Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Golden Horn

Golden Horn
Bred and owned by Anthony Oppenheimer and trained by John Gosden in Newmarket, Suffolk, Golden Horn was named Cartier Horse of the Year in 2015 after winning the Derby, the Coral-Eclipse, the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. All in all, in a career lasting just over a calendar year, he won seven of his nine races and earned over £4.4 million in total prize money.

A March foal, Golden Horn raced just once as a juvenile, overcoming greenness to win a run-of-the-mill maiden stakes race over an extended mile at Nottingham in October, 2014. However, he improved significantly from two to three, winning the Listed Feilden Stakes, over 1 mile 1 furlong, on his reappearance at Newmarket the following April and readily accounting for stable companion Jack Hobbs in the Betfred Dante Stakes, over 1 mile 2½ furlongs, at York a month later.

Golden Horn was supplemented for the Derby, at a cost of £75,000 to connections, and faced 11 rivals, headed by Jack Hobbs and Giovanni Canaletto, trained by Aidan O’Brien, who’d been narrowly beaten in the Group 3 Gallinule Stakes at the Curragh on his previous outing. He was sent off 13/8 favourite and duly collected, running on well in the closing stages to record a comfortable 3½-length victory over his old rival Jack Hobbs.

Winning jockey Frankie Dettori, who’d first won the Derby eight years earlier on Authorized, said afterwards, “When you’re young, you don’t really appreciate the full importance of this Derby, so it means a great deal to win it for a second time.”

Golden Horn took on the older horses for the first time in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown in July and, although involved in a good battle with The Grey Gatsby throughout the last half a mile, stretched clear in the closing stages to win by 3½ lengths. He faced The Grey Gatsby again in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York the following month and, as he had at Sandown, started 4/9 favourite to extend his unbeaten record to six. Golden Horn beat The Grey Gatsby easily enough but, surprisingly, failed to overcome 50/1 outsider Arabian Queen – a three-year-old filly officially rated 21lb inferior – going down by a neck.

Golden Horn resumed winning ways in the Irish Champion Stakes, won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe under a fine ride by Frankie Dettori and finished his career by finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland, Kentucky.

Tuesday, 17 December 2019


According to Timeform ratings, which are widely accepted as a definitive measure of the relative merit of racehorses from different generations, Harbinger was on a par with Shergar, Dancing Brave and Sea The Stars, but raced just once at the highest level.

In the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July, 2010, he beat a field that included Workforce, the Derby winner, Cape Blanco, the Irish Derby winner, Youmzain, second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe the previous October, and Daryakana, winner of the Hong Kong Vase the previous December, by 11 lengths. Sadly, Harbinger suffered a fractured left foreleg in a routine gallop on the Limekilns in Newmarket shortly afterwards and, although the injury wasn’t life-threatening, he never raced again.

Owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Harbinger was a slow maturing type, who didn’t race as a two-year-old and, frankly, didn’t appear to have any aspirations of becoming a bona fide Group 1 contender until he turned four. His three-year-old campaign started promisingly enough, with an impressive win in a maiden, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Chester in May on his second start, followed by another convincing victory in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, on his first attempt at 1 mile furlongs, when next seen in July.

However, despite starting 13/8 favourite for the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes at York the following month, he trailed in last of the seven runners, beaten 27¼ lengths, behind Monitor Closely. Given another short break, he was dropped back into Group 3 company for the St. Simon Stakes at Newbury in October, but could still only finish third of 11, beaten 6¼ lengths.

Harbinger blossomed as a four-year-old, though, striding clear for an impressive 3-length win over subsequent Yorkshire Cup winner Manifest in the John Porter Stakes at Newbury on his reappearance in April, followed by further convincing victories in the Group 3 Ordmonde Stakes at Chester and the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Before his injury, he was already hot favourite for the Juddmonte International Stakes at York and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but was, tragically, the highest rated horse in the world for just two weeks.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Where, and what, is Tattenham Corner?

Strictly speaking, ‘Tattenham Corner’ is the local name for a residential area, more correctly known as Tattenhams, or Great Tattenham and Little Tattenham, in Epsom, Surrey. However, ever since the distance of the Derby, run at Epsom Downs Racecourse, was increased from a mile to a mile-and-a-half, in 1784, the name Tattenham Corner has been synonymous with the sharp, downhill, left-handed bend on the upper, or eastern, section of the racecourse, which leads runners into the three-and-a-half furlong straight.

The Chipstead Valley Railway, which originally terminated at the village of Kingswood, was extended to Tattenham Corner Railway Station – so-called because of its proximity to that part of the racecourse – in time for the Derby in 1901. It would appear as if the use of ‘Tattenham Corner’ to describe the residential area in the vicinity arose from the name of the railway station, rather than the other way around. For more horse racing questions and answers visit the racingquestions.co.uk site.

Monday, 4 November 2019

Multiple Bets

In the days before the abolition of off-course betting tax in the early years of the twenty-first century, a multiple bet, typically in the form of a double, on two short-priced selections, was a legitimate way for horse racing punters to avoid paying tax on the second selection. Of course, betting tax is long gone, but multiple bets, in the form of doubles, trebles and accumulators, remain a carrot that bookmakers dangle in front of small-stakes betting shop and armchair punters.

The prospect of a large, possibly colossal, return for a small initial outlay is undeniably attractive. Nevertheless, punters should remind themselves that they are betting at multiple odds, in the first place, and be prepared for losing runs consummate with the odds attempted. Winners will often go astray and control over the ebb and flow of any betting bank will be diminished, at least to some extent. Those following horse racing at YesBets and the like, can also take advantage of free bet offers, of 'best odds' recommendations to tip the balance and the odds further in their favour

Of course, a multiple bet must be placed with a single bookmaker, so punters are limited to the prices offered by that bookmaker, rather than having the pick of the market prices, as would be the case with a single bet. Many bookmakers now offer ‘best odds guaranteed’ on most, if not all, horse races in Britain and Ireland, which means that pricing is less of an issue than it once was. Even so, a difference of half a point, or even a quarter of a point, in the price of any selection(s) can make a huge difference to the total return once multiplied throughout a bet.

From the bookmakers’ point-of-view, multiple bets are an excellent money-spinner. Double, treble or even five times the odds for a single winner in popular multiple bets, such as the ‘Lucky 15’, ‘Lucky 31’ and ‘Lucky 63’, has become the norm, as have bonuses of up to 25% on all-correct versions of those and similar bets. By contrast, single win bets are the bookmakers’ biggest loser, which is why you rarely, if ever, hear anything about them in advertisements and press releases.