Saturday, January 09, 2010

Figures in the snow

The big freeze has ensured a paucity of form figures for jumping fans to study this week. Here are some alternative figures that have come to my attention recently...

William Hill reported that on blank racing days they were seeing a ten-fold increase in the number of bets taken on virtual racing. Julian Muscat's piece in Wednesday's Times quotes David Hood, William Hill PR director: "In the last week alone we have taken over 300,000 individual bets."

Tom Scudamore, who missed a double at Plumpton last Sunday as the result of a suspension, informed readers of the same newspaper on Friday he hadn't earned a penny since December 29th and was roughly £10,000 out of pocket. Riding fees are reported to have risen recently by 3% but, of course, if the weather doesn't relent, an additional 3% of nothing equates to absolutely nothing.

Racing for Change launched a ten-point plan with the aim of modernising the sport; a tweet to me from @Mulldog quite rightly intimated it's likely to take a lot more than ten points. The recommendation that appears to have received most press coverage from the RfC report is the proposal that in spring British racecourses will look to trial decimal odds in an attempt to attract younger people to the races. Apparently 11/10ths of the younger generation just don't get fractions.

On Friday Alan King's Karabak was well-backed for the Ladbrokes World Hurdle at Cheltenham in March. He's now quoted at 6s and 7s (from 10s).

Finally I'm informed the highlight of Bonhams Spring sale is 'a highly important racing painting by Munnings'. 'The Start, Newmarket' is scheduled to go under the hammer on Wednesday 17th March with the price estimate quoted as £500,000 - £700,000. Excuse me, old boy, doesn't that clash with Champion Chase day?

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