What inspired you to become a blogger?
When I first became interested in gambling "properly", ie. seeing it as a means to invest money in something that had the potential to provide a good return, there was a blog that I think most who were interested in gambling at the time would be reading every night - JP's blog. I was no exception and I followed JP's fortunes closely and learnt an awful lot whilst doing so. The scale he was gambling at was certainly different to mine, but the principles that guided him always seemed particularly relevant to what I was trying to achieve by following my services. Since JP stopped blogging, I had really missed my nightly read, and then it occurred to me that perhaps I could try to start to fill that gap with The Portfolio Investor. I also realised that writing a blog on a daily basis was a good exercise in discipline and that perhaps it could help others who were running their own portfolios or who were thinking of doing so.
Other than that, I simply enjoy writing. I had always wanted to be a journalist when I was much younger and regret now not following that career path. At least with blogging I don't have to doorstep people who don't want to talk to me!
What is your most memorable racing day(s)?
I have to confess that racing is not a passion of mine as such. I enjoy the sport, take a more than a passing interest in it, but I am in no way a racing expert. I do have one or two personal racing related highlights, however, and top of this tree is the day that Nashwan won the 1989 Derby. I was 17, and it was the day of my History A' level exam. My best friend was also sitting the exam, but after we left the hall I remember us both rushing home to watch on Channel 4. Why was it of such interest? Because about seven months previously, my friend suggested we back it ante post at 8/1. Why? - I still to this day don't know. Divine inspiration perhaps?. Whatever, I remember watching 'Nashers' winning the Guineas and seeing it's price contract, and continue to contract until that fateful day at Epsom when it went off 5/4 favourite. The winnings only amounted to about £160 between us, but at the time it seemed like a small fortune, but what really made the day special was the way in which it won. I can still see Willie Carson in those blue and white silks streaking clear up the straight as if it was yesterday. By the way, both of us flunked that history paper, and that horse is probably to blame.
How would you improve racing?
I'm not really qualified to answer this question properly, but finding some way in which winner-spotting became a little easier would get a thumbs-up from me! For the future of the sport, I do think that the Levy situation must be sorted out so that a decent level of prize money can be provided to some of the lower level tracks. But I guess that is pretty obvious.
Who do you most admire in racing and why?
Nothing original here but AP McCoy is someone I have the utmost admiration for, and not only because like myself, he's a proper Arsenal fan! As I've said, I'm no racing expert, but even I can see that he is a master of his art. I have seen him ride horses and cajole, bully, demand, or persuade them to win a race in a way that you very rarely see any other jockey do. The thing is, though, is that McCoy does it on a daily basis. I also admire anyone who is dedicated in their desire to be a success at whatever it is that they do, and his determination to always be the best is hugely admirable. For sheer guts, though, I think any jump jockey is fully worthy of admiration.
Who is your favourite racehorse of all time?
You may think in light of a previous answer it would be Nashwan, but actually it is a pretty run of the mill handicapper called False Start. Again it was 1989, and I had just turned 18 and was about to embark on a six week holiday to Australia. I had got a job behind a bar as a way of getting some holiday money together, but like many lads of that age, I found saving money a concept that was a little trickier to get to grips with than drinking beer. Put it this way, my holiday fund was a little lower than it ought to have been. Actually, it was £200. Not a lot to cover six weeks.
Anyway, my mate (the same one who found Nashwan) had a fancy for a horse called False Start in a handicap at Newbury. It was July, and it was less than a week before my flight to Oz. Looking back now, it was a stupid thing to do, but my friend's argument for backing False Start was so persuasive, I stuck £150 of my £200 on at 9/4. My previous biggest bet had been a tenner! Now this was in the days before you got pictures in the bookies - it was just radio (SIS) commentary, and I simply couldn't listen. I remember walking the streets for ten minutes with my mate. We didn't talk to each other. We just wandered, aimlessly, our stomachs a knot of tension. I remember now going into the bookies, slightly dazed, searching for the result written in marker pen on a white board. And there it was...I still don't know if it won easily or by a nose - I really must look it up. Ten minutes later we were sitting in my friend's back garden in the sun, sharing out ten-pound notes. What a pair of right Charlies! We thought we were the bees knees.
What is your personal ambition?
To ensure that my own children don't resort to sticking money they can't really afford to lose on their mate's tips before going on the holiday of a lifetime! Seriously though, and this is going to sound twee, but being a good Dad and husband is enough for me now. I don't think Arsene Wenger is going to spot my potential now I'm about to turn 40, put it that way!
Who would you like to be for the day?
Jack Wilshere. Young, supremely talented, and still allowed to be star struck by his team mates.
Best advice given?
To ensure that my betting banks were large enough for each service that I follow so that the inevitable losing runs can be covered and endured without unnecessary extra pressure. It was the Secret Betting Club service that drummed this into me, and I read the comments of so many people on forums complaining about this service or that service and how they can't continue to follow. It then transpires that they are using what are obviously insufficient funds for the level of staking they are adopting. That, and to expect losing runs.
Dream holiday destination?
This is going to sound terribly unambitious, but where we actually go each year is my dream destination. We go to a small fishing village in Devon for the week which possesses a pub, post office, two small sheltered beaches and stunning coastal scenery (and no mobile or internet connection). The kids are happy as larry on the beach, and evening barbecues of sardines literally just caught (you see the boat come in) and a chilled glass of white...there's nothing better. My honeymoon was spent in the Tuscan hills in a villa about 40 miles from Florence. That's a pretty inspiring place to be too.
If you had a dinner party, who would you invite?
Arsene Wenger for obvious reasons - I could spend all night talking football with him, but to offer a variety in terms of the conversation I would also invite Noel Gallagher who in addition to being someone whose talent I admire, would probably have a story or two to tell. And finally my mate Matt, in an attempt to once and for all gain some sort of explanation as to how he could find Nashwan at 8/1 for the 1989 Derby, and Salsabil at 20/1 as an unraced two year old for the 1990 1,000 Guineas, and yet not seem to be able to pick a winner since!
HCE I would like to thank Rowen for taking the time to make this submission and I think you will all agree it is a great read- really highlighting our sporting goal, interests and the importance of family and friends.
If you would like to make a submission to Walking The Blog, please contact me at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org