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."

Friday, June 7, 2013

Premier Information: Battling The Weather

The sun has been gracing our fine shores for the past few days and in the racing world, it couldn't be better news! However, that doesn't mean racing can't occur in even the worst conditions. The United Kingdom is notorious for it's varied weather patterns and to counter this we have courses that support;


There are four all weather courses in the UK,

Kempton Park

While they come under the umbrella title of all-weather tracks there are two different types of surface. Southwell has Fibresand while the other tracks use Polytrack.

Fibresand is a heavier surface which is equivalent to racing on turf or even heavy ground on turf and produces kickback which some horses have an intense dislike for. This feels like someone kicking sand in your face at the beach ! For this reason Southwell tends to favour horses who can race prominently or who are described as strong travelers because they will avoid as much kickback as possible. You need to be convinced that a horse will see out the distance before having a bet on this surface.

Polytrack is a kind of rubberised sand and is similar to running on fastish turf and kickback is not an issue.

Form does not transfer between the two surfaces.
Turf form does not transfer to the all weather tracks so when looking for winners consider only all weather form. In addition, form does not transfer well between the different tracks because of the different surfaces and the different characteristics of each course. Saying that, the consistent nature of the surfaces means that most races can be run at a good pace and you get more truly run races. Please also note that rain has the opposite effect on the all weather surfaces than it does on turf in that when it rains the surfaces compact and become firmer. Also, in periods of long dry weather the surfaces become looser and the going becomes slightly slower.

The key to finding winners is to look for horses that do well at particular courses and trainers and jockeys who have good records at the track.

You may not be aware, but Sky Journalists have picked up our blog too! Going up in the world!
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Premier Information: Against All The Odds!

It's Tuesday, the Great British weather is treating us mighty fine at Premier HQ. Whilst we're all back with our noses to the grindstone, I thought I'd spend 5 minutes continuing on from the article last week on the Betting Exchange.

Today we will look at one of the aspects of betting that confuses the best of us and can quite easily put off newbies making a punt!

Exchange Odds.

Odds on Betting Exchanges are presented in decimals, whereas in general bookmaking they are in fractions. Betting Exchange odds, as in Pool betting (Tote etc) include the backers one point stake in the presentation of odds.

6/4  is represented by 2.5. 2/1 is represented by 3.0 and an odds on price of 4/5 would be represented by 1.8 The Betting Exchanges allow their clients the possibility of a dual role.   That is of being either a bettor or a layer of odds.   Initially this may present a challenge to the normal perception of only making a profit by selecting winners. Now there is the opportunity to profit from finding a loser!

If you lay a horse, you are effectively assuming the role of bookmaker. It works like this: Imagine you are strongly of the view that the favourite, lets call him “Exchange Newbie” running in the 3pm at Haydock is NOT likely to win. Perhaps after studying hard you feel this is a poor favourite and with many other good horses in the race, you wish to oppose this horse. In such circumstances, you can LAY “Exchange Newbie”. The horse is trading at 2/1. You oppose him and lay him for £25. Another exchange client, feels this horse will win. He takes the opportunity to back him at £25 at 2/1. You are now in a position where if the horse loses you get to keep the £25 stake.   If the horse wins, because you are acting as the bookmaker, you would have to pay out £50.   Just as Mr Ladbrokes would have to pay you £50 if you had a £25 bet at 2/1 with him!

Is risking £50 to make £25 value? Well obviously that is a subjective view prior to the race and the only after the events can you say for certain. However,  you need to keep in mind, that if “Exchange Newbie” was running in a ten runner race, there are actually nine other horses actually running on your side so to speak! If you had good reason to think the horse was a vulnerable favourite, then it quite possible that laying the horse in those circumstances was value.   

The important thing to remember when laying is that you must think like a bookmaker. Once you have the approach and mind set correct, then opportunities to profit certainly exist.

Until next time! Be sure to check out our Twitter account for all the latest updates found at