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So long as racehorses run (says a Home paper) it is as inevitable that men will make bets about them, as also that the enormous majority of backers will lose their money. How to lose as little as possible should be the aim of those who are bitten with the mania for speculation, and it appears that, on the whole, nothing is safer in the long run—except, of course, leaving investment alone—than following the fortunes of favorites. The mere fact of a horse being favorite for a race shows that men of infinitely keener wit than the average race-goer have reasons for believing in his chances of success; and that their reasons are generally just is shown by a glance at the results of the past year’s racing. A. fair test of the wisdom of backers is to take four important meetings—the Newmarket First Spring, during which the Two Thousand and One Thousand Guineas are run ; the Epsom Meeting ; Ascot, and Goodwood; and at these it is found that the favorites won more often than the non-favorites. Omitting those races where two horses start in equal demand, it will be found that at the Newmarket First Spring, in 26 races 14 were won by favorites and 12 by nonfavorites. At Epsom the proportion was much the same, for 13 favorites won and 11 lost. At Ascot backers had it still more their own way, as, in 29 races only 12 times were favorites defeated, and 17 times they won. At Goodwood the proportion was the other way, for in 27 races only 10 favorites won, and 17 were defeated. Thus, on the whole, at these four meetings, in 106 races, rather more than half, 54, fell to the favorite. Considering that in many cases these favorites started with odds laid on them, it will be seen that a man who had invested on the first favorite in every case would be little the better for his speculations. It will be well for rash persons to consider also that in almost every race that is run several horses are run for reasons which seem to their owners to encourage the hope of overthrowing the favorite; and how often those hopes are futile is readily apparent.

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 537, 18 January 1882

Word Count

BACKING THE FAVORITE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume III, Issue 537, 18 January 1882