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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Marine Insurance and Horse racing

Marine Insurers are always prudent and very intelligent people, selecting their risks skillfully.  The real art of Underwriting !!

Have you heard of thse names :   Star Haven, Air Hostess, Half A Crown, Red Satin, Own Opinion, Exhilaration, Oxford Blue, Star Contender, Star Performer, Smart Chieftan, Southern Empire, Mystical…..  race horses, of course..    Race horses are carefully bred.  There is the famous National Stud known for British Thoroughbred breeding. It comprises over 500 acres of prime pastureland on the edge of Newmarket, headquarters of racing in the UK.   Its facilities include accommodation for eight stallions and up to 200 mares in nine separate yards.  There is an unique horse racing advisory also.    The UK Horse Racing site provides  unique ratings  and their daily spreadsheets provides incredible amount of information at a click of the mouse.  Statistics  are extremely useful;  for betting, people read about the lineage, the siblings, the progeny fare and comparisons of various parameters.

Time For Rupert is the recent rage in England.   It has won six of its 12 starts and has paid richly back to its purchaser already in the short span of its racing career.  

Horse racing is a popular spectator sport in Great Britain. There are the flat races and races over fences called hurdles.    Betting on horses is a favourite pastime.   Wagering money on horse races is as old as the sport itself.  In UK, betting shops reportedly are common and many turn up there.  In Chennai city also remember that at some point of time, there used to be shops where one can bet and play on Guindy races or do inter venue betting.  Poor rickshawwallahs and others used to regularly lose their daily earnings, a portion of their wages went in buying those books providing the lineage, details of the race and tips.  Thankfully, the Govt, put an end to this menace with a ruling.    Betting is taxed but there reportedly are decisions of the  Apex Court that racing is not gambling.   Winning a jackpot is considered to be the virtue of wise and not an act by chance.  

The turn of the century has been different – now everything is online –organized, approved and illegal all have increased manifold.  For punters, wealth of technology is accessible. 

In India, in  the mid 80s the name that ranted the horse races were that of siblings - Chaitanya Ratham and Chaitanya Chakram. Their dam was Urvashi.    Chaitanya Ratham was a filly who won 12 races ; Chakram was a colt which eclipsed the exploits of his sister winning 15.   once at Indian Derby Chaitanya Chakram was 7/2 odds whilst Capricorn was offered 10/9 – still a horse from Hyderabad beat a Bombay champion at Mahalaxmi.  

The man who owns Time for Rupert  is a man with no experience in this circle.  He is a Marine Insurance Underwriter by profession.  This man with no experience of racehorse ownership, bought an unraced three-year-old liver chestnut gelding by Flemensfirth  in Dec 200, as a 10th wedding anniversary present for his wife.

Quite often it is said that men are not at all good in anniversary presents.  This Insurer in trying to be different has perhaps scoffed at the criticism, made a fortune but whether his wife was fully satisfied with the anniversary gift would perhaps still be  a mystery.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar


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