wonder what those that arrive for the first time think.  Tip quality, middling……. effort and enthusiasm A+……. unhinged, definitely – They keep coming though, it seems there is an appetite for a mix of horseracing and football opinion with a dash of nonsense.

Last night the Major entertained.  We drank a nice prosecco, ate good curry and finished the night with friends singing around the piano.  The piano is in a far-flung corner of the estate, one where the power of the Majors broadband signal dwindles.  My guest asked if I was able to connect to the network, no doubt he wanted to check the runners at Keeneland, we were beyond the witching hour.  When the Major reported his technology also incapable of picking the signal up, my friend declared himself pleased that it was not his equipment that was less superior.  He is a nice person normally.

This struck a note.  It reminded me of Taoist philosophers whose message was one of taking lifes journey in good order.  You do not really know what is good or bad and you should never begrudge another man his good fortune and that you should never look at any event and evaluate it too much for merit.  Although the author of the following passage is unknown, the following is a nice illustration.

On day a Chinese farmer awoke to find wild horses on his land which he was able to catch.  What great luck his neighbours decried, how do you know said the farmer?

Then, when the farmer’s son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?”

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer’s son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?  Who knows?

One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer’s neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, “Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?” A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, “Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?

The Major must be the only man alive who wishes the bankers well with those telephone number bonus payments – good luck to you all, to the sports.

The Lockinge – Newbury 3.45pm

The feature of the day is very tricky. 

The trainers of Shakespearean, Beacon Lodge and Cityscape have all made noises about not running without more rain.  This would reduce the field to 7 which of course reduces the places paid on each way stakes to 2. 

This is significant because Twice Over was in my thoughts originally as an 8/1 each way punt.  I am sure that he would not be being dropped back to a mile if he was not going to show well at that distance.  Backing just for the two places though seems tough.  I am sure the Dubai efforts will have him fit and his last run was a mixed race so would be happy to believe he is in good fettle, I think the thing that puts me off the most is his miserly strike rate on any ground containing the word firm (1 from 6) – overlooked.

The two market leaders are the Hannon trained Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, apple of the trainer and jockeys eyes.  Dick Turpin has beaten Canford Cliffs twice already, losing their final encounter – Even that was only a modest defeat of half a length in an oddly run race that saw Dick Turpin stretched after a pretty big pace.   Both will love conditions.

Dick Turpin is stripping fit so the calculation between the two is this.  Is Dick Turpins form better or worse? Hard to say.  Visually how do you assess them?  Canford Cliffs beating of Rip van Winkle was very eye-catching, smooth headway to destroy the classy O’Brien horse.  Is race fitness an issue?  Well Dick Turpin has the benefit of a run but Canford goes well fresh so no.  What about Canford as the stable star though?  No doubt they do love him but they have been wrong before about who their number one horse is.

On that strength, 7/2 Dick Turpin does not sound a bad prospect but the Major has deliberated the decision and has to advise elsewhere.

The outsider I give a squeak to is Red Jazz.  If was assured that eight would get to post then 20/1 is a nice each way bet – Meydans artificial track did not suit this one but last years third at Royal Ascot in the QEII was no fluke, he has some class and could be one to have developed into a smarter four year old.

The advice is simple, get stuck into Canford Cliffs at the 5/6 on price.  He does not have to beat a lot, will love conditions and is the one horse here that looks a super star.  Head said Turpin, value suggests Red Jazz.  The fact that Canford could prove today he is one from the top draw is irresistible.  Let’s have a resounding win that sets up the heavyweight contest with Frankel.  If Canford is the class beast we hope him to be, he will win.

Frankel versus Canford.  Boom, my heart just fluttered.  All in today chaps.

 Bangor 5.20 – The Bumper

Value has to be sought in all corners!  Straight from the Lockinge to tips at Bangor – The Major seeks it all for you.

Nicky Henderson sends in a bumper horse and he is always to be feared at these provincial tracks.  He has them ready first time up and took this last year with a similar sort. 

Two markets are open, they both price Western Approaches at 5/2, have a slice.  Henderson is 36% with debut bumper sorts in the last twelve month – This looks a tepid affair, get stuck in and thank me later.

I am not going to try to solve the complex handicap at Newbury, I shall leave that to the others.  Instead to Newmarket.

2.15 King Charles II Stakes

This looks an interesting contest and the Major has a sort he likes in this.

Utley and I Love Me have arguably done the most on track but I am not convinced by either.

The one I like is Trade Storm.  Never out of the front three when firm is in the description, this one will relish conditions.  He is guaranteed to be fit enough and while the others have some major entries (Coronation Cup for I Love Me), I am not sure they are good enough.  Trade Storm did enough in the Gimcrack to show he can be a player at this level.  10/1 generally available – Get stuck right in.

Uttoxeter

The Major enjoys having a crack at the Lockinge, reviewing the classier animals and deciding on the best.  That said, there is money to be made at Uttoxeter on good to firm ground.  I would be looking for those that are proven on it and there are a couple I like.

Breaking Silence in the opener at 5/1 would have been one but is a non-runner.  Spirit is needed in the 6.45 is a definite selection at 6/4 – This one also comes with greater experience.  Bet365 go 9/2 about Danehillsundance in the 7.30, punish them vigorously.    The same turf accountant offers 8/1 about Daraz Rose in the last, take them on that too!

To the sports fields of Britain.  The Major should offer you an FA Cup Final Tip. 

Man City seem to me a team devoid of spirit.  Ballotelli sums them up neatly in my view.  They have bought badly, appointed an unexciting manager and celebrated achieving 4th in the league as though it were the title itself.  I think the manager will go, they are a team whose sum is far worse than the component parts.

Stoke at 7/2 seem an outstanding price.  I think the game will be disjointed and 15/8 for 0-0 at half time is also worth a punt.

Sunderland and West Brom seem to have checked out for the season and so I oppose both with Everton at 7/4 and Wolves at 2/1.

The same accusation could be made of Bolton who have looked poor in a few recent outings.  That said, they are a better outfit than Blackpool and I cannot miss out on the 13/5 – Take a piece now.

 Betfred go 150/1 that Ukraine win the Eurovision song contest.  Trust me on this one.  I feel dirty.

I would put a double in today on Wolves and Canford Cliffs.  2/1 and 5/6 with Hills.  £50 returns £275 – Thank me later. 

Tonight no formal dinner.  Fish and Chips in the sea air.  Plenty of vinegar.  I wager you at levels that the rather stiff sort you took along succumbs to the wholehearted goodness of this atmosphere and relents.  You will be at the gallop before midnight.

Courage friends.

The Majors Saturday Service – Stratford, Newbury, Lingfield Winter Derby, Dubai World Cup – The Hatty Special!

Good morning fair punters of Britain and welcome back to the Majors Saturday Service.  No mid-week posts due to alternate priorities I am afraid – I have also have no chance to update the stats in the menu bar either – I will get round to this and it will make the numbers look a little less rosy.  That said, we are having a good March and we shall continue today.

Tragic scenes from the electrical accident which struck Newbury earlier in the season

I was asked to have a look at the Stratford card and so I have a couple I fancy there.  Newbury has some decent jumps action but Lingfields winter derby card and the action from Meydan is where the best racing is to be had.

There is also competitive international football and cricket, a trove of riches to be plundered.

The Major is relentless in quest, never shaken by the multitude of misfortunes that befall a brave punter warrior of this tribe.  Sharpen that pin-like needle spear young man, daub paint, wide-eyed, we stare into the possible, it is an echoing chasm of expectation and dashed fears of fallen gamblers.  To the sports and hold that steeley gaze.

Stratford ground is good and this could be quite significant.  We are definitely looking for horses with a bit of pace who can take advantages of firmer conditions around this flat track.

The first race to catch the eye is the 3.30.  Himrayn has a nice win at Market Rasen under his belt but a 10lb rise might be a bit steep although third that day has gone on to perform well.  The favourite Piment D’Estruval has a 3lb rise for a recent win to contend with too but if anything that seems harsher.

It leaves for me Phoenix des Mottes who is one of three who has won on the ground. It needs to put in a clean round.  Putting a line through the last run which was on unsuitably boggy ground, the february form of 4th is not bad, that was a 3l defeat to Handtheprizeover who went down to Meet the Critics in a better race at Newbury next time out. 

Have a win bet on the Phoenix at 9/2 with Skybet.

Happy Birthday to Charlie Wheelwright whose family have sponsored the race! 

2.55 Stratford – The Seller

As always the Major brings you the big races and the seller at Stratford!

Claimant makes the most appeal in a decidedly trappy event.  Only Hypnotic Gaze has any winning form in this seller but at 2/1 it makes little solid appeal.  I am hoping the headgear can have some positive impact and we see a better run – 10/1 Betfred, have an each way piece if there are no drop-outs resulting in a 2 place payout.

Newbury 3.25 Handicap Chase

Some decent horses are looking for a return to form in this race.  At Newbury I am often looking for a sound jumper and most here fith the bill.  Possibly Scots Dragoon is an exception and is overlooked. although he is one of a few that will like the good ground 

The others are Maktu, Ogee, Briery Fox, Winterwood and possibly Rey Nacardo. 

The only risk outside of these is Theatre Dance whose trainer is sizzling hot at the minute and this is a classic falling through the handicap horse – A revival could mean a big run for the money – not for the Major though.

Winterwood gets the line because he ran 48 hours ago!  This is probably a bit of a big ask for Rey Nacardo who fits many of the other criteria I was looking at.  That said 6/1 Boylesports is a fair price and he is taken as the tentative selection over a disappointing Maktu and Ogee who might find the fences a bit stiff.

5.35 Meydan – Dubai World Cup

Classy stuff.  Twice Over has had the misfortune of a shocking draw which is a shame because surely Cecil has the preparation nailed this year.  Twice Over has been in Dubai for some time…. shame but overlooked (good luck Martin!)

The Major gives another chance to Gio Ponti who is no doubt high quality and although the synthetic surface record is not great, it disguises some very good runs.  The lack of a prep race is not a concern at this level.  12/1 with Corals is a huge price – Get stuck in.

On the sports fields.

The Major is a big fan of 10/3 for Charlton to get a win at Bournemouth.  Both of these teams are suffering a dive in form.  It is well publicised that Chris Powell had a classic honeymoon period after which he lost 8 on the bounce for Charlton.  Bournemouth are missing Eddie Howe though and I fancy Bradley Wright Phillips a real danger at this level.  With the cherries having lost their last 3 too, 10/3 seems massive for Charlton to pick up the points – Get stuck right in.

At the prices I would back England in the cricket (7/4) and leave them in the football for Wales (8/1).  Football – Wales will make it a tight game and the move to appoint a new young captain could prove inspirational.  Cricket – England have been disrupted by injury this tournament but seem to play at their best when the pressure is off.  Not many are expecting anything other than a loss and I think Strauss may surprise a few.

The Hatty Special, named in honour of a new follower on Twitter (@tdl123) is a lucky 15 for Phonex Des Mottes, Claimant, Rey Nacardo and Charlton.

Tonight, dinner will be pasta, nice and simple.  Cook it with a little fish.  A sancerre to accompany.  Eat out, entertain that haughty sort you have had your eye on.  Two bottles in you will break the guard, the Major is sure.

Good luck followers.  Courage and shuffle the cards.