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Horse racing’s biggest superstitions: From Frankie Dettori’s magic white tape to measuring the size of a horse’s ears

, Horse racing’s biggest superstitions: From Frankie Dettori’s magic white tape to measuring the size of a horse’s ears

FEW sports have as many superstitions as horse racing.

It’s not just punters who have their own wacky traditions, with jockeys and trainers also a superstitious bunch. We take a look at some of the biggest superstitions in the sport.

There are a wide variety of superstitions in horse racing

The bigger the ears, the better the horse

Many people in horse racing reckon that long or large ears on a horse is a sign of intelligence or good temperament.

Others have claimed that horses with large, floppy ears have better acceleration than those with small, stubby ears.

Eye wrinkles are a sign that a horse will be a good jumper

Researchers haven’t managed to prove this theory, which is a tradition among some National Hunt trainers.

But plenty believe that if a horse has more than their fare share of eye wrinkles, it means they will be a good jumper.

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Frankie Dettori and his magic white tape

After winning the Derby in 2007 and 2015, it was revealed that Frankie Dettori had applied white tape to his saddle before each race.

In 2007, a racing engineer suggested Dettori stick some ‘lucky tape’ to his saddle in a race which he had yet to win.

Less than 30 minutes later, he broke his duck in the Epsom Classic aboard Authorized – and he also applied white tape to his stirrups when Golden Horn won in 2015.

Dettori stuck lucky white tape to his saddle before he won on Golden Horn at Epsom

It’s bad luck for jockeys to ride a horse before a race

Top Aussie owner Lloyd Williams has spoken in the past about his belief that it is bad luck for a jockey to sit on a horse before a race.

He reckons it’s the main reason why Kerrin McEvoy won the 2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington aboard Almandin – without ever having sat on him before.

Sam Twiston-Davies salutes every magpie he sees

Top jumps jockey Sam Twiston-Davies has a superstition of saluting any magpie that he sees while he’s in the saddle.

Saluting magpies is a long-held country superstition, with some believing the number of magpies you see will have an affect on your luck.

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Red is the colour in Hong Kong

Red is considered an incredibly lucky colour in Chinese culture, so if you’re ever lucky enough to go racing in Hong Kong you’ll see a sea of red in the stands.

But a study has found that 40% of winning riders in the Grand National have worn either blue or green silks – go figure!

Last out, first home

Plenty of punters believe that the last horse to depart the parade ring for the racecourse will go on to win the race.

Another popular one among racing fans is to back the runners of the first trainer’s horsebox you see on the way to the course.


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Remember to gamble responsibly

A responsible gambler is someone who:

  • Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
  • Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
  • Never chase their losses
  • Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
  • Gamcare –
  • Gamble Aware –

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