Ok, you’ve just created your Newturf account and you’re raring to go. Dreams of champions and big ticket wins are already floating through your head. Where to begin?
I started by watching the claiming races and bidding on the ones that caught my eye. I must admit I was quite impatient and pulled the trigger on a few that I should have passed on. It’s very easy to do especially when you’re losing quite a few shakes on the better ones. The claiming process at Newturf is much different than what I’m used to here in North America. On this side of the Pond, you need to have your claim bid in before race time. At Newturf, you have a 10 minute window immediately after the race to put a bid in on a horse. You actually get to see how it does in the race before you buy it. Now the bidding process itself is also quite unique to me. I’m used to a random draw with multiple claims on a horse. Here at Newturf, you are allowed one single bid, but any monetary amount you choose. The way it usually plays out is no bids go a horse until a minute or two before the deadline. Within the last minute they start putting their bids in. The ones who bid late know they have to put a higher bid in, in order to stand a chance. For instance, a 2 Euro claimer with 5 straight wins might attract 3-5 bids. Chances are the winning bid will be between 2.50 – 3 Euro. Now by chance if all the bids were for the exact same amount, the earliest bid wins. Highly unlikely with 3+ bids.
What to look for? To start, look for a horse that has just won in a decent sized field (5 or more). Check it’s past performances. Keep an eye out for consistently strong runs and horses with class. Be wary of horses that have long since peaked and win only in very short fields. Try to vary your claiming criteria. Don’t load up on one age and type.
Once you’ve picked up a few (try not to go too claim crazy at first), hand them over to a well respected trainer who’ll keep them race ready. I highly recommend Tfk782. Pierre is the ultimate professional, who never misses a train and always has my horses in tip top shape. He took the time and effort to help me when I first started and I benefited from it immensely. I do the majority of my own training now but it’s definitely not something I recommend a beginner do. I’ve held my own so far, ranking in the top 25 with only 2 owners and under 20 active horses racing for me. I’d be willing to take on a few more but no way could I do what Pierre does. His experience also shines through with the young and still developing horse, as I find he can bring out a new ability square faster.
When it comes to the jockey side of things, I find you can get a little more hands on in the beginning. Any horse with at least 4 Stamina blocks should be ridden “Whipped” at every command. It’s up to you where to place your horse location wise during the race. Now rides of 1600M or longer require much more planning and effort. There is a very helpful chart here on Buzz that has helped me learn what to do in my rides. Here’s the link in case you haven’t seen it: http://horseracingbuzz.net/2010/12/20/how-to-be-a-jockey-at-newturf-com/
Personally, I’d recommend handing these rides off to a professional jock until you’ve become much more familiar with the racing here. As far as recommendations go, the top jocks in the standings are usually very reliable and any of them are quite capable. I ride for one of my teammates, Grange Park and do all of the riding for my stable. It’s been a battle getting the right instructions for the longer races but I’m getting more consistent each passing day. I like to review my races and see what (if anything) went wrong. Sometimes you just don’t have the horse to do it. Other times, I might have pressed too much too early and then ran out of gas late. I make a notation in a horse’s comment box if needed to remind myself to change something for the next race.
Once everything is in place, you need to find a race for your horse. It’s probably best to turn that horse around into a race similar to what it just was claimed from. You can find some decent horses in the claimers that can race at higher levels, but the majority are at the place they need to be right now in order to stay competitive. A 1 Euro claimer might be competitive in a 2 Euro claimer, but chances are it won’t fare well in a non-claiming ‘Without Handicap’ type of race. There’s nothing wrong with claiming a horse for a price and racing it right back at the same level next time around. If you can move it up a notch or two price wise and still finish in the money, even better.
Find a solid and consistent horse, place it in the right spot and you’ll soon have your first win at Newturf. It was an exhilarating experience for me and one that I look forward to repeating on a daily basis. 70+ wins later, it’s still a rush to see my guys cross the wire first. Especially in the longer races.
Well that’s all for now. Hope to see you on the track at Newturf!