IT’S that time of year when racing's great and good start to get that winter sun itch.
The summer has come and gone in two shakes of a lamb’s tail and the first ‘Road to Cheltenham’ posts are mere days away.
Anyone with a horse good enough to race overseas will be thumbing through brochures as we speak in a bid to keep the winter blues at bay a little longer.
The warmer climes of the Breeders’ Cup in LA are set to prove as popular as ever, and it's shaping up to be the biggest British invasion since Dunkirk.
Hopefully it will be a good bit more successful, mind you. It’s a long way to send a flotilla of rowing boats to rescue our brave boys and girls if it goes Pete Tong.
Australia is another far-flung destination on plenty of trainer's radars and the weights for the Melbourne Cup were published this week – which left me a little depressed.
OFFERS OF THE DAY
Tote: Bet £5 Get £20 in Free Bets – CLAIM HERE
Virgin Bet: Bet £10 Get £20 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
Betfair: Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Bets – CLAIM HERE
Paddy Power: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
Sky Bet: Bet £10 Get £30 in Free Horse Racing Bets – CLAIM HERE
Tote: New customers online only. Place your first bet on racing pools for a minimum of £5 and win or lose you will receive £20 Tote Credit. £20 Tote Credit rewarded as £10 redeemable against racing bets only and £10 redeemable against UK and Irish placepot bets only. Tote Credit cannot be withdrawn, exchanged, or substituted and expires after 7 days. Qualifying bet is the first racing pool bet added to the bet-slip. Ten to Follow, virtual and football bets do not qualify. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. New UK & ROI customers only. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. begambleaware.org
Virgin Bet: New members. £10 min deposit & bet on sportsbook, placed & settled at 1.5 min odds within 14 days of sign-up. Win part of E/W bets. 2 non-withdrawable £10 Free Bet Tokens: accept in 7 days, valid for 7 days from acceptance (ex. E/Ws & Multiples), stakes not returned. Click here for Rules & Exclusions. Bet Responsibly. BeGambleAware.org 18+ begambleaware.org
Betfair: New Customer offer. Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly 18+ begambleaware.org
Paddy Power: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Cards or Apple Pay will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
Sky Bet: 18+NEW CUSTOMERS ONLY. FIRST SINGLE & E/W BET ONLY ODDS OF 1/1 OR GREATER. 3 X £10 BET TOKENS. FREE BET STAKES NOT INCLUDED IN RETURNS. FREE BETS ONLY REDEEMABLE ON HORSE RACING. FREE BETS ARE NON WITHDRAWABLE. NO FREE BET EXPIRY. ELIGIBILITY RESTRICTIONS AND FURTHER T&CS APPLY. 18+ Begambleaware.org
Because, after a quick skim of the entries whilst sat on the throne, I recognised loads of the names on the list.
Not because I’m an Aussie racing fanboy, but because most of them are horses who have been flogged Down Under from our own backyard.
You’ve got Alenquer in there, a Group 1 winner for William Haggas last year who was bought by a wealthy group of convicts (can you still call Aussies that?!) a few months ago.
Spanish Mission, who was a staple in our top staying races for a couple of seasons, stayed in Melbourne after he finished third in the Cup in 2021.
He has been joined in Victoria by Soulcombe, a very promising young stayer who left these shores after his hugely impressive win in the Melrose at York last summer.
Then there is Without A Fight, beaten just a head by Hukum in 2022, last year’s Derby runner-up Hoo Ya Mal, the King’s first ever winner Just Fine… the list goes on.
These are the sort of horses who could and should have been adding depth to pretty sparse staying and middle distance divisions over here.
Most read in Horse Racing
Furious owner pulls his horses from trainers’ yard after odds-on shot is thrashed
I was champion jockey winning millions – now I’m a model too extreme for OnlyFans
Two Ayr picks to bash the bookies on Friday plus a 6-1 Kempton fancy
My NAP looks ‘hard to beat’ for shrewd trainer George Boughey
Staying horses as a whole are already under threat because of the obsession with breeding for speed these days, and the steady leak of stamina-laden talent abroad isn’t helping.
It’s all down to the ongoing gold rush in Oz, which has become racing’s promised land where the prize-money has to be seen to be believed.
We don’t stand much of a chance if they come calling for our just-below-top-class horses, it's a total mismatch.
We cling desperately on to prestige in this country, but prestige doesn’t add zeroes onto your bank balance.
And they’re not just heading Down Under – lots of our promising horses are Hong Kong and US-bound, too.
Andrew Balding wrote in The Sun recently about the ‘talent drain’, and he experienced it earlier this year when the smart young stayer Saint George was packed off to the States.
In the five years from 2016 to 2021, there was a 35% increase in the number of horses exported overseas, and the numbers are even more grim in those runners rated 90 or higher.
Veteran trainers have been sounding the alarm for years, but, sadly, too many in our great game are motivated by self-interest who think 'change' is a filthy word.
There is hope that ‘premierisation’ of the fixture list, and a much needed injection of wonga, will help stem the tide.
And we will find out just what racing's boffins have come up with when their long-awaited and controversial plans for the sport are unveiled next week.
READ MORE SUN STORIES
Matt Hancock PUNCHED in face by footie star in first episode of Celeb SAS
MAFS UK’s Laura was on another HUGE reality show before E4 programme
All is not lost, but it can’t carry on like this. Our leaders have to be bold.
Otherwise you might find some of those heading abroad this winter start thinking about joining the gold rush themselves – and then we will be in the stink.
FREE BETS – GET THE BEST SIGN UP DEALS AND RACING OFFERS
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chases their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org
Source: Read Full Article