Wednesday, 6 April 2022
Wednesday, 23 February 2022
I started to follow horse racing when I was about 16 years old. My Dad like to bet (small money) and I took an interest from there. In fact, my twin brother and I took a real interest in two-year-old horse racing. Some thirty plus years on we are still enjoying this niche and some of the most informed in this area of expertise.
For those who love their two-year-old racing, the Brocklesby Stakes, over 5f at Doncaster, is an important race because it heralds the start of the Flat turf season (usually March/april). It's a race that has seen a number of very talented winner, some going on the Group 1 success and even stallions for breeding.
So our interest in the Brocklesby Stakes started around 1986. While Wikipedia, a great source of information, has data going back for the Brocklesby Stakes to 1988. Considering the race has a very long history, it is surprising that this information about winners before 1988 is hard to find. You wouldn't think it would be but it just isn't online.
So the other day after Tweeting a post about 7 Brocklesby Conditions Stakes Winners You Will Never Forget, one or two Twitter followers noted their favourite winners. This included a horse that won the 1982 Brocklesby Stakes called Brondesbury, trained by Bill O'Gorman.
I'd never heard of the horse simply because it was about four years before my time. He won the Brocklesby Stakes by six lengths, impressively before going on to win other races including Ascot.
What struck me is all those horses which are so amazing but in ways forgotten. It's sad that a lot of information which predates the heights of the internet is so difficult to find.
For that reason, it is so important those who remember this information, have old photos, race cards or videos to upload them so they are there for prosperity and those who are new to racing or even those who are interested in learning more.
Classic photo of this finish by Ed Byrne pic.twitter.com/g3LAiOq3RM— Peter (@fawwon1) February 23, 2022
Saturday, 19 February 2022
Time, and changing attitudes, saw some of those obstacles done away with and the “country” incorporated into the racecourse proper, to create a recognisably modern National Course. Of course, the National has continued to evolve over the years, to protect the welfare of horses and jockeys, without lessening the spectacle of what is, after all, an iconic, unique steeplechase.
Of all the Grand National obstacles, the one that has achieved most attention in recent years is Becher’s Brook, a 4’ 10” fence on the take-off side which, at one point, had a steep 3’ drop on the landing side. Historically, it was not uncommon for stricken horses to slide back into the infamous ditch, but the ditch was filled in 1989 and the landing side has been modified numerous times, to create a less precipitous drop of between 6” and 10”.
Similarly, the traditional, timber frames and guard rails of many of the National fences have been replaced with flexible plastic or foam-padded alternatives and guard rails have been raised to provide horses with a clear line of sight. The height of some fences has been reduced, slightly, over the years, but the filling in of ditches and levelling of landing sides at some of the more ‘macabre’ fences, such as Becher’s Brook and The Chair, has had a more profound effect on safety.
Aside from modifications to the obstacles, the National Course has been widened in parts, so that horses, loose or otherwise, can safely bypass the fences, without causing major interference to the remaining runners in the race. The position of the start has also been moved closer to the first fence, by a half a furlong – resulting in the shortening of the overall distance by the same yardage – in an effort to reduce the speed of approach and, hence, the number of fallers.
Stricter entry requirements, increased prize money and the compression of the handicap to encourage highly-rated horses to run, coupled with extensive safety changes, has arguably made the Grand National a more competitive, but less hazardous, race than ever before.
Twenty years ago, the winner of the 1999 Grand National, Bobbyjo, raced from 14lb out of the handicap and although he clearly didn’t have too much weight to retain a winning chance, the same cannot be said for the other 18 runners who raced from out of the handicap, four of whom were at 30lb ‘wrong’ at the weights. By contrast, in the 2018 Grand National, despite the lowest-rated horses to beat the ballot being officially rated 142, as they were in 1999, they all carried their correct weight of 10st 5lb, comfortably inside the handicap proper.
Monday, 24 January 2022
I'm sure all our readers are waiting for the return of the Saturday Tipster Competition.It's a sad fact that the only reason it was mothballed was simply because of Paypal. Yes, it's a long story and one which left a rather nasty taste in the mouth. You can't make half of these things up but there you go.
However, I do miss the competition and I know that the regulars do too.
I don't think there are many platforms which allow punters to have a little bet on the side and make the betting a little more fun.
In fact, a number of players have won almost a grand (Alan Winter £910). No wonder Al was disappointed by the disappearance of the Saturday Tip Comp.
I think with the new Flat turf season on the horizon I am seriously thinking about getting the comp going again.
I'll be having a word with one of our players who said they would be pleased to take the stake money and pay the winnings by Paypal.
So I'll be giving you an update in the next few weeks to see what is possible.
Thanks for your support.