Just how effective are first time blinkers?


When I first got into racing in the late 1960s (under-age, sneaking into my local betting shop).  I used to be impressed by those punters who’d nod wisely and mutter under their breath “First time blinkers” and write the relevant runner on their slip.

FTB is one of those myths that is still given credence by many.  The theory is that connections have been ‘running it down the park’ to get a decent handicap mark and their excuse to the stewards when it sluices in at a fancy price will be “First time blinkers, sir.  Made such a big difference.  Wish we’d fitted them sooner.”

The reality is that the fitting of these ‘aids’ is often a last-ditch attempt to galvanise a useless horse.  Of course they work from time to time but when that happens, it’s usually with a pretty decent animal anyway.  Companero won yesterday’s Eider in FTB and although he is 11 years old, that was the 6th win in an 11-race-career under rules (he’d also won all three of his point to points).

David Pipe is a master when deciding a horse needs blinkers.  He’s picked up some big prizes with the likes of Comply Or Die, Our Vic and Tamarinbleu, among others.

Since January 1st 1996, until yesterday, flat and jumps, and all-weather, 17,344 horses have run in FTB:   1121 won , a strike rate of 6.5%.  £100 on each at Betfair odds (estimated Betfair odds where necessary) leaves a loss of £124,000.

Since starting training in 2006, David Pipe has sent out 106 runners over jumps in FTB: 16 won, a strike rate of 15.1%  £100 on each at Betfair odds would have brought you a profit of £7,022.

Thanks for looking in today



About Steeplechasing

Writer, horse-racing fan, cyclist, consultant, entrepreneur. Worked at Aintree, SiS, The Tote, Ladbrokes. Created scoop6. Now run Gamtrain Ltd

Posted on February 27, 2011, in General and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thanks for an an interesting piece on first time blinkers Joe.

    Compliemntary to it is the research article at link below.


    Stats are broken down for categories such as runner age, market position, race type etc.

    Worth a read.


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