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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011
A time to bet like men
From time-to-time it pays to look back at recent events and take stock to see where you did things right and where it went wrong. I was particularly enamoured by the recent series of articles on successful “modern” punters – however, only Patrick Veitch was the only one to tick the box of being truly “modern-day”.
I’ve been punting on horses since I was 7-years-old, my first wager being a “bob” each-way on Ribocco ridden by L. Piggott in the 1967 Derby won by Royal Palace (Ribocco was 2nd so I turned a tiny profit – and the “seed” had been sown!). In the intervening years, I have always maintained and interest in horseracing, both flat and jumps. When I started working at the age of 20 in 1980, I immediately found a good use for the incoming wages tho’ success was sporadic as I insisted on having multiple bets. My favourite was a “Yankee” – and I had all 4 selections win for me once which brought-in the equivalent of a full weeks wages. However, experience has taught me that the only way to truly win is to have a significant amount on a horse that is under-valued by the markets and to get your money (proper money) down.
I think I read in a book by Clement Freud that his maxim was “don’t have a bet unless losing would hurt (financially)”. In other words, don’t have a token £10 each-way. If you are going to have a “bet”, do it properly and have a day’s wages (or the equivalent) on it. That is, if you are on £40,000 a year and take home (after tax and NIC) £550 a week (or £2,200 a month), then your minimum bet should be £110 – which is a day’s wages. If you’re not confident enough to do that – and confidence is a huge factor in playing the horses – then don’t place the bet.
In doing this you will learn several important lessons very quickly. (1) Discipline – unless you are made of money and you have so much it means nothing to you then, if you stick to the “day’s wages” rule, you won’t squander your valuable hard-earned on trivial wagers. You will develop the discipline to wait until an opportunity arrives. (2) Race-reading – if you are not betting on multiple races then you will (hopefully) watch them instead without a financial interest. As such, you will learn to race-read. It is only natural to focus your attention on the horse carrying your wager, and so miss other potential developments in the same race. Watch as much racing as you can and learn from it. (3) Character – not everyone is born to be a gambler, and gambling’s gut-instinct is not something that can be learned. If you cannot bring yourself to “put the money down” then really and truly, playing the horses is not for you. We are all capable of making valued judgements and we do it regularly when buying a car or house, or in choosing partner or a new job offer over another. It is another part of character that goes beyond these decisions as with gambling it’s all or nothing. You want a losing wager to hurt, but not so much you cannot recover from it and that it makes you feel bitter.
What took me to writing this was a race yesterday at Newton Abbot. Regular readers of the blog will know that last jumps season I posted a “Horses-to-Follow” list, nominating horses with potential to improve. By the looks of it, I spotted the potential a year too soon in some of them as Absolute Shambles has recently completed a hat-trick of wins during the summer months, and yesterday another from the list won – QHILIMAR. When looking at the following days races on Monday evening, QHILIMAR jumped-out at me as he had the right trip looked well-in off OR127. At the time, he had been price-up by one bookmaker at 10/1, but was between 8/1 – 9/1 with a few others. Given he’s won when fresh several times I considered him a 4/1 chance in the odds-line I prepared. I thought I’d leave it overnight before having a wager and see what the morning brought – wrong move! By the time I checked on oddschecker at 9:30am, the “value” had gone and the best I could find was 11/2. Although I felt confident in the horse’s ability, my confidence did not match my character to have a wager at my minimum stakes. Your see, even today, over 40 years since my first wager, I still sometimes lack the confidence to bet like a man.
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Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
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