Hello Good Morning and Welcome
With the Flat Season engaging full gear and due to pressure of work, this is the penultimate article from these quarters. I will do a paddock report from Newmarket and then its eyes down to try and provide plenty of winners.
I hope I have provided some food for thought in the topics I have covered in these last few weeks.
Racing has plenty of problems at the moment and continues to lose its share of the betting markets. What is quite depressing is that the powers that be seem to be carefree to the terminal decline that is taking place. If you ask any racing enthusiast how the game can be improved I daresay they would quickly knock up a list of items as long as your arm. At the moment the game is being run purely for the benefit of the Off Course Bookmakers who as I see it have precious little interest in Racing’s Punters and are only concerned in ensuring the FOBTs continue to act as a cash cow for their management and shareholders. The BHA are happy to support this state of affairs as long as the Bookies throw them a few crumbs.
So what to do? First it is essential that Racing regains ownership of the Tote. How this was allowed to go to a national bookmaker was beyond belief. The first thing Betfred did was to increase the deduction from the Win Pool so as to make it uncompetitive. If Racing can take back the Tote it could reduce take outs especially on the Win Pool to say 5% for Internet Punters who can then use their phones to get on anytime. Naturally an extra charge would have to be added for the racecourse totes to cover local overheads. In the past the Tote had high overheads which they do not have with the Internet. The Internet has changed the way punters bet and the reduced costs could easily be passed on. Let’s face it everything is done on the phone nowadays. Racing needs to compete especially with Football and a 5% deduction would equalise take outs and thus be fully competitive. Punters could bet into the Pools from around the World and Racing could then truly market its product globally.
Similarly, the Tote could then be more aggressive in marketing its other Big Pools including the Placepot and could perhaps add new products like a Triple Trio as they have in Hong Kong and for which the Pools are enormous. The benefits to Racing would filter throughout the game and put Racing back on the map. Punters would also be able to get on with no problem whatsoever.
It was interesting that of the 6.1 Million people who went racing last year some 4.7 Million were day trippers out on a once a year booze up. If these hoochers were to go elsewhere for their day out this would leave attendances very low in comparison. Put simply the BHA needs to consider its core audience first and the core audience are the Punters. Lose them and you lose the whole game.
The weather has seen more brass monkeys than ever recently and going racing has been hard work rather than a relaxation. At Sandown horses were late into the paddock and many missed the pre parade altogether. The Sandown management were oblivious to all this and with so many horses with light blankets on, paddock viewing was largely a waste of time. Every study that has ever been has proven that horses do not need extra clothing above 5 degrees centigrade. If there is a wind chill then the traditional half blanket might be added to ensure vital organs are kept warm but as long as horses are on the move then no extra items are necessary. Therefore the light full blankets are not needed and are there for fashion only.
Hopefully the weather will improve in the next few days. April is a funny month for betting as it is always difficult to match last year’s form with this season’s. Most folk forget that horses have to find about 10lb weight for age improvement in order to maintain their relative standing from last Autumn. Some find that improvement, some don’t. So when backing animals from last term you have to take it on trust that they will make it. So unless you have good info regarding recent work on the gallops, Form Students are usually better off waiting for the form from this season to settle down.
Regarding Sandown, it was interesting to hear Richard Hannon say that Toormore was ‘likely to need the race badly’ before the Group 2 bet365 Mile. In the paddock beforehand the horse was the epitome of fitness and wellbeing so why the trainer was moved to make such a remark was beyond comprehension. Also the celebrations in the Winners Enclosure by connections immediately after the race gave every indication that the win was fully expected. Naturally any punter might think that things were said to put the public ‘away’. Strange behaviour indeed.
Midterm was impressive in taking the Classic Trial. Looking as if he would benefit from the run the colt knuckled down well to take the spoils close home and there is surely a deal of improvement to come. His time was easily the quickest of the 5 races to be run over the trip that afternoon which included older horses. Not overly big he is a good quartered sort who should handle Epsom well. Much will be gleaned from his next run but things are very much on track at the moment.
Ascot staged a good card last Wednesday. Brocklesby winner The Last Lion was turned out in fine trim and there were fortunes for it forcing it from Evens to 8/15. He was never commanding even though he had the run of the race and he is surely better than this. Buratino from the same stable, was beaten in the race last year before going on to better things.
The 3yo fillies Dawn of Hope and Raaqy looked good before the Conditions event and both will be better over a longer trip. By comparison, morning favourite Light Up Our World had run up light and looked poor. I had issues with the yard last year as many of the maiden winners failed to maintain improvement and consequently did badly when upped in class. I will be looking at their future runners very closely before investing any of my money.
John Gosden’s stayer Flying Officer was his ebullient self but could not concede 5lb to Mizzou and Clever Cookie. They will renew rivalry in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown next month.
Gifted Master continues to coin it in for Hugo Palmer and master rider Pat Smullen quickly led the field and maintained his advantage to the line. C Note has made up into a nice sort and not enjoying the best of passages, is better than this.
Back next week
Good Luck and May The Gambling Gods be With You.
Chris Anzani Racing