Keith’s Notebook 8th April 2020

Hi Everyone

Hope you are bearing up well and managing to keep away from everyone when out for your daily exercise.

Yesterday it was announced that the Guineas and the Derby meetings will be postponed from their regular dates in May and June and staged later in the year. It was also declared Royal Ascot could possibly be held behind closed doors but if it does end up being cancelled there are no plans to reschedule the meeting.

Is there light at the end of the tunnel? when do you think we will see racing again?

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

  • My Lockdown Routine
  • FAQ – What is the difference between a Beginners Chase and a Novices Chase?
  • This Week’s Suggested Reading and Viewing.

My Lockdown Routine

As I mentioned last week when I detailed the day in the life of a tipster my world, like that of many of you has been turned upside down and my routine has now changed radically. I am not being idle though and I will detail my typical lockdown day.

  • 7:00 AM – Computer on, Kettle on, make coffee.
  • 7:30 AM – Check, review and answer emails.
  • 8:30 AM – Catch up on the latest racing news, check and moderate facebook groups.
  • 9:30 AM – 11AM – Daily exercise (with my wife and dog), we are lucky enough to live right on the edge of town and it is only a short walk until we are out in the countryside, we have established a circuit which is about 4½ miles of country lanes and we rarely see another soul. Half way round there is a small holding that we get free range eggs from and on days we need some they leave them out for us to pick up on the way past.
  • 11AM – 12:AM – Research for the regular educational articles that I am writing for my Inner Circle during the lockdown, recent pieces include, “Keep Strict Accounts” – a how to on keeping good betting accounts, and “Alway's Back the Outsider of Three” – exposing whether or not this is a good idea or a myth.
  • 12:00 PM – Light snack.
  • 12:30 PM – 5:30 PM – Mainly writing along with further research if required.
  • 5:30 PM – Family meal.
  • 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM – Reading some of my many horse racing related books, often an idea will crop up for a further article so this could be again considered research.
  • 7:30 PM – Switch off and relax, regular television has been pretty moderate lately so Netflix has come into its own a couple of series I have enjoyed lately are “The Shooter” and “Iron Fist”.

As you can see it is a bit different to my normal day, on occasion something crops up to break the routine and Zoom which I use for meetings has come into its own for talking to family face to face.


FAQ – What is the difference between a Beginners Chase and a Novices Chase?

This question was put to me recently by VIP Club member John Bergin recently and while I gave a brief answer in the Facebook group I have explained it more thoroughly here.

A Beginners Chase is a chase  for horses which have never won a chase at any recognised race meeting in any country apart from a match or private sweepstakes, or a chase at a Point-to-Point meeting or a timber race in Great Britain.

A Novices Chase is a chase for horses which haven’t won a chase before the start of the current season, this is generally the last Sunday in April.

Any horse which wins a Chase for the first time from March 1st and the last Sunday in April (both dates inclusive) will be regarded as a “Novice” and eligible to run in Novice Chases until October 31st that season.

Beginners Chases are confined to maidens over fences, on the other hand runners in Novices Chases can have a previous chase win. For example once a horse has won a Beginners Chase it is no longer qualified to run in those but is still qualified to run in Novices Chases.

The difference between a Maiden Chase and Beginners Chase is that Maiden Chases are restricted to horses that are maidens both over hurdles and over fences whereas Beginners Chase may include hurdle winners.

This Week’s Suggested Reading and Viewing.

New on Youtube from Betfair is the documentary “Tiger Roll: Horse of a Lifetime“. 

Get the behind-the-scenes story of two-time Grand National winner and four-time winner at Cheltenham, Tiger Roll. With exclusive insight from trainer Gordon Elliott and other key figures, we tell the story of this incredible athlete.

Watch it here


Three more DVD’s for you:

  1. Being A.P. – the incredible inside story of a sporting legend. As A.P. McCoy nears the end of his career, the characteristics that have driven him to dominate the most dangerous of sports remain as strong as ever. With unprecedented access to A.P. and those closest to him, Being AP celebrates an incredible man who became the greatest jump jockey the world has ever seen.
  2. Secretariat – The “greatest racehorse of all time” mantle fits easily around the neck of Secretariat, the 1973 Triple Crown winner.
  3. The Racing Game: The Complete Series – Set amid the drama of the turf, this acclaimed six-part series is based on the international best-selling novels written by former steeplechase jockey (and 1956 Grand National veteran) Dick Francis.


This week's essential reading.

  1. The Syndicate Manager: A British horseracing thriller – Ben Ramsden is a racehorse syndicate manager and someone is trying to acquire all the shares in his potentially top class racehorse ‘The Ghost Machine'.

  2. 100 Winners: Horses to Follow Flat 2020 – Raceform's annual guide to the Flat Season.

  3. Making the Running: A Racing Life – Ian Balding's story is one of heartbreaking loss and outrageous good luck. 

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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