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I have enjoyed horseracing since i was very young. Because i live in an area where there are many training stables, i get to meet a lot of people involved with horseracing, and my mother owns several racehorses herself. I can't remember a time before i went racing. There is something for everybody, the pure speed of the sprinters, the endurance and staminer of the staying flat horses and the danger of the hurdle and steeplechases.
Another thing which helps to make horseracing interesting is the gambling. I know a lot of people disagree with gambling, but i am talking about a few pounds here and there, this adds excitement. There is nothing better than watching a horse which you have chosen and put a few pounds on come in to win, this is the ultimate buzz, except perhaps for watching a horse which you have helped to raise come in (which is something limited to a privaliged few, i realise).
I can guarantee that anybody who goes to a race meeting with a bit of money to bet with (that they don't really mind losing if the worst comes to the worst!) they will have a good time.
The main trouble that people who haven't been racing have is the fact that they don't understand much about the whole sport. I appeal to anyone who likes racing to take friends who may be slightly sceptical, as for those of you who may be considering trying horseracing, here is a quick guide (not including everything):
There are many racetracks within the british isles. As with anything else, they vary a lot, some are very well built, have excellent facilities and cost a lot to get in, some are at the other end of the scale, but still just as nice. The poorer tracks often offer the best value to the punters as it is here that entrance is cheapest, food and drink is also cheaper than at the "posher" tracks e.g. York and Ascot (two name but two).
When you arrive at a course, there will more than likely be many different areas to go into, again these range from up-market expensive parts to the average pie and peas section. Whicever one of these you choose is entirely up to personal preference, and how much you're prepared to pay to get in!
Form means how the particular horse you are looking at has been performing, usually in the short term, over at most the last 10 races. If you look at a racecard (which you can buy at the racetrack, or some even offer them free with your ticket) or a racing paper (almost definatley the Racing Post as there is now only one national racing paper) you will see a series of numbers in small type next to the horses name, usually underneath the horses number. The numbers here correspond to how well the horse has been running. For example, if the form says 2153 the horse came second, then first, then fith and on it's most recent run third. So, the form reads left to right, in ALL cases. In flat races, there are very few letters that you will see here, a "d" in the form shows that the horse in question was disqualified for that run, probably not due to the horse itself, such disqualifications are rare and usually due to the jockey. The other letter you may see is a "v" which denotes a void race (the race was cancelled, for one reason or another, as happened in the 1997 Grand national). In the case of a national hunt horse (hurdles or steeplechase) there are many other letters that may occur in their form: "r", which signifies the fact that the horse refused to jump, this could mean one of two things; the horse is a bad jumper, or, the more likely, the horse wasn't fit enough and could not jump the fence/hurdle because it was too tired. "B" shows that a horse was brought down by another horse, this means it was neither horse nor jockeys fault, it was an accident where the horse tripped over another faller or jockey. "F" shows that the horse fell over at a fence or hurdle. "S" indicates that the horse slipped up, this is another case where it is probably not the horses fault, it couldn't help it. "U" signifies unseated rider, this means that the horse didn't fall, the jockey came off, however, this could show that the horse is a difficult ride, alternatively, this could also show that the jockey gave it a bad ride or it was an accident (it is best to read what the tipsters say in this case, or have watched the race in question). "P" means the horse pulled up, it didn't complete the course, this shows that the horse either wasn't fit on that occasion, had and injury or isn't good enough: it could not stay the trip.
Betting on horses:
Once you have picked your horse and have decided to have a bet on it there are two main options you have: you can either bet on the Tote or on the bookmakers (the boards in the ring). The tote is a computerised system where every bet is added up and the odds are worked out so the tote can't lose, this may sound bad, but if you are betting on a long-priced horse (an outsider) the odds can often be much greater than with the bookmakers. You can also do place bets with the tote (to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd). The bookmakers are usually best with shorter-priced horses, as they are looking to tempt you to put money on with them, rather than other bookmakers, this means you can often get good value on the boards. They also give you your stake back if you win, which the tote does not, this means that if you put £10 on at 3to1 you get £30 back plus the £10 that you put on, a total return of £40, no a bad earner, in this respect, the tote can often seem to offer better odds, so work out what your return will be BEFORE you place any bet. Also, as a matter of course, try to avoid backing horses which are odds-on (where your return is less than what you put on) unless you are investing large amounts of cash, this is no fun and losing on an odds-on horse is worse than the pleasure you will get out of winning on one (if you see what i mean!!)
I hope you understand horseracing abit more now. If you could suggest something to improve/add to help understanding then please add a comment!
Decent opinion, well done...Brian...PS, Well Rob, you have not answered my question that I left on your "The Premiership" opinion, why is this?
ASIL1508 26.08.2001 01:56
Its just a pity that there isn't a very very useful option here.
This is a great op, and an extremely interesting read.
Thanx for that
darrenloud 26.08.2001 01:26
This has to be one of the most useful opinions I've read (for me personally), I like a flutter now and again (most weeks) but usually on the football or tennis. I have fluttered on some horse races but could never understand the 'form' in the newspapers. Thanks for making it clear to me, I have actually printed this opinion out (first time I have done this ever). Thanks very much, keep up with the high standard! Cheers.....Darren