Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

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Kempton - The Lanzarote

London Racing Club function

11 January 2020: special admission charge: £15 including box facility (exclusive to LRC members)


I had not been to Kempton for a long time. I thought it was 25-30 years ago and that I’d watched Desert Orchid win here. A quick check of the Dessie statue plaque revealed that he won the Racing Post Chase here in 1990 so that could well have been my last visit to the track.

These days my main betting interest is flat racing so it was a bit of a challenge to come up with a betting strategy for Kempton. I had a look at the feature race – The Lanzarote Handicap – the previous evening and through a combination of trend analysis and value seeking came up with two against the field. More on this later.

I wasn’t planning to have any single bets other than on the Lanzarote but thought I’d (hopefully) maintain interest in the card by placing a small stake large placepot perm. Having not been racing in the UK since the new regime had taken over the Tote, I was somewhat surprised by the change in slip design. Surely the new method is slower at the till and more prone to errors?

I bankered the Henderson runner in the first (a poor third @ 11/10) and was hoping for an upset in the next having covered all three runners. That didn’t happen. Time for a hot drink (tea or coffee supplied in the box) and a slice of cake (many varieties on offer contributed by LRC members). My two selections in the third (1st and 3rd) brightened my mood. Lizzie Kelly rode the winner and here she is walking to the weighing room whilst talking to the press:

Plenty of press attention for Erick Le Rouge's winning jockey Lizzie Kelly



In the fourth I opposed the favourite with Frodon and Kauto Riko. It was the former that won, with an all-the-way victory:

Bryony Frost on Frodon leads the field past our box on their first circuit 

Here’s Bryony approaching the unsaddling enclosure, enjoying the applause of the crowd:


The fifth race was the Lanzarote feature. My two selections were Debestyman (EW) taken at 14/1 (1/5th odds 1234) and Burrows Edge (win only) at 15/2. The market had moved in my favour overnight with my selections starting at 8/1 and 5/1 respectively. All looked promising approaching the last hurdle with Debestyman leading by three lengths and Burrows Edge finishing well. Then disaster struck with both the leader and the favourite, Notre Pari, falling:

Notre Pari, left, and Debestyman both fall at the last. Burrows Edge, far right white colours, wins it   

I was so shocked by Debestyman’s fall it took me a while to realise the fast finishing Burrows Edge had won the race! Having reviewed the race at home I think Burrows Edge would have won anyway, had my other selection stayed on his feet.

As for the placepot, Burrows Edge and On The Blind Side (sixth race) ensured a return. However this turned out to be £15 for a £21 perm!

Fingerontheswitch had won the sixth race ridden by Millie Wonnacott. At that point we left for the train back into Waterloo. It had been a very enjoyable and profitable day. I can’t remember much about my 1990 visit but can be fairly sure of one thing that would not have happened that day: three of the seven races were won by female jockeys: Lizzie Kelly, Bryony Frost and Millie Wonnacott!


January 2020