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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.

Multiple Grade 1 Winner Private Zone Euthanized

Private Zone at Old Friends (Photo: Laura Battles)

GEORGETOWN, KY – FEBRUARY 3, 2018 – Multiple grade 1 winner Private Zone was euthanized at Park Equine Hospital at Woodford in Versailles, KY.

According to Park’s attending veterinarian, Dr. Bryan Waldridge, the cause of death was complications of duodenitis/proximal jejunitis (anterior enteritis).

“This is a small intestinal colic characterized by inactivity of the small intestine and large amounts of reflux from the stomach,” said Dr. Waldridge.

A full necropsy report is pending.

The 9-year-old gelded son of Macho Uno had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement facility in Georgetown, KY, since last April.

Bred in Ontario by Adena Springs, Private Zone (Macho Uno – Auburn Beauty, by Siphon (BRZ)) made his first nine starts in Panama where he became a group 1 winner.

A temperamental colt, he was purchased by former jockey Rene Douglas and was campaigned by his Good Friends partnership under several conditioners, including Doug O’Neill, Alfredo Velazquez, Jorge Navarro, and Brian Lynch.

After losing his first eight starts in North America, Private Zone went on to become a four-time grade 1 winner with his breakthrough coming in the 2013 grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational Stakes.

He counted the 2014 grade 1 Cigar Mile and 2015 grade 1 Forego Stakes among his victories.

Private Zone retired with 10 wins from 33 starts and $2,924,620 in earnings.

“We were so grateful when the owners of Private Zone retired him to us, and that only increases our sadness that he died this morning,” said Old Friends President Michael Blowen. “He was a marvelous animal, and we are thankful to everyone who cared for him at Park Equine Hospital for the last two weeks trying to help him overcome this difficult illness.  Private Zone was a fighter to the end, trying to help us help him.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for over 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, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Multiple Graded-Stakes Winner Green Mask to Old Friends

GEORGETOWN, KY – JANUARY 30, 2018 – Multiple graded-stakes winner and sprint superstar Green Mask has been retired to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Georgetown, KY.

Trained most recently by Brad Cox for owner Abdullah Saeed Almaddah, the now 7-year-old gelded son of Mizzen Mast was retired from racing in September of 2017 after suffering a fractured sesamoid in his left foreleg during a workout at Belmont Park.

In a career that spanned five seasons, Green Mask traversed the country — starting on 11 different ovals — as well as the globe, racing at Woodbine, Meydan, and Sha Tin.  His greatest victories include the Grade 2 Highlander Stakes, the Grade 3 Twin Spires Turf Sprint, and his last start, the Troy Handicap, where he posted a personal best 111 Beyer Speed Figure and pushed his career earnings over the seven-figure mark.

Before the career-ending injury, Green Mask was considered a top contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar last fall.

In his 24 lifetime starts Green Mask captured eight wins and career earnings of $1,064,761.

“Green Mask always gave 110 percent on the track,” said trainer Cox, “so when he was injured it was devastating to the whole team. We’re so thankful to New Bolton Center and Dr. Richardson, who help save his life and make retirement even possible. And we are so grateful that Green Mask will now spend his retirement years at Old Friends.”

“Our thanks to Brad Cox, Mr. Almaddah, and the people at Dell Ridge who took such good care of Green Mask following his surgery,” said Old Friends’ Blowen. “We’re very thrilled to have him with us. He was a wonderful racehorse that certainly earned his retirement, and his wonderful disposition, I’m sure, will make him a big fan favorite.”

Old Friends is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that cares for over 180 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, (347) 423-7322, cindy@oldfriendsequine.org; Michael Blowen (502) 863-1775, michael@oldfriendsequine.org

Faugheen Heads to Cheltenham

Following his most recent run, Faugheen certainly has questions to answer but there is no doubting he is one of the greatest horses of recent times. Through his 15 starts he has only tasted defeat on two occasions this being his most recent run and to the ill-fated Nichols Canyon when he clearly badly needed the run. If Faugheen had not had his injury it would be likely we are talking about a three-time Champion hurdle winner to equal the likes of the Istabraq, who to many is the greatest champion hurdler in history.

Faugheen reached a peak RPR of 177 following his 2016 victory in the Irish Champion hurdle where he beat a top horse in stablemate Arctic Fire by 15 lengths with Nichols Canyon a further 13 lengths behind. When Faugheen was performing to this level would any horse have been able to defeat him? This is an unfortunate question that we will never get the answer to. With all this in question it was very unfortunate to see Faugheen be pulled up on his most recent start but no problems or answers have been found as to why this happened.

Faugheen will now head to Cheltenham looking vulnerable, but if he returns to the level he ran to on his comeback we are set for a fascinating clash between two Champion hurdle winners as Buveur D’air looks to defend his crown. The Cheltenham Festival 2018 odds on Paddy Power has the reigning champion as the clear favourite. Check this infographic out to see how Faugheen compares to the greatest Champion hurdlers throughout history.

2018 Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham festival 2018 is now just a few months away as anticipation continues to build for jumps racing premier fixture. The penultimate day is all about St Patrick’s Day as the Irish fans descend on Cheltenham to support the away side.  The main race on day three is the Stayers hurdle which this year looks to have a fairly open look to it. However, the underdog Sam Spinner will be looking to provide his small-time connections with success and he continues to improve on each ran. The latest Cheltenham 2018 Betfair odds has Sam at the head of the betting at 7/2.

There looks to be plenty of challengers that could include Apple’s Jade. She is likely to defend her crown in the Mares hurdle but if she took her chance would without a doubt head the betting as she continues to dominate. A key challenge as things stand looks to be Supasundae who looks a stayer to follow following a hard-fought defeat to the previously mentioned Apple’s Jade. Check out the infographic below to find out the key facts and horses in the main races come March.

Cheltenham Festival Racing 2018

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival will take place in March at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK. The Festival 2018 will take place over 4 days from Tuesday March 13th with the Cheltenham Gold Cup taking place on Friday March 18th. The date of the horse races usually coincides with Saint Patrick’s Day which makes it popular for Irish visitors.

With 2018 here, the Cheltenham Festival gossip is starting to take shape now with Native River, Sizing John and Samcro all being hotly discussed ahead of next year.

Cheltenham free bets 2018 will keep you updated with the festival in every way imaginable, making sure we don’t just bring you the best Cheltenham betting offers, but the finest free bets, tips, enhanced odds and predictions from across the web.

The festival is all about big betting with 600 million pounds expected to change hands during the 28 Cheltenham Festival Races. The feature horse race will now be the fourth race on the card each day supported with grade one races and handicaps. In September 2017 it was announced that all races will have 48-hour declarations. This is great news for punters and racegoers who will now have more time to study the runners, riders and race form.

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival features the Champion Hurdle and is the main race on day one. The other major races on the first day include the Arkle Trophy and the Supreme Novices Hurdle. There are also some very good handicaps to take in including the Festival Handicap Chase which is always competitive and the Novices Handicap Chase which gives the first season chasers a shot at glory.

Day 2 of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival is on the 14th March with the feature race being the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The Queen Mother Champion Chase is another favorite within the Freebets.com camp, and we’ll be sure to bring you the best odds when we get them.

Another top race on day 2 is the Neptune Novices Hurdle which is the long-distance hurdle for future Stayers’ Hurdle candidates. Run on a distance of around three miles on the new course, it’s a big race for punters, with plenty of money going on last year’s winner Nichols Canyon.

The Ryanair Chase is another of Thursday’s finest and has seen a Willie Mullins horse win for the last two years. Will he make it three in a row in 2018?

The highlight of the final day of the 2018 Cheltenham Festival will be the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Gold Cup day is one of the biggest in the horse racing calendar and the bookies will be begging you to use their Gold Cup free bets and promotions.

With a prize pot of over £500,000, it’s one of the most lucrative races in the sport and is run over three miles, taking in 22 fences. Last year was won by Sizing John, a 7/1 shot ridden by Robbie Power. He’s among the Cheltenham Festival favorites again with bookies already backing him at 6/1. However, there’s still a way to go and the race is well worth studying the form for.

The Triumph Hurdle kicks off day 4 and the Grand Annual is the last race on the card. The Foxhunters also get their chance on the Friday of the Festival.