This week has been one of the strangest for many a moon in the goldfish bowl that is British racing.
It all started with a known cheat being allowed to ride again, despite having a) deliberately stopped a horse from winning, and b) lied about it in court (i.e. perjury).
The case of Fergal Lynch is a complicated one: more in terms of the options available to the BHA, both at the time and now, for dealing with Lynch's request to ride in Britain.
I wrote about this extensively at the beginning of the week, and many of you agreed with my stance, and some did not. That's absolutely fine, of course, because it's only an opinion, wherever you stand on Lynch.
Yesterday, Paul Struthers, then Director of PR at BHA and now Chief Executive at the Professional Jockeys' Association - and therefore a key man at both ends of this saga - took time to write his counterpoint argument to my comments, and I've appended that to the bottom of the original post for any reader interested.
The week got weirder when the European Pattern Committee, a group charged with devising and maintaining the top, i.e. Group and Listed, races, decided to further extend the already bloated Group programme with the introduction of a Group 1 sprint for three-year-olds as part of Royal Ascot.
In the context of a dwindling race horse population, but burgeoning bloodstock sales, this move is warranted neither from a 'lack of opportunities for good horses', nor from a 'help stimulate the bloodstock industry' perspective. It is, frankly, bizarre, and flies right in the face of the Pattern Committee's own stated objectives.
Indeed, the European Pattern Committee only has two published aims, one of which is
The Committee will also aim to achieve a balance of Group races within the European Pattern, so that there are more Group 3 races than Group 2 and more Group 2 races than Group 1, and the total number of Group 3 races exceeds the total combined number of Group 1 and Group 2 races.
In 2003, there were 59 Group 3 races run in Britain, but the combined number of Group 1 and Group 2 events was 64. In other words, there were five more higher class races than Group 3's, in direct contradiction to the E.P.C.'s aim.
Last year, 2013, there were 70 Group 3's run in Britain, against 77 higher class races, widening the disparity to seven. And, with the introduction of a further Group 1 next term, the gap continues to grow.
Whilst it is true that, across the entirety of the E.P.C.'s jurisdiction, there may be more Group 3's than Group 1 and 2's combined (I don't have the data, and actually I suspect this is not the case), it must surely adhere to the same principle from nation to nation.
The growth of the Pattern is a prime example of one of racing's factions pleasing themselves at the expense of the sport as a whole. More, at the expense of better. The whole system is becoming devalued and it looks odds on that we'll see further reductions in both field sizes and average ratings of winners in the majority of Group events. There are simply not enough good horses to go round.
Right, that's enough of the soap box for one day (though I may dig more deeply into the rise and rise of the Pattern in the near future, time permitting!)
On a brighter note, Wolverhampton staged its first card on a new tapeta surface this week. The previous surface had been roundly criticized for 'balling' - sticking together in large, and dangerous, clumps - and it needed replacing. ARC, belatedly as is their style, responded and in fairness to them, the new surface has thus far received universal approval.
Silvestre de Sousa suggested it was riding on the slow side, so from a wagering perspective stamina for slightly longer than the advertised race distance might be an attribute to look out for.
Indeed, de Sousa's comments seem to be borne out by results: five of the seven winners on that opening tapeta card had form over further than they raced there. That's a small sample size but it's definitely something to keep an eye on.
James Doyle reported that the kickback was minimal, and what there was of it was light and powdery. He felt that might change after it has been rained on. Doyle also, tellingly perhaps, suggested that only when we experience extreme weather - either hot or cold - will we learn anything material about Wolverhampton's tapeta. But, so far so good.
It's been a bit of a nothing week in terms of the actual sport - as opposed to the politics of the sport, in which context it's been a generously giving week! - and with some glee I'm looking forward to next week when York's Knavesmire opens its gates for the Ebor meeting, one of the summer's big festival occasions.
We'll have coverage here on geegeez of course, and before that, the Saturday previews will return tomorrow with a look at the Great St Wilfred Handicap from Ripon, amongst others.
Despite the relatively humdrum nature of the sport this week, Chris has been in outstanding form for Double Dutch and Stat of the Day. Doubles were notched for Double Dutch on the 8th, 9th, 11th (22/1!), 13th and 14th August moving the profit for that free service to 77.86 points.
Double Dutch has a strike rate of 36.52%, which is phenomenal, and the ROI of 13.24% is extremely healthy too.
For Gold subscribers, well I don't really have to tell you about Stat of the Day, because you already know it's about as good a tipping service as you'll find anywhere. I firmly believe that the £24 per month subscription for Gold is a snip just for SotD, let alone all of the brilliant tools and cards members also receive.
Yesterday, Chris surpassed even his own high standards, with this exquisite statfest, that culminated in a 6/1 winner. That means that Stat of the Day is now 220.42 points up since we started it in November 2011.
This year alone, Stat of the Day has notched profits of £1,622.20 to £20 level stakes. Keep in mind that this is from just one selection a day, with a one point bet placed, Monday to Saturday (day off to count winnings on Sundays!).
Overall, Stat of the Day and Double Dutch have yielded a combined profit of £5,965.60 to £20 bets. These aren't back-fitted 'here's what you could have won' numbers. These are live figures, attested to by hundreds of loyal groupies, myself included! 😉
If you're not already one of us, you can try everything in Gold for ten days, totally unlimited, by signing up (or upgrading from free membership) here. If you're paying for another service that isn't performing, you really ought to give this a whirl. I think you're going to love it.
And finally, a couple of football-related reminders. The Geegeez Super League already has over 100 entries in less than 24 hours, and we'll hopefully get that up towards 200 by kick off (12.30pm) tomorrow. All the details are below:
Fantasy Football Competition
It’s free to play, and there will be a first prize of £100 cash (whoop).
I’ll also offer sporadic ‘game week’ prizes for the top scorer in a particular week of fixtures, as and when I have anything interesting and racing related to give away.
Of course, far more important than either of those mere glittering trifles is the overwhelming kudos associated with being the Geegeez Super League Fantasy Football Champion 2014/15. Huzzah!
Right, so how do you enter? Simple simple…
1. Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ and register
2. Read the rules, gen up on the scoring system, and choose a team
3. Go to http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/ and click ‘Join A League’, then select ‘Private League’ and click ‘Next’
4. Enter this code in the box: 1814706-410601
5. Confirm, and you’re all set!
If you’re already registered and playing this game, you need only do steps 3-5
Come on, what are you waiting for? It’ll be fun!
The other football point was to tell you about a juicy rollover and a very interesting new bet, both at Colossus Bets. There is £97,000 rolling over into Sunday's Pick 4, where players need to predict the scores of these four matches:
Newcastle-Manchester City (Sunday)
I will most definitely be playing this pool, even though the form has had no time to settle, purely because of the hundred grand of free money in there.
The new bet is a £1,000,000 guaranteed wager called HDA15. You 'simply' need to correctly predict home, draw or away in fifteen matches. Staking starts at just 20p, and you can choose multiple outcomes in as many games as you like. I might 'limp in' to this one, for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it's a million quid.
Secondly, there are eight 3pm Saturday games, and there will be 'cash in' offers at half time and full time in those games. So, it might be worth taking a bit of profit early if the opportunity arises.
And, thirdly, it's a million quid!!!!!!!! 😀
Do take a look at Colossus Bets if you like your football. These are really good fun bets, with massive potential payoffs. Just how wagering should be. 🙂