Was Bob Davies the last Welshman to win the National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship?

To put it succinctly, yes, he was. Not to be confused with compatriot and contemporary Robert Arthur Davies, the ‘other’ Bob Davies, Robert Bertram Davies, won the National Hunt Jockeys’ Championship three times, in 1968/69, when he shared the title with Terry Biddlecombe, 1969/70 and 1971/72. Since then, the jockeys’ title has been won exclusively by Irish and English-born jockeys, just ten of them, of whom all bar one – Harry Skelton in 2020/21 – were multiple winners.

In chronological order, the Irish winners were Ron Barry, Tommy Stack, Jonjo O’Neill, Richard Dunwoody, Tony McCoy and, most recently, Brian Hughes. Of course, far and away the most successful of that sextet was McCoy, who won 20 consecutive titles between 1995/1996 and his retirement, at the end of the 2014/15 season. In a similar order, the English winners since 1971/1972 were John Francome, Peter Scudamore, Richard Johnson and the aforementioned Harry Skelton. Scudamore was the most successful of that quartet, with eight titles to his name, including seven in a row between 1985/86 and 1991/92. His first title, in 1981/82, though, owed much to the magnanimousness of reigning champion John Francome, who gave up riding when he drew level with Scudamore in the title race, allowing his injured rival to share the spoils.


As a footnote, we would like to thank esteemed author and journalist Brian Lee, Wales’ most respected horse and experienced horse racing writer, for submitting this question. In fact, we often refer to his previous work when researching questions relating to horse racing in The Principality because, quite frankly, he knows a lot more than we do! Nevertheless, if would like to put us to the test, please do submit your question, however obscure, and we’ll do our level best to provide you with a comprehensive, well-researched answer.

The Effect a Rule 4 Has on Bets

Photo by Mike Kotsch on Unsplash

Understanding all the rules and regulations of betting operators would be a challenging task. However, it is in the bettors’ best interests to have a basic understanding of the most common rulings that could affect them.

A Rule 4 deduction is a common ruling that most typically affects horse and greyhound racing in the UK. It is a deduction that occurs from any winnings if a race takes place with one or more non-runners. Essentially, it is used because a race without one of the runners is easier to win for the remaining competitors.

Rule 4 is an industry-wide ruling that is typically expressed as pence in the pound rather than as a percentage.

How a Rule 4 Affects a Bet

When Rule 4 is applied, the amount declared is taken off the winnings and the stake that is returned remains intact. An example of this could be a £1 single on a 10/1 winner with a 10p Rule 4 applied. The customer would receive their original £1 stake back and the winnings would have a 10 pence deduction per pound. This means they would receive £9 in winnings (instead of the £10 if there was no Rule 4), for a total return of £10.

Rule 4 will also be applied against the each-way part of a bet and any accumulators that include that selection. Of course, Rule 4 is only applied to that specific selection in the bet.

Rule 4 Deductions

The deduction amount of Rule 4 is directly related to the odds of the selection that does not run. If the non-runner is a long shot that was not expected to place, Rule 4 deductions will be lower or may not be applied.

Alternatively, if the non-runner had short odds or was the favourite, it will be deemed to have had a far greater impact on the final result and Rule 4 deductions will be much greater. Punters should always consult a guide for the safest sites to find a reputable bookmaker that will apply Rule 4 deductions fairly and in line with industry standards.

Here are the deductions relative to the odds of potential non-runners to give you a better idea of how a race could be affected:


– 5p for odds from 10/1 to 14/1

– 10p for odds from 6/1 to 9/1

– 15p for odds from 9/2 to 11/2

– 20p for odds from 10/3 to 4/1

– 25p for odds from 5/2 to 3/1

– 30p for odds from 15/8 to 9/4

– 35p for odds from 13/8 to 7/4

– 40p for odds from 5/4 to 6/4

– 45p for odds from evens to 6/5

– 50p for odds from 20/21 to 5/6

– 55p for odds from 4/5 to 4/6

– 60p for odds from 8/13 to 4/7

– 65p for odds from 8/15 to 4/9

– 70p for odds from 2/5 to 1/3

– 75p for odds from 3/10 to 2/7

– 80p for odds from 1/4 to 1/5

– 85p for odds from 2/11 to 2/17

– 90p for odds from 1/9 and below


If there is more than one non-runner in a race, multiple Rule 4s can be applied up to a maximum of 90p.

Reformed Markets

If there is time for a market to be reformed before the race, Rule 4 will only be applied to bets that have taken an early price prior to the announcement of the non-runner. Bettors who explore the ante-post market can enjoy early prices for races and events and can offer great value for money, but it’s worth noting the possible greater impact of Rule 4.

The Markets Rule 4 Can Affect

Rule 4 is most typically found in horse or greyhound racing, but it can be applied to other markets that are affected by a competitor not participating.


What Is Totopoly?

If you are a lover of horse racing and board games you may remember Totopoly.

Totopoly was designed by Walter Lee and Roy Palmer in 1938, originally published by Waddingtons, a British manufacturer of card and board games. The dice and card game is based on the lead up and during a horse race. The game is based on double-sided board for two phases of the game:

Number of players: 3 – 6

The game take less than 10 minutes to set up.

Contents: Playing board, 12 horses, money lease cards, trainers’ reports cards, advantage and disadvantage cards, tote pad and 2 dice.

Duration of game: 90 minutes (average)


A banker is chosen who looks after the cash, giving each player £700 and collects payments for horses and business before and during the auction of horses. Also, collecting horse entrance fees, the distribution of the prize money although 10% is taken by the tote. The banker and their own money as a player are kept separately.

Side one:

This is the pre-race side of the game. Each player has a selection of horses in one of two stables, Stevedon and Walroy, racing around a loop (racecourse) by way of throwing a dice and drawing cards (advantage or disadvantage cards) which become important in the second phase of the game which used the other side of the board. Each player throws the dice once and this is used to move their horses around the course. This game is based on chance (throwing the dice), negotiation and strategy. Some horses may be eliminated during this first phase of the game.

Side two:

This side of the board sees the race begin. However, before the start of the race you have an opportunity to place bets on your horses. Each player has £700. You may use your advantage cards to help your horse in this part of the game but you also have to use the disadvantage cards too. A disadvantage card can be used to cancel an advantage. This part of the games sees winners and loser of finishing positions 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Also, bets are settled.

Money Problems:

If you lose all your money and on the brink of bankrupt you may sell your horses to other players for a negotiated fee. You may also sell your advantage cards. You are not allowed to borrow from other players. If you have no money or assets, you are out of the game.

Horse Names: The original game horse names are used from the Lincolnshire Handicap dated from 1926 – 37.

The winner is the player with the most money or the winning horse.

Recapping the last four winners of the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

There is such a big onus on the Cheltenham Festival in this day and age of jumps racing.

We must admit, it’s hard to beat the electric atmosphere and thrills of those four days in the Cotswolds each March, but the sport has so much to offer aside from the Festival.

Even at Prestbury Park, where the upcoming Cheltenham November Meeting is one of the standout meetings and a fantastic opportunity to visit the home of jumps racing.

Taking place over three days from 17-19 November, the meeting features several Grade 2s, Premier Handicaps and Listed contests.

Two of the biggest races are the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Day Two, and the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle on Day Three.

It’s the latter we are going to focus on here.

Kerry Lee’s Nemean Lion is the favourite for the two-mile and half-a-furlong contest in the Cheltenham November Meeting odds, but he will face competition from the top yards – with the highly-rated Luccia representing Nicky Henderson and the Paul Nicholls-trained Blueking D’Oroux being a recent course and distance winner.

So, as we look ahead to the 2023 renewal of the Premier Handicap, let’s take a look back at the last four winners of the contest.

2022: I Like To Move It

Gin Coco headed down for starter’s orders as the 4/1 favourite in the race odds for last year’s Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, but the Harry Fry-trained horse could only finish a distant second to I Like To Move It.

The Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained five-year-old was fancied at 17/2 before the off but set much of the pace throughout, and won going away from Gin Coco to land a five-and-a-half-length victory despite being the top weight.

2021: West Cork

2021 saw Dan Skelton land his maiden Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, with West Cork landing the Warwickshire-based trainer the spoils from outside odds.

West Cork had a decent season as a novice hurdler the year prior, with two wins and three seconds, but was priced at 11/1 to win this race on his reappearance and first time in this company.

He started making smooth headway three out and led approaching the last. Harry Skelton dropped the whip on the run, but West Cork kept on well by itself to win narrowly from Adagio.

2020: The Shunter

The Shunter was the winner of the 2020 renewal, giving Emmet Mullins one of his first major successes following his transition from jockey to trainer.

The then seven-year-old has some good form in the build-up to the Greatwood, winning a Maiden Hurdle at Downpatrick in September before back-to-back victories over fences at Punchestown and Cork.

He returned over the smaller obstacles for this, and The Shunter (13/2) rallied back before the last after losing a bit of ground a few hurdles earlier to win by a clear three lengths from Ballyandy.

2019: Harambe

While his victory wasn’t quite as big of a shock as Nietzsche’s win from 20/1 in 2018, Harambe still caused a stir when winning the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle from 16/1 four years ago.

The eight-year-old had a good start to the year with two wins at Kempton and Market Rasen before finishing in the Novices’ Championship Final at Sandown in April.

However, he appeared to find Grade 2 company too strong at Chepstow when well beaten back in seventh on reappearance in October.

That would have played a huge role in the bookies pricing Harambe at 16/1 for this race, but he jumped into fourth at the last and ran on well to win by a neck from Gumball.

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