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Mark Johnston has slated the BHA's decision to make known horses that have had a wind operation since their last run. The qualified vet/trainer described it as a tragedy. He said: "I think it's a tragedy for the industry and the breed that the BHA has brought in this rule," he said. "I think it's based on bad science and we've got a further unlevelling of the international field, where we're going to be giving misinformation to punters and I fear there is a welfare issue.
"As is the case over jumps, or what we believe is the case, there are large numbers of horses having surgery unnecessarily because of this belief it will improve their performance. I fear this will push over to the Flat and we've seen there are a lot of misguided people out there who seem to believe these procedures make a horse run faster.
"So long as they believe that and so long as the breeders are concerned about it being known their horses have had wind surgery, we're now going to see the situation on the Flat with horses having surgery before they run, completely unnecessarily."
"In general I can say they're not successful. Whether they work at all, the jury is still out and has been a long time. The procedures have changed dramatically since I qualified as a vet and during the time I've been training; new procedures coming in and out of fashion and that's simply because there's no consensus whether they work.
"I asked my senior vet if they work, and he said, 'No'. I asked my wife Deirdre if they work, and she said, 'Sometimes'. So we went through the horses who had had them and we found five who had significantly improved. That's a ten percent success rate, but how many of mine improved who didn't have wind surgery? Probably ten percent, so it's bad science to look at these figures."
Johnston, speaking as a guest on Luck On Sunday, also thought the idea more information being available would help the sport was wrong.
He said: "It's only going to be documented that British-trained horses have had surgery since their last run. It's not going to be documented how many had surgery before they ever ran or those coming in from abroad, so we're just muddying the waters even more."
Psychology: the study of behaviour and mind. To many, this offshoot of philosophy is akin to witchcraft. Others, it is just common sense. While for the majority: ''mumbo jumbo''. The strange thing about psychology is that we know it works. There have been studies which show when you walk into a supermarket, we walk so many paces before stopping, turning, and look around. You've probably done it a thousand times and never thought about it. It's walking, you stopped, so what! That's why someone had the brainwave of making sure the isles, offers or security guard (joke) are seemingly waiting at the right place to get you to buy. It begs the question, how many other things work like that? It is worrying to some extent as you may find yourself buying things, saying yes to someone who five minutes ago gave you a free pen, or liking someone or something that in ways always repulsed you before. You just put it down to being Friday! The power of psychology. Neuromarketing. Mumbo jumbo. Have you ever watched a TV advert and thought 'what's that all about'. McDonald's with its catchy whistle. Tapping into all those difference senses so you when you want a burger, you find yourself in their queue ''Cheeseburger, please!''. You robot! I guess we are a little fearful of the unknown. What's happening to me? I went to the shops to buy a packet of sweets and returned with a vacuum cleaner. What are those bookmakers are doing with all this witchcraft? If you open a new account, we will give you 10/1 that Chelsea beat Whatever United! I see it somewhere else 5/4. But what about all those subtle things. You go in the bookies and someone asks if you want a cup of tea. Milk. Sugar. (How much did that cost me?) I studied psychology and gained a degree a number of years ago. Social psychology is intriguing because it finds ways of tapping into the human condition to get you buying. Why is one salesman so much better than the rest of the team? If you studied this person you would identify how and why. But how does this all related to an individual like you or me making psychology work for us to be a better gambler or win more money? The key to finding winners is , in many ways, watching, taking note, and understanding winners. For instance, one aspect which often reveals bigger odds (value) is the contrast theory. Basically, if one horse beats another, many punters, bookmakers, layers will fancy the same result if they oppose each other at a later date. I know there may be changing variables such as weight, going, distance etc. However, it has been proven that people often assess the likelihood of the previous winner as having a greater chance of victory than it does. Meaning that the favourite is often under priced whereas the beaten horse is actually value at bigger odds. Just stop for a moment, and consider how many other aspect of psychology could be at play when you bet.
We're back from our annual pilgrimage to Great Yarmouth. It's in memory of my late father, Colin and many relatives sadly passed including uncle Fred, Keith, Roy and their friends who loved a bet. Avid readers will probably know we go to Yarmouth for fun, gambling and good food. The gambling part takes centre stage although I don't bet big money at the races on holiday compared with working from home. I find it difficult to be as professional as in my daily routines. The caravan I shared with a group of five isn't the most ideal place to contemplate wise bets although I did settle in with the holiday distractions better than I thought. I went to a couple of the race meetings and found a few winners which made it worthwhile. I missed meeting up with Jerry Banks which is a real shame. Jerry runs the great website called Jerry's Best Bets. He found the winner in the Listed race at Yarmouth, Beautiful Morning, who pretty much sauntered home in style. The casino wasn't such a pleasurable experience. I do enjoy the Grosvenor Casino because it is an old listed building with real character and charm. It is a great place to go for a cheap meal. They want to get you through the door and lose your money. I have done well at the casino over the last few years and, believe it or not, won money. This time the roulette wheel was spinning without luck and over three nights took a wedge out of my wallet. Not good. It can be depressing betting, watching that bloody ball stop in a number you haven't picked. It seems so easy after it has stopped! I'm still winning long term but not a great deal. The casino tempts punters from the races by giving a free drink and free bet to all who take their race badge. Basically, it is like them giving you £10 for free. Considering most people lose it is probably the best £10 they have ever spend on marketing. It is interesting watching others gamble. You get a real mix of people. Some betting 50p chips, £1 chips...while a few are either there to impress or just don't know when to stop. I guess everyone has their limit. I've been to the Grosvenor a lot and you see a few familiar faces. I'm pretty sure the majority of their customers are regular bettors. I say that because even mid-week they look a familiar crowd. A couple of them pretty big gamblers. Each to their own. I have chatted to one or two in passing but not to appreciate their background or where they made their money. However, they are clearly not short of cash by the manner they bet. One of the regulars is Graham. He dresses in a comfortable fashion which belies how much he bets. He isn't there to impress in the fashion stakes but boy does he get the money out as that roulette wheel spins for its life scorching the veneer while fate decides your fortune. Graham didn't have the normal pink chips worth £100. In fact, at first, I couldn't see where he was getting his chips from. The croupier kept pushing £500 of £5 chips in his direction and then five £100 chips. So he was cashing up £1000 a time. I noticed he had a number of light-blue chips worth a grand a piece. To be fair, he was having about as much luck as me for the most part. He wistfully placed £500 in £5 chips across the table and lost the lot in about six consecutive spins. He carried on betting regardless if not with extra verve as he started putting the five £100 chips on too hoping lady luck would come smiling after a number of dastardly verdicts. Thankfully, Graham hit a single number with one of his £100 chips winning £3500. I heard him mention he was down £6000 before that win. I had seen him on the other table a bit earlier. Where do these people get all their money from? I will have to get chatting to him some time although he isn't really my kind of person or at least that is how I feel. The fine dining part comes from visiting Pamela's restaurant just around the corner from the casino. A jewel in the crown of Yarmouth. Well worth a visit with exceptional service and gourmet delights. I had one of those cocktails made with dry ice which looks rather spectacular if not difficult to drink as I kept breathing in those fumes. A great few days down Yarmouth. Thinking of those loving people past & present.
Have you heard about this... I was contacted by someone the other day via email with ''You really need to hear about this''. I thought, right!. Someone named James [H******] sent me an email with the subject line: Professional Gambler's Info... Considering I run a website called Professional Gamblers I just imagined it related to that, wanting information etc. However, the email continued to explain how someone very well known within the racing media had contacted them with a get rich scheme about betting and winning big. I looked at this detailed summary which identified a way of manipulating the exchanges with a simple method. I thought this must be a lot of rubbish. You get these things forwarded all the time. It's interesting that on first review it was actually well worked. Like most of these approaches, it looks very simple when you see the formula. I was asked to look at this info for this bloke who was sceptical. Anyway, I'm restricted by what I can say because it's his info. I will, though, find a way of detailing a variant of this stuff for readers if it actually amounts to something worthy of your time. All of this ''keep it to yourself'' info made me remember a time I knew a trader on the exchanges. Someone who actually made very good money from their knowledge. I will not say any names because it wouldn't be fair. They used to work in an executive position and gave that up to work from home, more time with the family and making more money. I know for a fact, they made very good money. The interesting part, is that they were, perhaps, a touch greedy and wanted to get a bit of extra cash and considered they could afford to let a few people into their idea. They did seem pretty stern in noting that if they ever saw someone trying to sell this idea that they would sue them. I'm a man of my word, so I had/have no intention of undermining them or being untrustworthy. I paid a three-figure sum. In fact, it was £250 for the equivalent of reading about 50 words.The cost put off a lot of people. Although there were only about 10 places being sold so it was on a first come first served basis. I received the info. It was pretty basic but logical. I could see how it could be used and appreciate that it worked. I use Betfair, but not the ladder trading. Take a look at this link if you want to read more about this style of betting on the exchanges. It was so alien to the way I work that I didn't even attempt to use it. This style of trading needs an ultra quick mind and reflexes as fast as arcade game player. It's like shooting space invaders but making money. It was just something that I could never get to grips with. It made my style of working look old and outdated. I didn't care if my way was old hat because it made me money as it still does to this day. I lost track with the bloke who I bought the info from so I don't know what he's up to these days or whether he went broke or sitting on a yacht in the Bahamas. The info he sold me still awaits the day I decide to do something with it. Even though it sounds expensive, it was worth every penny because I know something that most people will never know... I wonder what email I will get tomorrow?
In the next two weeks, I will be travelling back to West Palm Beach, Florida. A change from our cold British weather to the tropics. Fifty days of paradise. Best of all, I get to see my beautiful Marlene. Before I leave, I've booked a night's stay at the Nelson Hotel at Great Yarmouth. I usually go to the Andover Hotel but I'm going with my brothers. At £65 for a family room and breakfast included it is perfect for a night away. So why are we going to Yarmouth? As usual, it's one of two things: horse racing or the Grosvenor casino (often both). Well, there's no racing at this time of the year [being a Flat turf course]. We're having a night at the casino. I do enjoy this listed building. Shadingfield Lodge was built in the Victorian era and even frequented by Queen Victoria's son and future king of England Edward VII. Enough of the history lesson.
The casino has a touch of class and the staff always bend over backwards to keep you happy. Now we know any casino can be a place where you go in all dressed up and come out losing your shirt. That doesn't need to be the case if you have discipline. You can enjoy a night out and it really doesn't need to cost much at all. In fact, with a touch of luck, you can return home with money in your pocket. I always play roulette. Saying that I have played three card poker. I have been lucky and won a couple of times but the casino rake is on the high side especially if you play pair plus. To be honest, you will do well not to lose playing three card poker. I've had some seriously good hands and still wasn't pleased with the money I won. It is a very difficult game to win over an evening. Roulette is the best of all games to play at the casino. I think the take out is low which means if you have a touch of luck you can win. I always bet on a single number and corner. I simply look to see which number has come up a few times in the last two or three hours and stick with it. There is no logic to why the number should be any better than the other but it seems the case the same numbers come up on an evening. I've had plenty of evenings where the same number has come up four or five times. It's like getting a prial on three card poker. For that to happen on an evening of playing cards is exceptionally unlikely. Anyway, we will be heading to Great Yarmouth in the next two weeks and see if lady luck comes walking through the room. Those fifty pence chips go a long way.