UK horse racing punters luck out with technology & apps
Feb 27, 2015 4:57 PM –
Photo by rogerblake2
Things were a lot different in the old days. You had to get up to change the television channel, or trawl through an encyclopaedia to learn any facts and, if you wanted to buy something, you had to go to an actual shop.
In those dark pre-technology days, it seems like everything was a bit of a palaver.
But the world’s a brighter, shinier place now and there’s hardly anything we can’t do online.
In the UK they have it really easy. Even placing a bet on the horses can be as simple as touching your smart screen.
But it wasn’t always that way and it’s only recently that having a flutter on the gee-gees and following the form has changed beyond recognition.
In the UK, where horse racing is still considered the Sport of Kings, the way the sport has been marketed to punters has been revolutionised. This is a country that stages iconic races like The Grand National, The Derby and Royal Ascot. And with Ireland just a hop and a skip away, it’s no wonder that broadcasters and publishers saw an opportunity to bring the sport to the masses.
The elements of modern racing coverage in the UK began changing in the 1980s when the new, hip and trendy Channel 4 broadcast its first meeting from Doncaster in 1984. Two years later the Racing Post was first published and soon became the one and only must have daily-guide to the horse racing industry.
Even now, when so many people rely on digital devices to get their latest news fix, The Racing Post flutters from every other pair of hands at every race meeting.
The crumpled pages are meticulously marked with blue biro and safely tucked under the owner’s arm for the duration of the meeting.
But even The Racing Post learned to move with the times. Like all the other papers, it set up its own website almost as soon as the digital age began to dawn. Soon the big betting firms followed suit.
These days you can log on to a site and find out all the latest information on any given meeting. And when it comes to the highlights of the racing season, like the Grand National or the Cheltenham Festival, you’ll have access to the best tips, inside information, and latest odds at your fingertips.
Even if you’ve never been to a race course or had a bet, UK residents can find out everything you need to know online.
With only a few weeks to go until the Cheltenham Festival, arguably the UK’s biggest National Hunt event, begins on March 10, punters are already making their predictions for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and they’re using the latest technology to help them make up their minds.
The latest generation of those lucky UK race-goers now have access to sophisticated apps that ensure they are only a jacket pocket away from everything they need to know.
Photo by Yutaka Tsutano
Here are three of the best:
Racing UK (free, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android)
Set up in 2004, Racing UK is now one of the leading racing satellite channels in the UK. It shows racing from 33 race courses in the UK and Ireland and expanded its network to include a website, newsletter and magazine. The app is its latest offering and it’s best for looking up that day’s race cards.
Information is layered so users can drill down to increasingly specific detail.
So, you could just get a simple overview of each meeting including where and when it’s being held or you could access special iCards which will give detail about individual horses, their previous form, recent runs and a prediction of how they will perform in that race.
In fact, the iCard has been described as one of the most technically advanced horse racing predictors available.
As well as the usual results section, you can also read all about it in news and fan blogs. Top-rated tipsters also make regular and informed contributions.
You can also stream live action from Racing UK’s satellite television channel. But be warned, unless you have a subscription to watch the channel, you’ll have to pay extra for this app feature.
Racing Post (free, iPhone, iPad, Android)
Unsurprisingly, this is one of the most popular racing apps and lives up to the Racing Post brand.
It offers race cards, results, radio commentary and news. But its comprehensive tipping service is a little slice of genius.
It takes information from 14 tipsters and sees how many times each horse has been tipped by a range of publications and industry experts and collating it into an overall picture.
There’s a brilliant search option that allows you to sort races by days of the week or you can look for particular horses, trainers, owners and jockeys.
There’s an animated prediction tool that uses the latest racing statistics and you can access hot-off-the-press racing intelligence via the unique Race Day Live section.
The level of information available for free is staggering. You can look up trainer and jockey form, race records including wins, conditions, class, starting price and pedigree.
The only downside is that you cannot stream live racing from your mobile. But many might say that misses the point of the app which is really designed to give you all the information you need to pick a winner.
Online Gambling Betting Guide (free, iPhone, iPad, not android)
OLGB are very much considered the industry experts and this app covers all UK and Irish racing as well as other sports like football, tennis, rugby, cricket and US sports.
As well as offering the kind of authorative information you’d expect on subjects like tips, news and form, this app offers a few neat tricks.
There’s a geo-location tool that filters races to your location that’s particularly handy if you’re actually at a course.
And you can easily share your tips via Facebook, Twitter and Email.
There’s also a live section that acts a little bit like a personal Twitter feed that gives you information about course weather and ground condition direct from the meeting you’re interested in.
But there is a downside. As great as this app is, it doesn’t offer live streaming.