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Today’s Big Race Focus will be on the Becher Chase and maybe one other race and uploaded at 1.00 p.m. and I will preview Friday’s card at Sandown tomorrow late afternoon/early evening. I have also added Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson and Willie Mullins to the Trainers Trends section this morning.
With regards to Nicky Henderson, I never thought I would see the day but he now has a twitter account (@sevenbarrows)! This coincides with a blog he writes (or has ghost written for him far more likely) on the Stan James website replacing Harry Fry. In five days of being on twitter he has accumulated over 4000 followers. The early signs of that blog are very encouraging if you want to keep up to date with the latest from Seven Barrows. Of course Stan James sponsor the Champion Hurdle so that’s a good fit for them given that Henderson is the winning-most trainer of the race and he has two contenders this season in Peace And Co and My Tent Or Yours (3 or 4 if you count Top Notch and Hargam) which is why I am sure he was asked. Surely it is now only a matter of time before he has a wizzy website built. I am sure that he has not been short of offers from site builders down the years.
Paul Nicholls has been tweeting and running a website (www.paulnichollsracing.com) for many years and has over 103,000 twitter followers. His Betfair column, where he runs through all of his weekend runners, is informative and open (maybe too honest sometimes putting punters off his winners that he thinks will improve for a run but he can only say it as he sees it) and it is also where he makes his major announcements. Harry Derham has his own blog on the trainer’s website which has been receiving good publicity.
Willie Mullins (@WillieMullinsNH) has become much more proactive on twitter this season which has propelled him to over 30,000 followers after a couple of tweet-less (I’ve invented a new word there I think) years and also with his website, www.wpmullins.com. Part of his twitter profile is regular video interviews with Irish journalist, Dave Keena.
In terms of other online columns you may have missed, Gordon Elliott is the star name on the BoyleSports website so you might want to watch how they price up his runners. He gives written views on a regular basis or a range of subjects including of Sprinter Sacre’s return: “It’s great to see him back but I really can’t see him troubling Un De Sceaux in the Champion Chase” and audio previews of his weekend runners and sometimes midweek runners. He also regularly updates the news section on www.gordonelliottracing.com and has 29,000 twitter followers (@gelliott_racing).
Dan Skelton has been signed up by Coral to provide a blog for their racing content and can also be found on Twitter (@DSkeltonRacing) which is approaching 5000 followers. Warren Greatrex provides content for the Oddschecker website and his twitter profile (@wgreatrexracing) weighs in at just under 10K followers. Judging by his columns for his Hennessy runners where he had three winners from seven runners, I think that there are plenty of conclusions that can be drawn if reading between the lines.
In terms of the best website of the big boys presentation-wise, I’d give that honour to Jonjo O’Neill with www.jonjooneill.racing.com. It’s very clean and slick and updated regularly by former Cheltenham Racecourse supremo, Edward Gillespie. His twitter account (@JonjoONeill) has over 21,000 followers and deals more with stating when they have winners than anything else and you won’t get too much out of that for punting clues.
David Pipe’s public-interest set up is very similar to O'Neill's as his long-running website www.davidpipe.com has plenty of traffic, mainly for his blogs and those of Chester Barnes, and he also runs a twitter account (@DavidPipeRacing) which has over 56,000 followers but you won’t find anything too enlightening on there when contemplating having a bet.
No twitter account yet for the man of the moment, Alan King, but www.alankingracing.co.uk is where the media keep an eye out for updates on his runners to run as stories and is a website that keeps on improving.
In terms of online jockey columns, I’ve always been dubious of paying too much attention to their views on horses that they will be riding as priority number one will be not to upset the owner and trainer and their words will be carefully chosen with a view to keeping that ride in the future. Therefore, I am far more interested in their opinions on horses that they will not be riding which often carry more substance and especially as many views will be exchanged in the jockeys’ room so they get a very good feel for how highly other horses are rated. However, if you want to check out Ruby Walsh, he writes for both Paddy Power and RacingUK, Barry Geraghty has been with Attheraces for a few years now, Richard Johnson is signed up to Betway’s website this season. Tom Scudamore the same with Coral and Aidan Coleman also writes for RacingUK.