Betting on horses is of course a mug's game. But it's a game I've been playing since that fateful day in 1953 when my mother took me across the Curragh plains to watch the Irish Derby. That was the year that Vincent O'Brien's Chamier won on a disqualification and I had a shilling on him at 8-1. Being a pious little prick in those days I remember buying two plaster statues - the Sacred Heart and the Virgin Mary - with my winnings.
Since that auspicious day I've taken a keen interest in the horses and over the years have been to Ascot, Epsom, Cheltenham, Aintree, Goodwood and all the major Irish tracks. I've even owned a horse or two and spent quality time with Charlie Swan's mother. The key is to enjoy the racing and don't expect to make money. From time to time you win and that suffices. Don't depend on it.
One thing that's common to all gamblers is that you don't hear of their losses - which are often painful and persistent. They will talk up their successes though - so here goes. This is my betting diary for the 5 days of the Goodwood meeting last week.
Day 1: Indian Days: won at 14-1; Lord Shanakill: won at 13-2
Day 2: Ghimaar: won at 8-1
Day 3: Beachfire: won at 10-1
Day 4: Proponent: 4th at 25-1 Webbow: 3rd at 12-1
Day 5: Evens and Odds: won at 20-1; Midday: won at 15-8; Genki: unplaced
Five winning days in a row is unusual if not unprecedente