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Thursday, 12 May 2022

Prince Monolulu

The history of horse racing has seen its fair share of 'colourful' characters, but perhaps none more so than Ras Prince Monolulu, the original maverick, showman tipster. Instantly recognisable by his resplendent garb, topped with a headdress of ostrich feathers, Monolulu held court at racecourses throughout Britain in the first half of the twentieth century. His catchphrase, 'I gotta horse, I gotta horse to beat the favourite', proved to be true, or so legend has it, when he backed Spion Kop, winner of the 1920 Derby at 100/6, to win £8,000, or £365,000 by modern standards.

Born Peter McKay in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands in 1881, Monolulu arrived in England, via New York, at the turn of the twentieth century. He claimed to be, and styled himself as, a chief of the Falasha tribe of the old Abyssinia, or Ethiopia, as it is now. According to researcher John Pearson, that claim was 'a load of rubbish, but it gave him the chance to dress up as someone who would be recognised.'

An engaging, humourous character, Monolulu rose to become a national, even international, celebrity. He was a fixture of Derby Day at Epsom for decades and, while his tips, which he offered at ten shillings apiece, were largely unsuccessful, he was the most famous black man in Britain for most of his life. Monolulu died in a London hospital on Valentine's Day, 1965, at the age of 84, reputedly choking to death on a strawberry cream chocolate given to him by journalist Jeffrey Bernard.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Amazing Comeback

Giving home to all of us Outsider fans. It's never too late to back a stunning comeback. In-running betting must have been a riot!

Friday, 22 April 2022

An Essential Beginners Guide to Racing

We’re well in to the racing season with some of the years biggest events already behind us and some exciting races yet to come into the future too as we head towards the summer – racing is as much about the ticket office for those placing their wagers at the tracks or through online platforms as options in betting online or non Gamstop poker for an alternative have grown substantially in recent years – but for newcomers to the tracks and to racing as a whole, what are some of the essentials that newcomers need to know about?

Flat vs Jump Racing – Whilst there are a huge number of different sports attributed with the horses, in racing there are two different markets to look at – either flat racing or jump racing. Whilst both can take place throughout the year, jump racing is typically favored for the winter with flat racing in the summer and you’ll often have fans that have a preference of one over the other, but will typically watch both.

Horses vs Jockeys – It’s often said that a good jockey is vital to the performance on race day and there are some jockeys that have built a fantastic career, but the horses are often the most important factor – an inexperienced jockey can win on a horse that’s at the peak of their performance, but a world-class jockey can’t run a slow horse to victory in most cases – when following racing for a hobby or for the potential financial gains, learn all about the horses.

Predictability vs Upsets – Much like any sport, upsets can and do happen in racing, but they’re not as common as they may seem on the outside – it’s easy to study past results and current form to pick out winners as horses will typically run in quite a predictable way – if a horse has shown good form in recent races, chances are they’ll continue that form for future races too and winners can somewhat be reliably chosen.

Other race factors – Whilst predictability is there, that doesn’t mean there aren’t factors to be considered too – what are the conditions of the ground on the day the race is taking place? Has the front runner shown a change in form recently? There are plenty of other factors to be considered as a fan of racing that can have a huge impact of performance too and getting to know how a firm and fast track will impact one runner and a soft and boggy track will impact another is just another part of the sport that separates the newcomers from the experienced fans.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022


History records that the Winter Novices' Hurdle, run over 2 miles 4½ furlongs, on heavy going, at Leicester on December 11, 2019, was won by the 2/9 favourite Kepagge, who kept on well in the final half-a-furlong to beat his nearest pursuer Bendy Bow by 1¼ lengths. Hardly an 'unlikely' outcome, you might think, but the bare result fails to tell the whole story; in fact, far from it.

Trained by David Pipe and ridden by Tom Scudamore, Kepagge had made his debut under National Hunt rules at Chepstow the previous month, where he made all the running to win a National Hunt Flat Race by 4 lengths. At Leicester, the five-year-old gelding faced an apparently facile task against three, modest rivals – all of whom were fellow hurdling debutantes – a fact that was reflected by his prohibitive starting price.

Kepagge set off at the head of affairs, albeit at a dawdling crawl, but backed off the first flight of hurdles so badly that he lost momentum and only just 'fiddled' over the obstacle. He recovered on the long run to the second flight, but wandered on the approach to the obstacle and jumped violently left, all but unseating Tom Scudamore. At that stage, his less-than-keen attitude drew the attention of Betfair layers and he was matched at the maximum price available, 999/1, to the tune of £500 or more.

Kepagge was again ponderous at flights three and four, but warmed to the task as the pace increased, slightly, heading down the back straight for the final time. He led, going best of all, approaching the second last flight, but again jumped slowly at the final flight, allowing Bendy Bow to challenge for the lead. However, close home, Kepagge only had to be pushed out with hands and heels to score what had looked, at one stage, a highly improbable victory.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Barney Curley

The late Bernard Joseph 'Barney' Curley, who died in May, 2021 at the age of 81, was, at various points in his career, a bookmaker, professional gambler, racehorse owner and trainer and philanthropist. However, he freely admitted to never having held an ordinary job in his life and his unorthodox approach to horse racing made him one of the most colourful characters in the history of the sport.

Born in Irvinestown, Co. Fermanagh in 1939, Curley survived a life-threatening bout of tuberculosis as a young man and, having abandoned plans to become a Jesuit priest, embarked upon a largely unsuccessful career as a bookmaker in Belfast. The chastening experience was not lost on Curley who, on June 25, 1975, masterminded the in infamous Yellow Sam coup at Bellewstown Racecourse, Co.Meath, which netted him and his associates over £2 million by modern standards. In 1986, Curley became a licensed trainer in his own right, keeping a small string of his own horses in his yard in Newmarket and financing the operation, to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year, by gambling heavily on them. No stranger to controversy, Curley repeatedly fell foul of the stewards because of his no-nonsense, maverick attitude and outspoken views.

In his later years, following the death of his teenage son, Charlie, in a car accident in 1995, Curley turned his attention to charitable work, founding the charity Direct Aid for Africa (DAFA), in 1996. DAFA is a non-political, non-sectarian organisation dedicated to supporting underprivileged people in Zambia, in south-central Africa.

Wednesday, 12 January 2022

Record-breaking Winner


On August 13, 2020, a three-year-old named He Knows No Fear won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden at Leopardstown at odds of 300/1. In so doing, he became the longest-priced winner in the history of horse racing in Britain and Ireland, eclipsing the previous record set by Equinoctial (250/1) at Kelso in November, 1990.

Bred, owned and trained by Luke Comer and ridden by Chris Hayes, He Knows No Fear was having just his second start after finishing only twelfth of fourteen, at 250/1, in a similar race on his debut at Limerick the previous month. At Leopardstown, he showed signs of inexperience when asked for his effort but, once the penny dropped, made rapid headway on the outside of the field. He went second in the final hundred yards and stayed on strongly to collar the hot favourite, Agitare, who had gone clear inside the final furlong, in the shadow of the post and win by a head. The winning trainer said later, 'He Knows No Fear is a nice horse. The first race, you couldn't go by, because he got left in the stalls.'

Comer, for whom training racehorses is almost a distraction from his main property development business, had not saddled a winner for nine years. Indeed, he had previously hit the headlines in 2017, when he was repeatedly fined by the Turf Club and was in danger of having his licence withdrawn, after a catalogue of 'very serious rule breaches', including refusing permission to inspect his stables in Kilternan, Dublin, failing to arrange adequate supervision for his horses and providing misleading and false information.