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.


Sunday, 20 October 2019

Workforce

Workforce
Bred by Juddmonte Farms, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah and trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Workforce was a bay colt by 2,000 Guineas winner King’s Best, famous for winning the Derby and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2010. In fact, Workforce won just four of his nine races between 2009 and 2011, but his two successes at the highest level contributed to total career earnings of over £3.2 million and were sufficient for him to be named Cartier Three-Year-Old Colt in 2010.

Having won his maiden at Goodwood in September, 2009, with consummate ease, Workforce was beaten 3 lengths by subsequent Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco in the Dante Stakes at York on his reappearance the following May, although his cause wasn’t helped by the bit slipping through his mouth in the closing stages. In any case, he was sent off 6/1 joint second favourite for the Derby at Epsom three weeks later and, having collared pacemaker At First Sight with over a furlong to run, drew away to win by 7 lengths. In so doing, he broke the track record set by Lammtarra 15 years earlier.

The King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July was his next target but, despite starting 8/11 favourite against the older horses, he ran the proverbial ‘stinker’, trailing in fifth of six, beaten 16¾ lengths, behind the 4-year-old Harbinger, also trained by Sir Michael Stoute. Sir Michael said afterwards, “I didn’t know which was the better horse. I’ve never pitted them together. It was just a question of which horse had progressed the most since his last run.”

Workforce wasn’t seen again until the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October where, in a rough race that saw the eventual seventh, Planteur, disqualified for causing interference, he ran on strongly to beat Japanese challenger Nakayama Festa by a head. In so doing, he gave Sir Michael Stoute his first winner of the race. Stoute said, “I'm thrilled to have won it with this horse, especially after he was so brilliant in the Derby and inexplicably disappointing in the King George.”


Monday, 30 September 2019

Altior the One to Beat In King George VI Chase



With the National Hunt season set to get in full swing in October, we take a quick look ahead to the second most prestigious chase on the English hunt racing calendar.
 
 

Prestigious race

 

The King George VI Chase is second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in the pecking order of National Hunt chases. The Grade 1 steeplechase is run at Kempton Park over a distance 3 miles (4,828 metres) on Boxing Day each year. Horses aged four-years-old and over qualify for the event which was won by the Paul Nicholls-trained Clan des Obeaux in 2018.

The race was first held in 1937 and has produced famous stars such as four-time winner Desert Orchid and five-time winner Kauto Star. Jockey Ruby Walsh was on board for each of Kauto Star’s wins and remains the most successful rider in the history of the race.
 
 

Prospect of big-name showdown

 
 
Although the race is some months away, preparations are already underway and the stage is being set for a showdown between two of the sport biggest names. The Nicky Henderson-trained Altior has been targeted for the race and will warm up with a run at Ascot in the Christy 1965 Chase in November. There, he will almost certainly go up against Cyrname who could also line up in the King George.
 
 

Early bookmaker’s favourite

 
 
Altior is unbeaten in 19 starts over jumps but has never run more than two and a quarter miles before. If all goes well, he could even take a shot at the Gold Cup next year. His is already favourite for the King George VI Chase in the early horse racing odds with ante-post prices of 5/2 available, while Cyname can be backed at 5/1.
 
 

New kid on the block

 
 
Cyrname is the new kid on the clock who will be hoping to upset the party having already excelled at Ascot this year. The handicapper has rated the newcomer slightly higher but the Christy 1965 Chase should offer some clarity on their respective credentials before the Boxing Day bash.

Altior has barely put a foot wrong in the last four years has already gained superstar status. He regained the Champion Chase at Cheltenham earlier this year to make it four-consecutive years with a festival win.


The Gold Cup question

 

Those two races will be crucial in deciding whether Altior will go on to compete in the Gold Cup or revert back to the Champions Chase. If he can go on the claim the King George and the Blue Riband prize at Cheltenham, he will go down in history as one of the greats. But there is a lot of work to do between now and then.


 

 
 
Whatever happens in November and December, the prospect of seeing these two horses going head to head during the Xmas festival at Kempton has already got National Hunt fans licking their lips in anticipation. The big question is: Can Altior make the step up in distance?