You know as you get older you come to accept that there are things in life that you just don't get. Things that you are just no good at. I tried putting air into my tyres yesterday. They ended up flatter than they were when I started, which I'm pretty sure isn't supposed to be the way of it. Still, I have over the years mastered the art of at least looking like I know what I'm doing, and I'm sure the young lady sitting behind the counter at the Shell station in Wilmslow was pretty impressed as I swaggered off the forecourt, jumped into my car and drove off with severely flat tyres. I wonder if she recognised the car when half an hour later my wife returned to do the job properly?
Matthew left a comment the other day:
"Hi Rowan, I am in a very similar boat, and coming quickly to the same conclusions. My list of bookies gone is almost identical except Will Hill now has me very restricted on horses as well. This and Bet 365 were the killers for me.
The turning point for me in terms of horse racing tipsters was equine investments turnover. Towards the end of a very profitable years subs, the prices were gone in seconds and the new package of pay as you win did not appeal based on a perceived inability to get the prices. This to me is a twofold problem, firstly the price pressure from a successful tipster and secondly having to place bets in dribs and drabs due to my restrictions.
With this in mind I am trying to go through a process of concentrating on big meetings and weekends, although 4PA is a bugger to get on, especially with pricewise's current godlike status.
To me other sports have to be the way, and finding ways of replicating the bigger price winners. Golf has been quite successful but the 4 day duration can be quite taxing! Cricket also with top batsmen bets has been quite profitable too.
I am very reluctant to lose the racing, both from a diversity and profitability angle but also for the enjoyment factor. Both the buzz of the sport and those big winners in such a short period of time (compared to football match or golf tournament) is hard to replicate.
But there are pluses, I think my day will be easier as tips come at more convenient times and don't seem to have the same time pressure as those issued on the horses.
Sorry to write such a long first post, I have silently been reading your excellent blog for over a year now, but could contain myself no longer as we seem to be reaching similar conclusions.
All the best with whatever decisions you make."
I know exactly what Matthew means about the buzz you get from betting on racing. I know the "professional" stance taken by the "serious" punter is that the emotional state should stay constant. Avoid getting too depressed at the downs or too elated at the highs, and all that. Well I'm sorry, but I'm not having that. I enjoy horse racing as a sport, and I enjoy it even more when I have a bet on it, and I call anyone a liar who claims that they look on completely dispassionately when they see a horse they've backed antepost at 10/1 to good stakes come to the front jumping the last at Cheltenham and storm up the hill to win by a neck. Either a liar or an emotional vacuum who is likely to have issues in the bedroom!
This is why my inability to continue to bet on the horses in the long term is such a pain. I love watching good racing whether I have a financial interest in it or not. Horse racing can be a great sport. I hugely admire jockeys. Their bravery, strength and will to win is, on occasion, awe inspiring. I deny anybody with an appreciation of sport to watch a competitive race at Cheltenham and not be stirred. The participants in the racing game are not, on the whole, carrying huge egos and although those at the top end of the sport are paid fairly generously, you always feel that they do what they do first and foremost for the love of the game. Now stick the financial aspect as a result of having a bet into this already potent mix, and you've got something special. That is why I'm peed off with what's happening with the bookmakers at the moment. And no, I'm not forgetting the mid-winter meetings at Wolverhampton where the cards are full of races attracting horses with minimal talent, some of which we back and do our dough. I'm not suggesting that we don't get incredibly frustrated by losing runs that are an inevitable part of gambling on the outcome of horse races, very few of which have the glamour of being a part of Cheltenham, Royal Ascot, or some other top meeting. But if we had caviar every day, we'd get bored of it. The wet Wednesdays at Southwell make the electric big race days when the cream of the sport compete that much more energizing. It is in this context that the prospect of Cheltenham 2013, with very few bets being placed, is one that makes me sad. Sure, I'll still enjoy the sport and marvel at the participants, both human and equine. But something will be missing. Thankyou Mr Chandler, Mr Done, Mr Bet365 and your smarmy publicity reps who smile into the Channel 4 cameras at every available opportunity, laying claim to being the punters' friend. Always happy to lay a bet. Thankyou, kind Sirs. Thanks a million.
Winning Racing Tips came close to a successful each way double, finding a winner at 3s, but the first leg finishing second. No success today for The Market Examiner (0/1), On The Nose (0/1) or Chasemaster (0/2).
The Market Examiner: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.064pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Month to Date
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts, roi -100%
4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts, roi -100%
Chasemaster: Staked 1.25pts, -0.723pts, roi -57.87%
WRT: Staked 1.7pts, -1.236pts, roi -72.7%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts, roi -100%
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
The Market Examiner: Staked 5pts, +1.532pts, roi 30.64%
Football Elite: Staked 2pts, +2.355pts, roi 117.75%
On The Oche:
Strike Zone (h): Staked 4pts, +1.775pts, roi 44.38%
Summer Of Football: Staked 2pts, -0.06pts, roi -3%
I'm off down to Shropshire tomorrow to see the cronies. So, with little by way of internet connection (and I'm not going to some cafe at night for the sake of this poxy blog!), there'll be no post until Monday evening. Have a great long weekend folks. Fingers crossed it's a profitable one.