BETTING ODDITIES: Jumping to conclusions


Now the dust has settled on both Cheltenham and Aintree the inquests are underway on the poor performance of Team GB at both.

One angle being looked into is that the ‘Irish horses are better handicapped’.

I think it’s more likely to be the same as above, but just drop ‘handicapped’.

We are in an era of domination. It happens in all sports. Steve Davis era in snooker, Pete Sampras era in tennis, Barcelona era in European football and strongest of all, er, the Cambridge / Oxford era in the Boat Race 😉

We’re also in an age where the power-base has shifted to Ireland in the National Hunt game. JP, Gigginstown and Rich Ricci is a pretty powerful starting triumvirate. And the more success they have, the more success they are likely to have – investing in the very best bloodstock.

Before ANY credibility can be be given to the handicap argument, it might be best to flip it and see how our runners get on in Ireland? If a 130 UK rated hurdler is finishing in the same ballpark as other Irish 130 hurdlers at, say, Punchestown then we have a fairly good barometer.

The problem though is that so few try the reverse journey. If you ain’t in it, you can’t win it. You also can’t rate it.

The alignment might be out of kilter. One done in Fahrenheit and the other Celsius if you like and ultimately it’s up to the ‘home’ handicapper to level re-align weights for raider. If indeed that is the case.


Rachael Blackmore quite rightly took all the plaudits last Saturday and put the sport back on the front page headlines for all the right reasons. Hard that anyone could find fault with that but some of the usual twitter backbenchers amazingly found reasons to be contrarian.

In all the publicity I just wonder whether Henry De Bromhead’s achievement was slightly diluted. The fact he trained the 1-2 was almost an afterthought. Not just ‘any’ 1-2 either – with the 100/1 second !!!!

The last time that happened was 1908.

Combined with his ‘Holy Trinity’ at Cheltenham – De Bromhead is just quietly getting on with being a record breaker with little fuss and enormous modesty – which is probably just the way he likes it.


The Monster Raving Loony Party have put up 13 candidates for the impending election of a councillor for the Chessington South Ward.

Is it like the Irish National where all the Gigginstown candidates need to wear a different coloured cap?

In terms of winning the votes I’m slightly worried the loonies MIGHT be splitting their own vote somewhat.

Star Sports political guru William Kedjanyi said “As someone who works for Star Sports, I’m used to dealing with multiple contenders from the same stable, but I’ve never seen anything like this!”


The High Street is on its knees but hopefully will arise phoenix like post-lockdown. It was a pleasant surprise to see a couple of new shops open up on Esher High Street against a the backdrop of For Sale and To Let signs.

Entrepreneurs willing to give it a pop with a new barbers and Indo-Chinese restaurant. I’ll do my best to support the local shops. Starting with an appointment at the barbers. Given the current state of my hair I may well need to make that TWO appointments for the work required. Gulp.


The local newspaper’s website has reviewed the best steak outlets in Surrey ahead of the eagerly awaited ‘they are under starters orders’.

Not quite sure what’s going on at The Wheatsheaf in Farnham though. Far too much tomato action going on here for my liking.

Menu entry is no doubt ‘Tomato Plantation with a side of steak’.


Less Packaging AND less sweets IMO. The perfect crime.


DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.