Tuesday, 9 July 2019

La Cucaracha Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Embed from Getty Images Foaled on March 26, 2001, La Cucaracha – Spanish for ‘Cockroach’ – was a daughter of high-class sprinter Piccolo, who finished second, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Blue Siren in the Nunthorpe Stakes in 1994, but was awarded the race in the stewards’ room. La Cucaracha would win the Nunthorpe Stakes, too, as a four-year-old, in 2005, but the fact that she was still in training at that stage of her career, never mind winning a Group One race, owed much to the skill of her trainer, Barry Hills. 

Bred and owned by the late Guy Reed, in whose recognisable colours –gold and black check, pink sleeves and cap – she raced, La Cucaracha was, like many of the progeny of Piccolo, a fast, precocious juvenile. She made her racecourse debut in a lowly median auction maiden stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Leicester in April, 2003, which she won, easily, by 5 lengths, from the odds-on favourite Fine Silver. Stepped up in class in a fillies’ conditions stakes race at Newbury, also over the minimum trip, the following month she comfortably landed odds of 1/2. 

Thereafter, though, her career was plagued by injury and she wasn’t seen again until 347 days later in April, 2004. Indeed, her entire three-year-old campaign consisted of just three starts in Listed company in April and May – on all of which she ran well, without winning – before she was off the course again, for a further 313 days, until April, 2005. 

However, despite being restricted to three starts in the better part of two calendar years, she made a winning reappearance in the Cammidge Trophy, over 6 furlongs, at Doncaster. The following month, La Cucaracha was stepped up to Group company for the first time in the Duke of York Stakes, again over 6 furlongs, at York. On her one and only outing on soft going, she weakened well over a furlong out, eventually finishing ninth of 11, beaten 5 lengths, behind The Kiddykid, whom she’d beaten half a length, on 2lb better terms, in the Cammidge Trophy. 

Nevertheless, La Cucaracha won her first Group race, the Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh, on her very next start and, although subsequently only second in the Summer Stakes at York, she also won the Sky Bet Dash, over the same 6 furlongs on the Knavesmire, off top weight of 9st 10lb. Now rated 110, having officially improved by 12lb since the start of the season, she faced her toughest task so far, the Nunthorpe Stakes, over the fast, flat 5-furlong course at York. 

Despite tackling Group One opposition for the first time and her three wins that season having come over 6 furlongs, she was sent off 7/1 fourth-favourite behind Chineur, who had won the King’s Stand Stakes – run over the same course and distance as the Nunthorpe Stakes that year, during the redevelopment of Ascot Racecourse – on his most recent outing in June. Drawn in stall eight of 16, La Cucaracha was held up in midfield before quickening to lead inside the final and holding on for a narrow victory. At the line, just a neck separated her from The Tatling, whose task was made no easier by a slipping saddle, with Majestic Missile, who was hampered close home, a further length away in third. Her victory, albeit narrow, was the first at Group One level for prolific owner-breeder Guy Reed, after nearly 40 years’ involvement in British horse racing.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Which Professional Darts Player Won The Bronze Bully on TV Programme Bullseye

Bullseye TV Game Show (Jim Bowen)
Darts is popular. 

I'm sure many readers can remember Bullseye a TV game show television programme based, not surprisingly, on a darts theme. 

Originally made for ITV network by Associated Television in 1981. Later, by Central Television from 1982 - 1995. It was hosted by Jim Bowen, a stand-up comedian who was influenced by Ken Dodd and television personality. 

Bowen was a straight-faced comic known for his bad jokes, who used to make fun of guests on the show. 

The animated mascot named Bully wore a red/white striped shirt and blue trousers. 

The show also featured Tony Green who helped with scoring the dart games and sideman for Bowen. Green was an amateur player who became BBC's lead commentator when showing the annual World Professional Darts Championships staged at the Lakeside Country Club in Frimley Green, Surrey. He worked alongside Sid Waddell, a talented Geordie entertainer and well respected within darting circles and known as ''The Voice of Darts''. He was also a gifted writer, comedian and nicknamed the ''Theif of Bad Gags''. Waddell wrote 11 published books including autobiographies of John Lowe, Jocky Wilson & Phil Taylor. 

He also wrote a racy novel in 1973 named Bedroll Bella (about a Georgie groupie) that was banned by W. H. Smiths. 

Back to Bullseye. 

In total there was 16 series of Bullseye and an incredible 354 episodes. The run time for the programme was 30 minutes. The programme was created and owned by Andrew Wood and comedian Norman Vaughan who had a successful career in television and theatre. 

The game show was based on three pairs of contestants with one person the darts player and the other answering questions. Prizes included a car, speedboat, holidays in addition to a tankard and silver goblet alongside a Bendy Bully (the show's mascot). 

The show was originally on Monday evening before being moved to its popular spot on Sunday. Later it was to be shown on Saturday afternoon. The show was planned for 1996 but cancelled after the network pressured Wood to modernise the programme which he deemed unsuitable. 

One part of the show saw a professional darts player throw nine darts and their total score would give a pound a point for the given charity chosen by the contestant. If the professional dart player scored over 301 the money would be doubled. Alongside this, the highest score of the series would win the Bronze Bully Trophy. This was based on series 5 - 13 (1985 - 1994).

Interesting that the highest charity points scorer was Alan Evans in 1984 with a score of 401. 

However, the Bronze Bully Trophy started in 1985. 

Here is a list of the winners:

1985 - 86 : John Lowe (380)
1986 - 87 : Lionel Smith (365)
1987 - 88 : Ray Farrell (340)
1988 - 89 : Mike Gregory (380)
1989 - 90 : Eric Bristow (380)
1990 - 91 : Bob Anderson (380)
1991 - 92 : Mandy Solomans (363)
1992 - 93:  Mike Gregory (340)
1994 -    :   Kevin Painter (380)


Professional Gamblers: Do They Really Need Luck to Win

Professional Gamblers: Do They Really Need Luck to Win
Professional gambler stories. 

They are always an interesting read. In some respects, they have a mythical feel. Like a knight on his trusty stead, fight a dragon with fire in its belly. To be a professional gambler takes dedication. It takes a lot of learning and understanding via trial and error. But here's a question: 

Do Gamblers Really Need Luck To Win?   

Perhaps this seems a pretty foolish question. Surely they win or lose based on skill? Well, that is certainly the case because without an advanced knowledge they are unlikely to beat the bookies. I have been a successful gambler for a number of years and still see the highs and lows. It isn't about being the best gambler in the world, just a little better than most. To understand your niche. Why a niche? Simply because there aren't enough hours in the day to know everything. Also, you don't need to know everything because you can simply bet more on what you do know. It's like you times your knowledge by 5 when you bet five times the money on your wager. I'm just saying this as an example of how to work. If you work hard at being good in your niche, you will have a fighting chance of beating the layers. 

But what about luck? Does it really play a part in successful betting? It does play its part. 

How come?

If you have ever watched a horse race closely you will see that, in truth, any number of horses may have won with a bit of luck. Sure, some horses win with ease but a horse which wins by a nose often has had a touch of luck. It may have won by a whisker. 

Also, when you get a win then a touch of luck can make the difference between a small and big win. 

The days you have a chance to win big, you would rather that horse win than a normal routine wager. I remember a few times when a huge priced winner has, basically, made my season. 

So luck does play its part. 

Monday, 17 June 2019

Royal Ascot 2019: Zombie Betting

I used to love watching The Walking Dead. 

I figured out, I thought, why it worked. The old style zombie films - there have been some great ones - could never find an apt ending. If there was a part of the film which didn't quite live up to its billing - it was the end. 

With The Walking Dead being a series it didn't really need an end. It could just go on forever in a zombie kind of way. Dragging a leg, covered in blood and always following some poor victim until they were cornered in a cul-de-sac. 

Well, I thought it was the answer. Perhaps it wasn't. As I'm sure many fans of The Walking Dead looked on in ''horror'' that the storyline goes so stupid that is just wasn't worth watching anymore.  

Do you think Royal Ascot brings out a kind of zombie betting? Like a zombie chasing after a sheep. There's no particular reason for the chase, endeavour, addiction whatever you want to call it. 

I'm sure plenty of punters aren't betting on Royal Ascot 2019 in some kind of zombie state. They bet with intelligence. I guess when a good meeting with top-class horses comes along it's going to catch the interest. 

However, if you feel compelled to bet on Royal Ascot more than normal you may have become a zombie bettor without realising.