He's Backed Every Favourite Since 1974

When you make a decision it seems natural to think you have weighed up all the factors. Let's say you considered a bet. You think the horse has winning form. It likes the ground. Good jockey. The price is better than you thought and looks value. Job done. Well, that's the logic, hey. However, research suggests there may be a problem. Our decision making is mostly unconscious. Now you may consider that is a load of old rubbish. ''I know what I think!'' But  consider how these aspects may influence your ''decisions''. 

Are you influenced by what others say? The paper favourite? What does that bloke from the Racing Post have to say? You maverick doing your own thing. In an instant you can appreciate how social validation plays its part.  The difficultly is that so much of our ''decision making'' is ingrained, habitual, implicit that even trying to make it conscious is no easy task. As Sigmund Freud would say: ''We are trying to make the unconscious conscious.''

Your past behaviour will affect how you behave in the future? It most likely will unless you can appreciate why you behave in such a way. Have you noticed the bloke in the bookies who only bets on the favourite? Every time it's a favourite. He may try and mix it up a little with a cross the card double (but it's still two favourites). But why? We like to stay true to ourselves and so we follow a personal commitment to do just that. Take a read of our post: I followed That Horse Off A Cliff

Boy, you will be waiting a long time for Uncle Harold to take out his mat and do some break dancing.

Back an outsider? Fu*k Off!!!!!

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But what else? Do you follow a tipster even though he has been in terrible form of late because he had a good winner last year. I owe him. Or your mate took your advice last week and he's really keen on this horse  and would you believe it's in the same race as mine. That reciprocity can turn your mind. But so too can your ''decision'' never to trust anyone's advice but your own (talking to myself here).

However, this doesn't mean your thinking is faulty, irrational or bad. It's simply that our conscious mind cannot cope with all the data it tries to process. Our unconscious mind has evolved to do the job. For the most part it does it well. It's not a tyrant trying to teach us a lesson for being a naughty child. It trusts it makes a decision in our interests. That's the ''gut feeling''. 

Probably the best way to appreciating how we make decisions is to keep a diary. Not so much about our selection or bets but how we got to that point. This is much more difficult than it sounds but it can be revealing especially if you notice a pattern of behaviour keeps cropping up. 

What do you think, Sigmund?

How Gambling Killed Kenny

Ken Uston, blackjack,
Ken Uston was a professional gambler with a love of blackjack. Born in New York in 1935, his mother a native of Austria and his father a Japanese migrant businessman.

Uston went to Yale University at the age of 16, then studies an MBA at Harvard. He had varied jobs including Senior Vice President at the Pacific Stock Exchange. 

He enjoyed playing blackjack at weekends and read Thorp's Beat the Dealer becoming a genius card-counter. 

In 1983 Blackjack Forum interviewed Uston. He said he became fascinated by blackjack and its strategies after meeting professional gambler Al Francesco in a poker game. Francesco had launched the first ''big player'' type of blackjack card counting team and recruited Uston to be his main team player. A team of card counters would wait until a table became extremely positive and the ''big player'' would place big bets. Uston was promoted as the ''big player''. He later co-authored a book called The Big Player which effectively barred Fracesco's team from playing in Las Vegas. 

In 1978, Uston started his own profitable blackjack team. He was soon barred from casinos in Atlantic City. In 1979 he filed a lawsuit claiming casinos did not have the right to bar skilled players.

''In Uston v. Resorts International Hotel Inc., 445 A.2d 370 (N.J. 1982), the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Atlantic City casinos did not have the authority to decide whether card counters could be barred absent a valid New Jersey Casino Commission regulation excluding card counters. To date, New Jersey casinos—by statute—are not allowed to bar them. In response to Uston's legal victory, Atlantic City casinos began adding decks, moving up shuffle points, and taking other measures to decrease a skilled player's potential advantage. ''      

Uston adopted a number of disguises to continue playing blackjack. He had an aggressive, flamboyant playing style. 

In an article in Blackjack ForumArnold Snyder describes playing with Ken Uston at Circus Circus Las Vegas near the end of Uston's life. He states that Uston was disguised as a worker from Hoover Dam and got away with spreading his bets from table minimum to table maximum on a single-deck game. Since this took place at a time when card counting was well understood by casino executives and managers, and since the primary clue by which casinos detect card counting is a card counter's "bet spread" pattern, most card counters would also consider Uston a genius of disguise, and/or "card counting camouflage".

Uston went on to write Million Dollar Blackjack detailing his winning techniques.

He was the subject of a 1981 segment on 60 Minutes, and in 2005, he was the subject of the History Channel documentary, "The Blackjack Man"

On the morning of September 19, 1987, Ken Uston, age 52, was found dead in his rented apartment in Paris. The cause of death was listed as heart failure.

Professional Gamblers: John Aspinall

Aspinall's whole life was dangerous and controversial, and in the popular press there was much speculation that he had aided the disappearance of his gambling crony Lord Lucan. But by far the most important part of his career was his work with animals. He insisted on treating them not as beasts to be exhibited, but as friends to be pampered. He ensured that they should have adequate space to live in the same kind of groupings as in the wild, and took the greatest trouble to reproduce the variety of their natural diet. 

His gorillas, for example, were given all kinds of berries, and treats such as roast meat on Sundays and chocolate bars.

"Aspers" himself, determined to annihilate the gulf between the species, delighted to romp with tigers and gorillas. His keepers, usually chosen without reference to qualifications, were encouraged to behave in a similar manner. In his book The Best of Friends (1976), Aspinall insisted on the individuality of animals: "There are bold tigers and timid ones, honest tigers and treacherous ones, predictable and unpredictable, noisy and silent, hot-tempered and good-natured."

He himself was an excellent judge of his charges. A Passion to Protect, a film about his work, showed him having his eyelids delicately picked by the gorilla Djoun; receiving newly-born tiger cubs dumped in his lap by the mother; and being surrounded by an affectionate wolf pack. Of his 30 best friends, he once remarked, more than half were animals. In 1993 he was perfectly happy that his grand-daughter should play with gorillas; indeed, he remarked, "I'd rather leave them with gorillas than with a social worker."

While experts were initially sceptical of his approach, they were eventually obliged to admire his remarkable run of breeding successes. Until 1956, no gorilla had ever been born in captivity, and not many more were added in ensuing years. Yet after 1975, gorilla births were common events at Howletts, and eventually passed the half-century mark.

Aspinall also bred hundreds of tigers, including the first Siberian tiger born in Britain. More than 50 other species profited, including the first snow leopard born in captivity; the first honey badger to be bred in a zoo; the first fishing cats in Britain; the first Przwalski's horses for 30 years.

But these triumphs were overshadowed by the deaths of five keepers: two killed by the same tigress in 1980; one crushed by an elephant in 1984; another savaged by a tiger in 1994; and the last trampled by an elephant earlier this year. There were also occasional maulings: of the 12-year-old Robin Birley in 1970; of the model Merilyn Lamb in 1969; of a volunteer at Port Lympne in 1994.

Though Aspinall succeeded in warding off attempts by the Canterbury Council to enforce more orthodox methods of husbandry at Howletts, these accidents evoked criticism which portrayed him as a playboy living out his fantasies. Such attacks were the more virulent because of the provocative manner in which Apsinall set forth his own views. In his mind there had once been a golden age in which animals and humans had been equal. Mankind, though, had launched a vicious campaign against the beasts and Aspinall saw it as a duty to fight for the victims.

He castigated the human race as a species of vermin, and positively welcomed natural disasters as a means of reducing the plague of homo sapiens. He would gladly end his own life, he declared, if he could take another 250 million with him. There was something to be said, he felt, for Hitler's ideas about eugenics. "Broadly speaking," he said, "the high income groups tend to have a better genetic inheritance."

Aspinall's special antipathy was clever women of Left-wing views; they made him fume. His quasi-fascist views earned him obloquy, and tended to obscure the extraordinary nature of his achievement. By 1996 his two zoos contained 1,100 animals, and cost £4 million a year to keep, of which the public contributed a mere £330,000. The task of providing the remaining funds left Aspinall quite undaunted. His panache and self-belief always allowed him to live entirely on his own terms.

John Victor Aspinall was born in Delhi on June 11 1926. His father, supposedly, was Robert Aspinall, a surgeon; his mother, née Mary Grace Horn, was sprung from a family resident in India for four generations. John was the second, and very much the favourite son. Later he gave out that, at 26, he had discovered his true father was a soldier called George Bruce, and that he had been conceived under a tamarisk tree after a regimental ball.

John was largely brought up by an ayah, and in early years was more fluent in Hindustani than in English. At six, he was sent back to prep school near Eastbourne. In 1938, Aspinall's mother, now divorced, married George Osborne (later Sir George, 16th Bt), who paid for John to go to Rugby. There he made the rugger XV, but his boisterous bolshiness caused the school to suggest in 1943 that he might not want to return for the next term. The most influential event of this period was his reading of Rider Haggard's Nada the Lily, which sparked a lifelong obsession with the Zulus and tribalism.

After Rugby, he spent three years in the ranks of the Marines. Afterwards he went up to Jesus College, Oxford, where he soon discovered that he had a talent for gambling. He risked his entire term's grant (£70) on a horse called Palestine in the 2,000 Guineas; it won, albeit at very short odds.

At Oxford he made friends who would prove vital to his later life, notably the Goldsmith brothers, Jimmy and Teddy, and a fellow gambler, Ian Maxwell-Scott. When his final exams beckoned, Aspinall preferred to attend the Gold Cup at Ascot.

At that time it was not permitted to hold games of chance regularly at the same place. Aspinall therefore began to set up games of chemin-de-fer at a variety of addresses. His charm, admitted even by his enemies, attracted such players as the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Derby, while his entertaining was conducted in the most lavish style. With his percentage of the stakes guaranteed, he was soon becoming rich.

He married in 1956, and went to live in a flat in Eaton Place, in which, quite suddenly, he began to instal various animals. There was a Capuchin monkey, then a nine-week-old tigress called Tara, who slept in his bed for 18 months, and two Himalayan bears. Inevitably, the neighbours were disturbed. Seeking for alternative accommodation, he put down a deposit of £600 on Howletts, a neo-Palladian house with 38 acres. A successful bet on the Cesarewitch enabled him to pay off the remaining £5,400.

At the end of 1957 the police raided a gambling party he had organised. The subsequent dismissal of the charges was a virtual admission that private gambling would be sanctioned, and indeed the Gaming Act of 1960 opened the door to casinos. In 1962, Aspinall opened the Clermont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. Though he was in a parlous financial state at the time - and thus allowed Mark Birley to establish the nightclub Annabel's in the basement - he raised £200,000 in loan stock. Membership, limited to 600, included five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls.

The success of the Clermont Club, and investment advice from Jimmy Goldsmith, enabled him to finance Howletts, and to see off the complaints of angry neighbours. "You are slipshod and impatient," Lord Zuckerman, the doyen of zoologists, told him. But Aspinall was also irrepressible.

In 1972 he sold the Clermont Club to Victor Lownes for £500,000 in order to devote himself to Howletts. By now he was employing six gardeners and 12 keepers; the weekly bill for food amounted to £3,000. The stockmarket crash of 1973 left Aspinall more or less bust, forced to sell pictures and jewellery so that his animals could eat. Yet he still managed to pay out £360,000 for Port Lympne and its 275 acres, neglected since the death of Sir Philip Sassoon in 1939.

These were turbulent times for Aspinall. On November 8 1974, the day after Lord Lucan's disappearance, Aspinall's friends - but not, to Private Eye's cost, Jimmy Goldsmith - gathered for lunch at his house in Lyall Street to discuss what should be done. The tabloids suggested, without a shred of evidence, that they were all privy to dark secrets, and that Lucan might have turned up at Howletts and implored Aspinall to feed him to his tigers.

Aspinall declared on television that if Lucan showed up he would embrace him, but this was no more than the tribal loyalty which he demanded from his friends. Those, like Dominic Elwes, who were thought to have broken the code, were ostracised. Elwes made the mistake of selling a sketch of the interior of the Clermont to the Sunday Times, and when he found himself cut off from the company that he adored, committed suicide. At his funeral Aspinall, while praising Elwes's gifts, referred to "a genetic flaw" - and found himself punched on the jaw after the service.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here!In 1978 the need for cash forced Aspinall to return to gambling. Within four years the casino he set up in Hans Place was making £8 million a year. He decided to move to larger premises in Curzon Street, and to offer 20 per cent of the shares on the stockmarket. In 1983, he netted £20 million from their sale.

Aspinall and Goldsmith still owned the remaining 76 per cent of the company, though Aspinall's share was made over for the upkeep of his zoos. When the company was sold in 1987, he realised £23 million. But by 1992 he was in financial difficulties again, having lost large sums in Goldsmith's failed attempt to take over Rank Hovis McDougall. In consequence he opened another new casino in Curzon Street in 1992. Within a year it was flourishing.

In recent years he was dogged by cancer. His courage, doubted by none, was exemplified last year by the manner in which he shrugged off a vicious mugging near his home in Belgravia. John Aspinall married first, in 1956 (dissolved 1966), Jane Hastings, a Scottish model; they had a son and a daughter. He married secondly, in 1966 (dissolved 1972), Belinda "Min" Musker, a grand-daughter of the 2nd Viscount Daventry; they had a daughter who died in infancy. He married thirdly, in 1972, Lady Sarah ("Sally") Courage, widow of the racing driver Piers Courage and daughter of the 5th Earl Howe; they had a son.

2:00 Lingfield Racing Tips (20th Sept) BRITISH STALLION STUDS EBF MAIDEN STAKES (CLASS 5) (2yo)

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 1m 1y on standard going.  Ten two-year-olds take part and a fascinating contest.

Hydroxide is a class horse trained by Hugo Palmer and by all accounts a winner without a penalty. Two narrow loses to talented rivals must give a bittersweet taste for connections V I Araci. This son of Lope De Vega cost 205,000G at the breeze-up sales. If this Irish-bred had won on debut, it is very likely we would have contested a pattern race by now and is likely to be heading in that direction. This odds-on shot has to take some beating although there are a few juveniles in opposition who may hold some claims, perhaps more at each-way selections in hope that the favourite comes second best once more.

Balashakh was fancied to go well on debut when finishing fourth at odds of 6/4. This bay colt is an American-bred son of Blame and cost 100,000G at the yearling sales. He will improve for that debut effort and from a statistical point of view has very good win and place claims. Beating the likes of Hydroxide seems a pretty stiff task but if touching each-way prices could well be  abet to nothing and hope this colt is much better than seen or the favourite has a taste for second place. Interesting. 

*Envisaging is another horse who may be capable of more. James Fanshawe is a talented trainer and the betting indicates this Irish bred son of Zoffany could have a fair level of ability. Ben MC Wong's two-year-old cost 110,000G at the yearling sales rising markedly from his price at foal [17,500E]. He was much too keen last time out at Goodwood. He wasn't helped by a small field and ten runners and a wide draw may force the hand of Queally to sit in behind and progress from there. A tongue tie is applied for the first time. At odds of 12/1, he isn't beyond going well and good have realistic each-way claims. 

Bocelli is a home bred from Mrs P Good. It would take a huge effort to win this race on debut although Simon Crisford has been in imperious with his debutantes this season. 

Conclusion: A race to enjoy. Hydroxide will start favourite and on form will take all the beating. He hasn't done anything wrong in defeat although there is always a worry when a horse is defeated that it will become the norm. If defeated, it will be due to a talented opponent rather than a balls up. Balashakh got going all too late on debut but I'd expect a marked improvement here and he could be a worthy each-way alternative. I would be surprised if this colt isn't placed at worst. Envisaging is another horse who didn't go himself justice at Goodwood. He was must too keen but traveled very for a long way. If drifting to huge odds on the exchanges is worth a small each-way bet. If the favourite drifted to even money I would be tempted to have a win on the jolly and half point each on Balashakh and Envisaging. 

* NR [Envisaging]

Professional Gamblers: Barney Curley

Who is Barney Curley? Why is he so feared by bookmakers and one of the most is celebrated and respected punters in their field? The reason Barney Curley has been the annoyance of bookmakers and one of the most renowned punters of modern times can be traced back to a night at a Belfast race track over forty years ago.

Barney's father, a grocer by trade, decided to take a gamble. He bet and bet big on one of his own dogs. During the race, the dog fell and broke his neck at the first bend. The sight of his dad walking back up the track, cradling the dead dog, has haunted Barney ever since. The consequences were devastating, yet would be the backbone of the driving force in Curley becoming in a league of his own where punters are concerned.

Free Horse Racing Tips, Click Here!Curley's father, Curley senior, took Barney, the oldest of six siblings, out of school and sentenced him to 15 months of working double shifts at the plastics factory in Manchester. The two Curley's stayed in Manchester working until enough was saved to pay off all his debts from the gamble.

Curley's father taught him what honour and pride was the best way he knew how. "My father wouldn't come back to Ireland until everyone was paid" Barney recalled. This fact was a good lesson even though it really left him scarred. Each and every winning bet he makes is a bit more retribution for the ways that the bookies made him feel that night and suffer for the next 15 months. Barney has secured betting accounts with bookies all over the world. His most wicked pleasure came in the late 1980's. William Hill decided that he no longer wanted to conduct business with Curley. Over the previous two years Barney had taken them for £200,000.

Barney did not get his start in the business world as a punter. At the tender age of 24 he began by managing bands. Eventually, he added to his plate the ownership of a few pubs and betting shops. Later he decided it was not enough and packed up, closing shop, and moved south of the border to start his punting career into overdrive.

"I wanted to prove myself, " he says. "You have to be out of the ordinary to make money." "I fancied myself as a race reader and I thought I could crack the system. My first big win was about £80,000 and within 6 weeks it had all vanished. I was drinking. I soon discovered that drinking and gambling don't go together!"

The largest venture Curley orchestrated in Ireland was the ever famous 'Yellow Sam' coup. In this one endeavour he netted almost £300,000. The race was a race that took place at the Mount Hanover Amateur Riders Handicap Hurdle at Bellewstown on the 25th of June 1975. Bellewstown, a small country Track, just north of Dublin, at the time had just one phone line. Curley and his team got work backing the horse off-course in stakes up to £50, while the others involved made sure the phone was occupied. This was pre-modern technology days so it was impossible for the bookmakers to notify their representatives at the track that a coup was underway. Yellow Sam, who had shown little to no form in his nine previous runs, started the complete outsider at 20/1. At the end of the race, Yellow Sam won with a full 2 ½ lengths ahead of the rest

Like all the other professional punters, Barney Curley made a very comfortable living from racing. His house is a seven bedroom mansion near Newmarket, complete with an indoor swimming pool there's a Mercedes in the driveway. Its number plate simply puts it "I BET".

When asked what advice he would give to the average punter, his answer was not entirely positive. "It's very difficult to make racing pay in the bookmakers' shops with their computerised tracking systems and expert analysts. Always go to the course if you can. You will invariably get better prices by shopping around. The important thing is to control your emotions and don't chase your losses. There's always another day. I know my judgement of form is sound enough to pay off in the end." This statement helps separate Curley from a number of his peers. He knows that no matter how seasoned, there is no such thing as a sure bet and knows everyone can lose.

In conclusion, it is clear Curley is a man of skill. He was brought up to know the value of hard work and the importance of the value of ones word. Curley took a hard life and made it successful.

Alex Bird
Dave Nevison
Paul Cooper
Phil Bull
Many More

Idaho heads final 15 for St Leger at Doncaster

Idaho, horseracing, St Leger,
With the St Leger at Doncaster now just a matter of days away, the final fifteen runners for the famous meeting have now been confirmed, with trainer Aidan O’Brien potentially running three horses, including current favourite Idaho. The recent Great Voltigeur Stakes winner is once again set to be the horse to beat, however Sword Fighter, Housesofparliament, Kellstorm, The Major General, Triplicate and Unicorn also in contention for the champion trainer. The fact that former contender Wings of Desire has withdrawn from the race only heightens Idaho’s chances of claiming yet another win in 2016.

Idaho is the current favourite for victory with bookmakers Betway with odds of 4/5 on, with Muntahaa and Housesofparliament further adrift at 5/1 and 8/1 respectively. With former Dante Stakes Winner Wings of Desire pulling out late on, Muntahaa is the obvious replacement, with the Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum owned former second-best in the ante-post market likely to apply strong pressure among the chasing pack.

Elsewhere, Ed Dunlop's Red Verdon has received plenty of backing thanks to a series of good results at the highest level this season, most notably when finishing second in the Grand Prix de Paris. Despite this, Dunlop has warned against too much expectation on his prized asset, with preparations for the race being far from straightforward due to health issues. In the horse racing at Betway.com, Red Vernon can currently be backed at 8/1.

Conditions for Britain’s oldest classic are set to be good to soft, soft in places as a result of recent weather in the North of England, with such a track unlikely to provide too much of an advantage to any of the frontrunners. As far as jockeys are concerned for the £700,000 race, title-chasing Silvestre de Sousa and Jim Crowley will lead Ventura Storm Algometer respectively, while James Doyle partners Red Verdon.

With the Irish St Leger taking place at Curragh on Sunday afternoon, Order of St George is undoubtedly the overwhelming favourite at Betway for the race, with the former Ascot Gold Cup winner at odds of just 1/3 on. For those of you looking to back an outsider for the meeting, Bondi Beach and Big Orange could well be worth a shout, with the duo set to provide the fiercest competition if recent form is anything to go by.

5 Top racehorses of all time

Secretariat, morning gallop,
The 5 Top racehorses of all time are not going to be as famous as some of the other famous athletes in the world, even though they deserve to be since they train just as hard as the human athletes that they're competing with on some level. While people who are outside of the racing community are going to struggle to name even a few racehorses, the 5 Top racehorses of all time do have their very devoted fans within the racing community. The top racehorses of all time also do not get replaced all that easily in many people's minds. Many of them are truly one of a kind.

It says something that many of the 5 Top racehorses of all time are still animals that were born in the early or middle of the twentieth century, and many of them are unfortunately deceased today. The strangely-named Citation was actually born in 1945, and he managed to win sixteen races in a row. For forty-six years, no racing horse managed to beat the record held by Citation. He was already Horse of the Year in 1948, and some people might have awarded him the informal title of Horse of the Century following his distinguished career and life.

Horses do not live long, and the people who are celebrating the 5 Top racehorses of all time are going to be greeted with that punishing reality all the time. Seattle Slew is one of the most modern of the best racing horses of all time since he was born in 1974. Affirmed is the most modern of all of them, having been born in 1975. Horses usually do not live longer than thirty years, and race horses often have even shorter lifespans.

Man O'War has a name that truly demonstrates his historic origins and the fact that the pictures of him are going to be in black and white. He was born in 1917, which would make this horse nearly one hundred years old in the minds of people who feel that sufficiently talented beings never really die. Horse racing would not be what it is today without the hard work and constant wins of Man O'War, who truly helped to make horse racing popular again. The 5 Top racehorses of all time owe a debt of gratitude to Man O'War.

Secretariat [pictured] is one of the only names in the horse racing world that has managed to pass into popular culture, which is a testament to the power of Secretariat. He actually was a horse that struggled at first, but he managed to finish strong in the end, which is a good metaphor for a horse race in general.

People can place all sorts of sports bets on the Royal Vegas online casino website. The Royal Vegas online casino is helping people stay up-to-date on all of the great feats of modern athletes. However, it is still a good idea for people to keep in touch with the athletes of the past at some level, remembering what they did and helping people stay connected to the history of the sports that they love. Remembering the 5 Top racehorses of all time can help. 

4:35 Leicester Racing Tips (6th Sept) BRITISH STALLION STUDS APOLLO EBF MAIDEN STAKES (Plus 10 Race) (CLASS 4) (2yo)

Main Sequence,
An EBF Maiden Stakes over 7f on good to soft going. 

Thirteen two-year-old colts take part.  Five juveniles with race experience. Plenty of renowned trainers taking an interest in this Plus 10 contest with win prize money a shade over £5,000.

A big old field but plenty of interest. 

Roger Charlton fields *Zafferino. This son of Frankel is out of a once-raced mare. This home-bred is owned by Saleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar. He started 8/15f in a four-horse race but couldn't hold the late challenge of Seniority. Zafferino was a touch keen on his racecourse debut but held in high regard by connections. With that initial experience, this February foal should go well and has sound each-way claims.

For more reading material around horse race betting, be sure to check out Bethut's horse racing tips.

Sir Michael Stoute should always be respected in the latter part of the season and he has sent out a few nice two-year-olds over the last few weeks. Elucidation is a homebred racing in the familiar silks of the Niarchos Family. This son of Oasis Dream was the lesser fancied of two horses representing Stoute on debut at Newmarket. Perhaps that was the reason Elucidation was sent off at odds of 16/1. However, he showed ample promise, staying on in the closing stages to finish third. The winner, trained by James Tate, ran on with verve after being fancied to go well at Yarmouth behind the very smart Salsabeel. Law And Order [Tate] had exceptional win and place statistics that day and it was not surprising to me he was a powerhouse. I had my eye on the runner-up. Rummani, who is a talent, which boosts the likelihood of Elucidation. I would keep an eye open for Mandarin, who disappointed that day but was heavily backed and I know for a fact is held in high regard by Marco Botti. Elucidation looks the type to improve for that racecourse bow and has strong each-ways claims if priced 13/2 & less SP.

Adamant is similarly trained, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing. This grey colt is a son of Dalakhani who was purchased as a breeze-up purchase by John Warren for 130,000E. The mare, Attima, won three times in her career racing in France and America, winning at Group 2. The best guide to this debutantes chance is the betting. The majority of Stoute's debutantes win when priced 13/2 & less SP. If outside this betting guide I would take a watching brief. 

To add to the heat, *Naval Warfare comes here after finishing fourth and second, respectively. This bay colt, a son of Born To Sea, put up a bold front-running performance over seven and a half furlongs at Ffos Las to be worn down in the closing stages by Math's Prize. It was a fair effort to beat Prerogative, who has been a model of consistency. I can see this bay colt leading and should appreciate this softer going. 

Luca Cumani doesn't have the biggest string of two-year-olds but a trainer who should always be respected on their second start. It is worth noting that Presence Process races in the second colours forSaleh Al Homaizi & Imad Al Sagar. This bay colt is a son of Dansili and half-brother to Justineo who race up to Group 1 class. Presence Process was relatively fancied on debut at 10/1 but a long way behind the first three, which included Law And Order. On a form line, he has to find a good few lengths to beat Elucidation. I would take  a watching brief unless seriously backed.     

Ed Dunlop has a couple of runners both making their racecourse bow. Alemaratalyoum is an Irish-bred son of Lope in the ownership of Mohammed Jaber. He has a couple of fair juveniles with the stable in Apex King & Al Nafoorah. He cost 85,000G. Dunlop's debutantes are best judged by their starting price. They have a fighting chance when priced 14/1 & less SP. If weak in the betting I'd take a watching brief. 

The market should detail the chances of Nigh Or Never who is trained by Tom Dascombe. This January foal is a son of Excelebration out of a Galileo mare and cost 100,000E at the yearling sales. Dascombe's juvenile is presently priced at 20/1, which suggests he will be better for the race or the competition is strong enough to make this a test. The stable can win at bigger odds although their brightest prospects are priced 7/1 & less SP. If in that guide should be feared.

I always take a second look at John's juveniles owned by George Strawbridge. They often prove a fair combination. The stable have their share of debut winners, especially if fancied in the betting. Jupiter Light is a son of Lonhro out of a seriously good mare who won on debut and runner-up in the Fillies' Mile. An exceptional filly who achieved a highest OR 113. The betting suggests he will be better for the run but if backed to 13/2 & less SP have respectable each-way claims.

Charles Hill has a few fair juveniles in his string. *Farook hasn't been seen for over two months since finishing behind Apex King. This son of Raven's Pass was relatively fancied in te betting but disappointed. There may have been an issue that day. Hamdan Al Maktoum stuck his hand deep in his pocket to buy this roan colt at the yearling sales for 420,000G. It would be a surprise to see this colt backed. He doesn't hold any significant entries but one for the shortlist is the money comes.  

Al Mansor hails from Richard Hannon's stable. I find this stable difficult to assess with their debutantes because they are difficult to call. In general, they are better for their debut. This son of Dark Angel  cost 95,000E at the breeze-up sales so should come here with fitness and wisdom.     

The stable field Sporting Times who is a home-bred. The betting suggests this youngster is best watched.

Time To See & Quinteo are best watched. 

Conclusion: A tough race to be too dogmatic with a handful of horses which have shown promise if no undoubted ability. I was impressed by Elucidation on debut when starting at big odds. The form of that race is solid and any improvement would make this juvenile go very close. Zefferino will have his supporters with the Frankel tag, which probably means he will start little shorter odds than deserved. However, it is difficult to assess the form of that race but Charlton has very good win and place claims with horses fancied on their second start and if difting to each-way prices wouldn't be a bad bet at all. If Adamant is priced 13/2 & less SP it would be significant. Farook cost a lot of money and may have sustained an injury or problem on debut. He could be backed from big odds and may be worth an anticipatory gamble. 


The Highs & Lows Of Terry Ramsden

A story written by Jason Bennetto, originally published in The Independent on Thursday, 7th May, 1998, charting the highs and lows of Terry Ramsden. He was the archetypal Thatcherite success story. The son of a postal worker from Romford, Essex, he rose to become one of the country's richest men and most powerful racehorse owners. His millionaire lifestyle, built in the early 1980s on trading in Japanese bonds, included the obligatory executive jet, Rolls-Royces, homes around the world, and the ownership of a football club. His gambling record was the envy of every trackside punter - a regular winner both on the racecourse and at the bookies.

He was a true Eighties self-made man with his cockney vowels and shoulder length hair. Yet Terry Ramsden, 46, looked anything but a high-flying, city whizz- kid yesterday as he stood in the dock at the Old Bailey. A bankrupt with debts of more than 100m pounds, he was jailed for 21 months for trying to conceal about £300,000 from his creditors.

Ramsden's roller-coaster career began in the City at the age of 16 as an insurance clerk. He quickly realised he could make more money by working for himself and set up his own business, making £25,000 in the first month. 

But the vehicle for Ramsden's career was a company in Edinburgh called Glen International which he bought in 1984, when it had a turnover of £18,000. By 1987, the figure had risen to 3.5billion and Ramsden was said to be the nation's 57th richest man. The venture was based on his knowledge of the specialised and volatile market in Japanese warrants. These were options to buy shares in Japanese companies. He gambled on a rising market and got it right.

After hitting the jackpot, he was quick to adopt a suitably flamboyant and high-flying lifestyle to go with the new-found wealth. Along with his Porsche, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces, he was interested in racehorses - lots of them. At one stage he owned 75.

One of his biggest successes on the racecourse was when his horse Not So Silly won the Ayr Gold Cup in 1987. Small of stature, but invariably accompanied by minder, he was a regular visitor to the winner's enclosure.

"I'm a stockbroker from Enfield. I've got long hair and I like a bet," he once said. He also owned a Georgian mansion on a luxury estate in Blackheath, south- east London, where he could relax in a swimming pool with hologram shark fins beamed on to the water, before flying by helicopter to Walsall Football Club, of which he was both owner and chairman. He lived with his wife, Lisa, and their son, Jake. They also had homes in Scotland, Bermuda and Portugal. 

But in 1986 the market and Ramsden's luck changed. The 1987 crash knocked hundreds of millions of pounds off the value of his securities. He started to run out of cash to keep the huge and complex portfolio of securities afloat and his marriage was on the rocks. Added to this, he was estimated to have lost 58m at the racetrack - there were even stories of him parting with 2m in a single day. Within a year, Glen International crashed, owing 98m, and he moved to the United States.

In September 1991, a warrant for his arrest was issued on fraud charges and he was detained in a jail in Los Angeles until his return to Britain in February 1992. 

The next month, Ramsden was declared bankrupt - with the Inland Revenue demanding 21.5m and other creditors bringing the total debt to near 100m. Ramsden escaped with a two-year suspended sentence in November 1993 after he pleaded guilty to offences of recklessly inducing fresh investment in his empire. 

As a bankrupt, Ramsden was required to disclose all his assets and income but failed to reveal the existence of a hidden trust and concealed his ownership of three million shares in the Silversword Corporation, a Canadian company in which he had a controlling interest. Thousands of pounds was paid from the trust fund to Ramsden's mother, Florence, a former cleaner, which she passed on to her son. He also failed to mention winnings of £77,000 in 1992, from an accumulator bet involving five horses and a dog.

Last year, the Serious Fraud Office announced that Ramsden was to be prosecuted for failing to disclose assets.

At his trial, Ramsden admitted failing to disclose about £300,000. It was also revealed that the fund had also helped pay for a house worth £323,800 for his wife and son.

Jailing Ramsden for 21 months, Judge Peter Beaumont QC also ordered him to pay £10,000 towards prosecution costs. He told Ramsden: "You broke the law and must now be punished." The judge said he would serve at least half the sentence in prison.

Ramsden, of Fulham, south-west London, pleaded guilty to three charges of breaching the Insolvency Act by failing to disclose all his assets. Anthony Arlidge QC, for the defence, said: "He was motivated by a desire to win back his wife and restart his family life. He accepts now that is no longer possible." He added: "He is a man of considerable talent, who for a long time was extremely successful. Rightly or wrongly, he felt his failure was not his fault but due to the misguided views of others."

Godolphin's Dubai One Makes Debut at Kempton for Saeed bin Suroor

6:30 Kempton - 

For many race fans the excitement of enjoying two-year-old racing is the appearance of a very talented horse. A horse that wins impressively on debut but competes at pattern class and heralded as a future Classic winner. 

We may  have one such two-year-old making its debut today.

Dubai One is trained by Saeed bin Suroor for the mighty Godolphin. This chestnut daughter of Exceed And Excel, out of a relatively poor-winning mare, who was trained by Michael Bell. The reputation of Dubai One proceeds her because she is even money favourite to take this evening's maiden at Sunbury.  

She is bred to start over this 6f and races from stall 6, ridden by James Doyle. 

Of the form horses Hathfa, showed ability on debut when seriously backed but, perhaps, slightly disappointed next start at Newbury, although that was a decent contest. This is definitely one of the better juveniles in Richard Hughes string.

Etikaal is another live threat for Simon Crisford in the silks of Hamdan Al Maktoum. This son of Sepoy has a wide draw which isn't ideal on this turning course. However, Crisford has been an example to just about all this season when it comes to preparing a debutant to shine on its formative start. 

Conclusion: Dubai One will be the focus of many racegoers and pundits alike. This filly takes on a field of colts [two other fillies, too] but she is expected to win. Saeed bin Suroor has a fantastic strike rate at this course. Debutants can be a tricky betting medium, especially on a turning course over a sprint distance, but this filly should go well. If she is a class act I very much doubt Hathfa will be good enough, although his race experience is positive and he is proven to have ability. Etikaal is a worthy opponent and could be a tough horse to beat if not suffering too badly from his wide draw. A fascinating race.  

Cheltenham Gold Cup Memories: Desert Orchid

Henry Ford once said of his cars: ''You can have one in any colour, as long as it is black.'' 

Thank the Lord he didn't breed racehorses! 

Where would we have been without ''Dessie''? 

It is difficult to put a finger on it, but there is something special about grey horses. Even from afar they eclipse the bays, chestnuts and their like. Lady luck invites us to bet on the grey. No one asks: ''Which one's mine?'' And when they win... it's like watching Pegasus without wings. 

You know, I believe one grey horse was truly magical. Why? Because if you ask someone to name a grey I bet they will give one reply. Such elegance, beauty, captured in a gritty determined winning style. I'm convinced he was born a unicorn but some vagabond stole his magical horn leaving him with a story which foretold one day you will run like the wind, fly over fences and be crowned a champion racehorse.

His name was Desert Orchid.

Born on the 11th April 1979, this son of Grey Desire, out of the mare Flower Child, became an icon of National Hunt racing. With his front-running style and iron will this much-loved horse was simply the peoples' champion.  

His greatest victory came in the 1989 Cheltenham Gold Cup. Desert Orchid, trained by David Elsworth and ridden by Simon Sherwood, had been in superb form leading up to this race where he was made 5/2f. Running over 3m 2f, jumping 19 fences in heavy ground, would be a remarkable test for a horse who was once thought a two-miler at a course he did not favour. This noble grey jumped well, leading to the 14th fence, he was left in the lead 3 out, only to be headed by the brave mud-loving Yahoo. Over the last fence it looked as though Desert Orchid was beaten. The crowd watched in awe as racing commentator Peter O'Sullivan echoed those famous words: ''Desert Orchid is beginning to get up.'' He won by one and half lengths beating Yahoo, with Charter Party finishing third. Simon Sherwood said: ''I have never known a horse so brave. He hated every step of the way in the ground and dug as deep as he could possibly go.''

Dessie was without question the peoples' champion. A quote from a race fan remembering this day detailed what so many felt.

 ''When Peter O'Sullivan started 
to say Desert Orchid was beginning to get up it sent shivers down my spine. It was like watching England win the World Cup. I wanted to streak up the road I was so delirious''

Few race meetings capture the anticipation, excitement and passion of the Cheltenham Festival. The Gold Cup the pinnacle of equine star. Which horse captures your imagination like Dessie? What's your idea of a good horse racing bet? Bring sports alive with the best odds available at Bet Victor