Thursday, 11 July 2019

Frankie Dettori is Changing the Foundations to Bookie’s Bets?

Frankie Dettori is Changing the Foundations to Bookie’s Bets?
Legendary jockey Frankie Dettori left the layers reeling when he rode four consecutive winners on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot this summer. The Italian rider began the day by clinching a fine victory aboard 5/1 shot A’Ali, and he then steered Sangarius to success in the Hampton Stakes. Star Catcher, a promising three-year-old from the John Gosden stable, handed him a sensational treble when he saluted in the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes. 

That result set tongues wagging across the country, and the best was yet to come. Next up was the Gold Cup, the showpiece event of the entire meeting, and Dettori led defending champion Stradivarius into the fray once more. Bjorn Nielsen’s superstar delivered a customary turn of pace to show his rivals a clean set of heels, and soon Dettori was performing his trademark flying dismount celebration. 

Memories of the Magnificent Seven 

That sparked serious jitters among the bookmakers, who clearly feared a bloodbath. It evoked memories of his Magnificent Seven, a feat achieved back in 1996. Dettori took the bookies to the cleaners by winning all seven races on the card, including the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Wall Street, Diffident, Mark of Esteem, Decorated Hero, Fatefully, Lochangel and Fujiyama Crest all triumphed to secure a near-impossible accomplishment for Dettori.

He wrote his name into the record books and single-handedly cost bookmakers more than £30 million. Many punters still back all of his riders in accumulators, Yankees, Canadians and so on at big meetings, and the bookies feared the worst on Ladies’ Day this year.

In the fifth race on the card, he rode Turgenev, who began the day at 25/1 and went all the way in to just 7/2 as Dettori mania gripped the nation. The bookmakers would have been having heart palpitations when he took Turgenev to the front and looked to be cruising to victory, but he was eventually overhauled by Biometric and could only finish second. 

An Immense Sigh of Relief 

The bookmakers breathed a huge sigh of relief, but they were still licking their wounds. Sky Bet said it was “looking down the barrel of the worst day in our history”, adding that Biometric reeling in Turgenev amounted to “the biggest swing in recent memory for the bookmaking industry”. Paddy Power was bracing itself for the biggest pay-out in its history. 

Bet Fred and Betfair spoke of their immense relief, Ladbrokes called it “a bloodbath” and Betway was just happy that Biometric saved it from “a titanic loss”. 

In a bid to protect themselves from future damage, some bookies began to impose restrictions on punters that wanted to place multiple bets on the 48-year-old Italian. Bet365 decided to block all multiple wagers on Dettori’s rides, causing Paddy Power to poke fun at its rival. Sky Bet also restricted multiples on Dettori’s higher priced rides on the final day. “Punters will not be able to place all those horses in trebles and upwards but it’s due to the sheer size of liabilities we have been accruing in previous days,” said spokesman Michael Shinners

Turning in Their Graves 

Star Bet’s Ben Keith said Joe Coral, William Hill and Cyril Stein would be “turning in their graves” at the attitudes of the bookies, calling them “utterly pathetic”. He added: “How do you not lay a multiple? You can always put the last two in short or say SP only the last leg. They’re going to get their bum smacked once every ten years. It's happened and they’ve shown that they’re not actually bookmakers.” 

In the end, Dettori’s luck ran out and the winners dried up on the final days of the meeting, but the whole situation continues to reverberate around the industry. It sets an interesting precedent for bookmakers, particularly as it was 23 years since Dettori last gave them a giant nosebleed. In the interim, they will have made plenty of money on failed multiples covering his rides. 

Bookmakers reserve the right to refuse any bet they wish, although it arguably amounts to bad PR and a questionable business strategy. Yet this phenomenon appears to be specific to Dettori, who carries an aura of magnificence about him at big meetings. If you check out horse racing betting you will see that the Italian often rides highly rated horses, but he will also be aboard plenty of long shots too. Punters love him and he really captures the imagination when he rides a few winners. Bookmakers could face multibillion-pound liabilities if he rides six winners on a card, and they might not be able to pay out punters due to the high level of interest in him. 

A Change in Strategy 

They will maintain that they did the right thing by restricting multiples on Dettori’s rides, and they are now overhauling their strategies. He rode a treble at Sandown earlier this month, reminding the bookies of the threat he poses. Layers now fear the unique risk posed by small staking punters that might claim colossal pay-outs, and they are taking drastic action.

At the Coral-Eclipse day, Coral would not allow punters to take a price on Dettori’s final two races of the day, allowing it to hedge its position. ITV racing presenter Matt Chapman branded Coral “pathetic” for restricting multiples on Dettori’s rides “Basically what Coral are saying is ‘we do not want you to win’. What a pathetic attitude from a bookmaker, they really need to grow a pair.” 

But Coral hit back, saying it was only being prudent. There are many big meetings left this summer, including Glorious Goodwood and Newmarket’s July Festival, and punters will be drawn to Dettori. They can expect restrictions from various bookmakers that fear being wiped out by more heroics from their bĂȘte noir.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Royal Ascot 2019 (Do You Really Like it?)

Royal Fen Boy
Royal Ascot 2019. 

Yikes! I guess you are wondering why I say that five-letter word. Just as well it isn't four, with Her Majesty the Queen in town. 

Sure there is a lot of razzmatazz about the Royal meeting. High-class two-year-old racing. I'm not sure about the fashion angle but, I guess, people pay a lot for their hats. Perhaps they should have a race for the Best-Dressed Men and Momen. A combination of a sack and egg-and-spoon race. You have to stop and put your hat back on is it falls off. 

But back to the racing. 

Do you really enjoy betting at Royal Ascot? To be honest, I can't say I find the two-year-old races easy to assess. I'm pretty sure I can assess them better than most because this is my niche. 

However, here's a question: ''How do you limit a winning horse?''  

True, if it won a Selling Stakes, you may be thinking it has its work cut out. But how do you really assess the ability of a winning horse? That's the question. I have many and varied ways of ousting a few weak links and some form lines, and the way a horse wins gives a chance to say: ''Yay'' or ''Nay''. 


Added the mix are these giant fields. How will the draw affect the chances? I find the lesser horses often set a scorching pace and tire rapidly to drop out of contention like a kipper tie in the fashion stakes. 

Then, if that wasn't enough, we have this American bloke who trains horses with a number of rare talents. Big, strong types (and that's the fillies) who set land-speed records somewhere over the pond. Somewhere in the direction of Keeneland, where those four-and-a-half furlongs let the dust fly. Wesley Ward has bedazzled the Royal crowd time after time. Even after a few years, I remember Lady Aurelia stretching clear of the field while I sat in a drunken haze (joke). I don't drink enough to get drunk. No man should drink more than three snowballs in one afternoon!

So, I'm sure you can appreciate my concerns. It's like a strange ambivalence where I'm caught in two worlds - like being sat between The Queen and Prince Philip. 

I will love each and every two-year-old horse race. From the Coventry Stakes to the Chesham Stakes and all those in between. 

There will be plenty of stories. One is how this bloke from the Fens got through security to sit between the Royals. I will be the ambassador for the common man. One step up from Frankie Dettori (joke). 

I will be hoping that those little owners, trainers and jockeys (aren't they all small?) taste victory. 

That's what makes a winner. 

Monday, 10 June 2019

3 Horses to Follow in 2019

Phoenix Thoroughbred Limited
It's been a quiet time for uploading posts here at On The Gallops. 

Sadly, our lovely friend, who wrote so many articles, passed away this year and I haven't felt greatly inspired to write on this platform. It was meant to be the place Eric A. wrote his insightful prose. We will remember him for the kind, generous man he remains in our heart and mind. 

Readers may remember that we have a number of other websites including Group Horse Daily, which is the sister site to Group Horse. Both sites have a reputation to deliver the best lightly raced and unraced two-year-olds in training. 

So using that as our source, we will detail 3 potentially smart juveniles (2yos). Some are fair performers while other dark horses which may well show ability at lower class. More nursery types.

1) Vardon Flyer 

Mick Easterby's bay gelding is a son of unfashionable sire Fountain Of Youth whose stallion fee is just £4,500. This March foal has run three times and went well last time out at Carlisle when unlucky to bump into a smart opponent in Hugo Palmer's Coase. Although far from blue-blooded, this gelding cost £15,000 at the yearling sales. He's a very good-looking horse with a strong neck, size and scope to progress. Connections must think something of this youngster as he ran at York, although a 100/1 shot. I had a bet on this horse at Carlisle, which drifted markedly in the betting but in some respects, the layers pushed their luck. Worth noting next start especially on softer ground, which it is proven. 

2) Endowed 

I'm pretty sure Richard Hannon fancied this son of Dark Angel on both first two starts. Racing in the familiar silks of Ben MC Wong. This 110,000 guineas breeze-up purchase (80,000 as a yearling) was very well backed on debut at Ascot (5/1 - 11/4) but never figured, completely outpaced by a few nice sorts. I imagine connections simply got the distance wrong because they stepped up to 6f at Chester. Fancied to go well at this Class 2 race, he was outpaced by Mark Johnston's odds-on shot Raffle Prize who was simply too good for all. Endowed, a good-looking colt was held up in third place, awkward and hanging on the bend, every chance at the two-furlong pole but almost blew a gasket trying to get to grips with easy winner Raffle Prize, who is going places. Endowed dropped out quite tamely but is a capable horse who should be winning this season. 

3) Mia Diva

John Quinn has a nice two-year-old in Liberty Beach, who won the Hilary Needler Trophy at Beverley. This chestnut filly, a daughter of Exceed And Excel, isn't the biggest of horses but she may have something going for her starting at Class 2 level. This £70,000 yearling purchase ran creditably at Newcastle but pulled much too hard and, basically, ruined her chance. Owners, Phoenix Thoroughbreds Limited is no stranger to a talented juvenile and I would expect this filly to show more in future. Not been seen since April, and sure to know much more on her second start. 

Monday, 27 May 2019

2YO Horse Racing Made Easy

It's funny how people struggle to find winners, especially within two-year-old horse racing. 

Are you one of many who look at a two-year-old horse race with a blank expression? You are not alone!

I have spent the last 30-years understanding this age group of thoroughbred horses. You hear racing pundits and race fans saying: ''How can you understand a race when none of the horses has any form?'' 

It may seem a difficult task. It doesn't have to be a mystery. I can help you understand why you are missing out if you move swiftly on.

Learning how two-year-old horse racing works, it isn't as difficult as it seems. In fact, it is worthy of your time. Take a closer look at this niche because you can take advantage of others weakness - they simply fail miserably due to a lack of knowledge. That's the beauty of two-year-old horse racing. A small amount of knowledge can give a huge advantage.

If you know the best horses in training - from trainers large and small - you have that elusive edge - it's a powerful edge. 

The best two-year-olds - by definition - will race against inferior opposition. 

Ever noticed an easy two-year-old winner - scorching clear of the field? 

Race comments say: ''Readily'' ''Comfortable'' ''Impressive'' ''Hard Held''. 

The crazy thing is that many of these winners are priced at big odds. 

Who wouldn't like to know the best horses in training before they set hoof on course?

Have you been irritated when after the race a trainer details that their ''flying machine'' has been ''catching pigeons on the gallops'' and they would have been surprised if it hadn't won today? 

Wouldn't you have liked to know that information five minutes before the race?

Of course, you would. 

But where do you find all this secret information? 

That's why you need to visit Group Horse website because it is the key which opens the door to exceptional winners. We're talking horse that gets an owner, trainer, jockey excited and hit the headlines on a daily basis. 

They can get you excited, too. 

If you follow Group Horse or read the latest updates on Group Horse Daily I guarantee you will be impressed. You will view two-year-old (2yo) horse racing in a different light. It's like wearing a pair of those futuristic glasses which sees everyone naked. Except for this time you see the best horses in training. Those rose-tinted glasses help you see the difference between the winners and losers. 

Don't believe me?  

Take a look at Group horse and you will be a convert when the first horse wins in the fashion of a good horse. 

Thanks for your support. 

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - A day at the races Part 1

A day out with my family.

Well, we got to the races early, no problems on the way, and the sun decided to make an appearance. 

Our first point of call was to purchase a race card. Anticipation running high. Would we pay for the day - one good win will save the day! 

On the contrary, going racing can be a great family day out. It can be fun and interesting for kids and first-time racegoers alike. 

There is so much to take in and learn. The number of times people have approached me on course or in the stands to help explain something in the race cards they just don’t get or understand. 

We’ve got our information book (race card), now we're off to find a nice place to sit and enjoy a drink, a cup of tea for me, coffee for Nan (whose doing all the studying), and a fruit shoot for our little granddaughter. It's her first time at Uttoxeter. Of course, the majority of the crowd go for something a wee bit stronger. 

The first race is approaching and we make our way to the parade ring, there is a pre-parade ring where you can see the saddling area. I would suggest on your first visit to try it out. As the horses leave the pre-parade ring one by one they enter the Parade ring proper. The area is full of people holding race cards looking at each runner. ''He’s big and looks ready, doesn’t she look superb,'' you hear all kinds of comments. 

The mums and dads asking their children which one they fancy. The younger children choose a number, number six seems a good choice. As number six passes by you hear the cry: “Here’s yours Sarah” “Oh mum, is that mine, the white one” “Yes Sarah, but they call it a grey. It's a little bit confusing if the horse has white hair but the skin of the horse is black it is called a grey, to be called a white horse the skin would be pink ” 

On this first day at Uttoxeter with my granddaughter, she was only three, made me smile. I did as all the others and asked her which horse she wanted “I want number eight, the one with a plaster on his nose” of course it was a noseband. She followed up with “has he been fighting?”

In the parade ring are all the owners and connections proudly eyeing their charges. The jockeys arrive in their owner's colours. On an educational point, all this can be made interesting when explained to a child, the why and how owners choose the colours, how they even choose the horses name. The history, there is so much more than placing a bet, watch the race win or lose. Back to the jockeys having entered the parade ring, making their way over to the owners, shaking of hands, last minute instructions from the trainer. Then the bell is rung and “jockeys mount” is called. 

One by one the horse and jockey go through the gates to enter the course and canter to post. All the racegoers walk to find their watching point, last minute bets are struck. We’re getting close to “off” time one last chance to see your horse canter past the stands. There’s a buzz going around the course everyone is ready “They’re OFF is heard the crowd roar. 

Next time the race itself. 

God bless. In memory to Eric A. who sadly passed away April 2019. A lovely man who will be sadly missed. Condolences to family and friends. 

Sunday, 31 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - Weekly Review 1st April (Monday)

Horse trainer Richard Fahey
“What’s it all about Alfie” is a phrase I use much too often, it comes from the 1966 film Alfie. Cilla Black sings the song for the film. The song and lyrics by Burt Bacharach and Hal David were originally for Dionne Warwick. Album: Here Where There Is Love Well, “What’s it all about” (don’t start rambling again).

I thought it would be a good idea to do a weekly write up of past 2-y-o races. 

I do this for myself and my records (spreadsheet). This year, I thought I would share some of my inner thoughts. When I say some of, don’t think I’m saving something for myself. It’s just that you don’t want to be bogged down with everything that processes through the sewer that is my brain (Cognition “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought). 

Also, it would be a very boring Tome. 

That Was the Week That Was, was another title I thought of using, unfortunately, copyright may stop me as it was a satirical television comedy programme on BBC Television in 1962 and 1963 presented by David Frost.

I just can’t escape from the 1960s.

The Derby was won nine times by Lester Piggott – Never Say Die (1954) being the first Well I got out of the 1960s but the wrong way, fast forward to the present day and stop this incessant rambling. 

OK OK calm down.

Monday 1st April: Up to present we have only had three 2yo races. The first was at Naas on the 24th March, which I have posted two blogs. The other two races being Friday 29th March 5:45 Dundalk and Saturday 30th March & 4:10 Doncaster. 

Dundalk (AW) 5:45 5f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Maiden

Six sent to post. The winner Ickworth trained by W McCreery rode by W J Lee. For the Trees went off the favourite, was slow to start and gave no signs of pressing never near The winner Ickworth coming from last years winning trainer-jockey combination was prominent throughout.

The second, Moments Linger, was bumped at the start, came on strong the last furlong, but the winner had her held.

Beware of Stats:

After 3 races this season, on the face of it, W McCreery & M D O’Callaghan are not known for prolific 2yo wins 


Trainer:               2017            2018          2019 

                  wins     runs   wins    runs    wins  runs 

W McCreery         5        56*    8       81*     1     1 
M D O’Callaghan    4        50     7       59      1     1 
Richard Fahey      73       585**  54      493     1     2 

The trouble with statistics is how we interpret them. In the table above, if we only note how many winners each trainer has, ignoring the runs column, it doesn’t read well for the first 2 trainers. 

Do we alter our thoughts when we know that they mainly have runners in Ireland?

All 3 trainers are showing between 9 -13% win ratio, however, after seeing the wins to runs you would think you’ve a better chance with McCreery and O’Callaghan because their runs are low. Or perhaps not, it's all in the eye of the beholder as they say * 1 runner in GB and both losing. ** 4 runners in Ireland all losing.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - Looking for Future Winners

Red Epaulette wins at Naas
Looking for Future winners.

Well, what can I say, I missed the clues on that one (Naas 24th March). 

Or did I? 

With the race being a bit of a guessing game and the main racing websites offering different selections: Ampeson (ATR), Value Chain (IR and RP)... However, Timeform did give the 1: Red Epaulette 2: Never Mistabeat 3: Value Chain.

See the full result here.

It just goes to show, as, with all these early 2-y-o races, it’s best to watch, no good jumping in with both feet at this early stage of the season. I’m always happy (not) to read the trainer's post-race comments like the one from Michael O’Callaghan:  ''He’s a nice colt. We have a nice team of two-year-olds and over the past month, he was showing us that he was probably one of the more mature ones. There should be plenty of improvement in him.''

Leigh (Roche) said: ''The ground is quite holding and that his class got him through'' (from the Racing Post). 

My assessment of the race, although my own findings, some of my thoughts may be similar to other race reports. We did see the same race and with video playbacks available these days it is inevitable. The going was yielding to soft, there was one non-runner Ernie T (skin rash).

W.J. Lee, rider of Ampeson (GB), trained by Richard John O’Brien, reported to the Clerk of Scales that his mount was slowly away from the stalls and ran green throughout. Before the race I did look on ATR for the draw advantage and it did suggest low numbers and in this case, ATR was spot on low numbers did dominate 4: 3: 1: 

When doing a review, the norm is to look at the first 5 or 6 places and most write-ups will feature these horses. However, I tend to look at the horses that were more than 10 lengths behind the winner. In handicapping terms that would be 30lbs inferior, using a 3lb value per length for a distance of 5 furlongs scale. 

I watch the replay over and over again and to me it as important to discard horses as much as noting a future winner. Remember there can be valid reasons for what appears to be a bad run. I have found over the years that eliminating up to half the field in a race is an advantage although please note NOT a certainty. 

Never Mistabeat: The King Of Kells: In From The Cold: Ampeson: Lequinto would have to improve next time out before I would discard.

I always give a chance to prove me wrong. 

I realise going forward some of the many horses I discard may win a race, I don’t mind missing the odd winner now and again its the percentage game. The winner Red Epaulette, was the second winner Michael O’Callaghan has had in the last five running of this race he travelled well following the leaders until a furlong out then sent into the lead to win by over 3 lengths. 

He looks one for the future on better ground and over further. 

The two fillies did well to finish in the first five with Feminista being placed 3rd and Capel At Dawn (5th). Ballyare (4th) ran well throughout.

The horse I shall take out of this other than the winner is Capel At Dawn (5th. Slow away, making steady progress when she got the hang of it, improved in the last furlong. 

I'm not sure if the two in front of her eased slightly because she appeared to be going as fast as the winner in the final stages. 

I’m sure there will be more to come. 

Sorry but I do ramble on don’t I? 

As the 2-y-o season progresses, I hope to give my views (through my fading eyes) on what has happened in the previous week.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - 1:30 Naas (24th March) 5f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (Plus 10 Race) (2yo)

1:30 Naas (24th March) 5f Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden (Plus 10 Race) (2yo)
The first 2-y-o race of the 2019 season is almost upon us. 

I love the 2-y-o races mainly because there is no racecourse form, to begin with, and you can build your own. From day one, the form and therefore the interpretation of it is in your hands. 

You can follow the racing paper tipsters or daily papers or a good website, however, what could be better than doing it yourself. I’m not saying that you have to compile your own handicap or time books. 

The game is more than that the thrill and enjoyment you can get, like me, from assessing your own races is great. Pure elation when your selection not only goes on to win the race, giving you a financial incentive to study more, learn to assess more eventually giving you a euphoric activity. 

Must stop rambling. Now, what was I saying, oh yes the first 2-y-o race of the season at Naas racecourse

How can you expect to find a winner in a race of 12 runners that are having their first outing on a race track? 

''I wish I was at the course to see how they are coping with the parade ring...'' 

You remember your first day at school or work (anywhere that was new to you). You may be the type of person that gets nervous at the thought of meeting others. On the other hand, you could be the leader and just stride out with confidence. Well, these first-timers are similar, and some trainers tend to be better at schooling and getting their charge ready to perform first time out than others. Of course, the horse's temperament also comes into play. 

This is where the pedigree may help. 

Pedigree: does it really help with this type of race? 5f (plus 10) galloping track with the stiff 4f uphill finish.

Take a look at the entrants for the 1:30 Naas 24th March 2019

Well, it’s time to let you enter my thoughts! Be warned, it's not a good place to go. There will be twists and turns, perhaps the odd wander here and there. 

Where to start? OK, there are 12 horses, 12 trainers, 12 jockeys (yet unknown) as stated above, none of the horses has previous runs (no form) The winning trainer last year was Brendan Duke (Value Chain). His stable is 11 miles away. His record for 2yo at Naas is one win & second place from twenty-four runners. 

For those who think the distance travelled is a factor, Ernie T travels 130-mile, Amperson 120 mile & Lequinto 113 mile. One of the top trainers at Naas is J S Bolger who trains Feminista one of two fillies in the race, the other being Capel at Dawn, trained by Adrian Keatley, again, 11 miles away. 

Both fillies are by Dawn Approach who had 10 2yo winners in 2017 and 16 in 2018. Its pedigree goes back to Northern Dancer through New Approach, Galileo. 

There are two First Season Sires (FSS). Hot streak (Ballyare) and Anjaal (Captain Corcoran).

Looking at the sires in this race only one other stand out to me Elzaam (Never Mistabeat). Sire Elzaam had 9 wins in 2017 and 14 wins in 2018. Let's hope his win ratio improves again this season. 

Talking of sires, which I tend to do, Mayson (21 wins 2017, 16 wins 2018) is one I like. He’s represented by Amperson in this race. I worry that the trainer Richard O’Brien has not had a 2yo winner in 16 races. 

I did say I tend to jump around a lot when assessing a race. 

Not surprising in this race I can’t really recommend anything and, in reality, could have stated this at the beginning of this blog post. However, I thought I would try to explain some of the things I look at. 

I’m going for a beer.  In this race, there are enough factors to make it a very interesting race for me. 

The two First Season Sires I’m really looking forward to seeing (video) the Ernie T run. The pedigree going back to Giants Causeway suggests he will want further later and probably be a 7-8f horse, who knows. 

In summary, I’m down to three runners: Ernie T, Never Misabeat and Feminista (although she is taking on the boys).

Oh dear, I forgot about J P Murtagh training Captain Corcoran.  I shall have another look when the jockeys are declared then it might be all change, who would have thought a little race of unknowns would have given me so much fun. 

Looking forward to the New 2-y-o Season.

[Written by Eric A.]

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - March to the start

Brazen Beau stallionAs we approach the end of March there are big questions to be answered and decisions to be made. NO, I’m not talking about Brexit that’s beyond my understanding. I’m more interested in the start of the Flat season. On one of the social media sites, I’m a member, one of the tweets (why didn’t I just say twitter?) was by a guy who was complaining how many days this week there is NO flat racing. I sympathise totally, I hope he understands my frustration waiting for the start of this year's 2-y-o campaign. Over the last few months, I’ve been preparing and trying to get what I believe to be an edge. My main interest is in this seasons sires having their first 2-y-o place their hooves on a course, First Season Sires (FSS).

I have posted my FSS list earlier on Thursday, 28 February 2019Bejabez Ramblings - 2019 First Season Sires (Karakontie).

As I couldn’t wait to get going last week I looked at the Big Race Entries on the Racing post and had a look at the following four 20 July Newbury: Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes cl2 (2yo) 22 August York: Goffs UK Premier Yearling Stakes cl2 (2yo) 12September Doncaster: Weatherbys Racing Bank £300,000 2yo Stakes (2yo) 5 October Newmarket: £150,000 Tattersalls October Auction Stakes cl2 (2yo).

I don’t know if it gives me an edge or even helps to find future winners based on breeding, however when I do this type of exercise it does allow my little grey cells to wander, and surprisingly give me food for thought. Let me try to explain based on what happened when I looked at the first race in the list above 20 July Newbury: Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes cl2 (2yo).

Currently, there are 224 listed horses, and yes I looked at each one, my main interest was the sire as NOT all these would be FSS. It was interesting, well to me, how many were by FSS. After deciding to look at each sire (FSS) in turn I was surprised how many Brazen Beau progeny had previous runs. I was really wandering now (and wondering) I had to know more about this FSS I had listed, well at least look at the stats.

At the time of writing Brazen Beau (pictured) has had 15 progeny who has taken part in 26 races. 

The best of these are Accession: Tassort: First Dawn.

Now how is this possible if our new flat season hasn’t started and we have not had any 2yo races in the UK. Well, there’s the answer in the UK: Australia in the Southern Hemisphere their 2yo horses are allowed to run after August 1. It, therefore, is important to note the date of birth e.g. Accession is listed as 2yo born 7 September 2016 Just taking another horse at random from the 20 July Newbury: Weatherbys Super Sprint Stakes cl2 (2yo) Almuerzo Loco by Zebedee is listed as being born 2 May 2017.

I’m not saying these horses will ever meet but if they did one would be 7 months older giving a clear age and maturity advantage without giving any weight for age. 

Therefore as another part of assessing the race, it may be an advantage to note the birth date.

I’m off now as I’m going to look at the first 2-y-o Race of 2019 which will be run at Naas 1:30 this Sunday 24th March.

This will whet the appetite for the 2019 Brocklesby Stakes.

Foot Note: In my earlier post I didn’t mention Brazen Beau, perhaps I should have, also the most progeny listed in the race above is 18 the sire being Gutaifan which I did list.

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - Female Jockey to win the Grand National?

When I was a youngster back in the day my dad, God bless his soul, would always encourage me to get back up again after a fall. I seem to be doing this quite a lot lately. Here’s many an old quote from Dad that makes me smile and come to mind when at the races. None more so than: “They get now’t for second!” as I am tearing up my ticket up after “Weighed In! Weighed in!” broadcast over the tannoy. 

My father passed away at the turn of the millennium, just two months before his Great Grandchild was born. A girl that he had always wished for, all boys up till then. This little girl would have been spoilt rotten he’d always had plans for the great event, a pony and riding lessons being top of his list. My Dad would have loved this year Cheltenham, especially seeing the female jockeys partaking. 

Headlines as in the TDN Europe on Friday: “CHELTENHAM THURSDAY: The Sport of Queens” 

I couldn’t have been happier with the Frodon winning, as the jockey Bryony Frost (first female jockey to win a Grade 1 at Cheltenham) is in my select jockeys to follow list.

Her quote to the nation was inspiring and refreshing:

“[When he was headed] most horses would have accepted defeat but not Frodon. He said no, and I said no, and for that minute, those few strides, it could have gone the other way, but he grabbed hold of me and said ‘no kid, we keep going, that hill’s still there, there’s still one more to jump and we’re still in it, the line isn’t here yet’. And with his ears flat back on his neck, he wanted it more than anyone.” 

The race after was also a tear jerker, in a nice way, for me, what a special win was Paisley Park for his owner Andrew Gemmell trained by Emma Lavelle. It’s like the Grand National we’re always enthralled not only with the race but also the little stories behind the winner and connections. The ‘Sun Racing Stayer’s Hurdle’ had its own story, Paisley Park nearly lost his life to colic two years ago but, returned to full health, and has remained unbeaten in five starts. Andrew is one of the greatest advertisements for racing, how he enjoys not only racing but all sports across the world. Not allowing being blind from birth stop him thoroughly enjoying himself. His excitement was infectious. 

Then just as we thought it could n’t get any better along comes Siruh Du Lac in the 4:10 ridden by Lizzie Kelly the third woman to ride a winner this week. The first female jockey winner this week at Cheltenham was Rachael Blackmore winning the Listed Race ‘Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase’ by 16L on board ‘A Plus Tard’ on the first day Lizzie was the first female jockey to ride a Grade 1 winner over fences with Tea For Two.

Well, what an exciting time we live. Things can only get better and I’m now looking forward to the Grand National. Will we be having a female Jockey winner? I hope so and then perhaps we can start thinking about dropping the female bit and call them what they are ‘JOCKEYS’. Although I am reminded that the first race on the Uttoxeter card today Saturday 16th March is the ‘Abacus Decorators Lady Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (Female Professional Jockeys/Amateur Riders’ Race’. Nine go to post with Woulduadamandeveit currently favourite (time of writing).

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - There’s life beyond Cheltenham

Your Guide to the Cheltenham Festival (Day 1)
Over the last ten years, I’ve suffered, if that’s the right phrase, with high blood pressure. I go to the doctors for a check up knowing full well that the doc’s going take my readings, gasp and tell me I’ve got to do something about it. During each visit, I’m told that I have a 25% of a stroke or heart attack. Being a bit of an optimist, you have to be to follow the horses, one year I was feeling a little devilish and just said: “ That’s good then doc!” she looked at me and looking puzzled saying: “I’ve just told you to have a 25% chance of a Heart Attack in the next five years!” “yes I know, does that mean I have a 75% chance of not having one” I sniggered, she was not amused.

This made me think about my 2yo spreadsheet going on my records.

In 2018 there were 1413 races and 25% (348) of them were won by the top five trainers: Mark Johnston, Richard Hannon, A P O’Brien,  Richard Fahey and Archie Watson  (who was a surprise as he had 52 winners against 15 in 2017).

The top ten Trainers had 38% (531).

The top twenty Trainers had 54% (761).

My spreadsheet listed a total of 228 trainers.

I know it’s a big week ahead. You only have to look at the leading racing web sites: Racing Post, Irish Racing, At The Races & The Sporting Life and others to realise all eyes will be on Cheltenham - Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th March. 

However, during the week there are other meetings:

Tuesday: Southwell (aw), Wolverhampton (aw), Sedgefield 

Wednesday: Huntingdon, Lingfield (aw), Kempton (aw),

Thursday:  Market Rasen, Hexham, Southwell (aw)

Friday: Fakenham, Lingfield (aw), Chelmsford (aw)

It's that 75% of meetings where I will be looking for my winners 

I believe it may be easier to find winners than at Cheltenham (I have very disappointing returns at the big meetings).

There’s been a lot said lately about ARC, the prize money and trainers/jockeys boycotting meetings. It's gone a bit too far for my liking, especially as you read about the bullying etc. The owners should have the last say as to where and when their horse's race. 

I’m glad to see the Arc courses above are putting alternate races on to Cheltenham. 

I wonder how many, what are so-called small trainers, have runners and capitalise on prize money whilst all the big guns are elsewhere. However, I do look for the odd horse from the big stables attending. I’ll be concentrating on Sedgefield, Market Rasen, Huntingdon and Fakenham which nicely gives me one meeting a day if I want to make a bet. Also, making it a bit easier on the studying. 

I shall be leaving the All-Weather as a backup.

What will I be doing Tuesday to Friday? 

Watching Cheltenham of course! 

Then Saturday, I have the Midlands Grand National to savour at my local track Uttoxeter, where I have been a member for years.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - My Cheltenham

It’s that time of year again, everyone has their opinion on the outcome of each race. I find it very difficult to find winners at the big meetings, probably because each Trainer/Jockey/Owner are chasing as many winners as they can. Which makes it very competitive. I’m not saying they don’t try all the time, well it is ‘Cheltenham after all’ We, the lads and lasses of our local, have a little competition. Easy rules, just pick as many winners as you can, and take the sp for each, the one with the highest sp total at the end of day four is the winner. 

As we know there are 28 races in total so not an easy task. In the group, there are several who just choose a cloth number all through the meeting. You may not agree with this method, however, the chap who had the good fortune to choose No.5 picking up the prize. On this occasion, I did quite well to end up joint second, but disappointed that pure luck beat me. That’s the game though, you pays your money and takes your chance. 

This year, as I don’t tend to bet at the major fixtures, I’m going to have a little competition on my own, for each race:- I’m going to choose a horse based on my interpretation of the form (haha you serious) I might bet on it! I’m going choose one horse that just jumps out at me (pin-picker) funny name etc. I’m going to choose a cloth number (well you never know) very disappointed if this wins.

I’ve put the first 10 cloth numbers in a hat and chose one, so it looks like I’m having No.4 for every race. I know some of you will be thinking about how will we know what your selections are apart from number 4. 

I’ve created a spreadsheet and will supply as required.

This is purely for fun and please note I don’t give or sell tips. Also if you are like me and believe in luck or more to the point bad luck I apologise for listing your selections. 

A gambling rule I’ve always stuck to (that makes no sense) is. After I have written my selection down and walking to the betting window, I hear anyone mention my horse I throw the slip away and don’t have a bet. You may laugh but this little foible has saved me plenty, its as though someone is looking out for me. 

I like to think it’s my Uncle Bill.

Monday, 4 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings: Join us at the Races

Thank you, Eric, for forwarding a poem written by your wife, Mrs C. Arnold. 

Grab your coat and binoculars 
We’re off to the races today 
It isn’t warm, we might have rain 
But we’ll have fun anyway 
There is no such thing as bad weather 
Just a case of wrong clothes 
So be prepared for anything 
Just in case it snows

We’ll get there nice and early 
Buy a race-card on the way in
Get a coffee, find a seat 
Let the studying begin! 
It’s always good to read the ‘form’ 
And make a note or two 
Of horses that might stand a chance 
Of coming good for you 

A walk up to the parade ring next 
To see them walking round 
It sometimes helps your judgement 
Before you place your pound 

Back down to the bookies 
All waiting for your money 
I haven’t really got a clue 
I just pick a name that’s funny 
The odds are changing all the time 
Depending on the betting 
But when your slip is printed 
It tells you what your getting 

We’ll find a spot to watch the race 
There are screens to see as well 
The atmosphere is usually good 
We’re all waiting for the bell 
The flag is raised and then they’re off 
All racing at their best
But soon the leaders go in front 
And leave behind the rest 

Mine’s in the lead, but not by much 
He’s trying to hang on 
He’s jumping well and gathers pace 
Yes, ‘Terry the Fish’ has won the race 

Back to the bookie who sold the slip 
I never bet a lot 
Put a flutter on my next tip 
And count up what I’ve got 

Ladies Night and Ladies Day 
Are favourites of mine 
I forget about the racing 
As the fashions fill my time 
I gawp at all the dresses 
And marvel at the headgear 
Some must have cost a fortune 
But it's only once a year 

I hope I’ve whet your appetite 
For a day out at the races 
It doesn’t have to cost a lot 
So come join the happy faces 

 C Arnold 3/3/2019