Tag Archives: viva colonia

The Saturday Sermon – Irish Oaks ‘Talent’ Day…. My recollection of the British Oaks

Good evening from the Major who writes from a dry dusty Worcestershire whose arid landscape is burned to a gentle straw colour.

The Major has cold Northern skin and this heat is not my ideal.  Yet, I do enjoy the world coming to life for a spell of good weather.  Generally, as long as you keep good company, less clothing is more fun.

The splendour of the weekend sport is laid before us.  We have cycling, cricket and of course the Irish Oaks and the reappearance of British Oaks winner, Talent.

I was immensely impressed by her win at Epsom.  A significant wager (she was a 20/1 winner of which I had a nother 3 from 5 selections, doubles and trebles) did act as catalyst to the joy of watching such a magnificent performance, I must admit. Regardless of personal financial rewards, this was a performance with a majestic touch.  It reminded me that life is good and that racing is the sport of those with a liking for the rich turf stories which resonate the intense emotions of our own impending deaths . Indulge me though as I tell you the running of the 2013 Oaks.   

The story of Talent and the Epsom Oaks

Talent was the second string of the Beckett yard, the 20/1 outsider.  Her juvenile debut gave no hint of her real ability and even her maiden win on Kemptons polytrack was gritty rather than flashing, it was also to be her only other two year old start.

It was her Newmarket 2013 reappearance that had caught my eye and hinted she could be better.  She clearly was not fully tuned for the listed  contest but I liked the girls attitude as she settled down to serve it up to Lady Nouf and grind out a seasonal debut win.

Granted there was much more glamorous form in some of her fellow competitors books.  Becket top stable jockey Jim Crowley had also overlooked Talent in favour of Secret Gesture, the yards more fancied runner and favourite for the race.  Yet Beckett was still very complimentary about Talent, he certainly gave the impression that the gulf in price between them was artificial and that he also held her in good esteem.  The scene was set.

The stalls rattled open and Talent is sluggish into stride, with Richard Hughes erect in the stirrups, the suspicion to my eye was that the tardiness was deliberate.  Held up, she exuded comfort climbing the Epsom hill, lobbing along in the rear.  Talent in the early cut and thrust was enjoying her day out at the races.  

This all changed shortly after she passed the high point on the course.  Here the track bends left and the ground drops away.  With the changing ground, Talent started to chomp at the bit, at first just jostling, almost playful but not settling as you want your runner to do.  As the race tempo builds, her agitation escalates, she is now fighting for her head with some gusto…  As she approaches Tattenham Corner she is becoming keener and keener… Is she hating every stride?  Is she outclassed?  Still green?

Whatever the reason, it all seems as though my goose is cooked, just 24 hours earlier, we watched a replica race.   Dawn Approach expended similar energy fighting Kevin Manning in the Derby, it looks for all the world as though Talent was to be served the same way.  However, appearances can be deceptive.

As they turn for home, Talent calms again back on the level, what is left in the tank?  As the bend completes, she gives Madame Defages a bump, she is still active, still ready to compete, will she break cover now?  Hughsie has other ideas, he holds her together, tight on the reigns… not yet girl, not yet.  Most eyes are focussed on the higher profile Secret Gesture, and The Lark who have started their own runs at the head of affairs…

Talent has yet to break fully clear and for just a moment, she seems to make heavy weather of finding that space, bunching horses block her path, Hughsie takes a pull, ice running through the mans veins and then asks her to squeeze through a gap, he has a willing companion, her head lowered she knuckles down to the business end.  

Then, like souls awakening to the brilliant brightness of summers dawn, she is suddenly free.  Relishing the difficult camber of the Epsom straight, she powers to join the fray, drawing alongside the principals.  Pausing momentarily, as though to take stock, Hughsie taps her with the whip and she surges forward taking an enormous gangly stride, her surge of raw pace is ugly in delivery but decisive in effect.  A second crack from the pilot and she is away, Talent is not for catching.

And that my friends is the battle of the 2013 Oaks filed and receipted for your appraisal.  Disagree? False pace, don’t rate the form? Please recall that the Major is only amateur and my mind is unhinged, I am merely your reluctant correspondent.  Don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself.

Now to the sports and let us deal straight with the malevolent force of our enemy.  See clearly and act with conviction, tonight we dine, silver service, on fine undercooked steak, washed down with burgundy and in the company of those fine sorts who are so sure of their place in life, they act not thinking they are right, but knowing it.

Saturday Racing 

The Irish Oaks is run at 6.15pm, guess who I am on!  Stan James are 3/1 about Talent and I suggest you speak to your international money man to see what liquidity you can achieve by this time.

I would also suggest a double with Darwin who aces in the Minstrel Stakes which is the preceding contest.  The classic generation horses don’t have the strongest overall record in the race but the last three years have seen two winners.  John Oxx has won the race with Takar and Air Chief Marshall went in for team Ballydoyle three years ago.  My selection is 11/8, have a chunky slice.

The Betfred Summer Plate – 3.30 Market Rasen

The Summer Plate normally goes to a proven decent sort, you do get a fair smattering of six year old winners but normally they are already classy sorts and are not usually lurking at the bottom of the handicap.  This year, the race is wide open with the enemy pricing up this conundrum in a vortex at 7/1 the field.

Peter Bowen has had a tremendous recent record in the race and Dineur must be on the shortlist as a result of that form alone.

There are two I will take against Bowen, they are Galaxy Rock and Viva Colonia.   The first is well tried in the top handicaps and may well come to the boil for this.  The second Viva Colonia is the tip and one I would not normally offer.  Why not?  Well, I am not the biggest fan of Brian Ellison but I am of Noel Fehily and I just think this horse has the credentials.  Viva Colonia won the summer hurdle here two seasons ago, if his recent runs have been prepping him for this, he could be a danger to all and 20/1 with Hills might look a mighty price.

Newbury Tips

The opener must surely go to Gold Top.  The Hannon / Hughes entry is up against the boys this time but has looked good so far and Hughsie is having to slim down to his bottom weight for the ride… Load a cannon.

In the 3.15, I like Ocean War at 3/1, this selection is an interesting horse who has suffered injuries that kept him from racing for several years.  However, he was previously a classy looking sort and surely plenty of improvement is available on second start back from those troubles?

Krypton Factor is a shoe in for the 3.15.  The Ascot form is of the highest order having finished in the places behind Society Rock and Lethal Force, surely too good for this lot and 2/1 seems generous.  Normally horses do not suffer badly from breaking from the stalls.  Have a hearty slice.

That is it from the Major for this week.  I trust your dinner is delectable.

The Martin Hill lucky 15 by nature of the four tips on the blog today is Talent, Viva Colonia, Darwin and Krypton Factor.

Courage and roll those dice.

The Saturday Sermon – Tips for Ascot 40/1 and 50/1! Fresh from the unhinged mind of the Major

Fair tidings I wish to thee from a cold frosty Defford, where the Major has taken the early morning air, breathing in the coldness until it hurts the lungs. Returning to the kitchen table where the coffee has been bubbling away, a beautiful morning.

Oh yeah baby, Big Bucks is your daddy

Recent tipping form from the Major has left an awful lot to be desired, in fact, it has been dreadful. If you have made a purposeful visit this morning, I urge you to consider your mental health, it must be akin to that of your bank roll. I thank you though and hope to reward you with a turn in fortune to fill your purse with the enemies riches. This is our Stalingrad, do not call it a comeback, we were never gone. All brave warriors experience despair and darkness before the final true reincarnation to ultimate deliverance, read the bible, we shall rise again so daub your war paint and sharpen the lance point.

This week, Chris Graham of Sportingbet tweeted to ask for help in amassing the best sporting moments in 2011 which he is compiling into a podcast. After consideration, I overlooked McIlroy (which even for a non golf fan like myself was sensational), I thought of Mark Cavendish who probably achieved more but settled for a moment of pure poetry from my favourite sport. Kauto was moving, but no….. Frankel was explosive, again no….. Hayley winning her G1 on Dream Ahead seemed special but no…..

The image of the teenager Michael Barzalona in a Derby photo finish bolt upright in his stirrups, arm vertical to the heavens, wow. The impudence and confidence of youth, to judge that Pour Moi has the momentum to win and to celebrate so audaciously, such an outpouring of joy, that image was poetic and no BHA campaign could ever do more good for our fine sport than that.

Sports moment of the year for the Major

Once the podcast that Chris is preparing is complete, I will post a link so we can see whether we were included and what others thought worthy. I am thinking of following up with my own end of year top ten horseracing moments of 2011, perhaps early January.

While I am on ‘mentions’, a big thank you to William Hill who sent me four tickets to the Kempton winter meet, second day…. Cheers guys, I shall now galvanise a hardy bunch who fancy a day in the bracing Surrey air to clear the Christmas heads. Let me know if interested.

The Major set up a social gambling club this year, called the King George Club, essentially members bet on behalf of the group and all winnings are kept in a communal pot. The most profitable member has to bet the lot on the King George at Kempton and if we win, we share all winnings equally, very social, perhaps slightly influenced by the teachings of Marx. We have just over (as Steve Palmer would say) a bag of sand to throw at it and it looks like it could be Mr Dipper to throw the dart. We are setting it up again for next year so if interested, again let me know.

Finally I am going to run a post soon on the best people to follow on twitter for horseracing fans. Again, I will get round to it, but if you don’t follow already, consider the Major (@tdl123) – It won’t enhance your life but it will make me happy.

To the sports….

The Lough Derg Long Walk – Ascot Grade 1

How fantastic to see such a good race named after Lough Derg, the bold as brass stayer who never lost for want of trying.

Here are a few numbers….. 1113, 999849, 4/20, 13. Any ideas?

They all relate to Big Bucks… 1113 days since his last defeat (which includes 13 races), £999,849 is his career winnings, 4/20 losses on British soil and 13 is his tally of Grade 1 or Grade 2 wins. Plus, he still has plenty of time to add to that!

This horse is truly the most accomplished in training and 1/3 does not look like a bad price for those who like to buy a bit of money.

I have to say that for the Major, I generally do not back Big Bucks. Largely because of the prohibitive odds but also his habit of getting off the bridle early in his races, it never looks good even if he always delivers.

Today, the only bet I could advise in this race is courtesy of a concession bordering on the crazy. Ladbrokes, the chief sponsor on the day are offering a refund on horses finishing second to Big Bucks. That surely makes Dynaste a bet to nothing. I love these competitive Saturdays with the enemy competing for our custom with loss making offers.

This Pipe horse deserves a crack at the champion even if he is rated a stone inferior. Pipe knows all about Big Bucks having chased him home with Grand Crus on several occasions, 5/1 with the magic sign surely makes it a bet to nothing.

1.20 Lingfield

The Major likes to bring you tips from the top races of the day but I also like the >£2k races in which my highly tuned sense of smell for a developing gamble can sometimes give us the great early value. Last night on Facebook, I put up Irons on Fire as a candidate, a horse so well treated on old form, it just stood out. Last night 7/1, this morning 11/4…. someone is paying for Christmas in the Majors view.

Even at 11/4, I do not think the price should stop you playing, I suspect a remarkable return to form and Irons on Fire scooting up to joyous scenes in the winners enclosure….. Thank you Jesus.

The Ladbroke

A fine handicap to close any day of racing and this is an opportunity to get a value punt in. This is the most valuable European handicap hurdle and as a result you get the best up and coming horses seeking to exploit their unexposed marks.

This is why as much as I like Marsh Warbler and Brampour, I have to overlook them in favour of something tastier down the weights.

The most obvious candidate is 5/1 Prospect Wells, a good flat horse now running for Nicholls and really fits the profile. A mark of 142 seems reasonable I just wonder if firmer conditions won’t be his thing, we shall see. Jockey booking of Walsh may seem important but I think Brampour would have had Nicholls nephew Derham aboard, regardless of horse ability, after the emotional win at Cheltenham. It is interesting though that Ruby rides Prospect Wells who is kept in the handicap proper by his stablemate – The flood of antepost money tells a story too. I would not put anyone off a Prospect Wells win bet.

I am going with two at bigger prices and suggesting one at odds that seem to dismiss any chance of victory, to a casual observer.

Viva Colonia is the first at 16/1. This horse finished well at Cheltenham when behind Brampour on last outing and it was an eye-catching surge. He was raised just 3lbs for that effort while the winner went up 10lbs, at the price, given some opportunity to come on for that run, I am having a slice.

The other selection is Gibb River, Hendersons string have been in such fine order and I have to say that at 9/1, this is an each way steal.

For those that like a monster price, Ciceron avoids being out of the handicap, again thanks to Brampours involvement. At least this selection will be fine on the ground, at 50/1 if the stable were in better form I would be tempted but no wins from the last 33 runners puts me off, shame I like a 50/1 steamer!

1.55 Graduation Chase

It looks to me like all the fun will be for the Paddy Power 4th, Aerial who has come in to dispute favouritism with Hell’s Bay.

I am all for the latter who has shown the best form by a stone and I think he will win so 7/4 is not bad. I would wait to place that bet though because I think he will drift as the money comes for the Nicholls horse. That is almost certain to happen in my view because I am sure as soon as a Nicholls winner goes in (of which there is ample chance with Big Bucks / Prospect Wells et al), the sheep will open their wallets.

That said, what about the others outside of the top two? Well there is an eye catcher. Soixante has not shown nearly enough to win on existing form but I do think this race will suit and 40/1 is the wrong price. Have a slice of that and send me the postcard.

To the other sports (Fairyhouse included!)

The wheels finally came off the Spurs bus which has carried me a long way this season, 2/5 against a possibly rejuvenated Sunderland is nor price.

I think the 11/5 about West Brom coming away from an unconvincing Blackburn is particularly attractive. Mr Hill, for once, I can see it! Take a piece of that.

I also like the 11/13 price about Newcastle getting the job done at home to Swansea.

finally Hull at evens to win at home against Millwall is like finding money in the street, load a new cartridge in the money printer for this one.

I suggest a lucky 15 on Mount Colah (banker in the opener at Fairyhouse), Hull, West Brom and Hells Bay. That should pay for a new pair of shoes!

This evening may you dine well, entertain the flaxen haired wanton piece. you know the sort, the curl of the lip, a saucy smile, knowing look and reckless sense of abandon. Tip well and at the midnight hour consider how good it is to be alive in this fine age of ours.

Courage and roll those dice.