The Major has to report that the Saturday Service was the most barren for some time without selecting a winning piece of advice. Shame. Relentless positivity is the Majors mantra, it is always our move and so tomorrow we move to a new battleground in Berkshire. A tipping service for each Ascot race is listed below.
Tomorrow the Major leads a troop of ten gallant young warriors for Sagaro Stakes Day. The weather forecast is cool. The car is packed with a marvelous luncheon of cut meats, lime and chilli skewered chicken, fresh french style bread, salamis, cheeses, good ham, pimms based refreshments with some light beers and an interesting pear cider too… the Major has prepared stores for a lengthy battle with thanks reserved for Kelly who has performed quartermaster duty admirably.
What a great day of racing too. A moment to reflect on Sagaro who the feature race is named after. This chestnut was the first horse to win three Ascot Gold Cups, an achievement only recently matched by Yeats. This particular win is the Majors favourite, watch Lester in his 40s at this stage, remaining motionless in the leaders shadow, stalking silently, waiting, he knew what he had beneath him, then a shake of the reins and SHABASH the game is up. Moments reflecting the past, make the achievement in the present more profound.
The purpose of the trip is both fun and in good cause. You may remember that the Major suffered a knee injury recently, which happens to be a broken Patella. It ruled me out of the marathon. This is one of the fundraisers which we are going ahead with regardless as the cause is good and you try and stop us racing.
The Major is putting on the fun and the ten guests are coughing up a hearty donation to Whizz Kidz – A marvelous charity which provides mobility equipment and training, which changes the lives of many severely disabled children. A great cause, it will be nice to sit in the hazy Berkshire sun in that fine surround knowing a great charity benefits.
To the cards and the winners.
2pm Aldemore Conditions Stakes
There was so much to like about Magic City in the Newbury victory although hanging left in the closing stages was a slight concern.
The same hanging tendency struck The Penny Horse whose overall form is poorer and was certainly less eye-catching but is arguably the best bred in the race, certainly One Cool Cookie the Sire has a much better sprinting pedigree than Magic City.
Miss Work of Art won a maiden at class 5 level which qualifies the filly for a zero penalty, thus she should be carrying 8, 6 in the Majors working but she is marked as 8, 10 on the Racing Post card, something is not right.
Overall there is little not to like about Magic City but 1/3 is not a backable prospect for a two-year old sprinter. 14/1 about The Penny Horse for small stakes is the Majors view.
2.30 EBF Stakes
Gosden is well armed for this Stakes race with some great 3yo prospects. Flood Plain, 3/1, is regarded well enough to have been shipped to America for the Breeders Cup meeting, that didn’t work out but I am sure Gosden wasn’t flying him out for the air.
Hezmah, 2/1, is a surprising favourite to the Major but given it is a Gosden horse too, there is a strong indication that it is a better animal than Flood lain, the jockey booking of Richard Hills supports that.
Hills has started the season in good touch and Mystic Dream is a decent 11/2 proposition. It had an interesting start to life winning a Deauville all weather contest. More British trainers are raiding Ireland and France for the prizemoney and maybe that was the thinking, who knows.
It is Mystic Dream and Dubaianswer, 10/1, that the Major finds interesting. The latter should go well on the surface and has won his only race.
Hmmm. On balance if they were not by the same trainer I would opt for Flood Plain. 3/1 seems fair now he is dropped back in grade. I cannot bring myself to back Meznah at 2/1 given the comparative form but that makes it hard to back Flood Plain if training connections have had them work together!
Byrony is an interesting sort on his mixed 2yo form. I would have prefered a run but he is experienced. What puts me off is the ground, I am not sure he wants it rattling.
This is a tough call. Dubaianswer at 10/1 is the selection but it is hard to put you off any of them.
3.05 Britains Got Talent Stakes Race
What a great name for a race. Who knows if there is a production party on hand.
St Moritz is the choice of the Major who although set with the burden of top weight, will thrive on the jarring ground.
Zacinto will be a threat to all if the trainer has him back at his best. This Dansili colt though might just need to wait for some cut in the ground to be seen back to his best. That said 4 and a half lengths short of Goldikova, 1 and a half short of Paco Boy, if Zacinto is back to his best, game over.
Your choice, St Moritz each way at 7/1 for the sensible folk or load the cannon on Zacinto at 3/1.
3.40 Group 3 Sagaro Stakes
The Betchworth Kid made a winning return to the flat and is interesting having won on firm. Not the most solid prospect though.
The ones that will love conditions are Asker Tau, Akmal, Rajik and possibly the Queens horse, Free Agent.
Akmal certainly has some questions to answer.
Asker Tau and Rajik are the two to consider for the Major. On balance, Asker Tau feels better value at a bigger price and with trainer form assured. Rajik would be picked but the last ten runners of Charlie Mann have only returned one place.
4.15 Cleanevent Pavilion Stakes
An interesting line up, some real quality, some back in trip, others looking for a return to form.
Murbeh, 16/1, has a squeak back on more suitable ground but on seasonal debut is best watched. I have seen worse 16/1 shots though for those that like a price.
Libranno for Hannon and Hughes is bound to be involved but will have to be resilient to win carrying a penalty. That said, the Craven form has a touch of class about it.
On balance, the Major goes for Margot Did, 9/4. This one will like conditions, has good form in the book and with Hayley on board, Shabash!
4.50 The Ascot Handicap
What a finish, a conundrum in a puzzle wrapped in a swirling vortex of possibility. Thank God the Major has solved it.
Lord Aeryn is a tasty 13/2 and Prince Apollo is a tastier 12/1.
On the former, conditions will not be a problem, recent form looks good and there can be more improvement, solid.
On the second, mixed form can correlate to ground conditions. Back on the preferred rattling surface, having a recent win under his belt, with a red hot trainer (4 winners from 5 runners in last fortnight, a more hit and miss prospect but 12/1, at this stage of day, it is time for KABOOOM!
Good luck to you all.