Well Done AP! Well Done Racing!

19. December 2010

8 Comments

Well Done AP! Well Done Racing!

AP McCoy’s victory in Sports Personality Of The Year was a well deserved recognition of his remarkable achievements. That he should get the vote was beyond question, that he would get it was of course in doubt all the way up to the phonelines closing. It’s a terrific filip to racing to have its greatest star recognised in this way. It’s also a huge credit to the efforts of the much maligned Racing For Change team that it came off.

It shows what is possible when racing folk, instead of being insular and defensive, get on the front foot and sell what they have. The behind the scenes efforts that ensured that all 30 of the sports editors who formed the shortlist for SPOTY had McCoy on their lists were brilliantly effective. This in turn led to a real belief that a racing personality could finally land this high profile award. A lot of people have gleefully nit picked at every initiative that Racing For Change has been involved in. Those people will be dining on humble pie this Christmas, for this was undoubtedly a palpable hit for Rod Street and his team.

Most of all though this success is testament to the very special achievements of a truly extaordinary competitor. He’s an enigma in so many ways, and I’m sure most of us don’t envy him his sacrifice and his graft, but he is a phenomenon and he deserved this accolade.

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RUK’s Ruck with The Champ

25. November 2010

17 Comments

RUK’s Ruck with The Champ

What can we learn from the apparent spat between champion jump jockey AP McCoy and leading RUK presenter Lydia Hislop? It has been widely reported that McCoy is refusing to cooperate with RUK following remarks made by Hislop after his ride on Get Me Out Of Here at Ascot.

I think this story tells us a lot about both the nature of our racing coverage but also the running of the sport and the attitudes of its participants. [...]

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The Kings are Dead. Long Live the Kings.

19. November 2010

3 Comments

The Kings are Dead. Long Live the Kings.

A fascinating Betfair Chase in prospect at Haydock on Saturday and another chance to see how the reigning monarchs of the jumps game shape up against the pretenders to their thrones. I’ve already nailed my colours to the mast of Sizing Europe as one of the up and coming generation of second season chasers that I expect to be a real force this season. Mikael D’Haguenet is only a novice of course but he’ll be a handful for the best around if thrown into the mix too. In the Betfair Chase though we get to measure the progress of What A Friend against the reigning Gold Cup champion Imperial Commander and there’s only one place the smart money should be going here. [...]

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7. November 2010

5 Comments

Zenyatta’s Legacy to Rise Above Blame Game

Zenyatta suffered her first ever defeat on Saturday night but in time I hope we’ll come to see that her star is undimmed by that rare eclipse. In fact, the battle she braved that cold night in Kentucky may see her brilliant reputation burnished.
It’s understandable that Mike Smith blames himself. It’s predictable too that many [...]

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7. November 2010

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Hats off to Hanagan…and Fahey too

The curtain fell on the 2010 flat season at Doncaster yesterday and Paul Hanagan found himself centre stage at last. A diligent and dedicated year long performance had finally brought him the ovation that he so richly deserved.

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6. November 2010

12 Comments

Sizing the Real Deal

I’m keeping faith in Sizing Europe today. His comeback run was disappointing and inconclusive on the face of it but will in fact give him a vital leg up in to today’s race at Down Royal.
Andrew Lynch told me the other day that Sizing Europe ‘badly’ needed that run at Punchestown and I expect him [...]

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5. November 2010

3 Comments

Breeders Cup Bets

Breeders Cup Bets

No joy for me on day one at Churchill Downs but I’m sticking to my policy of going for runners at big prices at this, the toughest race meeting of them all and I’m plumping for a 25/1 shot in the Classic.
First things first. You’d need to be on drugs to back Workforce at a [...]

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3. November 2010

3 Comments

More to Come from Montaff

Eagle eyed ATR viewers may have spotted my brief cameo at the track back on the 9th October. I was there to meet up with a couple of our ATR Poker Club tournament winners but of course was also taking in the sport and having a bet or two. Robert Cooper enquired as to my [...]

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1. November 2010

12 Comments

Who Goes? You Don’t Get to Decide.

It is no surprise at all that the Levy Board and the Bookmakers Committee finally admitted defeat and conceded that the 50th Levy Scheme will be referred to the Government for settlement. Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has expressed his disappointment and made clear that action will be taken to prevent this happening again and says [...]

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30. October 2010

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The Betfair Flying Wedge

Betfair’s rugby union team recently trounced Ladbrokes in a charity game. I’m sure the victory was won entirely within the modern rules of the game and that the outlawed ‘flying wedge’ wasn’t utilised. I think the Betfair boys have adopted the tactic elsewhere to some effect this week.

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23. March 2010

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John Hunt, Grand National Commentator

John Hunt, Grand National Commentator

John Hunt
He’ll call the Grand National winner home for millions on the BBC. His face is familiar to At The Races viewers everywhere and his voice has been heard on racecourses throughout the land but how did top course commentator John Hunt get the racing bug, what first got him betting and how did he [...]

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7. April 2010

9 Comments

Nigel Twiston-Davies. Dead Stars and Bloody Silly Horses

Nigel Twiston-Davies. Dead Stars and Bloody Silly Horses

He came close to quitting training altogether and once famously told the nation that he ‘doesn’t do interviews’. What would I find then when I paid a visit to Gold Cup winning trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Cotswold yard in the week before he bids for a third Grand National?

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10. April 2010

5 Comments

AP McCoy

AP McCoy

The Grand National always seems to get the story it deserves in the end. Prior to this year’s race it seemed a fairytale story might have been success for the 17 year old Sam Twiston-Davies on Hello Bud. Or maybe a first female triumph in the race, courtesy of Nina Carberry on Character Building. The [...]

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13. April 2010

3 Comments

The Odds Compilers Odds Compiler

The Odds Compilers Odds Compiler

You might not know him from Adam. You may not have heard of him but his view on a horserace has an impact that is felt throughout the world of betting. If you’ve placed bets on racing any time in the last few decades, you will have taken some of his prices. His opinion [...]

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19. April 2010

0 Comments

Shouting The Odds, A Day With an On-Course Bookie

Shouting The Odds, A Day With an On-Course Bookie

It’s a bright but cool April Tuesday at Southwell racecourse. The track is hosting an all weather flat card where the best race of the day is a Class 5 handicap worth just over £2,500 to the winner. An unremarkable day’s racing in every sense and very much another day at the office for on [...]

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21. April 2010

2 Comments

Shouting the Odds – Final Part

Shouting the Odds – Final Part

It couldn’t last of course and it didn’t. Three consecutive winning favourites wipe out nearly half of the profit accumulated through the miraculously good first two races. We’re now down to the final two events and the chances of a winning day are back in the balance, with current profit barely covering the day’s expenses.

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27. April 2010

11 Comments

Where to Start?

Where to Start?

When is a runner not a runner?
King John’s Castle in the Grand National and Twist Magic in the Punchestown Champion Chase were two high profile horses that refused to race when their respective contests got underway.

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30. April 2010

5 Comments

Getting Off The Fence

It’s impossible to please all of the people all of the time but without doubt the biggest criticism that I attract as a broadcaster is for ’sitting on the fence’ and not being critical enough of jockeys. Yesterday’s opening race at Hereford was just such a race, where my ‘defense’ of a jockey angered some. [...]

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8. May 2010

2 Comments

Integrity in Racing

Integrity in Racing

Do we really have the stomach for the fight?
On Friday of this week the BHA published the findings of a Disciplinary Panel that had suspended jockey Charlotte Kerton for 42 days and fined trainer George Prodromou £7,500. Were those penalties enough?

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10. May 2010

19 Comments

The Curley Coup

I admire Barney Curley. He is truly an enigma. I admire his patience and his discipline in organising today’s betting coup. I admire his attention to detail. But let’s be clear he’s not a shrewd operator. He’s not a clever gambler and he’s no friend to punters.

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14. May 2010

37 Comments

Ask Boycie

I’ve decided to add an ‘Ask Boycie’ section to the blog.

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20. May 2010

5 Comments

Has Betfair’s Float Boat Sailed?

Has Betfair’s Float Boat Sailed?

It was interesting to see speculation this week that Betfair may be inclined to postpone its long anticipated flotation. A float in the spring of this year had been expected ever since news Betfair had called in banking advisers back in the summer of last year, presumably to advise on taking the company public.
Betfair do [...]

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27. May 2010

27 Comments

Ask the boss?

Right then, time to get our thinking caps on. I’m hoping to interview a senior BHA member about Racing for Change soon on ATR. Any questions you’d like me to think about please post away on here.

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29. May 2010

16 Comments

A Bet of Bother for Harry

The story of Harry Findlay and lay bets placed on his account against his own horses has just got a little more interesting. Harry spoke to me on Get On on At The Races last month and was anxious to stress that he accepted he’d done wrong but was unhappy with the delay in investigating [...]

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4. June 2010

27 Comments

Racing and Betting. The Future?

Racing and Betting. The Future?

I interviewed Paul Roy, chairman of the British Horseracing Authority, for At The Races this week. One of the main topics was of course Racing for Change and I took a few positives from that part of our conversation. The middle part of the interview focused on the challenges facing Racing. Again some positives there [...]

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10. June 2010

6 Comments

Turf 2010 Jockey Stats

With the 2010 turf Flat season now in full swing, I’ve been having a good look at the latest jockey stats on www.flatstats.co.uk. Some of the data on flatstats is free to access but full access to the site is on a subscription basis. It’s a mine of information though for those who are of [...]

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10. June 2010

7 Comments

World Cup Kick Off

World Cup Kick Off

Well, it’s finally here. The Rainbow Nation hosts the 2010 World Cup but where is the smart money going? I had a good chat with Angus Loughran on ATR today and was pleased to find that we agreed on a few points. I’ll be giving my views on the tournament but have also enlisted by [...]

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11. June 2010

17 Comments

Findlay Hammered by BHA?

WORLD EXCLUSIVE
Unconfirmed reports have reached Boycies Betting Blog that owner Harry Findlay is to receive a six month ban from racing.  A penalty much harsher than the small ’slap on the wrist’ fine he has been demanding. Findlay was charged by the BHA with laying one of his horses on two separate occasions, a story [...]

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11. June 2010

12 Comments

Findlay To Appeal Ban

Harry Findlay said today he would appeal against the six month disqualification he was handed by a BHA disciplinary panel for laying his own horse. A clearly emotional Findlay, speaking on ATR today, held out little hope of a successful appeal though and also suggested that were the appeal to fail that would signal the [...]

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12. June 2010

83 Comments

Who Shot Harry?

Who Shot Harry?

Everyone has a view on the Findlay ban it seems. Some feel he was hard done by. Others agree that zero tolerance is the only way to go and therefore he got what he deserved. From what I have been able to learn though both the BHA and Betfair agree that a ban was a [...]

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14. June 2010

4 Comments

Ascot Draw Bias

Ascot Draw Bias

First the good news. A trawl through the results for all the races run on the straight course at the new Ascot during the month of June revals no evidence of an inherent bias in the track surface. Now for the bad news. So great is the debate about a possible draw bias and so [...]

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17. June 2010

0 Comments

Ascot Draw

Cross your fingers, offer up a prayer to the patron saint of punters and hope. Hope that a large enough number of low drawn horses (at least a dozen realistically) stick to the standside in the Britannia Handicap at Ascot today. Only then will we get a true picture of whether there is a distinct [...]

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17. June 2010

9 Comments

Praise The Lord and Pass the Penetrometer!

Thanks be to the gods of racing and betting and all that is holy! The Britannia Cup answered our prayers and saw a true run race on both sides of the Ascot straight. Thankfully silencing the idiotic, feckless, idle, intellectually stunted, moronic, myopic, misanthropic mentalists who concluded on the evidence of one entirely unrerpesentative event [...]

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18. June 2010

12 Comments

Findlay Does Appeal

Another Boycie Betting Blog exclusive
In keeping with the Boycie Betting Blog’s record of being ‘first fast and factiest on Findlay’ I can exclusively reveal that Harry Findlay has indeed contacted the BHA to confirm that he will lodge an appeal against his six month disqualification.
The BHA has just confirmed to me that it has received [...]

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19. June 2010

8 Comments

Gambling and The law

What with one thing and another I find myself considering the role of the law in the world of betting and gambling. I think we might be at something of a crossroads. Historically bookmakers have made their own rules and run their own businesses and punters have largely liked or lumped it. I predict we [...]

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20. June 2010

8 Comments

Ascot Draw/Going Conclusions

Chris Stickells has rightly received a lot of praise for the effort he made once again this year to keep us all informed of how the track was performing. His three strand going stick readings for the straight were absolutely invaluable. He and his team also deserve plaudits though for their preparation of the track [...]

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28. June 2010

18 Comments

England’s Exit

Everyone else seems to be doing it so we may as well have our own post mortem here on Boycies Betting Blog too. There’s a lot of talk on the radio phone ins and elsewhere about a lack of passion and commitment from the England players themselves, there’s plenty of criticism of England’s very highly [...]

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1. July 2010

8 Comments

A Watering Wager

I’m no tipster but I’ve got a good thing for today. Somwhere, sometime it’s going to rain. The long hot dry spell that has seen barely a cloud in the sky for weeks will come to an end and precipitation will occur. Not such a bold prediction I know but I’m willing to go further. [...]

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7. July 2010

17 Comments

Betfair versus BHA, The Gloves Are Off!

Betfair versus BHA, The Gloves Are Off!

Betfair, it seems, has lost patience with the BHA’s continued insistence that the way in which exchanges tax and levy contributions are calculated is unfair. The BHA recently announced a further consultation on this issue and Betfair has now responded by ‘redirecting’ £1 million of the money that had been allocated as part of what [...]

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7. July 2010

7 Comments

Phil Mickelson Interview

I was lucky enough to interview Phil Mickelson live on ATR today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only was he a real gent to chat to he gave some pretty interesting insights too. My thanks to my ATR colleague Dave Duggan for organising the interview which came via the good offices of well known racehorse [...]

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13. July 2010

12 Comments

Interfering on Interference

There’s been a good deal of heat generated recently on the topic of jockeys getting suspensions for infringements of the rules on interference. Richard Hughes has taken a week off in order to avoid picking up further days prior to Goodwood. Trainer Richard Hannon has supported Hughes’ logic claiming that stewards are too ‘fierce’ and [...]

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15. July 2010

11 Comments

A Pause for Thought After Findlay Appeal

Ever since Harry Findlay was initially disqualified from racing for 6 months by a BHA Disciplinary Panel the debate that has raged has been colourful, passionate and at times not altogether rational.
Now that an Appeal Board has rescinded the initial ban and replaced it with a £4,500 fine, on top of the month of disqualification already [...]

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23. July 2010

7 Comments

Racing’s Premier Folly

An interesting piece in the Guardian by the excellent Greg Wood suggests that an elite group of British racecourses are keen to pool their high profile meetings and sell them as a package to the highest TV bidder. The comparison made, as is so often the case, is with the ‘Premierisation’ that we’ve seen in [...]

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6. August 2010

27 Comments

Casela Park. Fancy a bet?

The ride that Casela Park was given at Newcastle on Wednesday 4th August has attracted a huge amount of comment. If you’ve not seen it I recommend a viewing on the excellent attheraces.com website with it’s free video archive. We’ll have to wait and see what the BHA makes of it. A failure to apply [...]

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25. August 2010

10 Comments

Owners Should Not be Layers and Exchanges Should Not be Lenders

In the immediate wake of the case of Gullible Gordon being laid by its owner, I counselled in favour of a pause for thought and consideration. I warned against a knee jerk reaction. Now that the dust has settled, here’s my take on what happened in that case and the key lessons learned from it. [...]

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2. September 2010

0 Comments

No Surprise if Betfair Float Delayed Further

No Surprise if Betfair Float Delayed Further

The latest speculation surrounding Betfair’s so long anticipated flotation is that nothing is imminent. This will come as no surprise to anyone who read my take on it way back in May of this year.

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6. September 2010

17 Comments

Racing’s Glass House

Racing’s Glass House

I interviewed Josh Apiafi on ATR the other day. Josh runs a business that advises sports on how to maintain integrity. As an expert in the field I asked him what he made of the oft repeated claim that British racing leads the world in this area. Much to my surprise Josh agreed with this assertion. [...]

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8. September 2010

3 Comments

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Reasons To Be Cheerful

Battling home through the rail strike yesterday meant that an hour and a bit journey became closer to three hours and it was getting dark as I walked the last stretch. There was a cool autumnal tug to the breeze and the whiff of distant bonfires carried over suburban sprawl and I got to thinking.
Leger [...]

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16. September 2010

5 Comments

Shuffle Up And Deal

Shuffle Up And Deal

Why Poker makes us better betters
‘Hell, boy I wouldn’t call that bet on the telephone’
A line delivered in the slow Texas drawl of the legendary poker player Amarillo Slim. It was one of a barrage of one liners that formed my introduction to the world of high stakes no limit Texas hold ‘em poker. I’d [...]

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17. September 2010

4 Comments

Racing. United but Facing Backwards

Racing. United but Facing Backwards

‘The past is another country, they do things differently there.’
First things first. That Racing is bidding to show a united front and to coordinate its message and its lobbying is a good thing. It’s long overdue and all the more welcome for that. Few real racing fans would disagree with the basic premise that Racing [...]

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19. September 2010

0 Comments

Newbury Start Own Goal

Well, we didn’t have to wait too long for the next example of the way in which Racing is willing to put its core customer’s interests at the bottom of the pile. Yesterday’s 2.00 at Newbury was started with Kieren Fallon dismounted from his horse and with said horse restrained by a stalls handler. There [...]

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21. September 2010

32 Comments

Betfair Float Is on!

Betfair Float Is on!

Betfair has today announced its intention to go public with this statement heading a corporate press release this morning;
 
Betfair today announces its intention to apply for admission to the premium listing segment of the Official
List of the UKLA and to trading on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (‘‘Admission’’) and to
proceed with an [...]

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26. September 2010

13 Comments

When Two Tribes Go To War

First of all a confession. I’ve made some pretty useless attempts at mathematical estimates as regards turnover, commission rates and tax yields on Betfair and other exchanges. I’ve usually failed to factor in the extent to which every transaction has two parties to it and have always failed to factor in the amount of trading, [...]

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27. September 2010

31 Comments

Casela Park Pair Guilty

A potentially ground breaking ruling today from the Disciplinary Panel that investigated the running and riding of Casela Park at Newcastle on 4th August this year. The full published findings are worth reading and digesting. The headlines are stark and significant.

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1. October 2010

0 Comments

Ascot Poker Prize Won!

Ascot Poker Prize Won!

Congratulations to Andy – ‘mangothekat’ and to Rob -’hidethecash’. After four hours of gruelling high stakes poker action they split the first prize of a £4 thousand pounds VIP day at Ascot. Each of the guys will take a guest for a top notch day out at Ascot on Saturday 9th, with travel, hospitality, hotel [...]

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4. October 2010

14 Comments

Casela Park Video Released

In an unprecedented move the BHA has released integrity camera footage of the Casela Park ride that led to charges being brought against trainer Eamon Tyrrell and jocky Jason Behan under the non trier rules. You can view the footage on the BHA website with a link provided at the bottom of the Panel’s findings.

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19. October 2010

13 Comments

‘I Could Have Won On That!’

‘I Could Have Won On That!’

It’s a familiar refrain when we witness a horse saunter to a victory with such ease that the jockey is merely a passenger during the race. Such was the manner of Timmy Murphy’s success on board the Liam Corcoran trained Macs Lad at Plumpton on Monday 18th October.
The horse had been very well backed following [...]

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26. October 2010

11 Comments

Racing’s Rooney?

Racing’s Rooney?

In a week when Wayne Rooney fans were rudely awakened to the naked reality of the brutal commercial cynicism that festers at the heart of the once beautiful game, Racing learned that it too has key figures for whom ‘business is business’.

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27. October 2010

9 Comments

Dear Chairmen. It’s not us…it’s you

We were told it was the most comprehensive and compelling case Racing had ever made in terms of a Levy Submission. Nic Coward, the BHA Chief Executive has claimed that the sport has made a ‘comprehensive case that is built on rigorous analysis’. How comprehensive? How rigorous? Well, according to Deloitte who were commissioned to [...]

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29. October 2010

3 Comments

Racing’s Leaders Need to Learn Levy Lessons

It’s funny what you learn and how.
Many years ago, when tuition fees were undreamt of and sons of families of modest means like me qualified for maintenance grants, I went to university. I studied Drama and English for three very enjoyable years. In my third year I was lucky enough to be given Goldmsiths’ George [...]

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