When Betting on a Horse, What Does T Mean?

Back in June, after weeks of constant speculation, the final piece of the Triple Crown puzzle fell into place when Britain’s Classic winner, Northern Line, confirmed that the 1/2 favorite in the Trafalgar Stakes had in fact won the three-race event, becoming the first horse to successfully defend the title since 1922.

What does the win mean for Northern Line and owner Hamish McGreavy? In today’s edition of the Daily News, we’ll explore the key points you need to know.

Classic, Triple Crown And More

As the name would suggest, the Trafalgar Stakes is named after the famous Battle of Trafalgar. One of the most famous sea battles of all time, Trafalgar was the turning point of the Napoleonic Wars, and helped launch the British Empire. For centuries after the Battle of Trafalgar, the boneyard of the British fleet was a source of sadness for the Royal Navy, as its ships had been instrumental in bringing down the previously invincible French fleet.

The Battle of Trafalgar also gave birth to one of the most famous phrases in sport: “There is only one winner in a duel.” In the case of horse racing, the winner of a duel earns the right to wear the bit in their teeth for the rest of their lives.

While the phrase has long since been applied to sporting duels, such as golf, tennis, and football, it was originally used in reference to the type of duels carried out between riders in the early days of horse racing in England. The rules of these ‘Rough Duels’ stipulated that a fight to the death would take place between participants once a week in a park or public place, until one horse emerged victorious.

Today, it’s generally accepted that the phrase ‘There is only one winner in a duel’ can be applied to any sporting or wagering contest, including horse racing. What’s important nowadays is not so much who wins as whether or not a winner is declared at all. It seems that sometimes, even the most meticulously planned sporting contests can end up as something of a nail-biter – the kind of close-fought struggle that leaves you grasping for breath as the dust settles and you await the results. Such was the case when Northern Line beat Goldikova by a nose in the 2018 Kentucky Oaks, for example.

The fact that Northern Line was able to defend his Trafalgar Stakes title for a record fourth time is significant, as is his willingness to continue competing at such a high level well into his twenties. At thirty-three years of age, Northern Line is one of the elder statesmen of British horse racing, having made an unprecedented eighty-one appearances across three different categories (including the Classics), winning thirty-eight times.

Stakes Madness

It would be remiss of us not to mention here the phenomenal success of the summer’s other major sporting event, the World Cup. The tournament was originally scheduled to take place in late June, but was postponed to avoid clash with the London Olympics. It would appear that the world’s preeminent sports event was moved not once, but twice, and is now set to be staged over the next six weeks in twelve different locations across the globe. It’s expected that the final will be covered by upwards of three billion people worldwide. What a feat!

The fact that the Premier League and the NFL were able to work around the scheduling conflict, and that the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and Winter Olympic Games also went ahead as planned is testament to the power of sport in uniting the world. It seems that for all the ups and downs of life as we know it, it’s safe to say that at least in the sporting sphere things are looking up. In 2019, the world is at peace, and we are all eagerly looking forward to the delights of the coming season.

The Bit In The Tooth

Now that we’ve reviewed the incredible highs of the past year, and brushed the dust off our memories, let’s take a quick look at the low-lights too. As we’ve established, the phrase ‘There is only one winner in a duel’ is applicable to any sporting event, including horse racing. What this means is that even the most celebrated victors can end up taking a bit of a knock-back. Just ask Goldikova. One of the most iconic images from the 2018 Kentucky Oaks was that of the former champions Goldikova and Northern Line snuffling and pawing at each other, as they awaited the starter’s pistol. It was a classic bittacker-versus-bit-taker scenario, with the English mare establishing herself as the clear-cut loser of the encounter. As it happens, this was the first time since the 1920s that two ex-champions had faced each other in a race, and it was the first time that a female horse had ever won the Kentucky Oaks. It was also the first time in fourteen years that neither of the two legendary animals had won the prestigious race. For those who bet on or follow horse racing, it was yet another interesting chapter in an eventful year. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.