23 Jan 23rd
Paphos 1.00 Ling won @ 6/4 – 6 £90.5
Not Rigg 1.30 Ling lost + 4 £94.5
Comedy Hour 2.30 Ling lost + 4 £98.5
Fair Dilemma 2.15 Lim lost + 4 £102.5
Harry The Lemon 3.40 Ayr lost +4 £106.5
4 from 5 today. Stakes increased to £5
THERE WERE NO FAST WOMEN, JUST SLOW HORSES
I like to kid myself that my current losing streak began back in 1973, the year Crisp got mugged in the Grand National by Red Rum. I stood to win a small fortune, having backed him at price at up to 20/1 from Christmas onwards. Instead I lost a small fortune, which increased somewhat when my rented telly sailed through the open window and disintegrated in the back garden shortly after Red Rum passed Crisp yards from the winning post.
In truth, the rot had set in well before then. Probably in 1962, the year Kilmore won the National, and I had a shilling each way at 28/1. Kilmore had been bred and trained in the area before being sold to England, and everyone in the county seemed to know it was going to win.
In hindsight, I should have quit then while I was ahead.!
The rot had well and truly taken hold by 1968. By now I had followed Kilmore’s hooves to England. The land of small shovels and big money, as I was led to believe. I fetched up in London, where a stint as a painter at Highbury Stadium convinced the foreman that a dog wagging his tail could do a better job. Still, jobs were ten a penny in those days, and I decided to try my luck as a barman.
Barmen work long hours, but there was always free time in the afternoons – and where better to while away an afternoon than my friendly local bookies? Barry Brogan, David Mould, Ron Hutchinson, I cursed them all – and the three-legged nags they rode when my money was down. And pretty soon not just my money but the pub’s as well. It wasn’t very difficult to divert some of the takings from the till to my pockets.
The surprise was that they made it so easy for me. One obliging manager even gave me the weekend’s takings to bank for him: I got on a bus and didn’t stop till I was in Soho!
That became my modus operandi; gain their trust till they let you near the money – and then disappear.
One particular Derby meeting was very profitable for me. I managed to land a job at the Tattenham Corner House, which overlooked the course, in the week leading up to the Derby. The weather was warm and the punters thirsty, and by the time the meeting was over everyone was knackered. At closing time, the manager decided to dispense with the usual ‘reckoning up’ of the tills, and to treat the staff to a party instead. And guess who was given the job of locking the tills away in the safe?
I couldn’t believe how much money was in that safe. I stuffed bundles in every conceivable carrying place, locked the safe, and then excused myself from the party, feigning a migraine. I then slipped out a side door, walked to the nearest bus stop, and was in central London in less than an hour.
I had fun while the money lasted, but this was tempered by the sense of shock I felt when I was eventually caught and sentenced to eighteen months in goal. It was a salutary lesson, but it didn’t stop my gambling. I found it quite easy to gamble in prison; the only difference that the currency was tobacco not money. I soon discovered that losing ‘snout’ was just as easy as losing money.
And when I finished my sentence and was deported, I found my losing streak just as easy to maintain back in Ireland. Not that I hung around there too long; London was a great place for those with little inclination to get out of bed in the morning, and as the time of the first race usually dictated when I got up, I was soon back there. When I was really desperate, there was always a day’s work to be had digging holes for some Irish subby, with cash in your hand at the end of the shift and no questions asked.
Monday mornings were a sight to behold; bleary-eyed and broke we gathered, at the Crown in Cricklewood or the Nags Head in Camden Town, our only trait in common that we were looking for a ‘start’ – and, more importantly, a sub. In my case, enough to tide me over until the next win came along. With others it was the drink – the ‘Diesel’.
Maybe you think I should have tried the dogs? I did. Hendon, WhiteCity, Hackney, I tried them all, and came out poorer but no wiser.
I occasionally bumped into Jack Doyle at the WhiteCity, usually with some old ‘duchess’ on his arm. Jack had come a long way down in the world since his heyday at the same venue, when 90,000 came to see him fight Eddie Philips. And another 100,000 outside, if you believed Jack!
Asked what his downfall was it was always the same reply; ‘fast women and slow horses’.
Park Royal was my favourite dog track. It was there that I almost made my fortune. When I couldn’t afford the admission I watched the racing from the roof of a nearby disused factory which overlooked the track, and that was how I discovered that fast starters were seldom caught. A dog a couple of lengths clear at halfway invariably won. I also discovered something else; the commentaries in the nearby betting shop were at least half a minute behind the real thing. Most dog races were nearly over in 30 seconds!
The answer of course was walkie-talkies. My friend – let’s call him Larry – and I acquired a couple of these gadgets from a store in Marble Arch and soon the money was rolling in.
Of course not all selections won; but at least half of them did – which was more than enough for us to be rolling in it. I proceeded to give most of it back again to William Hill and Co, until Larry suggested we go in for ‘furniture removals’.
It was a brilliant scheme; we invested in a van, Larry inspected empty properties on the pretext of buying them, then we had keys cut. We then proceeded to order furniture and kitchen equipment on the never-never – which we were never-never going to pay for – and promptly removed it again. Unfortunately for us, two things happened almost simultaneously: Larry crashed the van and broke his leg in several places, and Park Royal dog track was sold for re-development. End of dream.
I am much better these days. Oh, I still have this desire to give money to William Hill and Ladbrokes – but not as much and not as often.
© Tom O’Brien
Day 24 Jan 24th
Bog Warrior 2.25 Gow won @ 4/5 – 4 £102.5
Barneys Honour 2.55 Gow lost +5 £107.5
Bari Sheen 4.00 Kem lost +5 £112.5
TomSegal may have got it right today for a change with his 2 Pricewise sels. Outlaw Pete & Panther Claw. They have a lot going for them in that they are both progressive, are at the right end of the h/cap, and have a lot of stats in their favour. They are 1 & 2 in the betting f/cast, which provides 50% of all winners – ie there is a 50% chance of one of them being the winner, so if you can back both of them at around 7/2 then it is a value bet. (1st & 2nd favs are usually much shorter in the betting, which makes it uneconomic to dutch them normally)
The only drawback with Segal is that betting 7/2 shots put up by him will not make you money in the long run with his appalling strike rate of around 12%. You may be kissing his backside this afternoon, but remember his next winner needs to be nearer 16/1 to compensate
Hmmmh! I think he needs a bunch of 20/1 shots to redeem himself now!
Day 25 Jan 25th
total to date 83 lays – 62 losers – 21 winners … 75% strike rate
The highest winner laid was 3/1, the lowest 1/4. The average win price was about 6/4. Returns to win £20 on each lay were £1240. (62×20) Losses on the 21 winners were £630
Black Dave 2.30 Ling NR
Dali’s Corner 3.40 Ling lost + 5 £117.5
Outbid 4.10 Ling lost + 5 £122.5
Fastidious 6.50 Dun lost + 5 £127.5
Tocata Blue 7.20 Dun lost + 5 £132.5
stakes increased to £7
Reading Joseph Wambaugh’s latest book NOCTURNE at the moment. An Xmas pressie that I just got round to reading. An ex LA cop he writes about the underbelly of LA and is one of the finest crime writers around. He is Lee Child’s favourite writer – that’s good enough for me!
Day 26 Jan 26th
Rajdhani Express 12.40 C lost + 7 £139.5
Katenko 1.15 C won @ 7/2 – £24.5 £115.0
The New One 3.00 C lost + 7 £122.0
Oscar Whiskey 3.35 C lost – 7 + £135.0
Buy Art 3.45 W lost + 7 £142.0
Tarooq 2.15 W no bet, price too big
Anaconda 3.25W won@ 2/1 – 14 £128.0
Jumbo Prado 5.00 W lost + 7 £135.00
Foxrock 3.50 Leop lost + 7 £142.0
A lot today – one of those days that throws up a lot of selections – and a few strongly fancied ones too! We shall see…
Well, a strange day, 3 winners from 9 bets but no damage done as one, Tarooq, wasn’t laid because the price was too big. That”s why it is important to lay at 4 or less on betfair – it keeps losses to a minimum.
Strange story on the news today about a Ladbroke betting shop in Plymouth which had an attempted armed robbery yesterday. A man armed with a gun and wearing a gas mask entered the shop but was overpowered by several customers who sat on him until the police arrived. However, he was then found to be unconscious and the ambulance was called, but he was pronounced dead in the shop. Nobody has been charged in connection with his death – yet. I have had some bad experiences in LADBROKES myself in the past, but nothing as drastic as that.
What struck me when seeing the TV images of the inside of the shop was the bank of FOTB’s down along one wall. It looked more like a slot machine arcade than a betting shop. But that’s what they all look like these days; there’s more money taken in those machines than over the counter in actual bets in most shops I believe. I think most shops would have gone to the wall by now if the last Labour government hadn’t deregulated the gaming machines laws and allowed betting shops to have these money guzzlers in the shops. I honestly don’t think the high street shops give a shit about racing these days; give them their cartoon racing, their gaming machines, and their football punters and they are content. The bookmaking fraternity are a parasitical organisation; the put the minimum they can get away with back into racing, either via taxes or sponsorship.
The photo above is of the cast from my play CROMWELL’S TOUR OF IRELAND (a musical!)
Day 27 Jan 27th
Karazahan 3.15 W won @ 4/6 – 5 £137
Trying a new discipline today- these relatively new NH flat races. There haven’t been many of them over the years for any detailed data, but mymethodology is still the same so I expect it to work in a similar way.
Just to make things clear. This is my own personal log, based on my own laying, and if there are any inconsistancies it is due to my own idiosyncratic ways. I suggest laying at not bigger than 4/1, though some of the sp’s included are bigger than that. This means one of two things; I was either able to get the required price before the race, or I laid it in running to the required price. The vast majority of my bets are laid pre-race, but occasionally I will lay in running. I could of course lay every horse ‘in-running’ mechanically, but that is too formulaic for me. I like to have some element of judgement in certain races!
I set the initial stakes at £2 to show how you can start off with a small bank and build up. My own bets are to a stake of £20, or multiples of it, and I suggest a bank of 20 times your stake to cover losing runs (which are usually short 1-3 )
I hope this clarifies things.
Day 28 Jan 28th
Great Ormond 3.50 K lost + 7 £144
Hidden Coin 2.40 W won @ 6/4 – 10.5 £133.5
Hepworht 5.10 W won @ 2/1 – 14 £119.5
going through a sticky patch the last few days. Too many winners! It does happen, but I am sure it will level out soon.
When I saw that Imperial Commander @ 50/1 for the GC on Sat morning I knew it was way too big so had my small investment. I also backed it Sats race. Tbh, I think Saturday might have been its gold cup; it was primed to win, had everything in its favour, including getting weight, and was bloody unlucky not to collect. Twiston Davis reckons it should now be a 10/1 shot for the GC and I think he is probably right. It might find one or two of the younger brigade too good in the GC, but at 50/1 I can lay the bet off at less than half those odds and have a free bet in GC. I have also backed Flemenstar in the race; @ 12/1 NRNB with Betfred, the reasoning being that if it wins the Irish Hennessey in two weeks time, for which it is 6/4 fav, it will almost certainly run in GC and will probably be less than half those odds. So again, a bet to nothing if it wins, and I lay off for GC – and my money back if it doesn’t run. With 2 free bets running for me I can afford to back Bobs Worth and possibly Silvianaco Conti on the day
The picture above is of my new ebook THE MISSING POSTMAN AND OTHER STORIES. available on smashwords.com for $0.99!
Day 29 Jan 29th
No bets today. A short story instead!
It was with some amusement – tinged with sadness – that I read Gerry Molumby’s article about Brendan O’Brien. (no relation) I hadn’t realized Brendan was dead; he was, as Gerry pointed out, one of the superstars of the Irish showband scene in the 1960’s.
Brendan O’Brien and the Dixies were up there with Brendan Bowyer and the Royal Showband, The Clipper Carlton, (the best in my humble opinion) The Plattermen, Joe Dolan, Dickie Rock and The Miami, and had legions of followers prepared to travel the length and breadth of Ireland just to watch them perform.
My amusement came about with Gerry’s description of them ‘threading the boards’; prompting visions of showbands furiously at work on stage with giant needles and thread! They certainly treaded them Gerry, but ne’er a one ever ‘threaded’ them in my dancehall days!
Learning of Brendan’s death brought back long forgotten memories of the night we understudied the Dixies at the Olympia Ballroom in Waterford city. It was sometime in the mid 1960’s. For yes, I treaded the boards briefly myself with a band called the Royal Dukes in those far-of days. And one of our first gigs was to play as relief band in the Olympia, while Brendan and his band had their ‘tae and sandwiches’ backstage. To watch Brendan belt out all the Buddy Holly classics, Peggy Sue etc, backed up by the demonic Joe Mac was indeed memorable.
Our own efforts in the Royal Dukes were more forgettable than memorable. I was the bass player for my sins; the other six comprised lead/rhythm guitar, saxophonist, drummer, trumpet, and trombone player.
Derived almost equally from two neighbouring towns, Kilmacthomas and Portlaw, it was a miracle that we formed an alliance at all, as most of the two towns get-togethers were usually wars of attrition on the football and hurling fields. I suppose it helped that two of us ‘Kilmacians’ worked in the tannery in Portlaw alongside our brass section.
We used to practice at the Rainbow Hall in Kilmac during week nights; weekends the hall doubled as a cinema/dancehall. One weekend you might hear The Cossacks or The Davitt Brothers, filling the air with the sounds of Lets Twist Again, or The Hucklebuck, the next it would be Audie Murphy or Randolph Scot chasing Indians across the Kansas prairie. I dread to think what sound we filled the night with on our practice nights!
Practice makes perfect they say, but I don’t think the word ‘perfect’ every entered the vocabulary in the same sentence as ‘Royal Dukes’. I was certainly no musician; I don’t think I had a note in my body, and my bass playing depended on which chord our lead guitarist was playing at any given time. I just followed him; if he was out of key then so was I!
However, our biggest problem was our trombone player; every note he blew sounded like a jackass braying. In the end we decided he should mime it. (He was our lead singer so we couldn’t dump him!) However, we had a competent trumpeter and saxophonist and reasonably concluded that his miming wouldn’t be noticed.
Despite these handicaps we had several things going for us; we were young, we looked good, and we moved well on stage. And we looked even better when we got our new jackets. Christ they were beautiful, those jackets. Beatle style, they were rich blue with broad grey stripes running down them, with their gold buttons standing out like mushrooms. You could die happy in them!
The Rainbow Hall was bursting on that first night. Curiosity I suppose. The Davitt Bros, who we were supporting, seemed bemused by it all. They were a competent band, who had been around the Munster circuit for years, and were, I suppose, used to sedate crowds of Macra Na Feirme and Muinter Na Tire supporters. Nothing like the high excitement that was in evidence here. As the dance began, and we listened to them play, we realized how much better than us they were.
It didn’t seem to matter. As they took their break and we replaced them, the crowd went wild. You would think we were the Beatles; they had solidified into one heaving mass, and were packing the dance area. It was obvious there would be no dancing; they just wanted to watch and listen.
Looking into the sea of faces I could see many I recognized; Jim Kiersey, his black hair slicked back, with a crease so sharp it could split timber; Vince Power, giving me the thumbs-up sign; Shirley Mulcahy, on shoes so tall she must have used a step-ladder to climb into them; Tony Casey, Elvis quaff dripping oil. I closed my eyes briefly and said a prayer.
We needn’t have worried. We could have banged tin cans together and they would have cheered. ‘I Can Get No Satisfaction’ was our opening number, and it nearly brought the house down. (The following Sunday our Parish Priest denounced the song from the pulpit, and tried to ban us from playing it again. At our next gig we played it several times, so I think he got the message)
Nothing ever quite matched that first night – though the gig with the Dixies wasn’t far behind! Soon we were playing regularly, once maybe twice a week, before dashing home in the early hours to snatch a few hours sleep, then dashing out again to work.
Something had to give – and with me it did. I crashed my Honda motorbike on my way to the Tannery one morning and woke up in hospital with severe head injuries. It took me months to recover. And by then the Royal Dukes had found another bass player. A proper musician this time.
Over the years the band metamorphosed into other groups; some of them became full-time musicians; some are still playing after all this time.
As for me, within a few months I had swapped the ‘wilds’ of County Waterford for the concrete sprawl of County Kilburn. I can honestly say that I have never played the bass guitar since.
(c) Tom O’Brien
Day 30 Jan 30th
c/f £119.5 (adjusted due to errors in calculation)
Buddy Bolero 3.30 Leic won @1/1 – 7 £112.5
Cool Touch 4.30 Leic NR
Arthurs Touch 4.30 Leic won @ 6/4 – 10.5 £101
Brockwell Park 2.40 Lud lost +7 £108
Centasia 4.40 Lud won@ 6/4 – 10.5 £97.5
Prophets Pride 7.50 K won @ 4/6 – 5 £92.5
Poor results lately. This is as poor a sequence as I can remember in the 5 years I have been using it. Still, keep the faith!
Day 31 Jan 31st
stakes reduced to £5
Mick Dundee 2.00 Lin won @ 1/1 – 5 £87.5
Secret Millionaire 2.30 Lin lost +5 £92.5
Loxendor 3.20 Tow lost + 5 £97.5
Noble Witness 3.50 Tow lost +5 £102.5
Ballyallia Man 2.40 Win lost + 5 £107.5
Taxiformissbyron 7.50 Wol won @ 4/5 – 4 £103.5
Bit better today.
I see that the ‘world’s greatest tipster’, Pricewise, (allegedly) has been putting up his Cheltenham ante post bets recently. So far we have; Flemenstar GC, Cotton Mill CH, Fago Arkle NC, Williams Wishes CC, Solwit WH. Williams Wishes has already bit the dust – injured. The perils of ante post betting. Wonder how many more fail to make it on the day?