The poor state of NH racing in the UK


I have been saying for years now, that NH racing is dying a death in this country and that was highlighted perfectly by what happened at Cheltenham last week. Nobody should have been in the least bit surprised.

On a daily basis we work with absolute dross, the vast majority of horses going racing Class 4 or Class 5 and, when horses of a higher grade do get a chance to race, they invariably throw up small field.

I have looked at NH racing from Sunday 21st, March to Wednesday 24th, March and found the following.

In those four days of racing 77 races will have been run at 11 tracks. I’m seeing 63 of those races being Class 4 or Class 5 and, in most cases, they are of an equivalent quality. That means just 14 of those races are of Class 3.

Those 14 races have attracted just 82 runners, an average of less than six runners per race. Only three of those races had more than seven runners and three saw less than six going to post.

By contrast, those 63 races of Class 4 or Class 6, will have seen 599 runners taking those bad races in. An average of 9.5 runners per race. Since Monday one of the three meetings hosting racing each day has had nothing better than Class 4 on their cards.

Bad horses, racing in bad races, for extremely bad prize money.

Yesterday I was reading the words of those at the top of their trees in NH racing but all they are, are words. Nothing will change. Back in 2018 Cheltenham highlighted what was going on and ever since owners based here have been looking to Ireland for their trainers.

Cheveley Park, who are based in Sussex, drew up a plan to get horses running at Cheltenham, paid big money for many and sent them to Gordon Elliott. The reason for doing that was purely prize money based.

Over on the Emerald Isle the average win prize money for winning any race, is around 10k….to win that prize money in the UK, you have to be winning a Class 3.

So, why where those trainers now speaking out, when this was happening, only now saying anything? Why are they considering only now closing the stable door, with the horse already long gone?

Small fields blighted Cheltenham this year and the sole reason for that was our trainers knew they could not win them. They fully understand they have mainly handicappers at their disposal and wont pitch them in against those better horses making it nigh on impossible for them to win a race for a couple of years. Getting close to horses like APPRECIATE IT will ruin a horses mark and as Paul Nicholls was honest enough to admit, he’ll target Aintree with his better horses because the Irish will not be there.

If you think you saw small fields at Cheltenham, just wait for Aintree….I’m dreading it!

If I look back six or seven years, I could guarantee my profits would be greater from NH racing, than they were from the flat but in the last few years that has been turned on its head. I stopped working with NH Class 5 Handicaps a long time ago because they were becoming impossible to produce regular profit from them. I’m now seeing Class 4 races going the same way because those horses contesting them are in effect, Class 5 horses.

If you look at my Ratings for today, you’ll see just five horses obtaining a + figure running in the four races I have worked on. One of those is now a non-runner and so, in two of those four races, both at Wetherby, we have not a single runner receiving a + figure. Unbelievable. Only four horses racing in those two races, has winning form on the going as currently described.

Quite simply, it is betting shop fodder and very much on a par with the reality racing shown on screens in betting shops, before the flesh and blood start running.

Another thing I have always said is that racing constantly evolves and I have to start looking at new ways of working. I’m already looking at NH racing for the 2021/2022 season, which will see me looking at Rating Class 3 or better only, and working to utilise those markets in a better way for you. Whilst we go through the summer I will be looking back at this winter and sifting wheat from chaff.

Like I say, I do not see the powers that be heeding the warning signs because they have done absolutely nothing to arrest the slide thus far.

My job is to simply look at how best to make a profit for me, and you. I’m on it!

Feel free to post your own thoughts on this and come up with solutions….if nothing else, it’ll let you get it off your chest!

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