Sunday 24 November 2013

It's A Gambler's Life For Me - Jason Coote

What was your first experience of gambling? 

I remember my dad sitting at the kitchen table, paper in hand, making his selections for his Saturday bet - Yankee. Dad wasn't swayed by favourites and his bet would have been worth a small fortune if winning. While holidaying at Yarmouth he did just that and won several hundred pounds. We were cheering the easy winner home while dad just stood with a smile, forever reserved, quiet in his success. You couldn't ask for a more kind, humourous man. My love of racing come from my dad.      

What was your biggest gambling success? 

Success comes in many forms. I have had many great winning days. Always remember a horse trained by Andrew Balding - My Learned Friend 20/1 - who won in a photo. A particularly big win. Also, I remember an each way Canadian where the first four horses won, including a 33/1 shot tipped by my brother. The last horse was trained by Sir Michael Stoute and a 4/7f. I thought this should be the easy part. However, a small trainer ruined my day with their very first winner, Stoute's toiling in second place. The bookie said: ''You had us worried on the last!''    

What was your biggest gambling mistake?

No gambler reaches a point where they expect to win without making many mistakes along the way. The key is to learn from each one and reinforce a knowledge, discipline & confidence that you know what makes a winner. It isn't about being the best - just that little better than most. In many respects a mistake can save you - if not make - you a lot of money if you heed those lessons. To be a successful investor you need to be wise to changing events without pushing to hard for success. Work hard - but let the bets speak for themselves.

What would you improve in horse racing?

On a selfish note I would like much less racing. Only for the fact that my work ethic is so demanding that I struggle to keep up with relentless conveyor belt of racing. Fall behind and you will pay the price. Prize money is pitiful. When you consider how much money is bet on each and every race there can be no excuse.  

Who do you admire in racing and why?

I would have to admire all those pro gamblers who make a living from the sport. Alex Bird was one of few big-time gamblers. The money he staked and won in the 1950s (and beyond) was quite amazing. In this day and age it would equate to multiple millions. Without question, he knew the game. He was a careful bettor - but backed his selections with ultimate confidence.   

Name your favourite racehorse of all time?

I've never been a person to have a standout favourite because lots of horses - some very poor ones - have caught my mind and been dear to my heart. As performances go I would have to say Frankel in the 2000 Guineas. Simply because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There is little doubt Queally went much too fast over those first few furlong. However, for a horse to leave class oppositions in his wake was something which left me watching in amazement. Exceptional.

What's your personal gambling ambition?

To get to this stage of making a living from horse racing has been a long road. There are no guarantees it will last. However, I intend to make sure it does. There are few people who can say that they enjoy their job because in many ways I have achieved my ambition. There will always be that big win which makes a life-changing difference to conclude. I will continue to chip away and see where it leads. It makes me smile when people say they don't gamble. A bookmaker could chalk up odds for every aspect of your life: from walking across the road to asking out the girl of your dreams. Life's a gamble - money is just a token for blood, sweat and tears. Appreciate the gamble.      

Who would you like to be for a day (sport)?

I love two-year-old horse racing. It must be a supreme moment to ride a winning horse and think ''Wow''. On a personal front I would love to be a top class athlete - 100m - and a world record holder. To have a moment where you are the best on this little planet of ours must be an exquisite feeling. (Drug free, of course). 

Best advice given? 

I guess a lot of people have said wise worlds along the way. It is certainly easier to learn a lesson by watching someone else's mistake than your own. However, each person has to learn their own lessons by mistakes. When younger, I used to look for recognition as being knowledgeable about two-year-old horse racing. I guess that is something you need as a youngster. My dad used to say if he knew something worth knowing he would keep it to himself. I think he was right. 

Dream holiday destination?

I've never ventured far afield. There are plenty of wonderful places to visit. In ways my dream holiday would literally be out of this world (well, kind of). I'd like to fly into space for one reason alone - to look back at the Earth and say: ''That's where I live.'' To see it in the grand scheme of things and bring some perspective and appreciate that we are all connected.    

If you had a dinner party, who would you invite and why?  6 tables ?..

At the top of the table would be my dad. The girl of my dreams. Family & friends.