how many female jockeys have taken part in the Grand National?

With the jewel in the crown of racing, The Grand National, just around the corner it’s high time we started talking about this prestigious event. There’s much old ground that could be gone over in terms of highlighting the history of the Grand National, but Betway and Katie Walsh have this year taken the angle of reminding us how far female jockeys have come over the years in racing, and the Grand National itself.

Following the well overdue passing of the Sex Discrimination in 1975, Charlotte Brew was the first woman to compete in the event (on 200-1 shot horse Barony Fort). What followed was 16 female jockeys total – and counting – over the following decades with household names like Nina Carberry, Katie Walsh,  and Rachael Blackmore all competing in more recent years. Young girls are now able to dream that one day they may  get to ride the winner of the Grand National and that can only be a good thing. Tune into the 2021 Grand National on Saturday April 10th.

In horse racing, what is the so-called ‘poverty line’?

In horse racing, what is the so-called 'poverty line'? The term ‘poverty line’ is believed to date from the eighteenth century, when it was first used by horsemen to describe a deep depression between two large muscles in the hindquarters of horses that were extremely underweight and/or generally in poor condition,

Despite the negative connotations of the name, the poverty line is evident in most horses, with the exception of those that are obese. In the latter case, fat coverage may obscure the muscles of the hindquarters – the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus muscles, collectively known as the ‘hamstrings’ – rendering the poverty line invisible.

On the other hand, a pronounced poverty line may not, necessarily, indicate that a horse – especially a thoroughbred racehorse – is receiving anything less than premium care and nutrition, or suffering from an ailment. Indeed, thoroughbred racehorses are typically maintained in lean condition and tight, well-defined muscles in the hindquarters demonstrate that a horse is ‘hard fit’ and ready to run to the best of its ability, conditions permitting. For this reason, experienced paddock watchers pay close attention to the poverty line, or the lack of it, in horses that are making their seasonal debut, or returning from a break, by way of establishing their likely fitness levels.

Did Sea Pigeon run in the Derby?

Did Sea Pigeon run in the Derby? Sea Pigeon is probably best remembered for winning the Champion Hurdle twice, under Jonjo O’Neill in 1980 and John Francom in 1981. Indeed, O’Neill described the son of Sea Bird as ‘the fastest horse I ever rode’, while Francome said, ‘he was easily the best I ever sat on’. Those sentiments were reflected, at least to some extent by Timeform; the best part of four decades after his retirement in 1982, Sea Pigeon remains one of just sixteen hurdlers to be awarded a rating of 175 or more since the early Sixties.

However, it should not be forgotten that Sea Pigeon was arguably the finest dual-purpose racehorse of all time. In the latter part of his career on the Flat, he recorded back-to-back victories in the Chester Cup in 1977 and 1978 and won the Ebor Handicap, under a record 10 stone, in 1979. All told, Sea Pigeon was 37 races – 21 over hurdles and 16 on the Flat – and early in his career, before being gelded, was considered a Classic prospect by his trainer at the time, Jeremy Tree. Sea Pigeon did, indeed, run in the Derby, starting at 50/1 and finishing seventh of the twenty-five runners under Tony Murray.

Royal Ascot 2020: How will COVID-19 affect this year’s event?

Royal Ascot 2020: How will COVID-19 affect this year's event?

Here, Peter Watton from the matched betting site OddsMonkey shares his insight into how this year’s Royal Ascot will be affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

While many of this year’s biggest sporting events have been cancelled or postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Royal Ascot will be going ahead. This is music to the ears of horseracing fans, but the 2020 edition is going to look somewhat different to the event we’re used to.

Royal Ascot is typically a very social affair, where people get dressed up to the nines to spend the day celebrating and placing bets with their friends. This year, with certain lockdown restrictions and social distancing guidelines in place, the organisers are having to take some serious precautions. Here’s what you need to know.

It will be held behind closed doors

Royal Ascot has a history spanning more than 250 years, but this is the first time the event will be held behind closed doors. This means, while people are welcome to watch and bet on the races from the comfort of their own homes, nobody will be invited to spectate in person.

This is to ensure the event runs in accordance with the UK government’s current social distancing guidelines. Royal Ascot attracts thousands of people each year; if it were to go ahead as usual, keeping everyone two metres apart would be impossible. The organisers have therefore ruled that, while it will still go ahead, it isn’t yet safe enough to have spectators in the stands.

There will be no royal presence

Each day of Royal Ascot usually begins with a Royal Procession, which is when the Queen and accompanying members of the royal family arrive in horse-drawn carriages. Our monarch has been attending this annual event since 1946, but she isn’t expected to be there this year.

Queen Elizabeth II hasn’t been to any public engagements since the coronavirus pandemic made its way to the UK, and it’ll likely be a while before it’s safe for her to return to these duties. She’s also yet to confirm whether she’ll be attending Royal Ascot in 2021 but, with so much uncertainty surrounding the easing of social distancing measures, this isn’t surprising.

You’ll have to place your bets online or at a betting shop

There’s something special about placing a bet with a bookie at Royal Ascot, but this option just won’t be available this year. Instead, you’ll have to rely on betting websites and shops.

It seems most betting shops are planning to open from Monday 15 June — just in time to catch the Royal Ascot crowds. Of course, with many of the summer’s sporting events cancelled and shops being shut for a while, you might find that bookies are offering incredible deals to convince you to bet with them over their competitors. It’s well worth doing your research to ensure you’re getting the best odds and offers.

They’re still encouraging fans to wear their best outfits at home

One of the big draws of Royal Ascot is that everyone gets to dress up and have a great time with their friends. While you might not be able to enjoy the social aspect of the event this year, there’s nothing stopping you from making the most of the week by putting on your best clothes to watch the races!

Ascot is actually running a #StyledWithThanks campaign, where they’re asking people to take a photo of themselves all dressed up at home. Anyone who shares a photo on social media, hashtagging #StyledWithThanks and #RoyalAscot, will be entered into a draw to win some incredible prizes. Participants are also being encouraged to donate £5 to the accompanying fundraiser, which will be used to support frontline workers and those affected by COVID-19.

Royal Ascot 2020 is set to look a lot different to other years, but it’s still going to be a world-class event. If you’ve been looking forward to the meeting, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy it from home. Throw your best clothes on, place some bets online, and start getting excited for 2021, when things will hopefully be back to normal.

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