Category Archives: Racing

Preakness Stakes 2018: Favorite to Justify His Price Tag

Photo source: Bob Baffert via Twitter.

We enter the early stages of May and that has horse racing fans on high alert for one of the sporting calendar’s busiest months. The Kentucky Derby gets us off to a flyer on Saturday 5th before the French 1000 Guineas takes place a week later; the Goodwood and Preakness Stakes follow.

The latter presents us with a star-studded field as the contenders battle it out for this much-loved grade one event contested over 9.5 furlongs on the dirt of Pimlico Race Course, Maryland. Cloud Computing claimed the title 12 months ago for trainer Chad Brown, banking the $1.5M prize money.

2018 will provide us with a new champion and traders are in no doubt who that will be….

Justify arrives fresh from landing a hat-trick

Followers of ante-post horse racing betting will know Justify has been a long-term leader of this market and a flick through the three-year-old’s CV explains why. The Bob Baffert-trained chestnut travels to Baltimore on a hot-streak of form this year, having won three warm-up races in February, March and April.

The team kicked off their preparation with victory around Santa Anita when scoring from runner-up Camby over seven furlongs. That was to be expected after approaching the start a nailed-on -200.00 jolly in the betting. He didn’t let followers down and gave a performance that suggested there was more in the tank.

He proved that to be the case when returning to the California track to double up in a one-mile test. Odds of -500.00 suggested the result was a foregone conclusion and the performance fell into line.

Progressive colt Justify put the finishing touches to his challenge when completing the hat-trick a month before the Preakness was due to post and it was a case of more of the same, the victor flexing his muscles. Stepping up in distance to 1m 1f, he faced a more talented field, including the likes of Bolt D’Oro, but there was little drama on-course on his way to taking the $630,000 winner’s prize.

Source: Thoroughbred Insider via Twitter

Florida Derby winner Audible rates as main danger

Justify has captured the imagination of horse racing fans in the build-up to this year’s Baltimore spectacle with followers genuinely excited about how far this horse can go. One group who have certainly been won over is the odds compilers who have another triumph chalked up on the betting board a +350.00 fav.

A profitable horse to keep on the right side of dedicated backers of Justify are already playing with profits this year while new backers can take heart from his form, especially when racing with the backing of bookmakers.

The main danger on the day is set to come from Audible, who brings plenty of confidence to town having won the Florida Derby in March. The bay scored at Gulfstream under the ride of jockey John Velazquez, leaving Hofburg and Mississippi to battle it out for the remaining medal places.

FTBOA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs

Silver Charm in retirement at Old Friends (Photo: Rick Capone)

GEORGETOWN, KY – APRIL 26, 2018 – On Saturday May 5, the Florida Thoroughbred Owners’ and Breeders’ Association will present the inaugural “$100,000 FTOBA Silver Charm Florida Sire Stakes” at Tampa Bay Downs.

The race will celebrate the 1997 Kentucky Derby/Preakness champion and Hall of Fame inductee (2007).

Silver Charm, 24, was returned to the United States from stud duty in Japan in 2014 and is now pensioned at Old Friends, the non-profit Thoroughbred Retirement facility base in Georgetown, KY.

The $100,000 FTBOA Silver Charm Stakes, for three-year-old colts and geldings, will be run on the main track at a distance of a mile and 40 yards. The race is a “Win & You’re In” opportunity, with the victor earning retirement at Old Friends when his racing career is over.

The Silver Charm Stakes is the third of a four-part “Florida Sire Stakes” series offered by Tampa Bay Downs and the FTBOA that launched in December 2017. The events will offer $450,000 in purse money to FTBOA-registered Florida-bred horses sired by FTBOA-registered stallions that are Florida Sire Stakes-eligible.

“Silver Charm is a legendary Florida-bred, and naming a prestigious race in his honor was important to do,” said Lonny Powell, FTBOA CEO. “Silver Charm represents one of the 52 Florida-breds who have been honored as national champions. The well-traveled horse has a dedicated fan base worldwide that continues to grow as the next generation is introduced to him,” added Powell. “FTBOA thanks Old Friends for being a part of this special historic day.”

As part of the celebration, the FTBOA Museum and Gallery, located at 801 SW 60th Avenue in Ocala, FL, will honor Silver Charm with an art exhibition that opens Friday, May 4 at 2:30 p.m. The exhibit will run through the end of May.

In addition, Old Friends will feature race handicapping from Silver Charm himself along all of their social media platforms on Friday May 4 and Saturday May 5, and on race day, a representative from the farm will present the owners of all of the entries with a special gift bag.

Bred in Florida by Mary Lou Wootton, Silver Charm (Silver Buck – Bonnie’s Poker, by Poker), is considered one of the best horses of his generation. Campaigned by Robert and Beverly Lewis and trained by Bob Baffert, Silver Charm broke his maiden as a 2-year-old and captured his first stakes a few weeks later in the GR2 Del Mar Futurity.

Silver Charm captured the 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, and was poised to become the sport’s 12th Triple Crown winner, but he was beat at the wire by Touch Gold in the Belmont Stakes.

As a 4-year-old Silver Charm added the GR2 San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes and the GR2 Strub Stakes to his resume before winning the 1998 Dubai World Cup. The stallion retired from racing in 1999 after 24 lifetime starts and12 wins, with career earnings of over $6.9 million.

Silver Charm was sold to Japan in 2004, but was returned to the U.S. by his owners, the Lewis Family, and Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky.

Old Friends is a non-profit organization that cares for more than 175 horses whose racing and/or breeding careers came to an end. The farm is open to the public daily, offering guided tours to meet such stars of the turf as Kentucky Derby/Preakness winner War Emblem, Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup, and three-time Santa Anita Handicap star Game On Dude.

As one of the most famous retirees at Old Friends, Silver Charm, has become a significant ambassador for horse racing, meeting and greeting fans daily who are thrilled to re-live his exciting Triple Crown campaign.

“No horse deserves to be honored with an eponymous stakes more than Silver Charm,” said Old Friends President and founder Michael Blowen. “There is no doubt he has brought great credence and great pride to the Florida breeding program, and there is no question that he’s an exceptional champion that has given so much to the sport — even in retirement,” he added. “We are very grateful to the FTBOA and Tampa Bay Downs for this tribute.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for more than 175 retired racehorses. Its Dream Chase Farm, located in Georgetown, KY, is open to tourists daily by appointment. Old Friends also has a satellite facility in Greenfield Center, New York, Old Friends at Cabin Creek: The Bobby Frankel Division, which is also open to visitors. For more information on tours or to make a donation, contact the main farm at (502) 863-1775 or see their website at www.oldfriendsequine.org.

MEDIA CONTACT: Cynthia Grisolia, (502) 863-1775, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; or Barbara Fossum, (502) 863-1775, barbara@oldfriendsequine.org

Sean McDermott and Gibralfaro Finish Strong at 72nd Annual Tryon Block House Races

Sean McDermott and Gibralfaro (right). Photo credit: Madison Ibach/Tryon Resort.

Columbus, NC – April 15, 2018 – In stunning back-to-back wins at the 72nd Annual Tryon Block House Races on Saturday, April 14, jockey Sean McDermott was awarded the Top Jockey award and honored for his efforts in the coveted Block House Race, as well as in the Dr. John Bradshaw Memorial Race. The iconic event featured five thrilling races in front of a packed crowd at the Green Creek Race Track for the second consecutive year.

Humbly, McDermott gave credit to his horses and support team for the victories: “Two wins today – though I wish it was three! You can’t do it without the horses, and [trainer] Jack Fisher traditionally starts his a little late [in the season] and we use their first few races as a prep, and it sets them up nicely for their second runs of the season. They have a bit of longevity through the season. If you’re not on the horses you can’t win the races, and we’re grateful to have all the good horses we do that make our job easy.”

Founded by the Tryon Riding & Hunt Club 72 years ago, the Tryon Block House Races is now produced and managed by the Tryon International Equestrian Center (TIEC). The event drew 39 entries across five races throughout the afternoon chasing $130,000 in prize money. Each race included two laps around the course, and six hurdles adorned the rolling 2 1/8 miles of track.

The highlight race for the day, The Block House, saw six entries fly around the track in three minutes and 55 and two-fifth seconds. McDermott and Gibralfaro took top honors and were awarded The Roger Smith Cup, presented by Roger and Jennifer Smith, after a tight battle with Lord Justice, another Irish-bred and Jack Fisher-trained horse.

“That’s a beautiful horse,” McDermott said of Gibralfaro. “Riverdee Stables have just imported him from England, and it’s very difficult for a horse to win his first time off the boat over here, given the ground conditions and the different types of hurdles, so it’s just a credit to his honesty and his engine that he got it done, and I’m sure he’ll only improve.”

Of his second winning mount, Overwhelming, McDermott revealed that the horse’s previous wins over hurdles made him a strong contender coming into the flat race, as the horse is in top form after being rehabbed throughout all of last season for a minor injury.

“Overwhelming is a class horse – I think he’s won three stakes over hurdles. We had a little prep run in Camden and a training flat race, so today we thought he’d win,” McDermott admitted. He goes well on this ground, but he’s had a small tendon injury in the past and so this was the best fit for him in his schedule, and we’re very happy. It was a lovely stepping stone for him, and I presume he’ll go for a hurdle race now. He’s a tough horse over two miles over hurdles – he’s a good cruising speed and we’re very happy with him.”

National Steeplechase Association Director of Racing, William Gallo, Jr., raved about the event’s success. “This is my favorite race,” he emphasized. “It’s my second year here. I was very impressed by this venue last year, obviously for its inaugural event, but it’s a marvelous race course. The horsemen really like it. You can tell by the entries – it’s well-supported and it’s got so much potential for the future as well. I could see it being a permanent site, and being a premier racetrack in America for Steeplechase racing.”

McDermott was not the only jockey to pull off a double on the day – Shane Crimin also took home two first place finishes: first in The Carter P. Brown Memorial maiden claiming race at the beginning of the event aboard Magalen O. Bryant’s Bob’n for Silver, and again in the Tryon Riding & Hunt Cup Ratings Handicap Hurtle, guiding Life Said for trainer and owner Richard L. Valentine.

“He’s not the fastest,” Crimin said of the grey gelding. “I just let him roll along and he comes away, so it was pretty straightforward with him. The track rode beautiful today – it’s nice. I was here last year and had three seconds, so hopefully it ends up better today.”

Sure enough, Crimin delivered a winning ride aboard Life Said just two races later in the Handicap Hurtle, beating out ten other pairs: “This one was different [than the last] – he [has] more of a gear and I can just sit and ride me race and just creep away into it like he did. While the other fella [Bob’n for Silver] is a bit slow in the gallops, this one has a turn of foot, so two very different rides.”

The Cannon Harmon Memorial Race was won by Last Shani with Jack Doyle in the irons, beating out five other entries to bring home the trophy on his very first run over hurdles. Doyle commented on the nature of the track, to which he’s been twice: “I was here last year, and the track is in great condition. You want a quick horse around here – it’s a pretty thick track, but it rides fair. It’s nice,” he said. “It was this horse’s first run over hurdles, so he was a bit green early on, and it took him a while to get going, but then going into the second to last [hurdle] he jumped out well and got a nice run out and won nicely.”

The day included various spectator contests, including a hat contest, tailgate awards, and “Go to Heck” pants contest, in addition to stick horse races following the mounted races, all of which combined for exciting and entertaining spectator experiences.

“The Tryon Block House Races have become a very important part of what we offer at the Tryon International Equestrian Center,” commented TIEC Chief Operating Officer Sharon Decker. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to do this event and to bring it to this magnificent location.”

For full results, visit www.nationalsteeplechase.com.

Visit www.tryon.com or call (828)-863-1000 for more information.

I Just Know Can Spring Grand National Surprise

Photo: “Aintree Grandstand” by Paul (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The world’s most famous horse race, the Grand National, is coming up this weekend, and the race looks to be as competitive as ever. This is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and many people look forward to the race, ensuring they have a prime viewing spot to watch the action unfold whether they are at the track, out with friends or at home. Those who watch horse racing on a daily basis will be looking forward to the Grand National, as will those who tune into racing once each year to have a punt on the horses.

The latest Grand National 2018 odds show that the race is going to be extremely competitive, as it always is, and the favorite for the race is still not known. We usually see a late market move on the day, which can determine who will be sent off the favorite, and we look like having that again this year. Right now, the race for favoritism looks to be between three Irish horses, Total Recall (10/1), Tiger Roll (11/1) and Anibale Fly (10/1), and the English challenger Blaklion (12/1).

Further down the betting list, you will find a very interesting contender in I Just Know (22/1) for the Sue Smith yard. He won’t be one of the most popular Grand National betting tips that you see but he looks to have a great chance of running a big race at big odds. He won the North Yorkshire National in January, showing his liking for a grueling test of stamina like the one that will take place on Saturday. He had a nice prep run for this race over hurdles, and that should have put him spot on for the feature race on Saturday.

The latest weather forecast shows that Saturday should be a dry day at Aintree, something which should leave the ground on the soft side. That will suit I Just Know and this can help him run a very big race and certainly outrun his odds. The Grand National is often full of unlucky horses but I Just Know likes to make the running so he should be at the front and away from any potential trouble that will happen in behind him.

Sue Smith knows what it takes to win a Grand National and she has had a similar success in the past with outsider Auroras Encore winning the 2013 race. She will be hungry for another victory in the race and will be doing all she can to ensure that preparations go as smoothly as possible for I Just Know.

40 runners will go to the post on Saturday for the biggest horse race of the year and excitement surrounding the event is really building. The race looks to be as competitive as ever and many horses will go into the race with a chance of winning. At big odds, I Just Know from the Sue Smith yard can run a huge race and upset some of the bigger names by taking the 2018 Grand National.

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.