York – The Ebor

What a week we have had at York. Top class racing and of course the awe-inspiring Frankel proving he is the greatest racehorse ever with a sublime performance in the Juddmonte. The week's success was tainted a little this morning though with the news that NEWFANGLED has lost her life after sustaining a hip injury earlier in the week. She was a potential superstar too.
I have to believe the going at York will be soft today. I live in Sheffield and since last night it has done nothing but rain, some of it very heavy. I'm not having the forecast good ground in the papers.
Here are my selections for today :
MONSHAK 1430 York – (nap) has won well the last twice over 12 and 14f on soft going. Will appreciate the cut, and 10-1 is a great price.
MOTIVADO 1540 York – (nb) Sir Mark Prescott is a handicap rogue and can get his horses on a role in these races. Motivado is 6lb well in and won well last time. My only concern is he has run poorly twice here before.
BEACON LODGE 1400 York – (treble) on his old form he would wipe the floor with these, ran poorly first time out but a chance is taken he will bounce back.
SADDLERS ROCK 1505 York – has gone from strength to strength this year and I can't see any other horse reversing any form. Great chance.
 
I also fancy a dabble on TOPNOTCHTONTO 1650 York, CARAVAN ROLLS ON 1450 NEWMARKET, BLANCHE DUBAWI 1525 NEWMARKET, REDRESSTHEBALANCE 1415 GOODWOOD, CHACHAMAIDEE 1520 GOODWOOD
 
Good luck if you're having a wager!
 
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Day One – York

Here we are again, with the one of the best flat racing festivals to look forward to – culminating on Saturday with The Ebor. Added to the spice this year is the greatest racehorse ever's final run, not to mention numerous high quality races and some memorable pin-sticking handicaps. I love York, such a fantastic course and always packed to the rafters with racegoers, I wish I could be there!
 
These are my selections for the first day :
 
DICKIE'S LAD 1400 York – not been running well this season and needs a dramatic return of form. However, York is a course that some horses like and some detest, this lad has finished 5th and 2nd here previously. The ever impressive Graham Lee is on board too. Each way selection.
 
EBN ARAB 1430 York – won well on debut and the form was franked by Related on Friday who ran well to beat Pythagorean. More to come from this one.
 
NOBLE MISSION 1505 York – this boy is quickly becoming one of my favourite horses with his gutsy efforts. He has got better and better as the season has progressed. I hope he can out battle Main Sequence, who seemed very unfortunate on his last run in France.
 
FRANKEL 1540 York – who else, I'm gutted this is the last time we will see this machine run. He's pure poetry in motion, a superstar, a horse of a lifetime and I'm so pleased I have been able to see him. Wonder what his progeny will be like?
 
DAZINKSKI 1615 York – I have backed him all year so I can't leave him for the race he won last year. He's only one pound higher this time around and I recKon a little rain will have helped his chances. My main worry has to br the classy hurdler COUNTRYWIDE FLAME.
 
SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD 1650 York – has gone up 6lbs for his last win. I think there is a lot more to come from this horse and the rise may not stop him. A competitve handicap with DANADANA high up on the list and one of my follow horses FORK HANDLES too. Great race.
 
Here's to a cracking day and a great festival! Enjoy!

Bloodline by James Rollins

What can I say about this book other than “Fantastic”. I am a huge James Rollins fan and have read all of the Sigma series books. Bloodline, like the others, doesn't let you down and is a real page turner.
 
Rollins introduces two new characters in this book, Tucker Wayne and his war dog Kane. They make the storyline more enjoyable and their partnership described in detail in the book adds real substance to the story. The story revolves around the President daughter who is kidnapped by Somali pirates whilst heavily pregnant. The pirates of course are working for the enemies in the Sigma series, The Guild. The story follows Sigma's attempts to rescue the kidnapped daughter, using Wayne and his sidekick Kane's expertise in many situations. The story moves towards the Guild's master plan of an assassination attempt, with Gray Pierce, Seichan and their Sigma comrades using all their skills to prevent this happening.
 
We learn even more about the mysterious Guild and how they have grown and strengthened over centuries. With in depth accounts of nano-technology, gene development and as always a great twist near the end, this book is a real must for all Sigma fans.
 
I won't spoil the story and the surprise, but needless to say I am already looking forward to the next instalment.
A full shop of 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 for this book.

Saturday – How many meetings?

I can't believe how many meetings there are today! Like reading war and peace trying to pick the best ones today. A lot to look forward to though, some excellent races today, including the St. Wilfred. Then we have the return of football of course. As much as I can't ge doung with the overpaid, pompous pillocks, I have to admit I do miss my footy on a Saturday.
We then move to the fantastic Ebor meeting next week and possibly the last time we will ever see Frankel on a racecourse. Can't wait to see him in all his majesty again.
 
On to today, a couple of Lucky 15's with my best three in there too. Good luck if you're having a flutter!
 
Lucky 15 Number 1
Absinthe 1615 Perth (nap) (2nd – 11/4)
Strong Suit 1505 Newbury (nb) (2nd – 9/4)
Our Jonathan 1530 Ripon (treble) (unplaced)
Fury 1555 Newmarket (NR)

Lucky 15 Number 2
Mont Ras 1550 Doncaster (3rd – 5-1)
Fleeting Smile 1415 Newmarket (3rd – 11/4)
Gassin Golf 1700 Doncaster (2nd – 2-1)
Brown Panther 1430 Newbury (2nd – 9/4)
 

Saturday tips

It's that time of the week again, super Saturday! The best bit is that the footy season is back with us too next week and the awesome Ebor festival is nearly here.
 
On to today's selections. Two Lucky 15's for you all. Should be a cracking day of racing and I'm very hopeful for my first Lucky 15 with a couple of great chances.
 
 
FIRST LUCKY 15
 
REDRESSTHEBALANCE 1535 NEWMARKET (NAP) (unplaced)
ROSSLYN CASTLE 1420 HAYDOCK (nb) (unplaced)
GABRIAL 1455 HAYDOCK (treble) (3rd – 9-4)
DANK 1600 HAYDOCK (2nd – 9-4)
 
SECOND LUCKY 15
 
LUI REI 1405 ASCOT (unplaced)
AHZEEMAH 1440 ASCOT (2nd – 8-1)
VIKING STORM 1515 ASCOT (won – 5-1)
RAZORBILL 1705 HAYDOCK (unplaced)
 
Also fancy LADY GORGEOUS (3rd – 8-1), ILLUSTRIOUS PRINCE (unplaced) and SIR JOHN HAWKWOOD (won 4-1)
 

Summer Holiday in Somerset

 
 
I thought I would do a blog to share with you some of the beautiful places we've seen and visited this summer in our first real outing as caravanners.
 
 
We stayed for ten days on a really lovely site at Burrowhayes Farm. Just four miles past Minehead and a mile from Porlock. The site is beautiful and has all the amenities you need that are kept immaculatey clean. The staff are extremely helpful and went out of their way to sort a TV aerial for us and help with advice after our carbon monoxide alarm went off twice!! There is a lovely little stream running alongside the site which is fine for paddling in. A horseriding venue is also situated on the farm where children and adults can do a bit of pony trekking. Just up the round is the little hamlet of Horner which has an amazing tea garden there, a definite place to visit if you're in the area! All of this is situated on and around the Holnicote Estate, owned by the National Trust. The photo below I found of the farm is literally where our caravan was positioned.
 
The reason we decided to come down here was because my dear old gran was born here in a little village called Withycombe, I had visited the area as a child with my gran and thought it would be good to show the girls where their Great Grandma was born. Whilst visiting Withycombe we bumped into the assistant trainer at Philip Hobbs' yard as they were walking some horses through the ford in the village to get them used to it (photo below)
 
 
He invited us up to the stables later that afternoon for a tour. Whilst there we met Philip Hobbs himself and a few of his stable stars including Fair Along, Fingal Bay, Snap Tie and about another 50 beautiful horses. The staff and Philip were all incredibly friendly and polite and we all loved the visit!
 
Whilst driving around the area we went to various places that were simply beautiful. Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon is a must, labelled Little Switzerland. The drive into Lynmouth is amazing as you come down Countisbury Hill this is the view of the coastline and Lynton in the background. Simply breathtaking!
 
 
Once in Lynmouth, and after devouring a cream tea, we had a look at the Memorial in the Town Hall telling the tale of the great flood they had in the 1950's. We then ventured up the cliff side railway that connects Lynmouth to Lynton on the hill. Again, awesome views and a really fascinating piece of machinery, that is water powered. If you ever get chance I recommend a journey up, and down the cliff, not for the feint hearted amongst you as you can see below!
 
 
We also visited Watermouth Castle which is just a little beyond Lynmouth and was a great day out ( if a little expensive ) for the kids. It's basically a kids theme park with lots of rides and things to do for them. Again, set in beautiful surroundings and close to the lovely bay at Combe Martin.
Be warned though, all these places that we visited had to be accessed by going up the infamous Porlock Hill a 1 in 4 climb, with two hair pin bends to negiotiate too. I always remember as a youngster that when you are heading down the hill there is a sign that tells cyclists that they need to dismount and walk – a sensible piece of advice, trust me!
 
 
We also had a visit and another cream tea in the beautiful village of Dunster. You can visit the castle which is owed by the National Trust or just wander around this quaint little place with lots of shops and some great eateries! I can whole heartedly recommend the Ploughmans Lunch in the Victorian tea rooms, simply beautiful. Dunster takes my breath away every time I visit, one of my favourite places in the UK, especially the old Yarn Market.
We ventured on the West Somerset Steam Railway from Minehead to Blue Anchor on our final day. It's such a great journey and really good to see all the engines and carriages so well restored and looked after. All the staff work on a voluntary basis and want to keep this special part of Somerset's history going for all to enjoy. The line was closed by British Rail in the seventies and was left to ruin until it was restored and opened by the same company that runs it now, all the stations on the line are just perfect. You can imagine what a sight it was in the war eras with all the comings and goings of servicemen. This was how my Grandad (from Burnley, Lancashire) first met my gran, then uprooting her to Lancashire.
My little daughter thoroughly enjoyed the beach at Blue Anchor and proceeded to sink in the wet sand and mud when the tide had gone out. Sunk up to her knees and after falling backwards into the mud you can image the screaming and panic that set in to her. Thankfully, just as my wife and I were taking off trainers etc a young teenager who was having fun in the mud came and helped her. Having to wash her as best my wife could in the station toilets and to then travel back wet, with no dry or clean clothes wasn't ideal, but we saw the funny side.
So, would I recommend Somerset, of course I would. We have had a fabulous time and wish we could stay longer. We know though we've got many more exciting holidays ahead in the caravan. This was just our first, our taster, and frankly we love it!
 

Thursday’s Tips

Thought I would put a little blog up for tomorrows racing. Had a small amount of time to study the horses today so thought I would resurrect the blog. I may start to do a few more blogs when I get the chance, will try and do the next one for Saturdays racing. Here are my best three for tomorrow :
 
 
TOUCH GOLD 1510 HAYDOCK (nap) – is still relatively unexposed at this trip and should follow up the victories at Newmarket and Yarmouth here. The ground should be fine and other than Compton, I can't see anything else getting close.
 
NADEMA ROSE 1710 HAYDOCK (nb) – won well first time out over a mile at Yarmouth and then ran on well at Epsom last time suggesting the trip suits. Due to go up another 9lb soon so could be well in.
 
VARNISH 1550 BRIGHTON (treble) – knocking on the door over 10f and the extra distance plus a bit better ground should play into her strengths.
 

Thursday’s Tips

Thought I would put a little blog up for tomorrows racing. Had a small amount of time to study the horses today so thought I would resurrect the blog. I may start to do a few more blogs when I get the chance, will try and do the next one for Saturdays racing. Here are my best three for tomorrow :
 
 
TOUCH GOLD 1510 HAYDOCK (nap) – is still relatively unexposed at this trip and should follow up the victories at Newmarket and Yarmouth here. The ground should be fine and other than Compton, I can't see anything else getting close.
 
NADEMA ROSE 1710 HAYDOCK (nb) – won well first time out over a mile at Yarmouth and then ran on well at Epsom last time suggesting the trip suits. Due to go up another 9lb soon so could be well in.
 
VARNISH 1550 BRIGHTON (treble) – knocking on the door over 10f and the extra distance plus a bit better ground should play into her strengths.
 

Vanished by Tim Weaver

This book is a must for anyone who likes a good crime thriller. Tim Weaver is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. This third installment of David Raker series is every bit as good, if not better than the others. I downloaded it as I went on holiday and read it in no time at all. Raker is hired in this book to find another missing person, a man who went on a tube one day and never got off. Running alongside Raker's investigation is a series of brutal murders by a killer known as the 'Snatcher'. A killer who simply takes their prey from their homes without any force or injury and leaves behind their shaved hair! The story is fast paced and quickly develops into a chilling tale with some graphic murder scenes. The book develops the relationship between Raker and Healy, the failing cop from the last book, and they get together again to form a strange working partnership. As the book builds to its ending there are several twists and turns that leave you second guessing yourself about who the 'Snatcher' really is. Just when you think it's over, the book adds a little something else to finish off, and without spoiling it for you it leaves our hero in a tight spot with an uncertainty of what has happened to him.
 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and give it 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. Another excellent installment in the David Raker series that leaves me impatiently waiting for the next book. A cracker Tim, well written!

Goodwood Tips

Seen as it's raining as I'm sat here on my holidays I thought I would do a little blog for today's racing. Here are my best three plus a few others!
 
NASRI 1405 GOODWOOD (nap) – (unplaced) ran well in fourth last week and is on a mark that saw him win some decent races in the past. A repeat of last week must give him a great each way chance.
 
IZZI TOP 1515 GOODWOOD (nb) – (unplaced) has gone from strength to strength is year and is the obvious choice today. Can't see anything else beating him.
 
PALACE MOON 1555 GOODWOOD (treble) – (unplaced) ran a couple of crackers on the all weather earlier in the year and then won going very well at Newbury a couple of runs ago. Is prone to bleeding, but when it drops right, has bags of class!
 
I'm also having LIFE AND SOUL 1440 GOODWOOD (unplaced) in a Lucky 15 with these, consistency is the right word with this one and loves it at Goodwood.
 
These are a few others at I have picked out too :
 
CRAVAT 1420 NEWMARKET (unplaced)
BRAVEHEART MOVE 1640 NEWMARKET (WON 9-1)
NORSE BLUES 1535 THIRSK (unplaced)
FAIROAK LAD 1620 NEWTON ABBOTT (unplaced)
ROCK GOD 1630 GOODWOOD (E/W) (2nd – 28-1)
DREAM SCENARIO 1455 NEWMARKET (E/W) (unplaced)

Enjoy the days racing! Hope we get a few winners or two!
 
Stats as of 4/8/12

WINS 62/354 = 17.5%
NAPS 23/91 = 25.3%
PLACED 87/354 = 24.6%
WIN OR PLACED 149/354 = 42.1%