The Racing Post has been going since April 1986 and is still the first publication people think of when they want to improve their knowledge of horse racing, be it for a one-off flutter on the Grand National or the likely course conditions in the 3:20 at Lingfield.
The modern day edition of the Racing Post is made up of four main sections: news, tips, data and sport. Forget the dodgy ‘inside’ information from the local Del Boy. If it’s not in the Racing Post the likelihood is you don’t need to know it.
Stories and Interviews
Although the Racing Post’s main focus and indeed purpose, is the inclusion of tips backed up by mountains of statistics, the front few pages of each edition start as any other newspaper would – with newsworthy stories, albeit of an equine nature. The stories are well written, often focusing on any big upcoming meetings such as Epsom or Aintree and are above all else trustworthy – the lack of competition for horse racing stories seems to mean that publications such as this one don’t have to resort to the tactics used by certain tabloid papers when writing sports stories (such as the paper recently found to have published untrue allegations aimed at Kieren Fallon).
Key contributors include feature writer, Paul Eacott, and the colourful David Ashworth, who although highly opinionated and probably not to everyone’s taste, is the sort of personality that every paper needs at least one of. They and the other writers, combined with a good mix of stories, profiles, features and entertaining, informative interviews all combine in these first few pages to give the Racing Post a nice rounded feel to it. Although the newspaper, like horse racing itself, will always be inextricably linked with gambling, there is just about enough in the news section of the paper to recommend it to non-gambling horse fans, albeit probably not on a daily basis.
One of the main reasons people buy any paper of this sort is for the top tips that will hopefully make them a small fortune. The Racing Post has tips galore and fortunately they come not from old men propping up bars but people who have spent much of their careers tipping horses, with a great deal of success to boot. Although there can never be a guarantee of success in this field, you could do much worse than follow the paper’s tipsters. In fact from a randomly taken edition (June 5th 2008) from all the main tips in this section, 6 out of 14 were winners, including the best long shot – Ross Moor – at an impressive 8-1.
Further to simply tipping horses, the various writers also explain why they are backing the horses and give key positives and negatives to a selection of mounts. This impartiality is key as it provides the reader with a good balanced view of some of the day’s key horses. This is both extremely useful to anyone considering wagering their money and also prevents any accusations of vested interest or unjustified promotion of jockeys or stables.
The section ends with an odds comparison page whereby odds for the key upcoming races from all the main bookmakers are provided with the best odds highlighted in bold font. This is another simple but very effective feature that enables the reader to get the best possible value for their money.
Facts, Stats and Other Useful Info
If you want all the information that matters about the day’s horse racing, then the Racing Post is undoubtedly the place to find it. With a comprehensive data section covering everything from recent form to the colour of each jockey’s silks, no serious punter should leave home without it. Indeed you’d be far pressed to find a high street bookmaker that doesn’t have a few copies floating around.
This particular section of the paper covers all the day’s race meets and includes information on track conditions, age, form and expert opinions as well as all the runners and riders. If there is anything that could possibly give any particular horse an advantage then it will be recorded here. If you’re the sort of person that prefers betting on hunches or good omens or you simply enjoy racing for racing’s sake and not betting, then you probably don’t need much of this information. Indeed that is probably the one criticism of this section and the paper in general: there is too much statistically based information.
Really it all boils down to what you are looking for from your racing coverage: if you’re after fast paced entertainment and montages of a horse’s best moments, then stick to the television coverage. If, however, you are looking for that vital edge over the bookies then the Racing Post is the ultimate piece of kit. The paper’s data section is imperative to the publication and is really at the heart of what the Racing Post is all about. The stories and interviews are almost a side issue. The question then is whether that is a positive or a negative aspect and to be honest there is no set answer; ultimately it depends entirely on what you as a consumer want.
After a brief but comprehensive section on greyhound racing, the final part of the paper covers an array of more mainstream sports, such as football and tennis. Although this coverage is a lot less in-depth than the racing sections, it does provide the paper with some variation and gives it a bit of appeal to those not all that interested in horse racing. This is particularly the case in Friday and Saturday’s edition during the football season, which includes a number of pages on the weekend’s matches. These provide the reader with information such as recent form and head to head records: invaluable info for those that like to put a few quid on a weekend accumulator.
Aside from the wide array of statistics, these pages also cover a nice array of stories: they all inevitably revolve around gambling but they range from talk of the next managerial casualty, to a promising long shot in an imminent golf tournament, or even the latest betting scandal. Although the Racing Post is predominantly for fans of horse racing, the back pages of the paper would still be of interest to the average sports fan, gambler or not. If you do gamble, however, then there are tips galore, with everything covered from the top-scoring batsman in the latest England test to the winner of the Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season competition.
Like all good publications, the Racing Post now has its own website which can be found here. This is ideal for when you’re just too busy to buy the latest edition. Although not quite as detailed as the paper, the website contains a good selection of the latest news stories and statistics, complete with useful links to independent betting sites.
One aspect of the Racing Post that is covered particularly well online is its section on other sports, with more space devoted to it than would be feasible in a paper that still focuses mainly on horse racing.
Perhaps the best part of the site though is its video capability. The internet has opened up a world of possibilities for newspapers and magazines – while they were once restricted simply to what could be recorded on paper they can now include a whole range of multimedia aspects. The Racing Post’s website does this to great effect, including race replays and even live racing from up to six days ago – a fantastic addition to the paper’s armoury and incredibly useful for anyone that backed a horse but didn’t get the chance to see it in action. Win or lose, there is no doubt that watching the race is far more entertaining than simply finding out the result in the morning paper.
In order to get the most from the site you need to register but this is a quick and stress-free task, which once complete will unlock all aspects of Racing Post Online.
The target audience for the Racing Post is fairly obvious: if you don’t gamble you probably shouldn’t buy it. If that’s not the case, however, then whether you like the occasional flutter or fancy yourself as a bit of a pro there will be something there for you. Although the paper is mainly aimed at horse racing fans, if you buy the right edition there is still plenty of value there for fans of other sports. A perfect example of this was an edition in early June which came with a free 64 page Euro 2008 pull-out, containing all the fact and comment required for an entertaining and informative read.
Putting everything else to one side, if you do enjoy a bet on the horse racing, then this is the paper for you. There is simply nowhere else where you can get this much information and professional opinion all squeezed into something as small as a newspaper and although reading the Racing Post is not guaranteed to make you money it certainly helps. There is a very good reason why the Racing Post is by far and away the most established paper of its type and that is because it is the best paper of its type and has been for some time.