Monday, 31 October 2011

2:15 Wolverhampton (31st October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

A Maiden Stakes over 5f 20y. Exceedance should win. In fact, I would be very confident but for one dilemma. Will he settle? This son of Exceed And Excel has been favourite on both starts to date and clearly held in some regard by Bryan Smart. However, on both outings he has pulled much to hard and struggled to last the final half furlong. This turning course is likely to help but whether he will tire at the death is a concern.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Bonfire Unlucky In Criterium

French Fifteen won the Group One Criterium International at Saint-Cloud on Sunday.
Owned by Raymond Tooth, the son of Turtle Bowl finished fast and late to swamp his rivals inside the distance.

He was followed home by Pakal and the luckless Bonfire, Andrew Balding's charge repeatedly denied racing room inside the final two furlngs finishing full of running.

Learn ran well for Aidan O'Brien, going to the front over a furlong out but unable to repel the late thrusts of the principals.

Bonfire is now a 14/1 for the 2000 Guineas with Labdrokes and spokesman Hayley O'Connor said: "Bonfire was unfortunate in the Criterium International but nonetheless, his performance has put him on our radar for the 2000 Guineas where he's currently 14/1."


Stormy Weather

A Saintly-Looking Cloud
A quiet day. In fact no two-year-old racing in Britain so I scoured around Europe to see what was on offer and noticed a couple of representatives waving the flag in Saint-Cloud,  France. Of all things Group 1 action with the Criterium International (Group 1) for two-year-old colts & fillies over 1m in soft ground. With winning prize money of £123,147 it should be  a hot contest. Andrew Balding sends his winning debutante Bonfire who is fancied at 10/1, while Gay Kelleway fields Swing Alone, who is the outsider priced 66/1. Good luck to both.

The Knack Of Winner-Finding By The Horseracing Pro

There is a story that concerns a man who owns a factory that makes components for motor bikes. A vital piece of machinery malfunctions. Without it, he is unable to manufacture the pistons and valves that are the focal point of his business. So he calls in an expert, a man who mends intricate pieces of machinery for a living. When the man arrives at the factory he circles the offending piece of apparatus, looking at this, looking at that and tutting the way tradesmen do. After a few minutes, he delves into a bag of tools and produces a hammer. Then, to a hushed ensemble, he lifts the hammer high over his head, bringing it down sharply on a nut.

He asks the owner to press the start button; and low and behold, the machine kick-starts into action.

Once the factory floor churns back to production, the owner calls the hammer-hitter into his office and asks how much he charges for his services.

            ‘’£1,000,’ is the reply.

            ‘That’s scandalous,’ retorts the owner. ‘You have only been here for five minutes. Would you care to itemise your bill.’

            ‘Certainly,’ says the tradesman. ‘£1 for hitting the nut: £999 for knowing which nut to hit.’

            In other words, the man had a knack known only to himself. He knew how to restore the machine to working order. How he arrived at this was somewhat incidental.

            Possessing a knack for anything is a precious commodity. Actors can be taught how to act, footballers how to score goals, jockeys how to ride horses. But what lifts the good from the very good; the very good from the excellent, is something that cannot be taught and that is a knack. After all the theory has been exhausted, it is the person that can operate without recourse to a manual, the one that can improvise, the one that has an in-built auto-pilot, that will be the best.

            Some professional punters try to narrow winner-finding down to a fine art. They approach it as if they are architects that need a blueprint. To a degree, there are certain elementary things you need to know. Just as the actor has to look natural and listen for his cue, the punter must be conversant with his script. He needs to know that a high-numbered draw at Chester is hard to overcome as it is on the round course at Thirsk. In a sprint, it is handy to know where the pace is likely to come from so that a selection is not likely to be cast adrift in the middle of the ocean. A view needs to be formed when a selection is tackling a trip it is unproven over. If dealing with a steeplechaser, an impression of the horse’s jumping capabilities is required. Knowing a little about breeding is desirable. That will help evaluate whether a certain horse is likely to handle the ground it faces.

            It is also advantageous, particularly in non-handicap events, if a punter can segregate the quality of a race he has watched. He needs to know whether it is poor, moderate, good or top class. That way, he will be able to read how dangerous future participants from such a race are likely to be. He will then know whether to overlook them with a degree of safety in favour of horses that appear to have contested better events. Sometimes finishing sixth in a good maiden is preferable to having been second in a moderate one.

            Many of these points are basic but it is surprising how many times you hear so-called pundits falling into the various black holes espoused here. ‘That was a really good effort last time,’ they will often say, ‘So and so was only beaten a length at Newmarket.’ But how many winners came from that race and, more importantly, if the race was recently run and nothing has surfaced from it, what sort of a race did it look to be to the naked eye?

            Now we are taking knack. Successful punters need to be good race-readers. They need to spot when a horse fails to stay; therefore, it is possible to forgive a disappointing finishing position. Similarly, they need to notice a horse staying on at the end of a race that was patently too short and make sure they pay special attention to its chances when a more suitable trip is presented.

            So, let us return to the punter that takes the blueprint approach and wants to cover every angle. I know one enormously successful punter who takes this approach. Actually, I have worked for him on and off. I have read races on his behalf, helped compile sectional timing, assisted in surveys on ground analysis at various tracks but, largely, I thought most of it was piffle! I cannot argue with his results and some people like to be doubly sure before they bet. It is the belt and braces approach and if that gives them comfort then fine; but I contend if you do not know what you are looking at, then you should do something else.

            I should say here that plenty of successful punters do not know what they are looking at. They employ people like me to tell them. That is a different matter. They have accepted that evaluating form and watching the confirmation of horses in the paddock and scrutinising the worth of races is not their forte. What they are good at is collating all information put before them and acting accordingly. They make successful decisions regarding betting in the same way managing directors take judgements based on expert opinion.

            But unless you are in a position to employ a work force to feed you data, and then have the courage to act accordingly, we have to assume as a fledging pro-punter, you reach most decisions yourself.

            Personally, I feel sectional timing is nonsense. Once you start introducing such clutter into the winner-finding process, you then have to agree an accurate going description, measure the wind direction and, Oh Lord, by the time you have worked it all out, you might as well have gone to university for five years and qualified as a lawyer. Forget that nonsense! Use your eyes!

            I once told the punter I was describing; I thought Notnowcato would win the Juddmonte. ‘Couldn’t back him,’ was his reply. ‘He’s never done a decent time.’ He only won by a short head but he won and I backed him at 8/1 with the pro punter choosing to disregard the opinion he paid me to supply. I also told him to ignore news from Newmarket that Soviet Song had been working badly prior to her win at Ascot, as four-year-old fillies can often doss at home. This is something I know because I understand, in part anyway, how racehorses function.

            He did not. If it was not there in some wad of paper, then it was not worth bringing to the table. Of course, on plenty of occasions, he was right and I was wrong, but the point I am trying to make is that not everything can be quantified. Some things have to be the result of intuition and often they are the best decisions we make in life.

            Think back to all the good and difficult decisions you have made: perhaps regarding buying or selling a house or a car. There is no way under these circumstances you can cover every eventuality. Ultimately, some thought process has to kick in and you make a decision often based on scant information. But it is information you trust allied to a general feeling. If buying a house, you like the fact that the neighbouring houses all have well-tendered gardens, that there is not a rusting fridge stuck out on someone’s back yard and three doors down there is not the sight of a car jacked-up on bricks. These are positives but do not ensure the house you are contemplating buying does not have dry rot, is not haunted, infested with rats or that that well slanted lawn is not about to succumb to subsidence. However, they are clues.

            I started with a story and will end with one. It just happens to be true and as a tale is nothing more than an example of Lawrence Olivier’s inflated ego. When Dustin Hoffman [a very fine actor] worked with the great man on Marathon Man, he needed to appear out of breath for one scene. Hoffman set about running up several flights of stairs prior to the take, eventually bursting in on the set gasping. After the scene, Olivier asked Hoffman why he had put himself through such a vigorous rigmarole. ‘So I was genuinely out of breath,’ Hoffman replied.

            ‘Why don’t you try acting dear boy,’ replied Olivier. As I have said, I can imagine him saying such a thing in that supercilious way the British cultivate when they feel they are superior. But the point is well made; it just would have been more dignified had Larry kept it to himself!

            Bugger the times! If you think Notnowcato can beat Dylan Thomas over ten furlongs and on ground that is ideal for him, back him! Don’t wait for some boffin with a slide rule to confirm what you suspect may be right.

            Try to winkle out a knack, be it for racing or for hitting the right nut with a hammer. The man with the knack will always sit down to eat at night. And who knows, in the coming winter months that could just be important.

Source: Horseracing Pro

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hallowe'en Horse Tipping Competition

BOO! Don't you just hate Hallowe'en? Kids knocking at the door asking for treats. Hours spent carving a pumpkin only to realise it looks nothing like the picture you had in your mind. There's only one answer for it: make the spookiest horse racing selection of your life. On the 31st October simply leave one tip selection from any of the day's cards and the *person with the biggest priced winner gets a pound for every point (based on the starting price). Don't be scared of finding a big priced winner!

All tips must be sent to 

All tips must be received by 11:30am 31st October. HCE Rules Apply. * One winner will be picked from the hat (if multiple players are successful) 

1:30 Newmarket (29th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes over 7f on good ground.

Not much form to go on but a couple of interesting two-year-olds. No Compromise was a surprise package on debut, when a 50/1 shot, running a big race taking third at Kempton. This daughter of Avonbridge is a relatively cheap purchase costing just 10,000gns as a yearling. Hughie Morrison's charge was sent off favourite at Salisbury, losing in a photo-finish. Perhaps, in ways, that was a disappointing effort because this filly was comprehensively outpaced for much of that race before plugging-on at the finish. It is fair to say that the leaders that day went a shade too fast. It certainly was a theme for the day that most winners came off the pace. No Compromise should travel better at Newmarket against a field of mostly debutantes and probably enjoy the uphill finish. However, she may find one too good.

Friday, 28 October 2011

1:20 Newmarket (28th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 6f  on good ground. Today's post isn't so much highlighting a selection but detailing a juvenile I am pretty sure will be substantially backed.Muaamara is trained by Mick Channon and the horse of interest. This chestnut filly, a daughter of Bahamian Bounty, cost 30,000gns as a foal. By all accounts a seemingly everyday runner. However she may be worth a second glance. Although it's never easy to assess the potential of a debutante, there may be a significant pointer to this juvenile's chances, which could potentially, make a very good no-lose wager.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Hidden Cost Of Being A Professional Gambler

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Another gem from the Horseracing Pro. I feel I cannot stress the importance of temperament enough in these pieces. We can all find our own method of working, and of course, if we do not deliver the necessary quota of winners we will fail. But the reverse and perverse side of the coin is that it is possible to even exceed the required amount of winners selected but still lose owing to a basic character fault. Such a fault is not something to be ashamed of, it may mean some adjustment or it may mean you have to face facts and accept you are not cut out to be a professional gambler, in the same way as some people will never be actors or salesmen. One of life’s important lessons is to be comfortable in your chosen profession. If you are not you cannot expect to perform to your best and it is preferable to turn your attention to something that suits. 

For some reason, the attraction of being a professional gambler is a strong one for many and it traverses all walks of life. I have known lawyers and doctors who envied the lifestyle they perceived mine to be. I do find this strange, as I see nothing remotely glamorous in working seven days a week, hardly leaving the office in your house whilst being a virtual slave to what is happening at various venues throughout the country. It is not a relaxing way of life. Salesmen may be pressured five days a week, but have the luxury of leisure time at weekends. Professional gamblers have to poach time. Even in the summer, catching an hour or so in the garden is prone to an interruption by phone calls and even if it is not, you are somewhat on edge, waiting for the call that may never materialise.

Between races, you have to keep an eye on the clock. You mow the lawn at set times, aware that the first race is due from Sandown at 6.20 and you have one hour after the last at Nottingham to grab a bite to eat and lug the lawnmower out of the garage in no particular order.

Decide to escape for an afternoon to do some shopping or meet some friends for lunch and your eyes are constantly on the clock. Rarely does a day go by without you having to watch at least five or six races, in some cases because you have a vested interest. It is not a pursuit for those that wish to be part-timers. Put bluntly, if you have any friends outside racing, they will consider you a pain in the backside and they are not wrong. For you seem permanently preoccupied, which, sad to say, if you are doing the job properly, you will be.

Then there are the losing runs. The times when the expenses do not cease but the profits do – in fact, they become losses – so money going out piles up on top of money going out. During such a period, you are unlikely to be the life and soul of the party – that is if you are ever invited to one.

Expenses can be a killer in any business; but when profits are not guaranteed they become a millstone. It is therefore important to assess how you will react to the dark days that inevitably lie ahead. You may not actually be losing money – you may just not be making it – which is the position most people I know find themselves in now. Frankly, there is nothing to make it on. But the expenses keep tapping through the letterbox like the bailiff at the door. Imagine that scenario when you are losing, and you have an idea of the constitution needed to make a success of this business.

Firstly, you must have a bank and it must be large enough to withstand the bad times. Once you start to fret about a depleted bank balance, your attention is diverted and you are vulnerable. Making money at gambling is all about making the right decisions. I have tried in preceding articles to explain how I arrange my life so I am in a position to function at my best. To do this you have to be ruthless with yourself.

You will gain useful life-lessons, even if you discover this business is not for you. Firstly, you have to take a protracted look at yourself. Examine your make-up; what makes you tick; what you can cope with and what draws the sting out of your effectiveness for such a job that demands intense concentration. If you are the sort of person that is easily upset, this is probably not your game as there is plenty to be upset about from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed.

The Racing Post can be late for a start. If you have it delivered, either the little git responsible has contracted one of those ailments teenagers get constantly and has let the newsagent down; or, if you live outside London, it may not arrive at all because the van from Reading or Manchester has broken down.

The computer can freeze for no apparent reason. You are working from home so the cistern might have developed a leak, the car a flat, a panel of fencing blown over.

I know these things can happen when you have an office to go to, but somehow they never seem so bad when you are in someone else’s employ. At least you leave them behind when you are on the train. On the other hand, at worst you can take a day off to fix what is wrong or call in sick. When you work for yourself, such indulgences mean potential lost revenue that may not come your way again. The bricklayer can defer work, so can the mechanic; the professional punter may not get another chance to back a 20/1 winner for six months – if ever. Pressure is counter-productive as well as being a killer medically speaking.

We are all susceptible to pressure in its various forms. Where possible, get rid of it. Other people cause most of the pressure we experience, so a couple of basic rules: remove anyone from your life that is responsible. Those that contact you at inconvenient times or treat you as if you are some sort of premium rate telephone service they do not have to pay for, need ejecting from your life.

Plenty of people in this business feel compelled to talk before and after a race, rambling on about a jockey who came too soon or too late or a horse that failed to sustain his effort. If you allow it, they will use you as a refuse dump into which they can empty all their pent up feelings. You are not a social worker. I have been in this position with people that have been some use to me; but their nuisance factor outstripped their input. Even constant nudges followed by blunt rebuffs failed to change their attitude, rendering them lost causes. I am afraid it is no coincidence that most professional gamblers are either single, or have very long-suffering partners that are independent.

There is nothing you can do about the Racing Post, the flat tyre or the rest of the stuff that has, or is about to go wrong, but you can cultivate a kind of immunity to adversity by placing it into perspective. If you fail to cope with the prospect of a leaky cistern, imagine how easily you will fall apart when you lose heavily and have to write cheques for the privilege.

Expenses are the enemy. They are an army you know is out there, but you want to confront as few of them as possible. This business has changed over the past few years. I contend it is no longer necessary to subscribe to a formbook. Everything you need is on the computer and, if you have taken my advice about compiling your own points of reference as opposed to those of others, it is merely your opinion that counts and to an extent, you already have your own book of reference.

You do not necessarily need two phone lines unless you are especially active. Presumably, you will have a mobile as back up but, again, it does not have to be state-of-the-art technology. It does not have to download Coldplay’s latest album, take pictures or sing God Save The Queen. Do not get a contract, buy a basic Pay-As-You-Go phone for about £30 and keep it topped up. Keep chat to a minimum, particular at peak times and, as stated, get persistent babblers off your phone altogether.

You will need a basic Sky package in order to receive the racing channels. Resist the temptation to get the History Channel, The Movie Channel or Red Hot Mammas as extra because you will not have any time to watch that sort of stuff anyway.

The expenditure of the Racing Post comes to about £700 per annum. That should be your biggest outlay. But when you add that to the Sky package, the phones (which you should be able to get a deal on with either Sky or linked to AOL), backing horses is not a cheap way to attempt to make a living.

Nevertheless, looking on the bright side, you have no travelling expenses unless you wish to go racing, which I suggest is more of a social occasion than a business one. Even so, without the cushion of a ready-made wage, such expenditure, aside from day to day living costs, will stretch your budget at times when things are going badly. That is when you find out your limitations, and we all have them. I have already confessed that mine is a somewhat timid approach to betting once I am in front. People who thrive on gambling say you must press up when you are winning. Being more of a logical thinker, I tend to take the view I have used up a chunk of luck and should be extra careful, so I am cautious, not wishing to squander winnings. This is a perfect example of knowing yourself. All I know is that this is the right approach for me. The big hitters move in for the kill when they sense Lady Luck is riding on their shoulders, whereas I am more inclined to conclude that once I have broken through the percentage barrier, I am heading for a reversal in fortune. It matters not who is right: there is no right and no wrong, only what is right for you.

Selecting the right horses is only part of the complex plan of making a living. You still have to decide what to do with them, and of course the final paradox is that you only know they were the right horses after you know the results, by which time it is too late to do anything other than what you have done.


6:30 Kempton (27th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

A Maiden Fillies' Stakes over 1m. Dulkashe has shown ability on both her starts to date. This daughter of Pivotal seemed to enjoy the testing conditions at Newcastle over a mile, making a bold bid from the two-furlong pole but caught by Saytara, who had caught the eye on debut at Leicester. From a low draw, experience on side, and a likely font runner Cumani's two-year-old has fair win and place claims.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Each Way Staking Discussion By The Horseracing Pro

Another superb article from the Horseracing Pro. For the purposes of this article, we are going to assume you are able to do as the above title suggests – namely, find winners. Anyone able to identify potential value bets must accept that backing losers, and plenty of them, comes with the territory. Losers are a given for any punter. The art is to filter them out where possible and to reduce their impact where not. You achieve this by examining and re-examining the thought process that led to making a certain selection. A lengthy checklist exists that resembles the sort you see on an MOT form. Most of its contents can be eliminated without reference to a formbook or any other publication.

Eddie Straights Racin' World: Tracksuit Dave in Shell Suit Hoax

3:15 Musselburgh (26th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 1m on good ground. A decent purse for this contest and fair sorts searching for that first win. Choisan has been a consistent juvenile, who in many way has been unlucky not to have got his head in front. In fact, in all of his recent runner-up placings he has been beaten less than two lengths. A big, strong colt, this son of Choisir is a free-running type. The problem with Easterby's juvenile is that he keeps finding one too good.

This race will probably be as tough as those races before and although he has place claims others may shine that little brighter today.

Brockwell made his debut in the same race as Choisan. This 70,000gns yearling, comes from a stamina-laden family. Tom Dascombe commented they thought this youngster had potential but was likely to be too inexperienced to do himself justice on debut. That was certainly the case and his problems originated from a tardy start. Kingscote gave this son of Singspiel a considerate introduction, which will see him well for this race today. After looking to have little chance, this chestnut colt ran on with great spirit, clawing back the deficit to a point that he may have claims to reverse that form over this mile. That initial start will see a much more professional two-year-old. Whether he will be outpaced - as seen at York - is a matter for debate; but I would suspect he will sit handy today.  This juvenile has win and place claims.

Star Date is not the biggest gelding, but an attractive horse. This son of Galileo is bay but looks almost black and looked very well in his coat on debut at Leicester. He was slow away from the stalls, taken to the rail at the back of the field, and given time to find his stride. He made pleasing headway in the final furlong, just missing out on a place in a blanket finish for minor honours. Butler's juveniles often improve for the race and Star Date wasn't hard pressed. The form of that race - beyond the easy winner - is difficult to assess but it was probably fair. He looks a straightforward horse and one for the short list.

It is interesting to see Hanagan is riding the Irish raider, Golden Halo. Trained by David Marnane, this son of Titus Livius cost 35,000gns as a yearling and a narrow loser last time at Roscommon in testing ground over 7f. It is difficult to assess this juvenile but he clearly looks to have enough ability to win a maiden and could be the horse to beat.

Conclusion: A tricky race to assess. Choisan is the proven form horse and sets the standard. He is a winner in waiting but has the knack of finding one too good. Brockwell is an interesting candidate. After struggling with inexperience, and insufficient trip, he flew at the finish suggesting this mile will be a significant factor in finding further improvement. If he can sit in a handy position, I can see this colt going well and holding win and place claims. Star Date is difficult to assess but a horse to respect as he will be primed for a big race today. He is a straightforward character who will not want for trying and although I would take a watching brief deserve respect. Golden Halo is probably the horse to beat with Hanagan booked to ride.

HCE: ''Choisan's front-running tactics proved to be an advantage at this course. This youngster finally attained his elusive win and well deserved too. Golden Halo was keen and ran well to finish in second, while debutante Sparkling Portrait hit the frame. Brockwell wasn't suited by the track nor the slow pace and would probably fair better on a straight course.''   

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


Abstract Horse Painting
(Pop Cubism)

1:30 Yarmouth (25th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

AN EBF Maiden Stakes for colts & fillies over 7f 3y on good to soft ground. James Toller has the knack of finding talented two-year-olds & Saigon has done connections proud this season. Rewarded is similarly owned by Dalby & Schuster, racing in their familiar pink and white silks. This colt by Motivator out of a Listed-placed mare ran well on his racecourse bow. Relatively fancied at odds of 12/1 he ran a cracking race behind Mighty Ambition.

The form of that race is still a little difficult to assess, althought the fourth Firestarter has proven to have an element of ability if not a rather quirky character. I have heard the stable is expecting a big run today. Yarmouth has been quite a successful hunting ground for Toller over the years. A progressive juvenile with fair each way claims.

Flaxen Flare could be a danger. Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds are very selective when buying their juveniles and the majority go on to win. This gelding went off seemingly an unfancied 40/1 on debut at Leicester. After a tardy start, he was a long way off the pace but fairly flew home at the finish to catch another of today's rivals Peak Storm for third place.The winner, Afaal, showed a touch of class but it is difficult to assess that race with few form pointers. On balance, it was probably no more than an average race. However, Balding's representative made excellent progress in the closing stages and if fitter and wiser for that intial start could go well. From a statistical point of view, this runner has fair win and place claims.

Of the others, Invisibile Hunter should be respected for Saeed Bin Suroor. This colt cost $150,000 as a yearling and Godolphin often go well late in the season. If strongly backed, it would be a positive although I find their juevniles difficult to judge on debut. 

A similar comment can be given made for Sir Michael Stoute's Commend. The stable rarely have debutante winners priced over 13/2 and that is probably the best guide to this colt's chances. In addition, Highclere Thoroughbreds often improve for their first run and for that reason I would rather take a watching brief.

Shomberg showed a glimmer of ability on debut but judging by last times poor running may have been flattered.

Conclusion: With a strong word from the stable, Rewarded could be a fair each way bet if prices allow. Flaxen Flare certainly made eye-ctaching progress in the final furlong at Leicester and if away on terms could be a tough nut to crack. Both juveniles have fair win and place claims.

HCE: ''A match between Rewarded & Flaxen Flare with the former prevailing, both clear of the third. The Toller contact was spot on with his thoughts. Balding's, second, drifted markedly in the betting but showed very good pace and touched around 1/4 in-running but wasn't able to withstand the late challenge.''

Monday, 24 October 2011

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1:40 Redcar (24th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

Alan said...

An EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes over 6f on good ground. Some times you have to take a punt and Lady Kashaan is one of those horses that might just run a big race at speculative odds. Alan Swinbank is a canny trainer and his juveniles are always worthy of respect on their second start. On balance, this daughter of Manduro showed little ability on debut. Perhaps beyond an element of pace, this two-year-old was soon struggling and beaten a long way. As with most speculative bets, you have to take a leap of faith. But what are the reasons for thinking this filly may improve.

It could well be significant that Swinbank sent this youngster to Newcastle on debut. It is a course that the trainer often sends his better juveniles. There was also money late on. The trainer has a very good place rate with his two-year-olds on their second start, which often strike at huge odds. In what looks to be an open race, Lady Kashaan would be in with a real shout if attaining a fair level of ability. With almost a month off course, dropping in distance and potential improvement on the cards, she may be worthy of a speculative bet at similarly speculative odds.

HCE: ''No joy for the Swinbank outsider, which touched 40/1 and returned 20s. Takealookatmenow had the form in the book but drifted alarmingly before the start but never had too many concerns, travelling in customary easy style. Jason Ward's Sweetnessandlight ran a stormer in second at 100/1, while Headstight finished 3rd in a very ordinary race.''

Sunday, 23 October 2011

THE ART OF WINNER-FINDING: A Day in the Life of a Professional Gambler

I found this article about the day in the life of a professional gambler so thought it might be quite an insightful read, which uses a jockey as an unusual role model. I have long thought jockeys are a breed apart. Consider the qualities required. Apart from the weight constrictions, necessitating considerable discipline for all except the fortunate few over both codes, they have a mental make-up that surpasses most mortals.
Even if most of us were technically proficient enough to be jockeys, I suggest our characters would let us down. Jockeys have to be risk-takers. They also have to be implacable, undeterred, brave under pressure and impervious to criticism. For Sam Thomas at present that must be tough, but he seems to be coping one hell of a lot better than most of us would under the wretched set of circumstances fate has chucked his way.

Making a decision on a racehorse is not as crucial as those surgeons regularly face, nor is it akin to trying to decide what jumper to buy Auntie Vie for Christmas. And let’s face it, that is the closest most of us get to decision-making. That and what joint to roast on Sunday, whether to take the country route or the motorway; let’s face it, compared with jockeys who are making career-based decisions on a regular basis each and every day, most of us have the dash and daring of Noddy.

If you ever watch a jockey being interviewed before or after a race, you will see a person focused but totally laid back. The latter quality is extremely important. When handling animals, the last thing you want to be is excitable. Frankie Dettori may be a bottle of gas after a big race, but observe him beforehand and he is an iceman. They all are. Watch them nonchalantly enter the stalls on some stirred up beast and they give the impression of being half-asleep. They are not of course, but they can transfer such quiet determination to their mounts, giving the partnership its best possible chance, even though horses may be plunging and rearing all around them. I cannot think of any other sport that requires its participants to be so cool beforehand. Footballers are tense and volatile, much the same as tennis players. I guess golfers are pretty laid back, but then they don’t exactly make life or death decisions on a regular basis. They need the constitution of a poker player.

For all their steely nerve – and it does take nerve, real nerve to race ride – jockeys are the sportsmen that get the most stick from the public. That is presumably because they carry other people’s cash, meaning they run the gauntlet of punters’ frustration or dissatisfaction.

As a punter, the ability to take a similar stance to that of the man on top will serve you well. Most of us do find that hard to do. Unlike jockeys, we do not own half of Newmarket or Lambourn or have shares in pubs and restaurants – results therefore assume drastic proportions as we are merely working for a living on a no win no fee basis. For obvious reasons it is not one I recommend, but serious punters have little choice. However, cultivating a jockey mentality will help you enormously. Any business based on a success rate, with no retainer involved, places plenty of pressure on its operator. And pressure leads to nerves and nerves mean that you will make poor decisions. The decision-making process of a professional gambler is a delicate one. He needs to have his wits about him at all times and be totally calm and focused, just like the jockey. Picking winners is not enough, it is knowing what to do when you have unearthed them that counts. It is not what you say in this business, it is what you do! For that reason, remove the pressure and give a card to Aunt Dolly, and she will probably come up with a winner or two. Ask her to do it to order and her strike rate will rapidly dwindle. For that is the trick – being able to perform on cue. That is what jockeys, actors, footballers and musicians do. As a professional punter, you have to do it too.

Using jockeys as a role model is not a bad idea. For if you are to make it in this business, a great deal of self-discipline is required and emotions need to be kept in check.

I have said before that there are basically two types of backers in this business: those that formulate their own opinions and those that accept others are better at winner-finding than they are and who leave it to them. But it is the final decision that counts. That is the one that decides who wins and who loses. So, whichever route you choose, allow me to take you through a typical day of a professional punter, or at least this particular professional.

It should start at about 6.00am. That is to stay you are shifting the brain into gear at about that time. Personally, I get up around then in the summer – later in the winter as there is less to do and it is colder. I work out and have breakfast, aiming to be looking at the Racing Post around 7.15am. Working out is not obligatory, but if you lead a sedentary life working from home, it is not a bad idea to keep in shape. Most successful businessmen keep themselves sharp physically as well as mentally. I am not saying you will not become successful as a punter by drinking six pints of lager a night or swigging a bottle of wine, it is just I would not recommend it. Nor would I advocate that just because you can, you slop around all day in a dressing gown or a tracksuit, not bothering to shave.

If you accept that a degree of discipline is required to be a success at anything – let alone something that requires a great deal of effort and concentration – then you need to act and feel the part. Shuffling around like vagrant, piling on pounds because you drink too much and exercise too little, will not help your self-esteem and therefore will not spur you on to perform to your best. You need not go to the lengths I go to: I often wear a suit, treating my office as if it is a place of work and as I would if I were logging-in at a company. Now, we are all different and I am sure some of you will chuckle at this concept. You can ignore my extremes but I insist, if you are serious about making a business out of betting, you should shave and shower every morning and at least be smart casual. Look the part; think the part and you might just act the part!

We have arrived at 7.15am. I hope that we can have breakfast – time is tight so make it light. Tea and toast whilst you read the paper; then by 7.30 it is office or shed, or corner of the dining room – whatever it is you are using as your work area. Spend the next ninety minutes brushing up on your knowledge of the day’s racing. You should have done plenty of work on the cards the day before and formulated opinions. This is crucial, as opinions formed without external influences are important. Once you take the Racing Post as our starting point, even subliminally, you are putting yourself in the hands of others, for you are bound to be swayed by what you read. Take on board the opinions of the Post team by all means, but it is better to form your own first.

Now you should be doing some last minute checks. Make sure there is nothing you have overlooked, that any potential selections have optimum conditions. It may sound obvious but it is so easy to make a mistake over the distance of a race. Because it is full of sprinters, you assume it is over five furlongs when in fact it is run over six. You assume it is a ten-furlong race (which suits your selection) but it is over twelve (a trip it is unproven over). It is worth reading the Spotlight section as a last minute fail-safe device. And a word of warning: sometimes we get just a little bit excited when we think we have uncovered something. That is when we can overlook a vital component. It could be the horse has not run for six months, which is always a worry. He may have never won this way round, over the trip, won on the going, or perhaps he is one of those idiosyncratic types to run all his best races on downhill tracks. These things may sound trivial and sometimes they are. Better to know them before you strike the bet than after though! That way you can at least address whatever niggles exist. Which brings me to another point: No bet is perfect. The clue is in the title. It is a bet – a wager – you are taking a chance. The object as far as you, the backer is concerned, is to strip that risk down to a minimum.

By now, we are approaching 9.00am and a good chunk of the day’s work is already over. Most people in office-land are just arriving at their desks, clearing their heads from the night before and having that first cup of coffee. Already you are ahead of the game. With luck, you have washed, shaved and changed. If not, you are about to. You are ready to face the challenges that lie ahead whilst some of the opposition – the bookmakers for example – are still rubbing sleep from their eyes.

It is around now either I make a phone call or receive one. I speak seriously to one other person. Like me, he is a professional and I respect his judgement. We agree most of the time but not always. But I always look at his ideas a second time before disregarding them as he does with mine. Very often, he will see things I have missed and vice versa. I need all the help I can get and this is no game to egomaniacs. He will often have information I do not have and, again, vice versa. He is a man I trust implicitly; therefore, there is no game playing.

None of this: I will get my bet on first and after the price is gone will tell you what I have backed nonsense. That works both ways but you cannot afford to have this sort of arrangement with more than one, or at most, two other people. An arrangement founded on duplicity will never last. The fact that my chief contact and I operate a totally open business relationship is one of the reasons it has endured the rough and tumble of this business for so long.

I might make one or two other calls, possibly receive one and that, as far as I am concerned, is that. I run a tight ship. My time is valuable. I am not here to tip to the bloke down the road and the butcher – time is money. It is my time and my money! I ration both sparingly, refusing to become entangled in long drawn out counter-productive conversations. Once you establish yourself as any kind of judge there will be no shortage of people wishing to phone you up. They will not have put in the work you have, nor will they have the contacts you have. They are spongers. Do not let them feed from your plate as they will take more food from it than you. Only deal with people than can reciprocate and people you absolutely trust.

This is a funny business and you never fully know with whom you are consorting. For all you know the matey matey guy that you gave your number to at Newmarket marks Corals’ card.

By now it is mid-morning and should know your plans for the day. If you can squeeze it in, find time to look at tomorrow’s cards. With racing starting so early now it is difficult I know, but at least familiarise yourself with likely opportunities for the next day. You can return to the cards in the evening if you have the heart and the energy after a day’s punting, but this is a personal matter.

Some people (including myself) like to have a laid down ritual of working. I try to work to a set number of hours; otherwise, I run the risk of burnout. To do this job properly we would all start at dawn and finish at midnight. That is not feasible and you will soon get sick of the business if you do it to death, opting to work at B&Q for an easier life. Use your time wisely but do not push yourself beyond a reasonable limit, particularly when you first start, as it will take a while to slip into a routine. You will probably work more hours in the first few months than you will once you are on top of the job – rather than it being on top of you.

Give yourself a break for lunch. A sandwich is all that is on offer I am afraid. No stodgy stews or anything heavy and definitely, never, never, under any circumstances, any alcohol. Betting and alcohol do not mix.

I have never forgotten this story related by Jimmy Tarbuck. Whilst hosting the London Palladium, he drank half a glass of offered champagne in the wings. On his return to the stage to announce the top of the bill, he completely forgot whom it was he was supposed to be introducing. That is the power of even a small amount of wine. Alcohol is fine but it does not mix with any business transaction of any kind. Drink or bet. Don’t attempt both.

By now, racing is about to start. I tend to listen to music in the morning, which some might say is a bad habit, but it gets me away from the tirade of all day racing. Once I have switched on the racing channels it is time to concentrate on the day’s trading. It is time to put all my work into practice. On busy days, I don’t try to watch every race but I always detach the cards from the Racing Post and staple each meeting together. That way I can make two piles: one covered by Racing UK, one covered by ATR. I accord priority to the main meeting of the day or the one I am most interested in and ring any other race or races of significance. Sometimes, just getting to see the races is a full-time job!

I try to finish at 5pm this time of year; writing up any notes on the day’s racing, but of course, there is still evening racing to contend with. Luckily, not too much of it needs close attention. Now is the time to have a meal, enjoy a glass or two of wine or beer if you wish; but only if you have rung down the curtain on the betting booth.

If all this sounds like fun then you too could be a professional gambler. That is basically how I do it, although I am sure there are others that will use a different approach. If you find you can pick out winners from the back of a dustcart swigging cider as you go, good luck to you. Just don’t take out any long term loans!

And remember I have outlined just one day. There are 360 or so racing days a year. That is an awful lot. You need to pace yourself; even jockeys and Coldplay get more than four days holiday a year!

Personally, I make sure I take at least two, normally three breaks a year. I find that way I return refreshed and ready for business. I never worry about the winners I may have missed whilst on a beach somewhere, but make sure I fit such breaks into a suitable period of racing. Normally I go for winter holidays, short breaks in the spring and a week in the autumn.

You will be surprised how much you have missed whilst you have been away and how much catching up there is to do but, if you are chained to this business for the rest of your life then I contend it is not much of a life, irrespective of how much you may be winning.

An Easy Day...123



Saturday, 22 October 2011

Bad Horse Joke Of The Week

Where do you take a sick horse???

The Legend Of Camelot...

It Could Be You

Reputations are regularly shattered in Group Ones but Camelot's grew exponentially larger as Aidan O'Brien's latest sensation took Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy with consummate ease. O'Brien was winning the British season's final top-level two-year-old race for the sixth time and such was the manner of this performance, Camelot was cut to as short as 3-1 for next year's Investec Derby. 

Friday, 21 October 2011

3:00 Doncaster (22nd October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

The Racing Post Trophy (Group 1) over 1m on good ground. Just the six colts for this Class 1 contest worth £131,567 to the winner. Half the field being Irish raiders, with O'Brien training the likely favourite Camelot. This son of Montjeu, out of a Group 3 winning mare, cost 525,000gns as a yearling. Clearly his reputation preceded him when making his debut at Leopardstown, winning a maiden easily at odds of 1/3f.

BHA Make Change To Whip Rule

The British Horseracing Authority have announced major changes to the controversial new whip regulations - including the removal of the five-hit rule inside the final furlong/after the last obstacle. Jockeys have struggled to come to terms with the guidelines since their introduction last Monday, which allow no more than seven hits in a Flat race and eight over jumps. While that number remains the same, the BHA have scrapped the rule which state jockeys are allowed to use their whip no more than five times inside the final furlong, or after the final obstacle in National Hunt races.

2:55 Newbury (21st October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

A Maiden Stakes over a mile on good to firm ground. The majority of the field have raced but most don't make much appeal. Sir Bedivere is the exception. This colt by Dansili, out of a Listed-winning mare, was fancied on debut at Newbury over 7f. By all accounts that was an insufficient trip and the way he finished gives confidence this extra furlong will make a positive difference. An 82,000gns yearling buy, this looks an ideal opportunity to gain his first win from a stable which often have their juveniles primed for a big run. I wouldn't look beyond this two-year-old today.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

A Wandering Mind...Burned Out

Burned Out Ferrari
The end the of Flat season is nearly upon us and to be honest I am pleased. These last couple of weeks have caught up with me and I am feeling completely burned out. It is hard work following the two-year-old racing in its entirety: every race needing to be analysed, data updated and the highs and lows of betting. Having been reading a number of blogs it has proven to be a very testing time for a number of gamblers. Thankfully I have won enough money this season to mean I can have a few months' rest and take my time enjoying my in depth analysis, searching all of those angles which make good bets.

3:05 Brighton (20th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 7f 214y on good to firm ground. *Sholaan has been pretty fancied on all three start. This bay colt by Invincible Spirit disappointed at Chester when behind the limited Mcvicar but may not have been suited by the idiosyncratic course, which often favours some over others. A bold performance was shown at Newcastle last time.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Comment Of The Day

Dave Yates ''News Boy'' Daily Mail in his role as pundit for RUK.

5:50 Kempton

''Look at the yellow horse, with the pink and white horse. Look where the yellow horse is there - plum last!''

1:30 Newmarket (19th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

A Median Maiden Auction Fillies' Stakes over 7f on good ground. Diala must have strong claims. This daughter of Iffraaj made a pleasing debut over course and distance when chasing home Lyric Of Light who has since gone on to Group 1 success. A 58,000gns breeze-up purchase, this bay filly is unlikely to attain such lofty heights but William Haggis clearly holds this two-year-old in some regard. I remember noting before her debut, that she held an entry for the Lowther (Group 2) and that initial effort confirmed she is potentially a smart juvenile. The form of that debut run has been franked and considering this is an auction race, it will take a fair sort to deprive her of a first victory today.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Straight From The Horse's Mouth...

It's your move. Readers of HCE know I waffle on about our Horse Trainer Website Directory. But that's because it is a valuable resource for Flat and National Hunt fans. In fact, it took me a number of weeks to compile. Simply click on the photo (above) and you will access a portal to hundreds of trainers big and small. If you have a selection in mind or want to double check you are on the right lines then why not see what the trainer has to say. It is surprising how many are brutally honest. Why listen to the whispers when you can get the latest news today and straight from the horse's mouth. It's FREE to use for all our readers.

A Wandering Mind...One Of Those Weeks..And It's Only Tuesday

This time last week I was happy as Larry but these last few days I have been under a cloud. I think I must be a manic depressant. Well, today didn't add to my joys because I gave an HCE Regular & HCE ELite Tip. I bet on both and felt quite optimistic about their chances, especially James Fanshawe's Twin Shadow. There was so much suggesting this filly would run a big race but it simply didn't happen. There is no logic to betting at times. It was wrong, that's the only assessment to be gained. I will keep an eye on this juvenile next time out as I think just about every disappointing tip given this year has won on its next race. A disappointing day.

2:50 Yarmouth (18th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 6f 3y on good ground. The majority of this field will be back-end maidens gaining racing experience. The main protagonists a select few. Roger Varian has followed in the footsteps of his late mentor Michael Jarvis and a very capable trainer. Varian's juveniles are generally priced in single-figure digits on debut and Aljamaaheer is likely to start a hot favourite. This chestnut colt, a son of Dubawi, cost 100,000gns as a foal and a half-brother to Tinkertown.

Monday, 17 October 2011

My Gold Fish Can't Stop Eating Jellie Beans

Hi! I'm Barry the gold fish. Read my amazing story.

Paul Cole Blog Update: ''The Fines Are Comparable To Being Hanged For Sheep Stealing''

Silverheels has been entered in the Horris Hill but is likely to run in the Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte on the 1st November. We have several maidens at Newbury, none expected to win. Humungosaur who ran a little disappointingly at Pontefract may run at Brighton, partly to try and win a racing post bonus race. Gifted Girl and Swingland are both fit and well, the Newmarket Listed fillies race on 29th October is their target. Rimth, after her reasonable run in the Challenge Stakes has gone to stud. Circumvent who's optimum trip is 1m1f, runs in the class 2 handicap at Newbury on Saturday 22nd October. He has a good draw at Kempton on Wednesday and with luck in running should run well.

2:30 Windsor (17th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

A Median Maiden Auction Stakes over 5f 10y on good to firm ground. A tricky race with potentially a handful of juveniles searching for that elusive first win. Blanc De Chine will start favourite after a narrow defeat to Ballesteros who has hit form of late with three wins. Peter Makin's grey filly - a daughter of Dark Angel - has been inconsistent after showing ability on debut. She seemed to run well at Windsor although it is worth noting that was a nursery and she was receiving a lot of weight from the winner.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Online Betting Guide: Supporting Your Favourite Blogs

I know what you're  thinking, another banner hoping beyond hope that someone actually dares to click and join The Online Betting Guide. Well, they say you don't get if you don't ask so here goes. Why join OLBG? Because it is FREE. Takes no more than a minute of your time. In fact all you need is an email and choose a user name and Bob's your uncle - you open the door to a brilliant website. I defy any gambler, football fan, horse racing aficionado or sports addict not to find something of interest. The best way to appreciate what is on offer is to click the banner below and see what they have going on. Also, if you enjoy our little blog then this is a great opportunity to show your appreciation. For each new member we receive a small commission, which goes towards the prize money on our tipster competition. So if you can spare a moment of your time - and that's all it will cost you - join and make our day. :-)

3:35 Bath (16th October) Horse Racing Tips/Result

An EBF Maiden Stakes over 5f11y on good ground. A rare visitor for Bryan Smart, who hasn't had a runner at this course for at least five years. This chestnut colt by Exceed And Excel cost £95,000 and half-brother to the useful Mary Read, a family the trainer knows well. Exceedance was sent off a 2/1 favourite when competing at Musselburgh on debut in May but disappointed and has not been seen since. Smart has been quoted as holding this youngster in some regard and with travelling so far afield it would suggest a big run is expected today.