Friday, 27 April 2012

Today's Hero

I will admit that Tom Cannon is not a jockey I have made particular note of before. A quick results check will show that he had a good day today, with two wins at Plumpton to take his season's total to twenty six. But it needs a quick view of the video below to see quite what a great day he had.

Two other gentleman will have particular memories of the incident. Cannon's mount, the odds-on favourite Inthejungle, went on to win the race by 18 lengths. And £330 was matched on Betfair at 1000. It seems extremely likely that the same lucky punter then laid off £165k at 1.29. The unlucky punter may be having a bad evening.

Winners and losers. It's what it's all about.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Praying Mantis On A Bicycle

Well it’s a better title than ‘Irregular Update’. And, no, of course it’s not a bicycle. That’s stupid. Anyway, here’s the update.


I think the major problem I’ve had with my trading / betting over the last year is inconsistency. Of everything - staking, method, style - but mainly caused by a lack of routine. Work determines time on Betfair, and life determines time on Betfair. At a time when I feel I’ve got numerous small ‘edges’ up my sleeve, and my head in a calm and confident place, I could really get stuck into bank building. But I haven’t spent the time on the exchange, and my recent forays have been a little frustrating – I can take positives from sessions where I’ve remained calm when things have gone against me and ended nicely in the green, but I then seem to have lapses in concentration. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but when my time on Betfair is limited, I tend to go searching for opportunities, sometimes with irritating results. However, the April P&L remains green by six hundred quid or so (if below its monthly high point), and it’s certainly comforting when a period seems fairly negative, whilst the numbers turn out positively. I’ve had more than a few times when the opposite has occurred.

Impatience In The Homeland

It’s a couple of months since three Football League chairmen from Yorkshire-based clubs ( Leeds, Huddersfield and Sheffield Wednesday) decided that panic was a better play than patience, and sacked their respective managers despite each club hovering around the play-off positions. So how’s it all looking?

Well, Wednesday fans are presumably fairly pleased with Dave Jones, remaining unbeaten during his tenure, although they have been outperformed by their city rivals and may end up in the play-offs. With only a 25% chance of success IMO -‘who’s in form in May’ is rarely consistent with who has been the best side throughout the season - they may end up as play-off losers, no better than they would have done under Gary Megson. The additional positive is that Megson’s teams have never been renowned for their stylish play, whilst Jones has prepared many attractive teams over the years. So the home regulars may well be seeing better football at Hillsborough.

Huddersfield have made little forward progress under Simon Grayson, and have lost four of their last five games. But, mainly due to Lee Clark’s tenure, they’ll make the play-offs. There’s still a chance for Grayson’s team to gain promotion, but only if that happens could the management change be seen as remotely successful. In both Wednesday’s and Huddersfield’s cases, I’d be concerned that a team in hot form (Stevenage or Brentford) could sneak into the play-offs and then cause an upset come Wembley time.

And what of my own team? Leeds play-off hopes are already dead and gone. The only achievement United are likely to win is the ‘red card’ trophy, carelessly losing four players in the last few games. Perversely, Leeds fans tend to enjoy the rough and tumble, so this new ‘dirty Leeds’ trait won’t do Neil Warnock any harm in the short term. But if next season starts as badly as this one has ended, and the quality of football continues to sink, the move for Warnock may look pretty piss-poor.

As with gambling, patience usually wins out.


My first few blog posts upon arrival in London noted a little celebrity spotting. In my head I’ve been waiting to find four consecutively to take part in my own imaginary version of ‘Celebrity Come Dine With Me’. So my latest four spots are as follows –

Josh Lewsey, Vanessa Feltz, Graham Norton, Tim Lovejoy

I’m sure that would make a decent show.

I also have a ‘super-celeb-spot’, ie one that occurred within a football pitch length of our flat. In the local Waitrose, Olympic silver medallist – John Regis.

Squaring The Circle

Following my recent Sugar Ray Leonard celeb spot here, Soccerdude lowered the tone with his own celeb-spot post, which ended with a urinal-based episode involving the genitalia of two Knights of the Realm and an unsavoury incident involving someone best forgotten. So simply to bring this discussion to a rounded end (and because it made me chuckle at the time), a week after reading Soccerdude’s post, I went to see American rock musician Craig Finn at the Hoxton Bar & Grill. And whilst occupied at the urinal myself, who should appear alongside me but Craig Finn himself.

And, being a builder with high morals and reputation, I kept my eyes firmly fixed forward. Take this on board, dude.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Meanwhile, away from Cheltenham......

I’m sure that most regular readers of this blog will be spending a fourth successive day with thoughts only for the rolling Gloucestershire countryside and matters equine. The high point of the national hunt season seems to be, once again, gripping the sports fan, whether a horse racing connoisseur or ‘once a year’ enthusiast.

Personally, I’m a couple of quid down, but remain frustrated about missing a wager whilst distracted by work matters, typically the one big winner I would have had - Son of Flicka in the Coral Cup. I’m sure many others will have similar tales to tell.

But it seems that whilst we all stay within our Cheltenham cocoon, another major news story has emerged to shake the British establishment to its foundations. How am I aware of this fact despite never lifting my head from the Racing Post for days? Through a quick check of my own blog. The stat counter shows that yesterday had more page views than any single day since 2009, and a mighty (by my standards) 160 visitors in the day.

I assumed that my recent Sugar Ray Leonard piccy may have been the answer to this mystery, but a delve into the stat counter shows an overwhelming onslaught of google image searches for the term ‘Emma Jesson’. By swiftly switching out of racing mode back to the real world, I found that Emma’s ‘beau’, one William Roache (born 1932), has been putting it about at a rate most rabbits would be proud of over the years. Bill, or ‘Ken’ as more than one of his conquests referred to him, at first glance seems to have admitted to 1,000 liaisons (that’s about 20 a year over 50 years). He actually admitted to over 100, and was pushed to ‘not denying’ it may have been nearer 1,000. But that’s not as good a story, is it?

Surprisingly, many of my new weather-presenter obsessed readers also stayed around to read a few more pages. I hope they found something of interest.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

This Never Happened In Lichfield

I was just strolling towards the nearest betting shop window in time for the Cheltenham opener earlier today when I came across this rather popular book-signer.
Yep, a real life legend - Mr Sugar Ray Leonard!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Writer's Block

An opening appears in my busy schedule for a blog update. But what to write about? Things currently filling my head –


I hope the Tory voters are feeling pleased with their government’s decision to close Remploy factories, based on an idealogical idea of an ‘integrated workforce’. In practice, they’ve just kicked thousands of disabled people in the nuts. Cunts. Anyway, too angry to write with any purpose on his one, move on…

Manchester United

Would Rafael or Johnny Evans get a place in the line-up of any decent Championship side? Doubt it. Maybe Fergie’s main weakness is loyalty. (But covering plenty of ground better said by others, so..)


I’m sure I’ve got a good post in me about the blue plaques seen around the city, particularly those with a music or sport link. But a bit more research required.

Damaged goods.

Managed to dint my laptop lid, and smash the face of my I-phone, all within 7 days. I hate damaging my possessions. Don’t get me on to cars….

Betfair Forum

In the end, someone did the job for me. With thanks to ‘The Mover’, a little piece from the football forum which nearly all exchange users will recognise, particularly if you’ve spent any time on the forums. Not within the spirit of blogging maybe, but more entertaining than anything I could come up with this morning:

When Not To Bet – The Road To Perdition

It's getting late, the last live football on the telly has just finished. Confirmation of this has been reached by flicking through all the channels. You curse under your breath that with all the satellite channels you subscribe to there is not one damn live football match on. You know damn
well there will be a game on somewhere but no it's just not on the telly. "f'em I will find one online" you hear yourself saying as you open up some more tabs.
Ok plan B is needed. A quick loading up of livescore or futbol24 and you find a match is coming up. Oh good its FC Dogsbollox against FC Shoitepile. A quick scan of the Betfair markets and yes it's there. A quick look at the odds reveals Dogsbollox at 1.3 and Shoitepile at 10's. "This looks like a money spinner" goes through the mind "Dogsbollox must be like Barca". All I need to do now is find out where Dogsbollox are as you know full well it's important that you at least know which country they are from and how high their ground is above sea level before you can even consider entering the in-play thread on the forum.

A quick google search and Dogsbollox are found to play in the Philippines Premier Leaga Uno. A quick look up on soccerstats reveals Dogsbollox are top of the league and unbeaten in 10, great stuff. Oh but hang on where are Shoitepile? Oh damn, it’s not a league game it’s the Copa del Carp and Shoitepile are from the Malaysian Poop League. Oh well fear not the forum will know about this sort of match and I need to get on quick before it starts.

So in you go to the "Dogsbollox v Shoitepile" thread and sure enough there are some posters in there with their bets and match analysis. Some poster called "donemyconkers" is going full bank
on Dogsbollox and "gettheforkinthere" is going in big on goals. Great stuff it's on Betfair video and now I know my bets are on Dogsbollox and goals.
So all loaded up and ready for the kick off with total confidence of a home win and goals. Suddenly "donemyconkers" posts asking what colour Dogsbollox are. Oh fcuk goes through the mind, hes the guy that posted about full bank on Dogsbollox and he doesn't even know their home kit. Even though I'm in the same position having bet on Dogsbollox and not knowing which team they are I wait patiently for a reply so I can see who is who on the vid. 15 minutes of the match goes by and someone called "nailedon" posts it’s going to be 0-0. How can this be when
"gettheforkinthere" has gone big on goals goes through the mind.

The match nears half time and it's still 0-0. Dogsbollox are down to 10 men and Shoitepile have a corner. It rebounds off 5 players before hitting the crossbar and going in off the back of the goalies head. 0-1 Shoitepile. You curse at the screen as the Shoitepile backers post Booooooooom
and GTFI in the forum. How can this be possible? Dogshoite are far better team than Shoitepile, they must be they were 1.3 ffs. Half time 0-1. But wait, whats this? "donemyconkers" is going to
bed! with a full bank on Dogsbollox? How can this be? "gettheforkinthere" replies saying good night and hes off as well as he can't see any more goals and he's greened up from the first goal to finish off a good day.

With hopes fading with the loss of "donemyconkers" and "gettheforkinthere" it goes through your mind that the goal was lucky and even with 10 men Dogsbollox will surely get back into this as its the Copa Carp for god’s sake. Half time comes, the score still 0-1. Shortly after half time a penalty to Shoitepile and you decide you've done your dough and it's time for bed if it goes in. Sure enough in it goes. The laptop lid gets slammed down and you go to bed promising yourself not to get involved in the Copa del Carp again and that it's a mug cup for mug teams.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Alternative Universes

I hope everyone had the opportunity to watch last evening’s terrific documentary about QPR – ‘The 4 year plan’.

What a shambles the whole Ecclestone / Briatore ownership was. Flavio Briatore, in particular, stood out as chief imbecile amongst a group living in the above mentioned ‘alternative universe’. Amongst many ‘mouth open’ moments -

  • Paul Hart, the sixth manager put in charge in under eighteen months (including caretakers), sounding fed up and defeated in his first press conference ( he lasted under a month )
  • Mikele Leigertwood, put in front of the press as a long-serving pro alongside the newly incumbent Neil Warnock. ‘What’s it been like for the last couple of years, Mikele?’ ‘A nightmare’.
  • The laughable chairman Gianni Paladini, clearly scared in the presence of Briatore, noting how unlucky the board were to have chosen five ‘idiot’ managers in a row.
  • Paladini and Briatore discussing how they could text their in-game instructions to a manager.
  • Board member Amit Bhatia, a puppet for ‘8th richest man in world’ Lakshmi Mittal, hosting a money-saving meeting where a £1/head drop in the cost of executive box meals was discussed in detail as a worthwhile saving which may avoid selling players!

My favourite moment was when Warnock somehow managed to get the team to the verge of promotion, despite the board’s attempt to hijack everything with the ‘Faurlian’ ownership issue. During the match where a point was needed for promotion, things were going poorly at half time. Briatore was apoplectic – ‘idiot coach’, ‘coach doesn’t want to win’, ‘coach doesn’t know what he’s doing’. This obviously being the coach who had gained 78 or so points during the season. What a knob.

The most astonishing fact about the whole documentary was that those shown in it allowed it to be subsequently televised to the world. (Shakes head incredulously).

I don’t know how the Tony Fernandes era will turn out, but it can only be an improvement over his predecessors. Although I may have said something similar about Portsmouth.

Having returned to an old subject – Neil Warnock – some may have noticed that my ‘Bete Noir’ of football managers is now in charge of my own club, Leeds United. He is therefore in tandem with that most unlikeable of club owners, Ken Bates. And he’s made a cracking start by writing a fawning and flattering review of Saturday’s opponents, Southampton, before the game. Good for his own team’s confidence then? Southampton won.

It brought me to the thought of fans’ allegiance. I’m Leeds born, but now live 200 or so miles from Elland Road. I dislike the manager. I dislike the chairman. Most of the decent players are sold off on a regular basis. So why do I have to support Leeds? Is it possible to change allegiance?
At age thirteen, probably. But at forty-six? I’m fairly close to the grounds of Crystal Palace, Millwall or Charlton. But could I ever have that instinctive passion for my team, when they are newly adopted? The answer is probably no. I have too much history – my first match in the ‘73/’74 championship-winning year, a foggy ’75 night in the European Cup, the piss-poor mid-eighties teams, followed by the Howard Wilkinson team’s mighty rise to the championship, debuts for Cantona and a teenage Speed, the Ridsdale/O’Leary ‘living the dream’ years. These events are part of your life, never forgotten, and therefore I think I’ll have to get used to cheering along Neil and Ken, or become a ‘Blackburn-style’ fan, mercilessly booing my own team. Now there’s a thought…….

Monday, 20 February 2012

Life Choices

On a couple of days in the last few weeks my income for the day has been reliant on the Betfair screen rather than any construction-based activity. Without wishing to regurgitate the never ending ‘full-time’ theme prevalent within the betting blog community, I felt it worthy of a post to compare a day on the exchanges against my main income providing days.

Firstly, I felt it important to make the time feel like ‘work’, and this entailed leaving my flat for a public place with Wifi access, to allow the day to be broken into sessions, whether for analysis or trading. It also allows for the laptop to be turned off and the session brought to an end at an appropriate point (after a loss, when sloppiness kicks in, or when I need another beverage). This does rather rely on having a couple of suitable coffee shops within close proximity of each other, but seems to work ok. It’s often helpful to have a couple of minutes of fresh air to reset your head during the day, and a walk between cafes fulfils this requirement.

The biggest negative for me is definitely the large amount of time available. This brings a huge amount of potential opportunities, and it requires plenty of patience to avoid over-betting. Additionally, an increased quantity of bets inevitably leads to losses. I have been ok with losing in recent times if my bets have been thought through. I remain susceptible to frustration if losses are due to mistakes. And over an eight/nine hour period, errors are more likely to occur than over an hour and a half on a weekday evening. In turn, I found that on more than one day, by mid afternoon I was frustrated and annoyed, regardless of my P&L position, after brooding over mistakes. The impact on profit had much less bearing on my mood than the nature of the error – hindsight can be a hopeless companion at times of stress.

A second issue is the ‘need’ to make profit/income. Many have commented that successful betting is about finding value and opportunity. This does not become available evenly over any time period, yet I am put in a position where I am committing a whole day to the exchange. I can’t simply come away from the day bet-free, having found no value. So anyone intending to bet as a sole income generator needs a strategy which finds an edge over a fair number of wagers, or in a sport which offers regular (if not daily) opportunities. Whilst a set target is probably unhelpful, I have found that with my style of betting (regular small wins from trades and lays) I am most comfortable if the daily profit is creeping slowly upwards towards a notional expected income, and that losses can be shrugged aside if the trend is upwards. My most difficult day was one which started with three successive losses, meaning that the remainder of the day was simply a damage limitation / recovery exercise. To spend over eight hours attempting to nudge upwards without chasing, in the knowledge that the day will still end in the red, is tough. At these times, a large bank may offer a potential ‘easy’ way out. So limiting a bank size so it is appropriate to your technique is probably more helpful to a novice. I’m sure those who have been successful in the long term will have overcome the frustration of errors, but I can admit that I never reached that point during my enforced period of Betfair reliance a couple of years ago.

As a comparison, most of my contract work comes with a set fee charged out, and at a fee level (once income tax has been deducted) that I would be happy at as a daily Betfair gain. The major negatives are also based around frustration – dealing with people I have little respect for, clients who believe they know everything, incompetence. But I am more confident that the income will be in the bank in a couple of months’ time. I would suggest that the successful full-time Betfair traders get more enjoyment out of a day on the exchanges than I have from my recent forays. I have found the days, whilst generally profitable, more stressful than a ‘normal’ day. More positively, I would also say that there can be a sense of achievement upon completion of a long session , particularly if you’ve worked your way through a few pitfalls to a profitable end. Every day? No thanks. But, as I have commented in the past, it’s a nice back-up plan in the event that a preferred career dries up.

I would suggest that there are far too many guys out there who have made some decent profits over a short period and think this can translate into a full-time career. I would venture that, unless your P&L shows profits of a magnitude you can live on comfortably over years, not months, the dream is best kept in a box, whilst you let someone else send a monthly salary cheque in your direction.

So who’s the bloke with a boat? Some metaphor for drowning in the gambling mire? The open seas of opportunity? No, but a link to an obituary found via Twitter. There is a tenuous link to the previous subject matter, in that John Fairfax (who died this month) lived out the latter part of his life playing the card tables for income. However, it was his previous exploits which captured the attention of someone on my Twitter timeline, and the following copied sentence which caught my eye –

‘At 20, he attempted suicide-by-jaguar. Afterward he was apprenticed to a pirate.’

Much of the debate about ‘hobby-as-career’ stems from an unhappiness with the mundane elements of life, and a hope that a flexible income stream will improve work/life balance. It’s something most of us over forty think about. Mr Fairfax certainly knew how to live life away from the norm. I’m not sure I’m ready to take such dramatic steps (yet).

Friday, 10 February 2012

Good Guys

So what can we make of this exciting sports news week? Probably my overwhelming feeling is that the British public got what they wanted from the Redknapp/Capello drama, regardless of the rights and wrongs of what occurred.

Capello, with the highest win ratio of any England manager in living memory, was never liked, and few outside the England squad have shown any sense of loss. A man of principles, but many of similar character are also seen as stubborn and distant. On the other side of this proverbial coin, Redknapp.

The most interesting comparison of the week was between ‘arry and Stephen Hester, the CEO of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Both seem to have plenty of personal cash sloshing around, and Hester’s income tax payments are probably squeaky clean. But the public have made their mind up on both figures, seemingly contrary to facts. Hester’s problem is that he was appointed in a different age, when large salaries for successful people were generally accepted. The banker-bashing came later, when his deal (and the calculations included within it) was presumably signed in law. Whilst in no way supportive of the business culture involved, he does seem to have drawn a very short straw in public perception.

In comparison, Redknapp’s business dealings seemed headscratching. As one of the self-employed population of this isle, I should theoretically have a fairly complicated tax arrangement. But at the end of each year, I simply deduct some fairly straightforward expenses from my income, and then pay a hefty chunk of tax on the balance, all as calculated by an HMRC spreadsheet. I rarely bob over to Monaco, and limit my benefits in kind to use of the odd business wifi network. Where Harry played a blinder was in having his case heard in front of a jury. A magistrate would probably have seen past the huge amount of bluster, although I haven’t studied the evidence in enough depth to know whether a more analytical approach would have found a different verdict. But the jury lapped up his ‘commoner’ testimony, and they’d probably have awarded him a knighthood if it had been in their powers.
Harry belongs to that group of people who the public will forgive over and over again, because they’re seen as ‘one of us’. Gazzer, Frank Bruno, George Best, Ronnie O’Sullivan. All populist, all men that the public can believe in as someone like them. With faults and quibbles, but who you wouldn’t mind a pint down the local with. And that seems to be more important than dull facts. For an England manager to have the literacy skills 'of a two year old' seems unlikely, but yet most parties seem happy to accept it ( or accept that they don't believe everything Harry says ). And living in a city where the population voted into power a magazine editor best known for being the fall guy on Have I Got News For You, then the good guys can clearly go a long way.

Anyone for a swift half with Fabio?

Monday, 30 January 2012


Despite having lived within a couple of miles of him for a decade, I don’t know Robert Rock. However, I’m probably more aware of his career progress than most, despite my aversion to playing the game of golf. Rock is from Armitage near Lichfield, a city with little sporting heritage, which in turn has ensured that his ups and downs on the European tour have been well documented by my former free weekly paper, the Lichfield Mercury, over the past few years. I’m sure this week’s edition will reach a crescendo of congratulation following the 34 year-old’s win in Abu Dhabi.

Much of the comment on yesterday’s result noted him as a journeyman tour pro with one previous career win. But further delving shows a guy on an upward curve, having taken six years to go from club pro at Swingers Golf Range in Lichfield to a top 30 finish in the 2009 European rankings. His first tour victory came in 2011, and he finished joint 23rd on his US Open debut the week following that win. This is a guy making steady but impressive progress. In six appearances in majors, he has missed the cut just once.

So with that build up, I anticipated yesterday’s win on the morning of the fourth round then? Err, no. Maybe I don’t have enough knowledge of Tiger’s form or mindset, but my overriding theory from watching plenty of final rounds of majors over recent years is that the worst job in the game is being Tiger’s playing partner, particularly on ‘red jumper’ final round day. I suggested to Mrs B yesterday that Rock would probably finish joint 34th. The result suggests it’s worth keeping a close eye on Rock ( Mrs B already is! ). It takes bottle to take on the pressure of having both McIlroy and Woods in close attention, and I’m sure this win will give him a confidence boost. Watch the Rock!

Opportunity for dodgy video link!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Singin' The Blues

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas has looked to make his first January signing with an audacious bid for Black Eyed Peas’ Los Angeles-based playmaker, Will-I-am.

I-am, a multi-instrumentalist with an ability to ‘get up and down the pitch’, is in the final year of his BEP contract and is looking for a move to Europe under a Bosman transfer. Villas-Boas, discussing the signing whilst stumbling out of Mayfair’s Annabel’s nightclub, said ‘Will can add that rhythmic beat to our midfield to put alongside the Samba of Ramirez and the Flamenco of Juan Mata’. ‘I’m sure Will can fit into the club. He’s used to working with a load of self-important drama queens within the Black Eyed Peas, and he’s happy to dump the hat and fuckin’ stupid sunglasses.’
One of Chelsea’s main problems will be to calm the waters with defender Ashley Cole. Will-I- am has had a well-publicised ‘professional’ relationship will Cole’s estranged wife Cheryl, and produced her seminal debut album, ‘3 Words’. This may cause strains within the team, although it is believed that Will would be playing on the right of midfield, and right back Jose Bosingwa’s wife allegedly ‘can’t sing for toffee’. At one of the low points of their marriage, Cheryl complained ‘Ashley’s all one foot. Even in the bedroom, the right foot’s just for standing on, whilst Will’s got two good feet and a nice soft touch on the ball’.

It is also believed I-am was shocked to find that Chelsea’s players don’t all live on the Kings Road, drifting from nightclub to nightclub outside of training hours, but prefer tacky warehouse-sized mock-Georgian pads in leafy Surrey. An insider said ‘Will is an urban sort of guy who won’t appreciate driving his 4x4 anywhere near the countryside’.

In a separate manoeuvre, Chelsea are also looking to meet Shaktar Donetsk’s £18 million valuation for midfielder Willian..(pause)……. aww, bugger.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Q dos

I first looked at internet bookmakers due to an interest in tennis, and a belief that I could pick winners. It didn’t take long to work out that solely picking winners has little to do with making profit. Since those early days, I’ve been rather wary of tipsters. I generally prefer to have all information available to me, whether it be courtside temperature ( particularly relevant at the moment ), team selections or paddock news. Therefore, it seems like working blindfold to determine selections well in advance of an off-time, and I place most of my bets close to the event start. I appreciate that there are deadlines for publishing information, and pro tipsters have to email out their info in time to allow subscribers time to put a wager on. But those selections are being made without the full picture being available. I’m happy to take on board any tips as part of a build-up of knowledge leading to a final selection, but following tipsters is not for me.

So, obviously, I’d now like to big-up a tipster! A free one at that.

Amongst the morass of rubbish on Betfair forums are a few names that are respected and followed closely. When the thoughts posted on the forum back up a regular column on an established national industry website, we have a poster worthy of note. And when that information not only picks winners regularly but also details how an event may unfold and how most of its participants may fare, I’m sold.

The forum poster is Mr Q, also known as Manchester-based US horse racing pundit Paul Quigley, who writes a column for the At The Races website two or three times each week and often appears on the Betfair US racing forum with some interesting insights. He describes himself on his twitter header ( @paultheq ) as a full-time gambler on US racing, specialising on the tracks at Presque Isle, Sunland and Zia Park, and a writer on the subject. Certainly, his regular Tuesday column generally revolving around the above noted tracks is consistently successful, and last night’s performance ( starting with three winners and missing the four-timer by a short head ) brought me to my virtual paper and pen.

Worth a look.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Canary Wharf

Those people who have read my earlier post will, I'm sure, have noted the following phrase - 'I seem to be able to make a consistent profit....'.

Plenty of readers of blogs on the subject of betting and trading are searching for help in doing just the same. So it only seems fair that I offer up some of the strategies behind my success.

Let us turn to today's 4.55 at Wolverhampton. Generally my advice for this course would be to avoid - full of horses that really should be being used for pony practise for teenage girls. But today a selection hit me immediately - Canary Wharf. One of my favourite places on earth! Yep, today's biggest win came courtesy of a tenner on a horse with a nice name.

Glad to be of help.

Staying Awake

You know you’re getting old when……..

I understand the Football League Show will not be re-commissioned by the BBC after this season. It is deemed too expensive to make, in comparison to its viewing figures. I would like to give a solid
opinion on the worth of the show to the grass roots football follower, but I have to admit that after ‘watching’ for the last couple of years, I’ve never seen one whole episode!

My late Saturday evenings tend to consist of Match of the Day, followed by the F.L.S. My problems start when both Mrs B and I use the two sofas as mattresses rather than sitting upright. The routine then tends to go as follows:

Watch MOTD, watch start of FLS, drift off during the ‘main match’ in the championship section, wake during Yeovil versus Tranmere ( having always missed the Leeds highlights ), occasionally nod in agreement at some of Steve Claridge’s no-nonsense assessments, stay in a semi-conscious state through Sheffield United versus Wycombe, which then somehow morphs into Barnet against Aldershot, bypassing a dozen games. Then, finally, awake shivering to a BBC News 24 discussion on the state of Palestine at around 1.45am.

Welcome to life in your forties!

As a long-term blog reader with a huge google reader list (ooh, err missus), I have come to appreciate those who manage to write on a regular basis over a long period. Many blogs ( my own included ) falter through the writers’ inability to find new topics of interest. My own blog slowed as I struggled to find anything to say on the ‘defined’ topic, and find time for writing.

I’m hoping that my current situation ( both physical and mental ) will give me space to write. One of the reasons for the move to London was to make more of life outside of work. I could probably earn more, but I seem to have found a level of workload that means I have enough energy left on
weekends and evenings to have a social life ( at least until 11.00pm ish! ), and enough money to pay the bills. During the winter months, I’m happy to use time on Betfair as part of my income portfolio. I seem to be able to make a consistent profit when I treat a laptop session as ‘work’, even to the extent of leaving the flat and working from an office base or coffee shop for a defined length of time. When I play around at home, I tend to make bugger all.

I expect workload to naturally increase in the summer, and my time on the exchange to reduce accordingly, so the blog subject matter may drift from sport towards random matters. I’m certainly feeling optimistic coming into 2012, so here’s hoping that the reality matches my expectations.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Conspiracy Theories

If you don't follow sports news, this picture will mean little to you. I do, and it struck a chord.

The title of this post reminded me of another Yorkshireman seen around SE20 in recent years, Mr Neil Warnock.

As I noted here, I'm not a fan.

Once again, my emotion towards his recent dismissal at QPR should be sympathetic - it's tough when you take a team beyond it's natural position and then struggle against wealthier and more established clubs. He did a decent job and is probably unlucky that the change in club ownership means that the proprietor has no loyalty towards the existing management.

Yet, I am left with a final image of him having a ridiculous rant at the FA over Joey Barton's latest misdemeanour. Warnock described the FA's decision to throw out Rangers' appeal against the Barton red card as 'disgusting'. He then laid into Norwich's Bradley Johnson for conning referees. The basis of this argument presumably being that Joey's attempted headbutt missed Johnson's nose by at least 2 millimetres.

I'll say it again - Warnock's a tool. I'd be happy to see him go back to to his original trade (dentistry) rather than put up with any of more of his paranoia-filled rubbish. Bye, bye Neil.

Monday, 9 January 2012



Where did that 10 months go??

Well, sole remaining reader, welcome to the rejuvenated 2012 version of the blog – new title, new template, new location, new random thoughts!

It’s been a busy time, and thankfully we’ve (Mrs B and I) managed to achieve most of what we wanted to from 2011. Lichfield is a distant memory, the city crashpad is presumably re-let to someone younger and trendier than I, and the locals now follow The Eagles rather than The Brewers.
So here’s my new South London-based blog. As noted previously, I started the blog at a time when my main income was (hopefully) being generated via the betting exchanges after what is remembered as the 'credit cruch' decimated the housebuilding industry. The blog has changed along the way in line with my life. I expressed my thoughts on blogging in one of my latter posts -

Obviously, the blog seems to have taken a back seat. I started writing at a time when Betfair dominated my days, betting full-time. Whilst I returned to work a month or so afterwards, I've generally had something to write about on a regular basis. With sport ( and Betfair ) taking up less of my thoughts, the blog has suffered. I'm finding that I still have plenty of ideas to write about, but most are off the subject area. Regular readers will have noticed my tendency to wander from the 'designated' subject, and it's been noticeable that I get little feedback when I do stray. This suggests that the 'betting blog' community is really only interested in reading about sport and gambling. So what should I do? :-

i. Carry on the blog and say 'sod it', I'll write about whatever I want.
ii. Keep the blog for occasional posts when I do find something worth saying in the betting/sports field.
iii. Start a new blog, hoping to find a new audience for a more random 'popular culture' themed blog.
iv. Go back to Lichfield and get that Betfair screen working for me.

I'll have a think about it in the next few days. ( I'm not seriously considering iv. )

Well, the blog returns, and option 1 it is. I may be leading myself into writing for no-one, but I enjoyed blogging, yet simply don’t have enough worthwhile points to make on one subject. With my life hopefully now settled, it feels like a good time to resume writing. So I’ll be led by whatever interests me, and hope the results are enthralling enough to gain a readership.

I’ve regularly noted my enthusiasm for rock music, particularly new music and artists. So let’s begin with, er, a song from 25 years ago!