The Secret Punter Returns…

After a short break on the punting front, I couldn’t help but be lured back in after reading Steve Palmer’s book, ‘Born To Punt’, brought back to my attention by his recent appearance on Britain at the Bookies.

His diary extract, of which I have been a regular reader (in fact, it’s the main reason I purchase the RP on a Sunday), is filled with the honest highs and lows of a gambler who has to maintain a regular role to fund his passion.

Knowledge, confidence and a drive to succeed is needed to pursue the dream of making it big in any form of life, and it is no different with gambling. After a rather quiet summer, devoid of much quality football, the season is fast approaching so now seems a perfect time to get back on the proverbial horse.

I’ve been in contact with the original runner of this Betting Blog and with his permission I have been given free rein to express my weekly highs-and-lows to his already solid following, so to him I have to thank.

Hopefully you will be join me on what should be a rollercoaster season on the football, with regular trips to my beloved horses, golfing venues and plenty of bookies tied in with managing a regular 9-5. It’s alright this life, isn’t it?

As a treat, I’ve noted down my punting action from Tuesday afternoon onwards to give you a taster of what is set to come. Although be warned, my stakes may not reach the highs of Palmer’s given my financial situation and lack of confidence after a rather sluggish 2015 on the punting front…

Tuesday;

After watching another episode of Britain at the Bookies, it got me thinking – how many different types of punter are there? I could relate to a large amount of those involved in the show, with pretty much all bases covered. I had been reckless, over-confident and pretty much sought after as many thrills as possible in my younger days and my mind back to those dark days with the sad tales on show.

I lacked the clear head needed to gamble coherently, with the chasing stage the worst of all. Fortunately, after forcing a sabbatical on myself a couple of times during rather skint stages of university, I managed to learn a lot. Visits to the bookmakers to just watch the racing, make notes about certain aspects I’d pick up, and try and put those into action without betting a single penny taught me a huge amount of restraint.

Of course there was plenty of urge to punt, and when those I had noted down went on to win, it did hurt, but the pain was invaluable when it comes to developing knowledge of racing without losing a penny. The importance of form, ground, trainers, jockeys, draw and track bias were all jotted down into a book of my own punting pointers and it is something I treasure even to this day.

They are regularly updated with the latest trends and important messages which could help in future ventures, including jockeys worth following. Tom Marquand earned his place in the lost a fair few months ago and he is still worth following even now, with his claim invaluable. He is such good value for the five-pound and it is only a matter of time before he rides it out, with a big future beckoning.

Anyway, after a lengthy break where I was fortunate enough to find full-time work, I have slowly eased myself back into the gambling scene and the new and improved patience appears to be working wonders. Going from somewhere in the range of 10-15 bets a day, to one big bet, or maybe no bets at all has ensured a higher success-rate and no horrible evenings trying to claw back losses at Wolverhampton or Dundalk.

(I’ve had some dark Friday’s there…)

Tuesday was one of those days where I didn’t fancy anything strongly but I still had some money floating in my Betfair account after a successful stab on a Lucky 15 on the previous Saturday (three winners and a place seen a nice three-figure return off a £5 stake), and I decided to begin an ante-post punt that I had been planning for some time.

Darts is a particular punting favourite of mine, with every arrow ensuring adrenaline (both the good and bad kind) is pumping through your veins at a rate of knots. After spending two-years living with a darts fanatic I was subjected to plenty of action and after a while, I began to really enjoy the thrills and spills of the sport, even before the possibility of punting crossed my mind.

Then I came to realise there was so many ways of making money on the darts, with plenty of interesting markets. It is not rare to see odds of 1/20, 1/16 and 1/12 etc in the match market of big tournaments, but the ‘trebles’ section are nearly always odds against. This means a player to hit the most 180’s, the highest checkout and win the match.

Of course, the highest checkout is a tough one to call, as all it means is a 170 from the underdog to completely ruin the bet but you’ll be surprised how often the favourite obliges with all three. Dave Chisnall is a king of delivering the goods, as is Raymond van Barneveld (when he hits a nice streak) but I’ll never forget when I was waiting on Barney for a £16.8k payout off a £6 four-fold during the Premier League, and he hit the most 180’s and won the match, but missed out on the highest checkout.

He had a shot at a 164 and missed by a centimetre. That hurt.

But anyway, I’m getting off topic here, back to the ante-post certainty. Michael van Gerwen to win the 2016 World Championship.

I’ve missed the 9/4, 2/1 and 15/8 and although he is unlikely to shorten too much from his current 7/4, he looks a worthy investment as opposed to frittering away funds. He shortened after his impressive World Matchplay crown and he looks unbeatable on his day.

Gary Anderson has caused him problems with his unique style getting in the head of MvG but he showed he is developing a steely nerve when destroying the Scotsman with a scintillating display at the German Masters.

I’ve had £40 on the Dutchman so far and the dream is to have somewhere in the region of a grand on him by the time December comes, so I can celebrate the start of 2016 with a nice MvG fund.

Wednesday;

Fancied Kachy to confirm his promise at Goodwood but for some reason couldn’t help but be drawn in by a Highland Reel (7/4), Solow (4/6) and King of Rooks (EVS) treble.

That hurt.

It’s always the last one isn’t it? £15 down the drain but I was confident for a return from Galway that evening.

After seeing Alelchi Inois frustratingly finish out of the placing’s following a £20 each-way investment at 11/1, I decided that Marshall Jennings was set to save the day, so I wasn’t too worried.

The colt had solid juvenile form for Richard Hannon and had previously ran an eye-catching race for Jessica Harrington, failing to get a run both times. If he settled nicely early on and was kept prominent I fancied him to run the leaders close, so had £10 each-way at a rather inflated 12/1.

He had to be reshod before the start, then he took a keen hold under Kevin Manning before chasing the leaders. He was hampered (yet again) approaching the final furlong and faded late on. He is likely to be breezed over again next time but I’m adamant he will have his day soon, with a fast run 7f looking perfect after efforts over 10f and a mile previously. He’ll come good at a big price soon.

Thursday;

I was rather surprised to see Trip To Paris fighting for favouritism in the Goodwood Gold Cup and despite having to shoulder a four-pound penalty, he looked the class act in the field who should be out on his own at the top of the market. I opted for a £10 each-way punt at 9/2 as my only bet at Goodwood with my real investment over at Galway in the afternoon.

Diakali would have to be Champion Hurdle standard to shoulder top-weight in the Galway Hurdle and with Quick Jack arriving fit, fresh and in good order, he looked to be the value. He doesn’t know how to run a bad race and after showing he had retained his ability behind the aforementioned Trip To Paris when second in the Chester Cup, he looked too big to resist, especially off an exceedingly generous weight.

Trip to Paris gave me big hope when shooting down the inside rail but that joy was short-lived as Big Orange was as game as a pebble in front and not for passing, with Quest For More even pipping Ed Dunlop’s charge for second. Still, a place wasn’t the worst result, especially with a slight drift to 5/1.

I pressed up on Quick Jack on the Exchange, having £20 on Quick Jack to win at 7.2 (6.2/1) and I was pleased to see the price continue to tumble in the build-up to the off. I bottled it slightly and put a lay order in for £20 at 3.0, cutting my loss should he come there travelling (you’ll see how proficient I am at backing 1.01 losers in time) and as Denis O’Regan got the gelding up the inside two from home, I glanced at the screen to see I had been matched.

Mixed emotions. I knew I had my stake back and I looked likely to win more money, but I was soon kicking myself. He went on to win a shade cosily in the end and I pocketed a tidy sum, but it could have been more, couldn’t it? Sometimes even when you win, you lose. Strange game.

Friday;

I headed up to Edgbaston to watch the cricket with some old friends whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. I was just happy to be able to see a bit of action after the Aussies looked set to succumb in tame fashion on Thursday afternoon.

Nonetheless we got our money’s worth and after a dig-in effort from the tail, England were set a nice 121 to win. Ian Bell and Joe Root decided to take their time to see out the target, ensuring we forked out more on £4.20 pints whilst succumbing to intense sunburn after foolishly opting against sun tan lotion.

Lovely fellas.

Still… ROOOOOOOOT.

Saturday;

I woke up with the world’s driest mouth and could barely remember my name after an evening consisting of the dogs (first time visit, managed to only lose £20 which isn’t too shoddy in my book), was followed by more pints, whiskey and apple juice, vodka and coke and some kind of watermelon based alcoholic beverage.

I couldn’t force myself to focus long enough to study the form so I just popped in the Hill’s next to New Street Station to unload £40 (all I had left after a rather expensive couple of days) on Legatissimo to gain compensation in the Nassau Stakes.

She had done me for two decent three-figure sums when getting nailed in the Oaks (rather large double with Arod) and in the Irish equivalent (even loftier double with Jack Hobbs), so I had decided to give her one last chance to glue back the heart she had broken.

It appeared I was the only person in the betting shop (and probably the world) who was happy that Wayne Lordan took the ride.

He works closely with David Wachman and is sure to have sat on the filly at home as well as during the early stages of her career. Moore is no doubt a top rider, but he hasn’t seemed to have the best of luck on the filly for one reason or another so the simple tactics Lordan likes to employ just fits.

Seeing him motionless, cruising up next to the leaders on Saturday went some way to curing my hangover and as he pressed the button and Legatissimo shot clear, I let out of a relieved sigh which seemed to relax the pressure on my brain. £120 entered my wallet and I headed back home via a two-hour train filled with excitable hen dos and eager teens excited for their first big-city visit.

It turned out my hangover wasn’t over…

Sunday;

No punting Sunday’s are fun. I woke up, had a dominos, watched a film, had a sleep and then went to play darts for a few hours. Long live no punting Sunday’s.