The Castle Tankard – Zimbabwe’s biggest and best racing event inaugurated in 1960 – returns to Borrowdale Park on Saturday, May 7, and Final Acceptors were announced at a function today.
When the stakes are high more people than usual think about having a flutter, and ‘Nick In Newmarket’, writing in an International Racing Club newsletter, recently gave good advice for first-time punters:
“There are no hard and fast rules for betting on racing. Everyone’s got their own system. Some take hours studying form and analysing times. Others follow stable form, wait for horses to start running well and then strike while the iron is hot. Your casual racegoer often goes on names, recognised jockeys, and the fashionistas seem to pick on the design of the silks. Each to their own.
“But if I was to offer advice to anyone new to the game it would be this. Don’t believe everything you hear. Find a few trusted sources and stick to those. If you believed every person attached to a yard, you’d be heading for the poor house very quickly.
“There are exceptions to this. For example, when something is absolutely scorching up the Al Bahathri usually in the John Gosden or William Haggas string, and there are plenty of witnesses who can back up the version of events. But on the whole, I’ve learnt very quickly that most of the time there’s no such thing as a certainty.
“I failed to heed my own advice yesterday when I received a text message, totally out of the blue with three horses. All at Doncaster. Given the random nature of the text I opted to lay out a small amount of my SkyBet account to test the waters and see how this source went. A small investment on a treble for the afternoon.
“Bang. The first one went in. Bang. The second one got home. By a nose. But the number was in the frame. Suddenly the cash out became appealing but what the hell. Let it ride. A small outlay for a 14/1 return seemed appealing. And besides, the random nature of the text message suggested that someone knew something.
“It came down to the final leg. A two-mile contest at Doncaster in the spring sunshine. The field set off and in the early part things were looking OK. The tipped horse smuggled into the race having opted to bide its time near the rear. And then came the moment that the realisation hit. Never listen to unsolicited advice.
“The horse foundered four furlongs from home and hit a massive flat spot. That’s it. The fun was over. But then as the front runners grew weary after the stamina sapping contest, suddenly the tip was bearing down on them, the leader crying for the line. The fancy making ground but leaving it late. The line came. Too late! Second. The losing margin was a head. Almost.
“Enough to suggest that perhaps I give the source one more try.”
Borrowdale Park is a far cry from Newmarket in England where residents are constantly exposed to all that is happening in their racing world. However, in our small way, we do have tipsters and those who believe in racing certainties, so I will only add…
Take a bet when you get the urge but NEVER put on more than you can afford to lose. Racing is supposed to be fun so let’s keep it that way – and carry on smiling.
Photograph by Andrew Philip. FLASHBACK TO 2018 when 66/1 shot Roman Discent (Thackeray) won the Castle Tankard, beating Simona (SP 20/1) by a whisker, and then came Kilrain (13/10) and Mathematician (18/1). The winning owners were beside themselves with glee but some, in saner moments, admitted to being slightly surprised. Actually, it was a great day and a fantastic race – regardless.
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