Wednesday, 8 April 2020

This Racing Lark is Bad for U.S

I can't say I know much about American horse racing. 

Is it true that they all run left-handed or is that an old wives' tale? I could Google that very point but I would rather be oblivious until the end of this post. I'm sure one of my lovely friends will tell me the answer.  

Over the last two years, I have been lucky to live in West Palm Beach, Florida. It is a beautiful part of the world. I think the closest racecourse is Gulfstream Park, which is nearer Miami if not Fort Lauderdale. Searching on Google Earth, I was surprised how it was just a stone's throw from the coast. 

I haven't been to the races in the U.S. 

Why is that? 

I don't understand American horse racing. 

I'm most definitely a creature of habit. 

After spending 30 years plus understanding British two-year-old horse racing I have neither the interest nor motivation to dip my toe into the unknown. As I have said before if you can make your racing pay simply double your stake rather than read twice as many books. 

With one thing and another, I run a lot of horse racing websites. Well, they are related to sports, gambling, with a touch of wit & wisdom. For the most part, I enjoy what I do. It can feel like there aren't enough hours in the day but I'm sure there are plenty of people who feel the same. I don't really need to do anything, so it is my choice. And that is a luxury few can share at this time.

Anyway, I have been updating Horse Trainer Directory. It is a curative website detailing UK horse trainer websites, blogs, social media, articles and lots more. Basically, we promote horse trainers for free.

I've been updating broken links. I should have done this task months ago as I noticed a good few point towards the abyss of pages no more. I am gradually getting sorted. The website is a valuable resource which basically saves time. 

It's free. 

I noticed one trainer Patrick Gilligan. I'm not sure why I left his name on the list as he must have retired from training in the UK for a good few years. I often leave them on the page as a mark of respect, the same as those who have sadly passed away. Alan Swinbank, Pat Eddery and many more. 

While checking the info regarding Patrick Gilligan I noticed a story on the Paulick Report. It detailed that Gilligan had a dim view of U.S racing. He moved over the pond in 2014 to help his son, Jack, a jockey, pursue a racing career on the Midwest circuit. 

In an interesting and informative read, he said: ''U.S racing is seemingly designed to harm the horse in some way.''

 He continued: 


“I have to start with the track and the strict diet of left-hand galloping, day after day, after day. “You don't need to be an expert in equine biomechanics to understand that horses – who are designed to run more or less in straight lines – are likely to be harmed by the repetitive, unrelenting galloping left-handed on a daily basis. 

And then they start breezing left-handed, flat out around a turn, placing more torsional stress on the pastern and cannon bone.” 

Gilligan also points a finger at dirt surfaces, which he says are at odds with a Thoroughbred's lower limbs since they evolved to run on grass. “There is no bounce from a dirt surface, the horse's leg just hits it, time after time, two and a half times a second when breezing or racing, and the dirt does nothing to help the horse spring forward into its next stride at all.” 

Gilligan considered synthetic surfaces, which he notes have been substantially improved since they were first installed years ago, and on Lasix, he opines that bleeding is not an issue that needs fixing: “Minor bleeds are not a serious health or welfare issue. If the horse bleeds to an extent it negatively impacts performance, tough. That animal is not fit for purpose. Retire it, find it another life. Do not breed from it. The old adage is breed the best to the best and hope for the best – not breed the unsound bleeder to the unsound bleeder and find some stronger meds.” 



Thursday, 2 April 2020

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




Friday, 20 March 2020

Do They Have Horse Racing in Russia?

With the Coronavirus taking in hold all over the globe, horse racing fans are scouring the back pages of newspapers for racecards of any regard. 

For instance, I have never really looked at horse racing at Thurles, Ireland. But it will be this Saturday (21/03/20) because apart from racing in the United States and Australia there isn't a lot of racing going on. 

I know some people like to bet on two flies crawling up a wall but I would rather stick with equine if that is possible.

Unless you know a fruit fly called Frankel. 

Just for the sake of it, I thought ''What about Russia!'' 

That's Russia horse racing. I can't say I have ever thought much about horseracing from every corner of the globe but in this time it makes me wonder if other countries are struggling in a similar way or the horses are racing whatever is thrown at them. 

I once wrote an article about horse racing in Antigua, for a good friend who has a tourism website. I must admit, the horseracing, although thoroughbreds, reminded me of something back in the day and it was simply a three-horse race. I was left with the impression that every thoroughbred horse race in Antigua was a three-cornered affair running round a course that looked like something homemade and a commentator who was found from the crowd. I don't want to knock it because it was still a race and I'm pretty sure they had betting. I mean, you don't have to dress up in top hat and tails to enjoy a day at the races or rub shoulders with her majesty the Queen. 

I think I'd rather enjoy a day in Antigua. 

Anyway, back to Russia. 

Did you know they have horse racing in Russia? 

I guess you imagine, like me, that does just because it makes sense. 

However, I have no idea how it works in a communist country. 

Anyway, from reading what information is on the internet, I see that horse racing in Russia takes place at two main venues and a 20th-century landmark.  

Central Moscow Hippodrome (pictured)

It was founded in 1834 and the largest horse racing track in Russia. It is the finest Stalinist architecture to be seen. It has been enjoyed by members of the Russian imperial family and Emperor Nicholas II. 

Taking a look at the website www.cmh.ru I can see what looks to be trotting horse racing. Even trying to translate the page to English doesn't help as I cannot make sense of the Russian language. I wish I could translate because I am sure it would be an interesting read. I've found another website which makes for easier reading. 

Moscovery

I will do my best to convey something about Russian horse racing. It seems that the horse racing covers both traditional racing and trotting. 

They have horse racing on Saturdays and Sundays at the Central Moscow Hippodrome. They have betting, which looks like it is done on a Tote basis. The season runs from May - September (trotting races take place all year round). The racecourse covers a circuit of 18000 metres long. 

Horses are trained and race at the venue. 

Interesting, the horses are taken to the ring at 5am and training sessions are over at 8am, to keep away from prying eyes, a tradition taken from English horse racing 

Tickets cost 150 rubles (£1.60). It sounds very good value. 

Covered stalls with a seating capacity of 3,500. Tours are available by appointment. 















Trotting race in the snow (troika races). 

One of the feature races is the President's Cup Horse Race every June since 2012. In wintertime, horses compete in the Russian Troika Championship. (This is over a long distance with a team of three horses.) It is said to be the perfect combination of speed, power, and endurance.

















President's Cup Horse Race

This prestigious race takes place in July of each year with attendance from presidents from Bolivia, Venezuela, and Iran. 

The race has a cash prize of 10 million rubles ($304,000). The Cup is presented by Vladimir Putin. In fact, six races take place on the day with a total prize fund of 28 million rubles ($867,000).   

Russian Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov told journalists in Moscow that the race is not only "spectacular" but acts as a "strong incentive for the further development of our country’s thoroughbred horse breeding."

It is interesting to learn that Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov has sent horses to run at this meeting. 

Readers may remember Kadyrov wanted to run horses at the Australian Melbourne Cup, which caused outrage to human rights activists regarding gross human rights abuses in Chechnya. Kadyrov's' horses have been banned from racing in the United States. 

From what I can understand, Russia has five racecourses throughout the country. Akbuzat Hippodrome, Kazan Hippodrome, Krasnoyarsk Hippodrome, Moscow Hippodrome, Pskov Hippodrome

Horse Racing In Moscow (1958) Pathe






Monday, 16 March 2020

Will Coronavirus Stop Horse Racing?


The world is struggling with the Coronavirus outbreak. 

Sport is almost at a standstill. However, horseracing is still taking place until the end of March, with hopes it may carry on behind closed doors. 

Whether this will happen or not - only time will tell. 

Considering horses are the athletes (as are the jockeys) it will be interesting to see if horseracing continues. If racing is stopped it will have huge repercussions for the racing industry. 

Who is going to want to have a horse in training if it doesn't race? 

Perhaps horseracing and greyhound racing will continue. I'm sure the majority of people who work within the industry would like to continue in their roles. Clearly, whatever happens, the wheels of industry need to keep turning. If horseracing does continue behind closed doors it will be one sport that can be televised and be a rare sporting entertainment. Many people may think banning the sport is the only answer but it would be positive if it continues simply because compared to many sports it can. 

The Grand National is the next big race scheduled for the 4th of April. 

The decision of whether the Grand National goes ahead will probably be the answer to its continuation for the season. It would be a beacon of hope that the world of sport cannot be halted and a spectacle that will be even more poignant in the fight to respond to the impending fears. 

Only time will tell.




Monday, 2 March 2020

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 2020?

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?




Thursday, 27 February 2020

Backing Horses With a Grasshopper Mind

I love the old TV series. 

Today, I watched an old episode of Minder, starring the late George Cole and Dennis Waterman. Men (and women) of a certain age will remember Arthur Daley & Terry McCann, down the Winchester pub, with Dave, behind the bar. 

Arthur used to ask for his favourite tipple vodka and coke. As a somewhat shady businessman, he asked for a VAT. 

Anyway, one of the episodes showed this unlikely pair at a point-to-point race meeting. 

Arthur said about a horse he fancied, and Terry changed his bet only to see his original fancy trot up. 

He said: ''You've got a grasshopper mind!''

The Oxford reference defines this phrase as: ''One unable to concentrate on any single subject for long. The grasshopper is quick to leap from one resting place ...''

Now, I don't know about you, but have you been at the races with someone who has a grasshopper mind?

The chances are you have.

I'm pretty sure we have all changed our minds about which horse to back. And the sad part of that action is it's often we go from fancying a 33/1 shot but end up backing the 6/4 favourite. 

When the rag hoses up you're left contemplating what happened. 

Don't jump from one horse to the next with a grasshopper mind. 


Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Dream Horse Film Release: A Dream Alliance


If you love rags to riches stories, then you will love Dream Horse. 

Most people associate breeding and owning a thoroughbred racehorse with the rich and famous. However, Jan Vokes, a Welsh cleaner and bartender had a dream to breed and rear a horse. This madness intertwined with a touch of magic helped persuade friends and neighbours of a Welsh village to contribute to the goal. 

The horse was named Dream Alliance because they all had a dream and paying £10 a week the alliance hoped beyond hope they would have a horse that could win a race. 

This story follows a journey of hope, dreams, toils, and tribulations. 

Dream Alliance was a working-class horse from a similar background but he would show the grit and determination of a Welsh village who had fallen upon hard times and needed, more than ever, something to give them faith that anything is possible if you believe. 

Dream Horse is released in the United Kingdom on 17 April 2020. 

Directed by Euros Lyn from a screenplay by Neil McKay. Major stars include Toni Collette and Damian Lewis. 

Readers may remember the story of Dream Alliance was originally made back in 2015 and called: Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance. 

It was released on 23 January 2015 at the Sundance Film Festival and later for general release on 17th April 2015. 

Directed by Louise Osmond it was very well received and holds an approval rate of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes:  "Dark Horse offers a thoroughly crowd-pleasing look at an incredible — and inspirational — real-life story that will thrill equine enthusiasts and novices alike."

Watch Dream Horse Trailer

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Are Gamblers Superstitious?


Wait a moment, I'm putting on my lucky socks.

I wonder if you are a gambler? I wonder if you are superstitious? So are you a superstitious gambler?

Only 13% of the population admit to being superstitious. I imagine the true figure is much higher. To test out my theory I would love to run an experiment that tests a ''subject'' to the max with black cats, ladders, mirrors, rabbit's foot, and a free bet to assess beginner's luck whether at the races or local bookmakers.   

I don't know the percentage, but I have an inkling gamblers are more susceptible to a magpie or two than your average homo sapien. 

I know I have some funny, little way...but let's talk about gambling superstition. 

There is one thing I never do and that's tempting fate when assessing the chances of a given ''no-hoper''. Just by saying: ''That horse can't win'', literally cuts its odds in half...and every word after that in the negative halves it again and again. So that 33/1 shot is 6/4 before the start of the race. You watch, smiling in your confidence that you are tempting fate, to learn you made a mistake. The one-eyed, three-legged beast trotted up (well in a tripod fashion).

I've seen it happen too many times. In fact, Tony saw a Michael Bell debutante filly at Great Yarmouth racecourse and started to question its chance because it looked, to him, a touch small and skinny. A bookie heard him talking and the odds halved! (Yes, that is a joke.) But Honest Joe wishes he had when Lady Light cruised home to win by four-and-a-half lengths at odds of 8/1. 

Tony wished he'd kept his mouth shut. He actually fancied the horse before looking at it under the microscope of skepticism. He really should buy some rose-tinted spectacles.

No wonder I keep stum because I could tempt a three-legged pit pony to beat Shergar if I slagged it off enough.

I guess punters always fear the unknown or try to make the unknown known with a lucky four-leaf clover. A rabbit's foot or a sprig of heather from a gypsy with a winning smile. 

I wonder if you are superstitious - whether good or bad.

Good luck!