Friday, 25 October 2019

Five Horses to Watch This National Hunt Season

Excitement is mounting among fans of jumps racing as we enter the early stages of the 2019/20 National Hunt season. Old heroes will return for another crack at glory in some of the biggest races in the calendar, from the Cheltenham Gold Cup to the Grand National at Aintree. New titans of the National Hunt scene will also emerge, and fans will be treated to a great deal of excitement, intrigue and drama along the way. Here are five horses to look out for over the course of the season:


Nicky Henderson’s superstar nine-year-old remains unbeaten throughout his magnificent jumps racing career. He announced himself as a force to be reckoned with when he surged to victory in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle in 2016. He then won the Arkle in 2017 and he has triumphed in the Queen Mother Champion Chase – the leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar – for the past two years, becoming the punters’ darling in the process. 

Now Henderson has decided to take Altior in an interesting new direction. “After plenty of input from everyone, we have decided that we are going to go down the King George route,” Henderson announced. “Therefore the obvious race to start in is the Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot on 23 November.” 

That will put Altior on a collision course with Cyrname, who became the highest rated chaser in Britain when he secured a couple of seriously impressive victories at Ascot early in 2019. Cyrname and Altior were due to lock horns at Sandown earlier this year, but Cyrname’s connections decided to skip it due to quick ground. By November, Ascot should be ripe for a thrilling battle between these two brilliant chasers, and Altior’s backers insist he will make a mockery of his official rating of being 1lb weaker than Cyrname. 

For those who get in early, Altior is the favourite to win the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He is priced at 5/2, while Cyrname is 5/1 and 2018 winner Clan Des Obeaux is 11/2. It remains to be seen which race Henderson will send Altior to at Cheltenham, and much will depend on his performances in the Christy 1965 Chase and the King George.


Colin Tizzard’s seven-year-old began 2019 with an eye-catching win in the Grade 2 Dipper Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. He followed it up with a strong performance to finish second to Defi Du Seuil in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase at Sandown. He was then second to the same horse in the JLT Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, but he relished the step up in trip for the Grade 1 Mildmay Novices’ Chase over 3m 210y at Aintree in April. 

He finished comfortably clear of 10/11 favourite Topofthegame to clinch victory. That marked him out as a potential Gold Cup winner, and he is among the ante post favourites to land the biggest race of the season. Tizzard has indicated that Lostintranslation will return to action in an intermediate race at Carlisle, before working up to the big races taking place this season. “For the next few seasons, we hope he will be running in top races every time,” said Tizzard. “He was a big block of a horse when he came to us. But when we first ran him at Chepstow he very nearly won, and the good ones often take you by surprise.” 

If he resumes his fine form, Lostintranslation will go to Haydock, then the King George and have one more run before the Gold Cup. “Everything points to him getting the Gold Cup trip,” added Tizzard. Another horse from his stable, Native River, won the Gold Cup in 2018 and finished fourth last year, so he knows a thing or two about saddling a contender in the most prestigious race of the year. 

Tiger Roll 

Tiger Roll will bid to become the first horse to win the Grand National three times in a row at Aintree in 2020. His owner, the Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary, famously referred to him as “a little rat of thing” and never expected him to cope with the rigours of the most intense steeplechase of them all. Yet Tiger Roll, the smallest horse in the field, soared to victory in 2018 and then delighted many punters by defending his crown earlier this year. That made him the first horse since Red Rum to win the famous race twice in a row. 

Red Rum won it a third time in 1977 and he remains the leading horse in Grand National History. Tiger Roll will now aim to move level with that legend. He has also won the Glenfarclass Cross Country Chase at the Cheltenham for the past two years, and it will be fascinating to see how he gets on this time around. Elliott will certainly be careful with his little superstar. 

“We are going to have to mind him now and pick and choose where we go,” said the trainer. “He will probably have one run over hurdles, maybe something like the Boyne Hurdle [at Navan in February] again. He will go back to Cheltenham for the Cross Country race and then we’ll go for the Randox Health Grand National.” 

Chacun Pour Soi 

The exciting Chacun Pour Soi won by 31 lengths on his debut at Naas in March and that inspired Willie Mullins to catapult him up to Grade 1. The task facing him was formidable as he lined up alongside recent Cheltenham festival winners Defi Du Seuil and Duc Des Genievres for the Ryanair Novice Chase at Punchestown. 

A few early errors did not help his cause, but Chacun Pour Soi contested the lead three out and then surged to the front of the field. He was pressed by Defi Du Seuil going into the last, but he held on for a strong four-length victory. 

There are now high hopes for Chacun Pour Soi this season. Mullins always has a large collection of superstars, and the likes of Klassical Dream, Al Boum Photo, Camelia De Cotte and Duc Des Genievres will be keenly followed this season, but Chacun Pour Soi looks like a really special talent. He is already the second favourite behind Altior for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and he should have great things ahead of him. 


Paul Nicholls’ imposing stayer has gone from strength to strength in recent years and he romped to victory in the Grade 1 RSA Chase at Cheltenham in March. The field was extremely strong for a race that is frequently dubbed “the novice’s Gold Cup”, but Topofthegame saw off competition from big names like Santini, Delta Work and The World’s End to clinch a famous win. He followed it up with another strong performance when second behind Lostintranslation in the Mildmay Novices’ Chase at Aintree the following month. 

Topofthegame has proven quality at Grade 1 level, and he should continue on an upward curve this season. The huge son of Flemensfirth is a magnificent looking racehorse and he should have the power to thrive at Cheltenham again in 2020. Nicholls believes he has all the right qualities to become a leading Gold Cup contender. “He strikes me as an ideal Gold Cup horse,” said the Ditcheat trainer. “We’ll train him with that race in mind. He travels beautifully, jumps and stays, and those are the qualities you need.”

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

What Happened to Eoghan O'Neill?

You may remember reading this headline: Shock split as Fretwell withdraws horses from O'Neill yard. But what happened to the once winning partnership and what did the future hold for this talented trainer? 


Last updated at 20:44 17 March 2008

Midlands businessman John Fretwell, whose lime green colours have been so successful in recent seasons, has shocked trainer Eoghan O'Neill by severing their partnership and removing many of his horses.

O'Neill answered an advertisement for training for Fretwell four years ago and moved from Newmarket to his purpose-built stables at Averham Park just outside Newark, Nottinghamshire after impressing his new boss in an interview.

There were 72 applicants.

The ambitious Irishman delivered the goods with Fretwell's bargain-basement youngsters, many of whom were sold on at a profit at the end of their two-year-old careers.

The horses have now been split between his other existing trainer Ed McMahon, as well as new trainers Kevin Ryan, Peter Chapple- Hyam and Jeremy Noseda.

Chapple-Hyam is believed to be receiving four-year-old Medicine Path, who had a poor season last year but was runner-up to Admiralofthefleet in the Royal Lodge and third to authorised in the Racing Post Trophy the previous season.

O'Neill, 38, married with three children and a former assistant to John Gosden and Sir Mark Prescott, was contacted yesterday, but said: "I don't want to talk about it."

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He has delivered wins in the Group Two Champagne Stakes (Silent Times) and Richmond Stakes (Always Hopeful) for his principal patron, who was unavailable for comment.

O'Neill moved to Averham Park in August 2004 and since the start of 2005 had trained 96 winners.

He has had eight winners from 23 runners so far this year including four from four runs with Rapidity (not owned by Fretwell) who made all to register wins at each of the four all-weather tracks from February 3-15, a record.

Fretwell and his son Paul are frequent buyers at Doncaster Sales where they have been more than adept in spotting yearling talent.

Fretwell, 59, sold his cash-and-carry business, where he employed 600 people, four years ago and is one of the few owners in racing claiming to make a profit out of his hobby

Eoghan O'Neill
 About Eoghan O'Neill

Eoghan has held a trainers licence since 2000 in the UK and more recently in France since 2010.

During his short career as a trainer, O’Neill has sent out the winners of over 200 races, however his forte appears to be his brilliance at placing horses at black type level ensuring, for their owners, maximum value for future sales and for breeding.

O'Neill has trained the winners of the Champagne Stakes Gr 2, Firth of Clyde Gr 2, Weld Stakes Gr 3 and countless other Listed and Group races. He was denied by inches of Classic glory in 2007 in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket when Vital Equine was beaten into second place, however his quest for glory in the Newmarket classic still remains his biggest ambition after coming so desperately close.

O'Neill lives at EMLASA farm with is wife Melissa and four children, Luke, Alice, Sophie and Annabel.

O'Neill’s path to EMLASA has been a long one, having been raised on a farm in Ireland, O’Neill spent Summer holidays working with Robert Collet in Chantilly.Following O'Neill’s graduation from university where he obtained a degree in Economics and Psychology and a post-graduate degree in Business Studies from the Smurfit International School of Business at University College, Dublin he took a position as assistant trainer with Sir Mark Prescott BT at Newmarket and enjoyed three wonderful years being associated with such horses as Wizard King, Hasten To Add, Pivotal and Last Second.

Following his time with Sir Mark Prescott he joined John Gosden as an assistant trainer for a further three years, where he was associated with such horses as Benny The Dip, Shantou and Ryafan. Following his experiences with such great professionals, O’Neill then felt in 2000 that it was the time for him to branch out on his own.

Where is Eoghan O'Neill now?

EMLASA Farm, France
 Set in the depths of the Orne Valley in South Normandy, France lies EMLASA Farm; a purpose built equestrian property for the training of thoroughbred racehorses.

The farm has a 300-year history of successful breeding until it was recently purchased by its current owners Eoghan and Melissa O’Neill and their young family.

EMLASA offers a tranquil environment with 120 acres of lush grass paddocks and also second to none gallop facilities. EMLASA has two training tracks, one of natural sand and the other of SOFTRACK. The most recent innovation in gallop surfaces created by the SOFTRACK team led by Robert Brazil and Hugh Daly.

SOFTRACK is probably the best synthetic riding surface in the world and with its superb composition it gives Eoghan O’Neill an edge in terms of the soundness of his horses and increases the longevity of their racing careers.

The SOFTRACK gallop at EMLASA is 1200 metres on a gentle, sweeping incline.

This gives all horses, but in particular two-year-olds, the opportunity to experience racing conditions at home prior to racing.The sand gallop at EMLASA Farm which is 1400 metres in an oval is ideal for horses where long distance racing is their forte.

EMLASA Farm consists of a 60 box complex in two American style barns with also some loose boxes in the main yard. Each barn is equipped with horse showers, so horses can properly avail of being washed down after exercise. Plans are currently afoot and an equine swimming pool will be installed in the coming months.

There are also advanced plans for the construction of an indoor canter. This will further enhance the service Eoghan O’Neill can provide together with the current facilities described above which also include 2 horse walkers.

Why France?

We are currently in the early part of our racing season here in France which will be our first full season, having only moved from the UK last July. Apart from the fabulous facilities that EMLASA provides France is the world leader in terms of prize money which horses can earn by racing here, in fact it is 56% better than the UK for example.

France also has a lucrative premium system for French bred horses which provide 75% premium on top of any prize money won by a French bred two year old, 63% for a French bred three-year-old and 48% for a French bred four year old and older.

France actually gives racehorse owners a chance to enjoy their racing without it being a continuous drain on an owners resources. For many racehorse owners, France provides a nice racing environment and an opportunity of making it pay.

O'Neill Loving French Connection

May 7th, 2010

Eoghan O'Neill could make a rapid return to the big stage if his well-crafted plans work out.

British racegoers have seen a lot less of the 39-year-old since he bought a yard for the majority of his horses in France during the spring and he managed to slip under the punting radar with a 20-1 success in last Saturday's Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar.

O'Neill has never been a trainer prepared to stick to conventional boundaries and was sending out runners - and winners - all over Europe during the earlier parts of his career from bases in Newmarket and then Nottinghamshire and it is no surprise that Redcar star Lucky Like could be off travelling too.

"We'll definitely run him again," said O'Neill.

"He might go for the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (November 3) or there is also the option of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

"I've always thought he was nice but Franny Norton got off him on Saturday and described him as a proper horse. He won very easily so we're excited about him."

Lucky Like is not the only horse in the yard with important targets. O'Neill plans to get Kieren Fallon to ride Maroon Machine in the Dewhurst and of others, he revealed:

"Times Vital is a definite runner in the Cesarewitch and Franny will ride him too. Philander is also a definite runner in the Racing Post Trophy." A former protege of Sir Mark Prescott and John Gosden, O'Neill's ambition impressed wealthy owner John Fretwell enough to invite him to train at his establishment in Averham Park near Newark in 2004.

In a four-year partnership, they shared notable victories in races like the Champagne and the Richmond Stakes.

O'Neill still has a link with Nottinghamshire and sets himself a pretty busy schedule.

"I have two bases. My satellite yard is a 120-acre farm with two Polytrack on it. We bought that in March and the easiest way to describe where it lies is to say it's 100 miles west of Paris. It's isolated, but that's the way I like it.

"I have another base at Southwell so I commute between the two. I might spend four days in France, then two in England.

"Some horses like England, some France, but the main thing we have over here (France) is the prize money, even for run-of-the-mill stuff.

O'Neill's international outlook is causing him few problems in settling in.

He explains: "I have worked in France for many years so it's not a place that is new to me. It's just nice to get back used to it again.

"I did my apprenticeship with Robert Collet, and I've had runners in Germany, Italy, England and Ireland, so I have had the experience, and a lot of people do want to send horses to me.

"Perhaps it just seems a very fresh, new idea, and people have caught on to it. Some like the idea of having a horse trained over here and they notice someone new has made the break."

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HomeLatest NewsContactLeading race horse trainers based in France


June 28th, 2010

Broox an €18,000 purchase by Eoghan O’Neill at the October Arqana Sale at Deauville ran out a hugely impressive winner of a class B conditions race at Chantilly on Tuesday 22nd June stamping himself as one of the leading 2-year-olds seen out this year in France. Olivier Peslier never had a moment's worry and without moving a muscle he was a comfortable 4 length winner. After the race Eoghan O’Neill commented “He’s the best 2-year-old colt I have and probably the best I’ve had since Vital Equine, he’s a very straightforward horse and enjoys his work, his relaxed nature is a big help to him and both the facilities at Emlasa Farm and my staff have done a marvellous job with him. The intention is to run in the Prix Robert Papin on 25th July at Maisons-Laffitte and we’re looking forward to his next assignment.”

Since Broox has won at Group level with over £100,000 prize money.

To see his full race record (click)


Caunton Beck sold to continue racing career in Switzerland

June 11th, 2010

Caunton Beck has been sold to new Swiss owners in a deal completed by Guy Petit Bloodstock. It is understood that the new owners have purchased Caunton Beck to run in the Swiss Derby on 20th June 2010.

Commenting on the sale, Eoghan O’Neill said “Caunton Beck is a progressive 3-year-old stayer, with a great constitution and an invaluable toughness, he has been a great money spinner for the owners having cost €16,000, winning €66,000 and selling him for a substantial figure. We wish his new owners and trainer the very best of luck with him.”


Broox next outing announced

June 11th, 2010

Trainer Eoghan O’Neill announced today that Broox, the highly impressive winner at Chantilly on 21st May 2010 (Prix du Berceau) will return to the same course for his next outing on 22nd June 2010.

O’Neill commented “Broox came back from his win at Chantilly in great form, it is my intention to take little steps with him and he will run in a conditions race at Chantilly on 22nd June. If this race proves successful we will look at stepping him up to black-type company.”


O’Neill Loving French Connection

May 25th, 2010

Eoghan O’Neill could make a rapid return to the big stage if his well-crafted plans work out.

British racegoers have seen a lot less of the 39-year-old since he bought a yard for the majority of his horses in France during the spring and he managed to slip under the punting radar with a 20-1 success in last Saturday’s Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar.

O’Neill has never been a trainer prepared to stick to conventional boundaries and was sending out runners – and winners – all over Europe during the earlier parts of his career from bases in Newmarket and then Nottinghamshire and it is no surprise that Redcar star Lucky Like could be off travelling too.

“We’ll definitely run him again,” said O’Neill.

“He might go for the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (November 3) or there is also the option of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“I’ve always thought he was nice but Franny Norton got off him on Saturday and described him as a proper horse. He won very easily so we’re excited about him.”

Lucky Like is not the only horse in the yard with important targets. O’Neill plans to get Kieren Fallon to ride Maroon Machine in the Dewhurst.

O’Neill’s international outlook is causing him few problems in settling in. He explains: “I have worked in France for many years so it’s not a place that is new to me. It’s just nice to get back used to it again.

“I did my apprenticeship with Robert Collet, and I’ve had runners in Germany, Italy, England and Ireland, so I have had the experience, and a lot of people do want to send horses to me.

“Perhaps it just seems a very fresh, new idea, and people have caught on to it. Some like the idea of having a horse trained over here and they notice someone new has made the break.”


O’Neill enjoys lucky strike

May 22nd, 2010

Lucky Like stretched right away from his rivals to run out a hugely impressive winner of the totepool Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar.

Eoghan O’Neill’s juvenile was sent off at 20-1 having had four of his previous five outings in France but his jockey Francis Norton appeared confident throughout.

Once given the office, Lucky Like quickly put distance between himself and his rivals and he was fully four lengths ahead of Kaptain Kirkup passing the post.

There will be a 15p in the pound Rule 4 deduction for winning punters as leading fancy Pastoral Player was withdrawn at the start.


Welcome to the brand new EJ O’Neill Website (click)

April 22nd, 2010

We have just uploaded and unveiled our brand new website where you can find out all about our latest news, developments and learn all about EMLASA Farm and why we operate currently in France.

Find out more about ‘About Eoghan O’Neill’ »


See his latest result (click) 

Please e-mail us on

2015 June - 

Congratulations to connections and their Royal Ascot Chesham Stakes Listed winner, Suits You, ridden by Cristian Demoro. See the result here

Friday, 4 October 2019

The Opportunities of a Professional Gambler: Eddy Murray

Professional gambler stories One year as a Professional Gambler 2004-2005

This is a post from Eddy Murray:

This was my original post on the Betfair forum about my first year as a professional gambler.  This article led Inside Edge magazine to get in touch with me, and my work for both Inside Edge magazine and The Sportsman newspaper stemmed from it.

The first week of March last year I left work to go full time, and one year on, I'd like to put this thread up as perhaps some people may find it helpful.

Being a gambler is not something I ever expected to become. The advent of the internet, and the exchanges, have changed my life (for now) dramatically. I still can't quite believe its been just twelve months, but I for one have a lot to thank Andrew Black and Ed Wray for.

The twelve months started fairly badly after nearly being killed in a car crash in Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote. That was a bit of a disappointment. However, on return to the UK, I had two or three very successful months, until suddenly I was hit by a double whammy. I had originally been winning on three different types of market, and suddenly overnight became a big loser on two of them. At the same time I had been guilty of expanding my own lifestyle and expectations (in a very human, but perhaps unwise way), and had also spent a third of my bank buying (music) recording studio equipment – the one thing which I'd always dreamed of having.

Losing half of my remaining bank in the space of a fortnight last June left me in deep trouble, and it looked like I was in danger of having made a massive mistake. There was one point where I had one final bet (not a huge one though) where I promised myself if it lost to stop and never bet ever again. It did end up winning. I asked Gamcare for advice, who were very helpful. When gambling messes up your sleeping, as well as your waking hours, it is a crushing realisation that you are in a mess.

There are no evening classes, A-levels, or MBAs in gambling. There are a small band of hardcore professional gamblers, nearly all of them at least partially on Betfair, who are literally some of the sharpest minds there are. Any amounts on any market above £100 are likely to be bets placed up there by one of them. They are equally as talented at gambling as a top barrister or doctor would be at their trade. Nobody walks into a courtroom and decides to be a top lawyer for the day, nor operate in theatre at the local hospital. The difference with betting is that everyone can (and most do) have a bet. What can be much simpler than having £10 on Manchester United to win a football match?

Last June (only three months after leaving work), I was in fairly heavy trouble. I had a certain level of my bank which I had set as a level I would try to never go below. When it reached that level, it looked like taking the gamble on becoming a gambler was one I was on the brink of losing.

At that point, the advice I received from another gambler changed everything. I was in contact with a number of people, mainly originally through Betfair's forum, but one of them I hold my hat off to, and have an enormous gratitude to, and respect for (you know who you are guv'nor). I managed to cross over and adapt my skills across a wide range of markets/sports, so that I had degrees of success in new areas. A key part of remaining a pro is the ability to adapt to a constantly changing market. You literally have to run to stand still to be successful in as fiercely competitive an environment as Betfair.

Winning money through betting is paradoxically something I feel very uncomfortable with morally. Are there people on the other side of these bets who are risking more than they can afford to lose? All the money originally deposited into Betfair has at some stage been earned in an office, a factory, a checkout, forecourt or salon. Much of it has real blood sweat and tears behind it. It makes me incredibly sad to read the figures from the big 3 that they have around 200,000 customers a year losing an average of £3,000 a year into FOBT's, as reported on a number of threads on the General Betting forum. One of my ex-girlfriends had only come to England with her mother many years ago, after her father's gambling addiction took their family to financial and emotional ruin, and her parents separated. There are real human beings out there who become just further statistics to fall by the wayside in the current pro-gambling British culture.

There's always the hope that if you do win, it's off a rich city trader, who is punting silly money for fun. Betfair has a very small number of seriously big winners (of which I am not one), but very few if any big losers. It has a vast legion of small losers. A football match can be more fun with a bet having been placed on it. The people who gamble for entertainment (whether they win or lose), as an enjoyable hobby to complement an already balanced life are perhaps the real winners. Given to this group of its customers, it is the better value and accessibility to a product they enjoy, that is perhaps Betfair's greatest success.

For every 100 winners in a calendar year, many of them will fall by the wayside the following year. One of the most famous posts on this forum has been 'The Story of Ster', who went from being a big winner to someone whose methods became horribly outmoded, and he found himself deceiving his family about his gambling problems. According to his last post he found happiness and support from his loved ones. For every passage of time, past present and future, there will be a number who are crushed through indiscipline/addiction/chasing/recklessness and/or greed.

A year full time feels like a lifetime. Gambling is neither a hobby nor a job, it is a lifestyle. One thread on here has had a user called TETO setting a target of £50 a day, whilst another has a user called 'Doubled' seeking to make £25,000 a year. Everyone starts gambling with £1's and £2's, and if they are good, that progresses to fivers, tenners, fifties, and then hundreds. There are people who bet tens of thousands of pounds per football match, horse or rugby team on Betfair, without blinking an eyelid. If you have two gamblers, one of them 5% better than the other, one could realistically make £20,000 a year from it, the second one could make £70,000. The difference between earning £26,000 a year in the workplace, and £32,000 a year could be four or five years' hard graft and promotion. A small difference in gambling skill can make an astronomical difference to the bottom line here though. The real shrewdies who use Betfair make about 10% profit on turnover, with a fairly astonishing turnover level by any layman's standards.

There is no security in the future of any gambler, bar their own ability to stash away whatever they can for a rainy day. I am 26, and I know that when I do go back into the workplace (something I hope to do) it will be at the bottom rung again. Each year spent as a full timer doesn't knock off a year of your real career at the bottom end of the ladder, it knocks off one of the best years at the end of it. It is quite a heavy burden for me, when most of my peers are doing well and forging ahead as consultants/analysts/bankers/lawyers/accountants/actuaries. Only hindsight will let me know if I did actually make the right decision at this stage in my life.

I'd like to put forward my own opinions of the kind of people who I think would make successful pro gamblers. Every school boy wants to be captain of the football team, or seeing the prettiest girl in the school. I was neither, just a quiet studious swot who probably annoyed people by continually beating everyone in the exams, as well as probably other various nerdy and equally nefarious activities. Pets don't win prizes, geeks do. If you can remember the class genius/nerd, I don't think you're cut out to be a winner on Betfair. If you were the nerd, you have a chance. As I said before, nobody expects to turn up and be a brilliant doctor or lawyer, but everybody likes to have a punt, and most are happy to bet until they've done their cobblers.

I've personally written two specific programs/models which have proved invaluable on certain markets. One has half a million variables. The other I'm incredibly proud of, and wouldn't sell for 30k. Winning at gambling is extraordinarily hard to do consistently, and it takes an armoury of graft, skill and discipline to succeed. The technical skill and wizardry behind some of the API programming is itself several steps up from a relatively small fish like me.

Nobody is ever a real winner from gambling until the day they cash in their chips, and leave the casino. There are gamblers throughout history who have won millions, and lost it all back. If somebody asked me if it can be done, could I truthfully say 'yes'? I'm not sure that I could. I could easily be one of the hundred pros who whilst being successful for the last year, may fall by the wayside over the next. There is no tragedy in that – all that a man can ask for in life is the freedom to live by the sword, and you can only do that if it's possible to die by the sword if you fail.

Starting out as a full timer is not something I would recommend to almost any other person (out of a sense of moral responsibility, not attempted protection of an imaginary part of some imaginary pot of gold). It has been the most astonishing learning curve, and in my first few months I experienced both sustained exhilaration and sustained depression. Gambling success is a fickle mistress, with incredible runs of both victories and defeats entwined illogically by fate. Value is all-important – not winners. That's the first lesson to any gambler, and one which the majority don't ever start to comprehend. The secret is not getting more heads than tails, its winning more when a coin comes up heads than you lose when it's tails.

To be a real pro, gambling ends up becoming almost like a form of accountancy, with a good staking plan, and calculation of value as and when it arises. I no longer have any thrill whatsoever from winning or losing a bet.

It has been an amazing twelve months, and I am very fortunate to have been successful for now. I'm sorry if some of this thread comes across as arrogant – it's all genuine from this side. Some people reading this will be thinking about going pro, and I'm sure other people will be reading too. If you do go pro, then try to remember how much of a rollercoaster emotionally it can be especially at first. Have a level of your bank which you will not go below, and promise yourself you won't go below it. Then make sure you keep that promise. If I've learnt anything its how unimportant money is, and how precious the people around you are.

I hope some of this helps other people. There'll be another geek out there like me who is at the stage I was at a year ago. I hope everyone finds fulfilment and happiness, which is much more than gambling in itself will ever have to offer.

Eddy Murray , Spring 2005

Monday, 23 September 2019

Famous racehorse commentators

Famous Racehorse Commentator: Peter O’Sullevan
With billions of pounds generated each year, horse racing is one of the most lucrative sports around. Hundreds of races take place every year and the upcoming King George VI Chase is one of the major races coming up. The King George race odds suggest that last year’s winning Might Bite is the favourite to win the race for the second consecutive year, but all of the horses and their trainers will be aiming to cross the finish line first.

Horse racing is an enjoyable sport to watch on its own, but the race day experience is even better thanks to the commentators. Although their primary aim is to inform the listeners or viewers, they also provide entertainment by going above and beyond what is expected by giving them a sensation racing experience. Here’s some of the most famous and memorable horseracing commentators of all time, which helped the sport grow into one of the biggest in the world.

Peter O’Sullevan 

The late Peter O’Sullevan was arguably one of the most famous horse racing commentators of his generation. For the entirety of his career, O’Sullevan became the ‘voice of racing’ due to his long-standing run as the BBC’s leading horse racing commentator. During the 50 years he was on the air (1947 – 1997), O’Sullevan commentated over some of the greatest moments in racing history. His most iconic moments came at the Grand National were he provided commentary for Foinavon’s outside win in 1967, and at the infamous 1993 Grand National race.

Peter Bromley 

Another famous horse racing commentator from the BBC was Peter Bromley. Whilst O’Sullevan was the voice of horse racing on the television channel, Bromley made his name as a horse racing commentator on the radio. His first broadcast came in May 1959 when he commentated at Newmarket. Later that year, Bromley officially became the BBC’s first racing correspondent. He would go on to remain in that role until 2001. The veteran commentator came up with many iconic lines such as “Atom Bomb has fallen!” in his first ever commentary. 

Bromley also commentated on TV briefly with ITV in the early 1950s, but quit this role after a few years in order to take up his role on BBC Radio. 

Michael O’Hehir 

Whilst O’Sullevan and Bromley were dominating the horse racing commentary team in Britain, Michael O’Hehir was the voice of racing in Ireland. However, the Irishman originally started out his commentary career by commentating over the Irish hurling and Irish football games. Sports broadcasting was fairly new in the country at the time, but listening O’Hehir’s commentary quickly became a common thing for many listeners. As a result, O’Hehir was considered the first ‘Voice of the Gaelic games’. 

He eventually ended up getting involved in horse racing in the mid-1940s as a sports sub-editor as well as continuing to provide commentary on the radio. His rise in Ireland led to him being awarded a job as a racing commentator on the BBC. His first commentary was for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but O’Hehir became famous for his annual coverage for the Grand National. He provided some memorable moments during his lengthy spell as Grand National commentator, including in 1967 where he was able to identify the unfavourable 100/1 outsider ‘Foinavon’ who eventually won the race.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

2:00 Redcar Racing Tips (17th September)

2:00 Redcar - 

Can't see much here. Tate's River Cam keeps losing and it will either win with ease or look poor. I won't be betting. No bet. 

2:10 Yarmouth - Not keen on Nursery races but think Blausee will run a race simply because she has been racing in a too higher class and McBride likes Yarmouth. Only two places so will be watching unless it drifts to a big price. No bet. 

2:40 Yarmouth -

Buhturi has a string of entries but doesn't look anything special to me and the win penalty is a real concern at even money. Tiger Crusade is a lovely looking horse. Difficult to know what to make of its debut run. It was ok without making you want to bet. He has decent stats second time out at 13/2 & less. One of the few respected in this field. Haggas debutantes can win although his general stats are poor and I would rather take them on. One Night Stand could be of interest each way but there is an if and but (as usual). Jarvis does well at Yarmouth and has decent place stats when priced 15/2 and less. It is a nice-looking horse in a race that looks out of four horses. The problem is the way it pulled on debut. It didn't just pull - it pulled like it was half-mad. It has been off course for 24 days and I imagine they have been trying to get it to settle. It may well do that. The trouble is that it might not. You can get away pulling over 6f but it isn't ideal. The way it pulled on debut I am fearing it will be keen and with a relatively small field if it isn't covered up will probably pull and ruin any chance. In that sense, I would rather do a win bet than each-way because I imagine it will be all or nothing. It is one of those horses which you want to bet but fears at the same time. 

Unless I can get a big price on the exchanges I will just watch. One Night Stand (It has a very good each-way chance if not pulling) 

3:50 Chepstow - 

This looks a great chance for Festival Day. It will be far too short although it will probably win well. It's a pity this isn't 3 places as it wouldn't surprise me to see Kodiellen run much better at big odds. I don't think it ran its race last time out. It was a tough race and the going just made the losers look hopeless. It is stepping up in distance and has three significant entries. The problem is that it may not be possible to beat the favourite. If they try to win the race rather than go for a place and hope anything could happen. I may have a bet on the favourite at 1/2 and bet on the exchanges on Kodiellen if I can get 30/1 and just hope the favourite has a disaster and something picks up the pieces. It still isn't likely but that is about the only bet I can see. 

Festival Day win (Kodiellen may go well at a price but looks a bet you may regret.)

Not bet. 

7:00 Newcastle - 

Interesting race. Clegane has been given another Class 2 entry of late and will appreciate this step up in distance. There is still a slight question mark even stepping up to 7f just in the fact that the horse still hasn't quite proved itself when it is priced as if it has. It may be worth an each-way be if drifting in the betting. If it can't be placed here then it would prove a very disappointing horse. The favourite is ok but on the small side and I don't think it is brilliant. Just a fair horse but short-priced. Lasting Legacy will enjoy this step up in distance and may have place claims although I can't see it winning. The strangest horse in the race which looks to have no chance is David Lanigan's Exotic Escape. It looks hopeless but he gave it a Class 2 stakes entry. He either thinks it has the ability or must have gone mad. To be fair it ran so poorly that you could say it was too bad to be true. And as I have said before the worse they look sometimes the better they are. It is 100/1 so you kind of think well how can it have any ability. That seems true but I have seen a good few horses run well at massive odds. Dogged trained by David Elworth's nearly won the other day and that was 100/1 early. It was about 200/1 on the exchanges. Who knows if Exotic Escape will do anything. The trainer has had a couple of 40/1 winners second start so it may have a chance. I will probably have a very small bet each way and just pray for a result. 

Clegane ew if big enough although I won't be betting. Exotic Escape (I will bet small each way and hope it is a miracle) 

8:00 Newcastle - 

I generally hate these low-class nursery races and I may hate them after this. However, I did notice that Imperial Eagle is stepping up to 7f for the first time and has an official rating of 55. Lawrence Mullaney doesn't have many two-year-olds but he is no fool. The horse looks a battler and it ran quite well at 5f so this step up in distance may see a very different horse. At the end of the day, it would be a speculative bet each way and just hope to get a big priced winner. 

Imperial Eagle (small ew speculative bet 20/1+)

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Retired Accountant Wins Big After Tiny Bet

Punter wins a fortune for small bet
Imagine placing a tiny bet of £1 then picking five winning horses in a row on the same day, to net yourself a nice little pay cheque of nearly £60,000.

That’s what happened to Peter Titman when he managed to back all the right horses to race over the line first at York last weekend.

Playing a “Lucky 31” accumulator bet, his initial winnings were £38,901 after the horses El Astronaute, Roaring Lion, Afaak, Main Desire and Waiting for Richie all won their races on Thursday.

To make a Lucky 31 more appealing to punters, customers playing will all receive a fifty percent bonus if they can correctly pick five winners. Whilst each Lucky 31 bet will essentially cost a punter £31, Peter’s remarkable win took his eventual total to a staggering £58,352.

His long term betting pal didn’t make the races

On the day, Titman also believes his gaming luck was possibly increased by the fact his long term pal and betting friend Ian Carr didn’t make the day out as he was attending a hospital appointment.

Mr Titman who hails from Royton near Oldham in Greater Manchester spoke to the Manchester Evening News after his astonishing win and said that:
“I was always good at mental arithmetic and my uncle had me checking not only his, but his mates’ betting slips. I must have been seven or eight years of age but I could do my sums pretty well. At primary school the teachers used to ask my puzzled parents why I knew so much about horse racing and whether they were big gamblers, which they weren’t”

He went on to say that he was always top of the class in Maths at school and had actually at one point considered going into accountancy as a career.

Special win

Peter who is by his own confession a massive huge Oldham Athletic fan, jokingly said that the win was even more special to him because the bet was created by a Manchester United fan!

Laughing, he commented that
“I’m an Oldham fan and we were relegated after failing to match Rochdale’s result on the last day of the season, so taking £58,000 off a big United fan like Fred has cheered me up.”

picked up his winnings at the betting shop near his house and then went on to celebrate his win in his local pub. Then there was a good meal at a local restaurant for some of his friends.

He intends to spend the money on a new computer and will also possibly consider putting some of it towards getting a lovely holiday home in Lanzarote.

He finally added
"I’m just starting to get over our miserable stop-start FA Cup final defeat against Chelsea when we weren’t at the races and then I hear about this. Guess it proves you can always win big from a small stake at Betfred, and at least a very loyal customer is in the money.”