Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Can Psychology Help you win at the races?

Fast as a horse?It's an interesting question.

I studies psychology to degree level. I learned about the study of mind and behaviour with the Open University. It did me proud in ways. Over six years later I gained a 2:1 BSc Psychology. A few marks short of a 1st. I'm competitive to a point. It was a slight irritation that I didn't get the top honours. Not that it mattered. I have never really done anything with my degree. Why? Because I completed the marathon study just to prove I could. I always knew I would but, at times, you have to prove the point.

I never doubted it for a second. The interesting point being that with that mind set I was 80% finished even before I had start the first module. 

What did I learn?


What would I tell others from my experience? Don't imagine you cannot achieve a degree even if you have no qualifications. Without doubt - you can if you really want it. 

I used to look at my class mates when they were 18 and going to universities around the UK if not the world. I wasn't sure where I was going. The CSE didn't give me too many options. 

That CSE was the best thing I could have got at that time as it proved a true motivator. 

But can psychology (I'm getting there) help you win at the races? 

So much of psychology is about psychopathology and addiction. It is a credible pursuit. 

I have found a few psychology theories and principles that can bring light on gambling. 

Bet I Can Throw A Six

Can Psychology of Chess Improve Your Gambling?

A Contrasting POINT On Gambling Psychology

I Followed that Horse Off a Cliff 

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Betting Outside Your Comfort Zone

Betting outside your comfort zone

How much would you have to bet before you felt uneasy? In ''uneasy'' I mean how many pounds, shilling and pence before you'd feel pretty peed off if it lost? 

The old maxim: ''Bet what you can afford to lose'' is, I guess, what most people do. 


Very few people bet crazy amounts of money fun. A percentage do who have a problem. But even those of a compulsive nature probably do their dough betting £20, £50 or £100 a time. 

Please, don't bet if you do not have a good reason why you can win. If you are basing your ''skills'' on looking at the form on the wall of your local bookmakers your knowledge base isn't likely to put you ahead of the game.  It's like studying for a test without really reading the book. There are plenty of pages bar the first and last. 

I love to watch business stuff, videos, info and people chatting about investing money. This bloke asked how much money would you invest. Basically, investing money you can afford to lose. He said about 30% of his savings. But this varies from person to person. Makes sense, hey!   

It depends on your comfort zone. It's a similar question with betting. How much is too much for you?

We have all seen people who have lost too much. While others are enjoying their day they sit withdrawn, blank expression, thinking how the hell did I lose all that money. They are struggling because it was more than they wanted to lose. Not a good feeling. Stepping outside that comfort zone.

Very few people would contemplate betting all their money on the spin of a roulette wheel. 

Black or red? 

Not many people would feel comfortable doing that. But how many could bet all their money - lose - and say: ''Let's go get something to eat, and you're paying'' and act as though nothing happened? In actual fact, not caring that it had happened?

I guess there are some people who could. I would love to meet them because they must be very confident they can make that money again. 

I imagine a number of people who have bet and lost all of their money are more likely to climb the stairs of the nearest high building and jump than decide which burger they want to eat.  

When betting, don't push yourself to the extreme if you cannot handle the consequence of the loss. Don't just think of the small loss on the day. If you have lost a fortune over the years, what is the total? It could well be £50,000. Did breaking those bets into smaller sums make it easier to swallow? 

I guess so. But it's still the same as betting a bloody big wedge. 

Be wise when you bet. 

Monday, 7 May 2018

When is the best time to bet?

Time to bet
It's a pretty open ended question. 

How often do you bet?

I've often been criticized for not betting enough. ''What are you waiting for?'' Impatient. I understand the regular Joe at the bookmakers is waiting for the next race. He's an eager devil waiting for the next race before the last has finished. Most bet on favourites. If the horse races don't come fast enough they dabble with the greyhounds. Trap 1. If that isn't enough, they bet on virtual racing. The only good thing about that is animal welfare. 

The two-year-old season isn't like any other age group of horse. 

Each year we start with a blank slate. A fictitious piece of chalk in hand, drawing a picture of long-legged horse. Yes, it's black and white. The picture forms with every day's racing. I feel like George Stubbs, the English painter of horses. Whistlejacket. That was one of the horses he painted, not a jacket you wear to wolf whistle girls.  

It takes time to understand the early two-year-old racing. Without a reference point - a level of ability - we're guessing. That doesn't sound like understanding or objectivity. It isn't a word someone would invest money, hey. I kind of ''guess'' the price of oil will go up. It doesn't instill much hope. 

So the early season is all about watching the races and individual horses; to learn about each.I have watched a race twenty times. It can be a tiring endeavour. I have been known to fall to sleep mid race or watch one umpteen times because I keep dropping off before they cross the line. However, you can just about guarantee I watch every race and horse (repeatedly). Why? Because I want to know more than the average punter. Joes Bloggs doesn't really think about these things. Understanding, knowledge & proven ability takes time. 

The early-season form can be tricky. A horse finished second, so everyone thinks it will win next time out. It might do just that. But if it beats a slow horse (remember, we don't know it is a slow horse, yet) then we may bet and feel like a complete idiot. So many horses are beaten in this manner. We wait until those form lines start to build. In addition, using Group Horse, I look for significantly entered juveniles. In truth, I have a number of ways to make assessment. All parts of the jigsaw puzzle. 

The season started in March and I still haven't had a bet. Most people would be pulling out their hair, teeth chattering, eyes bulging as they look at the race cards in the daily paper. I could wait forever. I'm not betting for fun or humour, the buzz or whatever. I bet for all the right reasons. That it is a bet with value. 

Never feel as though you are in a rush to bet. Don't look for bets. It will addle your brain to a point where you don't know when or why you are betting. Betting isn't fun. It shouldn't be fun. Losing money isn't fun. It is business. Bet for all the right reasons. 

You will know when it is time to bet. 

Sunday, 29 April 2018

2:00 Salisbury Racing Tips (29th April)

Free Horse Racing Tips
A Fillies' Conditions Stakes (Plus 10) Class 3 over 5f on Heavy going. Ten two-year-olds take part worth £11,321 to the winner. 

Probably the best juvenile fillies' race we have seem this season. 

Lady Prancealot is the only winner. She has a win penalty following the defeat of Piccothepack. The form of her races has taken a couple of knocks and unless much better than seen, looks there to be shot at. 

The stable field Haariet who looks second string. 

Dean Ivory fields Penniesfromheaven. She was inexperienced on debut, when running on to be third, and then unlucky not to win when runner-up to Daphinia. The level of form doesn't look strong. This daughter of Lethal Force took a good while to pick up - finishing with spirit - and will need to do the same here. Whether this testing going will suit is open to debate. If needing a real test of stamina, may go better. However, I wouldn't take the plunge. 

Haats Off showed good pace in the Brocklesby before tiring quickly into fifth. She was outpaced at Southwell behind a couple of fair sorts. Brian Barr's filly was running on at the death. The going may not be a problem although if it is truly a mud bath then who knows. This filly is on the small side. Bookmakers have priced as though she has no chance. May show pace for a few furlongs if in-play traders want to bet to lay.

Kadiz, Cotubanama & Ginger Nut ran in the same race. It was run on ''good'' going at Newmarket. In many respects it was a puzzling affair. Hard Forest was the only form horse, and looked to hold every chance until tiring dramatically in the last half furlong. The race was over five seconds slow, which suggests it was on the soft side. The winner, Strings Of Life, ran on well and Charlie Appleby  said they had this filly earmarked for Royal Ascot. He said she would improve a good deal. The strange aspects of this race is that the early leaders looked to be tiring while those outpaced closed at the line. 

Kadiz traveled well. Richard Hughes charge was priced 33/1 and cruised through the race and just denied by half a length. There was a lot to like about that effort although the form is still difficult to assess. 

Mich Channon had a couple of horses entered that day. Cotubanama was the bigger priced of the two stablemates. However, this daughter of Heeraat wasn't best away and soon struggling for pace. The complexion of the race changed quite markedly in the final furlong and she looked to be running on. It could be be the case the leaders were slowing while she carried on at the same pace. By the way she run, this testing ground may well be a positive. 

Mark Johnston has been in good form and sent out a couple of two-year-old winners on Saturday. Diviner is making her debut. This daughter of Charm Spirit cost just 14,000 euros at the yearling sales. Not very expensive. The betting is the best guide. Very few of the stable's debutantes win priced over 16/1. 

Ginger Nut was relatively fancied in the betting that day [15/2] and finished just a head behind Cotubanama. Trained by Richard Hannon, this daughter of Sir Prancealot has similar claims to the above mentioned. 

Rod Millman fields outsider Mawde an £8000 yearling purchase. The stable often go well here with their two-year-olds but looks a stiff task.     

All Back To Me hails for a stable that can win at big prices. On balance, I would take a watching brief for Joseph Tuite's horse. 

Conclusion: A large field on heavy going. It is difficult to feel confident on such testing ground. The form horses have valuable experience and should hold the aces. The trio who raced at Newmarket look interesting. However, the form is difficult to assess. Kadiz traveled well that day. Cotubanama and Ginger Nut were ring rusty and both ran on with some verve. As mentioned, whether this was the leaders stopping or those in behind running on is difficult to assess. The going - if needing a test of stamina - may favour the latter. In many respects there doesn't look a great difference between them on debut. This second start may see each run markedly different. I'm not keen on the form of Lady Prancealot or Penniesfromheaven. The latter may enjoy this heavy going. A difficult race to assess and one I would rather watch. 

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

1:50 Yarmouth Racing Tips (24th April)

That's not Yarmouth
A Maiden Fillies' Stakes (Plus 10) (Class 5) (2yo) over 5f 42y on good to firm going. Eight two-year-olds take part: two with racecourse experience and half dozen debutantes. 

A relatively cheap bunch with a mix of trainers. The betting would suggest five horses have a chance - the rest rags. Time will tell whether that is the case. As we know, most horses are priced by the general trainer standard rather than individual horse. 

The two form horses are interesting in their own way. 

Luchador ran well on debut at Kempton. Archie Watson has sent a few two-year-olds out this season without shaking too many trees. This bay daughter of Holy Roman Emperor. This home bred is owned by Al Asayl Bloodstock Ltd. She was pretty fancied that day, starting 13/2. It was a considerate introduction. Well drawn in stall (1), she was just off the pace and, perhaps, slightly outpaced or just as likely given time by her jockey. On turning the final bend, there were a few lengths to catch up which make winning look very unlikely. Luchador ran on well after being given a couple of taps and just missed out on third place. The form of that race looks fair without being anything special. However, considering she has valuable experience and sure to be ridden to win, that gives hope. Definitely a major player here.

Mick Channon has started this two-year-old season much better than the last few. The stable have stated that they wanted to get back to speedy juveniles and it have proven a good move with Izzer winning the Brocklesby, while other winners have run to expectation while a few bigger priced showing ample promise for future runs. Solesmes started her debut at Windsor on heavy going. This daughter of Gregorian was a bargain buy at 3,000G and still in the ownership of Channon, who will be looking to sell this youngster if winning today. She ran pretty well at Windsor when finishing fourth, especially considering the first three horses look fair if not better. She traveled well until being outpaced the in the final furlong. If that was to do with fitness she could hold each way claims.

William Haggas has fielded a couple of two-year-olds - both half fancied in the betting - but both disappointing to some extent. He does well at Yarmouth so worthy of respect. Carrie's Vision is a daughter of Oasis Dream and 50,000G yearling purchase. It is always difficult to assess debutantes from larger stables in ordinary races as they are prone to be priced short odds. Inexperience over 5f is not ideal. However, the stable do have a respectable win rate on debut and one who could go well. 

George Scott had a real flying machine last year with James Garfield. Willow Brook is a cheap yearling purchase at 8,000G. This chestnut daughter of Sepoy is best watched unless seriously backed. 

Robert Cowell has started this season with purpose and a number of two-year-old debutantes - costly buys - have made their start. Blame Roberta is a daughter of Blame in the ownership of Khalifa Dasmal. She cost $27,000 at the yearling sales.

The Last Party, Islay Mist & Equiano Pearl are best watched. 

Conclusion: If money is anything to go by, the majority of these horses are not specimens. Certainly, the two form horses have shown some level of ability. It is difficult to assess form lines at this time of year against the potential of a smart unraced opponent. Luchador ran well on debut and should improve. Looks the better of the two. Solesmes ran well for a good way at Windsor and if the testing going found her out may have each way claims. The form of that race looks fair although she was beaten a few lengths by the trio at the line. Carrie's Vision cost a decent amount and hails from a stable that do well here. Debutantes can be hard work to bet. At the odds, I would take a watching brief. I would just watch and learn rather than get too involved. The form horses are most likely to prevail  

Monday, 16 April 2018

ITV Hails Grand National Big Success

Ed Chamberlain, ITV
ITV's anchor, Ed Chamberlain hailed the Grand National a success after achieving 8.5 million viewers.   

He said:  “It’s something else and I loved it,” he reflected on Monday. “I thought Aintree and the Jockey Club – Grant Rowley, Jessica Dalgliesh and John Baker and his team did an amazing job.

"The opening ceremony, with the Red Devils, Laura Wright and the military, gave the meeting real gravitas and it felt really special – bigger and better than last year, which I loved.”

"I’ll be brutally honest,” he said. “We were going into the dark last year. It was good but this year felt so much better – everything about it. 

"My favourite thing of the whole week is down at the start, it was something I was adamant should be brought in and I love those shots. Hopefully it takes people right to the heart of it, which is what we’re trying to do.

“From the moment we went on air on Thursday it was very much building to 5.15pm on Saturday. We tried to make sure that by 5pm everyone was aware of all the different stories in the race and I think we did that well.”

Peak viewing figures for Grand National day

2018 (ITV) – 8.5 million 
2017 (ITV) – 8.2 million 
2016 (C4) – 10 million 
2015 (C4) – 8.8 million

Chamberlin said: “I’m always hoping for more and probably wouldn’t be happy with 11 million but the fact is that 8.5 million in the modern age is still pretty good.

"The Grand National is an enigma – you had seven million watching Don’t Push It in 2010 and then ten million watching Rule The World in 2016. When I saw the sunshine on Saturday morning I was one person who was cursing, but that’s no excuse. 

"I can’t control that but, for me, that was the biggest and best television show in my 20 years of presenting, and to get a 60 per cent share is fantastic.”

Monday, 9 April 2018

What To Look For In A Grand National Wager

Grand National Wager
It's the biggest day on the horse racing calendar for many, as the Grand National at Aintree is a tradition unmatched by most events. With this event comes the opportunity to wager on the race and to pick a winner at the window.  But how do you figure out which horse to back when it comes time for the race? Looking for the following notches in a horse's belt should go a long way towards helping determine who to put your faith in during the race. 

A history of staying upright 

The Grand National is known for its many jumps, which can of course lead to many falls. So backing a horse that can remain on its feet and continue moving towards the finish line is key. To find a horse that fits this billing, some research will be required. Go back through a horse's race history to find out if it has failed to finish races and what the causes of those lack of finishes were. This will tell you if a horse has been able to stay upright, which can tell you a lot about whether or not they are worth backing in the Grand National. 

This is such a priority because of just how many falls take place at the Grand National every year. There is a long list of horses that fail to finish the race each year, as the gruelling combination of jumps and a long distance run takes its toll on the competitors. If a horse has trouble finishing the job in smaller races, that says a lot about their chances in this one.

A history against their competition 

Often, the Grand National boasts a huge field. And while a select group of horses tend to finish the race when all is said and done, it is important to know how the horse you want to back has performed against the other horses in the race. Over at William Hill, bookmakers take this into account when determining the favourites in the race among other factors, which goes some way to explaining why Blaklion and Tiger Roll are joint-favourites at 10/1. Because if you have been left in the dust by the competition in lesser races, you will be considered less likely to beat them in the biggest race of the year. 

As you would imagine, the competition in the Grand National is fierce. The same can also be said about the tune-up races for the big one at Aintree. With many horses in the field taking part in a select few races to prepare, there are opportunities to see how these horses performed on the same tracks in similar conditions. This can provide a comparison between the horses, which can help make informed decisions. 

Of course, there is a myriad of other factors to consider when picking a horse to back in the Grand National. But using these two as a starting point will go a long way towards weeding out horses that are not worthy of backing on such a big stage. With a little light reading and the knowledge that comes with it, you can be on your way to picking a winner.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Will Minella Rocco Pull A Surprise At The Grand National?

Will Minella Rocco Pull A Surprise At The Grand National?
All eyes will be on Aintree for the Grand National on April 14 as a new champion will be confirmed at the event. One For Arthur won the prestigious race last season with a fine performance, but injury has forced him to withdraw, ending his opportunity to end the crown. His absence will open up the opportunity for the rest of the field to etch their place in history. There are a number of talented runners in the field, including horses that triumphed at Cheltenham Festival last month. Total Recall raced at the Festival, but put forward a poor performance at the Gold Cup, whereas Tiger Roll was outstanding in the Cross Country Chase, defeating Cause of Causes among a strong group of competitors.
As a result, it’s always best to consult the form guide when at before placing a punt for the National. The race can be unpredictable, but there will be one competitor – Minella Rocco- desperate to prove a point after being pulled from the race by trainer Jonjo O’Neill, despite being considered one of the leading contenders for the crown among leading bookmakers ahead of the contest. The bay gelding will face a challenge to find his best form, although he does have proven pedigree looking back over the course of his career.

Minella Rocco made his breakthrough in the 2015/16 National Hunt campaign, making his mark at Cheltenham Festival. The Irish horse secured the National Hunt Chase Challenge Cup, with Derek O’Connor in the saddle. He started the event at the back of the field before beginning his surge three fences from the end of the race. The bay gelding beat out future Gold Cup winner Native River by one-and-three-quarter lengths, highlighting his potential for the future with a brilliant run.

He returned to the action for the new campaign and suffered a narrow loss in the BetVictor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham, despite being considered the leading contender for the victory. Minella Rocco lost momentum in the midway stage of the season, falling for the first time of his career in a meet at Aintree before unseating Aidan Coleman at the Irish Gold Cup. The preparation for the Cheltenham Gold Cup was not ideal, but O’Neill’s charge still had a puncher’s chance at the major event of the Festival.
Noel Fehily kept the Irish horse at the back of the field for the start of the race before beginning a push three fences from the end of the meet. He tried to close the gap to Sizing John, but could not match the pace of his rival, losing out by two-and-three-quarter lengths. Minella Rocco finished strong to place second ahead of Native River, which suggested that he could do damage over a greater distance at Aintree in the National.
However, O’Neill opted to pull the bay gelding from the action to preserve him for the next campaign. His return to the track did not go to plan at the Irish Daily Star Chase, placing in fourth well off the pace in Punchestown, failing to rise to the occasion. He then endured an unhappy return to Cheltenham, pulling up in the BetVictor Handicap Chase. There was an opportunity for Minella Rocco to hit back at the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, and although there was a slight improvement in his performance he was still far from his best, sitting back in fourth place.
For the second year on the bounce, Minella Rocco failed to complete the Irish Gold Cup. On this occasion, he fell at the last fence but was not in contention for the crown. The plan for O’Neill was to put his charge forward for the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but the weather at the event forced the trainer’s hand once again, withdrawing the Irish horse due to conditions on the ground. There is undoubted potential with the bay gelding, highlighted by his performance at Cheltenham in 2016. Minella Rocco has failed to record a victory in eight races, with his form deserting him during the last campaign. He still has solid odds to win the National and the distance and the course could play into his hands, although it will still take a flawless performance to secure the crown.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Grand National 2018: The Housewife's Favourite

Grand National 2018
Who doesn't love a bet on the Grand National?

As the saying goes: it's the housewife's favourite. Betting on a name that catches your eye, those pink silks look like a winner, lucky number 7, didn't that horse win last year?

This year's Grand National 2018 

5:15 Aintree - Randox Health Grand National Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (Class 1)

One horse who could be a real player this year is Blaklion trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. This nine-year-old bay gelding is a son of Kayf Tara. He won last time out at Aintree in heavy going. With total prize winning of almost £400,000 this horse will be many a punter's fancy. Fill your boots at Williamhill who presently have this horse priced at odds of 10/1. A worth each-way bet. 

A little Grand National Trivia

This historic handicap steeplechase is run over 4 mile 4 furlong at Aintree and sponsored by Crabbie's. 

It was first run in 1839. The Grand National is televised in 140 countries and viewed by an audience of 600 million. 

Horses jump 30 fences including Bechers' Brook, Foinavon, the Canal Turn & The Chair over two grueling circuits. 

The Greatest Horse

Red Rum is a true legend of this race winning three times in the 1970s. Trained by the late Ginger McCain, he won the Grand National in 1973, 1974 & 1977. He finished second in 1975 & 1976. 

The Luckiest Winner

Foinavon proved that you sometimes you need a little bit of luck when winning in 1967. This 100/1 was lagging 100 yards behind the pack when a loose horse named Popham Down caused mayhem at the 23rd fence hampering or unseating most of the field. Foinavon had time to steer round the havoc and none of the opposition had time to catch him.

The Most Humbling Victory 

Few people will ever forget Bob Champion's win in 1981 aboard Aldantini. Two years before this race, Champion had been given only months to live after being diagnosed with cancer. Aldaniti had recovered from chronic leg problems but the pair went on to beat SpartanMissile by four and half lengths in an emotional victory. Their story was made into a film, Champions, starring John Hurt.

Grand National Records:

Mr Frisk (1990) 8 minute 48 seconds (Fastest winner)

Peter Simple (1853) 15 years (Oldest winning horse)
Bruce Hobbs (1938) 17 years old (Youngest winning jockey)
5 horses have won at 100/1 (Longest winning odds)
(1929) 66 runners (Largest field)

(1883) 10 runners (Smallest field)

Whatever you bet on the big day, good luck. 

Thursday, 22 March 2018

2018 Grand National - What An Offer

Bob Champion, Aldaniti
The most historic steeplechase in the world. It has to be the Grand National.  

Get ready for this year's race on the 14th April at 5:15.

Two long circuits to get a huge crowd cheering for more. Four long miles & two furlongs. Remember Red Rum? He won three times in 1973, 1974 & 1977. His trainer, Ginger McCain, became as famous as this imperious horse. Could we see a horse win the Grand National three times in this modern era? It would seem unlikely. But who would have believed so many stories related to this hard race.  

In truth, for many, the Grand National is the most famous race in the world. Horses, jockeys, trainers, punters and a betting bonanza with plenty of Offers at the Grand National. It takes a talented, tough and lucky horse to win at Aintree, Liverpool. 

The Grand National History tells a story of triumph over adversity.

The history of this race goes back to 1839 when a horse named Lottery won at 5/1, ridden by Jem Mason. In those days, the Grand National was a race of fearful fences. 

It was probably the reason why Tipperary Tim & Gregalach proved that lightning can strike twice when these 100/1 shots won in 1928 & 1929, respectively.

Other 100/1 winners include Caughoo (1947), Foinavon (1967) & Mon Mome (2009).

Five 100/1 winners. It just shows you don't need to be a favourite backer to make your betting pay. 

Stories never to be forgotten...

The 1981 Grand National was unforgettable for two reasons: Aldaniti and Bob Champion. A jockey fighting against cancer, and horse who at one time could barely walk. The pair won at 10/1. In the process, Champion went on to not only survive but raise millions of pound for cancer research. Their story was made into the film Champions starring John Hurt. To this day, Carl Davis's theme tune is still associated with the Grand National.

Corbiere and Mrs Jenny Pitman

It took a long time for the first woman to train a National winner. Jenny Pitman was an iron lady who was a straight talker and new she had a real talent in Corbiere.  In 1983, Corbiere, ridden by Ben de Haan, won the National at 13/1. It was a strong race with many old favourites such as West Tip and Classified.

Mr Frisk the fastest of them all

In 1990 Mr Frisk recorded a time of 8.47.8 – it was the fastest ever due to faster going. It is very unlikely this time will ever be beaten.  

Don't Push It, Tony.

A P McCoy took well over a decade to claim this illusive title when Don't Push It prevailed in 2010. He was knighted after retiring in 2015.

The Randox Health Grand National.

14th April - 5:15 Aintree