Friday, December 20, 2013

Premier Information: Done in bid to resurrect racing at Great Leighs

Good to see that the Great Leighs race track may eventually get going. We reproduce the article below courtesy of the Racing Post.

BETFRED owner Fred Done is at the heart of a new attempt to resurrect the racecourse at Great Leighs.

Done, along with SIS and Bet Solutions International, the parent company of the course's betting partner Betsi Ltd, has formed a company that has taken on the Essex track.

The new owners, who hope to rename the course Chelmsford City Racecourse subject to permission, expect to be ready in time to enter the BHA's fixture application process for 2015 in the new year.

There is no grandstand at the track but planning permission in place, while the Polytrack surface is said to be in extremely good condition.

The new owners plan to offer at least £42,000 in prize-money per fixture, with some meetings offering more.

Betfred's director of racing Joe Scanlon has been appointed as racecourse chairman. He said: “I’m delighted that a new joint venture company has acquired the assets of Great Leighs and I look forward to working with our partners.

“The track is ideally placed for Newmarket’s training centre, while the surrounding area has a total catchment in excess of three million people.

“This is an exciting challenge and represents a significant investment. Working closely with the BHA we intend to deliver a high class programme of racing which can only be to the benefit of everyone involved in our wonderful sport.”

The news is the latest twist in the remarkable story of Great Leighs which became Britain's first new racecourse for 81 years when it opened in April 2008 but closed in January 2009 after it was announced the companies owning the racecourse had been put into administration.

The track has remained closed ever since despite the efforts of previous owners MC Racetracks, who had two subsequent applications for fixtures declined by the BHA.

MC Racetracks is no longer involved and the new owners said that neither is the course's founder and former owner John Holmes, who was last week arrested along with his partner Jill Turner and a second man over allegations of involvement in a £2.4 million VAT fraud.

All three have been released and bailed to report to their local police station on March 5 and 6 next year. They have not been charged and they deny the allegations.

If you would like to read more articles such as the one above, you can read up to date news on our Premier Information website, along with looking at some of the other blogs in the industry such as Brians Betting.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Premier Information: Heart Problem forces our old friend Binocular into retirement

The article below is reproduced courtesy of the Racing Post

BINOCULAR, winner of the 2010 Champion Hurdle, has been retired after he was diagnosed with a heart problem which trainer Nicky Henderson said went some way to explaining the nine-year-old's below-par performances last season.

The JP McManus-owned hurdler, last seen finishing 28 lengths behind Hurricane Fly in this year's Champion Hurdle in one of only two starts last term, had not returned to training this season while he underwent further veterinary examination in Ireland.

Henderson said: "Extensive tests have been done on him and it appears he has a heart issue that is not going away so the decision was taken to retire him. I think you would have to conclude that there was something underlying that we couldn't detect that would easily explain some of last season's performances."

Binocular won 11 of his 22 starts over hurdles, four at Grade 1 level including two victories in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and the Champion Hurdle in which he beat Khyber Kim. His last win came in the 2012 Kingwell Hurdle and he earned his connections £797,648 in prize-money.

"When he was right he was a very good horse, absolutely bang top class," Henderson added. "He won a Champion Hurdle and probably should have won three."

If you'd like to find out more about horse racing and racing news, you can follow us on the Premier Information Twitter account. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Premier Information: Commentator turns Jockey

Channel 4 racing presenter Rishi Persad has agreed to take part in a charity race at Cheltenham.

The article below is reproduced by Premier Information courtesy of the Racing Post.

BROADCASTER Rishi Persad will have a starring role at the Cheltenham Festival after it was announced he will be one of 12 riders to take part in the St Patrick's Derby charity race on Thursday, March 13.

It is the fifth running of the 1m5f Flat race, which has raised more than £800,000 for Cancer Research UK.

Persad, a presenter for Channel 4, Racing UK and the BBC, will be joined by Nigel Roddis, development director at Great British Racing and Lucy Bridgwater, wife of trainer David.

Sophia Brudenell, communications manager at Cheltenham, said: "We had a huge number of entries for next year's St Patrick's Derby and it was therefore really difficult to pick the 12 chosen riders.

"We wanted to ensure that we have a mix of people riding from both the racing industry and those who ride either as a hobby or in another equine sport. People of all ages are participating and both sides of the Irish Sea are well represented.
"I really hope that next year's race will push the total amount of money raised by Cheltenham for Cancer Research UK to over £1 million, which would be an amazing feat in the five years of the partnership."

Frances Milner, director of supporter-led fundraising for Cancer Research UK, added: "We don't receive any government funding, so every step towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated. We wish all of the participants the best of luck and we look forward to welcoming them over the finish line."

The line-up is completed by Morgan Stanley banker Kieran Ryan, Dubai-based Sheikh Samir Mirdad, Emma Cook who works at Cheltenham, Michelle Turner, a director at Pertemps, point-to-point enthusiast Heather Kemp, Wexford trainer Bernadette Murphy, County Meath businessman Douglas Taylor, student Tom O'Neill and Cheltenham businesswoman Alexia Buckwell

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Premier Information: Richard Hannon retires to hand the reigns to Richard Hannon Junior

We reproduce the article below courtesy of the Racing Post.

THE long and glorious career of Britain's champion Flat trainer Richard Hannon will officially come to an end next month after he revealed to the Racing Post that son and assistant Richard jnr will take over the stable's training licence on January 1.

Hannon, who became champion for the fifth time this month, has written to owners, including the Queen, informing them that he will stand down at the end of the year.

In a glittering career that has endured since 1970, Hannon has been associated with a large number of top-class horses, including most recently star milers Canford Cliffs, Toronado and Olympic Glory.

The 68-year-old also this year trained his fourth British Classic winner when outstanding filly Sky Lantern landed the 1,000 Guineas under son-in-law and stable jockey Richard Hughes.

Hannon said on Thursday: "It has been a long career and I've trained a lot of winners but it's about time that Richard got his name on the roster of trainers.

"It was always going to happen, but Richard jnr has served his apprenticeship and you cannot keep him waiting forever. Ian Balding passed the baton to Andrew and Barry Hills did likewise to Charlie, and it is only right that Richard should now take over.

"We thought long and hard as to when to make the announcement, but I wanted to make sure all my owners knew first, especially the Queen, and now that all the yearlings are in for next season it is the appropriate moment to let everyone know. After all, it is Richard's 38th birthday today - what better present could he ask for?

"Inevitably, people will say that I have retired, but I will still be up and out at first lot and assisting Richard instead of him assisting me.

"It is not my style to lay in bed all morning - I love being with the horses, but these past couple of seasons I have started to wind down and go racing less.

"I will still go to Newbury and Salisbury and also Royal Ascot and Goodwood, but I am now 68 and maybe it is time that I dropped down a gear.

"The quality of horses he has definitely improved these last two or three years, and that is down to Richard jnr. It was him who brought in Sheikh Hamdan [Al Maktoum] and Sheikh Joaan [Al Thani] among others, and we can now go to the bloodstock sales with fatter cheque books than we have done in the past."

Hannon also reflected on some of the horses he has been involved with.

He added: "I have been lucky enough to have trained some great horses. The first Classic winner is always special and I will never forget Mon Fils [1973] landing that Guineas, while Tirol and Don't Forget Me also have prominent places in the scrapbook, but there have been plenty of others, notably Canford Cliffs, Paco Boy, Toronado, Sky Lantern and Olympic Glory.

"We have one more roll of the dice this year, Sky Lantern in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on December 8. We have enjoyed another fabulous season, with seven Group 1 winners and £5.5 million in prize-money, but it would be nice to finish with one more biggie, and maybe Sky Lantern can make the dream become reality. She is very well and she will love the fast ground out there.

"Then who knows Richard jnr might get off to a flying start by winning the 2,000 Guineas with Toormore or one of the others. Now that would be the perfect lift-off, wouldn't it?"

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Premier Information: Big Mac Loses His Case

Interesting to see that John McCririck has lost his case against Channel 4. At Premier Information, we're always interested to see what's happening in the racing world!

The article below is reproduced courtesy of the Daily Mail.

John McCririck has lost his age discrimination case against Channel 4 after an employment tribunal ruled against him.

The 73-year-old argued that he was sacked as a racing pundit by the broadcaster because of his age.
But today a Central London Employment Tribunal panel ruled against him and accepted Channel 4's argument that the decision was made for commercial reasons.

Mr McCririck claimed he was dumped from his high-profile role on Channel 4 Racing by 'anonymous suits and skirts' as part of a drive to hire younger faces.

The pundit, famed for his deerstalker hat and gold jewellery, took his former employer and TV production company IMG Media Limited to the tribunal, alleging his sacking last year was motivated by age discrimination.

Both firms denied discrimination in the £3million case.

Mr McCririck said today: 'This is an historic setback for all employees in their 30s to their 70s.
'After such a landmark judicial verdict, my failed legal action ensures that anonymous suits and skirts, who control the media, numerous other businesses and the public sector, will now enjoy complete freedom to replace older employees whatever their unimpaired ability and merit.

'I have let them all down along with my wife, the Booby, my legal team, friends, colleagues and countless members of the public who supported me throughout. My grateful thanks and apologies to every one of them.

'Former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett MP said in August, "The way TV executives worship the cult of youth seems to be an unstoppable fetish." It is now.

'With my legal team we are now out of contact while studying the judgment in detail.'

During the hearing Mr McCririck admitted that he made sexist remarks and behaved rudely on screen, particularly when appearing in reality TV shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Wife Swap.

However, he insisted that he only did so as part of a 'pantomime' role which had been encouraged by Channel 4 in order to promote him as a memorable character.

Witnesses from the broadcaster and production company said that he was considered 'offensive' and 'disgusting', leading to his sacking when Channel 4 hired IMG to produce its racing programmes and unveiled a new presenting team headed by Clare Balding.

In closing submissions Thomas Linden QC, counsel for Channel 4, said McCririck had suggested he could switch from one 'thoroughly obnoxious' persona to another, more serious one.

But he insisted this was not true, saying that bosses could not ask the presenter, 'Please be clean-shaven, please wear a grey suit, please don't go for this extravagant manner, please don't portray yourself as slightly mad, please don't be aggressive with the public.'

Mr Linden told the tribunal that a survey suggested that McCririck was highly unpopular with viewers.
'Even without data, it's a reasonable assumption, isn't it, that the claimant's profile, whether that is in his reality television programmes or in racing broadcasting, was off-putting to many,' he said.
'A lot of racing viewers are right-thinking people who find this sort of behaviour obnoxious.'
Jennifer Eady QC, representing Mr McCririck, told the panel the 73-year-old had already suffered the humiliation of having his days and hours cut but had carried on working.

'Why? Because Mr McCririck was passionate about this job,' she said. 'If there was one thing he loved doing it was this and he had done it for 28 years.

'It was hard to draw any conclusion other than this was his life.'

She said IMG wanted a 'younger, sexier, more glamorous' programme, which had influenced the decision to axe McCririck from its coverage.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Premier Information: King George Entries

With the jumps season moving forward it was interesting to see the current contenders for the King George for Boxing Day.  
Below, courtesy of the Racing Post, you can read about the leading players.
LONG RUN, winner of two of the last three editions of the William Hill King George VI Chase, and last year's runner-upCaptain Chris top a high-class list of 30 entries for the Christmas highlight.

Paul Nicholls, who sent out Kauto Star to win a record five runnings of the King George, has Al Ferof, Rolling Aces,Silviniaco Conti and Tidal Bay engaged while Long Run's trainer Nicky Henderson has also entered Gold Cup winner Bobs Worth, Captain Conan, Finian's Rainbow and Riverside Theatre.

Willie Mullins, who won the King George with Florida Pearl in 2001, has Sir Des Champs and Prince De Beauchene in the field while Lord Windermere, Mount Benbulben, Flemenstar,Argocat, Rubi Light and Roi Du Mee have also been entered from Ireland.

Katenko is one of two entries in the King George for trainer Venetia Williams, along with Houblon Des Obeaux, and he has been cut to 14-1 (from 20) by Betfred for the Paddy Power Gold Cup next Saturday after being allotted 11st6lb on Wednesday.

Top weight of 11st12lb is Finian's Rainbow, while recent Old Roan Chase winner Conquisto is on 11st3lb.

Conquisto's trainer Steve Gollings said on Wednesday: "Conquisto has come out of the Old Roan 100 per cent and I could not be happier with him.

"He is in the Paddy Power Gold Cup, but nothing is certain yet. We will assess the race at the next stage and take it from there, but other possibilities include the Amlin Chase at Ascot and the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon. It's exciting stuff."

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Premier Information: National Hunt Horses

National Hunt racing is an extreme test of basic physical qualities in a horse – soundness, endurance and durability.  Although speed and jumping ability are essential requirements of any winning performance, these talents will never be fully realised unless a horse has the ability to withstand the constant rigours inherent in this code of racing.

The ever present unpredictable element posed in a race by obstacles and injury conspires to make National Hunt racing a powerful leveller of horses and men.   This ensures it retains its original sporting flavour, attracting many supporters, owners, etc, from farming and country communities where there is an appreciation of the difficulties, uncertainties and patience required to bring a National Hunt horse to full racing maturity.   Many successful National Hunt horses have bred and reared by their owners, whose sympathetic interest and involvement have made certain the horse has been given unhurried consideration to establish a racing career.   Success emanating from such an approach cannot be simply bought, and this aspect of the National Hunt horse has less attraction for the sometimes business-minded Flat race owner who looks for a faster return on investment.

Whilst the racing life of a flat racehorse may be short, The National Hunt horse avoiding serious injury can expect five or six seasons, involving a two part career.   First as a hurdler and then as a chaser.

The length of time a horse spends as a hurdler or chaser will be determined by the age at which it embarked on a National Hunt career and what was considered initially as its possible forte.   A hurdler is considered to be at its peak at six or seven years of age and a chaser is thought normally to be at the height of its powers at nine or ten years of age.

We will continue to look at National Hunt horses in the next part of this article which will appear here soon.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Premier Information: Rock of Gibralter

At Premier Information, we love to look at some of the interesting things that have happened in horse racing history. We all remember the joy of watching Rock Of Gibralter race in the colours of Sir Alex Ferguson and the falling out that occurred between Coolmore and Sir Alex in a row over ownership.

It was interesting to read the article below which we reproduce courtesy of the Racing Post which outlines the circumstances.    Clearly the dust has settled!


SIR ALEX FERGUSON has claimed that his very public falling out with Coolmore Stud boss John Magnier over ownership of Rock Of Gibraltar came about as a result of a "misunderstanding on both sides" and that it did not affect his job as manager of Manchester United.

Writing in 'Alex Ferguson, My Biography' which was published on Tuesday, the now-retired manager claims to be on good terms with Magnier following the row and subsequent legal battle over his involvement in the champion racehorse who retired in 2002 with future stud fees estimated at £100 million.

Sporting Ferguson's red-and-white silks, Rock Of Gibraltar became the first in the northern hemisphere to win seven consecutive Group 1 races, surpassing a record set by Mill Reef.

Ferguson writes: "My understanding was that I had a half share in the ownership of the horse; theirs was that I would be entitled to half the prize money. But it was resolved.

"The matter was closed when we reached a settlement agreeing that there had been a misunderstanding on both sides."

In his autobiography, Ferguson notes one "awkward" situation arising from the episode when urged at a Manchester United AGM to resign over the affair at a time when Magnier was a sizeable shareholder in the club along with JP McManus.

He writes: "I have to say that at no point was I sidetracked from my duties as manager of Manchester United. It didn't affect my love of racing and I am on good terms now with John Magnier, the leading figure at Coolmore."

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Monday, October 14, 2013

Premier Information: The British Horseracing Authority

In one or two articles, we have mentioned the BHA. The BHA basically run horseracing in the UK.   Below is a summary of their activities.

It is the British Horseracing Authority’s role to ensure the continued health and successful development of the sport. As both the governing and regulatory body it is the British Horseracing Authority’s responsibility to:

  •  provide the most compelling and attractive racing in the world
  •  be seen as the world leader in raceday regulation
  •  ensure the highest standards for the sport and participants, on and away from the racecourse
  •  promote the best for the racehorse 


  •  represent and promote the sport and the industry. 

Throughout its work, the British Horseracing Authority will be:

  •  strong - providing leadership, taking tough decisions where they are needed
  •  independent - acting fairly and with integrity in the best interests of racing as a whole
  •  responsive - listening and consulting, making sure we understand issues
  •  challenging - asking hard questions, of ourselves and others
  •  open - having the confidence to explain what we think, and able to explain why
  •  dynamic - professional, innovative and focused, delivering a quality service.

As the governing and regulatory body for the sport, the British Horseracing Authority’s responsibilities are wide-ranging.

They include:

  • Race Planning, including the supervision of race programmes and the employment of Handicappers: 
  • Disciplinary procedures, both on and off the racecourse 
  • Protecting the Integrity of the sport on and off the racecourse 
  • Licensing and registering racing participants - jockeys, trainers, horses, owners and stable staff 
  • Setting and enforcing standards of Medical care for jockeys and other participants 
  • Developing and maintaining programmes of Recruitment, training and education 
  • Setting and enforcing common standards for British Racecourses 
  • Research and improvements in Equine Science and Welfare 
  • Regulating Point-to-Point racing in the UK 
  • Compilation of the Fixture List 
  • Approving the Arabian Racing fixture lists 
  • Setting and enforcing the Rules of racing 
  • Maintaining our official Retraining of Racehorses charity 
  • The conduct of a day’s racing

As well as... 

  • Strategic planning and policy for Racing 
  • Central promotion of Racing 
  • Encouraging and fostering the breeding of bloodstock 
  • Representing Racing in dealings with Government 
  • Liaison with the Betting Industry 
  • Representing British Racing abroad, which includes membership of the Executive Council of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Premier Information: Overview of British Horseracing

Controlling Bodies

Although it is hard to pin down exactly when horses may first raced each other we can date racing’s governance in the UK back to as early as 1750 when the Jockey Club was formed. Although there have been recorded races (1174 in London being the first one) before this point it is hard to know too much about what exactly took place. The Jockey Club governed racing up until 1993 before handing over to the BHB (British Horseracing Board). The BHB stood as the governing body until merging with the HRA (Horse Racing Authority) in 2007 to create the BHA (British Horseracing Authority). The Jockey Club now runs 14 of the UK’s racecourses, in addition to Jockey Club Estates and the National Stud.

Britain’s Racecourses

There are currently 60 licensed racecourses in Britain with Chester (opened 16th Century) being the oldest and Ffos Las (opened 2009) being the newest. It is the eccentricities of these individual racecourses which make British racing so appealing. No track can be likened to another, something which cannot be said of American tracks which are all left handed and flat. Racing UK covers action from 30 British racecourses.

The Classics

There are five Classic races in Britain: the 1000 Guineas (first run 1814), the 2000 Guineas (first run 1809), the Oaks (first run 1779), the Derby (first run 1780) and the St Leger (first run 1776). Winners of these races can be guaranteed that their names will be etched into the history of racing beyond their racing days. Indeed many of the winners of Classic races go on to stamp their quality and class on their offspring when they retire to the paddocks. The most prolific classic winning stallion of the modern day is undoubtedly Galileo (2001 Derby Winner) whose progeny have been nothing short of phenomenal.


British Racing is steeped with trainers who have dominated racing on both UK shores and further afield. Present-day trainers such as Sir Henry Cecil, Sir Michael Stoute and Richard Hannon currently hold the mantle as being amongst the elite trainers of their generation. In fact, Sir Henry Cecil has an astonishing 25 classic victories to his name along with 73 Royal Ascot wins.


Ask any modern day racegoer to name a jockey and it is likely that the first name to roll off their tongue will be Frankie Dettori. This is because Frankie has been the one jockey to put racing in the spotlight on a continuous basis, as a result of his huge talent and even bigger personality. Tony McCoy has done a similar thing for Jumps racing although his talent has done the talking more than anything. These are just two great jockeys who are following in the footsteps of previous great such as Sir Gordon Richards, Fred Archer and more recently Lester Piggott.


Racing was ruled by aristocracy from the start with many large owners being wealthy landowners. While racing’s British aristocrats are still hugely involved in the game there is a broader number of owners than what there was centuries ago. The two ‘mega-powers’ of the game in the current day are John Magnier’s Coolmore operation and Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation. These highflying owners follow on from previous greats such as the Duke of Portland, HH Aga Khan III, Sir Victor Sassoon and Robert Sangster. Both men run huge operations with horses on the track and horses in paddocks with a view to breeding future superstars. Whilst owners and families come and go, it is safe to say that these two men are in it for the long haul and their legacies will have an impact on future generations of equine thoroughbreds.

If you're interested in more information on British horse racing and reading Premier Informations updates. Follows us on the Premier Information Twitter page or via LinkedIn.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Premier Information: Racing Welfare - A Jockey Club Charity

It is very easy to forget that there are many  many people working behind the scenes in racing.   Our article today is about Racing Welfare – a charity that helps those who help make horseracing what it is.

British racing and Thoroughbred breeding industry.

We give professional guidance and support to the unseen army of dedicated staff whose work is vital for the well-being of our sport.

This support makes a positive difference to people’s lives by empowering them to overcome any difficulties they face.

How do we help?

British racing is the last bastion of our rural economy where human skill and knowledge cannot be replaced by a faceless machine. Accidents can happen; and for the 70,000 or so people who work or have worked in racing and their dependents Racing Welfare exists to support them when they are in need irrespective of their occupation.

Racing Welfare helps to fund re-training for our injured stable staff; we provide welfare and social support to those living with their paralysis and life in a wheelchair or serious disability.  Racing Welfare also funds mobility aids and adaptions to properties. We help re-build lives. Through our network of regional welfare officers, Racing Welfare is the only racing Charity to help all of racing's people in times of need.

Racing Homes is the Charity's own housing association. It provides quality, safe affordable housing for those entering the industry and people who have retired from racing having dedicated a lifetime to the sport. Currently Racing Homes has 150 properties in its portfolio making us the largest housing provider in racing

Who do we help?

People like Workrider Jane McGill who whilst riding fast work on Epsom Downs in August this year suffered a fall that left her back broken and unable to ride ever again. People like Barney Bamford, an assistant trainer whose career and young family were rocked to the core by the paralysing fall he sustained on the training grounds. People like the yardman Martin Gear whose skull and nose were shattered courtesy  of a yearling’s kick in April last year, leaving him to carry bolts and plates for life that hold his skull together.

What does it cost?

Each year the Charity needs to raise £1.5 million to continue our work.

The administration costs are 13% so this means that 87p of every £1 donated goes straight towards helping racing’s people, these are the mainly unseen people working hard behind the scenes to deliver our fabulous racing entertainment.

The charity relies almost exclusively on the generous donations of racing people and racing organisations. If you love racing and care about the unsung heroes in our sport please consider supporting Racing Welfare.

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Premier Information: Going to the races

Do you love horse racing?  Do you love to watch horse racing?  Are you beginning to get interested in the sport?  If so, a day at the races is a good place to start!

There are 58 racecourses throughout the UK, so if you’re interested in horse racing there is sure to be one near you to visit to get involved in the action. If you're looking for a list of the racecourses, you can look at this page on the Brians Betting website.

What’s involved in horse racing?

If you have never been to watch horse racing before you may not know what’s involved but don’t worry, anyone can simply turn up and enjoy racing.

Reasons to go horse racing

There are a million and one reasons why you should consider going horse racing, here is just a few of them: -

  • If you are planning a stag do horse racing is a great alternative to what many people get up to on the stag do 
  • A hen do is a great excuse to go horse racing, as you can start your day dressed all glamorous for the races and continue right through the night at a local bar or nightclub 
  • If you have a special birthday coming up then a trip horse racing is sure to impress your friends and family and will be much more enjoyable than a regular party 
  • Do you have kids?  Watching horse racing isn’t just for adults anymore.  Most courses allow kids in for free and even run family friendly days 
  • Horse racing, or visiting a race course is great for a corporate event.  Corporate hospitality at most racecourses is a great way to impress new or existing clients or even to treat your staff

Even though there are lots of reasons to go horse racing we believe you don’t need a reason, a day out to watch horse racing is something everyone should try as we know you will love it.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Premier Information: Whats Happening At Warren Place

Since the sad death of Sir Henry Cecil, there has been much uncertainty of the future of the training operation at Warren Place. Those of you who have followed the fortunes of Sir Henry will be interested to read the article below which is reproduced courtesy of the Racing Post.

THE long-running debate about the future of Warren Place in Newmarket came to a conclusion on Monday when Lady Cecil revealed to the Racing Post she is to carry on training at the famous yard from which her late husband Sir Henry enjoyed incredible success for nearly 40 years.

The destiny of the historic stable had been the subject of intense speculation in racing circles ever since the ten-time champion trainer, for whom a memorial service was held just a week ago at Ely Cathedral, died in June.

Following Cecil's death, Lady Cecil was granted an emergency licence by the BHA and with the help of 'Team Cecil' has carried on the success story by sending out 31 winners including two emotional Group 2 victories at Royal Ascot with Riposte and Thomas Chippendale.

Rather than Warren Place being sold off, Lady Cecil will carry on the dynasty. She said on Monday: "I have spoken to our owners and our staff and confirmed that it is my intention to carry on as trainer at Warren Place.

"I have also talked to the BHA about plans to continue and have signed up to complete the training modules through the winter."

Regarding the past few months, she added : "It has been a difficult time but everyone has pulled together so well, which has enabled us to continue to get the results people associate with Warren Place. We've all wanted to make Henry proud and that will continue to be the case."

Premier Information provide up to date information on the latest in horse racing advice. If you want to find out more, you can follow us on the Premier Information LinkedIn page. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Premier Information: Different Types of Bets

At Premier Information, we know how important it is to make sure you are making a profit whilst betting and ultimately making a return on your investment. This guide is intended to let you know the different types of bets available and to give you a clear overview of what is available to try out. If you're looking for more guides like this, follow us on the Premier Information Twitter account, or on LinkedIn.

Win Bet

There are a number of different types of bets you can place and the simplest and probably most common is the win bet. This is one bet, on one outcome and you are backing the horse to win the race. Told you it was neither rocket science nor brain surgery!

Each Way

Another hugely popular bet is to back a horse each way. This is effectively two bets, with one going on the horse to win and the other going on it to “place”. The place terms vary according to the type of race and number of horses in it, although it’s normally for your horse to finish in the top three. The place portion of your bet pays out at a fraction of the main odds and again this varies but is usually 1/4.

So, if you have a £10 each way bet on a horse at 4/1 that will cost you £20, with £10 on the win and £10 on the place part of the bet. If it wins both bets win, so you get £10 x 4 = £40, plus your £10 stake back for the win portion. You also get your each way bet too, so ¼ of 4/1 is 1/1, or evens, so you get £10 plus your stake of £10 so £20 in total. Overall you get £70 for a profit of £50. If the horse finished second, third or fourth you would lose your £10 win bet but make £10 profit from the each way win to leave you level overall.

These can be a great way to back an outsider and still profit if it makes the places with a huge bonus should it really cause an upset and win. Its also a means of insurance in that you can ensure you do not lose your stake or part of your stake if you are placed but fail to win.

Single Bet

This is where you are backing just one, single event. So if you back Blue Boy in the 2.30 at Fontwell that is a single bet. This could either be, as above, to win (a win single) or each way.

Mutliple Bets

There are numerous different types of multiple bet. Starting from the most simple, a double, up to the complex, almost ridiculous Goliath, which actually includes 247 separate bets in one single wager.

A double involves backing two separate events, for example Big Banana to win the aforementioned 12.30 at Bangor (hypothetically at 2/1) and Synaptic Explosion to win the 15.00 at Wetherby (at evens). Both bets must win for you to succeed. A £1 double would cost you £1 and if both horses deliver you would get £6 back. After the first horse wins you effectively have £3 (£1 stake plus £2 profit) on the second horse at evens, resulting in a payout of £6 and profit of £5.

A treble is the same concept but with three selections. As well as being called multiple bets these are also known as accumulators, or accas for short. You may hear the terms fourfold, fivefold and so on, referring to accumulators with that number of selections.

In addition to these simple multiples you also have various combination bets such as the previously mentioned Goliath. With these you have multiple selections (for example a Yankee has four) and you cover the various doubles, trebles and, in this case, a fourfold. A Yankee is 11 bets in total: six doubles, four trebles and one fourfold. You need at least two picks to win to get anything back and as it is 11 bets, a £1 Yankee would cost £11.

Straight Forecast

This requires you to pick the top two horses in a race, in the correct finishing order. The odds will be set for that particular outcome, so the forecast of Lucky Jim (first) and Bad Luck Bob (second) might be 12/1 and to win you need that exact outcome. For this reason the bet is known in the US as an Exacta.

Reverse Forecast

Similar to the above but the horses can finish in any order. This is effectively two bets, so a £10 reverse forecast would cost £20.


One for the brave – pick the top three horses in the correct order. Big rewards await the successful here.

Rule Four Deductions

We would have included this with the explanation of the odds but didn’t want to confuse things. One thing to look out for when betting on the horses is that if there are late withdrawals your odds can sometimes change slightly. The odds are set based on the horses running at that time but if one or more withdraw, for example due to a late injury or the ground being deemed unsuitable, then your odds may be subject to a rule four deduction.

If there is a non-runner announced after the final declaration for the race your odds are reduced in accordance with the odds of the horse that was withdrawn. This allows for the fact that stakes are refunded on non-runners and the odds on all the other runners winning become shorter if there are fewer horses in the race.

The amount of the deduction varies according to the odds of the withdrawn competitor. If a strong favourite at a very low price, say 1/5 or 5/1 on (same thing) is withdrawn the deduction will be high as all the other horses now have a significantly better chance of winning, whereas the non-running of a 100/1 shot will have much less impact on the likely winner and so the deduction is far less.

Rule 4 Deduction Table

Below you'll find a table of the relevant Rule 4 deduction based on the odds of the horse that has pulled out of the race. Each deduction is provided as pence in the pound and is based on any payouts you may have.

  • 1/9 or Shorter - 90p
  • 2/11 to 2/17 - 85p
  • 1/4 to 1/5 - 80p
  • 3/10 to 2/7 - 75p
  • 2/5 to 1/3 - 70p
  • 8/15 to 4/9 - 65p
  • 8/13 to 4/7 - 60p
  • 4/5 to 4/6 - 55p
  • 20/21 to 5/6 - 50p
  • Evens to 6/5 - 45p
  • 5/4 to 6/4 - 40p
  • 13/8 to 7/4 - 35p
  • 15/8 to 9/4 - 30p
  • 5/2 to 3/1 - 25p
  • 10/3 to 4/1 - 20p
  • 9/2 to 11/2 - 15p
  • 6/1 to 9/1 - 10p
  • 10/1 to 14/1 - 5p
  • Over 14/1 - No Deduction

Rule 4 Examples

So if you bet on a race where the favourite was withdrawn at odds of Evens (2.0), you would lose 45p for every pound won. Therefore if your horse had come in at 10/1 and you had placed £10 to win, you would have £45 of your £100 profit removed resulting in an adjusted payout of £55 (plus your £10 stake).

If, on the otherhand, the horse that was withdraw also had odds of 10/1, you would only have £5 removed from your winnings - leaving a profit of £95.

Some bookmakers, particularly those with a strong online presence, have chosen to scrap the 5p Rule 4 deduction. This means that, for those bookies at least, no deductions are made if the horse that has been withdrawn had odds of 10/1 or higher.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Premier Information: Best Odds Guaranteed

Getting the best possible deal from the bookmaker.


In such a competitive market bookmakers will provide a plethora of incentives to gain punters custom and Best Odds Guaranteed is a terrific allurement.

Bookmakers will allow you to take the price of your selection and if the starting price is bigger than the price you have taking when staking your bet they will pay out at the bigger odds.

If you take the price and the starting price is shorter you will still gain the odds you bet your selection at, and so Best Odds Guaranteed nullifies any trepidation you may have when taking an early price.

Paddy Power, in particular, are one of the major bookmakers who offer Best Odds Guaranteed as they look to attract trade. Over the last few years bookmakers had only offered Best Odds Guaranteed on selected races, but Paddy Power are one of a number of bookmakers who now offer Best Odds Guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.

In the betting ring punters are always looking for the best price on offer for their selection and there's always that gambling element to taking a board price. However, with the Best Odds Guaranteed service being offered by online bookmakers, that worry is quashed as you will be certain to gain the starting price if it is bigger than the one you originally took when placing the bet.

Bookmakers offering Best Odds Guaranteed at the time of writing are:

Hills, Coral, Ladbrokes, Bet365, Stan James, Paddy Power & Betfred.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Premier Information: The St Leger Festival

As with a number of race meetings in the UK, the St Leger Festival is the highlight of the social calendar in Doncaster and a source of immense pride for Yorkshire.  The four day festival is run every September starting on a Wednesday and culminating on Saturday with the big one itself – the St Leger Stakes.  The ‘Leger’ is the last of five classics in the British racing calendar and the oldest classic of them all having been run since 1776.  Famous winners of the Leger include household names Nijinsky, Ribero, Dunfermline, Nedawi and of course, in 1985, Oh So Sharp who was the only filly to win the fillies’ Triple Crown.

Other hugely important races on the card include the Park Hill Stakes, a Group Two race for fillies and mares and the equally important Doncaster Cup over the long trip of two-and-a-quarter miles.  The Portland Handicap is another big betting race attracting interest from all around the country.  Tremendous hospitality and great entertainment are offered by Doncaster Racecourse to make the experience of the St Leger a memorable one.

Racing highlights on day one include the Listed Scarborough Stakes, run over a flying five furlongs, and the Leger Legends race.  Run over the trip of one mile, the Leger Legends Classified Stakes was introduced in 2010 and has become immensely popular with race goers, backers and the racing media.  This is a truly unique race in as much as it is for ex-professional jockeys and run for charity.

Day Two (Thursday) is Ladies’ Day and quite a spectacle if the Yorkshire sun is shining! Appropriately enough, the two racing highlights of this day are for the females, namely the Park Hill Stakes and the Sceptre Stakes.  The Sceptre is a Group Three run over seven furlongs while the Park Hill is an important Group Two race run over the St Leger distance of a mile and three quarters.

Friday is an important day on the racing calendar with three Group Two’s and a Listed race on the card.  The Listed race is the Flying Scotsman Stakes (seven furlongs) while the Group Two’s start with the fast five furlong Flying Childers Stakes for the two-year-olds.  The Doncaster Cup and the May Hill Stakes make up that line-up.

Saturday is of course the big day featuring the main event itself, the St Leger Stakes.  Although the Group Two Champagne Stakes and Park Stakes are quality races in their own right, it is all about the St Leger here.  Naturally a rich event with well over £500,000 in the purse, the St Leger can provide an opportunity for a horse to win the much coveted ‘Triple Crown’ of British horse racing should a horse have already taken the 2,000 Guineas and the Derby.  Big betting event the Portland Handicap is run on the final day also.

Tickets are at a premium for the St Leger Festival but with a capacity of 50,000 on ‘Town Moor’ there is always a very special atmosphere.

For more information about upcoming events, follow Premier Information on LinkedIn.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Premier Information: Live Horse Racing

Many of those who in joining Premier Information find themselves betting and taking an interest in racing for the first time want to watch the races they find themselves involved with.   This article explains that in this day and age, coverage is very extensive.

Never has horse racing been so accessible for the armchair viewer as racing from all over the UK & Ireland is available from two dedicated horse racing channels.

Before the introduction of At The Races and Racing UK the only live action you would see would come from Channel Four Racing and BBC, generally on a Saturday afternoon, whilst RTE would provide Ireland with live coverage of some of the major meetings in Ireland and the UK.

Even though the two terrestrial channels still show action on weekends, with Channel Four still providing racing every Saturday afternoon and the BBC broadcasting the major meetings like Royal Ascot and the Grand National it is the emergence of the subscription channels who have enhanced racing's accessibility.

Both channels give viewers up-to-the minute analysis before and after the racing with both offering an array of additional programmes, to both inform and entertain the general public.

Before the racing even gets underway both Racing UK and At The Races have aired some informative shows which utilise various pundits and gives the viewer a better insight into the day's racing ahead.
No race is too small for the channels and they treat a seller from Market Rasen with the same respect as a Group One from Newmarket.  With knowledgeable presenters giving their views along with the occasional controversial thought adding an edge to a programme, both Racing UK and At The Races have improved racing coverage no end.

At The Races in particular, have enhanced the reputation of Irish racing, as they cover all 26 racecourses in their live coverage.  Before, Irish racing was never really shown in the UK but ATR's coverage has now opened the racing viewer's spectrum and has allowed the punter out there to watch their flutter.

Bookmakers have also recently offered the facility of watching live racing online as they look to entice customers.  Paddy Power for instance, offers customers the chance to watch any race live in UK & Ireland as long as they stake a £1 bet on that specific race.  So, you don't have to hold a subscription to the aforementioned TV channels, you can just place a small bet and watch your chosen race online.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Premier Information: Non Handicap Racing


Non Handicap Horse Racing or condition Racing as it is sometimes called, is Horse Racing where, unlike Handicaps, the weights are not set to as to give each horse an equal chance of winning. Instead the weights each horse is set to carry are determined by certain "conditions" laid down in advance by the racing authorities. These conditions are often stated in the description of the race that is printed on at the top of the card.

Non Handicap Horse Racing can be a little confusing when you first start following horse racing, so at Premier Information, we thought we'd put together a quick guide which should help simplify things!

Examples Of Conditions

The kind of conditions that might apply in a race could be things like:
  • None of the horses must have won a race - this would apply in a maiden 
  • Horses which have won 1 race in the last so many months are set to carry an extra 5lb 

As should be fairly obvious from the above many of the conditions are fairly obvious. However this is not always the case and there are a number of "quirks" best known to the racing authorities who determine what the entrance conditions are to be for the races in question
Examples Of Non Handicap Races

A large number of Non-Handicap or conditions races take place every year both on the Flat and the Jumps. These include: 
  • Sellers 
  • Claimers 
  • Maidens 
  • Novice 
  • Juvenile 
  • Apprentice 
  • Ladies 
  • NH Flat 
  • Conditional Jockeys 
  • Hunters 
  • Listed Races 
  • Group Races 
  • Graded Races 
  • Listed Races
A special set of races at the very top of the sport, in terms of difficulty and ability, is Listed Races and Group or Graded Races. The difference between Group and Graded races is that the former applies to the Flat and the latter to Jumps

In the main most Listed and Group/ Graded races are non-handicap or conditions races. Generally speaking most weight allocations are dropped and horses run off their true weights. This is because races at the very top of the sport are about showing the ability of the horses in question, and not about giving horses with less ability any allowance for the fact that their form is less noteworthy. There is some minor adjustment for weight, but the difference between the top weights and the bottom weight is generally insignificant, particularly over the kind of distances the race is run to

Favourites In Non-Handicaps

As a general rule of thumb, more favourites win in non-handicap races than in handicaps. If you are struggling to work out the difference between handicaps and non-handicaps, then simply consult the racing card for the day. Handicaps are always clearly labelled i.e. the word "handicap" will always appear in the name of the race e.g. handicap hurdle as compared with a maiden hurdle

It will also be observed that statistically speaking, more favourites win in jumping races, steeple chases etc than over the flat. This is largely because there is no effect of the draw when racing on the national hunt courses

So overall it is not a bad strategy when at the course for raceday, you take careful note of the declared favourite in non-handicap races. You will probably find a reasonable number of winners from favourites or 2nd favourites

Monday, August 26, 2013

Premier Information: About Handicap Races

Handicap Horse Racing - Introduction

Horse Racing is divided into races that are Handicaps and races which are "conditions" races or Non Handicaps. The difference between a Handicap and a Non Handicap is that the weights in a Handicap Race are allotted to the different horses so as to give each horse an eaual chance of winning, regardless of ability. The necessity to do this has spurned a whole industry based on "handicapping" i.e. assessing the relative form of horses so as to calculate which horses have an above average chance at their weight of landing a win. The simple fact that a Horse has been given a very low weight does not necessarily mean it has a better chance of winning the race

In general the weight that a horse has to carry in a race has more effect the longer the distance the weight has to be carried. So in a Jumping Meeting where the race is 3 miles, extra weight may well have a big effect on the chances of a horse which is badly handicapped with lots of extra weight as compared with the other runners in the race. However on the flat over short distances e.g. in sprints of less than a mile, the weights carried can have much less of an effect. It should also be borne in mind that in flat racing over shorter distances the "draw" can have a big effect especially where there are sharp corners and big fields. For example consider the position of horses drawn in a stall furthest away from the rail, where the course has a sharp left bend near the start or just before the run-in to the finish. A horse in this situation has got to get right across to the rail as soon as possible, and in the process is running somewhat further in distance than those horses with an inside rail position.

Handicaps And The Official Handicapper

The actual weights that a horse is set to carry are decided by the team of Handicappers employed by the British Horse Racing Board or other Racing Board in which ever country the race is run. Handicapping is an art and a great deal of work and data crunching goes on to try and decide which horses should have what weights.

Handicaps - Private Handicaps

The purpose of a Private Handicap is like a second opinion from the official Handicapper. This is where private Ratings can come into their own, especially if a horse runs well after the weights have been set by the Handicapper but before the race takes place. Good ratings calculations systems can calculate a rating for each horse based on its previous runs and this can provide serious punters a distinct advantage when deciding which horses to back in the race.

Beating The Handicap: - The Trainers Art

A first class trainer will always be looking out for ways to "trick" the handicapper into giving a lower weighting for the horse than is justified given its ability. Essentially the way it works is that if a Horse does badly - or apparently does badly!! - then the weight allotted in its subsequent races with be lower. If you can make a horse do badly then you will get successively lower weights. However the trainer knows all the time what the ability of the horse is. This however is not cheating - it is simply the trainers art. Some trainers would deny that they do this, but anyone who has watched the horse racing scene for anytime can fairly easily spot where "something is going on".

All horses have ideal ground and conditions they need to perform to the best of their ability. They also need to be at the peak of their fitness to perform well. So if you run a horse on the wrong type of conditions e.g on a left handed course when the horse needs a right handed or on unsuitable ground such as good to firm when a horse likes good to soft etc then it’s likely that the horse will perform badly and as a result you will get lower weights for future races. When you are ready for the "right" race, you can simply switch the jockey, wait for the right conditions and bingo you have a win when no one else was expecting it!!

Premier Information specialise in horse racing and sports advice. You can follow us via the Premier Information Twitter Page, or on LinkedIn.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Premier Information - British Racing’s Commitment to the Welfare of Racehorses

I do not know of anyone in horseracing who does not love horses. These horses deserve the best attention and care as they give their all for our sport. Horses love to run and with only a few exceptions enjoy racing.

The following article (courtesy of the BHA) explains the commitment of the racing industry to the care and welfare of horses.

Everyone in the sport - racecourses, trainers, owners, breeders, stable staff, jockeys, administrators, officials and veterinary professionals - is committed to, and has a role in, ensuring and enhancing horse welfare.

The British Horseracing Authority is the governing body of the sport and - through the Rules of Racing and its licensing and inspection of participants, education, training and monitoring - ensures horse welfare, including compliance with UK Animal Welfare legislation.

Some risk to horses is inherent in the sport, as it is to differing degrees in the life of a horse in any environment, but we recognise our responsibility to care for our horses and reduce unnecessary risks. Horseracing has close and constructive relationships with animal welfare organisations, such as the RSPCA, SSPCA, World Horse Welfare and Retraining of Racehorses, and works with these and other groups to understand and reduce risk.

Horseracing’s welfare initiatives focus on the following:

Care – those involved in horseracing have every incentive for horses to race to the best of their ability, so wish to see them well cared for from before they enter racing, throughout their careers in the sport and beyond. Breeders and the sales industry also have every interest in the welfare of horses.

In training, and on racecourses, the horses are in the care of experienced horsemen and women whether licensed trainers, stable staff or jockeys. Expert veterinary care is always available. Horses are reviewed before racing by one of the Authority’s Veterinary Surgeons and medication controls ensure they do not race under the effect of any drugs.

When a horse retires from racing there are many avenues open to them, and the Industry supports and monitors the work of trainers and owners, and organisations such as Retraining of Racehorses to assist with finding new homes and careers for horses.

Surface – all courses are licensed annually by the Authority and work with the Authority’s trained and experienced Inspectors of Courses and independent agronomists to provide the best and safest racing surfaces, to minimise the risk of injury, and to encourage owners and trainers to run their horses.

Courses are limited in the use of their turf, and racing on hard ground is not permitted in jump racing. Trainers also have every incentive to provide safe training grounds and all recognise their duty of care to their horses.

The Authority provides specific annual reports and statistics on ground conditions and casualties at every course, and inspects trainers’ facilities and provides advice to enable trainers to meet licensing criteria.

Obstacles – all racecourse obstacles are designed in line with the specifications of General Instructions, agreed in liaison with the Authority’s Inspectors of Courses, and both hurdles and fences are regularly renewed and reviewed.

The BHA collates statistics of fallers and casualties from each race meeting, including Point to Points, and reports to racecourses to assist them in identifying and improving any individual obstacles which may pose a problem. Racecourses invest substantially to improve horse safety.

To underpin these, and other, industry horse welfare initiatives and the Authority’s regulation, horseracing provides assistance and support for numerous research projects designed to improve racehorse welfare.

This includes commercially funded projects, and the Horserace Betting Levy Board’s veterinary programme which invests several million pounds every year in research projects to enhance horse health and welfare.

The Authority ensures personal confidentially and commercial competiveness is respected to encourage reporting from participants and shares appropriate data with participants, other racing authorities and research groups.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Premier Information: Tote Betting

When placing a bet, many people stick to the “conventional” high street bookmakers and I often get asked about The Tote and how it differs to betting with the likes of Ladbrokes.

If you are not aware of how the The Tote works this article will give you an outline of it.

Since it was established in 1928 by the Government the Tote has grown in stature and with Betfred having bought the company in 2011 it will continue to blossom as an alternative for punters having a bet.

The Tote works on a pool basis, with every bet that is staked on a specific contest going into the pool. After the race has finished the money will be shared out to all those holding a winning ticket. A percentage is taken by the Tote and this has always been pumped back into horse racing.

Since its inception the Tote have continued to concoct new bets to attract custom and it has enhanced their reputation as one of the most diverse betting establishments in racing.

There are a number of unique Tote bets on offer for punters which can sometimes reap huge rewards for a very miniscule stake.

For example, heating engineer Steve Whiteley staked only £2 on the Tote Jackpot and having correctly selected all six winners won over £1million at Exeter racecourse in 2011.

So, it is unsurprising that punters get involved with betting on the Tote when there's a possibility they can win a life-changing sum money for such a small investment.

Even though the Tote Placepot is an easier bet to get right, at the major meetings when there are a lot of runners the return can also be very high. At meetings like the Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot, the races have ultra-competitive fields running in them with some races having over 20 runners.

So, usually the betting is wide open and many of the runners can finish in a place, even if they are huge odds and this will usually mean the win fund will enhance considerably as the big priced runners are placed.

Channel Four racing has been a Saturday afternoon tradition for years and they have teamed up with the Tote to offer the Scoop 6. A bet that can continually rollover until it's won has attracted a lot of interest from the punters as they look to pick the winner of six selected live races.

Like the jackpot the prize fund can creep up into the millions and for only a £2 stake can be life-changing money for punters who can pick all six winners.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Premier Information: Paddock Picks!

Recently, the Racing Post featured an article on what to look for when viewing horses in the flesh just before a race.

It is a useful guide to anyone going racing and therefore, tipping our hat to the Racing Post, we have reproduced the guide below.

Why go to the paddock?

Unlike virtually any other sport, horseracing allows you the chance to get up close and personal with the athletes just minutes before they are due to perform.

The runners in the 100m final at the Olympics don't limber up right in front, allowing you to study their wellbeing as they do their final warm-up before the biggest race of their lives, but the runners in the Sussex Stakes do. And you don't have to be any sort of equine expert to get plenty out of it.

When is the best time?

Runners are invariably in the pre-parade ring 20 or so minutes ahead of a race and make it into the paddock ten or 15 minutes before the off. But on a cool day you might have a wait as some horses will not have their rugs taken off until the jockeys get mounted and you do want to see them in the flesh.
Where should I stand?

Even the sharpest elbows cannot always guarantee the ideal spot as hundreds surround the parade ring at a top meeting but the best viewing is done on a level patch of ground by the side of the paddock, so that you get the chance to see each horse approach head-on and study them from the side before they they turn a corner.

What should I look for?

You are looking for anything and everything that suggests you are watching an athlete primed to run for their life.

>> Imagine Usain Bolt stripped, ready for action and strutting round at the start - many of the things that make him look a likely winner are the same sort of things you are seeking to find in a racehorse. Like well-defined muscle tone, in the case of a horse, over its buttocks and behind the ribcage.

>> Just as a pot belly would put you off an Olympic sprinter, the  racehorse 'carrying condition' - ie. fat - may not be in top physical shape, though some horses are naturally more robust than others so may well carry a bit of condition even after a couple of runs.

>> And the aura of physical wellbeing that an athlete gives off is also seen in a horse - look for a sleek, shiny coat that positively shouts good health.

There are also negatives to look out for:

>> Such as horses sweating, getting edgy if not downright unruly or showing signs of 'greenness' - a two-year-old newcomer neighing in excitement at every gust of wind, for example, or seemingly startled as their jockey gets on board.

>> Or even getting 'coltish'. One of racing's more charming euphemisms, which describes the way a horse - invariably young, always male - gets 'excited' physically, often at the sight of a female rival.

What does it all mean?

Context is all. Ability and effectiveness to handle the trip and ground counts for plenty. I might be fit as a flea but I am still not worth a bet to beat an Usain Bolt who has been out of training for a month. And the green, unfit, coltish horse may still win.

But paddock inspection can give as big a clue as any as to how an animal is likely to perform.

Courtesy of the Racing Post.

If you're looking for more tips, you can follow Premier Information on Twitter and also visit the Premier Information website.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Premier Information: GO RACING!

With the flat season here once again and with some good weather ahead (hopefully!) many people who have become interested in racing are thinking about attending a meeting – some for the first time.
Courtesy of the BHA, below is a list of frequently asked questions, often posed by those who are keen to “go racing”.

What should I wear on the day?

In the Premier Enclosure (or equivalent), men are generally asked to wear a jacket and tie unless it's Derby Day at Epsom or Royal Ascot, when full morning suit is required. Many racecourses ask people to be smart casual in the Grandstand Enclosure (or equivalent) and in the Silver Ring (or equivalent), there is no dress code. Please refer to the individual racecourse pages for precise details about what to wear.

Do I have to pay for children's entry?

The general rule across racecourses is that children who are 16 and under who are accompanied by an adult, enter free. For some bigger meetings, racecourses do charge an entry for children. Please refer to the individual racecourse pages for precise details about children's entry.

What time should I plan to arrive?

Try to arrive at the course between 30 minutes and an hour before the first race is due to start, so that you can get a feel for the layout of the racecourse facilities. At weekends and during school holidays there are often special activities for children and live music and entertainment before racing.

Is car parking free?

Racecourses offer free parking for the majority of meetings. However, if you are going to a major event, you may well have to pay for parking in certain areas and it may be necessary to book parking in advance. Check the General Facilities section on the racecourse pages to see if this is necessary.

Can we take a picnic?

Racegoers are not allowed to take food into the Premier or Grandstand Enclosures however picnics are permitted in the Silver Ring, Centre Course or the aptly named Picnic Enclosures.

What food and drink will be available?

There are bars where coffee, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks can be purchased in all Enclosures and there is usually a tobacconist's kiosk selling sweets and soft drinks etc.

The range of food on offer varies from fast food vans selling hot dogs and burgers, baked potatoes and oriental cuisine to cafeterias where sandwiches can be purchased. Restaurants are also available. Please note advance booking will be required for the restaurant.

What is the Parade Ring or Paddock?

This is where the horses come immediately before the race. Jockeys mount their horses here and you can get a good chance to view the horses. Sometimes the Winner's Enclosure is at one end of the Parade Ring.

How do I bet with a bookmaker? 

To place your bet simply tell the bookmaker the horse's name, the type of bet and the amount you'd like to bet. In return you'll be given a ticket or receipt confirming your bet. Keep this safe as you'll need it to claim your winnings if your horse is successful.

What is the Tote?

The red booths of the Tote with their smartly dressed cashiers offer pool based betting. Instead of odds presented on boards, dividends are displayed on television screens. Betting with the Tote is simple. For example, you can just have a 2 win on horse number 5 in race number 2.

How many races are there?

There are usually 6 or 7 races staged at any meeting at half hour intervals. During the winter, afternoon meetings tend to start around 1pm whereas during the summer, meetings start around 2pm. You can check the individual race times on the racecourse pages.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Premier Information: History - It's All In The Past!

After our article a month or so back on the history of the Grand National, we thought it may be of interest to some to take a brief look at the history of horse racing in general. Horse racing is one of the most ancient sports with the nomadic tribesmen of Central Asia racing horses since early domestication and horse racing has long been an organised sport in many countries throughout history.

Horse racing as a professional sport in the UK can be traced back to the 12th Century after the English knights returned from the Crusades with Arab horses. These horses were bred with English horses to produce the Thoroughbred horse that is the breed of horse used in horse racing in the UK today.

During the reign of Charles II from 1660 to 1685 the King held horse races between two horses on private courses or open fields with prizes awarded to the winners and Newmarket was the venue for the first horse racing meetings in Britain.

Under the reign of Queen Anne during the period 1702-1714 horse races involving several horses on which spectators placed bets took over from match racing and horse racing became a professional sport with racecourses founded throughout England, including Ascot which was founded by Queen Anne in 1711.

In 1750 horse racing's elite met at Newmarket to form the Jockey Club to oversee and control English horse racing. The Jockey Club wrote a comprehensive set of rules for horse racing and sanctioned racecourses to conduct horse racing meetings under their rules and in 1814 5 races for three year olds were designated as "classics": The 2000 Guineas, The Epsom Derby and The St Ledger all open to colts and fillies and which make up The Triple Crown, and the 1,000 Guineas and the Epsom Oaks open to fillies only.

Steps were also taken to regulate the breeding of race horses and James Weatherby, an accountant of the Jockey Club, was assigned the task to trace the pedigree and compile

the family history of all race horses in England. His work resulted in the Introduction to the General Stud Book being published in 1791 and since 1793 Weatherby have recorded the pedigree of every foal born to race horses in the General Stud Book. Thoroughbred horsesare so inbred that the pedigree of every horse can be traced back to one of three stallions,

Byerley Turk (1680-1696), Darley Arabian (1700-1733) and the Godolphin Arabian (1724-1753), and these are known as the "Foundation sires". From the early 1800s the only horses that could be called "Thoroughbreds" and allowed to race professionally were those listed in the General Stud Book.The Jockey Club continues to regulate horse racing and point-to-pointing today, but the British Horseracing Board became the governing authority for horse racing in Great Britain in 1993 and The National Hunt Committee was established in 1866.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Premier Information: Goodbye To A Legend - Sir Henry Cecil

Sir Henry Cecil

All of us at Premier are very sorry to learn of the passing of all-time great trainer Sir Henry Cecil.  
Sir Henry trained some fabulous racehorses and latterly had the delight of training Frankel who almost certainly the greatest racehorse we will ever see.
The tribute below has been reproduced courtesy of the Racing Post and sums up our thoughts on a great trainer and an absolute gentleman.

THE RACING world united on Tuesday to pay tribute to Sir Henry Cecil, who has died at the age of 70.
BHA chief executive Paul Bittar learned of the news at the close of a press conference at their High Holborn headquarters in London.
He said: "It is tragic news. Sir Henry has been one of the great characters and one of the great trainers within British racing for a long time.
"There has been an endless number of wonderful horses. It is tragically sad but having said that what a wonderful way to be able to finish his career with Frankel, the greatest racehorse any of us will ever get to see.
"From a British racing perspective how lucky we were to be able to see Frankel on the racecourse for three seasons and see Sir Henry be able to enjoy that as much as he did."
Ian Mongan, who rode Bullet Train in five races as pacemaker for Frankel, said: "It was a privilege to have ridden for you Sir Henry. A true gentleman and a friend. God bless you and your family."
Amy Starkey, who runs Newmarket Racecourses, said: "Everyone at Newmarket Racecourses is hugely saddened to hear the news that Sir Henry has passed away and our thoughts are very much with Lady Cecil and all of the family.
"He was a much-loved gentleman of our sport and his winners were always hugely well received at both the Rowley Mile and the July Course.
"In total, he had no less than nine 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas winners - more than any other trainer from the modern era. These successes, along with the many others he had at the highest level will ensure he is remembered as one of the greats of his profession.
"Those of us at Newmarket Racecourses were lucky enough to regularly come into contact with Sir Henry and his kindness and willingness to help were greatly appreciated by us all. Only earlier this spring, he attended a meeting to offer his thoughts and advice regarding our race programme."
Derby-winning trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam said: "What a very sad day, a passing of a true legend, one of the nicest men I had the pleasure and honour to meet. We will all miss the great man."
Lee Freedman, one of the great trainers in Australian racing, said in a tweet: "Sir Henry Cecil a champion trainer, but more importantly, a great gentleman. One of my lifetime heroes is gone."
Champion jockey Richard Hughes tweeted: "Our thoughts go to Sir Henry Cecil and family. A true legend of our sport."