HCE Supporting Our Blogging Community




''A Quiet Day On The Two-Year-Old Racing Front So We Are Promoting Our Blogging Community. These Are The Best Of The Best So Take A Look At These Experts''



     CLICK

HCE links exchange programme is very important to us - and we thank you kindly for making us part of the blogging community. This new page is dedicated to all our blog friends so they can spread their wings and tell you what's going on in their world. If you want a good read, sporting insight, tips, trading or general musing - you have come to the right place.


(For Quick Links See below)

2:55 Newmarket (28th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

TOP CLASS FILLIES
Shadwell Fillies' Mile (Group 1) on good ground.

A select field of just seven class two-year-olds striving to win prize money of £92,720.85.


Godolphin will be hoping Certify can make this four wins from four races. This American bred daughter of Elusive Quality was a bargain buy at $80,000 and trained with great professionalism by Mahmood Al Zarooni. Unbeaten in three starts, this bay filly has proven herself to be top flight taking the Sweet Solera Stakes (Group 3)  & May Hill Stakes (Group 2) in gutsy fashion last time when pipping William Muir's talent Purr Along. Certify has proven to be a versatile horse, progressively stepping up in distance to a mile. 

On form she holds Masarah

Another filly featuring an unblemished record after three straight wins is Mick Channon's Ollie Olga. This January foal was a cracking buy at 42,000gns. An American bred daughter of Stormy Atlantic she is the type to do just enough as seen by her narrow victories but leaving the impression there is more to come. There was a lot to like about her victory in the Prestige Stakes (Group 3) when holding Sky Lantern. Richard Hannon's juvenile went on to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Group 1). In fact, her two narrow defeats came against Certify and Ollie Olga. On a line through this runner there is little between the pair. A step up to a mile could bring further improvement for Channon's star filly and her battling qualities could be the difference between winning and losing.

It is interesting to note that *Winsili has been supplemented for this race. This daughter of Dansili - running in the Frankel silks - won her maiden in tidy fashion before being held by Lovely Pass who represented Godolphin. Clearly this juvenile is held in high regard by connections but there will need to be marked improvement to press those at the head of the betting. Although quite fancied in the betting, I would rather take a watching brief.

Of the others, Roz has proven to be a surprise package costing only 16,000gns as a yearling. After finishing last on debut, she has made a habit of winning at speculative odds and the type who doesn't shirk the issue with bold front running tactics. Jim Crowley has given the opposition a riding lesson in her two victories and it is likely he will stretch the field once more. This step up to a mile should not be a problem and it could well magnify the advantage of an abundance of pace. Roz adds an intriguing aspect to this contest and if the opposition do keep on her heels she could well prove a tough nut to crack. She beat Purr Along when winning at Listed class although it is fair to say Muir's juvenile didn't help her cause by pulling much too hard. 

Amazonas is held on that running. 

Discernable need to improve to figure on recent form.


Conclusion: A fascinating race with Certify and Ollie Olga unbeaten after three runs, both achieving Group success. On form there may not be a great deal between the two and both have shown battling qualities. A tough call to separate this pair although I would just favour Ollie Olga simply because she may improve yet again for this step up to a mile. Roz is interesting. Crowley has ridden this filly to perfection on both her victories and I would be confident they will hit the front. This youngster could be something of a dark horse and if slipping the field could go well. The others either look held or need to improve. 

*NR

5:45 Wolverhampton (27th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

FIT AND READY
A restricted Maiden Auction Stakes over 5f 216y.

Amy Ryan is fighting for the Apprentice Jockeys' Title and this talented rider is in a prime position to do just that with her father a source of talented two-year-olds. The money is down for Al Udeid, a son of Verglas. The Ryan stable can ready a debutante and even though it is never easy to win at the first time of asking on a turning course I would expect a big performance. 


Secret Missile was a 42,000gns foal for William Muir's Racing Partnership. This bay colt has been quoted as a talent but suffered a setback and connections stated this colt would benefit from his first race. By all accounts that was a fair debut effort and stepping up in distance should see a sterling run. Muir is a canny devil and if this youngster starts favourite it would speak well and the horse to beat.


Of the rest Puteri Nur Laila has run five times with mixed efforts. Paul Cole's representative has gone close to winning on a couple of occasions. This filly has been a law unto herself if not temperamental. In many ways I wouldn't give this youngster a chance. However, her trainer has stated that this daughter of Strategic Prince has always worked like a winner at home. The blinkers have been applied which suggest Lane [jockey] will press on from a wide draw. Not the type of horse I would bet on but could go well at a price.

Compton Silver may sneak into a place for Hans Adielsson.

Conclusion: I wouldn't look further than Secret Missile and Al Udeid. The former is likely to progress markedly from his debut when not fully wound up. This was a costly purchase for this grade and Muir has stated they hold this youngster in some regard. The money for Al Udeid is worthy of note. Ryan's stable know a fair horse when they see one and with Amy Ryan challenging for the apprentice title a bold show should be expected. I would slightly favour Secret Missile simply because this turning course can be a baptism of fire for debutantes and inexperience could be costly. However, both should be respected.

1:30 Goodwood (26th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

GOODWOOD
An EBF Maiden Stakes over 7f on soft ground.

An eight- strong field of lightly experienced juvenile featuring colts and one filly.

Pythagorean is an imposing bay colt by Oasis Dream and trained by Roger Charlton. This juvenile has been fancied on both starts when racing at Newbury over 7f on decent ground. As seen with many of the trainer's youngsters this March foal ruined his chance with a slow start but gave enough encouragement that a maiden should be an easy task. The form of that first race has been franked on a number of occasions. This son of Hypoteneuse looked set for a win on his second start but once again his behaviour could well have added to his defeat. Held up off the pace, pulling much to hard, it was a a tough task to show the ability he did when a narrow loser. The application of the first-time hood suggests that Charlton has concerns. This horse has ability as indicated by a Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) & Racing Post Stakes (Group 1) entry but temperament is always an issue at short odds.

Emulating has run creditably on both starts and a progress type. This son of Duke Of Marmalade comes from a good family where a number of siblings have attained lofty sales prices. With the Hannon/Hughes bandwagon going strong you have to respect the chances of this chestnut although at restricted odds I would rather take a watching brief.

David Simcock is represented by Marju's Quest who runs in the familiar silks of Favourites Racing. This bay colt wasn't fancied on debut when racing off the pace, suggesting this extra furlong will be to his liking. Spencer has a good strike rate for Simcock and if priced 13/2 & less.

Another horse unfancied on debut was Jeremy Noseda's Zamoyski. Susan Roy's  juvenile cost 55,000gns but showed little on debut at Ascot. The betting is the best guide to this son of Dutch Art. If priced 13/2 & less has strong win and place claims.

Strong Conviction has been kept busy this season, for the most part running over five and six furlongs. This chestnut gelding has gone close to winning on a couple of occasions but clearly has his limitations. Channon has run this son of Piccolo over seven furlongs once before when finishing down the field in a handicap. On balance other make more appeal.

On form Codebreaker is held by Pythagorean. This chestnut colt is owned by Thurloe Thoroughbreds who always deserve respect. Hughie Morrison's juveniles rarely show a great deal on debut but their two-year-olds often go on to win in their first season. Looks held but could go better on his second start especially if backed.

ProvencalBe Royal need to improve greatly to have any chance. The former trained by Rod Millman is a home bred out of Compton Place. The stable's juvenile often go well on their second start at speculative odds and may have a glimmer of hope.

Conclusion: Pythagorean catches the eye. A big, strong colt who hails from a trainer who knows his horses. The form of those first two starts indicates a winner in waiting. The only negative is that this youngster has a rather cavalier attitude bordering on headstrong tendencies. The application of the hood could resolve those issues and he should be wiser with race experience. At short odds it always pays to be careful but I would give this colt a leading chance. The horse to beat. Emulating is a difficult horse to assess but a progressive type. At relatively short odds I would take a watching brief. The betting will be the best guide to those once raced juveniles from fashionable stables. Marju's Quest, Zamoyski & Codebreaker would all have each way claims if priced 13/2 & less. If weak in the betting it would reinforce the favourite's credentials.  Provencal hails from a stable who often go well on their second start at speculative odds. 

Why Use Horse Trainer Directory?

PAUL COLE
It's all too easy to neglect information which is just waiting to be gleaned. Read Paul Cole's blog and then make sure you take a look at Horse Trainer Directory and smile in the knowledge you have found the home of hundreds of horse trainer websites, blogs & twitter links. 

Carlton Blue has ran two disappointing races but continues to work well at home and we are putting the poor runs down to the soft ground.

Dance With Dragons is in good form and may contest a race at Chantilly.

Kalicamix, after his successes in Deauville may be sold to Hong Kong.

Bluegrass Blues race a good race at Newbury from a poor draw and everybody was pleased with his run.

Keep The Dream runs on Wednesday at Kempton, he has a poor draw but will probably need the race anyway.

Puteri Nur Laila runs at Folkestone tomorrow, she continues to work like a winner at home but has been disappointing on the course, blinkers have been fitted this time.

Don Libre has come out of his Kempton race well, we will probably keep him to that sort of race for the time being.

Kaiser Wilhelm runs today and is probably best watched. 

Silverheels was disappointing at Newbury, he broke too well and ran far too free.

Hunt A Mistress and Joy to the World both finished 2nd last time out and are progressing well.

Circumvent ran well enough at Ayr to be 2nd in the Listed race despite the very soft ground. He is a fantastic horse and normally earns money where ever he runs.

The yearling sales are upon us and we have decided not to go to Goffs in Ireland as they have a greatly reduced catalogue which means because of the strength of the pound, they are selling the best horses at Newmarket. You also have the added cost of the transport from Ireland to Whatcombe. Having said that, 2 of 3 that we bought in Ireland last year have won and the other will win.

I noticed they had an all Arab race meeting at Newbury yesterday. The way things are going they will have an all Arab owners day in England soon. Lets hope there are a few gaps at the sales so that the indigenous population can get a look in!


3:50 Kempton (24th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

GODOLPHIN - SUPREME
An EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes over 7F.

The second division on the card. Godolphin have a number of two-year-old representatives at this meeting.

Intiba is a home bred son of Street Cry trained by Saeed Bin Suroor. This bay filly was fancied to run a big race on debut at Salisbury in the hands of Frankie Dettori but beaten by a what looked a talented juvenile in Lanansaak. The pair held Rainbow Beauty who is no world beater but capable of winning a maiden. That experience will see this youngster well today. Saeed Bin Suroor does exceptionally well with his juveniles on the all-weather and from a statistical point alone has a superb win and place chance. The averages suggest this horse should be priced just over even money. A live contender with Dettori retaining the ride.

The other Godolphin runner hails from Mamood Al Zarooni's stable. Breezily - a daughter of Hard Spun- hasn't been seen for over two months since finishing last at Folkestone when racing over 5f. This bay filly wasn't the most expensive of yearlings but fancied in the betting that day. With such a poor showing it isn't beyond the realms she disappointed on debut although you have to take a leap of faith better will be seen. On breeding this step up to 7f looks more suiting. The betting is the best guide. If priced 13/2 & less it would give greater confidence. 

Of the other form horses, Reveille is certainly worth forgiving a poor run at Epsom last time. Hughie Morrison doesn't have many strongly fancied debutantes but this daughter of Sakhee's Secret was very well backed for her racecourse bow at Chepstow. A canny purchase at 28,000gns she had a hard-fought battle with Mick Channon's favourite in testing conditions. Many a judge considered that was a pretty hard race for a first experience and it may have tainted her when disappointing next start. This youngster looked all at sea on the course and didn't seem happy from start to finish. I would conclude this chestnut filly is much better than that poor showing. If fancied in the betting it would be a sign of confidence. Conversely, a weakness would set alarm bells ringing. Morrison's first few juvenile runners of the season usually go on to win and being so short in the betting on both starts suggests this filly has ability.

Chamtille was a remote second last time and best watched.

July Waits showed next to no ability on debut and would need to be substantially backed to give any hope.

La Danza is another juvenile who needs to progress markedly on her debut effort. Alan Bailey's two-year-olds are worth noting in the betting but unless seriously backed is best watched.

Richard Hannon has his juveniles attaining the highest of standards and should be respected. Three Choirs has run fair races to date but needs to improve to win a race of this nature 

Of the debutantes, a few of these hail from leading trainers. Playbill is trained by Sir Michael Stoute and owned by Lady Rothschild. This stable's juvenile can be rather hit and miss on debut although a good few have run well at this course. The betting is key. If priced 13/2 & less this daughter of Medicean could register although a wide draw is far from ideal. Unless substantially backed I would rather watch and learn a little more.

Henry Candy is a trainer who often slips under the radar and it is encouraging to see Pearl Bloodstock Ltd making the most of his talents. Pearl Street is a half-sister the talented Peter Martins so one to keep on the right side. There is usually money around for the stable's better juveniles who can win on debut although - in general - are more likely to hit the frame and improve for the run. The betting is usually a very good judge of the Pearl Bloodstock Ltd juveniles and if strongly fancied would be of interest.

The market is similarly the best judge of Luca Cumani's Sharqawlyah. The stable can be very hit and miss with their debutantes even when fancied in the betting. In past years they feature fair place claims when supported but I would have to take a watching brief.

RocksillaSporting Club Girl come from stables which often need the run.

Conclusion: Experience counts for a lot on a turning course and especially difficult for horses making their racecourse bow from a wide draw. From a statistical point of view Intiba is the talking horse. Saeed Bin Suroor does brilliantly with this juveniles on the all-weather and this filly will take all the beating. The main contender could well be Hughie Morrison's Reveille. She ran well on debut but disappointed at Epsom. You have to keep the faith to bet and unless fair odds are available I would be careful. However, Morrison does very well with his juveniles and most go on to win a race. That last run was too bad to be true and better should be expected. A question mark or two, but sound each way claims if back to best. The betting will tell the story for Breezily. If she is backed to 13/2 & less SP it would be a sign of ability. The debutantes have their work cut out. Playbill may have similar chances if fancied in the betting. However, the stable's juveniles often improve with racing. Pearl Street comes from a canny trainer/owner combination. I would take a watching brief unless seriously backed. It usually takes the better stable juveniles to win at the first time of asking. The other horses are best watched.

2:50 Hamilton (23rd September) Free Horse Racing Tips

HAMILTON PARK
An EBF Maiden Stakes over 1m 65y on heavy going.

A speculative punt for *Bitusa trained by Alan Swinbank. This American bred gelding was unfancied on debut when racing over the minimum trip but steps up markedly to a mile. On balance this son of Roman Ruler looks to have a mountain to climb but Mrs J Porter is a very lucky owner and this stable can transform juveniles from their first to second start. At a price, he may have each way claims.

*NR

Back On Track

With going to Yarmouth for the three day September meeting I've been busy catching up. HCE blog will be back to its best next week with a superb post every day. 

Pro Gambler: Barney Curley

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.


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.


Off To The Races - Sunny Yarmouth

No blog post for a couple of days as I'm going to Great Yarmouth in search of candy floss. I mean winners. It's our annual amble to the Norfolk coast - a pilgrimage in the memory of my late father, Colin, who always loved the three day September meeting. This year there will be a gathering of friends and family. We will be stopping at Caister. I can't say I'm the biggest backer on course simply because there are rarely any horses of interest. Time will tell. I don't mind putting a big bet down if I see Pegasus with sand on his hooves. I will be looking up at the grandstand as saying: ''I hope you are watching, Dad.'' 

2:30 Yarmouth (18th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

An EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes over 6f 3y on good to firm ground. William Haggis does well at Yarmouth and the day's racing will be all the sweeter if this well bred filly prevails. In truth, Sky Garden, a daughter of Acclamation, out of Superstar Leo [a Group-class  performer who had an official rating of 120] was unlucky not to have won at Haydock, when drifting in the closing stages saw her caught on the line. Clearly, this home bred of Lael Stable has a long way to go to attain a glimmer of her mother's ability but she has been fancied on both starts to date, which suggests connection fancy she is a winner waiting to happen. This bay filly is a progressive juvenile who could well improve for those first two starts. It is difficult to assess the form of that most recent effort with a couple of debutantes hitting the frame. Experience will be a positive although whether there is much value at relatively short odds is a matter for debate. 

In ways Supernova Heights has proven to be a frustrating horse. Brian Meehan's representative has shown ability and went close to winning when overhauled by Tantshi at Newbury. She struggled to last the distance when racing over 7f at Goodwood and then comprehensively outpaced when tested at Listed class when dropping back in trip at Salisbury. This daughter of Oasis Dream has been kept busy. She looks the type to win an average race but seems to find one too good. 

Roger Varian is an absolute genius at training two-year-olds and Hekaayaat, a home bred daughter of Mr Greeley, catches the eye racing in the Hamdam Al Maktoum silks with Hanagan in the saddle. The mare was a talented filly trained by John Dunlop. The betting is probably the best indicator for this chestnut filly and if priced in single figures could well prove a tough nut to crack. It is worth noting that this youngster was entered for the Lowther Stakes (Group 2), which is a significant pointer. It is never easy to give away experience but a horse to respect.

Another trainer to respect with juveniles making their race course bow is Peter Chapple-Hyam. He is one of very few trainers who feature a strike rate on debut which is pretty much on a par with those racing on their second start. Take it from me, that is an amazing statistic. The betting of Ilsa Lund will be the best guide to this daughter of Holy Roman Emperor. It is a slight negative that this filly was a relatively cheap purchase. If priced 13/2 & less has fair win and place claims.

In a similar fashion, Sir Michael Stoute's filly - Primadonna Girl - would have sound each way claims if priced 13/2 & less. However, breeding suggests a greater test of stamina is needed. The betting is key to this daughter of King's Best.

The others are best watched unless substantially supported.

Conclusion: In some respects the form horses have something to prove but with a couple going close it is reasonable to consider they will take the beating.  Sky Garden has taken time to learn what racing is about but she will be more professional today. I wouldn't want to jump in at short odds but if there is a little meat on the bone looks the horse to beat. Supernova Heights is a difficult filly to get a handle but she will be fit and ready for action. A fair each way prospect although I would tread careful if going for a straight win. Hekaayaat is worth noting in the betting. Few trainers capture my attention more than Roger Varian because his strike rate with debutantes is second to none. However, it will be no easy task racing against more experience opposition and any signs of greenness may be costly. If substantially backed it would be a positive. The betting of Isla Lind and Primadonna Girl will tell their story. If priced 13/2 & less I would expect a big run. 

Meet The Modern Day Robin Hood

He calls himself Robin Hood and has vowed to take from the rich to give to the poor.

But this modern-day version of the legendary outlaw doesn't roam Sherwood Forest - he strikes at the casinos of glittering Las Vegas.

The mysterious cardsharp uses his skills as a professional gambler to 'rob' the casinos and give his winnings to hard-up families

Along with his 'Maid Marian' - a stunning Brazilian model who calls herself Lady Greice - Robin, who insists on maintaining his anonymity, has set up a website inviting people to send in their hard-luck stories and apply for up to £30,000.


Since embarking on his mission, he has given away more than £600,000 to deserving families.

This includes £20,000 he won for the Kegler family, who were in debt after paying for vital drugs to treat their toddler daughter's brain tumour.

Now in his 40s, Robin said he decided it was time to help out others who lead a less fortunate life than his.


'Most people can only dream the sort of lifestyle I have: Jets to fly me to casinos, staying in 8,000sq floor penthouse apartments, so I wanted to give them a taste of what it is like,' he said.

'It would be easier just to hand them money but by using my skills as a blackjack player it means that I have earned the money by doing my job.

'I always loved the film Robin Hood, particularly the original with Errol Flynn. I think Russell Crowe is great as Robin. I loved the film.


'I thought if Robin could do that all those years ago I could do something similar in Vegas. I called myself Robin Hood 702. The 702 is the postcode for Las Vegas.'

Even the casinos are not sure which of their 'high rollers' - someone prepared to lose up to hundreds of thousands a night - is Robin, who will only admit to being from the East Coast of America and has gambled professionally since the age of 16.

He said he was so touched by the Keglers' story, he paid for the family to fly to Vegas where he put them up in a five-star hotel.

He then got to work on the blackjack table using his own money - initially losing more than £200,000 before securing the Keglers' cash.

Robin said: 'I could have walked away from the table and just given the Keglers the money, but I had promised them that I would get their money from winning at the casino.

'As soon as I got their money I walked away from the table even though I was down on the night.

'Just seeing their faces and knowing that they were no longer going to be in debt was worth it.

'After leaving them I went back to my room and just cried. It was so satisfying knowing that I have helped someone, and perhaps changed their lives.'


Robin's generosity has become part of Vegas folklore, and months after their visit to 'Sin Ciy', Megan and Kurt Kegler still cannot believe his kindness.

Kurt, 48, said: 'It was just mind blowing. He brought us to Vegas and we were ferried round in a Rolls-Royce.

'It was just another world and we waited in the hotel room and Robin just walked in with all these chips.

'Robbing from the rich, giving to the poor': Robin Hood, played here by Errol Flynn, was the mystery gambler's inspiration

'You hear so much about bad people these days, but he is really one of the good guys.'

Before becoming a full-time gambler, Robin worked in a series of jobs, serving in shops and at a petrol station.

He knew at 16 that he wanted to make money and said there were two ways - gambling or selling drugs.

'I didn't want to go to jail and so chose gambling,' he said.

Robin said he knew he had 'made it' as a gambler several years ago when he met British boxer Lennox Lewis in Vegas.

He invited the former world champion up to his penthouse suite at Caesars Palace Hotel.

'Lennox walked into my room, took out his camera and began taking photos he was so blown away,' he said.

'It was then I realised I was living a life that few people get to experience. When you have a world boxing champion who is impressed with your hotel room then you know you're in the big time.'

Robin is also trying to persuade some billionaire friends to join him in giving back to those less fortunate.

'I call them my Merry Men. There is a New York billionaire Stewart Rahr who has said he wants to join in what I'm doing.'

Hollywood producers are also interested in telling his story and there is a possibility of a reality show based around his good deeds.

'People who have got money should spread it around to those less fortunate,' he said.

'That was the ideal of Robin Hood and what he did all those hundreds of years ago we can do today.'

4:00 Wolverhampton (17th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

Ffrench In Action At Wolves
A Maiden Stakes over 5f 20y. 

Nine two-year-olds take part in this intriguing race. Six colts, three fillies, the majority raced.

Bapak Bangsawan has been a busy boy for Kevin Ryan running five time so far. This son of Pastoral Pursuits is a home bred with bristling pace. There is a lot to like about his last two efforts, when returning to the minimum trip. This May foal was only collard in the closing stages at Southwell by a decent filly and similarly when taking his chance at York. It was surprising to see this bay colt touch huge odds-on in-running because although he held every chance he never quite ran away from the field. By all accounts he could well be defined at a short runner. However, turning courses are often easier than straight five furlongs and from a low draw Bapak Bangsawan may just about last home. This youngster could well be a good back to lay if following those bold front-running tactics. At times, making such assumptions can be a costly exercise because it often coincides with a change of plans. Time will tell whether Amy Ryan tries to lead all the way or hold-up tactics are employed. This colt has plenty of speed but prone to be caught in the final furlong.

Bryan Smart has had a relatively quiet season with his juveniles but Moviesta is held in some regard by the stable. Owned by Harry Redknapp, this breeze-up purchase cost 44,000gns from a decent family. This American bred son of Hard Spun was well backed on debut but struggled from a wide draw, which could well have been the difference between winning and losing. It is never ideal for a debutante to be on the flank. Inexperience was costly but there is little doubt in my mind he was fit and ready to go that day. Eaves certainly didn't hold back in his efforts when racing over the minimum distance. He stepped up to 6f next start and, once again, was fancied in the betting. The field were strung out at the line in what was probably a decent race. The winner, Melody Of Love, is held in high regard by Ann Duffield. She was runner-up at listed class next start. The third ran creditably when losing by a neck at Warwick. Moviesta took a keen hold that day which may have left him susceptible to a strong finisher.  There is a lot to like about this colt but a wide draw could be a thorn in his side. With a number of the opposition looking moderate I would be hopeful this colt will sit just off the pace. This drop back to 5f should curb his tendency to race too free.

Marco Botti is a class trainer and Miako a good-looking chestnut colt. This breeze-up purchase cost £65,000 after not being sold at Keeneland sales as a yearling. He was well backed on debut but eased when all chance of winning had faded. He looked to have little hope of beating huge odds-on shot New Fforest over course and distance next start. However, connections must have been disappointed by a seemingly half-hearted effort. It wouldn't be a surprise to find the stable expected more. Many of the Botti two-year-olds run their best race third start so it could pay to be careful with this youngster intent on laying this horse. He may be capable of better but needs to show more to win.

Ann Duffield has a stable full of two-year-olds and a number of talents. Rangooned ran a fair race on debut at this course but dropping back a furlong. She had her work cut out against the first three who had experience and a ability. Finishing just behind Annie Gogh would suggest improvement is needed. The betting is the best guide to this fillies' chances. If priced 13/2 & less this grey has fair place claims. 

Of the others, the two debutantes make most appeal although they will need to be primed to trouble the major contenders who will burst from the stalls. 

Lebresem is trained by James Tate and owned by Saeed Manana. I've been impressed by his trainer, especially the way a number of his juveniles have run big races on debut, often at fancy odds. A relatively wide draw is a concern and a turning track can bring problems for inexperienced horses. This youngster  has a tough task keeping tabs on the likes of Bapak Bangsawan and Moviesta. 

Another class trainer who deserves respect is William Muir. His debutantes don't feature the best strike rate but they often prime one or two for big debut runs, especially at this course. Secret Missile - a son of Sakhee's Secret - cost £45,000 at the yearling sale when purchased by Muir. I would take a watching brief but from a low draw it isn't beyond the realms to see this colt run well at a price.

Conclusion: Experience counts for a lot on a turning course and a couple of these juveniles have an abundance of pace. It would be a brave soul to back against Bapak Bangsawan and Moviesta. The former is very fast if let loose but looks prone at the finish. Whether this turning course will help him last to the line is a matter for debate. There is no guarantee front-running tactics will be employed. Personally, I would rather see this youngster try to lead all the way but after a couple of failed attempts Ryan may save him for a fighting finish. Moviesta is the most guaranteed of the pair although a wide draw does bring some conflict. As it's a moderate field I can see Ffrench sitting just off the pace and try to catch the pigeon if it flies. At restricted odds it does temper my enthusiasm to bet although the horse to beat. The rest have their work cut out. Most need to improve and the debutantes will need to be smart and primed to keep competitive in the early stages. They are likely to be outpaced. 


Pro Gambler Series: The Computer Group

AT WORK
He was in the bed sleeping when the two men walked into his bedroom. Billy Walters sleeps in a big clean bed in Las Vegas, in a small but elaborate home renovated to his liking, with palm trees and white flowerpots and two satellite dishes in the yard, and four large televisions in the den, and a security guard who sits just out of sight behind the shrubs across the street. This environment was disrupted early last Jan. 5, when the two strangers introduced themselves to Billy Walters with all the subtlety of an alarm clock.

He greeted them by sitting up in the bed, blinking. His wife wasn't in the bed with him. They already had her, probably.


"You're going to have to get dressed," one man said. Billy Walters reached down for the pile of wrinkled clothes he had worn the night before. The room was quiet. The men watched him dress.


"We don't like to have to do this to you," the other man said.

His wife Susan was downstairs with a third man in the kitchen. There was not a lot of chit-chat. Susan and Billy Walters were led across their fine, trimmed yard in handcuffs. The path to law and order wended past a copy of the daily newspaper, which lay on their driveway like an upturned headstone. As Billy Walters glanced down at the headline, he realized that he was the front-page news:


INDICTMENTS TARGET BETTING GROUP IN LAS VEGAS

As he tells it, what steams Billy Walters most of all was the sight later that day of his pretty wife in leg irons, chains scraping the floor as she staggered toward him. Afterward, when they had been released without bail, she revealed how the manacles had eaten through her stockings.


Seventeen days later Billy Walters and 16 associates held the first meeting of the legendary Computer Group. This was a celebrated occasion in gambling history, and long overdue. The men and women of the Computer Group had been pioneers in their field. All the Computer Group did, apparently, was wager money on college football and basketball games, but for five hysterical years they did it better than anyone else ever had. It was almost as if they had invented junk bonds. Every season the cash arrived by the millions, all because their computer told them which teams should be favored to win everything from the mammoth Ohio State-Michigan football game to the basket-ball game pitting Monmouth against Fairleigh Dickinson. The Computer Group did not fix games. It simply understood them.

The group began to assert its mastery of sports betting in 1980, when the computer as an everyday machine had no firm place in sports. Most of the big Las Vegas players of 1980 were still relying on their own good sense and whatever trends they could pick up. A computer seemed to them a gimmick from the future, a big blinking queen-bee serviced by men in white coats. There were relatively few of these "personal computers" that are everywhere today. As a matter of fact, the Computer Group didn't even own its own computer. Until 1983. the group settled for renting time on a computer 2,400 miles away in Rockville, Md. As for the group's invaluable program, it was maintained on thousands of clumsy old "batch" cards, kept in shoeboxes, then fed to the computer like hay into a thrasher.


Although dozens of workers served the Computer Group, only one man communicated with the machine itself. He was Michael Kent, a 34-year-old mathematician who had spent II years helping to develop nuclear submarines for Westinghouse. He found such work boring. In 1979 he quit his job and moved to Las Vegas, to bet on football games. In 1980 he became partners with a man he hardly knew, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Ivan Mindlin, who Kent says agreed to place bets for them on a 50-50 basis, in accordance with his computerized forecasts. In the 1980 season the computer wizard and the doctor shared winnings of $100,000 playing college football. By 1983 they were winning almost $1 million in one week of college football — or, at least, that's what Michael Kent was told. He never bothered to check the books.


By then Dr. Mindlin had built their little corner business into something resembling a national conglomerate, which had opened betting offices staffed by a dozen employees in New York and Las Vegas. The Computer Group had burgeoned into the first truly national network of sports bettors, able to buy up the best point spreads from coast to coast. At the height of its powers, the Computer Group of 1983-85 wielded more influence over the millions of Americans who bet on sports than any superstar athlete or Super Bowl franchise. Yes, it was even more important than the split-fingered fastball. In its sleekest moments, the Computer Group had as grand an effect upon its constituency in the 1980s as OPEC had upon American consumers in the ‘70s.


As its influence grew, the Computer Group became something of an underground social club, extending an unofficial membership to at least one smalltime hoodlum, as well as sharing information with the likes of lrwin Molasky, the powerful real estate developer and Las Vegas civic leader.


Profits were staggering. The group never had a losing season betting on college football or college basketball. According to figures compiled recently by Michael Kent, the Computer Group in 1983-84 earned almost $5 million from wagers on college and, occasionally, NFL games. Yet Michael Kent suspects that his records are incomplete. They do not account for personal bets made by Dr. Mindlin, or Billy Walters, or by the dozens of other associates who had access to the Computer Group's information. By the time everyone had exhausted Kent's forecasts in the 1983-84 sports year, they might easily have earned 110 million, perhaps $15 million. Perhaps more.

"When you worked it down all the way to the bottom," says Billy Walters, "it might have been 1,000 people using our information."


Finally, in 1987, success got the best of them. They had to break up, just like the Beatles. Despite all the time they had spent working together, the members of the Computer Group had never really known one another. In most cases they had spoken only by phone, in staccato conversation, using code names. Faces rarely had been attached to voices. And so, as their legend had grown in recent years, it was only proper that these reclusive celebrities be united last Jan. 22 in Las Vegas, to shake hands and wonder where all the time had gone, as 17 of them assembled in Courtroom No. 4 of the Foley Federal Building, awaiting their arraignment on 120 counts of conspiracy, gambling, and racketeering charges.


2:25 Doncaster - One Call Insurance Champagne Stakes (Group 2)

A field of just five runners for this prestigious contest over 7f on good ground.

Dundonnel has been a talking horse for Roger Charlton, in the Frankel silks of Khalid Abdullah. This American bred colt by First Defence has been on a steady incline after winning a run-of-the-mill auction race at Lingfield. He showed a bold display taking the Acomb Stakes (Group 3) beating Steeler who has since won at Listed class. 

By all accounts this looks a match with Richard Hannon's Toronado. This son of High Chaparral is a handsome colt and dual winner, still untested after winning at Listed class. Hannon said this youngster will be given an easy two-year-old campaign which indicates the regard this juvenile is held. 

A tantalising race and the winner will most likely be a major fancy for the Racing Post Trophy (Group 1).

1:15 Doncaster (14th September) Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2)

Sir Prancealot 
The Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes (Group 2) over 5f on good ground. 

A field of nine take part in this flying five furlong; some of the fastest juveniles in training hoping to take a win prize of £39,697. Five colts & four fillies compete including five pattern race winners. 

There will be no hiding place here.

Richard Hannon has a wealth of two-year-old talent at Herridge Racing Stables and Sir Prancealot has proven himself to be a class performer. Owned by Andrew Tinkler, this son of Tamayus was an expensive yearling purchase at 140,00euros from Goffs Orby  Yearling Sale by Peter & Ross Doyle. From a talented family, the mare won at Listed class on her debut at Deauville before running once more at Group 2 when disappointing. Sir Prancealot has always been held in high regard and after taking his maiden with ease has done nothing but mark himself as a talent. A winner of the National Stakes (Listed), Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 4th, Prix Robert Papin (Group 2) 2nd & Prix Morny (Group 1) 4th illustrate a juvenile which has made his mark in Europe. There is little doubt this bay has the credential to take a race of this nature. Perhaps his only problem could be returning to this minimum trip. He has shown plenty of pace and as many of these will most likely go a stride to fast and fade in the final furlong this may turn out to be his strength. If able to pounce at the finish, a leading chance.

Roger Varian is a credit to his late mentor Michael Jarvis & an exceptional trainer in placing his juveniles to the point that I would always fear these worth opponents. Morawij is a good-looking son of Exceed And Excel and pattern winner. After winning on his racecourse bow, he ran a fine race to finish fourth at Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes (Group 2). The Dragon Stakes (Listed) was no more than a work gallop. This February foal looked nailed on to win the Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) but a late charge by another of today's competitors - Bungleinthejungle - stole the show leading final strides. His most recent effort when finishing last in the Gimcrack Stakes (Group 2) was a touch disappointing although this return to the minimum trip is likely to suit.

As stated, the Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) saw a close finish between Varian's juvenile and Bungleinthejungle. This athletic grey colt comes from a decent family and a good buy at 40,000gns. On his Goodwood running it would take a brave soul to pick between Morawij and Bungleinthejungle. However, he needs to put a dire performance in the Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) behind him. There may be a valid excuse with his rearing in the stall but that leaves a question mark which slightly tempers enthusiasm.

There are a couple of talented fillies trying to show the boys a thing or two. Ceiling Kitty was an exceptional purchase at 16,000gns and clearly a durable daughter of Red Clubs being out early season. Dascombe's youngster hasn't put a foot wrong in her last three wins taking the Marygate Fillies' Stakes (Listed) race at York, then the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) at Royal Ascot. This bay filly has the knack of surprising the opposition at fancy odds but will need to be at the top of her game to defy a penalty for that last victory. The stable have her entered to run in the Cheveley Park Stakes (Group 1). A battling type but after some time on the sidelines and level weight with big, strong colts this looks a stiff task.

Hoyam is closely matched with Ceiling Kitty on their Royal Ascot meeting. This daughter of Royal Applause is a progressive filly and Jamie Spencer really knows how to use her strength of waiting off the pace and pouncing late with a searing turn of foot. The ground she made chasing home Ceiling Kitty was impressive. Many felt she would have probably won on another day. A fine performance was seen in the Cherry Hinton Stakes (Group 2) when third behind Maureen. She looks to hold impressive debut winner Fire Eyes on their recent Listed race at York. David Brown's colt - owned by Qatar Racing Ltd - has a tall reputation and may have been a little keen that day but that was an eye-catching performance from Hoyam who holds an ace up her sleeve with her stealth-like tactics.

Of the others, Sound Of Guns is a strapping filly , trained by Ed Walker. This daughter of Acclamation is a talent and always been held in some regard by the stable. The way she won her Yarmouth maiden was something to behold. She was just held by the unbeaten Rosdhu Queen in a Listed race at Newbury, which by all accounts was a class race. The third, Sandreamer, is proven a Group performer and recent Listed winner in Italy. 

Dual winner Girl At The Sands is a fair sort, who finishes her races well, but very likely to be outpaced by this opposition. While Welliesinthewater takes a marked step up in grade for Derek Shaw after winning a restricted auction race at Wolverhampton. Both look outclassed and substantial improvement needed.


Conclusion: A fascinating race and one to savour. Some of the brightest two-year-old talents take this flying five furlongs which could be quite a tactical affair. Sir Pancealot has a string of creditable Group performances. It will be interesting how he copes with a return to this minimum trip. I wonder whether Murtagh will employ similar tactics to Hughes. Hold up tactics could well play into this colts hands and it may not suit sitting up with the pace. Hoyam is an intriguing filly and Spencer really holds the key to her supreme efforts. He is likely to sit off the pace and pounce in the final furlong. It would be a great effort to beat the colts but I can see this filly going very well, especially if a few press for the lead and tire at the line. Morawij and Bungleinthejungle are solid performers but I wonder if they are quite up to this grade and may be place candidate rather than winners waiting to happen. Sound Of Guns is another who could go well. 






4:00 Carlisle (12th September) Free Horse Racing Tips

CLOSE CALL
An EBF Maiden Stakes over 7f 200y on good to soft ground.

Ten juveniles compete in this second division. All colts bar one filly. One debutante from Mark Johnston's stable. A mixed bag of two-year-olds on show with fair form horses with a few who would struggle running down hill in an egg and spoon race. 

*Orions Hero was sent off favourite for a York maiden but failed miserably. Whether that was due to soft ground is a matter of opinion. However, an expensive yearling purchase at 120,000euros is the kind of price Fahey would expect a win. That was nearly the case when this son of Oasis Dream stepped up in distance at Ayr. It was slightly strange why he went off at such a big price but it didn't hinder a great performance. As it happened, the Sharon Watt debutante got up on the line winning at 50/1. Bee Brave was sold to an American buyer which suggests this race had something going for it. In truth, it was probably no more than an average contest but good enough to suggest Mrs H Steel's youngster has a fighting chance today.

Elusive Thought is a home bred for Mrs Fitri Hay. This gelding was quite well backed on debut at Ripon but showed little ability. May have a glimmer of hope if backed to 13/2 & less but that looks unlikely.

French Revolution, GambinoTobacco need to sprout wings and make up the numbers.

Alkcama is a relatively cheap purchase for John Weymes. This bay gelding, a son of Camacho, wasn't far behind the winner at Newcastle but that looked  a pretty ordinary race.  I hate to say it, but I'm not the biggest fan of the Weyme's two-year-olds as they seem very difficult to judge. Best watched.

Mark Tompkins is represented by Topamichi who was last on debut at Yarmouth. The stable have a poor strike rate with juveniles making their racecourse bow and they can be transformed on their second start. The betting is the best guide. If backed to 13/2 & less would have outstanding win and place claims. 

Miss Mocca showed good pace on debut at Bath when second to easy winner Alcando. The only filly in the field, this bay is going to need to be a game sort to show the boys how it's done. She looks to have good pace and if sustaining that over this extra furlong could be of interest. That wasn't the strongest race on debut but Ian Wood is a canny trainer and his juveniles deserve respect on its second start.

Another trainer worth his salt with juveniles on their second start is Alan Swinbank. Clarandale could be a dark horse of the race because he cost a hefty sum at 130,000gns. This bay colt by Holy Roman Emperor was quite well backed on debut but always struggling. The Swinbank two-year-olds can be rather hit and miss on their first start but worthy of note next time out. There is a chance the soft ground didn't suit on that day, which could be a valid excuse. I can see this horse being backed and a fair each way prospect.

Last but not least is Mark Johnston's debutante Bravo Ragazzo. The betting is the best guide although I find the stable's juveniles next to impossible to assess on their first run. They are either easy winners or big disappointments. Best watched.

Conclusion: A funny old race in ways. Orions Hero sets the standard and could go well although at short odds may not give much value and vulnerable to a horse with a fraction of ability. A few of these making their second start are worthy of consideration, especially if backed. Miss Mocca & Topamichi would be decent each way bets if featuring a 13/2 & less starting price. I would be tempted to take a punt on Alan Swinbank's Clarandale. You have to take a leap of faith but connections paid a significant sum for this breeze-up purchase and it would be a surprise to find it is misplaced. This stable often go very well with juveniles on their second start and could hit the frame at a price. 

*NR