365 DAYS…..day 48


c/f  £477.5…..stake £20

Bit late putting them up today, but only just got back.

Madame Lilibet  2.00 C lost + 20 £497.5

Emperor’s Choice 3.40 C won @ 2/1 – 40 £457.5

Armed and Dangerous  4.10 C lost + 20 £480

Imjokeing  4.40 C lost + 20 £500

Wychwood Brooks  2.50 S lost + 20 £520

Key  To The West  2.50 S lost + 20 £540

Mr Puck    4.00 S won @ 3/1 -60 £480

Lead Role  5.55 W lost + 20 £500

Hand in Glove 5.55 W lost + 20 $520


365 DAYS….day 47


c/f  £547.5

Up and Go 1.30 A

Rocky Creek 2.05 A

Vino  Griego 2.40 A

River Maigue 4.25 A

Two Rockers  3.25 H

Ohio Gold 4.05 2.30 W

Maxi Chop 4.15 W

Tomorrows selections today, Managed to get access to internet for an hour!

/c/f £547.5

UP AND GO 1.30 A won 6/4 – 30 £517.5
Rocky Creek 2.05 A won @ 1/1 – 20 £497.5
Vion Griego 2.40 A won @ 3/1 -60 £437.5
River Maigue 4.25 A Lost + 20 £457.5
Two Rockers 3.25 H won @ 2.1 – 40 £417.5
Ohio Gold 4.05 H lost + 20 £437.5
Diamonds Return 4.15 W lost + 20 £457.5
Maxi Chop 4.15 W lost + 20 £477.5

Bakc to my normal routine this afternoon. Very strange day Sat. We had 4 winners on the bounce, unprecedented in my almost 5 years of using the method. I guess it’s sods law isnt it? – if something can happen it will happen…eventually. Still, no great disaster occurred, we still have our bank in fairly good condition

365 DAYS………..day 46


c/f £447.5…..stakes £20

Sound Investment 3.20 F lost + 20 + £467.5
Bob N You 3.55 F lost + 20 +£487.5
Two No Bids 4.15 L non-runner
Comedy House 4.50 L lost + 20 £507.5
Lost Legend 4.05 S lost + 20 £527.5
Dangerous Age 5.00 W won @ 1/1 -20 £507.5
Speed Stees 6.00 W lost + 20 £527.5
Street Battle 7.30 W lost + 20 £547.5

Well, what can I say…6 from 7! Must be doing something right. There is a tide in the affairs of men…and all that old cobblers.

Loads of chances to make – or lose – money today!

I am having a few days break away this coming weekend so it is doubtful if there will be nay selections for the next few days as I am not sure if I will have access to the internet.

Just been reading the Oscar Pistorius story in the papers this morning. He has a machine gun parked inside his front door and various handguns lying about the house, including the pistol he used to shoot his girlfriend four times with. He says he mistook her for a burgler. Hmmmm….. Not a very good story for the American gun lobby is it?

365 DAYS…..day 45


c/f £437.5 stakes from now on will be £20

running totals….172 lays….131 losers….41 winners…. success rate 76% approx….

Funky Munky 3.40 KL lost + 20 £457.5
Ponmeword 4.50 TH lost + 20 £477.5
Lily Edge 6.00 KM won @ 5/2 – 50 £427.5
Aisa Minor 7.00KM lost + 20 £447.5

And now another extract from my ebook CRICKLEWOOD COWBOYS to while away the time while waiting for your racing fix! All my ebooks, CC, THE SHINY RED HONDA and THE MISSING POSTMAN AND OTHER STORIES are available (for free if you are stingy!) from http://www.smashwords.com

It wasn’t long after this that I was to renew my acquaintance with Bannaher. A chance encounter with Fr Maguire was the catalyst. Hung-over from the previous night’s excesses, I inexplicably found myself in a bed in a room in a ramshackle house on the edge of Wormwood Scrubs. There were also two snoring females in it. I recalled a gaggle of nurses at a party somewhere in the vicinity, but the rest was oblivion. Extricating myself from between the juddering mammaries, I decided that a brisk stagger around the common might be just the thing to clear my head. After a few minutes, however, I concluded that it might not. Unfortunately, Scrubs Lane on a Sunday morning has a lot in common with the outback, so I was forced to walk the mile or so back to civilisation. Nearing the Harrow Road (and the end of my tether), I concluded that the nearby church was as good a place as any to rest my feet. And a few prayers would hardly go amiss…
‘’Terence’, beamed Fr Maguire, from the top of the steps, ‘late as usual, I see…’
My life seemed criss-crossed with paths that always had Fr Maguire standing in the middle.. Like the time I was an altar boy and hit him over the head with the collection box. I had been under the impression that another altar boy was coming into the sacristy and had hid behind the door, intent on scaring him. My surprise when the priest appeared instead, resulted in him having a lump the size of a duck-egg on his bonce and to me losing my prestigious office. I wouldn’t have minded so much, but at every wedding and funeral we took part in several crisp pound notes would be pressed into our sweaty little palms. Hopper McGrath, who had set me up, had to contend with painful goolies for a few days afterwards.
I had many run-ins with him after that; letters that went missing during the spell I had as temporary postman, his greyhounds escaping from their kennels, and, of course, the attempted burning of the school.
Standing on the steps of the little church in Scrubs Lane now, he looked anything but priestly. There was a strong smell of whiskey off him, and a look that suggested a night on the tiles. I knew the feeling.
‘Rough night, Fr?’ I asked.
He laughed. ‘Well, it was lively, anyhow. I’m over for the annual county re-union. I’m surprised you missed it’.
I wasn’t. All the ould fellas and ould wans talking about how good the old country was. If it was that good, why the fuck were they all over here, then?’
He told me how many people had died in the parish in the last year. That seemed to be the main topic of conversation over there. That, and the weather. The first thing people scanned in the paper was the deaths column – to see if there was a funeral they could go to that day. It passed the time I suppose. He also told me that Rasher Rielly had found a vocation and was joining the priesthood. The little shit. I had caught him wanking once into the porridge vats at Drohans Mills – where I was a bag-humper and he was trainee progress chaser – and got the sack for spreading malicious rumours about him. Idly, I wondered where one found a vocation; perhaps it was in the chest of drawers in his bedroom, under his prayer book but on top of the dirty pictures. Or maybe it was in his arse pocket all the time!
‘Been to the White City yet Fr?’ I asked, just to liven up the conversation. He looked blankly at me. ‘The greyhounds, Fr?’
He smiled benignly, not biting.
‘Temptation, Terence. Temptation. God works in mysterious ways, testing us, trying us. The path of righteousness is never an easy one, even for a priest’.
The ould hypocrite. It was rumoured that the Bishop had to bail him out when an irate bookie threatened to go to the papers about his debts.
‘And what state is your immortal soul in, Terence?’ he continued. ‘Have you been practising your faith?
I had done more practising on my guitar in the last year – the one I no longer had – but that wasn’t what he wanted to hear. He seemed satisfied when I told him I went to Mass most Sundays.
‘Never lose the faith, Terence. Too many people who leave our shores cast themselves adrift in this city of sin. The become lost souls wandering aimlessly out of sight of the lord, worshipping false Gods, subjecting themselves to all the temptations of the flesh…’For a moment he got carried away. His voice had risen and some of the church-goers were giving him funny looks. He quickly changed the subject.
‘Do you know where I’m off to now? To try and talk some sense into an eejit who has been living in a coffin in the backyard of a pub in Kilburn. I believe you know him…Mick Duggan?’
‘’The very man’.
I had read something about it in the Willesden Chronicle, but hadn’t realised it was Dougie. From what I could gather, he was planning to spend a month underground for charity in the back garden at Mulligans.
‘It takes a lot of guts’, I said. ‘And, sure, it’s for a good cause’
‘Is that what I’ll tell his mother? That it’s for a good cause? If he wanted to raise money for charity why didn’t he do something normal? Like swimming the Channel or running from John O’Groats to Lands End?’ He was getting quite agitated and I guessed he was under orders to get Dougie out of the coffin
When I suggested I come with him he didn’t object.
‘I might be able to talk some sense into him’.
I didn’t expect he would take a blind bit of notice, but it seemed as good a way as any of putting the Sunday morning down.
Gaining entrance to Mulligans proved no problem. A couple of sharp raps on the side door and we were in. It was officially listed as a hotel, though inside there was little evidence of this. It’s hole-in-the-wall appearance summed it up perfectly.
Even at this early hour there was a sprinkling of dour-faced drinkers at the bars. Hard-jaws by the look of them. A few eyebrows were raised as well as caps as the priest brushed by. We passed straight through the bar and headed for a passage that led to the back garden. Two high stools stood either side of the door with plastic buckets resting on them. Someone had stencilled a lopsided CHARITY LIE-IN on the wall behind. Some lie-in I thought and threw in two shillings.
I could hear muffled singing coming from somewhere in the garden. Looking around, I discovered it emanated from a plastic pipe. This pipe was about six inches in diameter, and was sticking up a similar distance above the ground. Judging by the quality of the singing, it was a fair bet that Dougie was already half-cut.
‘Hello there, Dougie’, I shouted down the pipe. ‘Is that you?’
‘Who the hell do you think it is…Lazarus?’, replied a disembodied voice. ‘Who’s that?’
‘Terry. Terry Byrnes’.
‘I’d ask you to join me but there’s not much room’. His laughter echoed up the pipe.
‘How long do you plan to spend down there?
‘Another few weeks…unless I get to like it’. The laughter continued.
‘Is the pipe your only means of communication?’
‘The only way. Everything comes down and goes back up the same way’.
‘ Everything?’.
‘The whole works, boy’.
I told him he was mad. Then I mentioned the charity bit.
This brought fresh laughter. ‘Charity me hole! I’m not doing it for charity. I’m getting five hundred quid from Bannaher for it’.
‘The subby?’.
‘The very man. He bought this kip a few weeks ago. The charity idea is a gimmick to get some publicity…’
This was too much for the priest, who had been hopping around like a hen on a hot griddle during our exchange. Pushing me out of the way, he bellowed down the pipe.
‘I knew you weren’t doing this out of the goodness of your heart, Duggan. Come up out of there at wance, before you have your mother in an early grave. What you’re doing is a sin, a very grave sin. It’s blasphemy…’
At that moment, Bannaher himself appeared. He was wearing a navy-blue suit, a button-down cream shirt open at the neck and a pair of patent-leather black shoes that you could almost use as toothpicks. I had a healthy dislike of people who managed to look so smooth that early in the morning.
He hadn’t quite managed to steer the priest away from the pipe before the singing started again.
‘Some say the devil is dead, the devil is dead, the devil is dead
Some say the devil is dead, and buried in Killarney
More say he rose again, rose again, rose again
More say he rose again, and joined the British Army.
Fr. Maguire turned several shades of purple.
‘He’s drunk! My God, the man is fluthered!’
‘Ah no. You see…’ Bannaher almost physically dragged him away…It’s the air down there, Fr, it gets a bit bad at times. Makes him ramble a bit. We pump fresh oxygen down every so often and that clears his head‘
The priest sniffed. ‘He sounded drunk to me. And then there’s the question of personal gain. I heard a large sum being mentioned…’
‘Ah no, Fr. He works for me you see, and it’s true I am paying his wages while he is down there, but that’s only fair, isn’t it?’. He paused ‘We’re always told that charity begins at home, aren’t we? Now, when I was home on holiday the nuns at St Camilla’s asked me if I could help out. And when I saw the state of the altar…well I…’
‘I see. Very commendable’.
‘If your own church had anything that needed doing…’
‘Well, there is the sacristy roof…’
‘No sooner said than done. Come into my office and we’ll work out the details…’
Two minutes later he was back. This time on his own. Just as Dougie was breaking into song again.
‘Tell that eejit to shut his row…or I’ll shut it for him’.
As I left, I wondered if Dougie’s five hundred would ever materialise. I sincerely hoped he’d had the sense to ask for cash in advance’,

365 DAYS……..day 44


c/f £347.5 …..stakes £15

Close Together 2.00 L lost + 15 £362.5
Story Writer 3.30 L lost + 15 £377.5
Be My Deputy 1.10 M lost + 15 £392.5
Cayman Island 2.20 M lost + 15 £407.5
Admiralty 4.20 K NR
Sandboy 6.30 K lost + 15 £422.5
Polar Kite 7.00 K lost + 15 £437.5

Well…that was a result! 6 from 6. Nice little earner. We have now reached that magic £400 mark, where stakes will be frozen at £20. This is for calculation purposes only, any followers may increase the stakes if and when they wish. I started this blog 44 days ago – on Jan 1st – with a bank of £40 and stakes of £2. We have now increased both 10-fold. Mission accomplished! Just shows what can be achieved with a litle bit of determination and perseverance.

On a different note. I see that Frank Lampard has decided to become a writer of childrens books. As one does when one is a multi-talented sportsman. Apparently the idea came to him when he was reading to his kids recently. Write a childrens book Frank. Good idea. Anyone can do it. Of course they can, Frank. And not only one but a series of five! And a publisher already lined up. How easy it all is. Why haven’t I found it so easy? Ah, but then I am not a multi-talented literary giant like Frank. Or that other literary giant Wayne Rooney, who found it so easy to churn out several autobiographies, and he is not even in his late twenties! Amazing! Wonder how much of Frank’s books will actually be written by himself? About the same amount as Wayne’s I imagine. A big fat ZERO then.

365 DAYS……day 43


c/f £370…..stakes £15

Toplander 2.20 A lost + 15 £385
Nuts N Bolts 4.30 A won @ 5/2 – 37.5 £347.5

Slim pickings today. Maybe have to look for an in-running lay for the first one.

1-1 draw today. Got off fairly lightly as was able to lay Toplander at less than 4/1 in running. Tomorrow looks more promising.

365 DAYS……..day 42


c/f £355 (£5 added because of miscalculation on 9th Feb)…..stakes £15
running totals…164 lays…124 losers….40 winners…success rate 75%
We commenced with a bank of £40 on Jan 1st…stakes were £2…..coming along nicely. When the bank reaches £400 stakes will be increased to £20. After this, for the purpose of calculation there will be no more increases in the stakes, though of course any followers may increase if they wish.

Noble Jack 4.30 W NR
Ofcoursewecan 5.00 W lost +15 £370
So the Pope is retiring! It’s like Fergie retiring – it doesn’t happen. Well, not quite true; it last happened over 600 years ago. The Pope I mean, not Fergie! Popes generally die in bed, surrounded by 50 nuns and a hundred Cardinals. Makes you wonder if there is more to it than meets the eye. Maybe it is just old age/senility, but the conspiracy theories are already circulating. About him being a Nazi sympathiser, about the Vatican bank laundering Mafia money, etc etc. Wonder what revelations will be in the papers over the coming days?

interesting article about JP McManus; http://donnmcclean.com/2012/12/31/jp-mcmanus-3/

365 DAYS……..day 41


c/f £327.5 ………. stakes £15

Melodic Rendesvous 2.30 Ex won @ 6/4 – £22.5 £305
Hawkes Point 3.00 Ex lost + 15 £320
Bally Legend 3.30 Ex lost + 15 £335
Flying Pickets 4.50 S lost + 15 £350

3 from 4 today. nice profit shown

There have been lots of comments on the performance of Flemenstar yesterday, not least mutterings of a conspiracy by some who backed him. I too backed Flemenstar yesterday (let me down for a nice treble) but I have to confess, looking at the race several times again – that I don’t think there was any conspiracy. I think they just got their tactics wrong. Obviously Lynch was told not to hit the front until coming to the last (having seen what happened when he took it up too soon in the Lexus), and to use F speed to go past SDC. But they underestimated SDC determinaation, and also Russell’s superb race riding brain (he knew the pace set by his stablemate wasn’t that strong and always kept a bit in hand for the finish) I think they were outmanouvred in the tactical battle. There will be no GC challenege now according to the trainer – I think they realise he wouldn’t get up the hill at Chel over an extra 2f – so the race will be either the Ryanair or the CC. Personally, I think they might take on S Sacre – the trainer is a bit eccentric to say the least – and he might just fancy his chances in the race.



Did you ever see a hill shrink? I mean get physically smaller bit by bit until there was nothing left. To an occasional observer like myself it was probably more of a culture shock than if I had been present throughout its gradual disintegration. But then, I only saw it every few years or so – when I came home on holidays from New York. And every time there was another big chunk of it gone. Things like that tend to stick in your mind.
It’s hard to describe how I felt about that hill. It was like one of the family. I grew up with it. In the morning when I woke it would be there, looking down into our haggard. A Jekyl and Hyde character; in the winter dark and foreboding, the mists clinging to its girth; in the summer smiling down on us children, beckoning us up into its warm embrace.
It never had a name. just The Hill. Mornings, before we left for school, mother would shout at one of us to run to the Hill and fetch some milk from Nellie. Nellie was our goat, and I think she liked The Hill better than our haggard. The grazing wasn’t any sweeter up there, she just like the view.
She wasn’t the only one. In summer we couldn’t wait to get home from school, divest ourselves of our school clothes, and climb up there. There were five of us; my brother Seamus and myself, Frances and her two brothers, Billy and Josie. We called our gang the Red Devils, which had Fr Dunphy sucking on his teeth when he first heard mention of the name. Frances was always kissing me, which I didn’t care much for at the time.
The Hill was our territory. Nobody could play there unless we invited them. Once, we fought a running battle with some other kids who tried to muscle in. We soon scattered them with a hail of stones. That battle established it as our kingdom. My father said we almost owned it anyway; the big farmer to whom it really belonged letting him have the use of it for ten shillings a year.
Clustered round its bottom were whitewashed cottages, the occasional bungalow, the pub, the creamery, and a galivanised shack occupied by a witch. Behind the hill ran the railway line, and the level-crossing which was manned by Frances’ father. Their house was part of the railway, and their front
room was a mass of signalling equipment, tall levers and yellowing timetables.
We had a secret place on the Hill, a cave beneath an outcrop near its top. You had to crawl on your belly to gain entrance, and its mouth was guarded by several scraggy furze bushes. We could have cut them down of course, but then we couldn’t have hidden inside and watched the goings-on below us.
The pub was the centre of the social activity. On summers evenings there was open-air dancing on a makeshift stage in the field adjacent to the pub. Old time waltzes and set dances were the favourites. The accordian player sat on a chair playing his tunes, polishing off large bottles of porter
as fast as they were put in front of him. If playing was thirsty work then dancing was thirstier, and there was a constant stream of revellers shunting between pub and dance area. From our vantage point we watched the dancers fling back their heads and swing their partners round and round, their shoes pounding on the timber, their shouts of joys ripping through the warm summer’s evening.
In the winter, the travelling shows came and pitched their tents in the same field, and entertained us for a few weeks with a mixture of comedy, drama and music. Badly-acted plays and out-of-key singers warmed us up on many a cold night at the foot of the Hill.
My cousin Nora took a fancy to one of the travelling showmen and began taking him up to our hiding place when the show was over. We didn’t think much of that. One summer’s evening we heard her screaming up on the Hill. We found her in the cave, surrounded by a pool of blood. When the doctor came he took away something in a bag, and later on I saw my father heading across the fields with a shovel on his shoulder. The show never came by again.
As we grew older I began returning Francis’s kisses. Now it was our turn to use the cave late at night!
I had just turned seventeen when the buldozers moved in Shortly afterwards explosive experts began blowing up bits of the Hill, and the quarrying began in earnest. Soon there was a sprawling complex of dust-shrouded buildings, machines eating away at the Hill, and convoys of trucks
bumping across the stony ground. Before long, the trees had turned grey, and the trains had stopped running.
My father cried as he watched the Hill disappear before his eyes. The big farmer was sympathetic, but merely shrugged his shoulders; times were hard, and anyway, what use was a lump of rock to a farmer? Father sold his smallholding, his sheep and his goats, and took a job in the quarry. Very soon Seamus and myself followed. Seamus was installed at the weighbridge, assisting with the dockets because he had a head for figures. Somebody must have reckoned I had a head for heights – because I was given the task of carrying the equipment for the men who set the charges. Every evening, just before six, the birds rose from the Hill like dust from a carpet, and shortly afterwards the silence was shattered by a series of thunderclaps. Another bit of the Hill gone west.
Soon after my eighteenth year Frances and Seamus died. To the jaws of New York I ran; my solitary suitcase filled with the rags of my youth, a bottle of holy water, and a pile of Kit Carson and Johnny Mac Brown comics. Away from the grief choking my lungs, and the red staining the grey rocks brown. Away from the haunted thing staring at me from every reflective surface, and from the silent screams riding every breeze that tugged at the Hill’s battered face. Away to Uncle Willie.
I saw many sights in New York, dreamed a thousand dreams, and knew real loneliness for a time. The icy mistrals that periodically sweep down the great canyons of Broadway and the Bronx were warm compared to me. I was a rock. I was an island. My days were spent constructing fashionable patios, around stucco-ed buildings with ornate entrances and moneyed owners, my nights in Uncle Willie’s counting house. In time, his small building firm became my large construction company. Occasionally, when time permitted, I would come and watch the Hill grow smaller.
All quiet here now. The bulldozers and bedlam-makers have gone. And so too has the Hill. Erased from the skyline in thirty short years. A covering of topsoil hides some of the scars; here and there conifers and shrubs attempt to breathe new life into the pock-marked, lunar-like surroundings. In the centre,
a square of green, vivid against the drab background, seems strangely out of place. Even more incongruous is the white building, rising like a Phoenix from the embers, its five fluted columns standing like sentinels beneath its awning, its flanks guarded by a colonnade of progressively-sloping evergreens.
The pub still stands at the crossroads, grown larger and more prosperous over the years, and the creamery has expanded to become a cheese-making factory. Of the level-crossing and the railway there is no visible sign, although a cursory search would reveal the tracks still intact beneath the undergrowth. Most of the cottages have gone; replaced by new houses – many more of them – and the city, once more than five miles away, is now within spitting distance.
I look around me and shiver suddenly. The ghosts of yesterday clamouring for attention once more. The Red Devils scampering up that ungainly lump of granite. Voices drifting in the wind; “look what I found, look what I found!”. Dogs, rabbits, burrows, names etched in flint. Soft hair, silky thighs, music and laughter aloft on the breeze. Then another excursion. This time two people heading for the secret place, and another figure – hidden – watching. An explosion. The evening turning crimson. Two coffins submerged beneath a garden of flowers. A funeral cortage stretching further than the eye could see…Oh Frances, why? You and Seamus…Oh God! I never meant for it to end like that…
A voice at my elbow brings me back to the present.
“I found the keys in my briefcase. Everything alright?”
I look at the man wearing the thick horn-rimmed glasses. Was this tubby little estate agent really the boy I had played cowboys and indians with all those years ago? Staked out on a warm rock as the rest of us chanted and danced around him?
“Yes”, I smile, “Everything is fine now Josie”.
He hands me the bunch of jangling keys. “The keys to the Hill, Bernie.
Welcome home”

(c) Tom O’Brien


365 DAYS……..Day 40


c/f £355 stakes £15

Chatterbox 1.15N won @ 1/1 £340
Shooters Wood 3.00 N lost + 15 £355
Fourofakind 1.05 U won @ 1/1 – 15 £340
Boundforglory 3.25 U lost + 15 £350
Greywell Boy 4.35 U won @ 5/2 -37.5 £312.5
Majala 2.40 W won @ 2/1 – 30 £282.5
Drum Valley 4.25 W lost + 15 £297.5
Young Jackie 12.50 L lost + 15 £312.5
Be Perfect 4.10 L lost + 15 £ 327.5

Well, there we are…9 today. There were a couple of more but the prices were a bit high….9 is enough to be getting on with.

Phew! Could have been a disaster with 4 winners. Luckily the prices were short. That’s why controlling the prices is important.

A couple of observations. When I first started this method some years ago I was only using it for flat racing, but then a year or so ago I included NH and Irish racing, and it didn’t make any difference to the overall %. Consequently it means more selections, but hey, it’s more winners! Or losers, depending how you view it. The method can rate any horse in any race, but I limited my application to 1st & 2nd f/cast favs in RP, partly because it would be too time consuming to do every horse in every race, but mainly because I found an edge doing it that way. It is good not just for laying horses but also for checking harse you may want to back in a race. (if a horse fails this test I never back it to win) Sometimes, you can find half a dozen qualifiers in a race, quite often eliminating more than half the field before you begin to look for a winner in the race.

One other thing. This is the basic method that you see in operation. There are other tweaks and fine tuning that I do personally, which increase the success rate to around 85%. However, the refined version stays with me for the present!