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Horse racing is much more than an excuse for gambling. It is a love for the beauty, grace and speed of the horse. It can also be an intellectual battle of examining competing facts and trying to formulate the future from results of the past. In some ways it is an investigation, as performed by an eager detective. And in other ways it can be the thrill of a crossword puzzle, with multiple possible responses, but ultimately only one correct answer. It is a thing of beauty as much as it is a matter of commerce. I have been involved with horse racing in both practical and intellectual ways. From time spent as an apprentice jockey, to later the research of bloodlines in the multimillion dollar world of thoroughbred breeding and sales. And for the past seventeen years I have provided speedrating information to the racing industry and public through my company: Speedratings - Leonard Marlborough.

The Flying Whip

June 23rd 2015 04:52
The Flying Whip

words by Leonard Marlborough
photography by Neil Murray


We are all well accustomed to the narrow loss in racing, the bob-of-the-head and the nose defeat. So often such a narrow margin - when on the losing end - follows an unlucky trip where the beaten horse may have been slowly away, caught wide or blocked or baulked. On some occasions a defeat may even follow something as simple as a dropped whip by one of the riders.

On the 6th of June at Moonee Valley two horses came away at the top of the straight to fight out a thrilling battle to the winning post. Rock’n’Gold, ridden by Damien Thornton, came from off the pace to claim Prince Rahy (Patrick Moloney) as they turned for home. Rock’n’Gold drew to a narrow lead halfway down the straight and looked to have the momentum to claim first prize. But just when victory seemed assured the whip flew from Damien Thornton’s hand and vigorous riding from Patrick Moloney on Prince Rahy saw that gelding ‘come again’ and gain a narrow winning margin on the line.


Neil Murray was at Moonee Valley and fortuitously captured the very moment when the race was lost. The images below from Neil show the flying whip and the pivotal moment in the race for Damien Thornton when victory went from well in grasp to flying away.
















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The five days of Royal Ascot 2015 produced some brilliant performances, with Ryan Moore’s post-war record of nine winners gaining most attention. But let's direct our attention to the horses and some of the best performances over the carnival.

As part of a requirement to assess international horses who come for the lucrative carnivals in Australia - or those who are sold to start a career in a new stable here - I do a ‘speedfigure profile’ on their past performances to see how they match up with their (fellow international and) Australian rivals. Over the years my speedfigures and pars have discovered many winners in Australia based on their European speedfigures, like Adelaide in the 2014 Cox Plate; Gordon Lord Byron and It’s Somewhat at big odds; and most recently, Rockalong at Rosehill. Today I look back at the five days of Royal Ascot and nominate the best speed performance (best speedfigure) from each day. Hopefully these rankings may be a helpful resource for you historically, and moving forward into future races.

Day 1 (Tuesday): Solow
Day 2 (Wednesday): Free Eagle
Day 3 (Thursday): Time Test
Day 4 (Friday): Ervedya
Day 5 (Saturday): Undrafted

The best speedfigures across the five days was recorded by Time Test.

SPEEDRATINGS
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Hong Kong Dominance Continues in Singapore

(Words and photos by Neil Murray reporting from Singapore for RacingWrite and Speedratings, 18 May 2015)




For the third year in a row Hong Kong gallopers have taken both group 1 prizes at Singapore’s 2015 international race meeting on Sunday 17 May. Dan Excel, in a brilliant display of front running, led all the way in the $3,000,000 international group 1, SIA Cup over 2000m to win by half a length from fellow Hong Konger, Military Attack , with Singapore local Quechua in third.




Tommy Berry and trainer John Moore greet as Berry brings Dan Excel back after the SIA Cup win


Complete article with additional large format photos can be read at link below:

Hong Kong Dominance in Singapore


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Rodd’s First Group 1 in Singapore

(Words and photos by Neil Murray reporting from Singapore for RacingWrite and Speedratings, 16 May 2015)

[ Click here to read more ]
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Trackwork Stars at Kranji

May 14th 2015 04:29
Neil Murray is on assignment in Singapore reporting for RacingWrite and Speedratings.

Trackwork Stars at Kranji
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Plucky Purton

May 4th 2015 01:18
RacingWrite was 'down' for a few days - but is back again now.

A bit late with this 'topical' story from Neil Murray because of our time spent invisible


[ Click here to read more ]
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Blazing Speed Wins

April 27th 2015 01:52
Blazing Speed Wins

words & photography by Neil Murray


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Moreira's Century

April 23rd 2015 01:28
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Dual Happy

April 19th 2015 23:03
Dual Happy

words by Leonard Marlborough


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The Mechanical Horse

April 13th 2015 01:05
The Mechanical Horse

words by Leonard Marlborough

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