The Exception to the Rule


Tuesday, 12 February 2019

My Child Wants to Bet on the Grand National?

It's not quite as embarrassing as a child asking about the birds and the bees. 

In this conversation, your child asks about horses. That little brown-haired sponge who absorbs information like Einstien's notebook has noticed I like a bet. In fact, a small army of children will be listening to mums, dads and grandparents as they mention the upcoming Grand National. 

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, it's a question every gambling parent must consider wisely. Sure, you can stand on the moral ground if you have never placed a bet.

''Bingo isn't like betting'', says the wife. 

Grandpa says, ''It never done me any harm''. 

While a passing policeman says, ''You know it's illegal to place a bet until you are 18 years of age. 

So little Mark Thomas Sponge says: ''Well, can I bet on the Grand National?

I'll leave you with that problem while you explain the birds and the bees.

I can only talk from my perspective - right or wrong. My dad loved a bet and I can only imagine I was fascinated by the Grand National. Why? Because my dad loved it and he talked about Red Rum. How a thoroughbred racehorse trained by a man called Ginger McCain won the ''National'' three times. It seemed more interesting than my Action Man, as I awaited the new Jungle Bridge Kit accessory. 

I remember seeing my uncle Roy play on the one-armed bandit at the social club. I seemed to find myself watching those reels go round and hearing the money pumping out when four oranges come up, but hoping it would be melons as that paid £50. 

I got told off a few times because he loved to gamble his small wins. That £1 could become two or three. I must have been more prudent as I kept pressing the button to collect before he had a chance to gamble. 

''Don't do that!'' he said. 

It didn't stop me. 

He kept telling me over the next hour as he played the slot machine. I guess I must have stopped collecting at some point but I really can't remember. 

For so many people gambling is a beastly word. It's shunned like a social leper. But for every gambler, there is a first time they put that coin in a slot machine more interested in the toy they can win than cold, hard cash. 

I remember playing the one-armed bandits as a child when holidaying at Caister-on-sea. I loved a good gamble. It was one of those now antique slot machines with the bronze native America Indian head on the front. All chrome and smelling of oil. The reels stopped with a shudder. I loved that machine.

As it happened, betting as a child made me appreciate gambling for what it is. I rarely play fruit machine these days as they are fixed odds meaning long term you cannot win. So, I learned a few things from a misspent childhood let alone youth. 

Do I still gamble? Yes. Why? Because it became my business and profession that pays me very well. It's actually a hobby which turned into a ''job''. 

Would I let a child of mine gamble underage? I guess I could only answer that question when the time arrives. And that is something unlikely to happen at my time of life.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Gay Kelleway's Global Spectrum Potential Group Class

Global Spectrum trained by Gay Kelleway Why do the followers of Group Horse take note of our inside info? Because it reveals hidden talents which, most often, do their talking on the track. 

To be fair Gay Kelleway doesn't have the best string of juveniles. Never quite in the same league as her father Paul, who used to love to tilt at windmills and showed other trainers how to win. One of few trainers who used to love sending out his better two-year-olds to debut at Listed class. It always seemed a touch crazy to me but they often went well. 

Global Spectrum, a bay son of Dutch Art out of the dam Lady Darshaan (a smart filly trained by Stan Moore) ran out a nice winner on debut at Kempton when racing over seven-furlong for owner Dr Johnny Hon. He won by almost three-lengths at odds of 16/1. Followers of Group Horse made note of this particular day because many readers filled their pockets with cash. Take a look at the post we wrote here. We identified that this colt was well respected and an expensive breeze-up purchase at 130,000g. 

There was a lot to like about that debut and the way he won gave the impression much greater things were expected. 

Making his return to the racecourse on the 2nd February to compete at Kempton over seven furlongs (carrying a winning penalty and a wide draw) didn't prevent punters from getting stuck in. The early price of 7/2 (Betfair) was soon hoovered up and a sustained wave of cash chipped away at the price until 4/6f was returned at SP. 

Leading from the early stages, he never looked to be threatened by the opposition and won ''readily'' by one-and-a-half lengths. 

Connections will be looking to step up to a higher grade come the Flat turf season. Interesting to hear the views of Kelleway as they may even be thinking about a trial for the 2000 Guineas. Perhaps that is wishful thinking on my part, but you can guarantee that this able colt will be looking to step up to pattern class in his next race or two. 

Group Horse has other notable wins this week with a couple of horses which had looked disappointing. John Gosden's Albert Finney finally go off the mark on this fifth run. This gelding had been far to keen in his earlier races which made life difficult. However, he won well at Wolverhampton (30th January).

Another horse to leave his debut far behind was Charlie Appleby's Wings Of Time who we detailed on one of our two Ten Dark Horse Mailings. This bay gelding, a son of Invincible Spirit, went unfancied on debut Newmarket when starting odds of 20/1. He was definitely in need of the race and between into seventh losing by fifteen lengths. However, a gelding operation, time and stepping up to one mine and half a furlong proved positive moves. This March foal was backed to odds of 4/9f. Although suffering problems in running, he ran out an easy enough winner giving the impression there is a lot more to come. 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Betting Strategies: Betting From a Quiet Forest of Fallen Trees

Betting in the forest
Even when it seems quiet - it's not. 

Somewhere in the forest, a tree is falling. I'm pretty sure that sentence could merge into the words of philosopher George Berkeley in his work: A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. His thought experiment that raises questions of observation and perception. 

I'm no philosopher. I just know about horse racing. I specifically know about two-year-old horse racing. 

The psychological question: Who am I?

Interesting to see how we describe ourselves. 

Anyway, enough about falling trees and whether they make a noise or not. I've been busy working on the forthcoming Flat turf season 2019. You know, there is a lot of preparation for the future ahead. 

You may have gathered from my January mailing that I'm working my way through a list of horse trainers. You know the names: Michael Dods, Roger Varian, Sir Michael Stoute and lots of new rookie handlers too. Every trainer has a strength and weakness. Some of these pointers can help you win money; some save money in bets that would have very little chance in paying their way. 

As I said: ''Knowledge is power.'' 

You bet it is!

What do you know? What could you tell me to make me money? How confident would you be that 5 pieces of information could show a profit come the season end? In truth, these are questions you should be asking yourself or the person you are banking on making your betting season a success.

I'm confident in my ability. It shines brightly in all I say whether spoken or written word. It shines like a diamond because I've cut and polished my knowledge to know more than most. Unless you know something exceptional I bet I know more within my niche. I don't say that to be some big-headed dick. It's just a point of reference. I studied for a degree in psychology. When it came to the final exam I went into the room confident. I had worked hard and prepared to pass the exam. Unless something quite astounding happened, I knew I had passed before I sat down. The results proved I was correct. Just imagine if you had turned up to the exam never having read a psychology book. You flicked through the pages of Psychology Today as you sat in the dentist's reception. The sound of a drill making all those negative words stand out from the page. 

You wouldn't fancy yourself to pass the exam, hey?

In fact, it would seem impossible. How could you pass? You don't understand the subject! You don't even know what psychology means. 

It's the same with betting. You aren't really betting on a horse. You are betting on the information you do or don't know. 

So, what do you know which sets you apart from the crowd? Surely, if you know what everyone else knows that is bad news?   

How can the crowd win? 

That little bloke who turned down the alley toward the quiet forest (away from the crowd) knows something you don't. He sits quietly and awaits the sound of the falling tree which you may never hear. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

January's Free Mailing

Hi Guys,

Happy New Year.

I often receive emails from subscribers asking what work is undertaken over the closed season.

''Are you working like a beast?''

To be fair, I am always working to improve my knowledge. In fact, I work harder this time of year than most. My research investigates horse trainers. It is one part of the puzzle in understanding what makes a winner. It is a worthwhile endeavour because knowing how a trainer works can lead to an advantage. Most of you will know that certain trainers are very unlikely to win with two-year-old debutantes. While a few trainers have just about as much chance of winning on debut as they do the second start. The point about research is that you can find an answer to a question. Or, at least, you have more idea than not. Without knowledge, we can only guess.

I remember a quote from studying Psychology: ''Without objective testing, theories are guesses however good.''

Knowledge is power.

To be successful at gambling you need to know your niche. Find data that isn't freely available by doing a bit of digging. To make money you don't need to be the best - just a little better than most!

I can hear you saying: ''Well, what have you found?''

Well, you'd be surprised what you can find with a little bit of work. It can help you find winners and losers. They are one and the same thing these days with backers and layers plying their trade on the exchanges.

One piece of information can be like a seam of gold. It can be something you use to gain an advantage. That equates to making your betting pay.

Our focus is two-year-old horse racing. Take a random horse trainer within this niche. What do I know?

A lot.

Take Ed Dunlop... A very talented trainer. So how do his two-year-old debutantes go? What kind of price do they win on debut?

Knowledge is power.

Do you know anything about this subject? I doubt very few people could know unless they did some research. So you could only hazard a guess! What could you do with this piece of information if you knew the answer?

Make money?

At worse, feel more confident that a given horse is very unlikely to beat your selection. Now imagine if you knew all these things for every trainer. That leads to a powerful understanding.

So, what have we learned about Ed Dunlop's two-year-old debutantes? Very few are likely to win when priced over 14/1. Now, you might say: ''Well, that's no surprise!'' But the point is, did you know before I told you?

In fact, going back to over 400 debutantes he has only had one horse that won over this price (14/1). It was priced 50/1 (I wonder if any of you can tell me the fillies name?).

Make the most of your opportunities by doing your own research or you can simply rely on Group Horse to keep you informed.

Thanks for your support.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Thursday's 2YO Update (20th December)

A quiet few days. Not always a bad thing in an age of too much racing. 

Just the one race today detailing a significant entry. 

7:00 Chelmsford - 

Mark Johnston has Mister Chiang going here. This bay colt is a son of Archipenko. He has raced four times and shown a fair level of ability without being anything special. He has an official rating of 77. Not bad prize money for this Class 3 race at £7,763. By all accounts, this May foal hasn't been considered for any race of great merit. Just the solitary Class 2 entry is as basic as it gets. However, he has shown ability on his last three starts. Often employing front-running tactics, this turning course, from a low draw, may well suit. A drop back to one mile is no bad thing. I can see this colt leading and putting down a decent effort. 

I will be watching.  

Mister Chiang 4/1 1st 

Note: With the two major favourites disappointing this was real hope for Mister Chiang. The drop in distance helps him finish the race although for much of the trip he looked on the edge of being outpaced. It is always a strength to finish a race. Touched 7/1 on Betfair and available at each way odds. Nice win. 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Massage for My Horse? Absolutely! The Health Benefits of Equine Sports Massage

Who doesn’t love to treat themselves to a massage, right? After those long tremendous hours of work, a good ‘ol massaging definitely release the stress and tension inside one’s body. How much more for your hard-working equine companion, surely your horse would want to enjoy the healthy benefits of the equine sports massage. 

Your horse’s body is made up over 60 percent by muscles, which means that isn’t it just right to treat your horse to an equine wellness sports massage for being one of the greatest athletes out there at the tracks? Also, it would be an appropriate way to support your companion’s well-being especially if you’re thinking of joining any competition such as the Pegasus world cup.

Not convinced yet? Then here are the health benefits of equine sports massage that your pal would surely love. 

The Range of Motion Increases

Remember that a horse that moves better is much efficient in its stride. The wear and tear on your horse’s ligaments, joints, and tendons equate on your companion’s performance life duration. There are some disciplines that rely on a big moving horse thus enhancing the stride of your horse will improve the gaits. 

Additionally, a much more efficient and longer stride in a racehorse can make a great difference in lengths at the finish line. For example, a jumper horse uses a major amount of muscle during its jumping and landing, thus a flexible horse with strong muscles is a must to land with ease. 

Improves Disposition 

Notice that horses tend to be cranky —can’t blame them if they are not feeling well, can we? Just like humans who go cranky if feeling uncomfortable, the only difference is that horses cannot communicate through words thus the irate attitude. When you feel your horse is being difficult you should first look for the reason as to why your pal is acting up. 

Treat your horse to a massage therapy, one of the great tools in a horse owner’s proverbial belt which can be used to reduce the common reasons for your pal’s reason to be grumpy.

Improves Stamina

Massage therapy is sometimes one of the ways of warming up and stretching your horse’s muscles. Due to the increased range of motion because of the equine massage, you will find your horse working again in an efficient manner that is much better than before thus improving the horse’s stamina together with its performance. 

Provides Comfort to Muscle Injuries

It is not unknown even to the humans that massage therapy helps alleviate some muscle injuries that can be acquired through muscle-straining activities. This is just the same for the horses wherein a massage helps in rehabilitation of an orthopedic problem or an actual muscle injury which reduces the swelling in return. 

Take note that you should first let your horse have the appropriate time for healing before you massage, stretch, and exercise the horse since these activities only help the process by encouraging the scar tissue to be in a better pattern. When you reduce the scar tissue, this can help in restoring the muscle’s functional ability, improving your horse’s condition and well-being. 

Improves Circulation 

Massaging your horse improves blood circulation of your companion’s body this is because massage dilates the blood vessels and increases the blood flow to the area. This means to say that increased circulation may help speed the recovery of an injured muscle tissue, restoring your horse’s mobility. 

If you can see a horse after having been massaged, the horse would actually look like it has just been to the gym since the veins will be easy to see and the coat is glossy. Because of the circulation, the elimination of the waste products in the horse’s system can be easily done. 

Enhances Performance and Gait Quality

Because of the improved disposition and stamina, as well as the horse’s range of motion due to massage therapy, the horse’s gaits and performance also benefit from this. This is one of the butterfly effects of incorporating equine sports massage into your horse’s routine.

Reduces Stress

Horses experience stress and anxiety just like we do, thus just as what massage therapy does to us, it also does its thing to our equine companions. Massage relaxes them just as it does to us since there is a sedative effect on the nervous system when muscles are rubbed, that helps with the relaxation of the horses and improves your pal’s disposition. 


Horses are your companion throughout its lifetime thus it is just right to take good care of your equine pal, and if you are thinking of joining a competition together with your horse then wouldn’t be a win-win situation for the both of you if you invest and give time to the welfare of your horse? A healthy horse would surely bag you out of wins, thus you should properly take care of your horse.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Thursday's 2YO Update (13th December)

Qatar Racing Ltd
Just the one race and significant entry going today. 

5:45 Chelmsford - 

A big, old field of fifteen two-year-olds. 

Charlie Hills has had a decent season with his juveniles. I think he has around 19 horses receive significant entries. One of those is New Queen, who was given a Listed race entry and, by all accounts, disappointed at that grade when competing at on her start at Newmarket. This Irish-bred daughter of Charm Spirit races in the silks of Qatar Racing Ltd. The mare, Air Biscuit, won three times when trained by Chris Wall, although a limited horse she did conclude her racing at Listed class (beaten a long way). 

New Queen has raced 7 times. She went well on debut at Bath when runner-up to the smart Signora Cabello. However, beaten at 4/9f second start when little went right for punters. In general, she is a consistent horse who has run well twice on the all-weather (Kempton). 

Interesting to see how she gets on returning after 40-days. A wide draw isn't ideal on a turning course. 

New Queen 14/1 8th 

Note: Wasn't fancied in the betting. A wide draw wasn't ideal. Travelled pretty when but tired rapidly in the final furlong. Interesting to see what happens next start. 

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Wednesday's 2YO Updates (12th December)

Phoenix Thoroughbreds Limited
A few quiet days. Let's take a look at the significant entrants racing today. 

4:45 Kempton - 

Interesting to see Ed Vaughan fields a potentially smart two-year-old racing over this trip of one mile. Al Batter is a bay colt and son of Dubawi out of a four-times winning mare, Giofra, whose last nine starts were at Group/Grade 1. Her greatest success is the Falmouth Stakes (Group 1) at Newmarket. A very talented horse. Al Batter cost a fortune at the yearling sales at 1,550,000 euros. He races in the familiar silks of Phoenix Thoroughbreds Limited. Readers may remember the stable done well this season with Dubai Dominion and Magic J. 

This is just one of three horses to receive significant entries for Ed Vaughan. The other horse, which is yet to race, is called Ginger Wolverine.  A horse worth noting as we are confident it will be a winner. 

Al Batter is pretty well drawn in stall three. Priced 8/1 with bookmakers. It is always difficult to assess the chances of debutantes because they are often a law unto themselves. However, it is often the case they have ability if priced 10/1 & less SP. Especially so when priced 13/2 & less SP.  

Worth of respect. 

Al Batter 10/1 6th 

Note: Looked inexperience but ran a race full of promise. Unfortunately not placed which is a shame. On reviewing the race, Al Batter wasn't helped at all by nearly running into the back of the favourite who seemed to back peddle for some reason. Vaughan's horse pulled off heels and lost a number of lengths and most importantly its position. Annoying turn of events considering it ran on well in the closing furlong. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Wednesday's 2YO Update (5th December)

A few quiet days - but back with a significant entry. 

3:55 Kempton - 

James Town is one of Hugo Palmer's best juveniles in the stable. This son of Gale Force Ten wasn't overly fancied on debut when beaten by a neck. Then followed up with two wins before stepping up to Group 3 and disappointing finishing last. A recent wind operation may be an answer to a problem, although there didn't seem to be an issue on those first three starts. A welterweight of 10-2 means this colt will have to be a pretty classy juvenile. Not sure if I would jump in at relatively short odds but a horse which deserves respect. 

James Town 7/2 1st 

Note: A nice performance from James Town returning after a lengthy absence and carrying over a stone more than opponents. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Wednesday's 2YO Update (28th November)

A quiet couple of days. Heading back home from West Palm Beach, Florida. Will get home about 1pm on Thursday. I will post this early as a freebie. If you like the info then give us a shout via social media. As they say, in giving we receive.  

2:15 Wolverhampton - 

Interesting to see just one significant entrant racing here in the shape of Charlie Appleby's Ophelia's Dream. This homebred daughter of Dubawi is out of a talented mare (Hibaayeb) who ran fifteen times, winning on four occasions, and placed six times. A horse that won the Fillies' Mile at two (group 1), when trained by Clive Brittain. In fact, such a quality filly that all her four wins came at pattern class. She achieved the highest official rating of 114 and total prize earnings of £402,638. 

A prime draw in stall one, if starting on terms. A potentially smart filly who deserves respect on her debut. 

Ophelia's Dream 7/2 Unp 

Note: A slow start and inexperienced. A disappointing effort. Be interesting to see if this filly livens up next start. 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Friday's 2YO Update (23rd November)

Let's have a quick look at today's significant entrants. 

5:45 Kempton - 

Rae Guest is known as a good trainer of fillies. Dupioni won well on debut when landing a touch - backed from 33-1 - 16/1. This chestnut filly, a daughter of Siyouni, was relatively fancied next start when stepping up to Listed class but finished last of seven. I doubt she would have won that day but nothing much went right and then badly hampered in the closing stage put pay to any hope. Has to shoulder a win penalty which means she needs to be a decent horse to do so. 

The only significant entry on the day. 

Dupioni 4/1 4th 

Note: Ran a professional race in fourth but struggled in closing stages to shoulder the win penalty.