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Grand National Favourite Blaklion Heads To Cheltenham

The favourite for the 2018 Grand National is Blaklion, and he looks set to have one more prep run before attempting to win the big race in April. However, that prep run may come in another huge race as he is still entered in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race that takes place in March. He is not certain to run in the Gold Cup just yet, but the signs point towards him doing so, which would be a huge ask for the horse before running in a stamina draining race like the Grand National.

We do not see many horses looking to complete the Gold Cup and Grand National double and that is because the races are both very tough to win, and they are relatively close together. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is three miles and two-furlong race, with a tough uphill finish that tests even the best stayers like Blaklion. Then just four weeks and one day later, Blaklion would have the stamina test that is the Grand National, over the even tougher distance of four miles, two and a half furlongs.

This is an extremely tough ask for any horse and should Blaklion go to the Gold Cup before going to Aintree if he can win either of the races he deserves a huge amount of credit for the toughness he has shown. The Grand National has always been his long-term target, and it is a race that his whole season has revolved around. After finishing fourth in the race last season, and showing signs of improvement this season, he looks to have a fantastic chance in the race. Running in the Gold Cup would make life a lot tougher for him, so if this goes ahead, it would be a big gamble by the Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard.

Had the races been scheduled the opposite way around, with the Grand National taking place first then this would have been an easier decision to make for the yard as they must have him spot on for National day. By running Blaklion in the Gold Cup, they risk not being able to do that, the Gold Cup can take a lot out of a horse and leaves its mark, that would mean he would arrive at Aintree for his main target less than 100% fit.

As the weeks go by we will find out what the plan is for Blaklion, but the entries would suggest that there is a possibility he runs in both the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National. His running style, heart and ability would give him a chance of winning both, and that would be a remarkable feat for any horse to achieve. This is going to be an interesting story to keep in touch with, especially for those who have already backed Blaklion for the Grand National, who want him arriving at Aintree as fit and ready as possible for the race.

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Pleasant Company Returns To Begin Grand National Bid

Many people fancied Pleasant Company for the 2017 Grand National and a good run over the big fences helped him to finish in 9th position in the race. He is now a nine-year-old and returns to the track this weekend looking to put on a good show on his seasonal debut, to prove he has a good chance of winning the big one in April yet again.

His return to action could not be in a much tougher race, he comes back to run in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on Saturday, a race better known as the Hennessy Gold Cup. This hugely competitive, 21-runner handicap will test him to the limit, but a fast-paced, big field handicap where you need a lot of stamina is exactly what he is going to face in April, so it is good practice for the big one.

He looks to be fairly well treated this season and starts 2lb lower in the handicap than when he ran at Aintree in the 2017 Grand National. That should give him a little room for movement throughout the season, so the Willie Mullins team will not have to specifically keep him away from certain races until the weights are out. That means he can spend the full season running in a race like this one, and he can also travel across the water to come over and race in Britain, two things that will give him vital experience of what happens on Grand National day.

We only saw him run twice before the Grand National last season and that is something that looks sure to change this season. He campaigned lightly with the intention of keeping his handicap mark protected and while it did the job, we probably did not see the best of Pleasant Company because of that. This season he will be able to run a normal amount of times and have probably four prep runs before the national in April. That should mean he arrives at the race in much better condition and race fit with important time on the track under his belt.

It will be very interesting to see how Pleasant Company goes on Saturday because although this is an extremely tough race for him to win, he is still relatively well handicapped and it will suit his stamina. The test is not the same as the one he will face at Aintree, but it will still test the horses that run in it and he has the potential to run very well.

Whatever he does on Saturday will, of course, be a stepping-stone towards the Grand National and the first in a number of races that will hopefully have him spot on for the big day in April. However, having said that, he looks to be capable of putting up a good show in the Ladbrokes Trophy and it would not be the biggest surprise in the world to see him run very well on his seasonal reappearance.

Breeders Cup 2017

The 2017 Breeders Cup is set to take place at Del Mar race course for a prize fund of a stunning $28 million. With many of the world’s top horses set to take each other on over the two days as many of the key European contenders will be expected to come from the stable of Aiden O’Brien.

The 5 year old Highland Reel will be heading over with a leading chance as the globetrotting star looks to defend his crown in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Highland Reel has raced successfully all around the world and has gained over £6 million in Prize money.

The horse made all the running for a decisive victory in this race last year as he quickened up to lead by over 7 lengths passing half way at odds of 7/2.  The latest horse racing betting odds have Highland Reel as the 5/2 second favourite behind the other European contender in Ulysses.

Ulysses is the 9/4 favourite for the race following his solid run the Arc. He will be expected to go close following side stepping the Champion stakes for this event. The horse is trained by a master in Sir Michael Stoute and has continued to progress throughout the year. With these two key challengers in the race a European winner will be expected to come from the Breeders’ Cup turf. Check out the infographic below that covers all you need to know about the Breeders Cup and the key contenders from the US and Europe.

 

Why Kiwis Love Betting On Horses

Why Kiwis Love Betting On Horses – Unparalleled Excitement.

Kiwis from New Zealand love to bet on the ponies. Thoroughbred horses are amongst the most majestic animals in the world, with rippling muscles under the silken skin. The thrill of watching a pack thundering down the home straight in full flight is something that cannot be found in any other sport. Betting on these champions of the animal world adds a level of excitement to simply watching them run.

Adds Excitement

Placing a bet on a horse in a race, especially a big race such as the Melbourne Cup, adds an element of excitement to just watching the horses. Betting allows Kiwis to have a real stake in who wins, not just idly watching the race for the fun of it. Kiwis can gather together in a group of friends, or even down at the pub, and have different bets on different horses, creating a fun and competitive atmosphere that some people look forward to all year round. It also gives Kiwis a chance to be patriotic. More and more people are betting on the major races, and backing horses from their home countries even against international or Australian favourites.

Chances Of Hitting It Big

Of course one of the main reasons why New Zealanders love betting on horses is the chance to hit it big and score huge amounts, or even small amounts of cash. An exotic bet carried out correctly and successfully could result in a life-changing amount of money.

When placing a bet on a horse you get the same feeling as fishing for a huge fish, you never know what may happen but the chance is always there that you can land the big one. Smaller wins can be just as satisfying. If you are down at the pub and win even a smallish amount on your favourite pony, you can buy your mates or possibly the entire bar a round of drinks, increasing your popularity and having a great day all round.

Family Bonding

Many families love to go to the races on a Saturday. Not necessarily for only the big name races, but even just the regular Saturday races can be a whole day outing. Kids enjoy the carnival like atmosphere and watching the horses in the parade ring, while parents place a quick wager on who they think may win or place.

Sitting on the grass in the sun with the thrill of the field cantering down to the starting gates is something that can create lasting family memories, even more so if a winning bet is placed and everyone gets taken out for supper or ice cream afterwards.

Serious Hobby

For those who take wagering on horse racing more seriously, it can become an actual hobby. Tracing the bloodlines of winning thoroughbreds, following trainers as they rise and fall from stardom, and keeping a close eye on the yearling sales is something which done by many punters around New Zealand. Horse racing betting sites also make betting even easier, and allow punters to go ‘pro’ with ease.

Thoroughbred breeding and racing is a fascinating industry which, when followed, can result in some much more serious wagering than simply taking a flutter on a lazy Saturday. Going to the training yards and watching the horses train to get an idea of how they may perform is something that a number of people thoroughly enjoy and look forward too.

Betting On Horse Racing To Win

Winning a horse racing bet is a great feeling. You make a whole lot of money and witness your favourite horse take the honours. On the other hand, losing a horse racing bet can be a stressful experience. You lose your hard earned money and have to face the embarrassment of picking the wrong horse. Betting on horse racing is a skill. You can win at horse racing betting only if you have the right education and tools. So, how can you be a winner at horse racing betting? Let’s take a look.

Generally, it takes a while for people to become good at horse betting so don’t be disappointed if you aren’t a winner right away. However, this does not mean that you should expect to lose when you bet on horse racing for the very first time. In fact, you can be a winner right away by finding out how to pick a horse and place a bet. Now, there are two ways for you to bet on horses: fixed odds betting and tote betting. The latter is what most bettors prefer. Also, there is a more chance of winning big with this type of betting. For this reason, we will discuss how you can be a winner at tote.

Unlike other types of horse racing betting, tote offers you a pool bet. This means that in tote, the money received from bets on a given race are pooled together and shared among the winning bettors. Your chances of winning big at tote will depend on the number of people making the bet on the horse you picked. You will stand a chance of a getting a good percentage of the pool if the horse you bet on isn’t picked by a whole lot of people. While the odds displayed on the tote screen can be helpful, your bet shouldn’t be based on them as the odds on the tote screen keep changing until the race ends. Generally, the minimum tote bet that you can place is AU$ 3. However, this may vary so it’s best to check with the online betting site you choose before you bet on a horse.

Coming back to the topic at hand, tote gives you a great opportunity to win some serious money. Additionally, it is easy to perform. All you need to do is pick your horse, select your stake and hope for the best. It is important to note that you will have your money refunded if the horse you bet on withdraws from the race before it begins. A tip to win at tote that not many people consider is checking the fixed betting odds on the horse you’re about to pick. If both the tote screen and the fixed betting odds give a good odd to your preferred horse then you shouldn’t waste any time to bet on that horse. Betting on horse racing is your chance to earn some serious money. Use the aforementioned information to win at horse racing betting.

 

The 1993 ‘Shambles’: A Grand National Like No Other

With this year’s Grand National just a few short weeks away, you will be reading many ‘best of’ and ‘greatest ever’ type lists. Of course, we have compiled our own versions of them and we look forward to you reading each one.

However, we are also going to look back at the Nationals that didn’t go to plan. The ones where everything wasn’t perfect, because although those races were flawed, they still contributed to what makes the National a race like no other – its history.

At the top of that list is the 1993 Grand National. It was a race like no other and here is why.

300 million viewers
Many predictions were made in the lead up to the race, yet we doubt too many of the estimated 300 million people who were watching the National around the world would have predicted what was going to happen.

Thirty of the 39 racers did not realise a false start was called. Many of them completed the course before the mistake was even noted.

Protesters
The disastrous series of events that led to the problem was like something out of a Terry Pratchet novel. It all started when protesters got onto the track near fence one – officials spotted them and asked the jockeys to line up for a restart.
Then two more false starts were caused by horses getting tangled in tape. Then after the last false start, the recall flag which tells jockeys to return to the start was never waved and all rides took off apart from nine of them.

Audience shouting
Normally, a trip to the racetrack involves shouting for your horse to finish first. This time around, the punters were shouting for their horse to stop riding and return to the start. Officials and race-goers frantically tried to notify the rides, but it didn’t work with all of them.

Seven riders finished the four and a half mile race without issue. John White thought he had ridden a 50-1 winner in Esha Ness, after being the first ride to cross the line. On the day, he told reporters: “I could see there were only a few horses around, but I thought the others had fallen or something.”

Disaster for bookmakers
It ended up being a bad day for the bookies too, as the Jockey Club declared the race void due to obvious reasons. The race wasn’t re-run, so the bookies had to repay a serious amount of cash that was placed on the race.

Since that faithful race on the third day of April in 1993, that year’s Grand National has been known as “the race that never was.”

It is not the Grand National’s proudest moment, but it is part of its history and it is its history that makes it such a special day on the racing calendar.

Everything You Need to Know for Betting on the Cheltenham Festival

The Cheltenham Festival is the highlight on the calendar in national hunt horse racing. The annual meeting takes place in the middle of March where fans of the sport flock to the Gloucestershire track from the UK and Ireland to see the best horses race against each other in their respective divisions.

Here is everything you need to know about betting at the meeting.

Multiple Bet
It is possible to combine a number of the Cheltenham Festival races in a multiple bet to try and increase your winnings. For example, if you want to select the winner of the four Championship races (Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers’ Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup) you can do this in an accumulator.

The odds will depend on the four prices and you can do so by backing all four horses to win or as an each-way bet where they only need to finish in the frame for you to collect. 888sport has an extensive guide about accumulators and other multiple bets if you want to learn more about your options.

For instance, the guide explains that an accumulator is the simplest form of a multiple bet that exists as the unit stake you choose is exactly how much you pay for the bet.

Some punters prefer to stick to the same trainer or jockey in these bets. In 2015 Irish Trainer Willie Mullins set the Cheltenham Festival record with eight winners at the meeting and will prove very popular again at the 2017 meeting.

Ante Post
You can place a bet on any one of the 28 races at the Cheltenham Festival from as early as the opening month of the new national hunt season which takes place in October. This is known as an ante-post bet and often you will get much bigger odds than you would on the day of the race.

The reason why the bookmakers give you greater odds is because if the horse does not run in your selected race, you will lose your money. It is therefore important to do your research on your runner to make sure its target for the season is the race you are betting on.

Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the feature race of the meeting and is arguably the biggest race of the season in national hunt racing. The favourite for the 2017 running of the 3m2f chase is Thistlecrack who is odds-on at 4-6.

The market leader for the Gold Cup is usually determined by how the results of the Betfair Chase, King George VI Chase and Lexus Chase go earlier in the season. Thistlecrack was the very impressive winner of the 2016 King George therefore has earned his place at the top of the betting for the Blue Riband event at the Festival.

Champion Hurdle
Finally, the Champion Hurdle is the most prestigious hurdle contest during the meeting. If placing a bet on this race, always look for the form of the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton and Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown as the winners of these races have an excellent record in this 2m contest at the Festival.

Types of Betting in Horse Racing

Horse racing takes place over 360 days of the year in the UK and Ireland. On a busy Saturday, there can be as many as eight meetings. Therefore there is never a shortage of opportunities if you want to be a place a bet in the sport.

There are two types of horse racing across the year. One is flat racing. This typically takes place between April and October when the weather is fair. The horses run on a flat course at distances between five furlongs and two miles, four furlongs. The Derby, won by Harzand in 2016, is the most prestigious flat race in the UK.

The other code is national hunt racing, where horses are required to jump obstacles, either hurdles or fences across the season, which runs from October until April. The most famous race in the world is the Grand National, run over the marathon trip of 4m4f over big fences, won last year by Rule the World.

Win
The most common and straightforward way to bet on horse racing is to choose the horse to win a particular race. You can either take the odds on your horse winning at the time of striking your bet, or opt to take the starting price.

The shorter the odds, the better chance your horse has of winning. If your horse is the favourite in the betting, it often means it is the best horse in the race on paper or it has the best current form.

There are many different factors to consider when selecting a horse, such as the ground, distance and weight it has to carry. If you require any advice or tips, though, there are a number of different sites available to help you select a winner, including Oddschecker, for the latest daily horse racing tips from the likes of Andy Holding.

Each-way
If you back a horse each-way, your total stake is split between a win bet and place bet. Those who like to play each-way appreciate that it gives them a better chance of picking up a return after the race.

Before you place an each-way bet, it is important to check the place terms, since how many placings each race pays out on can differ greatly. This will depend on the type of race and how many runners line up. Some bookmakers offer enhanced place terms on certain races, so it is always best to shop around before having your punt.

Forecast
A forecast is a great chance to win big from a small stake. In order to be successful, you need to select both who places first and who places second in your race.

If you place a straight forecast, you have to get the right order. However, a reverse forecast allows you have the horses in any order as long as you choose the ones that finish first and second.

Match bet
In certain cases in horse racing, you will be allowed to place a match. This is where you take a horse to finish ahead of another horse in the same race.

It does not have to win the race at all. Your horse only needs to cross the line ahead of your opponent for you to win the bet.

This is popular when two horses have similar odds, like Cue Card and Coneygree recently in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, where Cue Card just got the better of his rival.

Betting on horse racing is one of the most exciting sports to take a punt on. You have more options than most sports and a range of type of bets to choose from.  Good luck with your selections.

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Cheltenham Ante-Post Enhancements

It's that time of year again. The Cheltenham Festival is only days away and the bookmakers are really digging deep with their promotional offers. First up is Betfair.

They have just released some limited time only ante post enhancements in preparation for the upcoming four days of epic racing which are for both new and existing customers.

There is a definite theme developing with the offers which is the assumption that Irish Champion trainer Willie Mullins is going to win nearly every race over the four day festival.

The chances are he's going to give everybody else a huge run for their money in his attempt to sweep the boards and yes he has some of the finest chasers in training which is why many of his runners are already odds but the favourites don't always win at Cheltenham.

That said, it's hard to bet against the likes of Annie Power, Douvan and Un De Sceaux.

Betfair – Get Up to £100 in Bonus Bets

Join Betfair today and get up to £100 in Bonus bets.

Available to new customers only unless otherwise stated; wagering requirements and other terms & conditions apply.

 

Offers End This Friday 10am

9/1 Min to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle:
The favourite for the Supreme Novices Hurdle is ordinarily 7/4 so this 9/1 in enhancement is quite incredible.

Irish champion trainer has won this race for the last three years with Douvan in 2015, Vautour in 2014 and Champagne Fever in 2013.

All three winners have been ridden by jockey Ruby Walsh and owned by Susannah Ricci. If Min should win, it would be the fourth consecutive victory in the Supreme Novices for all three connections.

4/1 Douvan to win the Arkle:
Currently has odds of 4/11 ON so an offer of 4/1 is massive. Douvan was last year's Supreme Novices Winner and is the current ante-post favourite which is unsurprising given his unbroken winning streak which extends as far back as June 2014.

Again, Douvan comes courtesy of trainer Willie Mullins and jockey Ruby Walsh who were winners in 2015 with un De Sceaux.

10/1 Annie Power to win the Champion Hurdle:
With a near perfect career record, it's difficult to see how Annie Power could be beaten in the Champion Hurdle. Having said that, she did fall in the Mare's Hurdle last year at the festival so nothing is impossible.

Identity Thief could have the measure of her on the day but with a Betfair enhancement to 10/1 from the normal odds of 7/4 it's well worth the bet.

The offers above are open to new customers only. The most you can bet is £10 and your winnings will be paid out as bonus bets which should see you nicely through the rest of the festival.


For exiting customers, Betfair is giving you a double promotion. The first is Bet £10, Get £30 in Bonus Bets and that is bumped up with ‘3 Bonus Bets when you back a winner'. So all you have to do is get one bet right to get three more free.

It's a solid offer for those of you who plan to back runners in more than one race and as EVERY Cheltenham Festival race is no Non Runner No Bet at Betfair, there is absolutely no risk of losing your money should your chosen horse not run.

Best Of The 20/1 Odds Group At The 2015 Grand National

To say that the Grand National is a big horse racing event would be an understatement. Even claiming that the event, held at Aintree racetrack, is a giant sporting occasion would still be somewhat underselling it.

On April 11th, an estimated 80,000 spectators will descend upon Liverpool's biggest and most historic racetrack. They will also be joined by a further 600 million television viewers worldwide. With these figures, we are talking about an event that transcends sport itself and becomes something akin to a phenomenon.

To go with these impressive viewing figures, it is estimated that £150m is annually spent on betting on the Grand National! This colossal figure, which eclipses the betting total of every other annual sporting event, is down to betting on the Grand National being a springtime tradition that extends outside the circle of regular punters. People of all inclinations, bet on the Grand National and, often, will not bet on another horse racing event for the rest of the year.

Picking a winner for the Aintree Grand National is never easy. Indeed, selecting a victor at the event is known to be somewhat of a lottery. Although somewhat true, there is more rhyme and reason to backing a winner at the Grand National than some would suggest!

The real hard part is balancing risk and reward. Nobody wants to back a horse, no matter how mouth-watering the potential return, that has no chance of winning. Getting a massive win off a 100/1 shot is the stuff of dreams but not reality. However, you also do not want to pick a sure-fire winner that will only gift you a few extra coins if it succeeds. The best thing to do is to find a horse that not only has a chance of winning but, if it does come through for you, is also going to line your wallet a reasonable amount.

Between 1952 and 2012, 70% of the winners of the race were returned at odds of less than 20/1. Therefore, this is the area you want to be laying your hard-earned cash. So, we have selected three of the best of the 20/1 odds category at this year's Grand National to compete for your punting.

Spring Heeled
Despite only now entering his prime years, the eight-year-old Spring Heeled already has a solid career behind him. A four-time winner and nine-time placer, Spring Heeled has won an event every year since he started competing in 2011.

Trainer Jim Culloty is determined to see the Irish horse win the Grand National. Having won the Kim Muir in 2014, Spring Heeled has since been trained exclusively with the Grand National in mind. Such has been his training that, with a handicap hovering around the cut-off point, Culloty has decided Spring Heeled will not be running any hurdles until the Grand National.

Godsmejudge
Godsmejudge’s journey to the Grand National has not been easy. In 2014, trainer Alan King pulled him out of the race, claiming that he had been struggling with the then eight-year-old since the previous December.

With five wins and 11 places since 2011 under five different jockeys, Godsmejudge has proven that when in the right place, both mentally and physically, he can win with anyone brandishing the whip. Godsmejudge also comes from good stock, with King having trained several successful steads. His most recent success was a double win at Ascot with horses A Legend and Manyriverstocross.

Unioniste
Despite his relatively young age of seven years, Unioniste has already won events five times and placed at seven more. Moreover, he has been ridden by a host of established and respectable jockeys, including Cheltenham Festival legend Ruby Walsh. Like Walsh, trainer Paul Nicholls does not see Unioniste's relative youth as an issue.

The Grand National: Bettor’s Paradise Or Rookie Mistake?

The Grand National is the biggest horse race in the annual calendar. It has been built up over the years as the one time when Joe Public will splash his cash at the bookies. Obviously that is great for the bookmakers, but is it good for the seasoned bettor? And if it is, what should you do to make the most of it?

The first way most people will stake a small amount on the National is via a sweepstake in their office or social club, and that is pure chance with no thought given to form or odds.

However, luckily for the more experienced gambler, that is also how many people will part with their tenner on race day. They might like the name, or the colours, or they might have had a friendly tip that will decide their Grand National bets, but the former means more money often going on horses that won't have much of a chance. That means you can find better odds on the ones that do.

The nature of the race at Aintree means that the dead favourite rarely wins – it has happened just 15 times out of the 120 races. It is a handicapped race, which means the in-form horses will have to carry increased weight to even things out, and it is over four miles long. A lot can happen in that time.

If history tells us anything, it's that there are quite specific trends that you can look for to give you an idea on where to most effectively place your hard-earned cash. The favourites winning so infrequently comes as a result of their increased weight and the toll that takes. But the horses with the longest odds have so little chance that even with only a fraction of the handicap you can almost write them off. Pick a good runner but not a favourite, one that has a modest handicap but not enough to disable it for the duration of the run – between 140-160lbs seems optimal.

Also, age is a huge factor. Too young and the discipline and staying power doesn't seem to be there. Too old and they're getting past it, unable to keep the pace for the full race. In the last 29 races, 10 has been the average age of the winner, with nine, 10 and 11-year-old the most common ages for first place. As with all statistics, there can be anomalies but that's where the safer money is.

Finally, and arguably most importantly, it's vital that you check whether your horse has the capabilities to do the distance and whether they've had any success there. That might seem obvious but with the amount of money the bookmaker's rake in every Grand National day, it can't be that obvious. There are simply so many people backing horses without a hope! It's pretty much a definitive prerequisite that the horse has won over three miles or more, which seems like common sense, albeit fairly uncommon at that time of year.

So, the conclusion is that there are ways to vastly increase your chances on the biggest money race of the year, but that's if you choose to do a little bit of research. It'll be worth it, though, as you walk home with your wad of cash while the rest of them wait until next year for their luck to come in.

Three Of The Best Horse Racing Games

Anyone who enjoys watching real horse racing will probably have an appreciation for horse racing video games. And if you’re into placing bets on big racing fixtures like the Grand National or the Gold Cup or Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March, playing simulation versions of the races could help you out when you’re picking your horses to have a wager on the real event.

However, it’s a relatively niche area, so there isn’t a huge selection of horse racing games to choose from. There are however, some perennial favourites and below we’ve rounded up three of the best in horse racing video games choices.

Champion Jockey: G1 Jockey & Gallop Racer gives the player a choice of different world races and fixtures to enjoy from the jockey perspective. The game play involves learning how to guide the horse using the reins and how to use the whip to get your horse to the winning post before any other horse on the track.

The idea behind the game is that you get to feel like a real jockey. Produced by Tecmo Koeil, it’s the follow-up to the Koei G1 Jockey Series and the Tecmo Gallop Racer series.

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As the game doesn’t have licenced use of the real world race tracks, it gets around this by giving the courses different names, but any horse racing fan will be able to work out which one is which. There’s a choice of game types including exhibition races and pre-set challenges. A player creates his or her own jockey and then decides which of the stable owners to team up with.

On the Xbox 360 Kinect version you can race on a total of 19 different tracks, a mix that includes traditional turf, dirt tracks and steeplechases. For those times when you don’t want to take it too seriously, there’s the Fun Race Mode, which reduces the authenticity in the simulation so that you have more fun using the motion controls to race the horses.

Starters Orders 6 is the latest generation of the Starters Orders series. It’s a game where you breed, own, train and race horses and the graphics make it amazingly realistic. The race calendar on the game offers you hundreds of different real world races to choose from. These include the big ones such as the Grand National, the Kentucky Derby, and the Melbourne Cup.

You can choose between flat or jumps in UK and Irish racing, or flat in Australian and US racing. Features such as photo finishes, handicapping, stewards’ enquires and fines add to the realism of the game. In this most recent version of Starters Orders, you can enter races with up to 40 horses in the field and the gameplay is excellent.

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Raceclubs is an online racing game where you can be a virtual race horse owner. As well as getting to feed and train your horses, you’ll also race them in real race times. You can grow a stable of champions, designing your own racing silks etc. Modes include training – where you work on the horse’s fitness and performance; and assess each horse according to distance, race category and track surface. In the racing mode, you race your horse against others owned by other players and you can progress through the Division races with the aim of becoming a Champion stable. There are races, trophies, cash prizes and Championships to be won and leader boards so that you can rank your progress against other players’.

When you first sign up to play you get a free horse and can enter free races for the first 30 days. You can add on game features by depositing cash into your gaming account – to get extra horses. But you can stay playing at the free level only if that’s the limit you’re happy with.

Whichever racing game you decide to try, you know that nothing quite matches the excitement of a real horse race such as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but these three games will definitely complement your interest in the sport.