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Clerkwatch 2010

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By:
johnn
When: 18 Jan 10 11:10
Spending 6 hours at the races for a combined total of about 10 minutes actual "race time" - the average joe would not understand that, inflated bar and food prices aside. You only need to look back at your own experiences to know the truth - from my father racing was intrinsically linked to betting. The love of the thoroughbred and breeding came afterwards, from an attempt at gaining more information and an edge, that eventually developed into a love and obsession.
My father brought me up racing and watching Glasgow Celtic FC. I still do both. I don't have to bet on the football. I don't have to bet on the races, but every single smidgeon of information and data I see goes tpwards one thing - the rationale of having a bet sometime in the future.
Anyone who thinks the two can be separated is barking up the wrong tree, Mark Johnston may take note that there is more turned over on here (only here) on a Southwell claimer than he wins in prizemoney in a season. Tell you anything....?
By:
jonjo
When: 19 Jan 10 05:52
The worrying thing is, because it's Mark Johnston, the racing for change 'people' will nod sagely & say something along the lines of "we take everyone's view on board & when it's someone with the experience of Mark Johnston we take special note"
Coveniently forgetting that his 'experience' doesn't involve paying to go racing or standing outside the sport, looking in......
That's not to say trainers dont have something to add to the rebranding of racing. They could be more willing/open with the press & could actually attempt to take constructive media criticism on board without spitting the dummy out.
AND they could (via the NTF) organise a proper boycott of races where the prizemoney is utterly risible & only encourages corruption.
Then maybe we'd see them as acting in the long term good of the game rather than being self-servers.....
By:
jonjo
When: 19 Jan 10 08:50
Old story, but very relevant imo........

Lynch asks for more time to pay £50,000 fine

By Jon Lees 9:32AM 14 JAN 2010

JOCKEY Fergal Lynch, who accepted a £50,000 fine as part of a plea bargain with the BHA at the end of the longrunning
race-fixing inquiry last year, in which he admitted serious offences, has asked for more time to pay.

Lynch was given six months to paywhen the BHAs disciplinary panel concluded the inquiry in June, to which
he admitted stopping a horse, supplying inside information for six of his rides, and betting and associating with the disqualified Miles Rodgers.

Failure to pay could result in Lynchs name being added to the forfeit list, which would prevent him from resuming
his career.

BHA spokesman Paul Struthers said:

By:
jonjo
When: 19 Jan 10 09:33
http://www.britishracecourses.org/update/update.php?PHPSESSID=8c02b8c6ff329d2bbed56b8b4ae45b26

I would seriously reccomend the Jan 2010 update for those who like a giggle, although the composition of some of the groups/committees might cause an ulcer or two on here (gambling advisory & technical group for example)
By:
jonjo
When: 20 Jan 10 09:25
A response (FOR PUBLICATION ON HERE) has been promised by the end of the week, to the questions Zilzal raised at the sit-down with Paul Struthers......
By:
zilzal1
When: 20 Jan 10 17:01
Looking forward to these answers and will post them up as soon as they arrive
By:
guinness2dear
When: 20 Jan 10 17:11
Could you post it in bold please, as i might be rather slanty-eyed by the end of the week...
By:
jonjo
When: 22 Jan 10 18:39
No answers as yet........
By:
jonjo
When: 23 Jan 10 04:06
Lynch given a week to pay £50,000 fine to BHA

By Graham Green 4:23PM 21 JAN 2010
JOCKEY Fergal Lynch, who accepted a £50,000 fine as part of a plea bargain with the BHA at the end of a long-running race-fixing inquiry last year, has been ordered to pay by next Friday or face being placed on the forfeit list.

The January 29 deadline was imposed by the disciplinary panel after refusing Lynch's request for payment to be delayed until the hearing of his UK licence application in June.

Lynch was given six months to pay following the conclusion of an inquiry last June at which he admitted stopping a horse, supplying inside information for six of his rides and betting and associating with the disqualified Miles Rodgers.

He asked for an extension in December on the grounds he is prevented from riding at Philadelphia Park, where he has been based since relocating to the US in 2008.

Last year Lynch rode 99 winners and netted prize-money of $2.4 million, but in July he was banned from the track for a year as a result of his admission to serious offences in Britain.

He subsequently surrendered his US licence and agreed not to return to ride until he had secured approval to race-ride in Britain.

If Lynch is put on the forfeit list, it would effectively amount to disqualification.
********************************

Well done 'the panel' (for a change)
By:
guinness2dear
When: 24 Jan 10 10:33
My eyes are now like a Bangkok moneylender's.

Any news ?
By:
jonjo
When: 27 Jan 10 11:03
QUESTIONS FOR THE BHA

In a article circa 2008 in the Guardian, you suggested that a scale for going stick readings would be forthcoming, 16 months later there is still none. Why is this?


There are a number of factors, but the overriding one was that we wanted to make sure we had a statistically robust sample of averaged readings (Decs, Raceday etc) before publishing tables. We did not want accusations of releasing and then
By:
jonjo
When: 27 Jan 10 12:39
Many thanks to Paul for this, who I know worked long into last night to ensure we had it on here today (& DIDNT want me making excuses for it being late, but I will anyway - we have a good guy there who IS prepared to listen AND ask questions of people)

It will prove very interesting reading & is not something I would address 'off the cuff' so to speak.......all comments gratefully received though.

Paul also pointed out that the Racecourse Inspectorate ARE looking forward to seeing Zilzal & myself at flat meetings in the spring, but didn't indicate whether we have to bring a packed lunch or not ;-)
By:
ben10
When: 27 Jan 10 12:45
Thanks for posting, some thorough, interesting and good answers on there. Would have liked a bit more relating to root structure but it's hard to conclusively prove either way that some quick ground horses don't act on loose surfaces which are still given as good to firm. Can't believe the reports they get regarding it have't shown a change over the years.
By:
zilzal1
When: 27 Jan 10 13:48
Will try and digest all that before i give a reply, although thatnks to Paul for staying up late and getting this out.
By:
cherry
When: 27 Jan 10 17:36
Well done everyone for getting these questions answered, at last. Now we've got some material to work on!
By:
Julius Caesar ( JC 100 BC )
When: 27 Jan 10 17:46
Phew ! Try again tomorrow. Well done lads
By:
zilzal1
When: 28 Jan 10 10:42
Right, im going to go through each question and answer one at a time so this can get a thorough airing

QUESTIONS FOR THE BHA

In a article circa 2008 in the Guardian, you suggested that a scale for going stick readings would be forthcoming, 16 months later there is still none. Why is this?

ANSWER

There are a number of factors, but the overriding one was that we wanted to make sure we had a statistically robust sample of averaged readings (Decs, Raceday etc) before publishing tables. We did not want accusations of releasing and then
By:
zilzal1
When: 28 Jan 10 10:44
Right, im going to go through each question and answer one at a time so this can get a thorough airing

QUESTIONS FOR THE BHA

In a article circa 2008 in the Guardian, you suggested that a scale for going stick readings would be forthcoming, 16 months later there is still none. Why is this?

ANSWER

There are a number of factors, but the overriding one was that we wanted to make sure we had a statistically robust sample of averaged readings (Decs, Raceday etc) before publishing tables. We did not want accusations of releasing and then
By:
zilzal1
When: 28 Jan 10 10:45
Sorry about double post
By:
zilzal1
When: 28 Jan 10 16:18
Here is a e mail from Kemptons clerk, sent to a poster when asking about 16 runner handicaps and the 14 runner"Safety" limit


Subject: RE: 16 runner handicap
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 08:59:18 +0100
From: Beverley.Frith@jockeyclubracecourses.com
To:xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Our safety factor is 16 - we generally have a maximum field size of 14 to protect the LBO money and its also a compromise between jockeys and racecourse as the jockeys are happier with a safety factor of 14.


Id imagine paying only 3 places instead of 4 would help to protect LBO money
By:
empty
When: 28 Jan 10 23:09
Flat course injury rates do not show the clear increase that Jump rates do at the firmer end of the going scale.


So from 2010 we should see going stick readings somewhere between 9.0 and 11.0 regularly at Goodwood, York, Doncaster etc instead of readings between 7.5 and 8.9.
By:
empty
When: 28 Jan 10 23:52
The GoingStick measurement is a scientifically generated numerical snapshot of the state of the ground at the time the reading is taken. The official going description can take a number of other factors into account such as weather conditions at the time of the assessment/the forecast and whether any irrigation is about to be or has recently been applied. The GoingStick measurement is not seeking to replace the Official description. Therefore variations in the figure given in comparison to the official going description are to be expected at courses.


Excellent, now we know why a COC will decribe a course that returns an average of 8.5 and 9.6 Good to Firm

We also now know that the objective measurement is not replacing the very subjective measurement that is named the Official Going Descrition.
By:
empty
When: 29 Jan 10 00:11
[i]We will continue to review the data at each course and have not ruled out the possibility of working with Turftrax to develop a calibration/conversion chart to enable all courses readings to be directly compared. However, we are currently more comfortable with the
By:
JOSE93
When: 29 Jan 10 00:17
There must be different soil levels and materials underneath though, Empty? Otherwise why would jockeys talk of the "cushion" at Ascot, so whilst a conversion chart may not be deemed necessary tracks must ride different on what is supposedly the same ground according to the going stick. Like Michael Dickinson was on tonight on the Sky Sports coverage of the Dubai Carnival, and he said that Dirt tracks in America have different mixture levels of Sand, Silt and Clay.
By:
empty
When: 29 Jan 10 00:25
The going stick does not know if it is measuring Dirt, Polytrack, Pro-Ride, Tapeta Turf or Tarmac


Alll it measures is what the resistances are in those surfaces.
By:
empty
When: 29 Jan 10 00:47
Horse go from Cushion Track to Poly to Tapeta to Pro-ride in Socal all time with no problems and all these surfaces vary in thier construction.

The soil stuff they come out with is a red herring imho , soil structure etc only matters to the rates of ET ( evapotranspiration) .
By:
JOSE93
When: 29 Jan 10 00:50
That's true as it's simply to do with the penetration of the ground.
By:
empty
When: 29 Jan 10 01:11
The tracks Sea the Stars ran on all probably vary wildy in soil construction , but as you can see the average GS readings recorded were within a few ticks making those readings transfereable from track to track imho.
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 07:20
Would anyone thinking clerkwatch is doing a fair job on behalf of punters, please join our clerkwatch facebook page.....

It's less anonymous & while all updates will go on here, it is a page where we can decide for ourselves what constitutes fair comment & we are not in the hands of the Betfair moderators....

The more concerned punters we get on there, the more weight will be added to our case imo.
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 07:49
Ok, my thoughts on question 1

"It would be totally wrong for us as Regulator to tell a course they cant water any more if they are adamant that they want produce slightly easier conditions."

Why WOULD it be wrong, you are the REGULATOR, they race (under subsidy) under YOUR rules...why do they NOT have to justify producing slightly easier conditions?
You have a directive in place for them to aim for good/firm on the flat & then appear to be washing your hands of enforcing it????



"Course Execs are fundamentally responsible for the condition of the course (and Health and Safety at work legislation)."

We have shown evidence that good/firm is simply not a threat to anyone's (man nor beast) 'health & safety' why are the likes of Seamus still talking in horror stricken tones about 'fast ground' please?

"We will not dictate to them that they
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 07:55
"Certainly and categorically under no influence from us whatsoever, nor are our handicappers directed to handicap horses more heavily to achieve more unpredictable results. "

Some stats would be nice on this.......Average weight rise for a 2length handicap win 10 years ago, against todays average???
Probably not possible to source such stats to be fair, but when 100/1 winners of the National are openly applauded by the RCA & other bodies because of the 'potential windfall' for 'racing' one has to wonder (& will continue to do so)
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 08:01
Selective watering, Given that the Clerk at Folkestone admitted it, Squelchygate at Ascot strongly suggested it, Nick Luck at Beverley said The draw had been Chased down the motorway, Jim Mc Grath didnt blame the clerk at Newcastle for
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 08:08
"Where this communication doesnt happen in line with best practice - perhaps two to three times a year 2-3 cases per year from close to 1000 turf fixtures - we make sure the course fully understands the need to up its game or face disciplinary sanctions"

When was the last time a clerk received any sort of censure please & how often do the inspectorate get involved without someone kicking up a fuss?
It astonished me that Richard Linley was surprised to hear about the onconsisten stick readings at Thirsk when interviewed on the ATR forum when we had been banging on about this for ages.
Why are the inspectorate not monitoring things like this pro-actively?
Forgive the language, but do they 'only get their @rses into gear when there is a spate of accidents?
Ayr was an accident waiting to happen in the opinion of many, yet Yosemite Self was breezily confident in all interviews, right up until her world came crashing down last year - clearly thought she was bomb-proof & had no one on her case.......
By:
jonjo
When: 29 Jan 10 08:29
Now, the big one........

Given that some off course operators are moving their operations out of the country and are encouraging other products so that racing is losing more of the leisure pound, do the BHA feel that GPT tax was a error as it wants its customers to lose more .


"The two points arent necessarily linked, as a turnover based model would be affected by offshore moves",

Not if those negotiating on 'behalf of racing' had any faith in the product Paul.
Feel free to name ONE concession the big bookmakers made during the final, pants down, bend over, round of negotiating the levy deal?
They didn't, they even have their reptiles all over the 'racing for change' comittees, when we all know that the big firms whole strategies consist of promoting 'high margin' activities, multiple bets etc.
'Racing' did not even manage to get them to open up their books to the BHA integrity services.....

Blind Pew & his guide dog could have seen what was coming with the offshore moves, but the BHA/Levy committee laughably embrace these hard nosed business people as their 'business partners' thinking they would voluntarily, 'do the right thing' for racing.

moves we are trying to address through Government.

Why was something not done 'via Government' to ensure racing went into the Levy negotiations in a strong position?
Ensuring that if the bookmakers did not accept racing's terms racing could 'fund itself' (via the capital fund) while bookmakers had to sit on the sidelines, unable to bet on it till a deal was agreed?



As for GPT, I agree that the perception of it, which leads to statements and views like yours that
By:
zilzal1
When: 29 Jan 10 09:22
[b]Of course there are rare occasions where a course does something different, for example to try and even out a perceived or real bias on the straight course by applying differential watering rates. We dont actually have a fundamental problem with that as their ethos is that they are only trying to provide a level playing field. However, it is absolutely vital in these circumstances that this sort of information is clearly publicised through their detailed going/watering reports that appear on the BHAs website.


Right Paul, i do hope this will be addressed this year, ive seen reports of selective watering, but ive NEVER seen a report WHERE and HOW much is put on, ie 5mm on a 20m stretch stands side, if this is correct, what you told me in December, courses will HAVE to provide this information and not JUST "Selective"
By:
zilzal1
When: 29 Jan 10 09:29
And Racings planners seem to have done a sterling job in ensuring that
the number of bookmaker friendly races of 12-15 runners have gone up, opposed to the contrasting decline of 16-20 and above runners

here is a chart from the British Horseracing site for flat racing


16-20 runners 21 plus
2002 743 15.3% 124 2.7%
2003 711 14.9% 51 1.1%
2004 615 11.7% 47 0.9%
2005 511 11.5% 32 0.5%
2006 348 6.3% 25 0.5%

2002 was the first full year of GPT
By:
cherry
When: 29 Jan 10 09:39
Several years ago I asked for any evidence that the course inspectors were active (as they had been invisible as jonjo says above). That still seems to be the case and the BHA fails to show, even in the light of our concerns, that they have an effective role in policing the tracks. There seems to be an implicit assumption in PS's reply that the courses are best left to go about their business in their own ways rather than be subject to external scrutiny.
When it is accepted that we have the most widely varied courses in this world, the fact that they are not regularly and extensively inspected, and the reports made available to the public, shows how dismissively the matter is treated.
By:
Outpost
When: 29 Jan 10 10:14
zilzal1 29 Jan 11:22

Of course there are rare occasions where a course does something different, for example to try and even out a perceived or real bias on the straight course by applying differential watering rates. We dont actually have a fundamental problem with that as their ethos is that they are only trying to provide a level playing field. However, it is absolutely vital in these circumstances that this sort of information is clearly publicised through their detailed going/watering reports that appear on the BHAs website.



So that means that at Royal Ascot this year the CoC will inform us at the start of the meeting about which side of the track has been overwatered and then later in the week when they overwater the other side (so that they can prove that there is no bias as winners have come from both sides) we will be told in advance about it.

I won't hold my breath for any truths emanating from there.
By:
empty
When: 29 Jan 10 10:16
Bookmaker friendly size fields, watering and handicapping policies to try and produce lottery type results.


And Paul states they don't want people to lose more.


OK Paul, we believe you.
By:
ForestBump
When: 29 Jan 10 10:43
You lot are a bunch of muppets sometimes. He's denied all three of those yet you bascially say "you're lying". If I was him I'd wonder why he even bothered.
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