Your Questions Answered

Good morning all,

Early start as we (that's me and Daren) head for Norfolk and a day at Fakenham, which I always enjoy. Even more so in the sunshine, which it looks like we'll get today.

Those looking for the Saturday video (and I know some of you do look early) it won't be up until late this evening, as I won't be back until 8-ish.

Yesterday a few of you were asking about the Colossus bets – if you already have an account, my syndicates are under the “Captain Chutney” banner but what I will do next Tuesday is go through the whole process of joining for those that don't have an account. is the website, feel free to check it out.

For today, a couple of your questions answered as I've not done one for a couple of weeks – feel free to keep emailing them to me at Anything you like! 

Will the lack of a prep run help or hinder the chances of Native River in the gold cup? 

Jamie C

To me, it'll hinder. He's a big animal that needs a run or two every year to peak him for the Gold Cup and I think him missing out and going there fresh might be against him. His record fresh isn't dreadful by any means but at the very top level he's the sort that's best coming off the back of a run a month earlier.

Plus, it's looking more and more unlikely (and yes, I know long-range forecasts are often well wide of the mark) that we're going to be getting soft ground for this year's Festival, which I think would increase his chance. Much as I like the horse, at the moment he makes little appeal.

I just want your take on bookmakers interpretation of rule 4s and how they are bending the rules Eg horses withdrawn at 9am for a race at 4pm. Bang rule4. I lost big time last year. Dont mind rule4 when its genuine


Half the problem with the rule 4 is not so much the rule itself, but because bookmakers prices seem irretrievably linked to Betfair trackers (how often do you notice the price change on a bet just as you are placing it, only to change back a few seconds later?) that any movement on the exchanges is mirrored on their websites. So it's not so much the firm themselves shortening the price, but the lousy software they use that does it. And then you get hit with a rule 4 on an early price. For me, firms need to do away with the tracker for a start, that would help a lot. I know there's been cases with Paddy Power and Ladbrokes (the David Evans/Black Dave case springs to mind) where they have been accused of manipulating the prices to ensure a bigger R4 deduction and there's some cases that stink, I'll grant you that.

No-one likes a Rule 4, but you might not like what I think about it – it actually works massively in favour of the punter a lot of the time. For a start, nothing over 14-1 gets a deduction, remarkably – a 16-1 chance still has a 6% chance of winning (in a 100% book) but the punter is deducted nothing. And it can be used to great advantage at times – there's been a few cases of three or four horse races where the front two are 11-10 each of two, for example, and one gets withdrawn. (La Estrella/Stand Guard at Southwell an obvious example.) Instead of getting 1-10 or shorter, you end up with a 45p R4 and an SP of around 2-5 on the other. 2-5 a 1-10 chance? I'd take that all day long. So it can work both ways.

With most bookmakers using best odds guaranteed, they'll always work out whether you're better off with the SP or the R4 anyway.

Quick story – when I used to run a shop for Stanley Racing and R4's were applied to early prices whether the SP was bigger or not, I used to have a cocky loudmouthed punter that came in every day, had what seemed about a thousand Lucky 15's daily and asked for early prices on every single horse. Took me ages to find all the prices. He had four winners on one at good prices one day but one of the horses he picked took a right walk in the market, and that after four withdrawals on account of the ground changing. He'd taken 4-1, it returned 7s but after I'd applied the three R4's his SP was 7-4! Cost him a few quid!

Surprisingly, he stopped taking early prices after that….

For today's pick I'm sticking with one that did us a favour last time out, and Rapper (2.45 Fakenham) is the horse in question. He did it nicely at Ludlow last time, despite still looking green at times, and is improving. This is harder, and I wonder whether this tight track will really play to his strengths, but he's not so far behind on form that he should be 14-1.

Good luck with all your bets today,





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