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Monday, 16 April 2018

Quixall Crossett: Rarely The Bridesmaid

Not without good reason is horse racing known as the “Sport of Kings” and, although racehorse ownership is no longer the preserve of the upper echelons of society, buying and keeping a thoroughbred can be eye-wateringly expensive. According to the Racehorse Owners’ Association, it costs £20,000 a year, on average, to keep a horse in training and owners can expect a typical return on investment of just 20%. Of course, the old adage, “It costs as much to train a bad horse as a good one”, so bear a thought for the owners of horses that never win and, rarely, if ever, trouble the judge.

One such horse – in fact, arguably the worst horse in the history of British racing – was Quixall Crossett, a bay gelding bred and trained by Ted Caine at Fangdale Beck, North Yorkshire. The son of unheralded sire Beverley Boy made his debut in a National Hunt Flat Race at Catterick in February, 1990, finishing tailed off last of 18 finishers. In 102 subsequent starts over regulation hurdles and fences, he suffered 102 defeats, finishing second just twice and third six times.

The closest he ever came to winning was when, at the age of 13, he was second of four finishers, beaten 2 lengths, behind 2/9 favourite in a novices’ chase at Wetherby in May, 1998, although even then he was “soon well outpaced”. He did, however, become the first horse in the history of British racing to record 100 successive defeats, when pulled up in a maiden chase at Southwell in July, 2001.

In his final race, a novices’ handicap chase at Ayr in November, 2001, Quixall Crossett raced from 30lb out of the handicap, including 10lb overweight, and was tailed off when trying to refuse and unseating his rider at the fifth last fence. Variously dismissed as “thoroughly irresolute” and a “seriously slow maiden in danger of becoming a folk hero” by the racing press, Quixall Crossett earned just £8,502 in prize money in a career that lasted for 11 years.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

3.15 Wolverhampton, Thursday, April 5

The Wolverhampton-Racecourse.co.uk Handicap (3.15) on Thursday is the best race on the card at the West Midlands track, in terms of class, and may present Lexington Times with an opportunity to improve upon his reappearance sixth at Newcastle 16 days ago. Ruth Carr’s 6-year-old was having his first run since wind surgery in October and, having made smooth headway approaching the furlong marker, briefly met trouble in running a could only keep on at the same pace to finish sixth of 12, beaten 3½ lengths.

With that run under his belt and, hopefully, a clear run this time, he doesn’t look badly handicapped on the pick of his form and, while he’s yet to win on Tapeta, he appears to handle surface well enough. The Paco Boy gelding won a 0-80 contest, over 6 furlongs, at York in July off today’s mark and, while he takes a slight step back up in class, he has plenty of form to suggest that he’s attractively weighted. Jockey Jack Garrity has a 3-12 (25%) strike rate on the all-weather for Ruth Carr – who, in turn, in 1-5 at Wolverhampton – this year, so the statistics are fairly encouraging.

Selection Wolverhampton 3.15 Lexington Times to win 10/1

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Pros and cons to ante-post betting

Working as one of the most beloved sports in the world, horse racing entertains audiences in a vast array of ways, and the ability to bet on such a large percentage of races has to rank highly upon that list. Horse racing weighs in closely with football for the most regularly used sports for betting on in the UK, and its many ways to bet only offers more reason to get involved.

There are many different online websites that offer their own free horse racing tips and TeamFA are a perfect example, as they specialise in multisport, leaving no stone unturned in the UK betting circuit, where they provide previews, recommended bets, tips and odds on all of the most popular sports across the globe including horse racing.

Of all the many different markets in horse race betting, something a lot of regular punters indulge in is ante-post betting. It’s easily one of the most favourable of all horse racing markets but there’s not always much explanation as to why it’s so desirable, so we’ve put together an explanation of the key pros and cons:

The perks of ante-post markets

Although it’s not always made completely clear, the concept of ante-post betting is based around being able to bet on specific horses distinctly prior to a given race taking place. This can work the same as backing a team to win the World Cup months before it kicks off or choosing who you could see scooping the PGA Tour well in advance. Technically, ante-post betting is any market where you can back it before it happens, and a lot of bookmakers refer to horse racing bets in this category as ‘Future Races’.

It would be wrong to say that there’s all that many reasons behind why so many people back ante post markets ahead of all others. The main factor which makes it so desirable is that in betting on it so early, you’ve been able to attain the strongest odds as there’s been no time for the given price to alter through the variables that regularly come into play like injuries to more favoured nags or the odds shortening through the horse you’re wanting to back becoming more likely to finish first.

Downsides to the joys of ante-post betting

When choosing your own free horse racing tips, there’s plenty of factors you need to consider. Backing the horses, you think will win a given race is made even more worthwhile through ante post markets but it’s not completely fool proof.

A lot of the main bookmakers will give you better returns if the price gets better for the horse you’re backing after you’ve backed it prior to the race taking place, but if that’s not an option with the bookie you’ve chosen to use, you could end up with inferior returns to what you could have got if you’d waited closer to the time.

Another factor that could be frustrating after you’ve already backed your horse in ante-post terms is the offers, boosts and enhancements that could be offered on that horse or race, which tend to always be released shortly before the race takes place.

Friday, 23 March 2018

History of the Grand National


 
The biggest race in Equine Sports history, The Grand National is a favourite amongst punters. Ever wanted to learn more about its history? Check out this article written by Paddy Power Horse Race Betting to learn more!

Founded in 1839, almost two centuries ago, the Grand National is without a doubt the most popular horse race in sporting history. A huge hit with racing experts along with the general public due to its volume of horses and media exposure, The Grand National has been available for viewers to watch on television without having to pay-per-view since 1960, giving it more exposure than other popular races. Founded by a man named William Lynn who had designed the course and built the grandstand on land he had purchased from the Earl of Sefton in Aintree, England. The festival has remained there ever since, increasing its fan base and attendance ever since. It’s estimated that over 600 million people watch the event across the globe on television in over 140 countries, with an estimated 150,000 people turning up in attendance. 

 
Record
Winner
Leading Horse
Red Rum (3 Wins)
Leading Jockey
George Stevens (5 Wins)
Fastest Winning Time
Mr Frisk (8 Minutes 47.8 Seconds)
Youngest Winning Jockey
Bruce Hobbs (17 Years Old)
Largest Field
66 Runners (1929)

One of the many reasons the race is so popular is the awe-inspiring spectacle it continues to provide year on year. It is often considered to be the ultimate test of horse and rider due to the sheer challenge many of the races and jumps provide. This leads to many winners and jockeys becoming legends in the sport and icons to many following their victories. The only time the race has been held on a different course is during World War One, where for three years during the War it was moved to a plot of land in Gatwick (now in use by Gatwick Airport) due to Aintree being in use by the War Office. Initially titled the “Racecourse Association Steeplechase”, its name was briefly changed for the following two races in 1917 and 1918 to the War National Steeplechase, before being returned to its original home turf. Due to them being held at a different location, these three races are rarely considered “true” Grand Nationals in the History books. Moving forward to the Second World War, instead of re-locating the event to a new, temporary racecourse, the race was simply postponed until the war ended in 1945 to focus efforts, time and resources on more pressing matters.


In more recent years, legendary trainer Ginger McCain, most famous for his work with race legend Red Rum returned, 31 years after Red Rum wowed the crowd to become one of the most legendary horses in race history. Around the same time, John Smiths Brewery became the main sponsor of the event, and even launched their own branded race called the “John Smith's People's Race”. This opened up an opportunity for ten lucky members of the public to ride in a flat race at Aintree on Grand National day, something never done before. Before it was cancelled four years later in 2010, over thirty people took part, giving them a chance to spend a day as a Grand National jockey, something very few people get the chance to do.


Who is your money on this year? Do you think the bookies got it right? Or is there an outsider you’ve got your faith in? Let us know, and more importantly, best of luck! Let’s hope you pick the winner, and come out on top!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Cheltenham Stayer's Hurdle, Thursday March 15

The 3.30  Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle may be overshadowed by some of the other ‘championship’ races at the Cheltenham Festival, but the winner of the £201,000 first prize money won’t be complaining. Sam Spinner is possibly a little unlucky not to be unbeaten this season, but has improved – officially by 28lb – for stepping up to distances around 3 miles on his last two starts, in any case, and fully deserves his position at the head of the market.

However, one horse that could spring a surprise is The Worlds End, who has twice finished behind Sam Spinner this winter, but is surely capable of better. Tom George’s 7-year-old has yet to win at Cheltenham, but looked sure to be involved in the finish when falling at the second last in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, over 3 miles on the New Course, last year, and subsequently won the Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

The Worlds End has failed to trouble the judge in three starts this season, two on heavy going, but his trainer is reportedly far from dismayed by his performances so far. He has 11 lengths to find with Sam Spinner on their running in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot, but appears to have been trained with this race in mind. Provided the race isn’t run in a bog, he should give us a decent run for our money at potentially rewarding odds.

Selection: Cheltenham 3.30 The Worlds End to win  33/1

Picking a Festival Winner

When looking through the competitive racing cards at the Cheltenham festival it can sometimes be difficult to pick a winner. However we have you covered with this horse generator. One horse that will no doubt be in every punters betting slips is star mare Apple’s Jade. She heads for the mares hurdle on day one of the meeting and is the current 4/7 market leader as many punters are betting on the Cheltenham festival.


Apple’s Jade has been an absolute star for connections (Gigginstown house stud) in winning 10 of her 14 starts to date. This record is further enhanced as on the four occasions she was defeated she finished in second place. She has a career RPR high of 162 which she achieved in the Juvenile hurdle at Aintree back in 2016. This was a stunning performance in which she turned the tables on her triumph hurdle conqueror Ivanovich Gorbatov by a stunning 41 lengths. Both horses careers following this have been completely different with Apple’s continuing to go from strength to strength.

The mare has continued to perform at the height of her powers and put in a hard fought performance in the 2017 mares hurdle in defeating the Mullins pair. They were the now retired Vroum Vroum Mag and the Ruby Walsh ridden Limini. Due to this high class renewal of the race Apple’s was sent off as the 7/2 third favourite but duly obliged through out battling the pair up the hill to win by a length and a half.

Jade is unbeaten in three starts this season that included a comprehensive defeat of the 2017 stayers hurdle winner Nichols Canyon by 9 lengths. Her recent victory was one of her best to date as she out battled the classy Supasundae to win by a cosy half a length. This was her first start over the distance but she again showed her toughness having been off the bridle for over a furlong. Her defeat of Supasundae looks even better now following Supasundae’s victory in the Irish Champion hurdle ahead of the likes of Faugheen.

With several of her key dangers now not making the race and it looking a far less competitive renewal compared to 2017. She must be one of the most solid favourites across the four days and one that most punters will be adding into accumulators as the banker.
Which horse will you be cheering on at Cheltenham? How about using the horse generator below to find out which horse to get behind:

Monday, 12 March 2018

Douvan Aims for Cheltenham Festival Redemption

 Source: deanosbeeno1981 via Twitter

 
Douvan will face off against the great Altior at Cheltenham Festival in the Queen Mother Champion Chase, desperate to banish memories of his failure last season. Willie Mullins’ charge entered the 2017 Festival on the back of 13 straight wins and was expected to make it 14 on the bounce in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. However, he put forward the worst outing of his career, finishing in seventh place, which Mullins later claimed was due to injury. The bay gelding has not competed since and faces a massive challenge to produce the upset against Altior.

The display of the French horse on the big occasion was staggering due to his past success at Cheltenham. Douvan had appeared to have been healthy for the meet, but in post-race fitness checks, it was discovered that the bay gelding had a small stress fracture of the pelvis that limited his performance during the meet. Mullins has been careful with his charge in his recovery and has resisted the opportunity to put him forward for races over the last year. As a result, he is considered an outsider behind Altior and Min in the betting odds provided by William Hill for the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

The seven-year-old does have proven pedigree at Cheltenham Festival, making a statement in his first appearance by winning the Supreme Novices' Hurdle by a comfortable margin. He defeated Shaneshill and Sizing John among others to take the crown, highlighting his quality. In 2016 he returned to the Festival to compete in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase. Mullins’ charge was considered the overwhelming favourite for the event against a talented field, with Sizing John once again in the picture. However, Douvan dominated the rest of the field and was able to win the event by seven lengths, despite making an error at the final fence.

He continued his dominant run into the 2016/17 season, adding victories to the Cashcard Chase and the Tied Cottage Chase to his collection. However, the injury loomed large at Cheltenham to break his run of success. As the French horse makes his return to the track, he could be without jockey Ruby Walsh, who may be tempted to ride with his stable-mate Min for the event. That’s without the challenge of ending Altior’s dominant streak, with Nicky Henderson’s charge reeling off 12 wins on the bounce.

Source: Raceclear via Twitter

Altior has a strong history at Cheltenham Festival, winning on both his visits to the event. He claimed victory at the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2016 before easing to a six-length triumph in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase last season. Henderson’s charge has only been in action once since last term, but put forward a composed performance to win a two-mile event at Newbury Racecourse.
Douvan will have to put forward a flawless performance to compete with the Irish horse, and even that might not be enough to secure the victory given the quality of Altior in the closing stages. Mullins has to hope that his charge will be on form from the off to put his rival under pressure to claim his chance at redemption.




Friday, 9 March 2018

3.55 Warwick, Sunday, March 11

Allowing for the fact that it takes place on the Sunday before the Cheltenham Festival, the Sloane Helicopters Handicap Chase (3.55) isn’t a bad little heat for the grade and may provide Cyclop with an opportunity to supplement his course win, over 3 miles, a couple of seasons ago.

David Dennis’ 7-year-old recorded his first win since when just holding on from Amiral Collonges in the Lincolnshire National, over 3 miles 3½ furlongs, on Boxing Day and, while his two subsequent efforts – including over 3 miles 5 furlongs at Lingfield last time – have been rather laboured, he still looks reasonably weighted on the pick of his form.

He’s hardly a prolific winner, but all three of his wins in Britain have come of soft, or better, going on sharp tracks and Sean Quinlan, who takes off a useful 5lb, is 1-2 for the yard. Cyclop has plenty going for him, if you look hard enough, and must have a sporting chance of garnering us some ammunition for later in the week. Win or lose, he remains one to keep an eye on! Sorry.

Selection: 3.55 Warwick Cyclop to win   10/1

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Three 2018 Grand National Outsiders to Consider Backing


Coming in to the 2018 renewal, five of the last six Grand National heroes had a starting price of 25/1 or bigger.
That stat is all the evidence needed to show that the world’s greatest steeplechase remains one of the most difficult races to pick the winner in.
This extended 4m 2f Aintree marathon may be a compressed handicap nowadays, but is still full of unpredictable elements.
What the above demonstrates is that punters should not be so quick to dismiss the chances of horses at larger prices.
If finding something to back for the Grand National is giving you a headache, then you can always pick from the tips at Timeform, but here we put three horses not currently prominent in the ante-post betting under the spotlight.

Ucello Conti

Owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede will be hoping it’s third time lucky at Aintree for Ucello Conti, who is their sole representative this year.
Connections have already taken Vyta Du Roc, Polidam and Bristol De Mai out of the Grand National, so appear happy to rely on the Gordon Elliott trained 10-year-old.
Sixth to fellow Irish raider Rule The World in this race two years ago, Ucello Conti was perhaps a little unlucky to unseat his rider when tackling Becher's Brook for the second time in last season’s renewal.
A seven-length second to Anibale Fly on reappearance in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase at Leopardstown’s Christmas Festival, he disappointed last time out when pulled up in the Thyestes at Gowran Park.
Depending on what other horses forfeit their Grand National entries (the week prior to the Cheltenham Festival, he is 41 on the list), Ucello Conti could get in to the race with the most favourable terms yet.

Seeyouatmidnight



One For Arthur was a rare Scottish trained winner of the Aintree showpiece last year for Lucinda Russell, but hopes for the tartan team this time fall on another Borders-based handler.
Sandy Thomson’s Seeyouatmidnight was third in the 2016 Scottish Grand National at Ayr, so there is no doubting his stamina.
The 10-year-old hasn’t been seen over fences since pulling up in Haydock’s Betfair Chase that same year. Prior to that, Seeyouatmidnight beat Bristol De Mai in a Listed intermediate contest over fences.
He was also second at local track Kelso in a staying handicap over hurdles last March and could make his return over fences in the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. However he performs if he turns up there, Seeyouatmidnight will surely come on for the run.

Go Conquer



Like compatriot Elliott above, Jonjo O’Neill knows what it takes to train a Grand National winner after his success with Don’t Push It in 2010. In Go Conquer, he has a nine-year-old with some experience of those unique spruce covered Aintree fences.
He raced in last year’s Topham Chase over 2m 5f at the Grand National meeting, but never really recovered from getting badly hampered at the Canal Turn. Go Conquer completed under Aidan Coleman, so it was clear connections were keen to maximise the opportunity.
In winning his first two starts this season, including the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot, Go Conquer highlighted how he still had improvement in him.
That previous spin over the National fences hints that this is a target earmarked for him by owners Paul and Clare Rooney.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Horse Profile: Istabraq

Introduction

Having enjoyed an extensive and unique career, Istabraq is a horse with a hugely impressive history to look back on. A bay-coloured Gelding, Istabraq was brought up as part of the unique stable of the Shadwell Estate, and is owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum and JP McManus.
Across a hurdling masterclass of a career, Istabraq picked up a barely believable three Champion Hurdle wins as well as various different Hurdles, from the Deloitte Novice in ’97 to the Aintree Hurdle in 1999. 
 
Career Summary

Across a unique and powerful career, the wonderful Irish thoroughbred continued an exceptional increase in popularity and performance. Although originally bred for flats, it was hurdling where Istabraq showed its finest form and, before long, it was being used in this kind of racing.
Sold to John Durkan, it was trained by Durkan before his untimely diagnosis of leukaemia. Instead, it was trained by Aidan O’Brien – sadly, Durkan died before it won the 1998 Irish Champion Hurdle. With its first win at the 1998 Champion Hurdle, it was proclaimed that the win – by Charlie Swan – was for Durkan.

From then on, though, Istabraq became one of the most consistent horses on the circuit. From 1997-2002, it was a dominant force on the circuit, with titles coming at the December Festival and the Irish Champion Hurdle in the new millennium. Sadly, it had to retire after pulling back muscles and never being able to return to previous levels.

Today, it lives at Martinstown with JP McManus, it’s long-time owner. 
 
Achievements & Highlights

Wins – Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000), Irish Champion Hurdle (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001), Aintree Hurdle (1999). 
 
Associations – JP McManus, John Durkan, Aidan O’Brien, Charlie Swan. 
 
Earnings – £1m+.


Sunday, 4 March 2018

You're in Luck!

From a betting perspective, I'm sure many of us are guilty of often putting our big wins solely down to skill, and our losses down to being 'unlucky'. In some situations though such as big accumulator wins or other unlikely outcomes that seem to somehow effortlessly fall into place, we should concede that luck can indeed play a meaningful role from time to time. With this in mind then, let's embrace some of the outsider odds moments that clearly have a big dollop of luck involved and revel in the unfolding good fortune!

Surely one of the luckiest (or perhaps) craziest betting moves has to be the 'all or nothing' roulette bets that you sometimes see. You can of course participate yourself with a BitwinBitcoin bonus code , after all who doesn't like to try their luck with a spin of the wheel from time to time. One noteworthy big win of recent years was a stunt a few years ago where one man, Ashley Revell, bet the proceeds of all of his worldly goods ($136,000) on a single spin of a roulette wheel. He opted for red. The idea came as result of a drunken conversatio with friends, and the Brit couldn't let the idea drop. Thankfully for him he won, but imagine how utterly gutting it would've been if he's lost everything.

"That spin was the most amazing moment of my life. It is a cliché but time did stand still. It was just complete calm" said Revell of his win.


A not quite such extreme bet, though more unlikely in terms of probability, is the good fortune of brazilian businessman Pedro Grendene Bartelle, who placed $35,000 on a single roulette spin (number 32) in 2017 at Hotel Conrad in Punta del Este, on the Uruguay coast . Lady luck was more than on his side, as his number came up, winning him a staggering $1.2million. Not bad for a few seconds work! Of course it's impossible to know how often he's 'gone big' on a single number, since he was already a mult imillionaire, but it's still a great moment to be captured on film.

Moving onto the territory of sports betting, one multiple / accumulator bet in recent times that sent my head spinning was a crazy 17-fold football accumulator by an online punter. The 50p 'match result' and 'both teams' to score bet, saw the lucky individual win a healthy £61,000. As you'd expect not all of the results were a formality, but by the end of each match the stars had aligned and ultimately a win's a win! A representative for the losing bookmaker predicted that this would be hard to top in 2018 in terms of how outlandishly difficult the accumulator was to land. What's your unlikely bet that came good?

Saturday, 3 March 2018

The Changing Face of Gambling

I remember the days when betting was either the domain of heading to the bookmakers, casino or making your way down to the race track. None were particularly seen as attractive or unattractive options, they were simply the only shows in town. Now of course with gambling moving firmly into the 21st century that's all changed, and often betting shops are now seen as something that's rather old hat or quaint. Of course there are betting terminal casino game options in bookmakers and the like that are fairly popular, but that's not the full picture. Now bookmaker websites often take the place of physical bookmakers, and casino websites emulate bricks and mortar casinos. Punters can even 'cut out the middle man' entirely with peer to peer betting exchanges.

Even currency is now an area where there are now more options than ever. Many gamblers now opt to bet via an online bitcoin casino. Some see this as an appealing option due to the lack of bitcoin regulation and it was bound to happen anyway really, as the balooning value of bitcoin creates markets where people want to use this ever more versatile cryptocurrency exactly how they please. Many of these bitcoin sites have the same kind of bonus offers that gamblers know and love from more typical betting websites and so playing for bitcoin instead of other forms of currency is largely a seamless process. Of course not everyone owns bitcoin, but for those who either do, or have an interest in acquiring them (as many do each time the currency makes the news after reaching a new high!) this is certainly an option worth considering.

Whether you move with the betting times and use online betting exchanges, online casinos, online bookmakers or a combination of the above, the topic of bonuses really is a point worth stating. In bricks and mortar bookmakers I've rarely seen any decent offers of bonuses or incentives of any kind other than something minor. Online though, it's a different world. Some punters really do tip the odds in their favour by keeping an eye out for big bonuses that give something of a boost to their betting bank. These perks can either result in ramping things up profits-wise, or in a worst case scenario cushioning potential losses. Gambling is often a matter of margins and finding value, and in my view if you find the right bonuses this can definitely feed into the art of locating value.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Big Odds Betting on the Cheltenham Festival


The highly anticipated four day Cheltenham Festival is now just around the corner (march 13th - 16th 2018). Earlier today I was looking over some of the previous results of the Cheltenham Gold Cup over the years imagining how I'd have felt if I'd had the guts to place bets on the bigger odds selections. Of course often such selections go nowhere with the markets correctly pricing their chance of winning, but on occasion they do come good and what a story to pass on (and big win to smuggly collect) should you land a big odds winner in the ballpark of 25-1 + instead of betting on short odds favourites with a 'playing it safe' mindset, which can often backfire anyway.

One of the most noteworthy wins of previous wins that falls along these lines has to be 9 year old Gelding Norton's Coin, who managed to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup at dizzying betting odds of 100-1. Bred  owned and trained by Sirrell Griffiths, who viewed training as a hobby, Norton's Coin disappointed in previous runs before stepping up in class so was seen as something of a no hoper by the betting markets. At these odds though, some did elect to take the punt, and it more than paid dividends for them. When placing a bet a certain degree of bravery (or some would say foolhardiness) is often needed. For Norton's Coin 100-1 had looked about right with everything else factored in, but imagine having £20 on that, or perhaps even a bet via a bookmaker's free bet offer. You'd certainly be thanking your betting bank afterwards! Often bookmakers have free bet offers running alongside the big events like the Grand National, Royal Ascot and the Cheltenham Festival and so it certainly makes sense to keep an eye on those to get more bang for your betting buck!

This year's Gold Cup, or Cheltenham Festival in general could of course also throw up Outsider surprises, though they're unlikely to scale the heights of this 100-1 winner (hopefully I've not just tempted fate by stating that!). Often elements of luck and skill combine when betting on Cheltenham or the Grand National and so whether you bet on a short odds favourite or a long shot, there can be aspects of flying blind with any selection and are both plus points and drawbacks whichever odds bracket you find yourself drawn towards. Current favourite in the betting markets for the Gold Cup is 3-1 Might Bite with many a glowing write-up in the racing press. Sizing John, Coney Island and the like also factor is, while Cloudy Dram has been pulled out of the race and entered into the RyanAir Chase Instead, which was a surprise to many.

Ruth Jefferson stated: “He’s come out of the race at Newbury fine. We took him out of the Gold Cup and he’ll go for the Ryanair, that’s the plan” As always there will likely be a few more changes across this and other races before the Festival begins, but as per usual the event as a whole is bound to be once again be one of the real highlights of the British racing calendar.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Horse and Jockey Profile


Sadler’s Wells: His Legacy Lives On
 
 

Sadler’s Wells, who retired from breeding in 2008 and died at home at Coolmore Stud, County Tipperary in 2011, is now best known for his prolific stud career. He was champion sire in Britain and Ireland 14 times, in France three times and North America once and his progeny won all the British Classics.

However, it’s worth remembering that, prior to taking up stallion duties in 1984, Sadler’s Wells was a top-class racehorse. By Northern Dancer, the most influential sire of the 20th century, out of Fairy Bridge, a half-sister to Nureyev, Sadler’s Wells was bred by the late Robert Sangster in America and trained by the late Vincent O’Brien at Ballydoyle, County Tipperary. Having won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in the September of his two-year-old campaign, he went on to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Eclipse Stakes, by a neck from Time Charter, and the Phoenix Champion Stakes. He also ran creditably in defeat, finishing second to Darshaan in the Prix du Jockey Club and Teenoso in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.

A small, sturdy, dark bay colt, not unlike his sire, he demonstrated courage and durability on the racecourse, characteristics he passed on to his notable progeny, which included Montjeu, Galileo, High Chaparral and, of course, Frankel who remained unbeaten in a fourteen-race career . Following his death, Ben Sangster, son of the late Robert, said, “His legacy will live on through his sons and daughters and their sons and daughters.”



The Rise and Rise of James Bowen


Welsh jockey James Bowen has had a remarkable twelve months. Fresh from setting a record total of 30 winners in his debut point-to-point season – all the more noteworthy for the fact that he had his first ride on his 16th birthday, March 12, several months into the season – Bowen turned professional in May.

He rode his first winner as a professional, Curious Carlos, for his father, Pembrokeshire trainer Peter, at Cartmel on May 27 and joined Nicky Henderson as conditional jockey on October 1. He rode out his seven-pound allowance aboard Thomas Campbell, trained by Henderson, at the Cheltenham November meeting and has since become the youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National, steering the veteran Raz De Maree to victory at Chepstow in January.

At the time of writing, according to WilliamHill.com Bowen Jnr. has ridden 39 winners, 13 more than any other conditional jockey in the country and just one short of riding out his five-pound allowance. He has already been touted as a future champion jockey and, if fate decrees, that should be just a matter of time.

For a lad of 16 he has a wise approach to the sport looking to the long term. Asked about what winning the likes of the Grand National would mean to him compared to winning the jockey's title he said “Being champion would mean more. I’d love to do that. Obviously the big days are special but for me the aim is to ride winners every day and try to be champion jockey.” I have a feeling he might not have to decide between the two.

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Bets Win Prizes! (Pick a big priced winner and win big!)

Yes, the title of this post IS a terrible play on words of the long forgotten, failed BBC gameshow from the early 90s Pets Win Prizes, but don't let that stop you reading on!!

Here at Outsider.co.uk we're eager to encourage reader involvement and so what better way to get people piping up than to make it worth their while. With that in mind I intend to offer a selection of prizes for the winner of our first 'Bets Win Prizes' competiton. The longer it takes someone to win, the more prizes will be added.

'How do I get my hands on these prizes?' I hear you cry! Well that's pretty straight forward thankfully. Simply follow these steps:


1) Pick an outsider that you've got your eye on. Any race, any time, though at least the day before the race (it must win at 25-1  SP or more)

2) Write up a justification of why you think your horse is in with a shot of winning the race in question (at least 150 words).

3) Email the write up to us at latest the day prior to the race

4) Cross your fingers!


If your horse wins you'll be entitled to what ever prizes are currently in the prize fund at the time. The longer no-one wins, the more prizes will be added to the pile. Simples!

I figured that this would be a fun way of mixing things up, and to let those with a bit of racing knowledge come to the fore. So if you fancy yourself as someone able to spot value then get sending your picks to us .You've got nothing to lose and something to gain! We'll be adding the prizes in a day or two, but feel free to drop us an email expressing interest in the meantime!


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

How to Find the Best Pricewise Selections

The essence of successful punting, in my opinion, is to focus on horses that are attempting little, or nothing, more than they have achieved in the past. In other words, if you can identify a horse that has won, or been placed, in a similar race – in terms of class, course, distance and going – in the recent past, the chances are that it will be competitive once again, everything else being equal.

Of course, everything else is unlikely to be equal. In handicaps – which account for about 60% of the races run in Great Britain – any horse that wins, or is placed, will have its handicap rating raised, typically by 6lb or more. Adding weight affects the speed at which any horse can gallop, so you need to satisfy yourself that the horse in question is sufficiently progressive to cope with the weight rise. Furthermore, horses are living, breathing creatures that cannot be held at peak fitness indefinitely and the countless imponderables governing the outcome of any horse race mean that picking a winner is rarely as straightforward as it seems on paper.

Horse racing form is in the public domain, so horses with an obvious chance of winning are unlikely to escape the notice of bookmakers’ odds compilers, which brings us on to the elusive commodity known as ‘value’. According to the dictionary, value is ‘that quality of anything which renders it desirable or useful’,

The question of how to find value is worthy of an article of its own, but one person who seems to have the answer is Tom Segal, who operates under the Pricewise banner in the Racing Post. Segal specialises in trying to find big-priced winners in big handicaps, such as the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and the Ayr Gold Cup. By his own admission, Segal takes a simple approach. He doesn’t rely on ratings or speed figures of any kind, but rather on extensively watching videos, intuition and a little guesswork. What he looks for, essentially, is an improving horse, at a ‘nice’ price, ridden by a leading jockey.

The nature of Pricewise selections means that losing runs – the longest so far being 45, apparently – are inevitable, but winners, at average odds a little over 10/1, provide more than ample compensation. Recent winners for the column have included William Henry 7/1, Buywise 14/1, Emperor’s Choice 12/1, Whiskey Sour 14/1 and Hunters Call 12/1 , you can't go wrong with RacingTips like that. Pricewise selections are notably more profitable on Saturday than any other day of the week, so it may be ‘wise’ to keep your powder dry until the weekend.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Peter Scudamore: A Fine Racing Pedigree

Today, Peter Scudamore is best known as assistant trainer, and partner, to Lucinda Russell, but is part of a horse racing dynasty headed by his father, Michael – who won the 1959 Grand National on Oxo – and perpetuated by his sons, Tom and Michael junior.
“Scu”, as Peter is affectionately known, originally joined David Nicholson, who was to nurture his early career, as an amateur rider in the 1978/79 season. He turned professional shortly afterwards and, in a glittering career, was to amass 1,678 winners and become champion jockey eight times before his retirement in 1993.

Having ridden for the likes of David Nicholson, Fred Winter and Martin Pipe, Scudamore forged a hugely successful training partnership with Nigel Twiston-Davies, tasting Grand National success with Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002. More recently, of course, Scu, who turns 60 in June, has played a leading role at Lucinda Russell’s Arlay House Stables, including nurturing jockey Derek Fox, who won the 2017 Grand National on One For Arthur, the first Scottish-trained winner of the famous race since Rubstic in 1979.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Race Cards For Cheltenham

The Cheltenham Festival which, this year, takes place between Tuesday, March 13 and Friday, March 16, is the most eagerly anticipated National Hunt meeting of the year. The intense, concentrated competition over the four days is often reflected in the starting prices of the winners, with odds of 33/1, 50/1 and even 100/1 nothing out of the ordinary. From looking at Tuesday to Friday's card I'll handpick a few Outsider options. 

Last year alone produced winners at 40/1, 33/1, 25/1, 20/1, 16/1 (three times) and 14/1 (twice), with just six winning favourites from 28 races, so we’ve tried to look beyond the obvious market leaders for a few race card selections who could go well at rewarding odds.

I must confess to having a bee in my bonnet about Singlefarmpayment, who started 5/1 favourite for the Ultima Handicap Chase at last year’s Festival, but went down by a short head to Un Temps Pour Tout after leading over the final fence. Tom George’s now 8-year-old has run three times since, finishing second at Cheltenham, over the same course and distance as the Ultima Handicap Chase, falling in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury and finishing a never dangerous fifth at Ascot. He’s becoming disappointing, but off a 5lb higher mark, he could be worth a small interest at 14/1 for this year’s renewal of the Ultima Handicap Chase.

The Coral Cup will be as competitive as ever, but one that takes the eye is Christian Williams’ progressive 6-year-old Limited Reserve, who can be backed at a seemingly generous 20/1. The son of good jumps sire Court Cave has yet to win beyond 2 miles 3 furlongs, but has plenty of stamina in both halves of his pedigree and could improve again stepping up to 2 miles 5 furlongs on the Old Course. He was all out to beat subsequent winner Zalvados on his most recent start at Haydock just before Christmas, but his form earlier this season has worked out well and he’s still only had seven starts for Christian Williams.

The Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle Final is equally impenetrable, but Sykes has looked better than ever this season and finished a close second in a series qualifier at Warwick when last seen in January. A 3lb rise in the weights for that performance put him on a handicap mark of 142 and, while he’s unlikely to find inherent improvement as a 9-year-old, he’s officially improved 16lb since joining Nicky Martin from Philip Hobbs in October. The Mountain High gelding seems to act on any ground and, at 40/1, is another worth a small interest.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

3.10 Newcastle, Thursday, January 4



Desert Ruler has finished second on five of his last seven starts on the Flat which, coupled with a record of just two wins from 17 starts in that sphere, sounds alarm bells. However, Jedd O’Keefe’s 5-year-old should find this sort of company much more to his liking after contesting the 32Red London Middle Distance Series Final Handicap at Kempton in November. The Kheleyf gelding ran an odd race on that occasion, appearing to be going well approaching the two-furlong marker, but fading in the closing stages to finish ninth of 10, 5½ lengths behind the ready winner, Ply. Nevertheless, that form still makes decent reading in the context of this race. The slight drop back in distance should also help his cause and, while much depends on his effectiveness on the Tapeta surface, which he’s trying for the first time, he could be potentially well handicapped.


Selection: Newcastle 3.10 Desert Ruler to win  8/1