9 Jul 2019

3 Ways to be a Wiser Gambler When Betting at the Races

I've been gambling for a long time. 

I've considered many and varied ways of making money gambling on horse racing. Some have felt like pinning the tail on the donkey. I'm sure the commentator got confused at one point and called my selection Eyeore (it's an obvious mistake). 

How do you find that elusive way to win at the races? I mean, we all want to be wiser gamblers and put a few quid in our velcro man purse. Betting should be a considered pursuit of wit and wisdom. Well, at least, the wisdom part. 

Have you ever noticed that most bookmakers price horses by the general average of the horse trainer? It's no surprise to see a Sir Micheal Stoute horse fancied in the betting compared with let's say Neville Bycroft when he trained back in the day. The former would be priced 6/4f while the latter 50/1. 

I'm sure that was Eyeore! 

Both trainers had their days. Even the smallest stables find a good horse if they train long enough and rightfully so. I always cheer on the underdog. ''Get in, Fido!''

I have researched two-year-old horse racing for many years. It is my niche. I don't mind staying, I know more about this ''field'' of horse racing than anyone I have ever met. And I have researched each and every two-year-old horse trainer for both strength and weakness. 

By understanding horse trainers you are one step closer to landing a big bet.

How come? 

Because most punters don't have the slightest understanding of how trainers work. What makes them tick? If they have a decent horse, where will they race it? What kind of betting guide suggests whether it will win or lose?

If you are reading these words and don't have any idea about any given trainer, then you are missing a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle. 

Here are 3 pieces of information which will help you find a winner or miss a loser. 

1) Michael Dods

He is one of those trainers who can win with a debutant two-year-old at big odds. In fact, he does it every season. His horses seem to go best on testing ground conditions and strangely have more hope of winning at a speculative price than a favourite. His two-year-old debutants have very good place claims at huge odds. Don't believe me, follow them for a season at courses such as Ayr, Ripon or Beverley and you will put some money in your pocket. 

2)  Archie Watson

Certain horse trainers prime their two-year-olds to blast from the stalls like an Exocet missile. That's how I see Archie Watson. Now, you want to keep an eye on the betting market with his debutantes because it is usually telling. If priced 11/4 and less sp on their racecourse bow, I'd expect a big run. 

3) Karl Burke 

One of my favourite horse trainers from Spigott Lodge. He is a very talented trainer who can win with two-year-olds on their first or second start. I particularly look for them running at Carlisle because of his love of this course. He targets this place like Eric Bristow use to hit the bullseye. A master at work. 

When betting, remember the horse is only as good as its trainer.  

30 Jun 2019

Be Sure About the Horse Saddle You Want

There will be no talk about the love of horses here, but the appreciation of their very important saddles. If you just got a horse for the sake of riding it or you’re thinking of changing your saddle, then this article might help you make an informed decision. 

Firstly, you need to understand that there are various types of horse saddles out there. Each of them has been designed for specific purposes. Some are good for pleasure riding, while others offer advantages for sports, longer journeys, and so on. What will be left is for you to know the one that suits your needs. 

About Horse Saddles 

A horse saddle is a seat-like structure that is fastened to a horse’s back by a girth in order to support the rider or load being conveyed. It’s known as the most common type of animal saddles. Other less common ones are for camels, oxen, donkeys, and so on. This specialized seat is used for protection, support, padding, comfort, and balance. 

Blankets attached by a kind of girth or surcingle were considered to be the earliest forms of saddles. The designs became more and more advanced after that. The parts of this product may include the objects listed below: 

  • Tree 
  • Seat Pommel (Pomnel)/Swells 
  • Cantle 
  • Stirrup 
  • Leathers and Flaps or Fenders 
  • D-ring 
  • Girth or Cinch 
  • Panels, Lining, or Padding 
  • Surcingle 
  • Monkey 
  • Grip 
  • Horn 
  • Knee Rolls 
  • Thigh Rolls

In modern times, there are two common types of equestrian seats used for riding in the Western world. They are the “stock” and English saddle. For the stock types, the most popular are the American western saddles. The Australian stock types are second on the list. 

English Saddles

This type is used all over the world, not only in England. They are the official products used in the Olympics. The major feature that most people use to identify this product is its flatter appearance. To people who don’t know much about saddles, all products of similar design look the same. 

English types include various styles that are used for polo, eventing/horse trials, horse racing, show jumping, dressage, hunt seat, saddle seat, and so on. The “tree” is one of the parts that buyers use to check for the quality of a product. Nowadays, manufacturers are utilizing other materials other than wood for the tree. 

Stock Saddles 

The western types under this category are made for use in various western riding activities. They are the ones that you see at rodeos, tourist trail rides, or in movies about cowboys. These types of seats have no padding of their own, therefore, they are used with pads or saddle blankets in order to fit the horse. 

Various Purposes

  • Horse-riding is considered a fun activity and can be a good stress reliever. Saddles used for pleasure rides are made with soft, padded seats for the sake of comfort. 
  • Products for show jumping are lightweight in order for the horses to jump more easily. The seats are also soft and padded. It would help the horse if the seats have padded panels for the sake of comfort. 
  • A horse barrel racing saddle may have reinforcement for the stirrups to make the seats extra safe while riding. It should be lightweight so that the horse can have more freedom during competitions or while running. 
  • For long journeys, it is advisable to go for products that have padded seats for the sake of comfort. 

Buying a horse for the sake of riding it means that you need to find the right saddle that will suit you and the horse. You need to consider the product’s manufacturer, quality of materials, and purpose too.

28 Jun 2019

The Greatest Racecourses in the World - 2019

Aintree Racecourse, Merseyside  
Here in 2019, the Sport of Kings is more popular and lucrative than it has been so far this decade. A number of famous meetings have increased their prize money this year, the internet is opening up the sport to more and more people across the world, and the industry itself is embracing technology to ensure that horses and riders can perform in peak condition for as long as possible. 

Horse racing is one of the oldest spectator sports still carried out to this day and, as such, we’re really spoilt for choice when it comes to iconic racecourses to visit. But out of all the many courses that can be found in almost every global nation, which ones are still reigning supreme as the greatest in the world?  

l’Hippodrome de Longchamp - France

Situated on the photogenic banks of the Seine River, the Longchamp racecourse in Paris is actually a 140-acre complex, which houses a number of tracks measuring between 1000 and 4000 meters in length. It was first opened in 1857 and although it’s currently undergoing renovations to update the original grandstands, it still remains the pinnacle of European racecourses. It is, of course, known for being the home of the most prestigious and richest race in this corner of the world - the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. 

Santa Anita Park - California 

The state of California has long been a place that has inspired people from all walks of life to live their dreams, so it's fitting that the U.S's best racecourse is located here. Although Santa Anita racecourse has hit the headlines recently for equine mortalities, it undoubtedly remains one of the most revered and renowned courses in the world. It’s also one of the most picturesque, thanks to the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains and its original Art Deco grandstand, which can accommodate 26000 spectators. 

Aintree - United Kingdom The UK is home to some of the most prestigious racecourses in the history of the sport - Ascot, Cheltenham and Goodwood would all be worthy of inclusion on this list. However, there’s one track that really has come to define modern British horse racing - Aintree, home of the legendary Grand National. Situated near Liverpool, the Aintree racetrack is one of the oldest on this list having been built in 1829. Every year in April it welcomes the most fearless runners and riders from across Europe, as they test themselves against such iconic fences as Beecher’s Brook, The Chair and the Canal Turn. 

Meydan’s sprawling grandstand  
Meydan - Dubai

Meydan may be the new kid on the block, having replaced Dubai’s former racecourse Nad Al Sheba in 2010, but boy has it made an impact. With its mile-long grandstand, a five-star hotel and rooftop infinity pool, Meydan is heralding in a new and luxurious era for horse racing. For the past 9 years, it has hosted the Grade 1 Dubai World Cup - another of the world’s richest races - and this year the total prize money has been increased to an eye-watering $35 million, with the winner of the Cup itself set to pocket $7.2 million. 

Flemington Racecourse - Australia 

Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne has been in use since the city itself was just five years old and is the oldest racecourse in Australia, having been completed in 1840. The course itself has been revamped and renovated in recent years and is once again at its full grandeur from the days of the “race that stops a nation”, the world-famous Melbourne Cup. 

Laytown Races - Ireland 

This unique racecourse may not be a year-round venue like the others on this list, however, there's no doubt that Laytown Races has provided the sport with some truly memorable races in the 150 years that its been in use. Each year, this stretch of sand near Dublin is transformed into Europe’s only officially-recognised beach race. It attracts thousands of spectators and visitors every year who are keen to see top racehorses battling it out along the Irish coast, but within a matter of hours, the track disappears as the tide comes in and the sand dune grandstand is washed away.

Photo:  Aintree: Paul
            Meydan source: Yousif Al Mula

13 Jun 2019

The Female Irish Horse Racing Superstar

The Female Irish Horse Racing Superstar
Racheal Blackmore, aged just twenty-nine has achieved a lot as a female jockey and having ridden some ninety winners, she certainly makes it look easy, but it is anything but. BlackBook.com.au is looking into her as a person. 

Born in Co Tipperary in a town called Killenaule, she has taken the horse racing world by storm, not only winning ninety plus races but also picking up a win earlier this year at the historic Cheltenham Festival, back in March. She might have ended the race tired and splattered with mud, much like her horse for that race ‘A Plus Tard’ but she knows it was something that every jockey dreams about. 

She turned professional back in 2015. The first time that a woman has done so since Maria Cullen did back in the eighties. Since then she has been breaking the mould with historic wins at every turn. She even managed a win at the Conditional Riders Championship in 2017, making her the first women ever to do so. She has also followed that up by setting a single-season record for most wins in one season, which placed her as a champion jockey in the National Hunt season, where she finished second only to Paul Townend. 

When she is not racing, she has become a bit of a fashion model as a sports brand ambassador for Kildare Village and has recently done a photoshoot for them at the famous Curragh Racecourse in Co Kildare. The iconic racecourse is boasting of having just finished a €17M refurbishment to bring its facilities right up to date, with some of the best features in the world — something to mirror the world-class racing that takes place at the track. 

Even while modelling, she is very calm and collected and in control of what she wants to do. An example of this came up when the photographer on the shoot noticed that she was nursing an injury and asked her about it, only for her to respond by saying “[its] just a broken nose, collarbone and wrist – not much” Only someone with great awareness and composure could answer with such an air of nonchalance. She is aware of what can happen while riding though and went on to say “I don’t think about injury. If you start thinking about what could go wrong, it is not the job for you,” 

She knows that the sport can be dangerous for jockeys and horses alike. At the Cheltenham Gold Cup this year, she knows that seven horses lost their lives, and she is also aware of fellow jockeys that have suffered extensive injuries, she mentions the former Gold Cup Winner Robbie McNamara. He now uses a wheelchair to get around after having had an accident on the track. She also talks about fellow jockey Joseph O’Brien, of whom, she says “He is now training and says he gets more enjoyment from training than riding, and that tells you something about working day to day. The jockey just rocks up for the glory of the day a lot of the time.”

12 Jun 2019

Archie Watson's Royal Ascot Two Year Olds in 2019

Archie Watson shook off his rookie status faster than a horse up the gallops. In truth, he wasn't wet behind the ears. Fair enough, you need a winner to train a winner. But he's made a real impact since taking charge of Saxon Gate, Upper Lambourn. 

I saw a quote on Twitter which went like this: ''Archie Watson is making a name for just training two-year-old winners.''

I don't like being critical of other's comments, but I thought it was a ridiculous statement. I've never trained a horse, but I know from being involved within horse racing for many years that it is incredibly difficult to train one winner. Take a look at your average horse trainer and you will find the statistics tell the story. Even accomplished trainers have seasons where the sweet taste of success turns distinctly sour. 

Anyway, each to their own. 

Archie Watson has shown his worth as a trainer of two-year-old colts, geldings and fillies. This year's Flat turf season 2019 has seen a string of talents flying the flag for owners big and small. 

Here's a quick rundown of his best two-year-olds this season. You will notice they are all winners. 

Lady Kermit
Electric Ladyland 
War Storm 
Guildsman (entered for Coventry Stakes)

All won on debut bar War Storm, who put that blip to rights with a tidy victory on his second start at York. 

With Royal Ascot 2019 starting on Tuesday 18th June, it will be intriguing to see which juveniles go where (i.e which race)

A list of the two-year-old races at Royal Ascot 2019

  • Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 
  • Windsor Castle Stakes Listed Race 
  • Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) 
  • Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 
  • Albany Stakes Listed Race 
  • Chesham Stakes Listed Race 

Good luck to Saxon Lodge Stables. 

30 May 2019

Racing Events from Around the World to Follow in the Digital Age

Racing Events from Around the World to Follow in the Digital Age
Summer is here, and in years gone by, that meant something of a lull in the racing and betting season. Sure, there are still some high-profile flat races on the horizon like the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot, but the next National Hunt season seems an eternity away. 

However, in the digital age, the world of sport has become a smaller place. For those who like betting on the football, for example, the end of the European season more or less coincides with the start of Major League Soccer in the USA, and online bookmakers provide odds and different betting options on games regardless of the league or the country where the sporting action is taking place. The bookies have become more international in nature, assessing the odds and form of different teams in different leagues across the globe to meet the requirements of worldwide sports betting customer base. You can find out more about betting on soccerbetting365.com

The same applies in the world or racing. Global networking deals along with online streaming mean that distance is no object, and similarly, bookmakers provide a range of odds and even some betting tips for meetings across the world. Here are some racing events that are big news in their home countries and are well worth a look, and indeed a bet, over the remainder of 2019. 

Baden Baden Spring Festival 

The spa town of Baden Baden is one of the most popular tourist locations in Germany. Its casinos have always made it popular with gamblers – this is the place where Dostoyevsky literally lost his shirt. It is also the venue for the country’s biggest horse racing events, and its racecourse is known as the “Royal Ascot of Germany.” The Spring Festival will take place over six days, starting on 29 May. There is more than a touch of the Cheltenham feel to the event, with each day having very different themes. 

The Belmont Stakes

Think of American horse racing and you will probably think first of the “blink and you miss it” Kentucky Derby. For those more accustomed to horse racing in the UK and Ireland, the Belmont Stakes seems slightly less frantic, as it is run over a distance of 12 furlongs. Last year marked the event’s 150th anniversary, and Justify made it a year to remember, by adding victory here to wins in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, thereby winning the American Triple Crown

The Melbourne Cup

The Australians love their horse racing, and there are several major meetings throughout the year. The biggest event of them all, however, is the Melbourne Cup, held every year at Flemington racecourse. With a history going back more than 150 years, it is an event that is steeped in tradition, and the list of winners includes legends such as Phar Lap, Think Big and Makybe Diva. This year’s race will take place on 05 November. 

The Hong Kong Cup

This might not have the long history of some events – the first Hong Kong Cup took place in 1988 – but it is nevertheless one of the most prestigious Group 1 races on the international calendar. It is open to entrants from around the world, and its HK$25 million purse (about £2.5 million) is the highest of any 2,000-metre race in the world. This year, it will take place on Sunday 08 December.