A Day at the Races - Sandown Park Elmbridge Community Raceday

Sandown Park, famous around the world for hosting the notorious Coral-Eclipse and equally famous for being the Queen’s mother’s favourite racecourse, was our place of residence yesterday afternoon for the Elmbridge Community Raceday.

Transport to the racecourse is easily accessible from London. Direct trains from Waterloo go to Esher. From Esher station it is a short walk (around 10 minutes or so) to the racecourse itself. Likewise, for those who decide to drive there is plenty of parking in the course itself.

The day started off the way every race day should do “2 pints of Doom Bar, please”. I was pleasantly surprised that sandown now has an ale bar, propped up in the center of the main hall. As far as I know this is a unique addition to any racecourse I have been to, and a welcome one at that. The bar itself sells a variety of ales, one for everyone's tastes. Prices tend to be consistent with every racecourse.

As my colleague and I nursed our first pints of bitter we proceeded to sit by the parade ring. Pulling out our race card we were determined to pick the winners! Racing Breaks ambassador Jim Crowley was riding in the first on May Girl (6/1). Having done our further research we were confident of it’s potential and proceeded to back it. £5ew returned potential winnings of £35!

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This short 5f sprint was over in a flash (quite literally, it was a photo finish). Jim had done it yet again! A few scattered cheers went up as the decision was announced over the PA system. Clearly, not a popular horse to back with the punters. This called for a celebratory glass of champagne.

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The next race featured the highly rated Joshua Reynolds. Initially backing this favourite, I decided to change my mind very last minute. Terrible mistake. Instead, I lumped my previous winnings on Duke Of Bronte off the advice of one of my other colleagues via a Whatsapp message. In the end, Joshua Reynolds cruised home for the win with Duke Of Bronte probably still running around the track as I type. Moral of the story? Never listen to your work colleagues.

And this was a sign of things to come. Having tasted initial success in the first, the third, fourth and fifth all followed the theme of the second. Backing the wrong horse. It wasn’t until the sixth when we finally called the next winner (Finale, 11/10). Pun fully intended. Although, the little money we won on this horse was all wasted backing Alemaratalyoum (9/4) in the last.

Despite turning our pockets out only for dust and moths to fly away, we left Sandown in high spirits. Just like the Queen's mother, Sandown is one of my favourite racecourse and one I cannot wait to attend again on the 10th August for an evening at the races with Olly Murs. I just hope next time I can back some more winners.

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Glorious Goodwood - Tuesday 1st August 2017

Yesterday (Tuesday 1st August) marked the first of the 5 day Qatar Goodwood Festival 2017 with some huge outsiders winning and the weather held out providing us racegoers with some great sunshine!

I was lucky enough to attend the meeting and thanks to the generosity of Goodwood racecourse was treated to a Richmond Enclosure badge upon arrival. Walking through the ticket collection point I was greeted by the smell of some delicious food stalls and a variety of music playing from live acts all on my left set along the grass lawns, and to the right was the main Grandstands.

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I arrived at the racecourse at around 11:45, leaving myself plenty of time to get some pictures of the racecourse in all its glory before it quickly filled up with racegoers. I should also point out that Goodwood racecourse was probably the best racecourse I have been to in regards to not having to queue at the bars for drinks. Usually, as I’m sure you all know, you can be waiting for around 5 to 10 minutes to get some drinks at the bar. However, Goodwood had many places spread throughout the racecourse where you could purchase drinks meaning I didn’t have to queue at all at any bar!

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The first race of the festival offered drama with Dark Red crossing the line first however after a stewards enquiry was later disqualified and awarded second as Fabricate was deemed the winner due to Dark Red running across the field in the final half furlong obstructing the other runners.

The second race saw the only favourite of the day come in with Expert Eye who made the Qatar Vintage Stakes (Group 2) look easy, winning comfortably by 4 and a half lengths and will be one to watch in the future having a pristine record of 2 in 2. This was also the first of the Andrea Atzeni quadruple of the day!

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The Qatar Lennox Stakes was the third race of the day and saw favourite Limato line up in the race which many saw him as a good price to win, including myself (opened at 3/1). Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be as it was a very close battle in the last furlong with Limato finishing fourth to outsider Breton Rock who won at 50/1 and was the second of Atzeni’s winners.

The 4th race of the day was the feature race, The Goodwood Cup Stakes. This saw Big orange attempt to win the race for a record third consecutive year however he just didn’t have the stamina to remain at the front coming up the final hill and lost to second favourite Stradivarius who won by nearly 2 lengths!

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The next race saw the biggest winner I have ever seen at a race meeting, with the final verdict going to a photo finish as 3 horses crossed the line in a tight fought contest. The winner was announced as Thechildren'Strust who went off at 100/1 and I only heard around 5 punters cheer when this was announced just proving how much of an outsider this was.

The final two races of the day continued to go the book makers way with no favourites even managing to get a place in the races. The penultimate was won by 33/1 shot El Astronaute and the final race of the day saw Andrea Atzeni complete his incredible 4th win of the day aboard Shenanigans who went off at 15/2.

It was my first time at Goodwood racecourse but I will certainly be returning there as it is probably the most picturesque racecourse I have visited and it has a great, almost relaxed atmosphere with food and drink available at a vast amount of bars and food trucks, I would also recommend the ice cream stand behind the Gordon enclosure just before the entrance to the Richmond Enclosure.

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Tips for Goodwood Today:

  • 1.50 Hawkerland
  • 2.25 Secret Advisor
  • 3:00 Happy Like a Fool
  • 3.35 Ribchester
  • 4.10 Mushahadaat
  • 4.45 White Chocolate
  • 5.50 Sinofietta

Get more winners from expert sports betting community OLBG, download the app today!  

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An Evening at the Races - Epsom Downs 3/08/17

It’s hard not to feel a sense of awe coming to Epsom. The history, passion and pure love of racing runs deep through the roots at this racecourse. Famous internationally for hosting the Epsom Derby and the Oaks, yesterday it played host to ‘An Evening at the Races’, followed by a live jazz performance.  

Despite being a windy, cloudy day this was not a sign of things to come (in terms of betting, at least). Punters pockets at Goodwood this week may feel a little light, but Epsom certainly made up for this with 4 out 6 favourites claiming victory.

The day didn’t start of all so well, however. My money was on number 7, The Gay Cavalier (5/2F). A dwindling performance saw this horse not challenging the leaders, finishing 4th. Despite my personal losses, this was all in all, an exciting race. Gold Merlion (5/1) led by 3 lengths 3f out. However, storming on the outside was Miss Inga Sock (11/4) piping Gold Merlion to the post on a photo finish.

A quick trip to the parade ring, and a study of form was my initial interests following this disappointing race. Ya Jammeel (10/11F) was racing in the next. This horse put in a very impressive performance on similar ground at Epsom a few weeks back, convincing me where to place my money. There was no challenge to Ya Jammeel drawing clear of the pack 2f out. Finally, after a poor week at Goodwood I had backed a winner! I’d regained my magic touch.

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The following three all followed a similar theme. The favourites claiming convincing victories. Perhaps the standout performance was Jim Crowley upon Coral Sea (7/2JF) in the third. After racing all day at Goodwood, Jim made the trip north to Epsom (About an hour or so drive). Showing no signs of fatigue he rode Coral Sea home beating Nightingale Valley (7/2JF) in the process.

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As the racing concluded and the jazz proceeding, the drinks started flowing. This wasn’t helped by the punters heavier wallets. With everyone in high spirits, the inevitable starting happening. A conga of men weaving around the scattered tables. Seems a bit much for a Thursday evening, presuming most of these have work the following morning. Oh well, it’s all in good spirits and this is what the racing is all about, having a good time!

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It must be noted, however, I didn’t make much of this ‘jazz’. The performance was good and enjoyable but saxaphone covers of Eliffel 65s ‘I’m Blue’ and White Stripes ‘Seven Nation Army’, for me doesn’t qualify as jazz. Although, admittedly it did get the crowd going.

As the evening drew to an end, I left Epsom extremely satisfied. The racing lived up to its potential, backing many winners and the evening's entertainment was a good laugh. Unfortunately, I’m not attending Epsom again this summer but having attended the Oaks in early June and again last night I can’t wait to return in the Autumn.

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Sandown Park 10/08/17 - An Evening at the Races With Olly Murs

What a night! An evening races followed up by a live performance from Olly Murs. Not too bad for a Thursday. However, the evening didn’t start off so well. Being my clumsy-self I inevitably forgot the tickets (if you knew me, you really wouldn’t be surprised about this), only realising my mistake as our taxi pulled into the racecourse. Red-faced, and about 10 minutes before the first race, I politely asked the lady behind the ticket desk if they could reissue me the tickets. Thankfully, there was no problem and we were granted access. Phew.

Quickly scattering to the track, about 3 minutes before the race begun, we took up our position on the grass verge. With the sun beaming down, I fancied my chances. Epsom had been very kind to me the previous week with a number of favourites claiming victory. Surely it couldn’t be the same two weeks in a row? 18/1 longshot Victors Bet was where my money was at. In all honesty, the odds reflected the horse's performance. After a slow start, it never really challenged the leaders finishing stone-dead-last. The winner of the race was the 5/2 favourite Canberra Cliffs.

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Not too worry, I thought, Epsom had started in similar fashion the previous week and I did well there. Following my own advise (backing the favourites), I proceeded to back Highland Mary (Evs, F) in the second. For me, this race sums up betting experience. Leading over 3f out, Highland Mary soon dropped away and last by halfway, tailed off over 1f out, finishing… Last. The winner of this race was Santorini Sun (9/1). Oddly, a loud roar went up when this horse rode for home. Clearly, a lot of people had been to Santorini on their holidays!

Ah, I thought. By this point I was determined the pick a winner for the next. A quick trip to the parade ring convinced me where I should put my money. The handsome Cassini (11/2) looked the horse to beat for me. How foolish was I. A slow start saw Cassini struggling from the off. Despite this, he was in touch with the last trio finishing third. Perhaps a quicker track and a better start may have seen this horse finishing in a stronger position. Certainly one to keep an eye out for in the future. The winner of this race was the 8/11F Dubhe. Obvious one to back in hindsight.

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Now, by this point I was thoroughly depressed. 3/3 losers. Knowing my time for backing a winner was imminent, I went big on Time Chaser (5/4, F), after conducting my research on the Racing Post app (highly recommend downloading this app). A nervy race saw jockey Kieran Shoemark tracking the leaders. Leading with 2f to go, Time Chaser was always holding the rivals. Finally! A winner. Although not condoning chasing your losses by any means, in this particular scenario it worked.

High spirited, the next race was perhaps too hard to call. Not wanting to lose any more money, I decided to not place a bet on this race. And my hunch was right. 12/1 outsider Black Bess jockeyed by apprentice jockey Paddy Bradley. Bradley rode an eye catching race heading the pack 2f out, keeping on strongly winning the race. Again, another one to look out for in the future.

With the sun setting over the Surrey countryside, it was time for the final race. Wealth Tax (6/4) was a strong favourite here. Having placed my bet, the theme of the favourites claiming victory continued. Tracking the leaders, Wealth Tax closed in centre over 2f out, ridden to lead just over 1f out, keeping on to secure victory.

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Now it was time for the legend that is Olly Murs. A swarm of people headed towards the stage in order to try attain the best view to see him. The performance was rather enjoyable, knowing all the songs he performed. Perhaps my favourite part of the performance was towards the latter stages where Olly performed classic songs from the 70s, 80s and 90s! This really got the crowd going.

The aim of the project when it was first thought up was to showcase to people that there is more to racing than just going to watch some horses run. If there was ever a race day that prove this stigma untrue yesterday was the day. A day filled with sunshine, laughs and enjoyment was topped off by an outstanding music performance by an international artist. Race days such as these keep the burning love for the sport alive.

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Irish Night at Kempton Park 16/08/17

Yesterday, Wednesday 16th August 2017, was my experience to explore what Kempton Park had to offer. Never having attended Kempton before I wasn’t sure what to expect. Getting there couldn’t have been easier (even in the London rush hour traffic). From exiting the a3, a short trip past Esher, down to Hampton Court & passing along the river Thames, I soon found myself driving into the grounds of the racecourse.

Kempton is very unique in its own right when compared to its two closest London neighbours - Epsom & Sandown. A nice addition which separates it from its two sister courses is the well maintained grass verge, stretched along the finishing line. Multiple benches were laid along the verge which on a day like yesterday, with the sun beaming down, was ideal for nursing your drink, reading the race card in preparation to pick your next winners!

And that’s exactly what I done. It must be noted that in these smaller race meets, the favourites tend to do much better than in the larger ones i.e Royal Ascot, Cheltenham etc… Maybe it’s just my own experience, but it certainly seems to work for me.

For whatever reason I didn’t listen to my own advice on backing the favourites in these smaller meets for the first race. Don’t ask me why, I just had a hunch. And my hunch was right. 8/1 shot Mountain Peak defied odds and claimed victory! Cracking start.

“That was my long shot of the day over and done with, it won’t come in again”, I thought to myself. As such, I proceeded to do what I do best. Backing the favourites.

And it paid off! The favourites came in on the second third and fourth. Quids in!! Now being confident and perhaps slightly over reading the Racing Post tips, I stupidly backed outsiders for the corresponding 3. Oh, what a mistake. As I’m sure you can already tell these tips were about as useful as a waterproof towel.

Drowning my sorrows (or in this case eating), I thought it was only best to treat myself to some food. Kempton has an excellent selection of food stools to choose from. The independent food stools which set up shop outside the parade ring sell some very tempting food. However, I ended up going for the mushroom pizza. Great choice.

Bit on the crispy side as you can tell

Bit on the crispy side as you can tell

However, racing isn’t all about the betting side of things. Yes that is a massive part of the fun, but it’s also about more than that. A love for the horses... Appreciating the work jockeys have to put in to maintain their weight… Reading up on the trainer.. I could carry on all day.

Some fantastic entertainment in between the races featured a live Irish band performance. Suitability playing in the Guinness bar, at the far end of the main hall, this was great entertainment to pass the time in between the races. As I’m sure you can imagine, the later the evening went on, the number of people getting up dancing grew larger.

However, this was just a sign of this to come. It was time for the main evening's entertainment. Celtic Journey, an Irish folk band, rocked the tunes overlooking the parade ring. A great evening, capped off by a great performance.

Be this my first experience of Kempton and it was certainly a pleasant one at that. A warm evening with bags of entertainment weaved in where can (oh yeah, and the racing was pretty decent as well I suppose). Kempton, I will certainly be back.

Top 8 International Bucket List Races!

Horse racing may be more synonymous with countries such as America, UK and Australia but the sport has historical roots in many more countries! In this blog you’ll be taking an international trip around the world to discover some of the best overseas racecourses.

 

8) Palio di Siena - Siena, Tuscany

The Palio di Siena (more commonly known as the Palio) is the oldest horse racing spectacle held twice a year - 2nd July & 16th August. With roots dating back to 1663, the Palio divides families from all over Siena. On the week leading up to the Palio, the central square in Siena is converted into a race track and tons of sand is laid down for the horses to run on. Horses representing specific regions in Siena compete with each other in what is simply the craziest race in the world! Tickets don’t come cheap, however, with some fetching up to over €1000.

7) Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe - Chantilly, Paris

Popularly referred to as simply the “Arc”, this French horse race was first introduced to the world in 1920. From there is has grown to be the richest horse race in Europe with the total purse for the race €5,000,000. Usually held annually at Longchamp, this racecourse has roots stemming back to 1857 with the Arc being the highlight of its callender. Some recent notable winners include Golden Horn (2015), Treve (2013, 14) & See the Stars (2009).

6) Velká pardubická - Pardubiche, Czech Republic

The Velká pardubická is the most famous steeplechase run in the Czech Republic. The race was first ran back in 1874 and takes place annually on the second Sunday in October. The race itself is nothing like we have seen here in UK with the length of the race 6.9km, with 31 obstacles. Averagely, this race takes between 9 & 10 minutes with the fastest time 8 minutes and 58.99 seconds by Sixteen in 2008.

5) Kentucky Derby - Kentucky, U.S.A

Churchill Downs plays host to the world renowned Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks. The racetrack occupies 147 acres, featuring a one-mile dirt, oval racetrack and a seven furlong turf race course. It has to be said that the Kentucky Derby is amongst the major sporting events America has to offer, with a constant incredible atmosphere from morning to night for at least two days. The purse currently stand at $2,000,000 making it amongst the richest horse racing purses available to win!

4) Dubai World Cup - Dubai, U.A.E

The one and only Dubai World Cup is one of the most popular events of the racing calendar. Taking place at the architecturally gobsmacking Meydan, there is plenty to feast your eyes on. Referred to as one of the richest races in the world, Dubai has been pipped to the post  by the now richest race ever, the Pegasus World Cup. This spectacle is so much more than horse racing with shows, performances and much more going on around you and all in one place. This year saw the unstoppable, Arrogate win the incredible prize money of $10million. 2018 will be a serious race and one not to miss with hot competition coming through the ranks.

3) Hong Kong International Races - Hong Kong, China

The Hong Kong International Races includes one of the highlights of the turf season, with the Hong Kong Cup taking place on 10th December at Sha Tin racecourse. Last year, local trainer Noriyuki Hori won with 5 year old Maurice and Ryan Moore onboard. The racecourse is only a short distance from the centre of Hong Kong, with city acting as a well lit backdrop to the races in the dark of night. The races purse totals HK$83million making it the richest race on the turf. Watch more race fixtures on 5th December at the only other racecourse in Hong Kong, Happy Valley.

2) Melbourne Cup - Melbourne, Victoria

The 2017 running of the Melbourne Cup is fast approaching. The Carnival takes place from Saturday 4th through to Saturday 11th November, with an incredible four days of racing to keep you busy. The feature race of the week is the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup which is considered to be one of the best staying handicap races in the world, making it a really interesting race with tactical rides from each jockey. Flemington racecourse is only a short distance outside of the centre of Melbourne, Victoria and offers plenty to the crowds throughout the week. Other races include the Kennedy Oaks, AAMI Victoria Derby and Emirates Stakes. An opportunity to travel and enjoy some of the best racing in the world.

1) Breeders Cup - California, U.S.A

Not long until the 2017 Breeders’ Cup championship takes place once again. This year the Grade 1 extravaganza will be held at Del Mar racecourse, California where top class owners and trainer will flock from all over the world. Last year Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate beat the odds-on favourite, California Chrome by a nail-biting half a length in front of record crowds. The Championships is also an unofficial end to the american racing season, often with the Breeders’ Cup Classic aiding the decision of Horse of the Year. The current prize money compiles to $28million over the course of two days racing, making it an extremely competitive spectacle.

Baden Baden

Baden Baden is not only famous for its top class horse racing, but also for being one of Europe’s best spa destinations. It is also a quaint hangout for celebrities, and wellness addicts that head to this elegant town in the Black Forest region of Germany, an easy 80-minute train journey from Frankfurt, to relax.

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Betfair Super Saturday Review

Last Saturday (11TH Feb) Newbury Racecourse hosted the Betfair Super Saturday along with a variety of racehorse stars including the likes of Native River, Altior, Bristol De Mai and many more. The race card included the highly anticipated Betfair Hurdle, along with the Denman Chase which would offer an insight into two of the top five favourite Gold Cup runners – Native River and Bristol De Mai. Five of the seven races on the card were won by the betting favourites, Bristol De Mai went off favourite in the Denman Chase but failed to reward punters.

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