Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Saturday 18th April 2015

Racing UK

Tiggy Wiggy Can Light Up Newbury

There have already been shocks for those who had Classic dreams and aspirations and in turn the ramifications have meant a shake up in the relevant markets. At Newbury the Greenham Stakes promises to give further shake ups of Richter scale proportions as we see Belardo, Ivawood and Estidhkaar do battle. 

Tiggy Wiggy
© Racehorse Photos
Tiggy Wiggy

After Kool Kompany’s win in the Craven we know that team Richard Hannon are at the top of their game and Tiggy Wiggy plus Ivawood could make it a memorable week.  The pair carried all before them in there two-year-old campaigns and I’d like nothing better than to see Tiggy Wiggy light up Newbury with her blistering pace.
I’m in Scotland enjoying the sea air at present overlooking Royal Troon golf course as I type this, the location was the only place I could find a working WiFi, better back a winner to pay for it later today!  Still this beautiful landscape and sporting venue will be the home of The Open next year, I digress.  Troon isn’t far from Ayr where I’ll be heading to shortly to acclimatise myself to the conditions just before the running of the Coral Scottish Grand National.

Gallant Oscar
© Caroline Norris
Gallant Oscar

After he ran so well at Cheltenham and bypassing the Irish National in the hope of getting a run at Aintree, Gallant Oscar finds himself newly acquired by JP McManus and running at Ayr, with just 10-1 and Paul Carberry he is my selection, although I was taken by Drop Out Joe at Doncaster last time and will have cause if need be, to have an each-way saver. I’m off now to walk the fairways of a Championship golf course before Jordan Speith does in 15 months time.

Grand National starting price debate. Well it wasn’t as if we didn’t know the score. There were warnings everywhere to take a price in the morning.  The expectation was that the starting price overround was going to be approximately 140% or just above from the morning offering of 112%.  However, to culminate at 165% was enough to have the alarm bells ringing, so they should and I say long time coming!  Why? Well even as far back as January 2013, 149 of the races returned an overround of 2% per runner and 22 of them were 3% a runner or worse!  And before wielding the sword of blame at the all weather, some of these returns were on turf courses, and this is only January 2013 as I’m up in Scotland at present and without my research into the whole of the year!  (Even Wednesday’s Feilden Stakes at Newmarket returned 2% a runner).
Yes research and data, something which should be to hand immediately for the sports’ authority.  This has been an infection that has been growing slowly and there are many facets to the problem. One being small field sizes, one being the lack of money on course which doesn’t encourage strong numbers of bookmakers attending.  Who would want to bet to nothing? Remember on course bookmakers worry about their own livelihood, they are not there to facilitate the wellbeing of the off course market, they are there to put bread on their own table.  The dynamic to do that has changed so much in recent years.


Pitch holders, as I prefer to call them these days, as you can’t survive making a book, attach an umbilical cord to the exchanges and hedge when and where they can. The skill the likes of Barry Dennis, Geoff Banks, Colin Webster and the like once possessed to calculate the percentage in accordance with liabilities is now redundant as the maths just doesn’t add up. Those who new the importance of percentages have mostly and probably sensibly sold up and left, while those that don’t hedge and are oblivious to how that affects the off course market and the attractiveness of the sport, they just need to cover the layout on expenses and show enough profit to continue a business.

So after paying the expenses to get there and back to the course, staff, money to stand and all the other sundries before the first race is even priced up on the board there is a big red number glaring them in the face.

Instinct, and understandably so, is to err on the side of caution.
In this new modern world of on course betting, racecourses have created new and possibly more lucrative betting areas.  Attracting some of the stronger more resilient bookmakers away from the main Tattersalls enclosures and positioning themselves in areas they have more of a chance.  By doing so that in my opinion dilutes the strength of the ring where the starting price is taken from. Those in these far afield new betting areas are not part of the sample and indeed in some cases perhaps that is best, but in the circumstances which unravelled on Saturday at Aintree they were needed for inclusion.

William Hill

I realise that you can’t include them just to suit circumstances and it is good to investigate, debate and discuss the best moving forward but it’s worth considering.  Aintree is not like most courses as there is just one long single file seeming infinite line which goes on for near two to three furlongs plus plenty of betting areas. But with technology progressing daily even hourly, there could be a facility to include what’s required.

There has to be a realisation as well that “Big Brother” is watching as we all possess mobiles or tablets that can give us a window to all betting platforms and the disparity between some on course bookmakers and the exchanges was alarming and even between on course bookmakers was such.

Much blame has been laid at the off course bookmakers hedging into the ring, but did they back all 39 horses, I think not, why didn’t anything drift? This is what has to be looked into as I mentioned earlier there was price differences on plenty of boards, surely if you lay a horse to the required threshold you ease the price of others.  You can’t try and keep all 39 horses on your side.

The investigation has now been instigated and we await the findings.

Tanya Stevenson's Saturday tips:

2.15 Newbury Tiggy Wiggy

2.50 Newbury Ivawood

3.45 Ayr Gallant Oscar (Drop Out Joe each-way)

Tanya Stevenson's Saturday Pointers
Ayr 3.45 Coral Scottish Grand National
Eight of the last ten winners have carried 10-4 or less
However over the last ten years of the forty possible places 14 of them have been filled with horses out of the handicap, including three winners Al Co last year, Iris De Balme in 2008 and Joes Edge in 2005
Seven of the last ten finished in the first three last time out
None of the last ten winners had run in the John Smith’s Grand National that season
Since 1995 123 horses have worn either blinkers, visors or cheek pieces in the Coral Scottish National, all have been beaten
Only four winners since 2000 had run at that seasons Cheltenham Festival.
Six of the last ten winners took in a race at Doncaster in the same calendar year
The last ten favourites have been beaten, three of which failed to complete the course
Paul Nicholls last 17 runners in the race have been beaten
Newbury 2.50 -  Aon Greenham Stakes

Seven of the last ten winners finished in the first two on their most recent run.
Eight of the last ten winners came from the first three in the betting

Newbury 2.15 - Dubai Duty Free Stakes

Nine of the last ten winners had finished in the first three on their most recent run
Nine of the last ten winners came from the first three in the betting
Newbury’s 3.25 - Be Wiser Insurance Spring Cup

Nine of the last ten winners were no older than 5
Only two of the last ten favourites has won
Nine of the last ten winners of Newbury’s Spring Cup were drawn in double figures