It isn’t every day that we pull a 25/1 winner out of the hat, but that is what we did in the Bumper yesterday at Punchestown. We also had several decent e/w shots and at one time I thought we were in with a shout of taking the La Touche – but like so much racing this week, we simply ran out of steam.
Back in England, the TV cameras swerve Ireland in favour of televising the collapsing racing economy, which appears to be what the entry figures are suggesting. However, before we all run around doing the headless chicken routine, let’s just have a look at the detail.
Firstly we are specifically talking about Flat racing which has a different organisational basis and operations style – based on a cooperative pan-European and Internally accepted pattern. Then remember, this is another Jockey Club “extra day” to try and make The Guineas Meeting a proper three-day modern racing festival, full of Stag and Hen parties and punch-ups such as happened at Sandown last weekend.
The actual race entry figures, on the surface, look horrific – but in reality, has an element of plus ca change
The 1m Goodwood Conditions race for example has only been run once before and it had 4 runners. In fact, just looking for C2, 1m, 3yo, non-handicaps that are run in April, May and June, yields the information that of the three that have been run since 1998, none of them had more than 5 runners. If you make it 7f to 1m, you get – since 1998 – eight races with the following numbers of entries (4-6-4-5-4-9-4-7), with Leicester hosting the nine-runner race in 2005. That would all suggest that there isn’t much call for that type of race at that time of year. As regards Newmarket, I found the following facts:
- 1:50 The Median number of entries for the last 25 years of the Newmarket Stakes is 6. In four of those years, there were only four runners and in three of those years, there were nine runners – the most that have ever competed.
- I also researched the 3yo Listed 9½-10½f races run at Newmarket since 1998, over the three spring months (about two a year). There were 38 races with 206 runners which is an average of 5.4 per race.
- 2:25 The King Charles II race has a long history and so one can say with certainty that in the last 25 runnings, the median number of entries was 6 and there have been six years in that time when there were only five runners.
- 3:35 The Jockey Club Stakes. the Median is 6.5 and in 8 of the last 25 years, there have been between 3 and 5 runners.
So, are the figures disappointing? Yes’ish. Is the Sky falling in? No’ish. But what is certain is that for the amount of money invested in promoting the sport, racehorse ownership, post-racing concerts, etc we appear to have been mulching rather than growing. If the average UK race entry figures were all heading South in dribs and drabs – say 15% per annum, we should be very concerned. At that level of cumulative loss, a 20-runner race becomes a 4-horse race in just a decade. In any event, I don’t think we achieve anything by regarding four-horse races as betting mediums in their own right, so won’t bet except in accumulators.
I’ll try and do Punchestown ASAP
1:30 GOODWOOD British Stallion Studs EBF Conditions Stks Cl2 (3yo) 1m ITV4 4 Run
1:50 NEWMARKET Best Odds On The Betfair Exchange Newmarket Stks (Listed Race) (Colts & Geldings) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2f ITV4 4 Run
Probably SUBASTAR. No Bet
2:25 NEWMARKET Betfair King Charles II Stks Cl1 (3yo) 7f ITV4 5 Run
Probably GUBASS. No Bet
2:40 GOODWOOD William Hill Pick Your Places Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-100) 5f ITV4 10 Run
LIVE IN THE MOMENT 2 pts e/w
3:00 NEWMARKET Betfair Daily Rewards Hcap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 7f ITV4 7 Run
A brand new C2 race, which features G2 winner SHINE SO BRIGHT now running off 98. It’s skinny but don’t go mad.
SHINE SO BRIGHT 2 pts win
3:15 GOODWOOD British Stallion Studs EBF Daisy Warwick Fillies’ Stks Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f ITV4 7 Run
SILENCE PLEASE 4 pts Win
3:35 NEWMARKET Betfair Exchange Jockey Club Stks (G2) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m4f ITV4 6 Run
YIBIR should win – but there is no value on his own. No Bet
4pt Treble SUBASTAR – GUBASS – YIBIR