Time and time again I hear people talking of or reading of others paying heed to so called “Inside Information” within the sport of horse racing.
Today, I laugh at it. But, yesterday, I too paid heed to it.
I’m going to give my opinion of so-called inside information with real life instances but more so, with a very recent piece of inside information from both trainer and jockey.
I used to be as guilty as the next punter for believing that someone connected directly to the horse racing industry – a stable lad, a work watcher, a trainer, a jockey, or an owner – obviously knew more than me when it came down to a horse’s chance of winning.
Call it gullibility, FOMO (fear of missing out), naivety, stupidity, greenness, wet behind the ears, whatever: any peg on which to hang the hat. But that was me in the beginning of my journey to becoming a professional bettor in my chosen sport and, I suspect it was the same for many of you when you started out?
Worse still, I suspect some of you continue to rely upon such for your daily or weekly bets?
I learned the hard way… I lost lots of money betting on inside information. I added to the losses by paying money to those crooks people for the inside information.
What follows is an example or two and I feel sure some of you will relate to the experience. Why? Because it is an age-old practice that never outdates itself. Obviously, names and organisations are not given.
“I was duly spanked”
Back in the day when I was in my early twenties, I had already undertaken the task of trying to learn all I could about the ‘Sport of Kings’ (the next line might surprise you: The Ruin of Princes), but still I wasn’t able to produce a winning strategy from my own efforts. I needed help! I loved the sport and I wanted to make money from it too. Don’t we all?
I was a regular visitor to Newmarket with my work and I would take any opportunity to meet people and give time to people who might help me on my way. High street bookmakers seemed a good place to start. After all, I could see stable lads going in and out regularly and placing bets.
I would stand in the betting shop, discreetly reading the Sporting Life while listening to lads talking up their stable runner. I once had a bet with a stable lad that my selection would beat his selection. Ha!! Anything to get the door open to talk more.
Now, I met this fellow more sociably as weeks went by and on my return visits to Newmarket. We became friends and I was introduced to his girlfriend of the time, and they lived above one of the more targeted bookmakers in Newmarket. I was welcome.
He was a work watcher and wore a recording device under his jacket in the mornings as he approached trainers and riders to ask the well-being of horses that were working and, of course, the names of horses as they didn’t wear number cloths or the riders silks to help identify them.
I was invited to an early morning stint to see how this fellow operated.
Great!! All my Christmases coming at once! A 5am start did not deter me – of course not – and eventually we made our way from his home to racecourse side for the first lot. There were many horses milling around, all totally unidentifiable to me (and I suspect other work watchers that had gathered). Everybody was seemingly waiting for someone? The horses continued to walk in a large circle and we waited…
And then, at a good gallop, across the turf came a rider. Who’s this I asked? John Gosden came the reply. I’m told he doesn’t like too many watchers around and to keep quiet. Now I understand the hidden recording equipment! Ha!! Every word must be heard and recorded for later analysis.
And so the morning progressed… Different trainers, different gallops. Same tactics.
He must be the real deal. He knows so much more than me. Later that day we concluded our business for inside information, and I “stupidly” agreed to put on a sum of money for him along with my own cash. He was a nice fellow and gullible me accepted his word and we duly bet in the weeks and months ahead. Did we show a profit? Never! Not from the first losing bet to the last bet which was a Sheikh Hamden Al Maktoum (RIP) horse, starting price 3/10 (1.30) finishing 3rd.
I was taken in, trousers taken down, and duly spanked!
That was not the only time I was taken in, unfortunately, but eventually I came to the conclusion that if I was ever offered so called inside information, I was to… run the other way; and quick!!
And now to present day, it still happens.
“Information doesn’t come more inside”
An interest I have in a horse, went something like this (again, no names):
I spot a horse at an open day with a 25% share left in it. I like the horse, its breeding, and I am told it is a Royal Ascot horse. Hmmm? Hope so! I made some quiet investigations with the person who bought it as a foal, the fellow who broke it in as a yearling before coming to the yard to be trained, and others. I’m in!
The horse is training well February and March but, as with many 2yo’s, it was suffering from sore shins (it’s common among 2yo’s) and so work was reduced but fitness maintained.
A racecourse gallop is recommended. A top jockey is booked for the gallop. After the gallop (which I was unable to attend) the trainer reports that the jockey thinks he’s a good horse and would benefit from another racecourse gallop or go for a maiden race and, if he doesn’t win, he’ll win the next time. How’s that for inside info??
We choose to wait and go for another racecourse gallop. Same top jockey employed. I am in attendance this time. I have a one to one with the jockey having had the thumbs up from the trainer following the gallop. I’m all ears! He’s good, he’ll win his maiden and, if he bumps into one, he’ll win next time. Don’t complicate him with a difficult track like Catterick. The jockey likes the horse.
The race is selected, and we have an odds on favourite against us from a top yard. The favourite wins and we get placed. No real disappointment. A new jockey on board, and the words are encouraging.
We’re set to win on the next run! Oh dear… the next race is selected, and the horse runs dismally hanging like a gate. Wait a minute… I had inside information that if he didn’t win first time, he’d win the next time… Information which doesn’t come more inside than that!
The horse’s reward for such a poor second run is to be gelded. I await its third run…
Take a telling folks. Stand by your own judgement or stand by one who has a proven long term track record of success and knows his or her business.
Editor note: Mel Gee is a winning racehorse owner and professional sports bettor. He runs our First Class Racing service, which has a highly profitable track record since launching in 2021. If you’d like to find out more info and give it a try, click this link today.