Keith’s Notebook 15th April 2020

Hi Everyone

You may have noticed I have been attempting to tip on the American racing over the last few day with a little bit of success (4 winners from 10 runners).

I put put down to beginners luck at the moment though as I haven't yet found a reliable source for the form of the runners.

Do you know which websites are best for studying the racing in the good old USA?

If you do please let me know.

What I will be covering in this edition of Keith’s Notebook.

  • 3 To Follow on the Flat
  • FAQ – What does it mean when a jockey claims weight?
  • This Week’s Suggested Reading and Viewing.


3 To Follow on the Flat

WALDKONIG – John Gosden trained colt who entered the Classic picture when winning on debut at Wolverhampton over the extended mile on debut. He was shaken up and quickened clear over 1f out, eased towards finish, impressive by 9 lengths.  While it is increasing unlikely we will see any racing for quite sometime, this boy will no doubt be aimed at a few Group 1's later in the year.

ALBIGNA – This filly proved she is top draw when winning the Prix Marcel Boussac at Paris Longchamp on Arc day for Jessica Harrington. She won going away by 2½ lengths and would undoubtedly have been aimed at the English and Irish 1000 Guineas and probably the Oaks too.

VISINARI – Highly tried after winning his maiden and found a little wanting in top company but is likely to come into his own a a three year old when upped in trip. Mark Johnston knows exactly how to get a tune out of this type of horse and once he starts winning he could run up a sequence.


FAQ – What does it mean when a jockey claims weight?

When studying a horse race, you will often take a look at the weight a horse has to carry as it can make a big difference to your selections.

Sometimes, when an inexperienced jockey is on board, you will hear people talk about them claiming a certain amount of weight.

So, what does this actually mean?

Well, basically, as the jockey is inexperienced, they theoretically won’t have as good a chance of winning a race as an experienced jockey. For that reason, an allowance is given when these jockeys race against more experienced riders.

The allowances range from 7lb to 3lb depending on how many winners the jockey has had in the past.

An apprentice jockey on the flat can be between the age of 16 to 25. whereas in National Hunt racing a conditional jockey cannot be older than 26.

Here are the rider’s allowances so you can fully understand it:

Apprentice Jockey Allowances (Flat Racing):

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 50 races
  • 3lb until they have won 95 races.

Conditional Jockey Allowances (National Hunt Racing)

  • 7lb until they have won 20 races
  • 5lb until they have won 40 races
  • 3lb until they have won 75 races

In certain races a conditional jockey can claim an additional 3lb when riding for the trainer who employs them, if they have ridden less than 5 winners.

Amateur Jockey Allowances:

Amateurs v professionals:

  • 7lbs up to 20 wins
  • 5lbs up to 40 wins
  • 3lbs up to 75 wins

Amateurs v amateurs (including Hunterchases):

  • 7lbs up to 5 wins
  • 5lbs up to 10 wins
  • 3lbs up to 20 wins

The amount of weight a jockey can claim is generally indicated on the racecard with the amount of the allowance in superscript.

For example:

J: Jonjo O’Neill Jr ³

This indicates that the jockey Jonjo O’Neill Jr is able to claim a 3lb allowance in this race.

Remember when looking at a race to check the weight your horse is carrying minus any jockey allowances, as if a good claimer is in the saddle it may make a big difference.

Good claimers can be worth their weight in gold, remember many of the leading jockeys were also banging in the winners while claiming their allowances. So don’t always discount the horse just because the jockey hasn’t ridden out their claim.


This Week’s Suggested Reading and Viewing.

Firstly from Youtube “The Last 10 2000 Guineas Winners (2010-2019) FULL RACES”

The 2000 Guineas Stakes is the first classic of the British flat season and is held over 1 mile at Newmarket Racecourse. Enjoy the full races of the last ten years featuring a whole wealth of racing superstars.

Watch it here


Three more DVD’s for you:

  1. Racing Stripes – Nolan Walsh (Bruce Greenwood), ex-racehorse trainer and his daughter Channing (Hayden Panettiere) care for a zebra pony after it is left behind by a traveling circus. Naming him Stripes (voiced by Frankie Muniz), the zebra is welcomed by the other animals on the farm. With the help of Channing and the other animals, can Stripes' dream of racing with thoroughbreds come true?
  2. VINCENT O'BRIEN: THE MASTER – His Official Story (2011) – A biography of one of the greatest racehorse trainers of all time.
  3. Frankie Dettori – The Real Story – The film goes behind the scenes of the world of racing, showing the rigorous training schedule jockeys must endure to stay at the top of their sport, and also gives an exclusive glimpse of the jockey's changing rooms.


This week’s essential reading.

  1. Glorious Goodwood: A Biography of England's Greatest Sporting Estate – Goodwood curator James Peill writes with a wonderfully light touch, he deftly weaves in the history of England using the experiences of the family. Anyone interested in Britain's sporting traditions, the life of country estates, how aristocratic families have evolved or the past 350 years of history will be fascinated by this book and its beautiful colour pictures.
  2. The Life and Secrets of a Professional Gambler – Alex Bird Kindle Edition – One of my favourite all time horseracing books, I thought it was totally out of print but discovered that the Kindle version is available. Enjoy.
  3. Lucky Break – A fantastic autobiography by Paul Nicholls charting his life to Champion Trainer and beyond.

That is it for another week if there is anything you would like to see included in future editions of Keith’s Notebook please give us a shout.

Recommendations for the Viewing and Reading section are also welcome.

Yours in racing


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