“Class” is an essential factor a bettor should consider when handicapping the jump races at Cheltenham.  Class is inferred from the caliber of races a horse has been running in.  It projects how a horse measures up to the other horses in a given race on criteria of speed, pace, and stamina.  (Racing angles like class are available at Cheltenham betting tips.)

In other words, besides just looking at how a horse has fared in past races, a bettor needs to make a judgment about the level of competition the horse has encountered.  If a particular horse in an upcoming race appears to be in above his head that diminishes the importance of other elements such as who is riding him, the weight he is carrying, and the distance of the race.

Class can be determined by looking at the overall history of a horse.  Especially relevant for campaign veterans with substantial career starts are the last six or seven races; for younger horses with few or no prior races, estimating class is more elusive; for first-time starters, it comes down to reflecting on how well the horse is bred or how he has performed in workouts.

As with human athletes, equine competitors have their peak performance level.  An older horse that has been contesting ungraded races is unlikely to have the talent to take on the competitors in a Grade I or Group I event.  This is not a hard-and-fast fact, however, as there are many exceptions in which former claiming horses have won graded stakes.  Zeroing in on a horse that may be an exception to the rule opens the door for a savvy (or lucky) bettor to score big time.  Clues to a vastly enhanced future outing might include a recent change to a leading trainer or a dramatic improvement in form.

“Form,” as opposed to class, refers to how a horse has done in his most recent races.  A bettor can tell whether a horse is “on his game” or is “tailing off” by consulting the last two or three races.  When a horse has not raced in several months, the past couple of races may not be indicative of the horse’s current form.  In this case, it helps to consult statistics on how successful his trainer is in racing horses after layoffs of various lengths.

A horse like the once-formidable 10-year-old gelding Faugheen, is difficult to assess.  He has been a stellar performer throughout his career but is coming to Cheltenham to race after finishing second in his last start on March 2nd after being pulled up in a December 2017 race at Leopardstown in Ireland.  A handicapper might dismiss the old horse’s chances, thinking he has seen his better days, or, alternatively, glean that Faugheen’s second-place showing in his last race means that he is possibly coming to form just in time for Cheltenham.  Moreover, his trainer, Willie Mullins, is one of the best jump conditioners of all time and his horses are to be reckoned with whenever they are entered.

A horse like Faugheen has all the class one could desire in a chaser, but his form is in doubt.  This conundrum is typical of the challenges and opportunities of handicapping Cheltenham.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business 


American Quarter horses are descended from crosses between equines of Spanish and English origins, with a large component of Thoroughbred blood, as far back as 1660.  By the late 17th century, Quarter Horses were racing short distances at courses in Rhode Island and Virginia.  Agile and fleet Quarter Horses became popular with the cowboys in the American West of the mid-to-late 19th century.

The breed registry, however, was not founded until 1941.  The American Quarter Horse Museum and Hall of Fame in Amarillo, Texas explains on its website how the breed registry began:

“In March of 1940, a group of influential ranchers gathered one night around the dining room table of one of the wealthiest and largest ranch owners in the country with one goal–save the short, stocky, good-minded horses that ranchers and cattlemen, like themselves, preferred.  At the time, these horses were commonly referred to as Steeldust horses, after a fabled horse that could drive Longhorns through any weather or terrain and run the quarter mile faster than any other breed.

In every point of the conversation, it was clear these horses had already made a significant impact on history–they had been companions in war, work partners on the ranch and wild frontier, and athletes on the race track in early colonial settlements.  That night marked the birth of the American Quarter Horse Association and its mission to preserve and improve the bloodlines of the Steeldust horse, known today as the American Quarter Horse.”

It was decided that the honor of being designated number one–or P1–in the brand-new breed registry would go to the winner of the stallion class at the 1941 Fort Worth Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show.  The prototypically conformed–but inaccurately named–Wimpy won the stallion class.  He was born and raised on the famous King Ranch in South Texas and was the grandson of King Ranch’s foundation sire Old Sorrell.

Today, the American Quarter Horse is the largest breed registry globally, with over 5 million horses worldwide.  The breed is very versatile; Quarter Horses are used for pleasure riding, showing, working cattle, and racing.

The AQHA allows crosses between Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses into the registry, providing that the AQHA approves of the Thoroughbred.  The Quarter Horse/Throughbred foal is placed into what is called an Appendix Registry.  The foal is permitted to compete in Quarter Horse races but the AQHA places limitations on how it can be bred.  For example, the get of a mating between two Appendix registrants cannot qualify as a Quarter Horse.  In some cases, the AQHA designates an outstanding mixed-blood horse as a Quarter Horse.

Quarter Horse racing is held in both Canada and the United States, but is concentrated in California, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Texas.

Prominent Thoroughbred trainers Bob Baffert and Wayne Lukas began their careers with Quarter Horses and Lukas is in the Hall of Fame for both Quarter Horses and American Thoroughbreds.  Similarly, American Quarter horse Hall of Fame inductees Clarence Scharbauer Jr. and Robert Kleberg Jr. owned famous Thoroughbred racehorses, such as Alysheba (Scharbauer) and Triple Crown winner Assault (Kleberg).

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business


Prestbury Park in the United Kingdom will become the place to be on March 13-16, 2018, when the foremost National Hunt horses, jockeys, and trainers from the UK and Ireland compete in Cheltenham, against the scenic background of the Cotswolds.  Avid and casual fans alike look forward to the hugely popular Cheltenham Festival.

Last year, Sizing John won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, the Festival’s feature chase.  He is retuning as the favorite to repeat in 2018, but this time the competition is likely to be more formidable, especially with Might Bite and Native River in the mix.

Leading bookmakers are once again extending attractive offers, which can be seen at Freebets.  In addition, the latest updates and Cheltenham betting tips are available.  For example, 888Sport has a Bet £10 Get £30 offer and Coral has a Bet £5 Get £20 play.  On all 28 of the Cheltenham Festival races, Paddy Power is tendering a £20 Risk Free Bet and a Non Runner No Bet.  Similarly, William Hill, Betvictor, and Ladbrokes also have appealing offers.

The approach of the Cheltenham Festival always brings to mind a few of the courageous horses that have competed there and etched their names into the annals of racing history.

Arkle is the most famous National Hunt horse of all time in the UK and Ireland, with a career record of 27 wins from 35 starts.   Indeed, Racing Post readers voted him as such.   Among the gelding’s many other achievements in the 1960s, he won the prestigious Cheltenham Gold Cup for three consecutive years, plus he won the Hennessy Gold Cup twice and the Irish Grand National and the King George VI Chase.

The most successful mare in National Hunt history is arguably the Irish-bred Dawn Run.  Her victories included the Champion Hurdle in 1984 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup in 1986.  She was one of only four mares to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the second mare to take the Champion Hurdle.  Dawn Run also won the Ascot Hurdle (1983), Christmas Hurdle (1983), Aintree Hurdle (1984), and French Champion Hurdle (1984).

More recently, Synchronised gained fame for winning the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup, while defeating a talented field that included Long Run and Kauto Star.  Some of his previous victories were the Midlands Grand National (2010), the Welsh National (2010) and the Lexus Chase (2011).

The 2018 Cheltenham Festival may elevate one or more horses to such renowned company.

Copyright © 2018 Horse Racing Business