Australia and the USA – Top Race

If ever there were two countries with a love of both sports and gambling it has to be Australia and the United States. While I’ve personally been to the latter (and seen the bright lights, sights and sounds of Las Vegas for instance!), I have to confess that partially on account of distance I’ve never ventured to Australia. I’ve checked out the best au online casino sites on account to see their take on ‘pokies’ and the like, and enjoyed Australian TV and movies but that’s about as far as it’s gone.

Despite that fact, both I and everyone else not living under a rock will be well aware that the biggest horse race annually in Australia is The Melbourne Cup. This world famous race takes place each year at the Victoria Racing Club on the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Victoria and attracts a ‘who’s who’ of racing talent. The 3200 meter thoroughbred race is one part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and dates way back to 1861, so is not only an unmissable event but is also steeped in tradition. Current course record holder is (American thoroughbred!) Kingston Rule in 1990 and last years winner was the Joseph O’Brien trained Twilight Payment.

Stateside, we’re spoiled for choice as far as racecourses and races go. Some will no doubt opt for the Preakness Stakes (Pimlico Course), or Belmont Stakes (Belmont Park) but for me the pick of the bunch has to be the Kentucky Derby. Rather conveniently, along with the other two aforementioned races it forms the ‘Triple Crown’ of thoroughbred racing (in the history of the triple crown only 13 horses have won all three races).

Punters from far and wide are drawn in by the famous Kentucky Derby race. While some enjoy playing on the best big win casinos USA, for racing fans it’s the headline races that hold maximum appeal.  Held each year in Louisville, Kentucky, this grade one race for three year olds dates back to 1875 and beats the attendance figures of all the aforementioned races, as well as the Breeder’s Cup. Medina Spirit won the 2021 Kentucky Derby race – which was held on May 1st over a 1 1/4 mile dirt track. Legend of racing Secretariat holds the course record over this distance, doing so in 1973. The 2019 event was eventful due to Country House winning as result of the disqualification of Maximum Security. What will next year’s race have in store I wonder?

 

Dollar Days – Big Money American Horses and Races

America is always seen as the land of all things bigger and better. The ‘If I can make it there I’ll make it anywhere’ lyrics Frank Sinatra sang about New York may as well apply to the country at large really. By which I mean, the USA is hyper competitive in all spheres so it’s by no means easy to ‘make it’ in, but if you do you’ll occasionally have untold riches winging their way to you.

This can especially be true where we’re talking about gambling. Just look at Lav Vegas and how this barren land was turned into bright lights and entertainment through a combination of will and ‘green backs’. Even on the best american online casino sites, you instantly get a feel that big money isn’t far away.

The world of horse racing is no different of course, a number of American races bring with them prize money than any owner would be more than happy to get their hands on. Take the Breeders Cup turf for instance, with its prize fund of $4 million, or the Kentucky Derby held at Churchill Downs, which has a  first prize of $1.425 million and has been dubbed as “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

The same applies to some of the most expensive horses of all time. How about Fusaichi Pegasus for starters, this winner of the 2000 Kentucky Derby is the most expensive horse ever at $70 million. With career earnings of $2 million and siring 75 stakes winners,  the price tag is understandable (though still considered to be OTT by many). Another high priced horse sale is Shareef Dancer (Sired by Northern Dancer) at $40 million. All of this clearly demonstrates that there are plenty of deep pockets stateside.

So whether witnessing the bright lights of Las Vegas (or opting for the real money online casino options if you prefer) or if the action of a racecourse is what appeals to you, partaking in these activities stateside certainly isn’t a bad place to start.

Which horse was the first to complete the Mackeson Gold Cup – Hennessy Gold Cup double?

It’s been a funny old year.  Well 18 months to be precise. For a while  racing was off the agenda totally, and we even lost our beloved Grand National – a rare event in itself. Of course ‘life goes on’ and we had a (not entirely convincing) Virtual version of the event in its place, as well as of course more respected online real money casinos which have always had a high level of interest regardless of external circumstances. Racing is very much back on the agenda now though, and two particular races that grab my attention are the Mackeson Gold Cup and Hennessy Gold Cup.

The Mackeson Gold Cup, now the Paddy Power Gold Cup, is a Grade 3 handicap chase run over 2 miles 4 furlongs at Cheltenham in mid-November each year. The Hennessy Gold Cup, now the Ladbrokes Trophy, is a similar, albeit longer, race run over 3 miles 2 furlongs at Newbury in late November or early December.

Both races are prestigious and valuable contests in their own right, but the first horse to complete the double in the same season was Bachelor’s Hall, owned jointly by Mr. and Mrs. Peter Harris, trained by Peter Cundell in Compton, Berkshire and ridden by Martin O’Halloran. A diminutive individual, but a capable jumper blessed with a potent turn of foot, Bachelor’s Hall went on to complete a notable treble when outpointing Uncle Bing and defending champion Royal Marshal in a driving finish to the King George VI Chase at Kempton.

Indeed, according to his trainer, Bachelor’s Hall may well have gone on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup had it not been postponed until April because of snow. Shortly after the postponment, Bachelor’s Hall won the Welsh Champion Chase at Chepstow with any amount in hand; he eventually took his chance in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the good to soft going was no longer to his liking and, while he ran creditably, he could manage no better than a well-beaten fourth behind Midnight Court. The peaks and troughs of fortune are inescapable for us all,  whether we’re spinning reels on best online casino usa of attempting to be first past the post. But you can certainly nudge the dial in one direction or another at times – as the saying goes ‘you make your own luck’.

How many winners did Pat Taafe ride at the Cheltenham Festival?

The late Pat Taaffe, who died in 1992, aged 62, following a heart transplant the previous year, will always be remembered for his association with Arkle, arguably the greatest steeplechaser of all time. As far as the Cheltenham Festival is concerned, Taaffe rode Arkle to win the Broadway Novices’ Chase, now the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, in 1963 and the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years running, in 1964, 1965 and 1966. A record that if translated to any other sphere, such as the real money casino world, would see you running away with riches!

Taaffe won the Cheltenham Gold Cup again in 1968 on Fort Leney, trained, like Arkle, by Tom Dreaper. He remains the most successful jockey in the history of the ‘Blue Riband’ event, the Queen Mother Champion Chase, which he won five times between 1960 and 1970 and the aforementioned Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, which he also won five times between 1953 and 1970. Indeed, Taaffe won the Queen Champion Chase in 1966 on Flyingbolt, who was rated inferior only to Arkle, according to Timeform.

All told, Pat Taaffe rode 25 winners at the Cheltenham Festival, all bar two of which were over fences; five decades after his retirement from the saddle, he remains fourth in the all-time list, behind only Ruby Walsh, Barry Geraghty and Tony McCoy. Of course, Taaffe was also Irish Champion National Hunt jockey nine times and won the Grand National twice, on Quare Times, trained by Vincent O’Brien, in 1955 and Gay Trip, trained by Fred Rimell, in 1970. With a championship standard demonstrated in both Ireland and England he had little else to prove.  This was long before the best usa online casino era, but if it had been you can bet the reels would be bringing in three sevens for Pat! The man had a winning way about him. That can certainly not be denied.