Monday, 16 September 2019

How Fast Can A Thoroughbred Horse Run?

You may have seen the post we published on this website: Man Vs Horse. It wasn't a pretty picture come the finishing line. Olympic medalist Jamie Baulch raced a thoroughbred horse trainer by Brendan Powell called Peopleton Brook. The contest took place at Kempton in a 100m sprint. 

The result? 

Peopleton Brook sauntered past Baulch after 40m (sorry, Jamie, 60m) and cruised to an effortless victory. I very much doubt the bookmakers were laying odds on the horse, while I imagine a few punters backed Baulch at odds of 1000/1. (I have no idea if a bet was struck!)

Baulch said: ‘I am obviously disappointed, but all credit to the horse,’ who won an Olympic silver medal for Britain in the 400m relay in Atlanta in 1996.'' 

The Olympian ''raced'' the horse for charity with £10,000 shared between the Injured Jockeys' Fund and Barnardos. 

Believe this or not, but it is reputed Jessie Owens, who won four Olympic gold medals, famously beat a number of racehorses over a 100m sprint. However, even Owens had to admit he chose horses that were so spooked by the sound of the starter's pistol that he gained a headstart. Sadly, he only raced horses as a publicity stunt to make money saying: ''People say that it was degrading for an Olympic champion to run against a horse, but what was I supposed to do? I had four gold medals, but you can’t eat four gold medals.’' 

In truth, Usain Bolt would have little chance of beating a thoroughbred horse over 100m even with his world record time of 9.58s achieved in the 2009 World Athletics Championships in Berlin on the 16th August. 

I very much doubt he would beat a fit Shetland pony. 

Your average thoroughbred racehorse can run 100m in about 5 or 6 seconds. Basically, twice as fast as your decent sprinter. 

However, thoroughbreds have often been beaten by greyhounds over a 100m sprint. 

With regard to other animals, the fastest of them all is the cheetah can run at 60mph. At top speed, it would run 100m in less than four seconds. (It would be slower from a standing start).

Jamie Baulch should thank his lucky stars he didn't race against a lion, because it may not have run past him but jumped on his back and eaten him alive! 

Winning Brew holds the Guinness book of records for the fastest thoroughbred horse over two furlongs at 43.97 mph. Although Quarter Horses run faster over a shorter distance.  

Photo: Olympic gold medallist Jesse Owens at the starting line before beating harness racer The Ocean, at Bay Meadows, California, in a 100-yard sprint in 1948

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Which Stallions Have The Highest Stud Fees?

Horse breeding is big business.

It sounds easy. You send your broodmare to visit Frankel. And wham, bam, thank you mam, pay £175,000 for what I imagine is a few minutes ''work''. To be honest, I have no idea what goes on behind stable doors, but I guess there is a lot more to it than mother nature. Perhaps that's exactly how it goes.

Anyway, that certainly is the way to make money. Frankel won 14 out of 14 races and amassed total earning of just under £3M. It sounds a lot of money. However, each loss on the racecourse could actually cost money. The stallion fee of £175,000 may have gone down if he had lost a couple of races. Also, a horse may sustain an injury on the gallops or the racecourse. A huge loss of not only a life but money when you consider all of those £175,000 invoices disappearing in a puff of smoke. 

You can see the truth of the financial matter when you consider Frankel only need to cover 17.1 mares to earn £3M in stallion fees. When you take a look at 2017 yearlings, Frankel sired at least 94 offspring. This totals an amazing £16450000 (£16M). 

Take a look at this year's 2019 two-year-old offspring by visiting      

You can understand why breeding is such a prosperous avenue for a talented horse which makes their mark on the racecourse. It is the reason why some two-year-olds are retired from racing after that first year simply because it makes financial sense. For example, Zebedee, trained by Richard Hannon in 2010, raced just seven times, achieved four wins and total earning of £162,819. A stud fee of 7,500 euros doesn't sound a fortune but it is a very wise investment for owner Mrs Julie Woods who purchased Zebedee at the yearling sales for 70,000 guineas. When he had covered 133 mares, he had earned a cool 1m euros. (A year or twos work.) 

Frankel concluded his racing career on the 20th October 2012 when winning the Qipco Champion Stakes (British Champions Middle Distance) (Group 1). He was just four years old. 

At a rate of £16M per years, he has probably earned Juddmonte Farms well over £100M. And he's only just getting started. At the time of writing, he is eleven-years-old. When Frankel could be expected to live until his late teens if not much older, you are talking of a horse with the potential of earning £200+M. 

But how do other stallion stud fees compare to Frankel?

Well, even though you may imagine such a huge fee of £175,000 is quite amazing, he is very affordable compared to others. 

Admittedly not too many stallions cost more but there are a couple which springs to mind. 

Dubawi is now seventeen years old and assessed as the world's leading sire over the last three years. The sire of six G1 winners in 2018. In fact, he is the only British stallion to sire over 100 Group Winners. 

His stud fee for 2019 is £250,000. It is a staggering figure built on the reputation of a super stallion when you consider he only run eight times, winning five races and achieving total earning of £699,341.  He retired from racing at the age of three. 

The stallion of Frankel, among many horses, is Galileo who has remarkable success. His stud fee is simply detailed as ''Private''. 

We can only imagine it is a sum nearer £300,000.  

Saturday, 14 September 2019

What is the Shortest Distance Thoroughbred Horses Race?

I follow two-year-old horse racing, so the early part of the season all juveniles race over the minimum trip which is five furlongs. This is most likely to do with maturation and not wanting to stress the growing limbs of thoroughbred horses in their formative racing year. This distance steadily increases as the season progresses. 

From a betting point of view, I quite like sprint racing. I do believe it is easier to assess a horse which, let's say, runs for a minute over a further distance. My good friend Eric Winner knows a lot more about sprint racing than I will ever understand and has his own rating system because he states (and knows) that standard median times published by racecourses are fundamentally flawed. 

I know Eric has told me his ratings work very well for sprinters and that he could use this process for horses running up to one mile. However, the further the distance the more difficult is becoming to predict the outcome. 

That sounds logical. When you consider how many races beyond the minimum trip are run tactically or simply that no one in the field wants to lead. 

In many ways, I enjoy the two-year-old sprint races best. It adds even more life into the race when on a turning track. I do think running over five furlongs on a turning course can seem like an even shorter trip. It is probably that horses save a little bit of energy when running around a bend. I have seen a good few sprinting two-year-olds which have struggled to get the five-furlong and could be classed as a short runner win quite well at courses such as Kempton, Chelmsford & Wolverhampton. This is especially so when starting from a low draw.  

It is interesting that most thoroughbred horse racing from around the world has a minimum trip of 5f. However, I did notice a few of Wesley Ward's two-year-old which come to race at Royal Ascot started their career at Keeneland. They have an official distance of four-and-a-half furlongs. The likes of Lady Aurelia who won the Queen Mary Stakes (group 2) by seven lengths back in 2016 won on debut in the US [Keeneland] in a time of 50.85s. 

The fastest horses in the world are sprinters.

Related post: Klute The Fastest Horse In The World

Bill Turner Returns With Brocklesby Hope Hell Of A Joker

Bill Turner horse trainer 2yo (Brocklesby Stakes)
Bill Turner is synonymous with sprinters. He is known as a horse trainer of two-year-olds, especially the Brocklesby Stakes, which is the first juveniles race of the turf. 

Sadly, in recent years, this able trainer has struggled with a lack of horse numbers. The man who hit the headlines for riding a zebra to the pub. The Devon-based handler has been blessed with many a talented horse including The Lord has struggled to attract a two-year-old string to do him proud. With fewer numbers, competing against bigger stables who make hay while the sun shines. 

Bill Turner has won the Brocklesby stakes a record six times they include:

1996 Indian Spark 
2002 The Lord
2006 Spoof Master
2008 Sally's Dilemma 
2011 He's So Cool 
2013 Mick's Yer Man 

This year's Brocklesby Stakes 2019 saw Show Me Show Me winning this race and going on to compete at Group class, for Richard Fahey and Ontoawinner racing syndicate. 

Bill Turner's Hell Of A Joker was priced 10/1 but finished down the field in fourteenth place. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow after all those years of success. I'm sure Turner feels that every year is getting harder which must be so frustrating. 

Hell Of A Joker is running at Chelmsford 1:35 (14th September) and priced 66/1 with bookmakers. This brown colt is a son of Hellvelyn makes his third start after finishing down the field on his second start at Beverley back in April. 

To be fair, this doesn't look the strongest of races. Hell Of A Joker showed very good pace last time out before tiring rapidly in the final furlong and needs to have matured to have any hope today. 

From a low draw, on a turning course, it wouldn't be the biggest surprise to see Hell Of A Joker lead. Whether he can run to line is a matter for debate. 

It would be great to see Turner have a smile on his face if this colt could prove his thoughts about the Brocklesby weren't unfounded.