A significant scratch card win, you’d think, would be enough for most. Bill Morgan though, displayed a midas touch when he won a significant cash windfall while in the act of demonstrating his previous win during a segment on local news. Talk about lucky!
Horse racing is one of the world’s oldest and best-loved sports. Over six million of us enjoy a day at the races every year, and we spend an estimated £4.3 billion on bets alone. But the racecourse isn’t the only place you can place a cheeky flutter on the horses these days. You’ll now find a wealth of horse racing-inspired slot games to play online.
Spin alongside eight-time champion jockey Peter Scudamore in NetEnt’s Scudamore’s Super Stakes. Enjoy classic pub fruity vibes with a racing twist in IGT’s Champion Raceway. Or ride away with one of three big jackpots in Ascot: Sporting Legends, Playtech’s new release for 2019.
If you want to find out more about these and other top racing slots, check out our guide below. Rest assured it’s been put together with the help of the experts at Bgo online casino, to celebrate the arrival of Royal Ascot this month. All the slots included can be played at home on your PC, or on the go on your smartphone.
Have fun, and we wish you the very best of luck!
In the days when the Jockey Club still governed and regulated horse racing in Britain, John Francome once referred to stewards as ‘Cabbage Patch Dolls’. The former champion jockey was, of course, likening the voluntary referees to the line of soft-sculptured, potato-faced toys that were ‘adopted’ by small children worldwide in the early Eighties. He may have had a point but, in any case, the Jockey Club ceased to have any responsibility for running the sport over a decade ago, following the merger of the British Horseracing Board (BHB) and the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (HRA), to form the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), in July, 2007.
However, the latest ‘refereeing decision’, as it was described in BHA statement, and its supposed justification has, once again, put the stewards – many of whom are still voluntary – at odds with racing professionals. On Sunday, January 26, 2019, stewards at Uttoxeter fined Worcestershire trainer Henry Oliver £140 for waving his arms at his steeplechaser Burrenbridge Hotel, who was mulish at the start of SWUK Steel Decking Handicap Chase. Oliver himself described the fine as ‘petty’, although he added, ‘The same steward had me in for a horse at Bangor recently and told me I was running it over the wrong trip, so I don’t know why the stewards don’t train the horses themselves.’
Another former champion jockey, Sir Anthony McCoy, went a stage further, branding the decision ‘embarrassing rubbish’, while the subsequent assertion by the BHA, later retracted, that horses race ‘of their own free will’, left reigning champion trainer Nicky Henderson ‘in despair’. Barbury Castle trainer echoed that sentiment, describing the BHA as ‘becoming a laughing stock’ and expressed his annoyance at ‘being dictated to by people who seem to have no understanding of the horse.’
In light of the recent figures on equine fatalities, which revealed that 202 horses died on British racecourses in 2018, at a rate of 0.22% per runner – the same as recorded in 2014 – Brant Dunshea, Chief Regulatory Officer at the BHA, has called for a consolidated effort from the racing industry, as a whole, on the safety issue. However, if recent performance is anything to go by, the BHA seems as woefully out of touch with contemporary horse racing as the Jockey Club ever was. What Mr. Dunshea & Co. need, first and foremost, is a mighty public relations effort to restore confidence in their competency and expertise.
Bookmakers and the betting public place much importance on the relative class of racehorses and rightly so. Aside from official ratings – which, after all, just reflect the opinion of the British Horseracing Authority handicappers – there is no absolute measure of class. In other words, all horse racing form is relative to the class of the race in which it is achieved and, by carefully monitoring changes in class, up and down, it’s possible to determine which horses represent good value and which don’t.
In Britain, Flat races are classified by a simple 1-7 numbering system. Class 1 races are further subdivided in Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 races, collectively known as Pattern races, and Listed races. Classes 2 to 7 are defined by the official ratings of the horses that are allowed to compete in them. Class 2 races are open to horses officially rated 86 to 110, Class 3 races are open to horses officially rated 76 to 95 and so on down the classification to Class 7 races, which are open to horses officially rated 0 to 45. As you can see, there is a degree of overlap between one class and the next so, even using official ratings, assessing class is not altogether straightforward.
After a horse has run in three Flat races, or run in two Flat races and won at least one of them, it becomes eligible for an official rating, or handicap mark. An official rating is simply a number, on a scale of 0-140, which reflects, in Imperial pounds, the ability of the horse to which it is allocated. In other words, a horse officially rated 95 would be required to carry 7lb more than a horse officially rated 88 in a handicap race.
If a horse wins, or is placed in, a race and the BHA handicapper believes that it has improved on its previous form its official rating will be raised. Conversely, if the handicapper believes that a horse’s official rating no longer reflects its ability its official rating will be lowered. If a horse is already close to the upper limit for a particular class of race, a rise in its official rating may necessitate a rise in class. If, on the other hand, a horse is close to the lower limit for a particular class, a fall in its official rating may mean that it’s eligible for a drop in class.
By watching their charges on the gallops and on the racecourse, racehorse trainers glean information about their ability and, more often than not, are able to place them in races of the appropriate class.
However, some trainers are more ambitious than others and there may come a time when they accept that a horse has been too highly tried and drop it in class, sometimes significantly, so that it can compete more effectively. While it’s true that many horse races are won by horses attempting little, or nothing, more than they have achieved in the past, horses dropping significantly in class are easy to spot, by bookmakers and punters alike, and often represent poor value.
Conventional wisdom dictates that most trainers place their young horses, even those who may be destined for Pattern races later in their careers, to win a lower class maiden race before stepping up to higher class events. Even Frankel, who went on to win a total of fourteen races, including ten at the very highest level, made his racecourse debut in a maiden race.
Horses of potentially higher class may win their maiden races easily, but still be offered at generous odds when they take on tougher assignments, simply because of the disparity in class. One recent example of this type of horse is the Godolphin filly Zibelina, who won a Class 5 maiden race at Newcastle by 10 lengths on her racecourse debut in June 2013 and followed up in a Class 1 Listed race at Ascot, at odds of 14/1, the following month on her very next start.
The issue of class is, by its very nature, a tricky one, but there are one or two abiding principles that can, hopefully, make your betting more profitable:
Be wary of any horse dropping in class, unless it has demonstrated, by virtue of its recent past performance, that it’s capable of winning in the lower class. If a horse is regressive, even a drop in class may not improve its performance.
In handicap races, be wary of any horse stepping up in class if the rise in class is accompanied by a rise in the weights of 14lb or more. Adding weight to any horse, even a highly progressive one, will eventually slow it down.
Don’t be afraid to back winners of maidens or handicaps stepping up Class 1 races for the first time, provided they’ve won impressively or demonstrated progressive form in the lower class and aren’t hopelessly outclassed, according to official BHA ratings.