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Cheltenham Festival Day 3 Preview and Tips

Hey all. Got a bit of feedback regarding my blog and posts and it was a bit positive, so here's my Day 3 writeup. Text below, link to website and full Google Document tracking tips is there:
Day 2 was much better than Day 1! With 9pts / £90 staked, and 12 pts / £120 returned, that’s the healthy sort of return we want consistently. Of course, we’re down overall, but forgive me for not worrying about that too much right now at the nascent stages of this venture.
It was also a good day for punters in general, with Altior retaining his crown (albeit with a little scare); Tiger Roll dominating; and the well-backed Band of Outlaws and Envoi Allen obliging, too.
Without further ado, here are my musings ahead of Thursday’s racing. There are a lot of very big fields and as a result, hopefully loads of value to find. Let’s continue the revival!
Joel over at 2pts win, at the time of writing, simply says “Defi Du Seuil will win. 1pt win Defi Du Seuil @ 3/1” – and while I assume he’ll be a little more expansive on this in due course, I can’t really disagree. But right now, he’s 5/2, and that’s a little too skinny for my liking. Thus, we take him on with just the one bet. I think Kildisart (9/1 generally) is the one to be on board at the prices. If his jumping improves (it looks a bit novicey, which is fair for a novices’ race!), then he can have a big say in proceedings.
Lostintranslation will have to find a little with Defi Du Seuil, especially off level weights, as will Vinndication – whose tendency to jump right-handed isn’t encouraging around Cheltenham, either. Real Steel would be a likeable bet, but he’s being supported even now into 6/1 (opened I think at 8s), so despite his lack of exposure, I’m going to swerve. Voix Du Reve is Ruby Walsh’s choice, and he loves this race. His form has been bang there, and he’d be my second option in this race – Walsh having won the JLT thrice.
I find it strange that a Barry Geraghty-saddled horse in Sire Du Berlais is a relatively strong head of the market. His handicap record at Cheltenham is terrible, to go back to this Fat Jockey Forum thread. That said, the last three Pertemps winners have all been Irish, and have all been strong in the betting. To that end, I’ll go with current fourth-favourite Walk To Freedom (12/1 each way with William Hill, 1/5 1-5), who is Robbie Power’s fancy for the race, and who ran a blinder in one of the qualifiers for this race. With two recent winners being at the top of the weights, Walk To Freedom could be another, and I like the value.
I have to have a second selection here though, especially with six places paid at some firms. Aaron Lad (14/1 each way, Paddy Power or Betfair, 1/5 1-6) is trained by the shrewd Richard Newland and connections have hinted his 90-day break before this race was probably the plan. His last run was over course and distance and I was really taken with how much more he had to give the further the race progressed. A 9lb rise needs to be defied, though, but I’m happy with the price regardless.
There are too many others to mention and to cross-reference, but Abolitionist is taking a very similar route toward the Grand National as Pineau De Re, who wasn’t beaten far in this race on the way to a GN 2nd in 2014 – though I’m hoping just for a safe spin round. Wait For Me, with an estimable Cheltenham record, is worth a lash at a big 40/1, but wasn’t too good in last year’s Pertemps, so I’m not poking. First Assignment and Samburu Shujaa are both skinny-ish prices for a reason, too.
Ryanair Chase
What a card. This is one of the deepest races at the festival. We are almost certainly going to see a bit of a pace war at the front, with four or five who like to make the running (Monalee, Un De Sceaux, Footpad, Frodon etc) ensuring it. The bookies also all seem to have a vice-like grip on the market, with it so competitive. At the time of writing, the top five in the market are generally between 4/1 and 7/1.
With BetVictor (again!) paying a fourth place on this race, I’m gonna take a chance on Terrefort (25/1 each way with BetVictor, 1/5 1-4), who has looked decent when healthy this year, finishing in the frame behind Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux at trips of about 3m. While he’s got to find more – of course – the race will be run to suit, and the way he won his novice Grade 1s on soft (with a JLT second, too) gives me hope.
The other horse to potentially benefit from the race panning out this way is Road to Respect (4/1 generally), who has swerved the Gold Cup for a tilt at this. If his jumping is better today, then I can definitely see him coming off a hot pace to pick up the pieces and win it around jumping the last or even in the home straight.
I’d want Monalee and Footpad at bigger prices; Un De Sceaux may be getting long in the tooth and is in a very deep renewal; and I don’t think Frodon will have the race run to suit. I can’t make a case for others at bigger prices, so this is it for me for the Ryanair.
Stayers’ Hurdle
This will probably go to Paisley Park. He’s looked phenomenal this year and is a well-deserved 7/4 or so favourite, with wins in the Long Walk and Cleeve Hurdles. I will therefore not be opposing him for win purposes, but with 18 runners, it’s worth having a look at the firms that offer four places (BetVictor, Coral, Ladbrokes and a couple of others that don’t count).
Bapaume (22/1 each way with Coral and BetVictor, 1/5 1-4) ran well behind Presenting Percy last time out, and generally has looked solid behind Apple’s Jade too (though she disappointed on Tuesday – but I’d expressed my doubts about her liking for Cheltenham). There was a Grade 1 second place in France last May, and a tidy Grade 2 win over shorter – I think Bapaume is a model of consistency and thus I’m hoping to see a place accordingly.
I don’t think anything else in the race is really worth backing: Faugheen is too short and would make for a great story; Supasundae is too often a silver medallist and at 8/1 isn’t worth getting on board; Bacardys likes a fall… and I won’t continue, but you get my thinking, I presume.
Brown Advisory Plate
Most bookies are offering five places. Only Bet365 are offering 1/4 odds with five places, so every tip will be with them. I’m not surprised they’re offering such good terms, though – this is a very tricky race to unpack. My go-to workings will involve trends in the race and from stables/yards – for the Plate, we can see Gigginstown have a decent enough record. Surprisingly they don’t come mob-handed to handicaps, and they have just one runner this year, Valseur Lido. 33/1 is the right price for a horse out of sorts and I won’t be taking it.
However, Venetia Williams sends two to this race, and her record is excellent. She’s had 20 runners, of whom two have won and two have placed, which is a great strike rate. She has been rubbish with her charges in most every other handicap, but the Plate is the one to zone in on. To that end, with both Gardefort and Didero Vallis at 25/1 with Bet365, I’ll be having a small interest on them.
Not a tip, but Kauto Riko flies the flag for the /HorseRacingUK subreddit, and I’ll be very happy if he wins!
Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle
Epatante is well-backed and too short for it. She looks very classy, but hasn’t beaten much, so in what is a pretty competitive field for this sort of race, we’ll be taking her on.
Sinoria (8/1 with Hills and 365) is a very attractive price, and was intended to run in the Ballymore, but moves here after Honeysuckle’s injury. Her win last time out has been franked by Chosen Mate, who was odds on for a Grade 2 event, and I think she’s completely the wrong price.
Also interesting is Lust For Glory (20/1 each way with Bet365, 1/4 1-3), who is three times the price of Posh Trish, with whom she essentially shares form. Thus, at a price, I’m happy to get on board.
Not a race I know too much about, so the stakes will be limited accordingly.
Kim Muir
Bet365 again come up trumps with five places at 1/4 odds. Then again, it’s another very difficult race to make something of, with the head of the market well looked up, and so many other contenders abound. I won’t have a bet on this one – good luck if you do!
Tips Summary
1.30 – Kildisart @ 9/1 – 0.75pts win
2.10 – Walk To Freedom @ 12/1 – 0.5pts e/w (Will Hill, 1/5 1-5)
2.10 – Aaron Lad @ 14/1 – 0.5pts e/w (Paddy Power or Betfair, 1/5 1-6)
2.50 – Terrefort @ 25/1 – 0.5pts e/w (BetVictor, 1/5 1-4)
2.50 – Road To Respect @ 4/1 – 0.75pts win
3.30 – Bapaume @ 22/1 – 0.25pts e/w (Coral or BetVictor, 1/5 1-4)
4.10 – Gardefort @ 25/1 – 0.5pts e/w (Bet365, 1/4 1-5)
4.10 – Didero Vallis @ 25/1 – 0.5pts e/w (same as above)
4.50 – Sinoria @ 8/1 – 1pt win (Will Hill or Bet365)
4.50 – Lust For Glory @ 20/1 – 0.5pts e/w (Bet365, 1/4 1-3)
That’s 9pts in play. We don’t need much to come in to profit – let’s go!
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/r/horseracing Cheltenham Festival guide and discussion 2015

As of writing this there is less than two weeks until the greatest horseracing festival on Earth. With 4 days and 35 races of the highest quality, the sub would be inundated unless we keep things central so use this thread for absolutely anything Cheltenham - news, previews, tips and, most importantly, debate!
For those who are unfamiliar, The Cheltenham Festival in held every March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Gloucestershire. The National Hunt season is mostly run with it in mind, as top trainers all desire even a single win at the jewel in the crown of jumps racing. The various graded races throughout the year are usually used as pointers towards graded races at the festival, for example a winner of the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown in January will probably be high up in the market for the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the Festival. It consists of 4 days - Champion Day (Tue), Ladies Day (Wed), St Patricks Thursday and Gold Cup Day (Fri) and this year is held between the 10th and 14th of March
The Races
Each of the four days is centred around a Championship race:
The Champion Hurdle, The Queen Mother Champion Chase, The World Hurdle and The Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Champion Hurdle and Champion Chase are 2m races - the shortest distances in NH racing and are held on the Cheltenham Old Course as are all races on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The World Hurdle and Gold Cup are held over stayers distances of 3 miles and 3 miles 2 and a half furlongs respectively. They are raced on the New Course on Thursday and Friday.
Other races include Grade 1 novice chases and hurdles, big prize pot handicaps as well as handicaps for amateur riders, conditional jockeys and hunter chasers as well as a mares hurdle race and two races for juvenile hurdlers (4 year old horses).
The Stars
Perhaps one of the greatest appeals of National Hunt racing is the opportunity for horses to become household names due to the lengths of their careers. Unlike on the flat where stallions are carted off to stud after 2 or 3 years, most NH horses are geldings and usually aren't begun to be raced until they develop into their strongest frames between 5 and 8.
Festival heroes include Istabraq who is a three time winner of the Champion Hurdle. More recently, Hurricane Fly who is trained by Irish top trainer Willie Mullins won the 2011 and 2013 renewals of the race.
Just as we were blessed to watch the mighty Frankel in our lifetimes, there will surely be or have been very few who are better chasers than Sprinter Sacre at the height of his career. The Nicky Henderson Horse was undefeated over fences before having to pull up due to a heart condition last Christmas. He was defeated upon reappearance in the Clarence House Chase, though arguably was not hard pushed. Whether that is a good or bad sign will become clear as the festival unfolds. American followers of NH racing were cheering home Flagship Uberalles during his racing career, and with silks like those they must have been ecstatic when he made up for his loss when favourite in the 2000 QMCC by winning the 2002 renewal.
No horse have ever been bred to win a World Hurdle is a saying in the NH world. Most horses that win were bred with the Gold Cup in mind but didn't take to chasing for whatever reason. Though a winner of the 2m4f novices chase at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008, Big Buck's was reverted to hurdles after unseating his rider in the Hennessey Gold Cup in the next season. This was rather fortuitous as it turned out as staying hurdlers go, he was an absolute machine. Until an injury setback in 2013, he was undefeated in 18 runs, including 4 World Hurdles, 4 Liverpool Hurdles, 4 Long Distance Hurdles and 3 Long Walk Hurdles - all of which are Grade 1s. After missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, the 11 year old returned after a 400+ day absence for the 2014 Cleeve Hurdle during Festival Trials day where he lost his unbeaten record. There was no fairytale finish when competing in the 2014 World Hurdle, though he was retired a legend of the staying hurdle sphere to rapturous applause from the crowd.
The Gold Cup has been won by many beloved horses over the years - Arkle, Desert Orchid, Dawn Run. More recently Best Mate entered the hearts when winning his third successive Gold Cup. The image of his trainer Henrietta Knight embracing husband and former champion jockey Terry Biddlecombe at the post lives long in the memory - especially given the passing of Mr Biddlecombe last year.
Kauto Star is also a mutiple Gold Cup winner who retired in 2012. He had a famous rivalry with stablemate Denman who won the 2008 Gold Cup and whose career was blighted by a heart issue.
Another festival legend is Quevega who is on a massive unbeaten run herself. She won the Mares Hurdle at the festival an impressive 5 times in a row as well as the World Series Hurdle at Punchestown in the same years. Last year she picked up her sixth win in the Mares Hurdle but could not retain her World Series Hurdle crown and was retired to stud.
Ones to Watch
Even at the grand old age of 11, Hurricane Fly is having another crack at the Champion Hurdle in order to emulate Istabraq in winning it three times. This years competition will be one of the more competitive affairs. Favourites in the betting include new kid on the block Faugheen who as a novice won races from 2 miles to 3 over al sorts of ground. his versatility makes him the most exciting hurdling prospect in training although questions are in place over the quality of his victories this campaign. The New One returns flying the flag for Britain having arguably been unlucky in running last year. There is no doubt over his quality and he has a devestating turn of foot. Last year's winner Jezki returns having been beaten convincingly by Hurricane Fly three times this season. There can be no doubt he'll be primed for this race though some spectators question his record with Tony McCoy on board. This race is certain to be a fantastic showcase of hurdling and with any luck will be a fantastic spectacle.
With Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy returning from injury with question marks the Champion Chase appears to be a 4 horse race. The grade 1 preps for this race - the Tingle Creek and the Clarence House Chases have been won in most impressive fashion by speedy chaser Dodging Bullets.. Of the Irish horses, Willie Mullins trains Supreme Novices 2013 winner Champagne Fever who was narrowly edged out by Western Warhorse in last year's Arkle (2m novice grade 1 chase). An outside chance after victory in The Game Spirit chase is Mr Mole whom has been subject to an outstanding training performance by Paul Nicholls to get him to grade race standard. In the World Hurdle, a very open and unfortunately underwhelming contest looks to be on offer. With Big Bucks retired, More of That edged out Annie Power in a thriller finish last year. More Of That could be out injured and Annie Power may take the penalty kick of the Mares Hurdle. In the same colours as Big Bucks representing the Stewart Family, Saphir De Rheu is favourite after reverting from chasing to staying hurdling and winning the Cleeve hurdle (deja vu?!). The ever popular Zarkandar is also trained by Nicholls and was edged out by Reve de Sivola in the Long Walk hurdle before Christmas. Champion Hurdler (2012) Rock On Ruby will be trying his hand at 3 miles having shown potential to stay the trip when winning the Relkeel Hurdle - the same race More Of That landed before going on to victory here last year.

Finally, the Gold Cup looks to be King George VI Chase 2013 and 14 winner Silviniaco Conti's to lose. His opposition will come from last year's 20/1 winner Lord Windermere, Hennessey Gold Cup winner Many Clouds and Lexus Chase winner Road To Riches. Carlingford Lough landed the Irish Hennessey the day after AP McCoy announced his retirement, and what better send off for the soon to be 20 times champion jockey than to land the most prestigious prize in National Hunt racing.

TL;DR Have fun over those 4 days. Best of luck with your bets.
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[Table] IamA Assistant Racehorse Trainer in the UK. If you want to anything about the industry or horse racing in general let me help. AMA!

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Date: 2014-03-22
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Questions Answers
I'm involved in horse welfare and rescue in the USA. Here, owners and trainers rarely make provisions for horses that fail to race well or horses that can no longer race. They are commonly shipped to slaughter in Canada. Is it any different in the UK? Here in the USA, horses are raced as 2 and 3 year olds, despite the fact that no horse is skeletally mature before age 5 or 6. (For perspective for non horse people, a 2 year old horse would be about 13 human years old.) Is it the same in the UK? In the last ten to twenty years there has been an increased push to rehome and retrain as many horses as we as a sport can. I personally try to rehome every horse that leaves the yard to a good home, provided the owner is willing and doesn't want to keep it themselves. I wouldn't say that selling horses, particularly race horses, for slaughter is common practise here. I haven't encountered any instances personally. Horses are frequently run aged two or three in this country as well however I think it's wise to mention that while they do work hard it is not in our or the horses interest to overwork or break them down. In our yard if a young horse is showing signs of struggling we will ease off and give them time.
But, don't a majority of your horses run on turf (compared to US dirt tracks). We don't use dirt at all here. There are a few all weather tracks for flat meetings but most racing is done on turf.
, aren't pain medications more restricted in the UK circuits, so you really can't run a horse into the ground in the same way as US trainers can. Drugs are extremely restricted here, even a whiff of it and they will come down hard. Especially after the last couple of years.
Does the horse have any idea that he is going round and round? Oh yeah. They are clever bastards. You can often tell when it's time to retire a horse from racing because instead of carrying on the race when they get round the course and near to the stables they will try and pull up.
Where do they get jockeys from? Is it genetic? Do they have funny voices from getting their nads squished on the saddle every race? From Ireland generally! A lot do come from a long line of jockeys or racing families in general.
Well other than being Irish I guess the funny voice could come from the pounding their bollocks take...
What is a good resource to learn about racing in the UK if I wanted to attend as a tourist? This website is run by the governing body of racing and has lots of good information on racecourse and fixtures.
Once you have decided on where you want to go I suggest visiting some of the individual racecourses website as they are much more detailed. If you are visiting London during summer I do suggest going to Windsor they do fantastic evening racing, generally on a Monday night where you can get to the racecourse on a boat that comes up the River Thames. Cool huh?
Is racing there seasonal or year-round? Horse racing as a sport happens all year round however some elements of it are indeed seasonal.
For example Flat racing is predominately held over Summer, this is because these horses are generally smaller and appreciate 'faster' (read harder) ground.
During Winter we get most of the National Hunt meetings. National Hunt is the full name for jumps racing. Generally speaking horses are larger and as such need softer ground to prevent injuries and slow them down.
I've never been to a horse racing track and what are some of the reasons for me to want to go? Have you ever felt like the horses weren't being treated fairly on or off the track? Final question is have you ever witnessed anybody on the track gamble to much that you started to feel it was running their life? Sorry about all the questions! Horse racing is a fun and enjoyable pastime. It's great to get a lot of people together and go and have a few drinks and a couple of bets on horses, it really is exciting when there is money on it. It's a good fun day out and provided you budget like any other day out, it doesn't have to be really expensive either.
Welfare is a tough question to answer briefly but I will give it a shot and if their is more interest I can write up a larger response. I personally feel that the majority of trainers provide a very high level of welfare for their horses. We really do love the animals regardless of what people may say. Racehorses get treated especially well, better than most horses kept just for riding I would argue. We are incredibly strictly regulated on animal welfare issues and the punishments are severe for the very few people who do break the rules.
I personally am not a huge gambler, I have a little flutter every now and then but for the most part It don't gamble. I have not ever seen someone ruin their lives through betting but that's not to say it doesn't happen I'm sure.
If the horses are treated well, why are they whipped to make them run faster at the end of the race? It's to make them go faster, it causes the horse no damage and Jockeys are carefully regulated. Limits are set in place for how much a whip can be used and bans and fines for excessive use are common.
Horses are big animals and the whip is primarily a correctional tool, they are trained to respond to it and it's used to keep them under control. Most schools of equestrianism use the whip in some form.
Last year, there were some interesting articles in the press about how horse racing was a dying sport (for example, here and here). How does it look from your perspective? Horse racing is the second most attended sport in the UK, we also hold something like 6 of the highest 10 sporting fixtures in the UK each year. However the average age of the racegoer is getting higher and higher, at a higher level than I there must be a push to encourage a younger audience to attend racing. Racing in this country is coming under attack from decreasing in funding by the betting industry. Every year we receive less money to go towards prize money and such due to an archiac system called the Levy which is supposed to provided the sport with a proportion of bookmakers profits. Improvements look to be being made in this are as the Government, I believe, is pushing to regulate the betting industry differently allowing online betting in particular to be properly taxed and the money collected. It's tough for trainers right now. There aren't as many trainers around than there were in 2007. The recession hit us hard as unsurprisingly the first cost most people shed was a racehorse in training. Ultimately though the situation does start to look like its improving, people are buying horses again and yards are starting to be a bit larger each year. The next one to look out for is China. Racing is becoming very popular there and gambling isn't even legal on mainland china. If China liberalises at the rate it has been it may only be a few years before they regulate the betting industry and everything really kicks off.
Thank you so much for the reply! If you have a minute, I have another question or two... How often do horses race internationally, such as coming from the UK to race in the US or vice-versa? What about going to the Middle East? Also, are there many horses from South America in the UK racing circuit? Our top flight horses travel all over the world to contest titles. This is called "raiding" and foreigners come to England to do it too! The Breeders Cup is something every trainer wants to win. As for the Middle East the main draw is the money. It is insane. Next Saturday is the Dubai World Cup held at Meydan. They built this huge racing complex way out in the desert and hold loads of expensive racing at night to avoid the heat. Pretty surreal compared to here. I don't know of any South American horses running under rules and I'm not certain why they wouldn't. I suppose they don't have any good enough to warrant the expense of travelling over.
I was curious about the South American horses because a few years back there seemed to be a bunch of them on the American circuit from Argentina (that American owners had purchased). I think it had to do with the dollar being so strong and the economy in Argentina being so bad. Ahh. I think they race on dirt over in Argentina so they would be better suited for American racing.
Where are the races held? What are the most popular meets? Is "meets" the right word? Racing is held all over the UK Some of the most popular meetings are Royal Ascot, the Derby Meeting at Epsom and Glorious Goodwood on the Flat. Thousands of people attend these three or four day long meetings every year and it's really quite a sight!
Over the Jumps the most popular are the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National meeting at Aintree in Liverpool. The Cheltenham Festival is a personal favourite of mine as the atmosphere is truly electric, around 60,000 people attend each day.
Edit: Whoops! Yes meets is a fine phrase. More commonly people will say meetings, fixtures or races.
Thanks so much for your time, and I wish you the best of luck in the future! Your father sounds like a proper horseman. Id like to think I can spot a good one but not nearly as well as my father or my grandfather. It's a skill we all pick up the more we watch.
What's your favorite track? Have you had a few of your horses run in the US? I know whenever I see a steeplechase race in the program, the overwhelming majority of horses in the race are from Great Britain. My favourite to go to as a racegoer would have to be Newbury. The facilities are amazing and the racing is generally of a really high quality both on the flat and over the jumps. Professionally in recent years we have had some success at Plumpton down on the South Coast near Brighton, it's a nice little country course.
Not for my yard no sadly but I would love to come over for some of your racing. Some of my extended family take a few horses out there every now and then. It's every trainers dream to raid a Breeders Cup!
When it's clear your horse stands no chance, how much do you lay the horse on betfair? Call me a man of integrity but I don't at all. Maybe that's because it's been so long since I had a favourite...
Who makes the best sausages in Newmarket? Dunno mate. I'm all about the lasagne.
Roughly what percentage of races are still fixed? I have no idea to be honest. It's probably very very low, it's a hard thing to pull off and the punishments are very strict. Life long bans and potential criminal prosecution.
A few do attempt it of course, a big ring got taken down a few years ago. It's a shame that this is an issue that press fixate upon really as on a day to day basis you don't even think about it within the Industry.
Would it be advantageous for a midget to be a jockey? Not at all! Jockey's are professional sportsmen in a job where if you can't make the weight you can't ride. Some jockey's have to be very light while others can afford to be heavier, it depends on their role as every horse generally requires a different weight based on their handicap rating (A whole other kettle of fish).
Jockeys not only have to be light but have to be incredibly fit and strong. It's really hard work to ride a horse in that style for possibly four miles. Most jockey's I know aren't just good jockeys they are athletes who are proficient at most sports. They really seem to love golf.
If I could go back in time I would love to have gone the career path of a jockey... their commitment to the sport is fantastic and they really put their bodies on the line. Complete Commitment
I just hope some people understand the distances these jockeys travel just to do the job, they will do 2 meetings a day where possible, day in - day out. The physical exertion must be intense only to wake up and do it all over again. It's important to note that during the day most of them work for a trainer as well. They will ride out maybe three or four lots in the morning before going racing sometimes.
Do you gamble? Do you often get tips and are they reliable? Not often, I do for fun every now and then and always over the Cheltenham Festival.
Sadly not often but sometimes a good tip comes along. Often I'm too sceptical to believe it.
Thanks for doing this! I'm a big fan of horse racing and was wondering, what should I be looking at when placing my bet on a certain horse?. Days off? Avg class ? High speed? Etc. in other words , what is the most important stat? Form is the big one. Form over a comparable distance with comparable ground conditions. You can start to make educated guesses each way after that if you start to take in other variables like equipment etc.
The going has a massive impact from my experience, if the horse doesn't run well on a certain ground its a no-no. I couldn't agree more, going is vitally important however generally speaking when we run a horse on different ground than normal we are hoping it will overcome it.
When they state in the paper that they are wearing headgear or blinkers etc. do you think this can make a significant difference? Headgear is a really useful tool, sometimes they go really well. Other times it has no effect. Sometimes the effects deteriorate over time. Generally if one of mine is wearing head gear for the first time it means we have worked it at home and it's worked really well.
What was the most expensive batch of horse seed you know of being sold? By horse seed do you mean semen? If so in the Thoroughbred Bloodstock Industry Artificial Insemination is banned. Only natural coverings are permitted. Race horses are still crazy expensive though. People can spend millions of pounds on one horse.
What's your most gruesome story? i've heard some pretty horrific stuff from botched castrations/surgeries on horses. As for most gruesome I don't have any really awful ones about horses. We have had some nasty falls and one went through a barbed wire fence once but nothing truly disgusting. Likewise never seen any botched geldings or surgeries. But they do happen, I like to think the vet we use is pretty good so I hope it won't happen anytime soon!
Only live coverage is allowed? Fascinating. Why is that the case? So I take it that there is a limited amount of bloodlines unless you actually ship the horse out of country/continent? A few reasons.
One, limits the number of stock from a single stallion. AI decreases the cost of covering so semen would be more readily available. You would end up with thousands of foal in the same year by the same sire. Thats a quick way to fuck up your bloodlines.
Two, why would they change to it? Now all the selling power is held by those who it would affect most. The studs which own the stallions make millions of pounds a year in coverings, if they saturate (literally in this case) the market they will make loses.
Three, racing is an international sport, if one country did it and no one followed suit very quickly they would find themselves isolated with a horse population that couldn't compete abroad.
What is your favorite color? Blue. I like Blue...
That is the correct answer, OP. Now you must answer one more question to cross the bridge. What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? African or European?
European. Ffffuuu...
Ohh boy. I've been wanting to ask so many questions about your industry but wasnt quite sure what sub to go to. Thanks for doing this ama.A bunch of questions here. Hope you can clear things up for me. How do trainers even make money. Sometimes the odds of a horse winning are upwards of 20/1 when the prize money is usually around 10k-20k(?). factor in the logistical, training and acquiring costs and seems like a losers game to train a horse (?) Hey man! Hope I can help. Trainers charge the owners of horses a training fee. This is generally a daily charge plus extras . Sometimes it's very hard to make money as a trainer, a lot of people don't turn a profit training racehorses many just do it for the fun and the lifestyle.
How do you even judge how fast a horse will be when you go to three auction? Generally breeding, if the mare and stallion are good the horse has a better chance of being good. Ideally you compare the horse to a full sibling however this is rare and you generally end up comparing them to half brothesister on the maternal side.
The Grand National seems like an absolutely absurd event to me. Would you say it enjoys broad support among the racing community? I think it's a truly impressive spectacle that is the hardest test we throw at our toughest horse and jockey teams. I don't feel it's representative of the day to day life in the racing world however.
I worked at the grand national once. a G4S man tried to crush me in a bin. Consequentially I don't trust anyone associated with your profession. Sorry about that. Aww come on. G4S as in the men being done for manslaughter? Trust me when I say we hate those hired security at the big meetings more than you do. We normally know the guy on the gate because it's been the same one for maybe twenty years. However at the big meetings they roll out extra staff and they get lost in the crowd somewhere...
How much pressure is there for the horses to get results? If you had a severe patch of not winning many races does this affect the finances of the yard? Everyone wants their horse to perform at the height of it's ability so it's tough. Hopefully you have owners who understand it's just a patch and that fortune will turn round in the long run.
Yards as a general rule of thumb don't really on prize money to fund themselves, it does however draw in new owners!
So whats the bread and butter of a decent yard then? The brad and butter is training fees through a daily cost per horse plus extras.
One or two wealthy owners who love the sport and who have three or more horses each are what every yard really needs. These owners are hopefully loyal and will use you year after year, topping up their stock. They are the ones who keep racing afloat.
In respect to training under saddle, what do the horses need to learn beyond the very basics of carrying a rider? In other words, what are some of the subtleties of a good racehorse's training? A lot of the time it's basic riding skills, shortening and quickening stride etc but the real aim is to get them to respond as well to the rider as possible. They have to respond to being asked to quicken or shorten. Ultimately each horse is different and generally the rider changes a lot to suit the horse.
Do you worry about having them change leads during certain sections of a race? With stride length, is it all based off rein cues since the jockey doesn't really have any leg (or seat!) aids to work with? Thank you! To be perfectly honest by this point I'm just glad I have got them there, it's the jockey's job to make sure he gives them a proper race. If you watch a race you will see the jockey uses his entire body when quickening, they still use their heels as much as they can!
So it's basically all about speed control? Could you explain how jockeys signal for the changes? Watch this
You can see as they come round the corner the jockey is holding his hands in a way that the bit just makes contact with the horse and holds it steady. When they ask them to go faster they break that contact and the horse no longer feel the bit and are physically encouraged by the jockeys movement.
Where do you get the leprechauns used in horse racing? and how do you coax them to ride horses for you? I generally find them hanging around rainbows actually. I offer them gold.
Did you ever get to work with / alongside Kauto Star? If so, just how awesome was he in person. His last King George win brought me to tears, such an amazing, beautiful horse! Sadly no but I was always a great fan of his. Great looking animal he was!
When I was in Newmarket visiting some of the tracks I was told that horse racing began to decline in the community when corruption with gambling and the treatment of jockeys were made aware. Due to these dilemmas, the community no longer firmly supported horse racing because it did not contribute to the steady state of the community that they initially sought. Is there truth to this? Can you further explain? Thanks! I think that maybe historically that could be the case but less so in this day and age. Nowadays corruption is rare and much easier to detect, staff welfare is very important and they have their own unions which continually lobby for better conditions.
Would you rather train 100 duck-sized horses or 1 horse-sized duck? Come on.
One horse sized duck. Think of the eggs...
Have u ever met John McCririck and is he a douchebag ? Not a face to face introduction but have attended several events he's been at.
Can confirm. Is a douchebag.
I just purchased an OTTB here in the US...he has set osselets and his last race was this past January. Is it common to race a horse with known ankle problems? Nope. If it moves badly it doesn't race. Fluid, comfortable movement is one of the most important things in horse welfare.
Do your racehorses piss frequently, or is it just that when they do have to piss, they really have to piss and can't hold it in? Aww man. They piss a lot. And it's not pleasant either. Did you know, horses are unable to walk and piss. They just can't do it.
Horses like to piss at irritating times, unless of course we are being dope tested and they will absolutely refuse for hours.
Did you know, horses are unable to walk and piss. I don't think that I could either; it's an eitheor thing for me. You should try it. it looks hilarious.
Odd question, but have you ever had any luck teaching them to do their business in one particular place, like a dog, or do they go pretty much anywhere? I worked at a stable once, and there was an old stallion who would only "go" in one corner of his stall... Horses are weird. There is no method. Some are just mental.
What kind of preparation does the horse go through the day and night before a race? I've always wondered do horses ever have a terrible nights sleep or a bad travel to the course and that causes them to under-perform. Whats the most common reason a horse under-performs in your opinion? There is a few things that may happen. If the race is far away the horse may travel to the racecourse the night before. This is to allow it to recover to be in best condition as long travel is taxing to the horse.
If it's at home I will give it less bulky feed at it's morning feed. Just high energy protein generally. We will then jump in the box and drive to the racecourse to arrive a few hours before the race. I think travel is a consideration when considering under performing horses.
Most common reasons for underperformance... I'd have to say the ground. If the ground isn't to the liking of the horse it can have a real effect on the way they run the race.
What happens to mediocre horses after they're through racing? We try to rehome them just as well as the best ones. A lot of owners really care about their horses and take them back for their retirement. If nothing can be done sometimes they have to be put down which is always sad.
What's the best breed? Both for racing and in general. Well thoroughbreds. It's the only professional racing in this country and I think they look just great.
Would it be legal for you to bet? It is legal for me to bet on one of my horses to win. I can't bet to lay a horse. I believe Jockeys can't bet at all.
Edit: Word change...
Who's going to win the Derby this year? God I wish I knew. Aidan O'Brien's probably got a good shot with his thing. That man gets some class horses.
What kind of jobs are there in the racing industry? I have grown up with horses and would love to work with them professionally but unsure what is available really. Do you need racing experience to become involved in the racing world? Exciting to see a fellow Brit here :) Try this
My best advice is find your local trainer and offer to work on weekends. They may pay you but they might not. If you're lucky they will give you a chance.
Hi,I was a part time worker of japanese horse racing track.it was the easiest and well paid job I have ever gotten. do you have any ideas to improve japanese horse racing industry?or do you know any good japanese jockeys or horses? Hey there, I don't really know much about Japanese racing apart from it's got one of the best prize money returns! I think we can learn a lot more from you than you could from us.
When jockeys change weights, do they have to make up additional weights? If so, how are the additional weights attached on? They do indeed need to carry more weight. This done in the form of weight plates, these are made of lead and added to a special weight cloth worn under the saddle.
Do you get to go to the races with the horses you train? I try to go with as many as I can, either to lead up and groom or to saddle up. Sadly I don't have as much time as I used to but I still make all the effort to go. Especially for my favourites.
If you make it to Brighton, there's a load of redditors who meet up several times a week. Fantastic! I quite frequently go to Fontwell and Plumpton which are both nearby (kinda) haven't raced at Brighton though. I will have to alert the redditors next time I'm there...
BTW, Where's Shergar?? I will forward that question to Findus for you. They are good at hiding horses.
Is operant conditioning used in training, i.e. race with other horses and reward the horse when it wins? I wouldn't say it's used as a training method. If one of mine wins I always give it a little something extra and a few days off.
My potential future father-in-law was a horse trainer in his youth. What are some things I can learn about it for conversation topics? Perhaps a book or some similar resource so I can ground myself in some of the basics? Just start to follow racing a little, try and understand how it works. As for books I don't really know anything personally but some people are great fans of the Dick Francis novels which are based round horse racing however I can't say I have read them.
What does it take to train a good racehorse? Im yet to have a good racehorse, maybe I could let you know in around 30-40 years? I might find one by then...
But seriously some guys have a really good strategy, Nicky Henderson is always right up there on the Jumps side and Aidan O'brien recently has been incredibly good. I think the trick is to lots of wealthy owners!
Does the industry believe that sheikh Mohammed's investigation, that coincidentally cleared him of any knowledge of what was going on, was genuine? Who knows? I doubt Shiekh Mohammed would have actually turned to his trainers and said "Use drugs bro." I would imagine that the environment of pressure he puts on those who work for him is so great they feel like they have no choice.
that Dubai airlines flight full of drugs... that was just a coincidence then? Not at all, the drugs scandal has stuck very firmly to Shiekh Mohammed. He might well be guilty but I wouldn't know either way!
Were you just at the gold cup in Cheltenham? My wife is from (and her parents still live) about five minutes drive from the track :) Sadly not the Gold Cup! I went on Thursday for the World Hurdle and it was a really great day. Cheltenham is one of the best courses in the country and I really love that part of the Cotswolds.
What happens to foals who don't make the cut as racing horses? We try to rehome and retrain as many unraceable thoroughbreds as possible. However if nothing else can be done some are sadly put down.
I've won the last two grand nationals with 100 to 1 winners from random tips off strangers on the internet. So random stranger do you have a tip for me? I am not your random stranger my friend. Go with your system, pick a long shot for the national. Anything could win it.
As someone from Louisville, Kentucky, have you ever been to Churchill Downs? If so, what is your opinion on the track? It's one of the most known tracks worldwide because of the Kentucky Derby. Sadly no! But I am visiting Kentucky this time next year so let me know what I should do when I visit.
Do ya'll eat the horses when they are too old to race? What do you think I ate for dinner? Pizza?
(It was Pizza...)
Hi! You answered in another question that the horses know they're going round in circles, they know where the stables are and so on, but how well do they understand the concept of racing - i.e. how well do they know that the point is to be ahead of all the other horses at a certain place? Yeah some are better suited to different kinds of races. Some like to be in front all the way and hate to have other horses compete with them. Other like to slowly build from the rear of the field and then burst forward using their turn of foot. Others just plod along at the same pace and hit the line just right.
Last updated: 2014-03-26 20:02 UTC
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Monbeg Dude is a former winner of the Welsh National and is a prominent figure in the 2014 Grand National Betting, whilst the likes of Irish hope Prince De Beauchene, Hennessy Gold Cup winner Triolo D'alene and former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Long Run add great depth to the race. 16:15 Crabbie's Grand National Result 1. Ok our tuppence worth on the Grand National for you as promised. Aintree 4.15. Grand National (Staked to £10 nominal total stakes for clarity) COLBERT STATION 50/1 £4 Win £1 Place. RAZ DE MAREE 50/1 £2 Each Way. BURTON POINT 16/1 £1 Win . Today is mainly about trying to get the National winner and for reasons given later I have ended 2014 Irish Grand National Betting. Being the biggest steeplechase means of course that the race attracts considerable interest from both racing followers and racing punters and there are numerous betting options, some of them can be seen on Irish Grand National Free Bets, made available for this site this year, by one of the most popular Who will win the 2014 Irish Grand National? For the latest tips and the best live horse racing betting experience, we recommend William Hill.. Irish Grand National Winners since 1960 The Irish Grand National was sponsored by Irish Distillers under various names up until 2010 when Ladbrokes took over as the sponsor from 2011-2013. Boylesports took over as Irish Grand National sponsor in 2014 and appointed jockey Barry Geraghty as the first ever ambassador of the race.

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