Enemy Number One

It’s a bit of a hodge-podge, pot pourri of a post today, dear friends. A veritable smorgasbord in which I jump about like a firecracker, tying  up a few loose ends from past weeks, looking at one of my favourite rides of the entire National Hunt season and generally talking up a storm.

Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who emailed me with feedback on my value finding post last week. All your comments are greatly appreciated and I hope the method is as successful for you as it has been for me. It’s great to know that people are reading and enjoying the posts and your comments have given me lots to think about and reflect on. I’m a firm believer that constant reflection and adjustment is of vital importance if we wish to improve our betting (and our lives in general come to that). So a big thank you to you all and keep the comments and feedback coming!

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Following on rather neatly from that, I’ve been thinking long and hard about the kind of things I should post on this blog and speculating about what things readers would enjoy/find most useful. Wracking my brains and scratching my head is an apt description of what I’ve been doing over the last week or so. Finally, I had a bit of an epiphany this morning. What would be the best most accurate way to find out what readers would like to see on here? Ask them, of course!

So, next week, I will be asking loyal readers to take part in a survey/questionnaire that I am preparing as we speak. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes to complete and I’m hoping that it will help to improve the general usefulness of the blog. I should  finally finish it over the weekend and will send it out early next week. Anybody who takes the time to fill it in will earn my eternal gratitude and move straight to the top of my list of good blokes/gals.

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It’s not often that I am taken aback by the quality of a ride by any jockey – but the ride given to Our Columbus by Paddy Brennan at Chepstow on Saturday was truly outstanding and, though I’m not the world’s greatest race reader, for me it has to be up there with the very best rides of the season.

How he managed to galvanise such an effort from a horse who looked ready to pull up 4 furlongs from home, I will never know. He practically carried the horse for half the final circuit and got him into a position to challenge for what looked  the most unlikely of victories. The horse was aided by Billy Murphy tying up quite badly on the run in but that should take nothing away from Our Columbus and Paddy Brennan who more than earned his fee on this occasion. A fantastically strong driving finish considering he had been after the horse from a long, long way out.

I’ve been hunting all over for a video of the race that I could embed here but I can’t find one that I can put up. The replay is available to watch on At The Races and it’s well worth a look (3.50pm Chepstow 02/04/11).

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While I’m on the subject, a quick heads up about another very impressive performance. Yesterday, Silverheels trained by Paul Cole won the 5f maiden at Windsor and looked a very impressive prospect in doing so. He clearly exceeded his trainer’s expectations and if that performance is anything to go by, this horse will be winning much better races over the next few months. Watch this space.

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Finally,  a quick review of one of the best betting books I’ve read in the last couple of years . Enemy Number one is the biography of Patrick Veitch, probably the most successful professional gambler we have seen in the UK.

I’m not sure I like Veitch very much – he comes across as a bit of a cold fish to me – but I guess that is one of the qualities that has made him so successful at what he does. He has won more than £10 million in the space of 8 years from his betting and in the book he gives some insight into his methodology. However, this isn’t a “how to” manual – it’s more an examination of the kind of psychology required to be a profitable bettor

The book also looks at a fairly dark period in his life when he was targeted by a gangster type individual and was forced to go into hiding in fear of his life. This was no over reaction – the man was later convicted of attempted murder. It adds a bit of colour to what could be quite a dry story but the parts of the book I find fascinating are those that look at the structures he has in place to ensure he gets his bets on, the mindset necessary to bet that high and the sheer hard work that goes in to creating and maintaining his edge.

Veitch gives some fascinating insights into the characteristics you need (or will have to develop) in order to be a successful gambler and it’s worth a read for those insights alone.

Veitch believes that a profitable bettor needs to control his emotions whether he is faced with triumph or disaster. The quote from the book below demonstrates the level of detachment and equanimity he has developed:

“Media Puzzle in the 2002 Melbourne Cup was another great ante-post touch. I’d received a good word for the horse a few weeks before the race and got some decent bets on at 33-1 and 25-1. As it was the end of the turf season, I indulged myself and tinkered with how the bet was shared, so that I stood to win exactly £100,000.

Staying cool and collected as a gambler is as important a technique as any part of the selection process. I think this race illustrated better than any other how I had come very close to mastering this elusive art. The Cup was due off at 4.10am UK time so I set my alarm for 4.09am. I had a big night out planned for the folowing evening so I wanted to get back to sleep as quickly as possible. Five minutes later, Media Puzzle had won smoothly by a couple of lengths. Two minutes after that, I was asleep. I can imagine many punters being critical. Surely, I can hear them say, why not enjoy the moment? But waking up the next morning and remembering that you won £100,000 during the night – that’s enjoying the moment”

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That’s all from me today. I’ll be back on Friday with a look at the Grand National. I’m thinking of having a tipping competition for the National along similar lines to the one we had for Cheltenham.

In the meantime, have a great week

Kieran

P.S. I’ve heard very good things about how Club Oceanic (7.40pm Kempton) has been working at home and I understand that this one will be backed throughout the day. I’ve had some of the 7/4 available with Stan James. I think that looks a bit big and nearer even money would be about right.

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