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Tanya Stevenson

Tanya's Blog - Thursday 26th September 2013

The Newmarket layers need to grow some

Hayley Turner is on the mend and thankfully should be back for us to cheer on in around a fortnight. While we were transfixed on her wellbeing the majority missed how the Park Hill Stakes played out. Obviously as The Lark was well tipped in the morning and she obliged for her supporters not much was reviewed as we crossed our fingers tightly for Hayley.

Having viewed the replay of the closing stages a few more times I sense that Phiz missed out on some deserved praise. She kept The Lark extremely busy for the last furlong and a half and gave the favourite’s supporters some worrying moments.  This was only her fourth career start, surely there is immense improvement to come? She has a big chance in the Princess Royal Richard Hambro EBF Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.

Tropical Beat has found it an occupational hazard dodging soft or softish ground. He sidestepped the Ebor, then the Old Borough Cup and found himself having to run on Good to Soft at Doncaster behind Camborne. Newmarket will be much more to his liking in the Jockey Club Rose Bowl.

In Tuesday’s Times, Alan Lee wrote an article regarding the precarious financial position Newbury finds itself in. I fear they won’t be alone if the current racing model is followed. I discovered by checking every race in the first three months of the year – 20 per cent had an odds-on favourite. Was all-weather racing the culprit? No! The odds-on favourites were spread evenly between the all-weather and turf! 

It’s all very well racecourses, or indeed the sport, laying claim to having superstars race at any given venue, but when those crowd pleasers are long odds-on and turn their contests in to a procession, what’s the attraction? Frankel, and now Sprinter Sacre and Simonsig, are an exception to rule. 

There were, however, 133 odds-on favourites that started at 1-2 or shorter in the first three months of the year. Some courses suffered three at a meeting or in rare cases up to five. There is no incentive for punters, bookmakers or just real enthusiast, to travel to the courses. 

These are just the negative parts to an equation which I have yet to find a solution.  But one must be found and quickly if things are to turn around.

Let’s add to this. Are crowd figures up?  Doncaster’s St Leger meeting had increased attendances and we must congratulate all at Town Moor for the effort. It’s an unenviable task. The four day Ebor meeting was down but they had a fair excuse, no Frankel this time. Shouldn’t there been questions asked, however, when York’s collated four-day figure in 2012 with Frankel was down on 2011?

A fair gage of the health of the course is the betting ring; bookmaker attendances are falling. This is masked to some extent by bookmakers with multiple pitches - soon they won’t be financially viable to run and the ring, once vibrant, will appear sparse. 

On day one of the Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket in 2010 there were 51 bookmakers in the betting ring, in 2011 that was down to 44 and last year 36. I wonder how many will be at the Rowley Mile to price up 78 runners in seven races this afternoon?  Having been to Lingfield on Tuesday there was positive vibes from Barry Dennis and Sam Harris, who stood at the Rowley Mile on Saturday. 

Doncaster has been enjoying a renaissance in their betting ring, while those at Newmarket seem to arrive with a defeatist attitude which doesn’t help their cause. Put the Doncaster or York bookmakers at Newmarket I suspect there would be an upturn. I can’t wait to find out.


Tanya’s Thursday tips:

3.10 Newmarket: Phiz at 100-30 with Coral

4.15 Newmarket: Tropical Beat at 12-1 with bet365


Tanya’s pointers:

3.10 Newmarket:

William Buick is looking for his third win in the race in the past five years

Eight times in the last ten years the race has gone to a filly or mare in the first three in the betting

Eight times in the last ten years the race has gone to a three-year-old

In the last seven years the favourite has come either first or second

3.40 Newmarket:

Richard Hannon has won the Somerville Tattersalls Stakes three times in the last four years

The favourite has only won the race twice in the last ten years

Richard Hughes has won the race four times in the last seven years

William Buick is attempting his third win in four years in the 4.15 Newmarket

Oisin Murphy has had seven wins from his last 14 rides. He partners Roskilly in the 2.00 Newmarket, Newmarket Warrior in 2.35 Newmarket and Reqaaba in the 5.25 Newmarket.



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