Richard Hannon Hailed The New Champion With Record Prize Money

There are still almost three weeks left of the domestic season, but, while Richard Hannon's team drew a blank at last week's big meetings at Ascot and Newmarket, they still amassed plenty of prize money from the placed horses, so Richard's haul of £4,620,792 gives him a cushion of more than £460,000 over John Gosden. 

With next Saturday's Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster being the final Group 1 of the season and all the really valuable handicaps done and dusted, the fat lady has been on her feet since last week-end, acclaiming Richard Hannon as champion trainer in his very first season at the helm.

Furthermore, Richard's tally beats his father's record prize money from last year by more than £68,000, though they can both claim 16 Group winners each on home soil, so junior will be anxious to inch ahead some time between now and November 8. 

No Pattern prizes up for grabs until the week-end, but seven of the eight races at Newmarket tomorrow are two-year-old affairs, and the stable are well represented at HQ, with Crafty Choice flying the flag in the feature event, the 10-furlong Zetland Stakes. 

Hannon said:"Crafty Choice is on a roll, having won three off the spin, and he was going away at the finish when revelling in the soft ground at Nottingham last time, so neither the extra furlong nor the testing conditions will be a problem." 

Control The Dice And Become The Richest Man On Earth

I know it's illogical but I've cracked it! After hours of practice I am confident I have increased my chance of throwing double six. It's a great little system: the harder I throw the dice the higher the score; slower then lower numbers appear. It works like magic. I can't wait to get down the casino & clean up. Well, that's what some people would have you believe and for all of its madness is it a phenomenon which many a bettor may use in their assessment when gambling.

Ellen Langer named this psychological effect as the illusion of control. It is a tendency for people to overestimate their ability to control events even when it can be demonstrated they have no influence at all. It is a behaviour often seen in gambling and known as one of the positive illusions. This cognitive bias can also be seen within illusory superiority with regard to intelligence, performance on tasks and tests, and the possession of desirable personality traits. This phenomenon is studied in social psychology.

The illusion is more common in familiar situations where the person knows the desired outcome. If a player of craps is initially successful this feedback is likely to increase the effect, while failure may decrease or reverse it. This resembles irrational primacy effect in which people give greater influence to information that occurs earlier in a series. In stressful or competitive situation the illusion strengthens control especially when there is an emotional need to an outcome. Intriguingly, this confidence is overestimated in games determined by chance but individuals often underestimate their control when they hold an advantage. Langer's research demonstrated that participants are more likely to throw a dice harder when they need a higher number and softer for lower numbers. This study has been replicated with lottery tickets. Participants who had chosen their lottery ticket were more reluctant to part with it even when they could trade it for another with a higher chance of paying out. They were also less likely to swap tickets if they had familiar symbols ( lucky numbers, birthdays etc). It is important to remember that these tickets - although random - were instrumental in the  behaviour affecting their win chance.

Langer explained her findings in terms of confusion between skill and chance situations. In essence, participants' judgements were based on ''skill cues'' and made all the stronger when associated with games of skill. However, Suzanne Thompson proposed that judgements about control were based on an intention to create an outcome and a relationship between the action and outcome. This can be seen with playing slot machine where there is an intention to win but also an action by pressing a button. This control heuristic could be seen with the old-style one armed bandits which a player would change their style with regard to a given ''need'' (I'm always lucky when I do this behaviour...) The self-regulatory theory suggests we cope with a lack of control by falsely attributing self control of the situation.

Taylor and Brown argue that positive illusions are adaptive as they help motivate people to persist at a task when they might give up. In fact, optimistic self-appraisals of our capability can be advantageous but only in situations where control is possible. 

Saturday Tipster Competition

Been to Newmarket all day and then back home to the pub and a game of three card brag. Enjoyable day/evening but got back and having to update the blog at 1:30am. Never mind. I won't go mad and try and detail the leader board. Good luck to all. 1:30pm Deadline.    

Tip selections: 

I Followed That Horse Off A Cliff

A study by Knox & Inkster (1968) revealed something interesting about people at the racetrack. Just after placing a bet they were much more confident of their horses' chance of winning than immediately before the wager. What is intriguing is that nothing about the horses' chances had changed: it was the same horse, the same course, the same opposition. What had changed was that the bettor considered his likelihood of winning had greatly improved with that ticket in hand.

But why?

Psychologists consider this to be an effect of social influence. By living in a social world where our behaviour is often questioned we are brought up with a need to appear consistent. In essence, when we make a choice we stick to it doggedly and ultimately displaying commitment to the task. But in doing so we often convince ourselves that we have made the right choice even when at times this may seem quite illogical.

Psychologists have long known about the power of the consistency principle to direct human action as a central motivator of behaviour. In fact consistency is generally associate with intelligence and good character - it also makes for an easier life in that we are not contemplating a myriad of choices in daily life. In fact, to behave in an inconsistent manner may be seen as an undesirable character trait: two faced, irrational or even categorized as mentally ill.

However, there are two sides to this coin.

Does a commitment to consistency make you do things that you wouldn't ordinarily do? There is little doubt it does! In fact, such is the power of social influence it often causes us to act in ways which are contrary to our best interests. We become habitually consistent - to the point it is unconscious.

But how can we relate this psychological research to everyday gambling? I have noted a couple of interesting points that people quote to the extent they have become a cliche. And they afford an intriguing insight to this subject matter. Many people have a favourite horse, trainer, jockey, type of bet, betting system - you name it - because it is part of your commitment to consistency. But now consider this. How many times have you heard someone say: 'I followed that horse off a cliff'. Why did they do that? Is it because you once made a commitment by backing it before? How many times have you battled with yourself  'questioning' whether you should 'give it one more chance?' You probably lost out to the quiet power of social influence - the terrible twins: consistency and commitment.

It is the same with people chasing losses. Consciously or unconsciously - mainly the latter - you have made a commitment to myself to make money that day - most certainly not to lose! Something is pushing your buttons to remain consistent (even if it costs you more and more). Have you ever noticed how a small loss - which on the grand scale of things is insignificant - can get you completely stressed out. I would suggest it is more to do with the internal disharmony of thinking 'What the hell was I doing?' rather than the money itself.

We are all victims of the consistency principle in everyday life. Why does the car salesman say: 'Would you buy the car right now if the price was right?'. He is trying to control that commitment - and by doing so is halfway to a sale.

I have only pointed a to a few aspects of how consistency and commitment can play a part in your gambling. I am sure with this new awareness you will be able to note how its significance has an impact on you and how you may be able to change this for the better - although it will be more difficult than you think. It is surprising how these things can slip under your betting radar. It pays to be aware of their influence.

As a final illustration of the power of social influence - consistency and commitment - I have one final piece of research which is quite humorous in its way but clearly identifies the problems at hand.

In 1966 Freeman and Fraser published an astonishing set of data.

A researcher posing as a volunteer worker had gone door to door in a residential California neighbourhood making an absurd request to homeowners. They were asked if a public-service billboard could be placed on their front lawns. They were even shown photographs of what it would look like where the view of an attractive house was almost completely obscured by a very large, poorly lettered sign reading: DRIVE CAREFULLY.

Although the request was normally and understandably refused by the great majority (17% complied), one particular group reacted favourably!

In fact, over 75% of them offered the use of their front lawn.


The reason for their startling compliance had to do with something that had happened two weeks earlier: they had made the small commitment to driver safety. A different volunteer had come to their doors and asked them to display a little three-inch square sign that read BE A SAFE DRIVER. It seemed such a small request that nearly all of them agreed. However, the effects of that request was enormous.

How does consistency and commitment affect your betting?

Expert Vs Novice: Place Your Bets Now

So what's your selection? To even contemplate such a task takes considerable knowledge, let alone successfully finding a winner! 

But wait a minute. 

How come my mate Joe is ahead of the game? In fact, he seems to have the bookies running for cover. He's been banned by most! I guess you could call him a professional gambler. 

But is there a difference between how an expert and novice solve problems?  While it is obvious experts know more than novices, until recently the lay person's view of the expert might presume their skills were due to a superior mental capacity rather than a vast body of specialist knowledge. 

However, there has been a shift in emphasis with ground-breaking research regarding chess skills. The chess analogy is interesting because not only does it investigate problem-solving strategies but it has the focus of the adversary opponent. 

De Groot (1946/65) conducted a series of chess studies which conflicted with the assumption that skilled problem solvers must have superior information processing skills.  He asked five grand masters & five skilled chess players to think aloud as they studied a chessboard and choose a move. If grand masters used such superior information processing they would be expected to make broader searches for their next move. Interestingly, evidence illustrated there was no qualitative difference between the expert and novice. The difference between the two groups was unremarkable - the grand masters simply made the better moves.  Players were  shown chessboards with pieces arranged from actual games. The boards were presented to players for a short time and then removed. They were asked to construct the board positions from memory. The grand masters constructed the board almost without error while the novice faltered (91% - 41%). Skill level was linked to the amount of information remembered about the chessboard positions. Further research from Chase and Simon (1973) suggest experts not only posses more knowledge but it is organized in more meaningful and readily accessible ways.    

Larkin et al (1980) were interested in the possible strategic differences between experts and novices. They asked expert and novice physicists to solve a range of physics problems. They found that experts tended to use a working forwards strategy. Using the information to derive a solution. Novices use a working backwards strategy starting with the goal. In gambling terms this would amount to thinking ''I must find the winner''.

It appears experts use their knowledge to generate good problem representations which support working forward strategies while novices rely on trial and error.

It is often said 'practice makes perfect'. But what researchers noticed many years ago that performance improves with practice in a very systematic and predictable way. The 'power law of practice' has been known for a long time. Practice seems to be a factor in the development of skills over a range of activities.  Performance improves with practice because individual task components are executed more efficiently; sequences of task components are executed more efficiently & qualitative changes occur in representations of task structure.    

Performance improves with practice because the time to recovery memory is reduced and importantly sequences of units or chunks. In addition, performance improves because the task is restructured.

But how much practice is needed to achieve excellence? Ericsson et al. (1993) have given ten years as a ballpark figure for attaining high levels of performance in a variety of areas (chess, mathematics, violin playing). Ericsson (1991) suggests that it takes at least ten years to reach the international level of performance in sport, the arts and sciences. Simon and Chase (1973) estimated it took 3,000 hours practice to become an expert and around 30,000 hours to become a chess master. Many of those who achieve excellence start at a very young age simply because it takes such a long time to acquire the necessary knowledge. 

However, it is possible to train participants to improve on their best performance. Ericsson and Harris (1990) trained an individual who was not a chess player over a period of 50 hours to recognise chess positions almost as accurately as some chess masters. Although Ericsson and Polson (1988) found, practice itself is not a guarantee of superior performance. In their study, the waiter most skilled in remembering orders used more effective encoding strategies compared to equally experienced counterparts. The critical point is not how much practice individuals have, but what they actually do while they are practising the skill. (This point will be explored in our next article.)

Saturday Tipping Competition

The second week of the Saturday Tipping Competition. A quiet start to proceedings with a few winners hitting the mark but no big prices. Tecbet leads the way with 10pts, Shukman 8pts, while HCE, Pam, Inittowinit, Gareth & Winter have made their mark. Still all to play for. 1:30PM Deadline. Good luck. 

2:20 Nottingham Racing Tips (8th October) 32RED ON THE APP STORE EBF STALLIONS MAIDEN STAKES (CLASS 5) (2yo)

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 6f 15y on good ground. Seventeen two-year-olds take part: colts, geldings and four fillies. Ten juveniles are lightly raced in what looks a competitive heat. In many respects this isn't a race I would bet but one factor may always justify a small wager - a speculative price. Major Attitude could well have disappointed on debut when making his debut at Bath. Clive Cox often sends his better juveniles to make their debut at this course and it wouldn't be a surprise to learn this son of Major Cadeaux out of a winning, listed-raced mare has ability. This bay colt was purchased by the trainer for 40,000gns at Tattersalls October Sales 2013 (Book 2). This horse is a half-brother to the exceptionally talented Hearts Of Fire. In truth, this April foal had a mountain to climb starting off at Stakes class against a field of winning opponents on good to soft ground. To start 5/1 second-favourite suggests this horse had something of a reputation. After a tardy start, inexperience told, and it was soon apparent Major Attitude wouldn't press the likes of Elysian Flyer. This youngster is far from a confident selection. I'm hopeful this juvenile will be forgotten on the exchanges and at some point drift to huge prices. Time will tell if that is the case. I can see this colt being backed so may be worth a speculative punt at odds with the idea of laying at shorter prices closer to the off. 

2:20 Windsor Racing Tips (6th October) BRITISH STALLION STUDS EBF MAIDEN STAKES (DIV I) (CLASS 5) (2yo) Winner £2,911 11 runners 1m67y

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 1m 67y on soft ground. Eleven two-year-olds take part: colts, geldings & solitary filly. Last week I mentioned one of Andrew Balding's juveniles on its second start - which disappointed. Horses win: horses lose. In general, my analysis is correct so we will see if Kingsclere Park House Stable can hit the target this time round. Rocky Rider is a son of top-class stallion Galileo out of a limited-winning mare. This bay colt was purchase by David Redvers Bloodstock for 400,000gns from Tattersall October Sales 2013 (Book 1). The mare has produced a number of exceptionally expensive offspring - no doubt being influenced by Blue Duster, who is on this youngster's page. In the familiar maroon silks of Qatar Racing Ltd, Rocky Rider was quite well backed on debut at Haydock over one mile when fourth behind Lord Ben Stack. Although beaten a good few lengths this juvenile showed promise and is sure to come on first that first start. If priced in single figures hold respectable win and place claims. 

Saturday Tipping Competition

The Saturday Tipping Competition is back. Rawnsley proved victorious in last month's pro ranks, while Me Old Mum reared her green face after parking her broomstick in the corner. Are you going to win this month? Time will tell. For all those who want to enter the pro competition please make your payment via Pay Pal. There will be lots of money up for grabs. For those eagle-eyed tipsters you may have noticed a beach babe has decided to get in on the action. This is a little bit of fun for all those who want more money!!! The Daily Beach Babe Monthly Prize gives one lucky punter (not that kind of punter) a £10 prize if you can tip a winning horse with a girl's name. If there are more than one girly-named winner there will be a draw at the end of the month. So we have 3 Prizes: Pro. Free. Babe. Deadline 1:30PM. No late entries, please.  

Eric Winner Beats The Bookies

It's true he's a man of mystery. His tips legendary. No wonder punters call Eric - Mr Winner. Betting is often viewed in such a negative light. People declare: 'You can't beat the bookies'. Is that so? Take a look at the maths. Since starting blogging earlier this year profits have grown. Be a big-money winner with  over £3K profit to a £10 level stake! 


In the last few days he has notched up winners: 25/1, 12/1, 9/1 & 9/4. That's 36 points profit in 4 days. 

Eric tips speculative-priced horses which - more often than not - hit the frame. His in-depth analysis details how the races will be run: front runners, hold-up horses and plenty for lay backers to get their teeth into. This approach makes much appeal to those who enjoy betting in-running. With a unique rating system it gives potential for a multitude of bets. He made the headlines with:

Remember his £3K profit has been determined by bookmaker prices. I've seen one or two of his winners touch 80/1 on Betfair. That's big money! 

A £20 bet to win £1,600. 

His blog is proving more popular by the day. He receives daily comments with glowing testimonials.

If you want to make your racing pay we recommend Eric Winner. His clean-cut website has plenty for racing fans to enjoy and I bet he puts money in your pocket too.    

1:45 Salisbury Racing Tips (1st October) FRANCIS CLARK BRITISH STALLION STUDS EBF MAIDEN STAKES (Bobis Race) (Div I) (CLASS 4) (2yo)

An EBF Maiden Stakes for two-year-olds over one mile on good ground. Eleven juveniles take part: colts, one gelding and solitary filly. Six lightly-raced horses with a handful of debutantes from leading stables. Andrew Balding is a superb trainer and his youngsters are worthy of note on their second start. Brandon Castle is an Irish-bred son of Dylan Thomas out of Galileo mare, trained by Mick Channon. This 30,000gns yearling was purchased by the trainer from the Tattersall's October Sale 2013. This bay colt was relatively fancied on debut butin experience proved costly. On the positive side, there was much promise in that initial performance. The form of that race is nothing out of the ordinary but this February foal should improve a good deal for that first start. The betting is important and money is always a worthy of note. If featuring single odd starting price I would give this individual decent win and place claims. 

2:30 Newcastle - Alnashama (strong place claims)