Sunday, 14 June 2020

Two-Year-Old (2YO) Ascot Nominations & Entries (16th - 20th June)

Ascot 2020 2yo nominations and entries
Good news on the racing front. 

Readers will be aware that due to the late start of the Flat season, horse trainers nominated their better juveniles. If memory serves, about 160 colts, fillies and geldings were detailed from the great and the good. 

I must admit, I wasn't quite sure what to think of these preliminary findings, basically sifting the wheat from the chaff. However, on average, the nominations have detailed a number of winners.

Initially, I wasn't sure how Ascot, which takes place from the 16th - 20th June, would pan out. 

Looking at the Racing Post race declarations, I was pleased to see the traditional first entry stake of the Ascot races being made for the week ahead. 

This is good news for Group Horse, which uses this information to help readers and subscribers of our mailing list identify the best two-year-old horses in training. 

The Ascot two-year-old races include:

17th June

4:10 Ascot - Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed Race) 5f 

34 entrants 

See a full list of entrants here

Previous winners 

18th June 

3:00 Ascot - Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) 7f 

19 entrants 

See a full list of entrants here 

Previous winners 

19th June 

1:50 Ascot - Albany Stakes (Group 3) 6f 

20 entrants 

See a full list of entrants here

Previous winners 

2:25 Ascot - Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) 5f 

26 entrants 

See a full list of entrants here 

Previous winners  

20th June 

12:40 Coventry Stakes (Group 2) 6f

23 entrants

See a full list of entrants here

Previous winners

1:50 Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) 5f

24 entrants

See a full list of entrants here 

Previous winners 

Which trainers are heading to Ascot? 

We have a varied mix of potential runners from trainers far and wide including Wesley Ward, Aidan O'Brien, Archie Watson, Saeed bin Suroor among leading stables. 

How many runners will be allowed in each race?

Interest, that the two-year-old races allow a maximum of 24 runners, so the traditional cavalry charge will be seen.  

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Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Your Quick Guide to Royal Ascot Two-Year-Olds (2yos) 2020

Well, we have lift-off. 

The Flat racing started on 1st June as anticipated and it has seen a lively start to proceedings with Royal Ascot 2020 on the horizon from the 16th - 20th. 

Without question, this has been a frantic return but that is the nature of the beast with trainers large and small desperate to get their two-year-olds out and a little bit of experience under their belts before heading to Ascot. 

I can't say I like this fast and furious resumption as it doesn't sit so tranquil as the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster. However, times must and we cannot be too conflicted by the state of affairs. It could have been a lot worse so I am thankful for the opportunity to bolster the racing industry and see a bit of sport returning to television. 

The two-year-old racing is coming thick and fast and we have seen over 20 races in the first week of the Flat season 2020. Who would have believed the first race would be over 6f and that one week has gone a 7f race just to add to the melee?

Here is a quick rundown of two-year-olds who have caught the eye and won on debut:

Army Of India, trained by Mark Johnston 

This strapping son of Sepoy was inexperienced on debut but led all the way to hold the late challenge of Archie Watson's Science. After the success, Joe Fanning [jockey] detailed this March foal will be heading to Royal Ascot, over 6f. 

Dandalla, trained by Karl Burke

This bay filly was a real drifter in the market but it didn't stop her winning well. A lovely physical specimen, she looks a horse to follow in the ownership of Nick Bradley Racing 28 & E Burke. Connections states she will be kept at five-furlongs but will be better at 6f and likely to go to Royal Ascot. 

Sacred, trained by William Haggas

Not overly fancied in the betting but an easy winner for Cheveley Park Stud. This daughter of Exceed And Excel is a rangy type and sure to improve with racing. There was a lot to be liked about this winner. Maureen Haggas said they would think about Royal Ascot. 

Might Gurkha, trained by Archie Watson 

Fair to say this wasn't the strongest of maidens, being auction stakes, but Hollie Doyle rode this son of Sepoy like she was sitting on a rocket and he stormed clear of the field to win impressively by almost eight lengths. Watson didn't detail future plans, but it looks likely this colt will be heading to Berkshire.

Lauded, trained by Tom Dascombe

In what looked to be a quality race at Haydock but Lauded ground out a comfortable success by some four-and-a-half lengths from some well-bred types in second and third. Jockey, Richard Kingscote, spoke of the colt in glowing terms and suggested he is worth his place at Ascot. 

There will be plenty more to come.

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Horse Racing to Resume on 1st of June

Well, we finally have a date.

The 1st of June has been detailed for the resumption of horse racing. That is a blessing as long as the Coronavirus (the dreaded R) doesn't increase beyond 1 and bring further problems. 

Only time will tell, hey. We don't know what the future holds and we can only cross our fingers and hope that once racing starts that it continues, progresses, and, sometime soon, gets back to normal. 

Newcastle is scheduled as the first fixture. 

The first eight days: BHA's proposed fixture list 

June 1 Newcastle 
June 2 Kempton, Newcastle 
June 3 Kempton, Yarmouth 
June 4 Newcastle, Newmarket 
June 5 Lingfield, Newmarket 
June 6 Lingfield, Newcastle, Newmarket 
June 7 Haydock, Lingfield, Newmarket 
June 8 Chelmsford, Haydock, Lingfield

We have 14 two-year-old races over the eight days. 

It's great to see Yarmouth has a fixture on June 3rd. I hadn't considered they would be part of the list of meetings. 

I still have concerns about Roal Ascot scheduled for the 16 - 20th June. The Berkshire course has 6 pattern races:

Coventry Stakes (Group 2)
Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2)
Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
Albany Stakes (Group 3)
Chesham Stakes (Listed)

As we know, Royal Ascot's two-year-old races have never lacked in numbers. In fact, the size of fields (20+) has always been a problem for me as I think it takes away from the races. 

This year will see a stark contrast with the proposed race size of 11 runners or so because of welfare and social distancing. 

If Royal Ascot takes place on the suggested date (I hope it doesn't) I think the two-year-old racing will be a letdown. We have, basically, two weeks and a couple of days for the two-year-olds to race at pattern class.  

The restricted race sizes at the Royal meeting will bring about problems because the number of entrant at the first declaration stage will be many. How on earth will they decide which horses take part? 

If, mysteriously, it the big stables and wealthy owners, many smaller stables will suggest it is them and us. To be fair, the larger stables with wealthy patrons and horses with giant price tag are more likely to be true contenders. But with just 30 two-year-old races leading up to the big day very few horses will have experience or form. It is unlikely many will have two runs under their belts. 

Also, with the restricted race size of just 11 or 12 runners per race, how will authorities decide which horses are to be given their prized opportunity to run?

If it is just balloted or numbers out of a hat it will be pure luck who races and not. But what can we say? It is what it is. So time will tell. 

We can only cling to the positives and be thankful for what we have. 

Good luck to all. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

A Royal Balls Up With Ascot on the Cards

It's a necessary hardship that the hope of the resumption of horse racing in May is no longer an option with the Government indicating that there is no chance of racing taking place until June 1st. 

Reading the Racing Post. 

Not sure what to think about the resumption of racing in ways. I feel there will be a big difference between resumption in Mid May (as hoped) to early June. Especially when I read that Royal Ascot is being scheduled for June 16 - 20th. 


When no two-year-olds will be running and in about 16 days we are meant to be ready for Royal Ascot and the Coventry Stakes, Norfolk Stakes & Queen Mary et al. 

This doesn't read well to me. 

How on earth are the trainers going to have the time to assess their two-year-olds, how many are going to have a run under their belt when it seems the world and his wife will be desperate to get their juveniles on course. If only training horses was so simple! So basically, we have a period of two weeks where everything has to be concluded and we are ready for the spectacular of Royal Ascot?

It seems ridiculous to me. And that is if racing resumes on the 1st June, which is debatable.

I'm all for tradition but I think the juvenile racing is going to be rushed and everything will be a knee-jerk reaction. 

It would make sense for these races to be postponed until a later date. With every delay imposed by Government, it's like we have an increasing backlog of high-profile races vying for their place on the racing calendar. 

Time will tell what happens but this is all beginning to look like a disaster waiting to happen. 

Friday, 8 May 2020

The Dirty Dozen in First Week of Resumption of Racing

We are still awaiting an update from Boris Johnson regarding the possible relaxing of the lockdown rules. 

We should get news on Sunday. 

When racing resumes, there will be 104 races, with the majority some 72% being handicaps. 

As far as the two-year-old (2yo) racing goes there are 12 races scheduled for the first week. 

Take a look at the fixture programme for the first seven days in number (source: Racing Post)

13 meetings - 7 in the South, 4 in the North, 2 in the Midlands
104 races
75 handicaps 
12 two-year-old races 
17 maiden or novice races for three-year-old or over
8 races for each meeting  

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

2YO Season 2020 (Fingers Crossed)

Well, we have heard that the two-year-old Flat season may begin on the 15th of May. I think that's the date, struggling to find the article I read it.

Time will tell. 

If/when it starts we will be on a learning curve. What will it be like? I think there will be three racecourses: two all-weather and Newmarket on the turf. No doubt the latter is to keep the people with vast sums of money happy. It makes sense being the headquarters of racing and plenty of horses in training. 

To be honest, we will all be happy to see racing resume after being sidelined since the Cheltenham Festival. 

It is difficult to know what to expect. 

It seems like there will be nine races per meeting. A field of no more than 11 or 12 runners. 

Will the season start as if it is the start? I'm not sure. I keep thinking, will the Brocklesby be the first race of the season? Probably not, but in my little mind, I'm thinking and hoping it will be. 

I guess we all get into the routine of the Flat turf season following a set pattern. We will see the Guineas (1,000 & 2,000) scheduled for a different date along with other big races. I think we all appreciate that the racing is about saving the racing industry which is paramount. I could go a whole year without a bet if it secured the industry and people keep their jobs, the horses are looked after and their welfare not put in jeopardy. I am thankful for the owners who have supported trainers with the finances they need to keep the wolf from the door. It is truly a generous act and I hope this point isn't forgotten. When you consider even a lot of money people are considering a precarious future it takes something to keep putting your hand in your pocket. 

So what are we to expect this turf season?

No one really knows, hey? It may seem remarkably normal (apart from the silent crowd) or it may seem alien and far from the norm. 

Pretty much like life at this moment. 

I will drink a toast to the new season and thank God for all who have made it happen and those who continue to support the greatest racing in the world. Punters are an integral part of the racing machine and I am sure they will be as positive as ever. 

Time will tell how this affects the plans we have for Group Horse. It is unknown and we can only deal with the situation at hand. 

I am forever positive about life and opportunities. 

The winners will continue and I, personally, will be cheering twice as loud for the season and all who make it happen. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Horse Trainer Quotes: Do They Pinpoint Winning Tips?

Clive Brittain Horse Trainer Looking for decent horse racing tips? Well, OLBG has today's free horse racing bets at the ready. 

I guess many punters associate the best racing information with trainers and their respective stables.

I mean, they look after the horse on a daily basis. If they don't know, who does? From working in my niche of two-year-old horse racing I've had a lot of people come to me detailing what ''inside info'' they have. Whether these people are connected to stables, owners or trainers. I don't want to know! 

Sounds strange, hey. Why wouldn't I want to know this ''valuable'' information? To put it bluntly, I don't want or need to rely on anyone to afford information.

However, each and every trainer is very different. Some are very good judges. They are usually the ones who keep their mouth shut. You often hear trainer comments when being interview by At The Races or Racing UK. You can also find a 'wealth' of information from various publications.

A few trainers do give you a straight answer. Bill Turner is as honest as they come and doesn't mind giving truthful interviews.

I used to love Clive Brittain for his optimism. The funny thing about being a glass half full man is that you can strike it lucky. Think back to Terimon in the 1989 Epsom Derby. Who else would have entered this son of Bustino? He finished runner-up to Nashwan at 500/1. Brittain was a master at ''getting lucky''. It had nothing to do with luck. 

In truth, you don't need to be phoning a horse trainer to know lots of good info. To some extent, they are not the best people to ask at all. Consider these pointers for the two-year-old horse: 

  • Some trainers are poor judges of ability 
  • They have a limited string which makes assessment difficult 
  • The world and his wife know – little value 
  • They do not understand or appreciate the opposition 
  • Some are blatant liars 
  • Why would they tell you? 

For that reason, I never listen to others. I've had people say the trainer told them about a horse. Often they run terribly. I have known a few trainers, and not being nasty, what they have told me didn't help find winners at all. Even if you own a horse many trainers are unwilling to say too much because they have little to gain. People expect every horse to win which is crazy. But give a few losers and the owner may get the huff and go elsewhere.

Probably the best way to learn about any horse trainer is to observe. They are creatures of habit. How many times have you seen a trainer target the same race with an exciting two-year-old? 

Each has strength and weakness but the key to their understanding isn't as hidden as you may suspect. With a little bit of homework, you will reap rewards and benefit greatly.

Monday, 16 March 2020

Mick Channon's Aweemahew Wins

There's always a good reason to follow the 2019 Group Horse Entries even when it's 2020.

Sometimes you have to wait a long time for a horse to show its ability, even though it has only raced twice before. That was the case for Mick Channon's three-year-old Aweemaweh who won on the 14th March at Wolverhampton when competing in the Betway Maiden Stakes over 6f. 

This chestnut son of Bungle Inthejungle out of an unraced dam started his career back in August 2019 when quite fancied in the betting at 5/1. This March foal (17th) was priced 5/1 on his second start when heading to Bath, this time dropping back to the minimum trip, and finishing seventh of eleven. 

Aweemahew wasn't seen for a little over 200-days and seemingly unfancied on his third start at Wolverhampton. Stepping back up to 6f, he was well backed from 28/1 to 12/1. To be fair, victory looked unlikely at the furlong pole when Aweemahew was five or six lengths off the lead, and struggling for pace, before running on with verve. A combination of this colt finding his stride and the three leaders tiring saw him get up to win in the final strides to win by half a length. 

Readers of Group Horse Daily will see that Mick Channon had entered this colt for the Mill Reef Stakes (Group 2). 

Even after a long wait, Group Horse still details winners, often a big prices. 

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Is Bill Turner the Brocklesby Stakes King?

Anyone who enjoys two-year-old horse racing will be familiar with the name Bill Turner.

Turner has trained at Sigwells Farm, Corton Denham, Sherborne, Dorset for over 40 years.

A gently-spoken man, knowledgeable, and a grafter who has seen his share of gifted horses, especially sprinters. This talented trainer of two-year-olds is known for his success in the Brocklesby Conditions Stakes

The Brocklesby Stakes dates back to 1875, the most famous winner being Donovan (1888), trained by George Dawson, owned by William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland. Sire by Galopin, this bay colt won 18 of his 21 starts with 9 major wins including the Derby & St Leger. 

The Brocklesby Stakes is the first two-year-old race of the Flat turf season, taking place at the end of March or early April, at Doncaster racecourse, over the flying five furlongs. 

In modern-day history, dating from 1984, a number of very talented two-year-old have won this contest. 

1984 - Provideo, trained by Bill O'Gorman set a 20th-century record for a British-trained two-year-old winning 16 of 24 race and awarded British Horse of the Year (1984) & Timeform Horse of the Year (1984).

1994 - Mind Games, trained by Jack Berry, went on to race at the highest level, winning at Group 2, competing in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1).

2009 - Hearts Of Fire, trained by Pat Eddery. This son of Firebreak went on to win the Gran Criterium (Group 1) at San Siro, Italy. 

2016 - The Last Lion, trained by Mark Johnston, raced at two, concluding his career winning the Middle Park Stakes (Group 1) before retiring to stud. 

Bill Turner is synonymous with the Brocklesby Stakes 6 times. 

His triumphs include:

1996 - Indian Spark, this son of Indian Ridge raced an incredible 143 times winning 14 times. 

2002 - The Lord, this son of Averti was probably the best of Turner's Brocklesby winners if not one of the best sprinters he ever trained. He won at Listed class and achieved an official rating of 105. 

2006 - Spoof Master, won the Brocklesby Stakes on his second start, with the race taking place at Redcar. 

2008 - Sally's Dilemma, is one of just three fillies to win the Brocklesby Stakes since 1988. She raced just 11 times in her career and this was her only victory. 

2011 - He's So Cool, raced in the familiar silks of E A Brook, a loyal patron of Turner, who won the Brocklesby Stakes on his second start.

2013 - Mick's Yer Man, is a horse with a story. He won the Brocklesby by five lengths and took his second race in style. However, this son of Bahamian Bounty must have been plagued with injury and raced infrequently. However, in 2014 he won a Listed race at Ascot. Later sold by Turner to race in Hong Kong where he won prize money of over £300,000. 

In recent years, Turner has struggled to capture those past glories. Recent runners include: 

2015 - Just That Lord 7/2J 4th 

2016 - Crucial Moment 5/1 8th 

2017 - Hollofaqueen 10/1 4th 

2018 - Arthur's Spirit 10/1 8th 

2019 - Hell Of A Joker 10/1 14th 

Good luck to the stable for future Brocklesby Stakes entrants. 

Sunday, 1 March 2020

Understanding What Makes Your Favourite Horse Trainer Win

You are probably on the edge of your seat. 

One lucky reader must be saying: ''I've wanted to know the truth to this question and no one has ever come close to answering.''

''Tell me more...''

Perhaps I go a little over the top with the enthusiasm that my blog posts will be greeted. You know, or should do by now, that I enjoy making fun of myself and even though I am a grumpy old man (on occasions) I truly wish to help each and every reader learn something of value. 

I know most gamblers hate to do any work. I can understand because there is only so much time to do all this stuff. After a long, hard day grafting away to put bread on the table, do you really have the energy to think about horse trainers?

[Rebecca Curtis...vital statistics] (you beast!)  

Only you can answer this question. However, the answer is a big yes.

You may be saying: ''Why bother?''

Because it is one of the easiest ways to set yourself apart from every other gambler. I don't know the answer to this question but let's imagine. 

''What percentage of horse racing gamblers make their prediction from reading a racing publication whether real or on a digital platform?''

It must be 99.9%. 

I guess you could be the minority that just turns up at the course and waits for number 6 to wink at you!

What percentage use the most basic amount of information? You know what I am talking about - the last three races of form, perhaps a quick glimpse of the betting or simply follow a favourite tipster.

It's better than nothing - of course! However, the worry is that you are doing exactly the same as perhaps 80% of the gambling population. You may think ''So what!''. If it doesn't worry you then just carry on regardless. But it should be seen as a problem because it is logical to assume that the majority of the population don't make their gambling pay. True, there are slight variations and a little bit of your own experience that will make a difference. 

I've been working within two-year-old horse racing for 30 years. This year I decided I wanted to know more information about each and every horse trainer of two-year-olds. It was a huge undertaking and it nearly drove me mad. I love working to find new information but I started this endeavour not realising how long it would take. Some four months later the work had been completed for just about every horse trainer. It went from the likes of Sir Michael Stoute to smaller trainers such as Mark Usher. 

I can tell you something. I've been surprised by the information. It has been a revelation.

And you know what, you can do exactly the same with a little bit of work. 

I'm not talking months of toil with your nose against the grindstone. 

You could take a look at Roger Charlton and find out a few facts/figures/data and all of a sudden you know something very few people know. 

Here is one of many things you can make work for you to gain a winning edge. This is about winning and I can prove the point in very few words. 

For two-year-old horse racing, we all appreciate that certain trainers make hay while the sun shines. 

Older readers will remember Jack Berry. He had a vast string of two-year-olds and he didn't let the grass grow under their feet. He appreciated that the quicker he got the horses to the course the greater chance they had of winning. Simply because the larger horse trainers weren't in any rush and that gave Berry a couple of months to farm these early juvenile races and perhaps win 15 before others had even sent a horse to make its bow. 


He literally beat the opposition by out-thinking them. 

Well, each and every horse trainer has their own way of working. They buy/train different horses and have peaks and troughs. Let's consider two-year-old debutantes. When you investigate a horse trainer to an in-depth level you will realise this winning and losing isn't random. True certain trainers may have debut winners spread throughout the Flat turf season. 

However, this isn't the case for many. You may well be surprised by what you find by studying data. Because many high-profile two-year-old trainers of debutantes win over a limited number of months. In fact, you will see that a given trainer may have 70% of winning debutantes over a 3-month period of the season. This is a huge pointer. This information helps detail when their debutantes are likely to win or lose. 

Any statistic can be proved wrong. But trainers are creatures of habit and winning is often about intention. If a trainer has no interest in winning early-season because that doesn't figure in their plans, or they only run poor horses or those that need a few weeks to get fitter, then they simply fail to shine because the trainer doesn't consider a horse will prove positive. 

A very simple piece of information can help you appreciate strengths and weaknesses. 

By assessing a trainer's statistics you can understand what makes a winner while the layers or your opposing bettors don't.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Understanding 2YO Horse Racing & Finding Winners

Readers of this website know we follow two-year-old horse racing to a point of no return.  

In fact, if we stumbled upon the set of Mastermind, it would be our specialist subject. 

Knowing your niche is key to being a successful gambler. It doesn't take much understanding. There simply isn't enough time or need to spread yourself too thin. And for that reason, we eat, sleep and drink 2yo horse racing. It is one of the best ways to enjoy horse racing and to find that winning edge. As I have said many times before, you don't need to be the best punter on earth, just a little better than most. You could go for a deep niche of understanding a horse, trainer or even an owner, breeder or something so obscure that you wouldn't even consider it has much to do with horse racing or winning at all. 

What I am saying is don't waste your time looking at the same information as 95% of the population. Sure, it gives you insight but you will need a wealth of knowledge to use that in a way that others don't. 

That is why you need to dig a little bit deeper so the 95% dwindles down to 1 or 2% and ideally less than that. 

You may think that sounds like a lot of hard work. However, it isn't difficult at all. 

Sure you can do it yourself. 

If you wish to get the most out of your horse racing and find true meaning you will put the work in and just make it your own. 

Or you follow a website like Group Horse Daily or even work with me and get your hands on the most informed insight you can find. 

Sadly, I'm not giving my information away to anyone (beyond the 10 Dark Horse Mailing) because I'm too busy. 

I may bang on about not giving too much away for free but I can assure you if in my position you would do the same. I don't know what you do for a living? It doesn't matter. Because at the end of the day your expertise maybe this, that or the other, but we all work to a universal time of minutes and hours. Would you give me an hour of your time for free? Well, don't expect me to do it for nothing. It will never happen and I am not the sentimental type. I have been more than giving over the years and it creates a culture of dependency and people who have one switch. In big bold letters, it reads: TAKE. 

So here are a few basic pointers to help you beat the bookies.

Find your niche. 

If you think you can know about everything you are either Einstein or a fool. And I would be pointing to the latter. Know less and bet more - and double your brainpower. You don't need to know everything under the sun. Use knowledge with logic and reason. 

Dig Deeper to find that Seam of Gold

The gold rush happened because there was so much easy gold. Then it became more and more scarce. The only people to find any gold were the ones who knew a little more than most. They made a fortune while others clicked their heels. Find insight, knowledge, whatever you want to call it, which sets you apart from the rest. If you can't do that, don't waste your time. 

Facts are Facts

Data will give you the truth about anything - but only to a point. However, it will help you look in the right direction and successful gambling is all about having laser focus and seeing the wood from the trees. If you are looking at everything you will lack focus and burn yourself out quickly. You need to work in an efficient manner.

Enjoyment and Meaning

If you don't love what you do - it will be hard work. And if it is hard work you will end up resenting what you do or lack the motivation to do it well. That is why it's important to enjoy horse racing and your niche. It has to have meaning beyond simply winning and losing. You need to see the full picture and enjoy the story. As a wise old horse breeder once said to me (Nelly Cox) ''Every horse has its story to tell...''

Be part of the story and appreciate the trials and tribulations - and every success. It will help you understand that every bet has meaning beyond the money. And understanding and appreciating that point will help you find more winners. 


Betting is all about understanding. It goes beyond a horse on a given day. It is the appreciation of the knowledge you hold and especially the meaning. 

Good luck.