I swear that here in the UK we used to have a far more casual attitude towards gambling and basically personal responsibility – with the assumption being that most people are able to self regulate and just treat betting as a bit of fun after a tough week. Now though barely a day goes by without talk of restrictions or negative publicity of one kind or another. There is a review of the 2005 Gambling Act under way by the UK government right now that will likely look to bring in additional rules too. While some of this is welcome, for your average joe who enjoys a flutter at the weekends, it’s all one big potential future inconvenience.
It’s interesting to see the juxtaposition between the direction that online gambling is going in the UK when compared to the US. Stateside there have long since been online restrictions to gambling in part due to sneaky additions to an unrelated ‘SAFE Port Act’ bill brought in under George W Bush (who attached the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act to it). At the same time though, and in part why such a law came to be in the first place (an attempt to by Las Vegas to monopolise) the USA is the home of Sin City. So there has been a rich history of the most hedonist gambling imagination, while at the same time online casino for usa citizens hasn’t always been so easy. Politics getting in the way of the people as per usual!
Things look set to change now though. In multiple states for both online casinos and also sports book, there has been a marked change in tone and it’s very much looking like the online landscape in this department will look very different in 3 or 4 years time than it currently does. States like Colorado, Indiana, New Hampshire and more have fully embraced online betting, with others not far behind!
So even though there’s a degree of pressure in the UK with regard to how gambling is perceived, it combines with a more relaxed outlook in some other countries, especially the USA. This creates a picture where at this point in time whether you enjoy playing real money online pokies, roulette, blackjack, poker or any number of other casino games, you’re probably more likely to be able to do so unhindered in this moment in time than any other. As such, enjoy!
Jockey Hollie Doyle rode her first winner on her very first ride, The Mongoose, in a lady amateur riders’ handicap at Salisbury on May 5, 2013, at the age of 16. Some would put that in the same bracket as those who have beginners luck on online casinos. In fact to push home that point she rode just three winners that season and, having become apprenticed to Richard Hannon, rode just one winner in 2014 and just two in 2015. Indeed, it was not until 2017 that she rode out her claim and became a fully-fledged professional jockey.
Nevertheless, her rise through the ranks has been nothing short of meteoric. In 2018, she rode a highly respectable 54 winners, but the following year rode 116, breaking the previous record for the most winners in a calendar year, 106, set by Josephine Gordon in 2017. In 2020, she broke her own record with 151 winners; highlights included her first Group race winner, her first Group 1 winner, a retainer with owner Imad Al Sagar and a five-timer at Windsor. Doyle finished fourth in the Flat Jockeys’ Championship and was named ‘Sportswoman of the Year’ by the ‘Sunday Times’.
Doyle began 2021 in similar vein, riding another five-timer at Kempton on March 3. At the time of writing, less than three weeks into the Flat Jockeys’ Championship – which, nowadays, does not start until the Guineas Festival at Newmaket – she lies joint-fifth in the table with 10 winners from 60 rides, at a strike rate of 17%. As far as the jockeys’ title is concerned, Doyle is a top-priced 6/1 to become the first female champion jockey in British racing history.
Female jockeys are impressing around the world now really, from the likes of former trendsetter and two time Kentucky Oaks winner Rosie Napravnik in the USA to leading group one winner Michelle Payne in Australia. Prior to recent years whenever you heard of racing or gambling in general such best australia online casino guides, it was all geared towards men. It’s more than apparent though, from the UK examples and others, that ability was never the impediment to recognition and success. It was instead age old prejudices that are thankfully slowly ebbing away. About time too.
The majority of horse races run in Britain are handicap races which, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica rightly points out, represent ‘an outright repudiation of the classic concept that the best horse should win’. However, the aim of the handicapping system is to create competitive races, in which each horse has, at least in theory, an equal chance of winning.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) employs a team of handicappers, who analyse every horse in every race and award a ‘performance figure’ which, in turn, is used as a basis for a ‘handicap rating’. A handicap rating expresses, in imperial pounds, the ability of a horse in the eyes of the BHA and determines the weight it is allocated in a handicap race. The horses that are eligible to run in a particular handicap race, in terms of handicap ratings, are stipulated in the race conditions. In, say, a handicap open to three-year-olds rated 0-55, a horse rated 55 would be allocated top weight, of 9st 7lb, while a horse rated 54 would be allocated 1lb less, or 9st 6lb, and so on.
Trainers often query the treatment of their horses by the BHA handicapping team but, while performance assessment may include informed opinion, as well as fact, each handicapper must provide a logical, reasoned explanation for any decision. Typically, a handicapper seeks to identify a horse that runs to the same level of form as its current handicap rating, or has run to the same level in recent races, and therefore provides a ‘benchmark’ for the race being assessed. Thereafter, the relative merits of the other runners in the race can be assessed using a sliding scale of pounds-per-length figures, ranging from 3lb a length for five-furlong races to 1lb a length for races over fifteen furlongs on the Flat, or National Hunt races.
When looking at the racing calendar there is one race that is head and shoulders above the rest in terms of its profile – the Aintree Grand National. With last year being an unfortunate exception to the rule, it’s the race of office sweepstakes, of choosing a horse because of its quirky name, of going for that ambitious, big priced outsider.
There is such tradition to the Grand National, which on the whole has to be a good thing. Though as Katie Walsh highlights in this Betway segment, some traditions outstay their welcome. It wasn’t until the late 70s and because of the Sex Discrimination Act that a woman even started taking part in the Grand National (Charlotte Brew in 1977). Participation was patchy over the years but in 2012 Walsh herself placed third in the Grand National. This was the best performance by a female jockey to date. With three female jockeys taking part this year, surely it’s only a matter of times before we have our first female winner. It will be a big achievement; one that is long overdue.