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Tanya Stevenson

Tanya's Blog - Saturday 19th January 2013

Welcome back Quito De La Roque, who won the Kinloch Brae Chase at Thurles! How heartening it was to see him back in the winners’ enclosure and at the same time I was selfishly thinking, wouldn’t it be lovely to see him take his chance at Cheltenham in the Betfred Gold Cup?

I have had another mixed week since I last posted, Warwick was lively in particular.

I became the seventh member of the rails bookmakers in my Channel 4 role. As reported the turnover was low as there were nearly 40 bookmakers, when 20 would have sufficed. There was some action surrounding The New One, as the majority of those on course hadn’t laid him at Evens at all rates down to 4-7 from the previous night.

Though the offices did send money back into the course market, it was a case of damage limitation as it soon became evident that there was no money for any of the other runners.

He duly obliged in emphatic style, and roll on the Neptune Novices' Hurdle at the Festival. His price of 5-1 is the best quote in the betting village, which is too short for me and I’ll try to find a lively outsider.

Much the biggest eye-catcher in the Pertemps Qualifier was Knock A Hand, who raced in contention throughout until fading but claimed a respectable fifth.

Over at Kempton I thought Bear’s Affair ran a blinder to finish sixth to Oscara Dara in the Lanzarote Hurdle, when you consider he was the morning favourite who became more unwanted than HMV gift vouchers come the afternoon!

Since then there has been a visit to Epsom and Lingfield to do a bit of filming for Channel 4 regarding betting.

Tuesday incorporated my busiest schedule, somehow squeezing in the World Thoroughbred Rankings and judging Kennel Hand of the Year, amongst two industry meetings. I can’t wait to do the speech ahead of presenting the Kennel Hand of the Year award.

Some of the heartfelt and passionate stories brought out the sheer devotion these unsung heroes have for the greyhounds and the sport and for very little remuneration. While on greyhounds congratulations to Mark Johnston, training his first winner at Pelaw Grange. There will be many more to come, no doubt.

On to the World Thoroughbred Rankings and recalibration. When standing as a bookmaker at the greyhounds in my spare time I would watch the videos of each meeting meticulously. Every race would be scrutinised at least six times, focusing on every greyhound at least once, and each would be given a rating on that performance.

This was all an aid to be able to price up the card as standing in pitch one at Canterbury and/or Sittingbourne meant you had the responsibility of putting the odds on the board first.

Some greyhounds would have consistent ratings, some would improve gradually, some would have a freak rating. Through experience you would know that the freak rating is unlikely to be attained again. Also some greyhounds gained higher ratings when leading all the way, some would get good ratings when chasing home faster greyhounds but never when they won themselves.

The same application is no doubt used by racing handicappers and we have chosen to use them. There is nowhere stating we have to agree with them, that’s what makes them of interest. It fuels debate.


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