Tuesday, 20 April 2021

The Perception of the Gamble

Life's a gamble. 

That's what they say.

When people say they don't gamble, what do you think? Wise, stupid, intelligent, absurd? 

I guess when people say they don't gamble they simply mean they don't gamble with a regular bet on the horses, dogs, the proverbial two flies crawling up a wall.

I wonder how many of those people bet on the lottery?  

January 6th, 1996 saw the very first double rollover in the United Kingdom, prompting a staggering 86% of the population of Britain to dash out to buy a ticket!

Strangely, the majority of those people don't gamble. Or they would tell you they don't gamble. 

Well, they certainly did that week. 

The everyday gambler is seen as a mug punter. But as with every aspect of life, we go from the novice to the expert. The main difference between the two is that the expert has worked hard to understand their subject matter. They are wise, efficient and studious. That still doesn't guarantee they will be a winner or make money on their investments. 

Consider how differently you may view these professions: stockbroker, a professional gambler.  

The old stereotypes hit your synapses like a lorry smashing into a wall. 

Well, one is kind of a posh professional, while the other wears a dodgy mac, has a roll up hanging from his mouth and shifty looking. Is that a bundle of notes in his pocket or a gun or a sudden attack of arousal?

I guess you get a few stockbrokers who look the same but both are rather peculiar perceptions. Walter Lippman coined the phrase stereotype a fascinating, intelligent and noted Pulitzer Prize winner 1958, 1962. 

Roll a dice - one or six. What odds would tempt you to bet?

You know there is a price at which only a fool would turn down a gamble. Surely you are not one of those fools?

An example of stereotypes: if I said I knew a French professional gambler you may see an imagine of him riding a cycle, wearing a beret and a string of onions hanging around his neck. 

But that is the thing about the mysterious, illicit, looked-down upon everyday gambler. Look at that idiot, he thinks he can beat the bookmakers. 

Well, I'm here to tell you that's exactly what many gamblers do on a regular basis. The perception is that a bookmaker will always triumph over a gambler. He's the vampire bat sucking the blood out of a nieve punter who doesn't even realise its latched on the back of his neck.

It is difficult to draw the line between where a gamble starts and finished. You are not probably conscious of the gambles you are taking on a daily basis. Perhaps you are. Lucky you...

When crossing the road, few people are stupid enough to walk across without taking a glance left and right. If you are super cautious you may even look in the air for falling pianos and the like.The odds of getting knocked down on the road are real. They don't simply disappear because you haven't given them the time of day. Insurance companies could tell you the odds and they would rob you blind if you asked for a bet on that poor old dear who isn't as nimble as she once was on her feet.

Wouldn't you rather be conscious of the gamble? You may be able to negate those odds, increase your chance of winning or even live a little longer than you thought.

Monday, 5 April 2021

Grand National 2021: It's a Women's World

The saying goes: ''Behind every good man is a good woman.''

After the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act, that quote should have been turned on its head. 

Equality is something that has been very hard fought. In fact, it took the determination of Charlotte Brew riding her horse Barony Fort to help change the attitudes of the populous, especially the horse racing establishment, who simply wouldn't give female jockeys the opportunity to contest the Grand National. 

That was until 1977 when Brew forced the hand of the governing body when the partnership qualified for the greatest steeplechase in the world after finishing fourth in the Fox Hunters Chase. 

Since that day the Grand National has been a race contested by males and females. However, over the duration of over 40 years just 17 female jockeys have taken part. 

Nina Carberry and Katie Walsh have both started in six Grand Nationals. Walsh has achieved the best position when finishing third in 2012 on Seabass. 

Another female rider who has paved the way is Venetia Williams who rode Marcolo in 1988, a faller, but triumphed as a trainer of Mon Mone when the 100/1 shot won the 2009 Grand National ridden by Liam Treadwell. 

The National is a race with many stories to tell and perhaps the most famous of all is the success of Red Rum who won the race three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977. 

It is probably only a matter of time before the first female jockey wins the biggest prize of all. 

Take a look at this animated video narrated by Katie Walsh detailing the history of female jockeys in the Grand National. 

Source: Betway racing.

Monday, 15 March 2021

2021 Cheltenham Festival Day 2

Day two of the Cheltenham Festival. 

I hope yesterday proved a great day. Money in your pocket. Perhaps you're playing catch up. Well, today is the day. 

Feel inspired. 

Take a look at the video posted below. It really makes me smile and just shows that even your favourite football players just love everything Cheltenham. 

Basically, are you Cheltenham Ready?

This 3-minute video is pure gold. Betway Horse Racing have asked the opinions of West Ham's Jesse Lingard and friends what they know about everything equine. 

To be fair, they probably don't know as much as most punters, but I'm sure even the likes of Nicky Henderson would struggle to draw a picture of a horse. 

It doesn't help when Michail Antonio decided to draw his horse with full-on tackle. 


Monday, 22 February 2021

4:40 Wolverhampton Racing Info (22nd February)

Nothing too exciting happening today, but you just never know what could turn out to be a bet. 

For those who like to bet take a look at Online Bookies to get the latest reviews and offers. The 4:40 Wolverhampton is one of those races that could be go from one extreme to the other. It could well go to the favourite or the rag. So we had best detail a few horses of interest although, I'll tell you know, there isn't too much when it comes to pinning the tail on the donkey. 


My brother, Tony, loves a bet and he has been taking a look at this 6f (6f 20y) Median Auction Stakes. 

Tributo, trained by Stuart Williams, has been a touch unlucky in his last four races, after unseating his rider when odds on at Chelmsford, then disappointing at Lingfield when fifth, and a couple of runner-up efforts when running creditable behind Electric Blue and then a neck loser at Southwell when running on well in a blanket finish. Connections are stepping up a furlong, so we will have to see what happens. By all accounts, this looks a decent opportunity although I'm always fearful of a horse that seems to make hard work of winning. I would have slight concerns this extra furlong may see him too keen early doors, which wouldn't be a plus. A plum draw may well see Kingscote lead and try to hang on for grim death. 

I wouldn't be betting at short odds. 

Papas Girl was given a couple of significant race entries at two and even competed in the Dick Pool Stakes (Group 2) and Listed Race, but completely outclassed. This is a drop in class and I would suspect Stan Moore comes here with a decent chance. A wide draw (12) isn't the best starting point and if trying to get to the rail and failing, it would be a disaster. I hate a horse that runs wide on the bend because it seems impossible to win. So, I guess, they will drop in behind, unless feeling lucky, and could go well especially if touching each-way prices. 

Brazon Bow holds fair win and place claims for Richard Fahey. I do like a horse on their second start. 

I can't say I know much about new trainer Hilal Kobeissi. I will have to read up and find out more. Kukri Klass has raced twice and not shown a great deal. This daughter of The Gurka is owned by Burn Farms Racing, who used to do very well with Noel Quinlan. The mare, Blanche Dubawi was a talented sprinter who won at Listed class. Kukri Klass may be heading to nurseries but this bay filly may have a hope at giant odds (40/1). 

I am a fan of Philip McBride who, again, can go well with horses on their second start. To be fair, Broughton's Chief needs to have a transformation after looking to need the run. This bay gelding looks a progressive type and although likely to show more today, wouldn't be my first choice, although not my last. 

In a race of thirteen three-year-olds we have a little bit of everything going. 

Conclusion: I wouldn't get involved in this race. My brother said he half fancies Papas Girl if available at each-way odds, although the wide draw could well be a problem. Tributo is making hard work of winning and although should hit the nail on the head isn't a horse I could bet at short odds. Brazon Bow has a profile of a horse who will be trying. Kukri Klass and Broughton's Chief are interesting from a watching point of view. It's a race I would rather watch than bet. 

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Five Times a Massive Outsider Won The Melbourne Cup

More than 100,000 punters watched agog as Prince of Penzance defied odds of 100/1 to win the biggest race of the year in 2015. Fame Game, Trip To Paris and Red Cadeaux were the heavily backed favourites and widely tipped to battle it out for Melbourne Cup glory, while Prince of Penzance was considered a mere also-ran. He had never secured a top class victory, but delivered on the big day in devastating fashion. The sport had not seen the likes of it for decades, and it gives hope to anyone dreaming of a huge win at massive odds in the race that stops a nation. Here are five massive outsiders that have upset the odds and seized the Melbourne Cup:
The Pearl, 1871
The Melbourne Cup began life in 1861, when Archer outstripped his rivals by six lengths and claimed a prize of £710 and a gold watch for his owner. The race had to wait a decade for its first 100/1 ($101) winner, The Pearl, who battled to an unlikely victory in 1871. Owner and trainer John Trait had two runners in the race, Phyrrus and The Pearl, and placed a bet on Phyrrus thanks to his strong form heading into the contest. Jockey J Cavanagh said Trait was “so sweet on Phyrrus” that he led the stable to believe no runner in the race could touch that horse, and he was disappointed not to be given the mount. But instead he went aboard The Pearl and pulled off a win that even shocked the horse’s owner. There was a scrimmage at the halfway point, which The Pearl avoided, and took a lead of two lengths, which he never relinquished, winning 1,110 gold sovereigns.

Wotan, 1936

We had to wait 65 years for another $101 horse to win the Melbourne Cup, when Wotan delivered a hammer blow to punters across the nation. “The calculations of thousands of backers were upset yesterday when the 100 to 1 chance, Wotan, won the Melbourne Cup at Flemington racecourse,” reported the West Australian the following morning. “The result was one of the most surprising ever recorded in the history of the race.” Not only did Wotan win, he set an Australasian record for the fastest ever two-mile race finishing time. He only won three wins in his entire career, and one came in the biggest race in the world, showing that anything can happen in the Melbourne Cup.

Old Rowley, 1940
Old Rowley was described by his first trainer, Bayley Payten, as “the slowest two-year-old I’ve ever had in my stables”. He was so cumbersome that Payten would invite his friends round to point and laugh at him as he lolloped around the paddock. But Old Rowley had the last laugh after transferring to the stable of Jack Scully, as he went on to win the most famous race of all. It was a remarkable renewal in 1940 because criminals broke into the stables in a bid to take out favourite Beau Vite. The bungling criminals got the wrong horse, however, and shot sprinter El Golea in each hind leg instead. The unscathed Beau Vite, that year’s Cox Plate Champion, went off as 7/4 favourite ($2.75), but turned out to be no match for Old Rowley, who prevailed by three-quarters of a length. You could call him a late bloomer, and Payten must have been shaking his head in disbelief.
Rimfire, 1948
There have been many fairy-tale victories during the 15 decades of the Melbourne Cup, but it is hard to top the remarkable feat achieved by Ray Neville. He was just 15 years old and only had eight previous races under his belt when he climbed aboard 80/1 no-hoper Rimfire in the 1948 renewal of the race that stops a nation. W. A. Smith, scheduled to ride Rimfire, must have regretted his decision to switch mounts the day before the race, as that allowed Neville to step in and claim glory. Trainer Stan Boydon did not tell Neville he would be riding in the Melbourne Cup to ensure the boy got a good night’s sleep and the strategy paid off as he delivered a rousing victory.
Prince of Penzance, 2015
Huge outsiders winning the Melbourne Cup had become a thing of the past by the time we reached 2015, when the most common winning price was $10. That makes Prince of Penzance’s feat all the more amazing. Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to ever win the race and later said chauvinists in the sport can “get stuffed”. She delivered a beautiful ride, ensuring Prince of Penzance burst out of midfield to gain the initiative with 100m to go. Frankie Detorri and Max Dynamite gave pursuit in a thrilling final furlong, but Prince of Penzance held on to win by a half-length and spark disbelief among punters.

Will we get another big priced winner at the Melbourne Cup 2018? Only time will tell, but be sure to check out all the latest Melbourne Cup odds at Oddschecker before the big race in November.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Race Horses, Trainers & Broken Dreams

So you thought you had it bad as a punter...

Give a moments thought to horse trainers big and small. It must be a tricky business to try and make a living. I can't say I have any great connections to the training world. I've helped a few promote their services on our website Horse Trainer Directory. The ones who need that little extra promotion are generally thankful, grateful and appreciative. We promote trainers for free because without them we don't have a website. I live by the mantra: in giving we receive. The ugliness of the self is never attractive even looking in a circus mirror. 

I have known a few trainers in passing. Unless I buy a share in a racehorse or dip my hand further into my pocket to buy a whole horse it is unlikely we will have any meaningful conversations. However, you never know who is interested in what you have to offer and I have been surprised by the generous nature of many people who I wouldn't really expect. I remember receiving a phone call from Peter Doyle, the bloodstock agent, who took the time to contact me about a horse he once purchased called Western Art, trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, in the ownership of Matthew Green and Ben Sangster. This son of Hennesey won at Listed class but struggled with injury at three to a point he was purchased as a riding horse for a lovely lady who I later become friends. I researched Western Art's (Artie) life story: from foal to ''champion'' racehorse. His breeder, Nellie Cox, of Rose Retreat Lodge, in the United States, remembered him well and the two ladies, who both loved him most, had the opportunity to chat about horse and foal detailing those interim years with caring words. 

This story originated from my brother, Tony, a plasterer, who while working on a private job many moons ago got talking to the customer about horse racing. They had a livery business and low and behold ex-racehorse Western Art was stabled there by his owner. It's a small world. 

Western Art stuck in my mind because I follow two-year-old horse racing and, by all accounts, he was a class horse. In truth, racing did this beautiful gelding no favours. He suffered many racing-related injuries which sadly lingered for the rest of his life.


By this chance encounter, a story came to life and the opportunity to meet some lovely people who I am still in contact today. Friendship is a creation of coincidence based on shared interests.The love of a horse from a racing perspective and a beautiful thoroughbred who without question was loved most greatly by his last owner who paid the price for others hopes and dreams. 

The pursuit to win. 

I guess it is too easy to consider that every horse trainer is a millionaire. Perhaps money makes its own luck. When you consider leading trainers such as John Gosden, William Haggas et al it is undoubtedly true. They are very wealthy individuals with the luxury of hugely rich owners. For many, money is no object. Their success is an ingredient of money and talent. Others, it is blood, sweat and years (of unpaid work).  

Smaller trainers have to fight for each and every horse, owner and success. Many, I suspect, live a hand-to-mouth existence. The National Hunt has a big heart. The story of a farmer with a horse. Perhaps that is the truth of horse training. The story built on ambition, hopes and dreams. Whether rich, poor or vagrant on the street we can all see through those eyes.  

We have all seen new trainers come and go. Imagine the passion in each individual who follows their dream. Especially so those younger trainers who are reliant on someone backing them financially. Money only goes so far and, I guess rightly so, those paying the bills can be very critical of their performance. Time is never on anyone's side and so often these fledgeling trainers fall by the way. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Bet365 Chief Exec Pays Herself £199m

It's tough at the top. 

Founder of Bet365 Denise Coates became the highest paid boss after giving herself a wage of £199m last year. 

The co-founder of the bookmaking firm paid herself the record sum after the company posted profits of £525m for the 2016/2017 financial year. 

The 50-year-old billionaire came from humble beginnings working in her father's bookmakers as a cashier. She started Bet365 website after borrowing £15m against the family's betting shop. Established in a portakabin in 2000 based in Stoke-on-Trent car park. Buying the domain name Bet365.com she built one of the most profitable businesses in Britain. 

Forbes detailed that Coats personal fortune is $4bn (£3bn).

The company has a major stake in Stoke City Football club. 

Recent concerns regarding problem gambling prompted Coats to say:  "Bet365 recognises its responsibility to minimise gambling-related harm and to keep crime out of gambling".

Last year, Bet365 customers wagered $47bn up more than £10bn on the previous year.