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Monday, 5 April 2021

Katie Walsh tells the Female Jockeys History of the Grand National

One of the most popular horse races. 

The Grand National over a distance of 4m and 3 1/2f. Thirty fences to test the expertise of horse and jockey. On the 10th April, Aintree, Liverpool, we could see a historic race. And to be fair, there have been hundreds of stories dating back to the inaugural running in 1839 when a horse named Lottery chanced his luck. 

So why could this year's race be so different from all those before? 

Just consider for a moment if a female jockey rode the winner of the Grand National. What would than mean to you, me, race fans across the world?

Betway racing ambassador Katie Walsh has a few words on that subject. 

It would be one of the greatest stories and it would be something that could literally change the world. 

The world is changing fast. It is an opportunity to see re-write the rules. Through competition we can achieve the greatest successes. 

Only 17 female jockeys have been given the chance to compete in the greatest steeplechase of them all. 

Did you know that Katie Walsh finished third place in the 2012 grand National when she partnered Seabass?

Watch this fascinating video detailing the history of the Grand National from a female perspective. 

Saturday, 20 March 2021

Why the Grand National is So Fascinating to Punters

On the face of it, there is little logical reason to recommend betting on the Grand National, yet two-thirds of British adults place a wager on it. Many of those are taking a punt for the only time in the calendar year in the world’s most famous steeplechase. Even if you stuck a pin in the extra-large racecard, you probably wouldn’t have picked out Rule The World, a maiden over fences, who won at 33/1 in 2016. Auroras Encore three years earlier and Mon Mome in 2009 both defied even bigger odds in the Aintree showpiece. Only four favourites have obliged since 1998, so it certainly doesn’t pay to blithely follow the market leader as so many do. Tiger Roll became the shortest-priced winner for a century in 2019, but horses of his ilk are once in a generation and that’s not a cliché. Bookmakers knew it, which is why he was returned at 4/1.



With a maximum field of 40 runners to choose from and only a fraction of those usually boasting experience of the unique Aintree course, it’s hard even for prop punters and the tipsters. If a horse jumps out to their right over The Canal Turn, then they forfeit more than just ground. 

In days of yore, the jockey might end up in the Leeds-Liverpool Canal as the Grand National course turns sharply. That obstacle is one of several on the track which is bigger than regulation steeplechase fences. 

Weird as this might seem, it’s not always the larger jumps that catch racehorses out. The Foinavon fence is one of the smallest to get over at Aintree, yet became infamous for the pile-up in 1967 which led to a 100/1 outsider bearing that name winning the Grand National. In a race as unpredictable as this, you would think that puts people off. Far from it. The great British public seem to almost relish the challenge, gambling in hope rather than expectation.
If you’re wondering where to watch and bet on live horse racing & greyhounds events like the Grand National, then you have lots of choice, including tv coverage and free streaming on bookmakers’ sites. Things to look out for relating to the big one at Aintree include getting extra places for each-way bets. 

This is a smart way to play the Grand National, as you receive a fraction of outright win odds for the horse placing. You can expect this to cover down to fourth minimum if having your bet ante post (i.e., weeks in advance of the race) or even more places nearer the time. 

Perhaps, it’s that the Grand National is so hard to win which explains why it has always struck a chord with people. A marathon distance of four-and-a-quarter miles, revised downwards from four-and-a-half when someone got the trundle wheel out and remeasured the track, makes this the ultimate test for horse and rider. 

Backing the Grand National winner is something to celebrate at any rate. Finding the best handicapped horse from so many definitely warrants a pat on the back.

Sunday, 14 March 2021

Is Gambling a Mugs Game?


Should I start by being provocative?

It's like two sides of the same coin, and few on the edge. Firstly, I'm not some kind of raving maniac, frothing at the mouth, who is pro or negative gambling. It should be an informed choice. However, it should be an opinion that is driven by the want to make money rather than the forlorn decision to bet for fun. 

That is truly a poor decision. 

If anyone bets for fun, the buzz, whatever you call it, and doesn't care about losing then I would suggest they need to sit down and think hard. 

It's insane. 

The only exception to that is betting small money so that it doesn't, seemingly, matter.

This thought process is a mistake and you need to question your naivety because it may lead you down a path which you wouldn't have taken. This may be the problem with most gamblers. Certainly, those people predisposed to addiction. If you notice this within yourself, be well observed, keep well away. 

A winning gamble comes in two ways: pure luck or pure skill. 

If you're lucky, then you need to get some luck and win big. It happens. You read about it every day. A large number of these people lose every last penny and return back to the equilibrium. 

Hopefully not. 

Most people who hate gambling have no real understanding of the subject.

I guess it's the way of the world. Like the patient who tells the doctor what it's all about. 

Who knows. 

I think most anti-gamblers, generally, say these things to help. They do so because they care. And that is good. 

All I would say is that there are many varied forms of gambling, often under the umbrella of investment. 

These may seem justified as ''good, proper, sensible'' gambling. Without knowledge and experience this is probably a very bad idea and without true understanding and knowledge you are hoping to defy the odds. 

Each to their own. 

Without exceptional understanding your odds of success are slim.

Gambling for fun isn't a good idea. However, it is something most gambler do. They do so because they haven't got the time to learn what makes a winner from a loser. 

To be fair, this isn't an easy undertaking and could be years if not decades in the making. 

Do you want to invest so much time and effort without any guarantee of success? You don't need to bet to learn what makes a successful gambler. 

You would be wise to bet matchsticks. 

Yes, I know it sounds a touch ridiculous, but unless you want to lose cash while learning then you are better to focus on improvement rather than contemplate the frustration of losing cold hard cash. 

You may be able to control yourself betting pennies, but for the potential problems this may bring you are better off sticking to the theory and leave the practice until later. 

I don't know what percentage of gamblers are mug punters, I really don't. 

There are plenty of professional gamblers who have won and lost a fortune so it's not an easy journey to take for even those who should know better.

You need to have a certain character to be a successful gambler. Strange as it may seem, someone who doesn't really like to gamble. If you are basing your ability of unemotional logic and knowledge you are further ahead than most.

The majority of gamblers are too fixed on the buzz. 

It's like trying to tame a bumblebee with a spoonful of honey. 

It would seem most gamblers lack self awareness of their finances if not anything else. 

I've been surprised how many intelligent people lose all sense of anything when they gamble.

This is due to lack of understanding and the buzz which addles their brain.

Just like a young horse learning bad habits [which lead to unfulfilled potential] the same can be said for gamblers. They build habit on habit without even realising they are in the grip of them. 

They have no understanding of what is right from wrong. 

Why would they?

Without experience, which never comes easy, and needs to be analysed, you are at the mercy of the unknown or unpredictable. 

To be honest, I would suggest to most would-be gamblers not to waste their time. They have so much to learn that it might be easier climbing a mountain. If you like a challenge and want to get your teeth into a long and wide subject then you are probably right for the job. 

You cannot and will not be able to know everything. 

There simply isn't enough time or energy to know a little about everything. 

I'm sure you can see it is pointless. 

You don't need to know everything. Just a little more than most. As I often say, double your knowledge by doubling your bet. It is the answer to the question. You just have to know your niche. 

I follow two-year-old racing. I don't bet in pattern races, nurseries, sellers, claiming races. There's a reason. I don't have enough time and I don't need to be the Jack of all trades and master of none. 

It's a pointless accolade. 

Knowledge is power. If you know more than most you can listen, look and smile. 

You're literally smiling at someone's lack.

You will be taking their money. 

Perhaps my assessment of most gamblers seems a bit stark. You may think 'What do you know'. 

You can think what you like as it makes no difference to me. 

However, if you didn't know the opposing player was Bobby Fischer, American chess Grandmaster and World Chess Champion, you may be surprised how they make your look pretty ordinary. They, conversely, would be looking at you as easy prey. Their expectation of the win would be so high that they would be stunned if you achieved that elusive victory. 

You want to be sitting across the table from anyone and fancy your chance that you are better. 

Even if you are an unknown. 

As a successful gambler you need to understand what you have to do to achieve those lofty heights. 

Perhaps you can.

Friday, 12 March 2021

Dave Nevison Professional Gambler Books – 'A Bloody Good Winner' & 'No Easy Money'


Although, in recent years, he has backed away from putting his 'head on the block' in favour of less erratic employment, including as a horse racing presenter and pundit on Racing TV, Dave Nevison if a former full-time professional punter. Originally from Halifax, West Yorkshire, Nevison inherited his lifelong obsession with horse racing from his grandfather, but forsook a lowly-paid job in racing to become, as they used to say, 'something in the City'. However, in 1993, after a decade as foreign exchange trader, which he apparently loathed, Nevison was made redundant when his employer, Credit Lyonnais, closed its London operation.

Encouraged by his then wife, Lotte, Nevison left the City behind and, with his redundancy settlement, established a betting bank of £50,000. Initially, he adopted the 'traditional' approach of taking a view on which horse would win a race and attempted to identify one or two selections on the card. However, Nevison soon became disillusioned with travelling back and forth to racecourses as far afield as Sedgefield, County Durham from his home in Sevenoaks, Kent, for the sake of just a couple of bets, with no guarantee of success, and sought a more worthwhile modus operandi. 

Taking a leaf out of the book of his fellow professional punter, and mentor, Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle – erstwhile racing correspondent for 'The Observer' – Nevison started compiling his own odds representing the chance of each horse in each race or, in other words, his own 'betting tissue'. Thus, by comparing the available odds with his own calculation, he could identify horses that were overpriced by the bookmakers and back them accordingly. Of course, he did not know which horses he would back until he saw the odds available, but he could bet in most, if not all, races on the card, often with multiple selections in a single race.

Backing multiple selections – possibly up to four or five in a race, according to the market – inevitably led to a modest strike rate, but by focusing on value, rather than finding a winner per se, Nevison guaranteed decent long-term profits. He made mistakes, but within four years of embarking on his new career was earning £50,000 a year, tax free. His methodology was fundamentally sound, but resilience was, nevertheless, the key to his success. Typically betting around £2,000 race, he reportedly won £60,000 in six months during 2008 but, in the same period, lost £140,000 on Tote Jackpot and Scoop6 bets. 

In the early Noughties, Nevison owned a string of horses trained by local trainer John Best, to whom he was also form advisor, and was privy to 'inside' information. However, on the whole, he remains indifferent to racecourse 'whispers' or anything else that distracts him from the business at hand. 

In 2007, Nevison published his highly successful autobiography, entitled, 'A Bloody Good Winner: Life as a Professional Gambler'. Of his attitude to winning, Nevison once said, 'I’m not a bad loser but I’m a bloody good winner and if a big ship comes in I like people to know about it.' The book offers a frank, honest, often brutally honest, account of how Nevison has fared over the years. As might be expected, his story is often exhilarating, sometimes depressing, but makes for essential reading, not just by dyed-in-the-wool punters, but by anyone with a passing interest in horse racing. Nevison is particularly scathing in his appraisal of certain jockeys and trainers, some of whom are household names but, on the whole, 'A Bloody Good Winner' is a amusing, enlightening and entertaining read. 

In 2008, Nevison followed on with his second title, 'No Easy Money: A Gambler's Diary', which chronicles his quest to win £1 million between the Cheltenham Festival in March, 2008 and the St. Leger Festival at Doncaster the following September. Nevison provides a blow-by-blow commentary on his methodology, his bets and his results, good or bad. Inevitably, winning and losing creates emotional turmoil but, typical of an author who enjoys betting, especially winning, 'No Easy Money' is a good-natured, upbeat account of life on the road.


On Thursday, January 15, 2009, Nevison and his business partner, Mark Smith, came within a whisker, or twenty yards to be precise, of winning £360,000 at Taunton Racecourse. Having invested in 42 lines, at £2 per line, on the Tote Super7 bet, the pair selected the first six winners, including four 'bankers' and pinned their hopes on 9/2 chance Topless in the crucial seventh and final leg, the Carlsberg UK Handicap Chase. According to the 'Racing Post', Topless was 'well in command' on the run-in, but jinked right towards the finish and unseated jockey Jamies Davies with the race at her mercy, leaving Pangbourne, who had been matched at 999/1 in running on Betfair, to saunter home by thirty lengths. Reflecting on that fateful day, Nevison said: 'it put me off betting for quite a long time and made me question what I was doing.'


Interview on Racing TV - My Life Racing


Friday, 5 March 2021

The Forgotten Winner of the Grand National Abd-El-Kadar (1850)

The Grand National has a long history. 

In fact, the first winner of this race dates back to 1839 when Lottery won for jockey Jem Mason, trained by George Dockeray. Under the welterweight of 12 stone he made owner John Elmore's day winning at odds of 5/1. 

Just for good measure Dockeray won the following year's Grand National 1840 with a horse named Jerry.

When you consider there has been 180 Grand National winners and counting, this is one race that doesn't lack stories to tell. 

Probably the greatest being the three victories of the legendary Red Rum, trained by Ginger McCain, who won this historic race at Aintree, Liverpool in 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

This is unprecedented. 

Just to prove his astounding ability, Red Rum finished runner-up in 1975 & 1976. 

Upon his death on the 18th October 1995, he was buried at the finishing post of this grueling steeplechase which covers a distance of four miles and two and a half furlongs and thirty jumps. 

Most race fans will have a favourite winner whether it is Red Rum, Mon Mone, who won at odds of 100/1 in 2009, or Abd-El Kadar. 

Unless you are a true aficionado of the greatest race in the world, it may be a name you have never heard. However, if you went back to 1850 Abd-El-Kadar would have been a name on every punter's lips, as this eight-year-old won for Irish raider Joseph Osborne. This 'pintsized' horse won at unquoted odds, and bookies only offered 20/1 in running as jockey Chris Green looked to hold some promise. 

He went on to win by one length. 

Owner Joseph Osborne was prudent enough to place a bet of £100 to win £4000. In today's money that would be worth the princely sum of £100,000. 

There's one thing we can say about the difficult-to-pronounce Abd-El Kadar, (Little Ab) he wasn't considered by most a likely winner until after the race. 

However, this wasn't the case the following year as this nine-year-old was noted as one of the major horses to beat at odds of 7/1. Everything was much the same bar a six-pound rise in the weights and ridden by Tom Abbot. 

Abd-El Kadar won by the official distance of half a neck. 

In many ways this horse was the original Red Rum, with high hopes of winning three Nationals in a row. When you consider the nature of this course and the fences back in the day this would have been deemed impossible.

Could Abd-El Kadar be the first horse to win the Grand National three times? 

Sadly it wasn't be as the ten-year-old carrying a weight of eleven stone four pounds, ridden by Denny Wynne, and starting at odds of 9/1, was pulled-up at the seventeenth fence. 

The race was won by Miss Mowbray at odds of 50/1 for George Dockeray in the ownership of T. F. Mason.

To his credit Abd-El Kadar ran in the 1853 race when finishing 5th at odds of 20/1. The winner of that race being Peter Simple, trained and ridden by Tom Oliver for owner Josey Little. 

Unfortunately the lad had forgotten to put the nose band on Abd-El-Kadar and his trainer feared his chance would be gone. In fact, the owner/trainer rushed to the start and begged Lord Sefton to delay the race but he refused. His fears were realised as the horse pulled its way to the front on the first circuit, to the point he led by one hundred yards when coming back on the course but couldn't keep up the pace as he was challenged and passed by Peter Simple at the Canal Turn, his fate sealed.   

The history books show that Abd-El Kadar never raced in the Grand National again, although there were rumours he did, but he is one of the few horses to not only win the Grand National twice but nearly make it three on the run. 

Other horses to win the Grand National on consecutive years include:

The Colonel (1869, 1870)

Reynoldstown (1935, 1936)

Tiger Roll (2018, 2019)

With Tiger Roll disappointing on his return, it could well be the case this consecutive winner will be another Abd-El Kadar if he gets to the race at all. 

Good luck to all runners in this year's Grand National. 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

7 Brocklesby Conditions Stakes Winners You Will Never Forget

The Brocklesby Stakes heralds the start of the Flat turf season.

Are you ready for the Brocklesby Stakes 2021?

Take a look at these past winners. 

This race has a long history dating back to 1849 as an all-age 12-furlong race at Carholme racecourse, Lincolnshire, which closed in 1964. 

The Brocklesby Stakes has been dedicated to two-year-old racing over five furlongs since 1875.

It moved to Doncaster in 1965. 

Historically, the best horse to win the Brocklesby Stakes was Donovan (1888) who went on to win the Derby and St Leger (1889). 

One horse that readers may remember fondly is Provideo, trained by Bill O'Gorman, who was a class handler of speedy thoroughbreds. A brown son of Godswalk, he won the Brocklesby Stakes by four lengths in 1984. This exceptionally durable colt set a 20th-century record for a British-trained two-year-old winning 16 of his 24 races. O'Gorman placed this horse to perfection considering Timeform rated him 20lbs below the best juveniles racing that year. However, Provideo still secured victories in two Listed races. In addition, he was crowned British Horse of the Year (1984) & Timeform Horse of the Year (1984). 



Exceptional.   

For many punters, the idea of betting on a debutante in a field of horses making their racecourse bow is a minefield. To be fair, I'm not keen wagering two-year-olds on their first day at school. It can be a tricky time. The combination of inexperienced horses, a draw bias in a large field and possibly testing ground doesn't add to confidence. However, only a handful of winners have been double-figure odds.

The Brocklesby Stakes is a significant race. If you need proof, there have been a number of talented juveniles winning this contest for horse trainers large and small.

Would I bet on a horse in this race?

Probably not. 

Denham Green won the Brocklesby Stakes back in 1988. Price at odds of 25/1, Steve Muldoon's two-year-old beat eleven rivals by two lengths. He is the joint longest odds winner in modern-day history. The other horse being the 2003 winner Red Power, trained by Paul Blockley. 

A number of very classy horses have started their career over this flying five furlongs at Doncaster.

Let's take a look at 7 Brocklesby Stakes Winners You Will Never Forget: 

1994 - Mind Games, trained by Jack Berry, who won by a neck at odds of 4/1. A talented colt who won at Group 2, but never could get his head in front for a Group 1 victory which he attempted 8 times. He finished a 20-race career by going to stud and although not the most successful stallion (fee £1,500 2010) he did sire Tangerine Trees. Mind Games was a horse very much associated with the man who wore the red shirt and a gifted sprinter.

Cost: 18,000 Gns (yearling) Prize Winnings: £200,772

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: Mind Games was odds-on (10/11) to win the Nunthorpe Stakes in 1995 when finishing behind So Factual in 6th place. 

2002 - The Lord, trained by Bill Turner, who is a name synonymous with the Brocklesby Stakes. Sadly, in recent years, Turner has struggled to capture former glories that have seen him win this race six times. The Lord was a talented colt and worthy of note for a number of reasons. Firstly, he won the Brocklesby Stakes by an impressive five lengths in a seventeen-strong field at odds of 13/2. Racing in the familiar silks of Mrs. M S Teversham, this son of Averti went on to win the Lily Agnes Stakes at Chester. He disappointed in the Norfolk Stakes (Group 3) at Royal Ascot. 

The Lord won at Listed class and achieved an official rating of 102. A durable horse, he raced 68 times winning just 8 races. 

Cost: Homebred. Prize Winnings: £108,777

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: The joint easiest winner of the Brocklesby Stakes since 1988. In fact, the only other horse to win by five lengths was Bill Tuner's Mick's Yer Man (2013). 

2009 - Hearts Of Fire, trained by Pat Eddery. This son of Firesbreak was a classy horse who must have been the apple of his trainer's eye. He won the Brocklesby in decisive fashion winning by two-and-a-quarter lengths at odds of 12/1, ridden by his brother, Paul Eddery. Hearts Of Fire ran creditably in the Brian Yeardley Continental Stakes when runner up at Beverley after a disappointing second start. 

This colt looked pretty smart but there was a key factor to his future successes - he loved very testing ground. Racing at Listed class, he thrashed the opposition winning by over five lengths at Deauville, France. Next, a trip to Baden Baden, Germany, saw him trounce six opponents at Group 3. 

Hearts Of Fire would next set hoof on the sodden ground at San Siro, Italy. Stepping up to 1m for the Gran Criterium (Group 1) he ran on well to win catching Godolphin's Vale Of York, the pair some five lengths clear of the third. 

Thereafter, this exceptional colt would run at the highest grade and every inch a globe trotter concluding his career at Meydan. 

In a 16-race career, he achieved an official rating of 118. 

Cost: £13,000 (yearling). Prize Winnings: £326,543

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: Cost just 6.000 Gns as a foal.

2013 - Mick's Yer Man, trained by Bill Turner.  This son of Bahamian Bounty has a story which is something of a novelty. As stated, since 1988, Mick's Yer Man ran out the easiest winner of the Brocklesby Stakes by five lengths (shared with The Lord). This 5/1 winner was ridden by 7lb apprentice Ryan While [grandson of Bill Turner]. This March foal won in comprehensive fashion on his next start at Musselburgh. 

Then the wheels fell off when returning after a long layoff which suggested Mick's Yer Man suffered an injury. 

He wasn't seen to any effect until his four-year-old career when winning at Leicester. Later, a Listed win at Ascot. He was raced once more at three and not seen again for almost three years. In that time, Mick's Yer Man was gelded and sold privately by Turner and trained by T P Yung to race in Hong Kong. There were rich pickings to be had and this gelding proved to be an inspired purchase. He won three times in Hong Kong and pocketed substantial prize money.

Cost: 10,000 Gns as a foal. Prize Winnings £328,456.

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: Mick's Yer Man had a change of name to Always Win when racing in Hong Kong. 

2016 - The Last Lion, trained by Mark Johnston. This son of Choisir certainly made an impact in his formative season - racing 10 times and then retired to stud. This bay colt made a sparkling start to his career when winning the 2016 Brocklesby Stakes by one-and-three-quarter lengths: ''Pushed clear and eased towards the finish''. 

On his fourth start, he headed to Royal Ascot to compete in the Norfolk Stakes (Group 2). The 20/1 starting price didn't hold him back running a storming second place, headed in the final 150 yards to be beaten by half a length in a blanket finish. 

Next race, Sandown's Dragon Stakes Listed race went to The Last Lion who powered clear of the field over five furlongs on soft going at odds of 10/11f.  

This February foal would make his last five races at pattern class and ran the highest standard every step of the way. 

Finished 2nd in the Victoria Racing Club Molecomb Stakes (Group 3).

Finished 3rd in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2).

Effortless winner of the Totequadpot Sirenia Stakes (Group 3).

A narrow loser when third in the Pepsi Max Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2).

The Last Lions' final race of the two-year-old season and his career saw him face nine rivals in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) at Newmarket over 6f on good-to-firm going. In a truly spectacular conclusion, the 25/1 shot made all under an expert ride from Joe Fanning, battling on gamely, always holding rivals to win by three-quarters of a length holding Charlie Appleby's Blue Point which started at fractional odds-on (10/11). 

QUOTES: After the Brocklesby Franny (Norton) said THE LAST LION would be far better on faster ground. But if you look at his form behind Yalta at Goodwood (when second in the Molecomb Stakes on good), everybody thought his only chance would be when there is cut in the ground. Here he is, on fast ground, running the race of a lifetime on his tenth start of the year! It is another advert for going on and running them - Mark Johnston, trainer.

Cost: 82,000 Euros (yearling). Prize Winnings: £225,663.

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: The only winner since 1988 to start at odds-on [4/5f].



2017 - Santry, trained by Declan Carroll. Sometimes the best horses have the least luck and that was the case for this bay colt a son of Harbour Watch. This February foal was fancied to go well when making his debut in the Brocklesby Stakes at Town Moor.

Backed to 4/1, he led one furlong out, idled in the last 75y but held on by a head from David Evans' Last Page. 

There was a lot to like about Santry's second start when winning in style at Ascot under a penalty keeping on strongly when seriously backed from 4/1 - 9/4.

Next stop - Royal Ascot 2017. Declan Carroll's charge was made a 13/2 shot to win the Norfolk Stakes (Group 2). Santry was only denied by half a length from Aidan O'Brien's Sioux Nation who raced on the far side of the course. In fact, Santry had trouble in running and kept on well but couldn't peg back the Irish raider. 

Sadly, this young colt's career was cut short when he broke a leg on the gallops. Carroll said: ''I can't believe we've lost him.'' 

Cost: 24,000 Euros. Prize Winnings: £40,419. 

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: Probably one of the most talented winners. 

2019 - Show Me Show Me, trained by Richard Fahey. The Ontoawinner syndicate is no stranger to talented juveniles and this son of Showcasing was fancied to go well on debut in the Brocklesby Stakes and obliged with a purposeful victory winning by three-quarters of a length. 

This horse ran seven times at two including a placed effort at Goodwood when third in the Markel Insurance Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) when losing a left front shoe.  

Interesting Brocklesby Stakes Fact: The First winner for Ontoawinner syndicate but there will be more.  

Cost: £24,000 (yearling). Prize Winnings: £72,655. 
  
The Brocklesby Conditions Stakes: Future Winners.

In many ways, the Brocklesby Stakes is far from a significant race but special because it is a celebration of the start of the two-year-old Flat turf season. It is the race trainers have hopes and dreams of winning in cold, winter months.

There have been a number of exceptional horses that have won the Brocklesby before going on the win at the highest level and conclude their success standing at stud. These seven horses have all started their career by tasting victory on debut. Very few horses achieve such a milestone. For some, it will be their first and last victory while other winners such as the 1996 Brocklesby Stakes winner Indian Spark (trainer by Bill Turner) ran an incredible 143 times. 



The Brocklesby Stakes Q & A



Which is the best Brocklesby Stakes winner? 

There is little doubt the seven horses mentioned are some if not the best. Personally, Mind Games, The Last Lion & Hearts Of Fire are exceptional talents. 

What is the biggest priced winner of the Brocklesby Stakes?

In modern history (since 1988) Denham Green (1988) and Red Power (2003), both won at the starting price of 25/1. 


Which horse won at the shortest odds?

That goes to The Last Lion (pictured), trained by Mark Johnston, who won at odds of 4/5f in 2016. He was the first horse to win the Brocklesby Stakes at odds-on. 

Which horse ran the fastest time?

Hearts Of Fire won the 2009 Brocklesby Stakes in a time of 0:59.71 on good to firm going. In fact, he was the only horse to run under one minute since 1988 (this was due to fast ground conditions and a true talent). 

In modern history, which horse trainer has won the Brocklesby Stakes the most times?

Unsurprisingly, that mantle goes to Bill Turner who has won the race 6 times since 1996 when Indian Spark won by four lengths at odds of 100/30. Turner's other winners include The Lord (2002), Spoof Master (2006), Sally's Dilemma (2008), He's So Cool (2011) & Mick's Yer Man (2013). 

For me, the Brocklesby will always be a race to cherish and winners to hold dear.

Related story: Is Bill Turner the Brocklesby Stakes King?




Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Fond Memories of the Grand National back in the Day


One of the first horse races I can remember was the Grand National. 

Being a 70s child I grew up with the greatest steeplechase in the world on the TV. Every April, we were glued to the box, come rain or shine. 

In fact, it was one of the reasons I grew up to have an interest in horse racing although these days I am more of a flat racing man that the National Hunt, although I do appreciate both. 

I've been the Huntingdon and Fakenham racecourse for the National Hunt and enjoyed the meetings. I think 90% of the racegoers were local if not regulars. It was nice to see they allowed patrons to take their pet dogs as long as they were kept on a lead. I think I had as much fun watching a selection of pooches, some wearing little jackets to keep them warm, on what was a truly bitter-cold day. There is something about being on a racecourse in the middle of winter which gets to the bones of young and old alike. I guess I had got used to enjoying summer days at Great Yarmouth although I have been caught in a storm or two there. As they say in the UK, we have four seasons in a day and that is what makes it special in its own way.  

I enjoyed my day at Fakenham, which is located in the county of Norfolk, as it had a very traditional feel about it.

My Dad loved his racing. I'm not sure if his father enjoyed it or not. I know his brother, Keith, did as do many of my cousins and Uncle Fred was a keen racing man as they all enjoyed the Eastern Festival at Great Yarmouth, which takes place every September. 

Our summer holidays always coincided with the Eastern Festival and we loved our family holidays. The worst part was coming home because the school had started the week before and it was a nightmare trying to get a timetable or work out where to go. I remember this especially well when starting our secondary school. It was a return I would rather have forgotten.    

I think every race fan has fond memories betting on the Grand National. My brother followed a horse called Classified who never fell in his life but was tarnished with that tag when his jockey was unseated. I remember another fan writing to the Racing Post to display their utter disdain at this slight. 

We all have our favourite horses and that's what makes it special. You could pick a 100/1 shot and no one can say your horse is a loser until after the race - and even then, sometimes, you will be correct. 

Classified never won the Grand National but was remarkably consistent either placed or in the first five for a number of years. 

I was lucky enough to pick Aldaniti (pictured) who won the big race on the 4th of April 1981. It was a truly remarkable story for both horse and jockey. Many gave up hope on both steely characters who said: ''Just you wait and see.''

Bob Champion rode the race of his life and successfully battled against cancer and raised millions of pounds for charity in the process. 

The Grand National has always been a race where dreams are made, built on blood, sweat, and tears (and a glimmer of hope). 

For many, Red Rum is the greatest Grand National winner of them all. 

He won an unprecedented three times: 1973, 1974 & 1977. 

In truth, every winner of the Grand National tells a story few would ever believe. 

Whether, horse, trainer, owner, jockey, even commentator, or lucky punter down the road. Those who would never bet in all their life are ready to put the cash down and hope it is their lucky day.

We all remember the year we had a winner on the greatest race of them all. 

The Grand National. 

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Get Ready for Royal Ascot 2021


Last year, Royal Ascot took place, even though the start of the Flat turf season was held up until June. It was a miracle the meeting went ahead, especially for the two-year-old horses who had about ten days to gain vital race experience. Even Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and entourage stayed at home, as did the crowds. 

Coronavirus has a lot to answer for but, thankfully, horse racing continued in earnest - even with the limitations imposed with regard to health and safety.

Race fans will be looking forward to having a bet on Royal Ascot 2021. From the 15th - 19th June, the best of the best thoroughbred horses, from leading owners and trainers, will be racing for not only prestige but big prize money. 

Sprinterstogo is not only dedicated to sprinters but two-year-old horse racing and a number of high-profile races. 

These include: 

Day 1:

3:05 Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 

This race is run over 6f. Last year saw a shock 150/1 winner in Nando Parrado, trained by Clive Cox, ridden by Adam Kirby.  

In the last ten years Aidan O'Brien has won this race three times with War Command (2013), Caravaggio (2016) & Arizona (2019).

Day 2: 

5:35 Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) 

This race is run over 5f. Last year is was run by Tactical trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by James Doyle. 

Day: 3 

2:30 Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 

This race is run over 5f. Last year saw Michael Bell's The Lir Jet win, ridden by Oisin Murphy. American trainer Wesley Ward has target this race with a few very speedy two-year-olds including winners No Nay Never (2013) & Shang Shang Shang (2018). 

Day: 4

2:30 Albany Stakes (Group 3) 

This race is open to two-year-old fillies racing over 6f. Last year saw an impressive winner in Dandalla, trained by Karl Burke and ridden by Ben Curtis. 

Day: 5

2:30 Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) 

This race is run over 7f. Last year Battleground won for Aidan O'Brien when ridden by Ryan Moore. It is a race O'Brien has done very well over the last year winning four times including Maybe (2011), Churchill (2016) & September (2017). 

Royal Ascot 2021 is likely to be another quiet affair with the pomp and ceremony having to wait. However, with the Flat turf season scheduled to start in April this year's Ascot will give trainers' a chance to prepare for some of the most prestigious races on the calendar. 

It's a race meeting to enjoy.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021

The Most Frightening Experience of My Life

I guess there are many experiences that deserve reflection. 

Man puts head in a lion's mouth. 

SAS man jumps through an open window. 

However, the blog title: ''The most frightening experience of my life'' was retorted from a lady who lived at Great Yarmouth, painting a picture on a TV programme called Watercolour Challenge. The Channel 4 daytime television lifestyle show was broadcast from 5th June 1998 - 23rd November 2001. 

Now you may be thinking, what does a watercolour painting of a scene from Norwich Cathedral have to do with gambling. 

There seems little relationship. 

However, you may say a tiger doesn't have much in common with a table - but they both have four legs. 

What on earth could be so frightening about painting a picture?

It sounds quite a calm endeavour, peaceful if not therapeutic. 

You must be thinking, there's got to be more to this specific painting than meets the eye. 

You're correct. 

The painter from Great Yarmouth struggled because it was a competition! 

The competition saw artists face an unknown location, two competitors and four hours to do the business (so to speak) and paint like Rubens to win the dough. 

Those tranquil brushstrokes transformed into someone grappling with a wasps nest. As it happened, the winning prize: a new set of paints, brushes and a chance to go through to the weekly final and then there's an opportunity to compete in the grand final. Scary stuff if you aren't van Gogh. Perhaps even Vincent may have felt a twang of nerves, frustration or fright.  

The competitive nature of the challenge made the situation, even for a talented individual, very different from the norm. 

In many ways, gambling, in theory to practice, is very similar. 

Without question, we live in a competitive world. Are we naive to forget this point? Can we separate ourself from the shark tank? You may deny the fact that there's someone from the pool of talent who knows more or you may relish the challenge because you are a bigger fish in the pond. 

That's the intriguing aspect of gambling. 

Even if you bet for fun, you are still in the competition whether you like it or not. Perhaps you are betting small stakes so you consider it doesn't really matter. 

You may be correct.

However, if you are a gambler, do you really think about the layer? It may not register - if you win you win, you lose you lose. 

Do you have a hatred of the competition or a friendly revelry? 

Do I consider who is taking my bet? Yes. It intrigues me what they know.

When I lose I am fearful of the opposition and my own lacking.

The win details I know more. A loss details I know less. The latter is a problem I need to find an answer. 

Appreciating the competition is worthy of thought. It may help me work harder or have the discipline or process to contend with the competition or improve my game. 

In that sense, the most frightening experience of your life is very much about the context which may vary from pleasure to pain.

Photo: Jean Haines




Thursday, 7 January 2021

The Millionaire Betting System


I'm surprised more people don't ask this question: ''Why do you bet on the horses?''

This can be specific to you, me, or the bustling crowd at the Cheltenham Festival. 

I'm far from a natural gambler. In fact, I don't really like gambling. I don't bet for fun, the buzz, or all those things many gamblers do from day to day. 

Each to their own. 

If it makes you happy, doesn't lead to the wolf knocking on your door, or affects your life, family, or lead you to suicide you are onto a winner. 

That probably sounds a bit flippant - but you know what I mean. You have to be responsible for your actions and if you can't you need to find an answer.

Anyway, you meet all sorts of people under the umbrella of the gambler. To be fair, you see some very sad sights, especially fixed to the betting terminals in the local bookmakers. 

For many gamblers, betting gives a live hope of making a killing. That's winning cash not holding up a bookmaker's shop with a gun. 

The good side of finding a winning betting angle is that you can easily outweigh the cost of living. You simply bet more money and win a grand a day! Well, you can if you know something the majority of the population doesn't. 

Namely, you win money long term. 

The holy grail is finding a system that gives a regular income. If you attach this to a bot that places your bets automatically, you have a passive income. 

You could be sitting on the beach in the Bahamas, living the life most can only dream. 

If you get to that level you are well and truly a winner. Because let's face it, very few people make their gambling pay. They simply don't know enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Is there a system, simple or complex, which guarantees you will make a profit? Better still, is there a system which shows hundreds if not thousands of points profit every season?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. 

I'm saying no names because these things are private but I've heard something incredible.

There could be a Millionaire Betting System out there. What I mean by this, is a system that can take let's say £100 and in a year, two, three or four and turn that small sum of money into one million pounds profit. 

Many of you reading this will be thinking it's pie in the sky. It can't be possible. How can it be possible?

In fact, by the end of this Flat turf season, I will be in a position to detail whether or not this is fact or fiction. 

Unfortunately for me, and you, I don't understand how this system works. But I imagine it won't be sold for any amount of money. (Even two million pounds!)

It's interesting to consider what goes on behind the scene of the betting exchanges. You see a bet and you have no idea who is behind that transaction. It could be a little old lady down the road placing her first bet. It could be a trader looking to make an easy £5 here and there. It could be a professional gambler with his finger on the pulse. It may even be Harry Findlay recouping his losses lumping on the next odds-on shot. The stories behind each and every bet and gambler are unknown. 

But consider for a moment the next bet you place could well be a plus or minus for this new gambler on the block as he puts the Millionaire Betting System through its paces. 

This time next year, he'll be a millionaire.