What is a ‘Bookies’ Nightmare’ bet?

What is a 'Bookies' Nightmare' bet? The so-called ‘Bookies’ Nightmare’ is a horse racing bet involving nine selections, in nine different races, which are combined in a series of smaller multiple bets and one nine-fold accumulator. The smaller multiple are two Patents, one on selections 1, 2 and 3 and another on selections 7, 8 and 9, two Yankees, one on selections 1, 2, 3 and 4 and another on selections 5, 6, 7 and 8, and one Round Robin, on selections 4, 5 and 6. All told, a Bookies’ Nightmare constitutes 47 individual bets.

The Patents are simple enough, insofar as they involve three singles, three doubles and one treble on each group of three selections. The same is true of the Yankees, which involve six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold accumulator on each group of four selections. However, the Round Robin is a little more complicated, because it not only involves three doubles and one treble on the remaining three selections, but also three pairs of singles stakes about, or ‘up and down’, bets, which are worthy of further explanation.

Assuming the unit stake is £1, for selections 4, 5 and 6, the single stakes about bets are £1 win 4, any-to-come £1 win 5, £1 win 5, any-to-come £1 win 4, and so on for selections 4 and 6, and 5 and 6, making six bets in all. In each case, the second part of the bet is only of any consequence if the first part of the bet wins. For example, if selection 4 wins, the stake on selection 5 will be doubled, but if selection 4 loses there is nothing to come, so the stake on selection 5 will remain the same; if selection 5 then wins, £1 will be deducted from the returns for the any-to-come bet on selection 4, which has already lost.

What use is the form book?

What use is the form book? The form book, which is available online, free-of-charge from ‘Racing Post’, ‘Sporting Life’ and other sources, provides a ‘potted history’ of the performance of a racehorse in all its previous races. While it is often stated that ‘past performance is no guarantee of future results’, the form book is considered the punters’ bible insofar that, in the absence of privileged, ‘inside’ information, reading form is the only way to form an opinion on the likely outcome of a race.

At a basic level, the form book provides a ‘snapshot’ of recent form in the form figures – that is, a series of numbers representing the last five or six finishing positions – alongside the name of each horse. However, form figures alone only tell part of the story. Further investigation of detailed form is usually required to reveal distance and going preferences, any disparity in class, value or weight between previous races and the race under consideration and so on. Only by examining all these factors can the serious punter be confident that a horse has the conditions under which it can run to the best of its ability and, indeed, that the best of its ability is actually good enough to win the race in question.

What’s the going?

What's the going? The ‘going’ is the official description of the ground conditions at a racecourse. It is determined by the moisture content and measured by the Clerk of the Course, either by using a device called a GoingStick, or subjectively. Of course, some horses have distinct going preferences, so accurate going reports allow their connections to make informed decisions about where they should run.

On turf racecourses, the going can be described as ‘hard’, ‘firm’, ‘good to firm’, ‘good’, ‘good to soft’, ‘soft’ and ‘heavy’. ‘Firm’ corresponds to a GoingStick reading of 10 and ‘heavy’ to a GoingStick reading of 5; beyond those upper and lower limits, the ground is generally considered unraceable. Indeed, ‘hard’ going is no longer considered safe for National Hunt racing in Britain.

On synthetic, or all-weather, racecourses, the going on the Fibresand, Polytrack or Tapeta racing surface can be adjusted, to some extent, by harrowing or rolling. The Clerk of the Course relies on the traditional, subjective approach to describing the going, rather than empirical readings from the GoingStick. Going descriptions for all-weather racing a limited to ‘fast’, ‘standard/fast’, ‘standard’, ‘standard/slow’ and ‘slow’, which correspond to dry, moist, wet and sodden underfoot conditions.

Who regulates horse racing in Britain?

Who regulates horse racing in Britain? The governance and regulation of horse racing in Britain is the responsibility of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which was formed by the amalgamation of two existing bodies, the British Horseracing Board (BHB) and the Horseracing Regulatory Board (HRA), in 2007. Historically, the Jockey Club governed and regulated the sport, but handed over the governance function to the BHB, which was formed in 1993. Likewise, it handed over responsibility for devising and enforcing the Rules of Racing to the HRA, formed in 2006, and the BHB and HRA merged just over a year later to create the BHA as we know it today.

Like its predecessor, the Jockey Club, the BHA is tasked with devising and enforcing the Rules of Racing and dealing effectively with rule breaches, while at the same time delivering an attractive, compelling horse racing programme. To succeed, such as programme must appeal to owners, trainers and jockeys, racecourse authorities and the wider racing public.

As far as the day-to-day running of horse racing is concerned, the BHA is assisted by Weatherbys, which effectively adminsters the sport on its behalf. Weatherbys provides various racing services, including the registration of horse names and owners’ racing colours, publication of the weekly Racing Calendar, issuing race weights to the media and customising data files for clients such as Timeform and the Racing Post.

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