Category Archives: Racing

Barrel Racers Run for Pot of Gold at Shamrock Showdown Held at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photography by Phifer.

Jacksonville, FL (March 23, 2018) – Barrel racers chased a $62,000 pot o’ gold at the 13th annual National Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) Shamrock Showdown Super Show held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida March 16-18.

Competitors traveled from as far as Canada, Vermont, Tennessee and North Carolina. Racers from nearby South Carolina, Georgia and across Florida are familiar with the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and never miss an opportunity to run for big cash prizes inside the state-of-the-art coliseum.

“The facility is great,” said Renee Jenkins. “We were the second show to ever be held at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center and we haven’t missed a year yet.”

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was excited to host the group for its fourth consecutive year. A total of 853 entries dashed down the alleyway over the course of the three-day event. In addition to cash prizes riders had an opportunity to win tack and one of 60 wildcards. The wildcards give the first, second and third place finishers in each division a guaranteed slot to compete at the NBHA World Championship Show held each October.

The next scheduled event is the Florida Reining Horse Association Spring Show March 23-25. The multi-day reining competition features a full slate of classes from short stirrup and youth to amateur, non-pro, novice, green and open. The second annual Spring Classic Hunter/Jumper show is set to start on April 4 and upcoming events in May include dressage and team roping.

For more information and to learn more about upcoming events, please visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Tim Jones
904-255-4215
tjones@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

The Cheltenham Festival vs. the Grand National

The Cheltenham Festival is a United Kingdom meeting in the National Hunt racing calendar that takes place annually in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The meeting usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day. The Cheltenham Festival originated in 1860 when the National Hunt Chase was first held at Market Harborough. It was initially titled the Grand National Hunt Meeting and took place at several locations since its institution.

The Stayers’ Hurdle, first ran in 1912, is the oldest race from the Cheltenham festival that is currently a championship race. The Gold Cup, established in 1924, was originally a supporting race for the County Hurdle which was the main event of the first day, but that quickly changed and in the following seasons it became a championship race; however, for many years it was still used by the trainers as a preparation race for the Grand National. The Cheltenham Festival race prize money is second only to the Grand National, also a National Hunt horse race held annually in April at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Its course over which the race is run features much larger fences than those found on conventional National Hunt tracks like The Cheltenham Festival.

Until 2005 The Cheltenham Festival had traditionally been held over the course of three days, but this changed with the introduction of a fourth day, meaning there would be one championship race on each day, climaxing with the Gold Cup on that Friday in March.

Unlike Royal Ascot and many other top flat racing events in Britain and Ireland, the Cheltenham Festival does not have a history of attracting many international contenders. Races held in the United States are flat races unlike the hurdle and steeplechase races in the UK.

The number and type of races at the Cheltenham Festival has changed dramatically over the years of its existence. It has grown from a two-day meeting to a four-day meeting. In 2017, there were 28 races.

Cheltenham Festival – 4 West Ham Players Try Commentary

Four West Ham United Football (UK Soccer) Club players try their hand at English horse racing commentary and see how difficult it is to be a race horse broadcaster.

Below is a video showing ITV Racing’s Richard Hoiles attempt to teach West Ham players Joe Hart, Patrice Evra, Mark Noble and James Collins how to do horse racing commentary. As we horse lovers know, horses don’t come in large variety of colors, so it can be hard to determine what horse is racing and is coming down the winning stretch.

To assist these ‘newbie’ broadcasters in accuracy, Richard Hoiles displays the players a flip chart overviewing how to determine the differences in the horses via showing a horse’s racing silk colors, a horse’s markings and head gear worn, and emphasizing enthusiasm.

The men had 5 minutes to study a chart describing the horses and jockeys in the race for reference. Then each player went in the booth to do their own commentary watching a classic Cheltenham betting moment.

It is a riot watching the players learning the basics before taking their exam. But who would end up top of the class, and who would have to stay behind to do extra homework? Hint – check out defender Patrice Evra.

Watch the video to find out:


Betway Insider

The Latest Hot Tips for the Cheltenham Festival

As each day passes, the updates on the runners and riders for the forthcoming Cheltenham Festival come in thicker and faster. Many of the most fancied horses hold entries for two or even three races, with the owners and trainers keeping their options open as to which horses they will ultimately run where.

Often, it is a case of choosing between a better chance of victory in a support race and an outside shot of glory in one of the big money showcase events, and it is intriguing to watch the agonizing decision making as the entries slowly but surely fall into place.

This final jostling also has a major impact on the betting odds – after all, if a strong horse holds an entry for a minor race, it will inevitably be a favorite, and if the trainer withdraws it, the field suddenly becomes wide open.

An expert eye to make sense of it all

The Festival has the eyes of the racing world upon it from all corners of the globe, but to get a feel for the latest developments and gossip, it is important to have a source of information that’s close to the action. Racing Tips has a team of experts monitoring the news from the top stables, and keeping track of the bookmakers to provide a constant stream of festival predictions in the run up to the great event. Here are some of the latest stories that have attracted their attention.

Getabird to take flight

The news that Harry Fry has had to withdraw If The Cap Fits from the Supreme Novices Hurdle removes the biggest obstacle for Getabird in the opening race of the festival. Anything can happen in this race, and outside shots have a habit of doing well, so it is by no means a foregone conclusion. But the Mullins trained gelding has always been a warm favorite, and the withdrawal of the horse seen by bookies as his closest rival has pushed the temperature up a couple of degrees.

More questions than answers in the Stayers

A couple of weeks ago, we ran through the favorites for the key races, and Sam Spinner was at the top of the tree for the Stayers Hurdle on Thursday. That has been turned on its head by a number of factors. Supasundae’s fabulous win in Dublin has contributed to make the horse the new favorite among bookmakers, while Alan King’s decision that Yanworth will be a runner has also sent the oddsmakers into a spin. The advice from the tipsters? Ignore the battle for the favorites and place an each way bet on Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge – with all the jostling higher up the betting card, this horse is still being offered at 12/1 and that’s just too good to refuse, particularly given that Henderson seems quietly confident in this one.

Cue Card in the RyanAir

One of the best loved horses on the circuit, everyone would love to see the 12-year-old Cue Card romp to glory in the Gold Cup, and no one more so than trainer Colin Tizzard, who didn’t have a single winner at last year’s festival. He is sorely tempted, and told reporters: “There is no reason why we shouldn’t go for the biggest one. Is that harder to win than the Ryanair?” The answer is that yes, it is, and this is one occasion when the head needs to rule the heart. The rumors are that Cue Card is likely to be withdrawn from the Gold Cup and race in the Ryanair Chase on Thursday, particularly given the news that Waiting Patiently, the horse that narrowly beat him to glory in the Ascot Chase last week, is now a doubtful starter.

Meri Devie Finds Form to Give Mullins Added Hope for Champions Day

With the Cheltenham Festival getting ever closer, all the talk is centering around just how many more trophies legendary trainer Nicky Henderson will add to his already overflowing cabinet. Over the years, he has trained a remarkable 55 Cheltenham winners, and with favorites like Might Bite, Buveur D’Air and Altior tipped to win the showcase races, there is every chance that he will take the tally above 60 this year.

A flying start for Ireland?

However, his long-term rival Willie Mullins is determined that Henderson will not have everything his own way. The Irishman is only seven winners behind Henderson in the all-time Cheltenham stakes, and as they cast their eye over the Tuesday race card, the tipsters at Cheltenhamracing.net think that Champions Day provides Mullins with the best opportunity to chalk up some early winners before his arch-rival has a chance to unleash the big guns.

Getabird and Footpad are two horses that are early favorites, but there could be some surprises later in the day, if Meri Devie can repeat the promise she showed at Punchestown last week. Let’s take a closer look at Mullins’ chances on the opening day of the festival.

Supreme Novice Hurdle

The opening race at Cheltenham is always something extra special, and has a real carnival atmosphere. It is also a tough one to call, with a large field and a track that is something of an unknown quantity till it has been seen in use. There are still more than 50 horses in contention, but Willie Mullins’ Getabird is the favorite among bookmakers and the UK media.

Mullins has also entered Duc des Genievres and Laurina, both of which are enjoying shortening odds and could certainly be worth a look as each way bets.

The Arkle 

After the frenzied action of the opening race, there is a feeling of the festival settling down into a rhythm with The Arke, an altogether calmer affair, with a far smaller field of entrants. Here, bookmakers are strongly leaning towards Mullins making it two out of two. Footpad was the early favorite when the runners were first announced, and has remained at the top of the betting cards ever since. As the days have gone by, the odds have shrunk steadily, and few are now offering anything better than even money.

If any horse can spoil the party, most eyes are on Petit Mouchoir, who ran Footpad desperately close at Leopardstown last year. But don’t overlook Brain Power. He might not be Nicky Henderson’s most famous horse at the festival, but those in the know think he could have the makings of a future star.

Mare’s Hurdle

Last year’s mare’s hurdle was won by the Gordon Elliot trained Apples Jade, and she is favorite to make it two in two years. However, Meri Devie’s strong performance in Dublin after an otherwise inconsistent season gives Mullins another opportunity to steal a march on Henderson. Mullins commented that she jumped well, and he feels she is ready to show what she can do at the next level. The distance is longer, but he said: “Two and a half miles is no problem to her.” Some bookmakers are offering odds as long as 40/1. Does the Irish trainer know something they don’t?

The Champions Hurdle

So what of the showpiece race on Champions Day? From the word go, the pundits have said Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air will romp to a second successive victory. Does Mullins have a horse that can pull off an upset? Henderson himself certainly thinks so, and the bookmakers agree that Faugheen is one to watch. The 10-year-old suffered a dip in form at the Dublin festival, but Henderson knows that if anyone can bring the horse to peak fitness at the right time, it is his long time friend and rival.

What We Can Learn from Last Year’s Melbourne Cup

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

The 2017 running of the Melbourne Cup was one for the ages. The thrilling finish between winner Rekindling and runner up Johannes Vermeer was the stuff of broadcasters’ dreams. Over 90,000 fans packed the Flemington Racecourse, with the atmosphere simultaneously tense and jubilant during the last few seconds of the race.


Rekindling’s win was the second Melbourne Cup victory for his jockey Corey Brown, who had also won the marquee event back in 2009 on Shocking. It also made six Melbourne Cup victories for owner Lloyd Williams, which is a record in the race.

However, the real headline stealer was Rekindling’s trainer, 24-year-old Joseph O’Brien. Being a son of a sporting legend like Aiden O’Brien is never an easy thing, but the younger O’Brien now has something that his father’s illustrious resume lacks – a Melbourne Cup victory. All the more remarkable given his young age.

Main protagonists should return for Melbourne Cup 2018

Despite being months away, the excitement has already started building for the 2018 Melbourne Cup. There are already early Melbourne Cup free bets available to use on the race and several major bookmakers have released their odds. The betting picture currently looks like this:

Johannes Vermeer 21.00
Rekindling 21.00
Ace High 26.00
Albert 26.00
Idaho 26.00
Stradivarius 26.00
Lord Fandango 26.00
Humidor 34.00
St Michel 41.00
Crocodile Rock 41.00

*Selected runners from Ladbrokes. Others available.

There are plenty of takeaways from the 2017 race that can be applied to betting on the 2018 event, however:

Williams is the owner to watch once again

As mentioned, Lloyd Williams now has a record six winners as an owner in the Melbourne Cup. He first tasted victory back in 1981 with Just a Dash. But, crucially for punters, his grip on the Cup has seems to have intensified in recent years. He is the owner of the last two winners, and four out of the last eleven have been in his colours.

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-ND

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rekindling and Johannes Vermeer could have special rivalry

The finish to the 2017 race was spectacular. Johannes Vermeer can count himself very unlucky not to have crossed the line ahead of Rekindling, which is evident in the fact that they are neck and neck in the betting markets for 2018. However, for the neutral, it will be wonderful to see them renew their rivalry across the season, culminating in another battle for the Melbourne Cup in November. They should both be at the forefront of punters’ minds when it comes to the betting.

Foreign trained horses becoming the norm

Eight out of the top ten finishers in the 2017 Melbourne Cup were foreign-trained. While it is common sense to follow the horses of the O’Briens, there are other ‘tourists’ who are keen to leave their mark on the event. Willie Mullins, who is at the forefront of jumps racing in the UK and Ireland, had three well-placed runners in the race – Max Dynamite (3rd), Thomas Hobson (6th) and Wicklow Brave (10th). Despite spending the majority of his time training horses for national hunt events, Mullins is a driven winner who will be keen to add a Melbourne Cup to his long list of achievements. Keep an eye on him.

Nicky Henderson Remains Tight Lipped about Terrefort’s Cheltenham Chances

The Cheltenham Festival is looming ever closer, and champion trainer Nicky Henderson has more at stake than anyone. Over the past 40 years, he has trained countless Cheltenham winners, and 2018 looks set to be no different – he has trained three of the favorites from the four showcase festival races.

But while Might Bite, Buveur D’Air and Altior have dominated the racing media to date, there is a growing question mark over one of the most promising five-year-olds in racing. Will the exciting Terrefort even take to the track at this year’s festival?

The view from bookmakers and tipsters

Despite still being a month away, there are new tips available every day in the run up to Cheltenham. The team at Cheltenham Fest provide expert insight for all the races, and feel that the real drama will come from the support races, such as the RSA Chase on Ladies’ Day, and the JLT Novices Chase, which is the first race of the day on Thursday. Both are races in which Terrefort is provisionally entered, but Henderson has warned that this highly promising gelding might miss the festival entirely.

About Terrefort

Henderson is a man who knows a winning horse when he sees one, and Terrefort could be something very special. He only took over training the horse a month ago, but has already seen him win twice, at Huntingdon and Sandown. The Sandown win, in particular, was impressive, and Henderson will be careful not to overwork the youngster.

Henderson commented that Terrefort needs to run on soft ground to avoid risk of injury. He complemented the owners, saying they support his decision either way and added: “He has surprised us a lot, and it might be worth looking after him a bit.”

Who to back?

If Henderson decides to keep Terrefort back till Cheltenham 2019, which horses are the ones to watch in the RSA Chase and the JLT Novice Chase? The Anthony Honeyball trained Fountains Windfall is the horse that has attracted all the early discussion. He beat some high-quality opposition at Kempton last month, to win by five lengths in the 32Red.com Handicap Chase. Bookmakers are now quoting 8/1, and the odds are ever-shortening. Monalee, trained by Henry De Bromhead, is another to watch, after a fabulous win at the Dublin Festival last week.

As for the JLT Novice Chase on St Patrick’s Day, punters, bookmakers and tipsters are all eyeing up Willoughby Court. Trained by Ben Pauling, this horse is undoubtedly another star for the future, and if he doesn’t go up against Terrefort this time around, there will be plenty more opportunities. A six-year-old gelding, he shocked everyone with some big wins at Warwick and Cheltenham last year. The latter was one of the classic races of 2017, as he and Neon Court slugged it out all the way for a near photo finish. Bookmakers have already slashed their odds to 4/1, making him the runaway favorite.

Get Ready for Ladies’ Day at the Cheltenham Festival

Mention the Cheltenham Festival to a non-racing fan, and they will immediately think of glamourous ladies in extravagant dresses and hats, sipping champagne as they watch the action. The showcase event of the day is the Queen Mother Champions Hurdle, a race named in honor of the late wife of King George VI. She was a fanatical racegoer and was a familiar face for TV audiences around the world.

Picking the winners

Her Royal Highness did not just attend for the fun and champagne; she also loved to place wagers on her favorite runners, and thousands will be following in her footsteps this year. There are seven races on Ladies’ Day, and with tips for every race, the tipsters at Cheltenham Fest can give some expert advice to royals and commoners alike! Here are their top tips for what promises to be a thrilling second day at the Cheltenham Festival.

The RSA Chase

The third race of the day, and the one immediately preceding the showcase event is the RSA Chase, and it is well worth catching. The bookmakers have Presenting Percy as the 3/1 favorite, but the tipsters only have eyes for Fountains Windfall. Trained by Anthony Honeyball, the horse shocked everyone with a big win at Kempton last month against some top ranked competition. He is currently available at 8/1.

The Queen Mother Champions Chase

In general, the odds settle and the picture becomes clearer as a race draws closer. For the main event of the day, however, there are still questions to be answered, and the bookmakers’ favorite could change. Currently, Nicky Henderson trained Altior is odds on to win. The horse looks head and shoulders above all others and is currently enjoying an eleven race winning streak.

The complication is that this might be Altior’s first race in almost a year after a long injury. Henderson insists he is fitter than ever, and the bookmakers clearly agree, but all was thrown into disarray by confusion over whether the horse will get a run out at Newbury this weekend. If he doesn’t, it makes the horse something of an unknown quantity, and the odds might start to lengthen.

The tipsters’ advice is to take advantage of the confusion and place an each way bet on 14/1 outsider Great Field. He’s in great form, and a fabulous win in Dublin last year proves he’s well capable of rising to a big occasion.

The Cross Country Chase

With the showcase race out of the way, there is no letup in the action, with more races to come. Next up is the Cross Country Chase. Last year, Cause of Causes won in style and he is the 7/2 favorite to repeat the feat for a second year in succession. Our tipsters can see no better place to bet your money on a winner, but for an interesting each way option, they have singled out Auvergnat. This is a horse with plenty of experience, who has been finishing consistently in the top four over recent outings.

Place Your Bets – A Beginner’s Guide to Horse Race Betting

Horse racing, along with the gambling that goes alongside it, has had a long, varied and sometimes uncomfortable history in American culture. But like other types of gambling, the rise of online sportsbooks and casino sites has been instrumental in changing attitudes and leading to a greater acceptance, both from a social and a regulatory perspective, of placing a wager.

Increased acceptance brings greater popularity, and with every passing month, there are more people logging on to their website of choice to back the horses. Bearing that in mind, we have put together some first-principle tips on horse race betting.

Understanding the odds

We have all heard of backing a 25/1 shots, or a favorite being 3/4 on, and we think we know what it means – but let’s be clear. 25/1 means that for every dollar you bet, if you win, you will make a $25 profit. In other words, you will get your stake back, plus $25. When a horse is “odds on,” it essentially means the bookmakers think it is highly likely to win. A 3/4 bet means that every $4 betted will only bring a $3 profit if you win. Of course, you will still get your stake back, so there is nothing inherently wrong with backing an odds-on favorite.

Picking your winner

Some racing fans study the form for hours every day; others pick a horse because they like the name. As long as you accept that the former will take lots of time and the latter is unlikely to win you money, either of these approaches is fine. But the best plan is always to ask an expert. The internet age means there are plenty of online tipsters, and you can look up today’s racing tips at the RacingTips website. Here, you will also find useful inside information about upcoming races, and even some advice on which bookmakers are offering the best deals.

Each way betting

So far so good, but there is more to horse race betting that simply picking a winner. Many tipsters will recommend placing an each way bet as a more reliable way of seeing some return on your stake. Essentially, you are placing two separate wagers with an each way bet – one for the horse to win and another for it to “place” which means coming in 1st, 2nd, 3rd or sometimes 4th, depending on the race. Placing pays out at either 1/4 or 1/5 of the winning odds. It is easiest to show by example.

Suppose there are eight runners, and the place terms are three places at 1/5 odds. You place a $5 each way bet on Horse X at 20/1 odds.

This means you are actually backing the horse at $5 at odds of 20/1 for it to win and $5 at odds of 4/1 (20/5) for it to place in 1st, 2nd or 3rd. So your total stake is $10.

If Horse X wins, you win $5 at 20/1 + $5 at 4/1 = $100 + $20 = $120 profit.

If Horse X finishes 2nd or 3rd you lose the $5 win stake but win $5 at 4/1 = $20, meaning a net profit of $15.

A Guide to This Year’s Cheltenham Festival Favorites

Racing is big business in the UK, and while the Grand National might be the most famous event in the National Hunt racing calendar where betting is concerned, the Cheltenham Festival beats it in terms of sheer entertainment.

The festival takes place over four days at Prestbury Park, a picturesque racecourse just outside the usually quiet and quintessentially English town of Cheltenham, close to the English and Welsh border. Every March, thousands of racegoers take over the town to witness 28 top class races, culminating in the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup at 3:30PM on the final day.

Two nations battle

One of the most compelling factors of Cheltenham is that it is not just a race between horses. There is also national pride at stake between the English and the Irish. Every year, there is an informal battle to see which country can scoop the most trophies. In particular, look out for two of the most famous trainers from either side of the Irish Sea.

Willie Mullins is from an Irish family that has been riding, breeding and training horses for generations. In 2015, he set a festival record with eight of the 28 winners.

However, when it comes to overall festival wins, even his record is surpassed by English trainer Nicky Henderson. He has been in the business for 40 years, and has been particularly successful at Cheltenham.

The battle between Mullins and Henderson is one of the most intriguing sideshows in British horseracing, and it all comes to a head at Cheltenham.

Picking a winner

So much for the trainers, then, but what of the horses? With four days, 28 races and literally hundreds of entrants. It is little surprise that an estimated £500 million ($700 million) will be bet trackside and online in the days up to and including the festival. For the casual observer, it can be hard to know where to start, which is why we have asked the tipsters at Cheltenhamfestival.net to single out the pick of the festival runners. There are certain to be a few surprises along the way, but here are their picks for some of the top races, whether you are looking to back an outright winner or an each way shot.

Champions Hurdle
To win –  Buveur D’Air
To place – My Tent Or Yours

Last year, Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air was an outsider who won the race in relative comfort. This year, the horse has gone from strength to strength, and the bookmakers have him as odds-on favorite to retain the trophy.

Another from the Henderson stable, My Tent Or Yours, came in second last year. This was the third time in four years he had done so, and at 16/1, racing fans are already queueing up to place their each way bets.

Queen Mother Champion Chase
To win – Altior
To place – Great Field

Going into Ladies’ Day and it’s three for three for Nicky Henderson from our expert tipsters. Altior has been unbeatable in his recent outings, with an amazing 11 straight wins, dating back to October 2015. The bookmakers have him at even money to make it a round dozen.

The outsider to watch is Great Field. He is the first Willie Mullins horse to get a mention and is also in winning form.  There’s every chance he could pull off a surprise, and is certainly in with a good chance of placing.

Stayer’s Hurdle
To win – Sam Spinner
To place – L’Ami Serge

This could be one of the most closely fought of the showcase races, but Sam Spinner, trained by Jedd O’Keefe, is the bookmakers favorite. However, our tipsters fancy Nicky Henderson’s L’Ami Serge as the archetypal dark horse, who could easily pull off a surprise win.

Gold Cup
To win – Might Bite
To place – Native River

The romantics might fancy last year’s winner Sizing John, but for the realists, it’s Henderson all the way. Might Bite looks like the class of the field and will be tough to beat.

Outside the main combatants, Native River is coming into form at just the right time. He came third last year and is well capable of doing so again.