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The five greatest trainers in the world

In the horse racing world, it is invariably the equine stars who claim the lion’s share of the spotlight, and while the jockey usually shares in the adulation of the public, the racehorse trainer is often left in the shadows.

However, the trainer perhaps can be considered the true hero, and it can be difficult to comprehend and appreciate the amount of skill, dedication, patience and sometimes tears go into the training of racehorses to allow them to operate at their peak time and again.
One of the great beauties of horse racing is the amount of opinion and debate that the sport generates, and if one were to ask a thousand horse racing fans who are the top five horse trainers then there would likely be a thousand different replies such is the scale of the sport which reaches around the globe.

If compiling a list of the top horse trainers of all time, there would surely be places on the list for the likes of the late Sir Henry Cecil, Bart Cummings, Vincent O’Brien and Fulke Walwyn; all of whom are written into horse racing legend, but are sadly no longer with us.
Despite a career spanning the best part of fifty years, Sir Henry Cecil will forever be remembered for his association with the imperious Frankel; while legendary Australian trainer Bart Cummings saddled an incredible twelve Melbourne Cup winners among a haul of 268 Group One races.

Today, with the sport of kings as popular of ever there are literally thousands of horse trainers plying their trade around the world, from small yards with only a handful of horses through to massive operations which can call upon hundreds of runners all around the globe.

And so, with trainers largely being the unsung heroes of the horse racing world, we look at potentially the five greatest trainers in the world today.


Aidan O’Brien has leapt to prominence as one of the most well-known and instantly-recognisable trainers in the world, and the 46-year old has since 1995 been the private trainer for John Magnier and his Coolmore Stud operation at Ballydoyle Stables, where he has enjoyed tremendous success throughout the years having taken over from the legendary Vincent O’Brien.

With powerful backing, O’Brien has trained a plethora of top-class performers throughout the years, enjoying great success not only in the Classics in the UK and Ireland, but also globally, where he has won the likes of Australia’s Cox Plate, the Canadian International, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France and the Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf in the United States.

Who can forget his fantastic Yeats, who won four consecutive Ascot Gold Cups between 2006 and 2009; or the likes of Galileo, George Washington, Henrythenavigator, Rip Van Winkle, Dylan Thomas or Gleneagles, who won the 2015 2000 Guineas to give the Ballydoyle maestro a tenth win in the colts’ Classic.

Although he has made his name as a trainer of flat horses, O’Brien has even enjoyed success over hurdles with three-time Champion Hurdle winner Istabraq, and his place in horse racing folklore looks assured.


Fabre started his career as a jockey, becoming the leading jump jockey in France prior to training racehorses. Although his training career started out in the same sphere, the Spanish-born trainer has really made his mark on the flat where he has been the Champion Trainer in France on 25 occasions, notching up an unprecedented run of 21 consecutive seasons as the top dog between 1987 and 2007.

The trainer of seven Arc winners, Fabre collected the Grand Slam of UK Classic winners in 2011 with Pour Moi in 2011, and his impressive record stretches to the United States where he has won races at the Breeders Cup with the likes of Shirocco, Flintshire and In The Wings, while he has also won the Arlington Million with Mill Native.

Fabre has also won Irish, Italian, French and German derbies as well as the Epsom Derby, and has enjoyed success in Dubai and Canada.

TODD PLETCHER (United States)

The Texas-born trainer is perhaps the best trainer in the United States, cutting his teeth and learning the secrets of the trade from the famous D. Wayne Lukas, where he worked under the legendary US trainer as an assistant prior to striking out on his own in 1995.
Since then, and despite coming up against the likes of Kiaran McLaughlin, William Mott, Wesley Ward and Bob Baffert amongst others in a hugely competitive arena, Pletcher has become perhaps the dominant force in United States horse racing, winning four consecutive Eclipse Awards to be named as outstanding Trainer of the Year. He won his seventh Eclipse Award in 2014.

Pletcher first leapt to prominence when saddling Ashado to land the Kentucky Oaks in 2004 prior to that filly also landing the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The following season, Pletcher broke the record for single season earings, winning in excess of $20million, and he surpassed his 2005 seasonal total the following year.

In addition to Ashado, Pletcher’s notable performers include Fleet Indian, Rags To Riches, Scat Daddy, Super Saver and recent impressive Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner, Liam’s Map.

MIKE DE KOCK (South Africa)

South Africa’s best known racehorse trainer, De Kock’s achievements in his native land are unlikely to be surpassed.

Since starting out as an assistant trainer to Ormand Ferraris – one of the biggest names in the sport in South Africa himself – De Kock leapt into the spotlight when taking over the reins at Ricky Howard-Ginsberg’s yard, following the death in 1989 of the popular trainer. Within months, De Kock had saddled his first Grade One winner with Evening Mist, and worked his way up to become South Africa’s Champion Trainer for the first time in the 1998/99 season.

De Kock has added to his Champion Trainer title several times since, and there are few – if any – big races in South Africa that have yet to be landed by the trainer. A regular name elsewhere, De Kock isn’t afraid to take a tilt at some of the biggest races around the globe, and recently has set up a base in the UK at Abington Place in Newmarket, which is the yard of former top trainer Geoff Wragg, and from where De Kock plots his summer raids on the likes of Royal Ascot.


Among National Hunt trainers, Willie Mullins has few peers, and the County Carlow maestro had been dominant in the jumps game at the biggest Festival of them all – Cheltenham.
Although the likes of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson are formidable trainers in their own right, Mullins is the man to be feared when the biggest prizes are on offer and the former jockey-turned-trainer broke the record for the most wins by a single trainer at Cheltenham when registering an eighth success of the 2015 festival with Killultagh Vic.

Mullins has trained the winner of the 2005 Grand National at Aintree in Hedgehunter, and is responsible for the likes of Hurricane Fly and Quevega, both of whom have become horse racing folklore. Dual-Champion Hurdle winner Hurricane Fly amassed a record-breaking 22 Grade One successes prior to being retired in 2015, while Quevega won six Mares’ Hurdles, breaking the previous Cheltenham Festival record set by Golden Miller.

Mullins’ dominance shows no signs of stopping, and his association with American financier Rich Ricci has brought the likes of Vautour, Faugheen and Annie Power into the spotlight.

Written by Brian Healy, editor at

Legendary Jockey Pat Eddery Passes Away Aged 63

Legendary jockey Pat Eddery has passed away at the age of 63. 

The Irish man was crowned Champion jockey 11 times, a record shared with Lester Piggott, and winner of 14 Great British Classic races. 

Starting his career in 1967, he rode 4,633 winners in British Flat racing. He retired in 2003 and found success as a trainer including most notably 2009 Gran Criterium victor Hearts Of Fire (Italy).

A legend in his time, he won the Derby three times: Grundy 1975, Golden Fleece 1982 & Quest For Fame 1990.

He found international race success winning at the highest level in France, Canada, Germany, Ireland (11 Irish Classic race victories), Italy (Old Country 1982 Italian Derby), Slovakia (Lonango 1997) & Japan (Jupiter Island 1986). 

Eddery was particularly proud of his achievements in the United States. Tolomeo (1983) winning the Arlington Million, Sheikh Albadou (1991) Breeders' Cup Sprint & the outstanding Pebbles (1985) when teaming up with Clive Brittain to win the Breeders' Cup Turf.  

He leaves a wife and three children. 

A P McCoy tweeted: Very sad news to hear of the passing of Pat Eddery true genius in the saddle. #Legend


Champion trainer's honesty and forthcoming attitude a treat

As punters and horse racing fans, the onus is really on all of us as individuals to form our opinions on races before deciding whether or not to have a bet.
In this digital age we are blessed with a plethora of information and tools with which to aid our judgement and solve the often difficult puzzles in the pursuit of winners.
Whether for a casual punter, professional gambler or leading trainer – identifying winners is not a perfect science and often race results will leave us more confused than we started out.
As punters, we like nothing more than to think we have identified something in the formbook to put us a step ahead of the posse.
However, nothing fills us with more excitement than really strong confidence from a yard that their horse is going to do the business.
Reading through Paul Nicholls' recent Q&A session with Betfair Racing on Twitter it struck readers how the champion trainer is refreshingly honest and forthright in his opinions when dealing with both the public and the press.
So much of what we hear from trainers falls into a grey area, doing very little to help us form an opinion.
Clearly, nobody expects a trainer to be able to call every race their horses run in but often their comments give little in the way of an indication of what they truly expect.
At this time of year, Nicholls' always makes for an interesting read. At his Ditcheat Open Day and on occasions like this Q&A, he will reveal his hopes and dreams for both his established stars and the new horses in his string that we have yet to see on the racecourse.
We are not stuck for a prime example of Nicholls expressing a really strong opinion on one his horses and ultimately being proved correct.
In the run up to the Queen Mother Champion Chase at this year's Cheltenham Festival, Nicholls happily told anyone willing to listen that Dodging Bullets had proved himself to be the leading two-mile chaser in the business.
He was, his trainer said, a much improved performer at home and his wins in the Tingle Creek and Clarence House had proved it on the track for good measure.
In particular the second of those wins at Ascot appeared to be overlooked owing to the long-awaited return of Sprinter Sacre, who filled the runner-up spot.
Come Cheltenham, Dodging Bullets was sent off third favourite behind Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy in a field of nine runners for the Queen Mother.
Nicholls contended his charge merited a position at the head of the betting and anyone listening would have been rewarded with a 9/2 Cheltenham Festival winner.
The same conundrum was presented to Nicholls this week regarding Dodging Bullets' current price for 2016 Champion Chase and his response was to confirm that the horse doesn't know what price he is but he is very well in himself as the new season approaches.
What else can we hope to learn from Nicholls' exchange with the racing public?
Zarkandar may not race this season but if he does then he is most likely to appear for the first time in the World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Questioned on an ante-post bet for the season, Nicholls very interestingly suggested last year's impressive Coral Cup winner Aux Ptits Soins for the same stayers contest at Cheltenham.
Armed with the knowledge that the French import was allowed make his British racecourse debut in the ultra-competitive festival handicap last time out, which really could be a nugget of information worth paying heed to.
Aux Ptits Soins can be backed on Betfair at 11.00 for the World Hurdle currently.
Nicholls expects both Irving and Ptit Zig to bounce back from disappointing ends to their respective campaigns last time out – the latter was flagged as a potential dark horse for Kempton's King George on Boxing Day.
Simon Squirrel, winner of a Newton Abbot Novices' Hurdle in September, was given the nod as one that might cause a few surprises this season while Nicholls pinpointed Sirabad as 'one to follow' in the months ahead.
Getting up close and personal with such a forthcoming figure in racing is a rare treat.
Of course, the majority of questions answered by Nicholls were on his own Ditcheat team but he also gave his thoughts on some promising horses not in his care.
If there was a transfer market in horse racing, which of the novice hurdling rank does the champion trainer look at longingly, wishing he had him under his own watch?
That honour went, perhaps unsurprisingly, to last season's Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer from the Pond House team of David Pipe.
Dodging Bullets showed last season that when Paul Nicholls really starts to beat a drum, it can pay to sit up and take notice.

He has now fired some informational 'bullets' for the season ahead and, as always, there was a refreshing willingness to share his thoughts on what is going at Team Ditcheat and beyond.

Class Fillies Contest the Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1)

If a horse trainer has a potential star filly then they're mind will wander towards Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park Stakes. This Group 1 event is contested over six furlongs on the Rowley Mile, Newmarket.

The 26th September should be noted in your diary. Why? Because you don't want to miss this race which separates the wheat from the chaff: blue bloods, equine stars, the fabled Pegasus without wings.

Has this race yielded Classic winners? You bet! 1000 Guineas [since 1980] include: Ma Biche, Ravinella, Sayyedati, Natagora & Special Duty. Historically, it has seen the most talented fillies.

This race was named after Cheveley Park, an estate purchased by Harry McCalmont in 1892. Established just before the turn of the century, the inaugural race was won by a filly named Lutetia.

Pretty Polly was the first horse to win the Cheveley Park Stakes & 1000 Guineas in 1903-04. She was an astounding filly winning by an easy three lengths at odds of 1/4f. Trained by Peter Gilpin, she won fifteen consecutive races going on to win the British Fillies' Triple Crown.

Leading jockey? Sir Gordon Richards. He won nine races spanning from Tiffin (1928) – Sixpense (1953).

Leading trainers with four victories? Alec Taylor Jr: Maid Of The Mist ( 1908) – Miss Gababout (1924). French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek: Ma Biche (1982) – Special Duty (2009).

Leading owner? Robert Sangster with four wins.

Who won last year's contest?

Tiggy Wiggy [pictured] – a pocket rocket trained by Richard Hannon Sr. She was named Cartier Champion Two-year-old Filly 2014. In addition, crowned best two-year-old filly in Europe.

Who will win this year? From the many to the few. Take a look at the sixty-one fillies who have been entered at this first declaration stage. British, Irish, French & American-trained horses have their eye on win prize money of over £100,000.

Five leading form horses at this time include:

Illuminate is trained by Richard Hannon Jr. This daughter of Zoffany is unbeaten in three starts with win prize money of almost £100,000. Winning the Albany Stakes (Group 3) at Royal Ascot, she was ''all out'' to beat the following two runners who competed in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) [formerly known as the Cherry Hinton Stakes]. This talented bay filly holds entries for the Lowther stakes (Group 2) & Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1) held at the Curragh, Ireland. That contest is less than two weeks before the Cheveley Park Stakes.

William Haggas' gritty two-year-old, Besharah, has caught the eye. She has been consistent in all five races to date. This daughter of Kodiac won on debut, narrow loser in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2), before taking the Princess Margaret Stakes (Group 3) in style. She likes all ground conditions and not afraid to get mud on her shoes.

A filly who made a sparkling debut is the once-raced Lumiere. This daughter of Shamardal out of an Irish mare was all the rage at Newmarket when a facile winner by six-lengths at odds of 6/5f. Mark Johnston has been a phenomenon with his two-year-old horses this season. This bay filly has much to prove on form but held in high regard by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

Will one of these talented fillies take the spoils? They have enough ability to suggest they will be heading to Newmarket. Plenty of d├ębutantes will fall by the way, form horses disappoint or bolster their case – but only the best two-year-old horses race in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1).

There's one guarantee: the victor will be class.

Dark Horses - Best 2YO Colts & Fillies in Training

Successful betting starts with knowing the signs: trainers, connections, information which indicate horses have class before hitting the headlines. Our analysis goes beyond the everyday, priding ourselves on highlighting the best two-year-olds in training. In fact, as challenge I will pinpoint five debutantes that I predict will win this season. Make the most of this top-notch info betting on horse races at 10bet

1) Ian Fleming -  trained by Andrew Balding. This two-year-old is yet to make his debut but going well on the gallops. This son of Makfi was purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales for £50,000. Kingsclere Stables can send out winning debutantes. If priced 10/1 & less could go well on racecourse bow - although I'd expect a bold show second start. 2nd

2) Continental Lady - trained by David Brown. This stable can go well first time out, especially if priced 13/2 & less. A daughter of Medicean she is out of a multiple-winning mare. This chestnut filly has been given a Lowther Stakes (Group 2) entry which indicates potential.  Won easily

3) Lapilli - trained by William Haggas. A class trainer in every sense and he has a talented string of juveniles to give him a mark. This bay colt is owned by Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum and held in high regard. Basically, this son of Bahamian Bounty will be winning. 

4) Laughton - trained by Kevin Ryan. Hambleton Stables have a fine record in the Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) and this bay colt has been earmarked for this lofty race. This son of Acclamation is out of a talented French mare who won at Listed class - a very consistent horse. Laughton was recently purchased at the breeze-up sales for 150,000Euro. Could be running in the next few days and has sound claims, especially if priced 8/1 & less. 4th on debut (will win)

5) Very Talented - trained by Saeed Bin Suroor. Godolphin have so much wealth they never have a poorly-bred juvenile. This son of Invincible Spirit was born on January 1st. One of few horses entered for the National Stakes (Group 1) Ireland. Let's hope this colt takes after his name.  3rd on debut 20/1 (will win)

Horse Racing Loses a Friend in Mel Brittain

Sad news from Northgate Lodge Stables that Yorkshire-based stalwart Mel Brittain has passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 71. 

A successful businessman, Brittain had horses in training before taking out his own licence in 1985. A quietly spoken, modest man, he was renowned for starting the career of many talented jockeys. Readers will remember his ultimately talented horse Grey Desire ''the pride of Yorkshire'' who finished runner-up in the July Cup (Group 1) and later a successful stallion, while Dublin Lad was victorious in the Gosforth Park Cup. From a personal point of view he had some talented two-year-olds including recent winner French a bargain-buy at £800, who competed at York's Marygate Listed Stakes.  

Brittain's son, Anthony, who is presently assistant trainer, will take charge of the training operation.  

His best season came in 1988 with 44 winners. 

A rare visitor to the race track he preferred to watch the racing at home on TV.      

Mick Easterby said: "Mel was a wonderful chap and we were big friends. He was a very good trainer and will be sorely missed by everybody in racing who knew him. It's a very sad day."

Mel trained over 500 winners in his career. 

Condolences to family, friends and race fans. 

Picture: Sandra & Mel Brittain   

Kurland Heads to Royal Ascot After Impressive Debut

Newmarket handler Martyn Meade unleashed a talented two-year-old at the Rowley Mile on Thursday [16th April] and plans to go straight to the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) on June 17. 

This daughter of Kheleyf out of talented mare Bunditton was well backed starting 8/1 on her debut in a five-furlong maiden contest. This grey looks a bargain buy costing just 15,500 euros as a foal when purchased by Ladywood Stud. It was an eye-catching performance - just out of a canter - to record a three-and-three-quarter-length victory.

 Meade said: "Fergus (Sweeney, jockey) was quite impressed and said that he could have maybe won on the bridle.

"I'd always thought she was really nice at home but you are never quite sure until they get to the track.

"She has come out of the race really well and has been bucking and squealing, which I am really pleased about.

"I think I will stick to my original plan and go straight to the Queen Mary as I don't think she needs to have too much racing.

"The dam, from as far as I know, was a bit buzzy and I don't want to risk her as I have her nicely settled now. 

"I don't really want to break her routine so we will work her accordingly and tell her when we need her to wake up again.

" Profiles Kurland While Meade is content with sticking at the minimum distance for the time being, he is hopeful Kurland will get further in time.

The Newmarket handler said: "She should go seven furlongs, without any doubt, though whether she progresses any further than that I don't know.

"If she did get a mile that would be fantastic as then we could really start dreaming about next year."

Horses to Follow in 2015

It may be early days for this new Flat turf season but that doesn't mean we haven't seen a potential star of the future. With the likes of Mark Johnston with an increased string of almost 130 two year olds it isn't beyond the realms the standards this early season are higher than normal. We have already seen a touch of class with a few smart debut winners from Kingsley House Stables: Buratino, Rah Rah, Ravenhoe. Here are a few dark horses on our radar.

The first race of the Flat turf season has - in its time - proven a great starting point for top class two year olds. The Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster has historically seen some great talents including Mind Games, Hearts Of Fire who both raced at Group 1, the latter horse, trained by Pat Eddery, proving victorious. Who could forget Provideo, trained by Bill O'Gorman and ridden by Tony Ives. This colt started his career winning the Brocklesby Stakes by four lengths - then achieved an outstanding feat. In 1984 he set a record for a British-trained two-year-old winning sixteen of his twenty-four races. Although rated some twenty pounds below the top juveniles he was named British Horse of the Year. 

This year's Brocklesby is unlikely to reveal such talents but three horses are worth following.

Mark Johnston's Ravenhoe just edged victory for the first juvenile runner from Kingsley House Stables. This chestnut son of Bahamian Bounty cost £16,000 at the yearling sales when purchased by the trainer for established owner David Abell. The mare was a prolific sprinter with Kevin Ryan, who won on debut at Doncaster. There is nothing in the breeding of this horse to put you off. This colt is likely to progress with racing.

Brocklesby second - losing in a photo finish - First Bombardment is trained by David O'Meara in the silks of Northern Hart Racing & Partner. This son of Pastoral Pursuits is out of a twice-winning mare costing £18,000 at the yearling sales. This colt has a lot  of natural pace and was seen next start competing at Musselburgh in the Scottish Brocklesby, a race which could highlight future winners. He had the opposition a touch flat footed but tired in the final furlong. On faster ground, this youngster will take some stopping and worth checking out on the betting markets

It wouldn't be a surprise to see General Alexander - who finished third - winning next start. This grey colt is a son of Zebedee out of a winning Irish mare. Quite an early February foal, he was purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales for £30,000. Mrs J A Martin is a good patron of Spring Cottage Stables (Northgate Lad won on debut as a two-year-old at Beverley). This youngster had no luck: a slow start, slightly hampered, then switched a couple of times before running on with promise with no more than a hands-and-heels ride. Must have a winning chance second start if not more. 

The winner of Scottish Brocklesby is reputed to be a smart horse with mention of Royal Ascot and the Coventry Stakes (Group 2). Tribesman is trained by David Brown and owned by John Fretwell - a combination which has proven a potent force with two year olds. This partnership have made an art of finding talented two-year-olds and often sell them for a king's ransom. This chestnut son of Equiano - out of a poor race mare - cost 12,000gns as a foal, later purchased at the yearling sales by Fretwell for £35,000. He won comfortably on debut and could well see this talent competing in the Coventry. 

It is often difficult to assess the value of a debut performance especially when against opposition who are making their racecourse bow. However, Gin In The Inn really caught my eye at Leicester. This Irish bred son of Alfred Noble is out of a winning mare who didn't race until three. This bay was purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales for 35,000. This horse is a lovely specimen with size, strength and scope to improve with racing. There were a few fancied horses in that 5f sprint but Fahey's talent literally won in a canter. I'd be very surprised if he isn't going places and another two year old with high hopes of Royal Ascot. 

Top Australian Turf Sprints

There's no doubt that turf sprints are where the action is today in Australia's Thoroughbred racing scene. If you're new to the track or maybe have been more a staying race enthusiast, here is a bit of background about sprint races, along with some tips to help you increase your winnings when you see your bookmaker for free bets.

Australian Group One Sprint Races

Australian Thoroughbred sprint races are divided into groups. Group 1 races feature the top horses and best jockeys and make for exciting, high-stakes sport. These races, with their large purses, are a chance to make big money with free bets in Australia.

If there's any doubt that these Group 1 sprints are growing in popularity, just look at the increase in Group 1 races over the last few years. Recent upgrades of Group 2 sprints to Group 1 sprints (the Memsie Stakes, the Canterbury Stakes, etc.), show an increasing trend towards sprint prevalence.

Top Group One Sprint Races in Australia

While there a number of thrilling Group 1 sprint races, and as mentioned above, that number is on the rise, there are a few that stand out as top events for which to see your bookmaker for free bets.

Black Caviar Lightning

If you've ever seen Black Caviar in motion, you'll know why this race was named for this now-retired beauty. Undefeated in 25 races, Black Caviar was named the World Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings (currently the World's Best Racehorse) World Champion Sprinter four years in a row.

Black Caviar won the 1,000-metres Lightning Stakes three years in a row, no small feat given the field of top Thoroughbreds it attracts for its A$500,000 purse. The Black Caviar Lightning, run at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, kicks off a three-leg fall series of races, including the Oakleigh Plate and the Newmarket Handicap.

Newmarket Handicap

The Newmarket Handicap is a 1,200-metre race also run at Flemington and is considered Australia's most important Thoroughbred sprint handicap. Taking place in March to wind up the Autumn Racing Carnival, the Newmarket Handicap has been attracting huge crowds since its inception in 1874. It's prize is a cool million dollars. Four horses have won the Newmarket twice, and the race record is held by none other than Black Caviar.

Darley Classic

The Darley Classic is another 1,200-metre race run at Flemington and is a weight-for-age sprint for horses age three or older. Bringing in a purse of A$1,000,000, the Darley Classic is the final event of the Victoria Racing Club Spring Carnival. Three horses have won the race twice, including Black Caviar.

TJ Smith Stakes

The TJ Smith Stakes is another weight-for-age sprint in the 1,200-metre distance, held at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney. Originally named the Endeavour Stakes, it was renamed in 1999 for Thomas John Smith, who won 33 titles in Sydney during his career. Only one horse has ever won the race twice, and that was--you guessed it--Black Caviar. It's considered by many to be Australia's premier Group 1 sprint with a A$2.5 million purse.

Your Friend, the Form Guide

If you're new to sprint racing or haven't been a punter before, how do you know where to put your money down? When you're placing free bets in Australia, the first place to look for information is your form guide. A form guide is essential if betting off the track or if you don't plan on going to the parade ring prior to a race.

Some things to look at in your form guide:

  • What is the horse's history of finishes at different distances?
  • What were the track conditions for those races?
  • Has the horse had the same jockey and/or trainer consistently?
  • What have the horse's recent workouts been like?
  • Has the horse had any recent changes in equipment?
  • Has the horse had a recent spell and why?

A spell isn't always a bad thing; in fact some mares and fillies come back better after a spell. A horse that failed to maintain the lead in a staying race may perform wonderfully in a sprint. A horse that has a long and successful history with the same jockey or trainer is likely to continue on that path.

Other Betting Tips

Even with all the data you can glean from your form guide, there's nothing like checking out a horse in the mounting enclosure prior to a race to really see what it's like on race day. Does the horse seem nervous and agitated or just appropriately "on the muscle" (ready to go)? Is it saddling and accepting the jockey easily? Are there bandage marks on the horses legs? These may have been just a protective wrapping measure, but they could also indicate tendon problems.

When placing your bets, start off small, and learn by trial and error. While it's easy to bet the "chalk" horse (the favourite or the one with the most money down), the bigger payoffs come with higher odds.

Another great source of information is social media. There is a world of knowledgeable Tweeters and Facebook posters out there with invaluable information if you can tap into it. It takes a while to build a network, but it can be worth it to put together the whole picture of a horse.

Picking winners takes time and practice, and if it were easy, everyone would be a millionaire. The great thing about betting on sprint races is that even if it takes you and your picks a while to hit your strides, you'll have a blast doing it.

Can Clouds overcome the Many doubts?

Oliver Sherwood has already won one big National Hunt handicap chase this season. Now he goes in search of another after confirming Many Clouds is an intended runner in the Grand National.
Sherwood prepared Many Clouds to deliver an impressive performance to win the Hennessy at Newbury back in November and his run immediately stamped him out as a future National contender.
However, Sherwood initially opted to send the eight-year-old down the Gold Cup route and that appeared to be a justifiable target after another solid win in the BetBright Cup Chase at Cheltenham on Festival Trials Day in January.
When it came to the Gold Cup, though, Many Clouds was a shade disappointing when sixth behind Coneygree after being sent off at 7/1. He was never truly able to get close to Coneygree and Sherwood acknowledged the horse was out of his comfort zone.
He has now decided to go for the National, after previously putting the race down as a back-up in case something went wrong in the Gold Cup. The uncertainty over whether Many Clouds would run at Aintree has seen his price fluctuate quite wildly in the Grand National betting as he has gone from a 20/1 shot, out to 40/1, and now back in to a general 25/1 price. But, if he is to justify connections’ decision to go for the race, then he will have to buck a few trends.
Many Clouds is currently second top weight on 11st 9lbs, and that could rise by 1lb if Lord Windermere doesn’t line up. The last horse to carry that burden was Red Rum when winning his second National in 1974 with a weight of 12st.
That was also the last time a jockey won back-to-back renewals of the National. Leighton Aspell has ridden Many Clouds in all 19 starts, and won the National 12 months ago on Pineau De Re. The last time a jockey won the National in successive years on different horses, though, was in the 1950s when Bryan Marshall won on Early Mist and then Royal Tan.
Many Clouds’ record at the Grand National meeting is also a concern as he has run at Aintree the last three years. He was 11th behind The New One in the 2012 Bumper, pulled up in the Silver Cross Handicap Hurdle in 2013 and then fourth to Holywell in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase last year. All of those runs were on good ground, and Many Clouds is a better horse with soft in the going description.
Yet, for all the negatives, there is still a persuasive case for Many Clouds giving owner Trevor Hemmings a third National win. He is a sound jumper, has a touch of class and stays well. And, in some ways, he could be reasonably weighted. It all depends on how much stock you put in the statistics and history.

Top 5 Australian Trainers

If you love to watch and bet on horse racing in Australia, then you need to know a little bit about top Australian trainers. When making free bets in Australia, it pays to pick the horses trained by the likes of Gai Waterhouse and Chris Waller. You’ll do better with free bets online if you watch what trainers the horses work with. Read on to learn a little about five of the top Australian trainers today.

David Hayes

It’s no surprise that David Hayes is a top Australian trainer with a father like Colin Hayes and brother Peter Hayes, both superb trainers he worked with and learned from since childhood. He ran the Lindsay Park operation in the 90s and opened the family business in Hong Kong to train for nine seasons for hundreds of winners. He’s an Australian trainer with 20 years of solid experience in his training career, having trained more than 2,800 winners. He’s won most of Australia’s major races, including the Melbourne Cup in 94, the Caulfield Cup in 93, Cox Plate in 90 and 06, and the Golden Slipper in 06. If you're placing free bets in Australia, it's good to know that he’s the only Australian trainer to with the Japan Cup in 90, and he’s the youngest trainer to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 08.

Gai Waterhouse

Gai Waterhouse is the daughter of T.J. (Tommy) Smith although her early career as an actor in the U.K. kept her briefly away from horses. But working hard with her father for 15 years to gain her training license in the 90s was the solid foundation she needed to become a top trainer. It didn’t hurt that she took over Tulloch Lodge in 1994 when her father retired. She went on to train many winners in the Victoria Derby and Melbourne Cup, as well as the Sydney Premiership. Her skills as a trainer are matched by her fashion sense and personality, making her a high profile trainer.

Peter Snowdon

Peter Snowdon started as a rider and gained experience through steady promotion under Vic Thomson and John Hawkes. He represented Hawkes’ stable for 10 years then went on to be head trainer for Ingham Blookstock. From there, he worked as head trainer for Darley Racing until 2014. During his time with Darley, he won many races, including the Golden Slipper in 2010. He left to join his son Paul in a training partnership at Royal Randwick’s 70 stables. Working with his son, Snowdon is expected to be very successful and continue adding to the long list of wins to his credit, including wins in recent years at Thousand Guineas, The Darley Crown, Tea Rose Stakes, Takeover Target Stakes, Pago Pago Stakes, and Keith Nolan Classic.

Chris Waller

Chris Waller worked with famous Singapore trainer Paddy Busuttin. He started with five horses and went on from there to success in Australian racing with more than 40 Group 1 winners and many Sydney premierships. His consistent winning record over six consecutive seasons makes him a top trainer with multiple wins at Doncaster Handicaps, Epsoms, Metropolitans and Australian Oaks. His long list of wins includes even more prestigious races including the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, and Melbourne Cup. He is neck and neck with other top trainers including Gai Waterhouse and Peter Snowdon.

Gerald Ryan

Gerald Ryan was a successful jockey before becoming a trainer in the 90s in Melbourne. He quickly reached the top rank of Melbourne trainers before moving to Malaysia. His return to Australia in 1998 was very successful, enabling him to open a new stable at Rosehill. As an experienced horseman because of his jockey days, he knows what to look for in young horses to train, and says it’s athleticism, confirmation, attitude, action, and pedigree. Top horses he’s trained include Snitzerland, Hot Snitzel, Dances on Stars (NZ), Adnocon, and Calvary Rose. His horses are the ones to play for free bets online.

How Many Times Did Red Rum Win the Grand National?

On the 11th April 2015 (4:15 Aintree) horse racing fans across the world will be searching for the winner of this most famous National Hunt steeplechases - The Grand National. Run over 4 miles 3 1/2 furlongs, 30 jumps have to be cleared over two circuits in the ultimate test of horse and jockey. Take a look at the the runners and odds for the Grand National 2015.   

The Grand National is steeped in racing history. 

The remarkable stories of triumph over adversity have captured the heart of millions. Who could forget Bob Champion and Aldaniti and their touching story when winning in 1981. Champion, a jockey battling cancer, Aldaniti, a horse who was deprived in its younger years and suffered terribly from chronic leg problems. Their victory captured so beautifully the feeling of hope, later made into a film starring John Hurt - Champions.

This great race brings equal measure of triumph & tears. Foinavon proved a surprise winner in 1967. Just about the whole field had been hampered or dismounted at the 23rd fence (in 1984 this fence was named in the memory of Foinavon) but this lucky horse, detached by at least half a furlong found space to jump and won a most unlikely victory at odds of 100/1.

Commentator Michael O'Hehir described the chaotic scene:

''And now, with all this mayhem, Foinavon has gone off on his own! He's about 50 to 100 yards in front of anything else!'' 

His owner had so little faith in winning that he traveled to Worcester instead.

One horse synonymous with the Grand National is the legendary Red Rum. This beautiful, bay gelding won three times (1973, 1974 & 1977) and finished second in the intervening years. Trained by Ginger McCain in the ownership of Noel le Mare, his victory in 1973 is considered the greatest Grand National in history after being some 30 lengths behind the leaders. Without question Red Rum loved to jump a fence. He was a master of all fences and never fell once in 100 races. His third win was voted in 2002 as the 24th greatest sporting moment of all time.  

Commentator Peter O'Sullevan said of his third win: 

''The crowd are willing him home now. The 12-year-old Red Rum, being preceded only by loose horses, being chased by Churchtown Boy... They're coming to the elbow, just a furlong now between Red Rum and his third Grand National triumph! It's hats off and a tremendous reception, you've never heard one like it at Liverpool... and Red Rum wins the National!''

 In addition, he won the Scottish National in 1974. 

He was a celebrity in his own right opening super markets, bookmakers shops and leading the annual Grand National parade. He switched on Blackpool illuminations in 1977. Along with merchandise, many books were written about Red Rum.  

Red Rum died of natural causes in 1995 at the age of 30. In a fitting tribute he was buried at the winning post of the Aintree Racecourse. His epitaph reads: Respect this place/ this hallowed ground/ a legend here/ his rest has found/ his feet would fly/ our spirits soar/ he earned our love for evermore. A life size statue of Red Rum stands at Aintree racecourse.

In the 1970s the future running of the Grand National was uncertain. However, Red Rum and his historic victories captured the heart of a nation and ensured huge public support for the fund to buy Aintree which is now ownership and protected by the Jockey Club.

Tony McCoy said of this National hero:

 ''Red Rum's feats, of three Nationals and two seconds, are legendary. They will never be equaled, let alone surpassed. They say records are there to be broken, but Red Rum's at Aintree is one which will stand the test of time.''        

The Grand National is so much more than just another horse race. Which story will be told this year?        

Horse Rugs: Keeping them warm this Winter

The winter months can be harsh for horses just the way that they can be harsh for people. People wear coats during the cold winter months and a horse should have a rug during those frosty, snowy and icy days and nights. Knowing when to use a rug on a horse can provide protection as well as comfort in order for the horse to stay healthy. 
Horse Rugs: Keeping Them Warm This Winter
There are many reasons to purchase a good quality horse rug for winter months. Watch for signs that the horse is cold such as shivering. If he is shivering, he could very well benefit from the use of a warm rug. It is important to keep horses warm in winter to help prevent illnesses with them. They can catch colds and other illness when they are too cold. 
Stable or Pastured Horses
Whether a horse is kept in a stable or in the pasture, he can still be cold. Just because he is kept in a stable or stall does not mean that he will always be warm during the winter months. When the weather produces snow, high winds or icy conditions it is safe to assume that a good rug will help him to be more comfortable. Horse Rugs: Keeping them warm this winter should be an important factor to every equine owner as well as those that care for them. 
Older Horses Need Rugs
Horses that are older are the best candidates for a rug. The food they they eat may not be enough to help their bodies generate the warmth that they need to endure the low temperatures that can arise during a heavy winter. The rug will help keep the direct rain, wind and snow from making them cold and possibly ill. 
Pay Attention to the Weather
When a horses coat gets wet it looses its value of warmth to the horse. This is no different than a human wearing a wet coat, it is not going to provide the warmth and protection that they need. Wind can blow a horses body heat away leaving him cold and shivering. Rain and windchill can make the difference in the horse being in need of a quality rug. 
Choosing The Best Rug
When choosing a rug for a horse making sure that the rug the perfect fit is important. A good fit allows the horse to move about freely. A poor fitting rug can cause discomfort and lead to the horse chewing on the rug as well as chaffing. Rugs should be made of material that allows the horses skin to breath and to prevent sweating. Purchasing more than one rug is often a great idea as it will allow a wet blanket to be removed and a dry one placed on the horse for comfort. 
When considering Horse Rugs: Keeping them warm this winter will be much easier if purchased from Ride 4 Less, they offer a large variety of rugs to choose from in a great selection of styles and thickness. Affordable prices are always available making it easy to provide all horses with the comfort that they deserve during those long winter months that can seem to last forever. Provide all horses with the best protection possible by choosing rugs for them that fit properly and make the winter months much easier for them to withstand. Good rugs can save on vet cost as well as keep the horse healthy through winter.