Friday, 31 July 2020

Which Racecourse is your Nemesis to Bet?

 I am coming out in a cold sweat just thinking about this question. 

Perhaps I should just run my fingernails up a rubber boot, or chalkboard or jump in a vat of fermenting horse shit.

In truth, I don't think I would take any of those options in favour of betting at my nemesis course. 

Although, give me a year or two and you may find me standing on the edge of a highrise car park in Milton Keynes. I'll be babbling on about Brighton and holding a tuft of luscious, green grass in one hand and a losing betting slip in the other as I take flight plummeting like a stone. 

I really do paint a rosy picture, hey. As dark as blood. 

So, on a lighter more jovial thought, which racecourse do you just dread to bet? 

Even if you have been following a horse, it's primed to win and even the trainer's wife gave you the wink as she breezed through the paddock in a flowing summer dress, you start to question the double gamble which you know is wrestling within the brain. Like a devil and angel on either shoulder, a tug-of-war where the rope enters your left ear and exits the right and the friction from all the pulling too and throw carves your grey matter like a pork cheese. 

Betting on the said horse is a gamble but the fact it is running at your nemesis course is the kiss of death. 

Now, for no particular reason, your despicable course may be different from mine. You may say Chester and I'm almost mocking you with the fact that I'm like a winning machine there.

Don't talk to me about Epsom Downs, I've never backed a loser. 

It's so easy. 

But Brighton...

I mean, I love the Royal Crescent. 

But ask me to bet at Brighton racecourse and I go quiet. You can see my brain working overtime trying to resolve some crazy equation that even Isaac Newton would run from. 

But you know what it's like...

I really fancy that horse today. 

Trying not to think about the last twenty-five bets that went south. Trying to convince myself that some old, ghostly witch that had been following me around the course for years had finally died or given up the ghost (so to speak).

Let's face it, even the bubonic plague died off in the end. 

So I chance my luck with a bet. I'm sure it will be ok. Just take a few deep breaths of the beautiful sea air and think pretty thoughts. 

As soon as the stalls open I realise the old witch has climbed on my back, whispering words of death and pointing me in the direction of Milton Keynes. 

I wonder, which course do you fear to bet?

Sunday, 5 July 2020

It's a Classic Tactical Affair

As a follower of two-year-old horse racing, I don't take much interest in the three-year-old Classics: 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby, Oaks & St Leger.  

Perhaps I should.

I was going to say it's a time thing, but thinking about it, that can't be the case as it doesn't take any longer than a few minutes. I guess I'm just not that interested which is a shame as these should be races to savour. 

I'm sure many race fans enjoyed the Oaks and the Epsom Derby. 

As it happened, I intended to watch the Derby but got carried away with work and then the next thing it had come and gone. 

I checked the result to see big-priced horses filled the frame. 

I still haven't watched the race. 

However, my good friend Eric Winner asked: ''Did you watch the Oaks?''

An hour or so later, I watched it. I knew what he was referring to because we had a conversation about pacemakers. 

I wonder what is your opinion about pacemakers in high-class races? I guess they are there for a reason. Strangely, trainers would, I imagine, say they have a pacemaker so it is a truly run race. Using tactics so it isn't a tactical affair. It doesn't sound very logical to me. 

The way the Aidan O'Brien and John Gosden horse stormed to the front, to me, made the race a ridiculous sight. It took away from the atmosphere and spectacle. Should these horses even be in the race? 

The pacemakers were ridden in splendid isolation. Then dropped back. The race was won easily by Love. 

A brilliant horse. 

I wondered what I was watching. The circus of the pacemakers. Any form of manipulation brings about problems if not ethical issues. Something very honest and true is tainted. 

To me, there's something wrong with this whole approach.

I guess pacemakers are needed?

A trainer, I guess, can instruct his rider to run any way they wish, as long as they are trying.

However, I wonder if these high-profile races are lessened by such tactics. If a horse is a champion then I'm sure it will win. To challenge adversity and win whether than is being held up or being brave enough to lead from the front.

That is a champion.

Isn't that the truth of the story and the one we want to watch and read about?

Whether a pacemaker or not any horse has the right under the present regulations to lead. So we may be questioning is a front runner simply a horse that leads or is it a pacemaker? 

But the whole premise of the argument is the intention. Clearly, the respective trainers made the decision to have pacemakers and I think it undermines everything good about horse racing. 

The Oaks wasn't the race it should have been. 

A superb winning performance was made to look poorer for the tactics employed by those so wanting to win.

No wonder I stick to my run-of-the-mill two-year-old racing. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Andrew Balding's Derby Dream

Kameko Derby for Qatar Racing Limited, Andrew Balding and Betway
If there is one race any thoroughbred horse trainer would love to win it has to be the Epsom Derby.

It has to be the pinnacle of racing triumph for owner, trainer, jockey, and even bring a smile to the face of those lucky punters who won a few quid on the big race. That thought leads nicely to a story which connects a generation of horse trainers and the reason Andrew Balding has a dream of winning this historic race. 

On Saturday, July 4th at 4:55pm Park House Stables may well be having a double celebration if Kameko ran beat sixteen opponents and emulate the success of his father Ian who trained the Epsom Derby winner in 1971 when Mill Reef stormed clear of the field for Geoff Lewis and owner Paul Mellon. Mill Reef was an exceptionally talented thoroughbred who won 12 of his 14 races, finishing 2nd on two starts and crowned a champion horse in consecutive years and noted sire in Great Britain and Ireland. 

Kameko has raced just five times in his two and three-year-old career but already marked a potential superstar of racing after making his return to racing in June and winning the 2000 Guineas. 

Even after almost 50-years, the thought of living up to his father's success is ambition, Andrew Balding is looking forward to realising a dream of trainer and horse across the decades and generations. 

Kameko, a strapping son of Kitten's Joy out of a three-time winning mare could herald a magical moment in the career of this young trainer and connections Qatar Racing Limited.

Good luck to connections and those who are betting on Kameko to triumph in this fascinating race and story.  

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Do You Follow Trainers in Form?

 I remember watching Racing UK, as it was known in the day and James Willoughby said there was literally no logic following a trainer in form. 

Now, I know James is an intellectual and he certainly knows a lot more about statistics than I do  (although I do have an understanding from my research within psychology, which is enough to bamboozle the life out of me). I enjoy his analysis although I do feel his rambles can go on a little too much at times and listeners lose the thread of the subject matter. That's talking about horse racing let alone statistics, which to most people in the human race equates to watching paint dry. I was going to say listening to paint dry but not sure if that makes much sense, but you get the idea. 

He is very much in the mould of John Berry who is another racing pundit (and talented horse trainer) but someone so stop-start in his dialectical materialism that I am kind of fascinated and losing the will to live at the same time. Please, if you are fans of either or both, these words are not meant as a criticism as I admire both and they have a lot more to offer than the generic racing pundit who would be at a loss without the classic cliches (which well and truly have me pressing the mute button). 

I do enjoy an original thought or piece of information (even a word) which tells me this person knows their stuff. That is a rarity if not difficult when talking in soundbites for a media that isn't really interested in going above and beyond the norm for the happy medium (which is a fair stat in itself).

But here's the question: Do You Follow a Trainer in Form?

Whether this has one ounce of logic or not, I do tend to follow horse trainers who are in form, and even more, try to avoid trainers who are missing the mark. 

Richard Fahey started this two-year-old season out of form. It's a surprise as he is normally a handler who literally hits the turf running. Fahey said after a number of two-year-old disappointments that his early string was simply not as good as they had hoped. Which must be a bitter pill for any trainer to swallow. These things have to be taken in the context of a whole season because Mews House, Musley Bank, Malton won't lack in classy two-year-old because based on a numbers game they must have 100+ in their ranks. 

However, the fact the stable has struggled to win with their two-year-olds this season does make me keep my money in my pocket until they start to find the winner's enclosure. 

Similarly, Brian Meehan has started this season with a bang and a purple patch with just five two-year-olds running so far and four winners, three on debut, two at double-figure odds. 

Throughout the season we will see a number of peaks and troughs with trainers and they will (hopefully) come out the other side with a few, if not, many winners. Sadly, a few well-known horse trainers struggle when the winners dry up, being funded by a few rich owners who rightfully want to see success. 

I remember Olly Steven was one such trainer who made it public that he had a couple of years to prove his worth or his hopes and dreams would fall by the way. He started his career with a number of two-year-old talents and things looked prosperous but the second season didn't see such rich pickings and he fell by the way. 

Just think of the number of talented horse trainers who have come and gone. In this economic climate, I am sure many others will be fearing what the future holds. 

I felt sad for Mark Brisbourne who had a small string but a very talented trainer and very much a family concern. However, after a 30-year career and sending out 560 winners his business was literally culled when the Earl of Bradford sold the land to build five homes and he was left with no option but relinquish his trainer's licence. 

His fateful words: ''I'm being forced to quit.''

Racing is all about the horse's finishing position but also the story behind trainers big and small. 

Sometimes those very statistics hide a bucket full of tears. 

Photo: Mark Brisbourne 

Monday, 22 June 2020

Do You Need to Bet Thousands to be a Professional Gambler?

Lots of people like a bet. 

They do as they do. 

Although I am not in favour of punters betting for fun. 


Simply because too many gamblers are naive to what they are doing and the potential implications of that first, small, bet. 

Sure it makes the football match more fun. 

But tell that to the compulsive gambler or addict who started the same way. I know you will say: ''Well, that won't happen to me!''

And you know what, I agree with you. On a statistical basis, you are, thankfully, unlikely to become a problem gambler or struggle with psychopathology. 

But here's the thing you need to consider. If you bet for fun, and you lack experience, knowledge, understanding then don't consider yourself the same as the few gamblers who make their betting pay. 

I'm not trying to be funny, but you are a million miles away from them. 

''Well, how are they so good?''

They have worked for years to hone their skills. You see to be a professional gambler isn't about betting thousands of pounds. You may have seen a few wealthy (naive) punters betting thousands like you bet £25. 

Trust me, that doesn't make them a professional gambler. They may be a professional idiot with a bundle of cash to burn but it's like saying the person who shouts an answer to a question is the most intelligent person in the room (just because they have similar DNA to a foghorn). 

You notice a lot of these professional gambler/pundits on TV. Most of them made their name by betting big money. That doesn't mean they know more than the person who bets quietly £100, £200 or £500 a time. However, everyone wants to know about extremes. TV shows are built on stories based on conflict. That's why Emmerdale Farm went from talking about cows in the field to a plane crash where half the cast was killed (partly, I guess, because their acting skills weren't much better than Ermintrude from the Magic Roundabout). In this day of political correctness, we cannot say she was a pink cow just in case there is some confusion about sexual orientation or prejudice.

In ten years' time, Emmerdale will see an alien invasion where the actors are replaced by robots.    

It's the same as all forms of media. 

That's why the Daily Sport wrote a story about the Men of March Public House in our little town saying it had so many windows so the girls in the ''brothel'' could easily see the police coming (no pun intended). 

It was all lies but it sold a few papers. 

A professional gambler, in my opinion, doesn't need to be a big bettor. 

They simply follow their undoubted passion in a very professional way. They didn't wake up one morning and consider they are a professional gambler just because they bet their gran's inheritance. 

Just as a plumber, an electrician or plasterer didn't wake up one day and decide they would be a tradesman (or woman).

You may think betting is betting but it's not. It's no different to someone trying to change an engine on a Porsche 911 but they have no idea the engine is in the back. In fact, you don't even have any tools. 

This is why to be a gambler with any hope of winning money comes down to a game of knowledge and principles. You can be exceptionally good at picking winners but still make little money because you lack the many and varied principles to be efficient in all you do. 

This aspect of gambling is even more important than the exceptional knowledge you may have at hand. 

In truth, the best gamblers are the ones who don't really enjoy gambling at all. They do so because they are convinced they have the odds in their favour. Anything can happen short term. You could have 20 losers in a row. To others, it may look like you have no idea what you are doing. However, long term the truth will show. 

TV adverts detail gambling as fun. The buzz. If you bet for the buzz then start beekeeping, at least you get a jar of honey. 

Betting is a serious business. 

When you calculate how much a gambler can lose over a lifetime betting a tenner here and there it's a scary thought. If you smoke, drink, and gamble (to excess or badly) your health and finances are going to look like you - a shadow of your former self. 

The best gamblers in the world aren't the people with books and notoriety they are the clever people who keep their mouth shut and get on with business in a professional manner and love their sport with a passion. 

They don't need anyone to pat them on the back to say well done. 

They couldn't give a toss.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Can You Win Playing Roulette at the Casino?

The short answer is no. 

However, there is more to that answer than meets the eye because it doesn't guarantee you will be a loser if playing at a brick-and-mortar casino or going online. 

So how can there be a difference from having seemingly no chance of winning to some chance when we are still playing the same game of roulette? 

It has a lot to do with how long you play and how you bet.

Let's face it, the only way you can win playing roulette is to get lucky. Sometimes we all need a little bit of luck. In fact, some people have made a fortune by wishing on a shooting star. 

For example, wouldn't you rather have an ounce of luck when you have a bet to win one million than one pound?

Clearly, we can all appreciate that thought.

In ways, gambling at the casino and especially at roulette is the same. Believe it or not, I have won good money at the Grosvenor Casino in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. This listed building has a touch of class - then I turned up!   

I've won several hundred pounds betting no more than £20 - £50. And starting at small stakes is really one of the keys to winning because you set your limit and really have little to lose but something to gain. 

With a little bit of help from Lady Luck. 

So what's all this luck about?

As I said earlier, the only way you will win when playing fixed odds is via luck. You may imagine there is some skill involved but I don't think there is any evidence that you can manipulate the statistics to improve your chance of winning unless you cheat. I know a few of you will say you can use the martingale system and you're sure to win. The trouble is you may need a million pounds to win a tenner if black or red comes up umpteen times. And you will find that the limit of perhaps a couple of grand bet on a single number puts pay to you doubling up infinitely. 

Even if you could do it, I don't think it would be a good idea. Simply because black came up 20 times, it still levels you devils it will come up again. In fact, it is slightly less as you may have noticed zero is green!

However, I do consider betting on the single number is the key to you, potentially, winning money. 

To win you need a touch of luck and that can come up just as easily on a single number as it can black or red. The difference being one pays even money while the other thirty-five to one. 

Simply play your stake betting on the same single number and hope it is your lucky night. If it comes up once you are pretty much guaranteed not to lose and if it comes up twice you are flying high. 

It's as boring as watching paint dry, but, in my opinion, it is one of the few ways you spend a little with the chance of winning a lot. 

Good luck to all.  

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Why Do Men Go to the Pub: To Talk Shit & Tell Lies

Unfortunately, we can't go to the pub with the lockdown but I'm sure we can all associate with this blog title. 

It was inspired by my actor friend, Simon Fowler, who does a daily live chat on Facebook. He talks about life and all the toils and tribulations. Also, all the love in the world which he says in his own kind of way. 

He talks about mental health and issues especially true to men who have often suffered from the British stiff upper lip. 

Simon quoted the comedians Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones. When they used to sit across the table and chat about nothing (but at the same time everything). 

I used to drink like a fish when I played rugby union for March Bear, based in the Fenland town of March in Cambridgeshire. As I have said about my experiences of playing rugby it is a sport you learn a lot about yourself and others. One thing you can guarantee is that if you play rugby long enough, you will suffer an injury or two. I noticed with the forwards and lot of dislocated shoulders, the odd broken leg, nose, and even jaw. 

No wonder people used to like a good drink after the game - it was a pain killer. 

I must admit I've never been too much of a drinker at the races because the combination of alcohol and betting isn't a good mix. Not even Del Trotter would have a Creme De La Menthe at Kempton Park. To be fair, people have outlandish stories about gambling before they get stuck into the amber nectar. 

We'd go to Yarmouth races and then spend an evening at the Grosvenor casino. You don't need many pints an hour to slip under the table. 

In fact, the last time we went, just before lockdown, my cousin, who I won't name, returned from the casino at 6am. 

I concluded that he must have been winning at 4am because drink and tiredness must-have set in by stupid o'clock. I figured winning was the motivation to keep alert enough to play a few more hands of three-card poker (a game that really plays itself). I don't know what sort of conversation was going on but it was definitely pub talk. I'm sure there were a bit of swearing and pork pies too. 

As the old TV advert used to say: ''It's good to talk.''

It is good that in recent years people have felt more open to express their concerns about mental health because we have all had our moments. Once upon a time, people were stigmatised by saying they were struggling. I'm not saying people are still not tarred with the same brush but I think the UK is more accepting (especially in times of lockdown) that people may be suffering. 

And, you know, I'm pretty sure that's why so many men love to go to the pub and talk shit and tell lies. 

If anyone is struggling with depression or mental health problems then it is good to talk. 

So often in life, all we need is someone to stop for a few minutes to listen. 

If I can help, I'm always here.

Monday, 18 May 2020

The Millionaire Betting System

I'm surprised more people don't ask this question: ''Why do you bet on the horses?''

This can be specific to you, me, or the bustling crowd at the Cheltenham Festival. 

I'm far from a natural gambler. In fact, I don't really like gambling. I don't bet for fun, the buzz, or all those things many gamblers do from day to day. 

Each to their own. 

If it makes you happy, doesn't lead to the wolf knocking on your door, or affects your life, family, or lead you to suicide you are onto a winner. 

That probably sounds a bit flippant - but you know what I mean. You have to be responsible for your actions and if you can't you need to find an answer.

Anyway, you meet all sorts of people under the umbrella of the gambler. To be fair, you see some very sad sights, especially fixed to the betting terminals in the local bookmakers. 

For many gamblers, betting gives a live hope of making a killing. That's winning cash not holding up a bookmaker's shop with a gun. 

The good side of finding a winning betting angle is that you can easily outweigh the cost of living. You simply bet more money and win a grand a day! Well, you can if you know something the majority of the population doesn't. 

Namely, you win money long term. 

The holy grail is finding a system that gives a regular income. If you attach this to a bot that places your bets automatically, you have a passive income. 

You could be sitting on the beach in the Bahamas, living the life most can only dream. 

If you get to that level you are well and truly a winner. Because let's face it, very few people make their gambling pay. They simply don't know enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

Is there a system, simple or complex, which guarantees you will make a profit? Better still, is there a system which shows hundreds if not thousands of points profit every season?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. 

I'm saying no names because these things are private but I've heard something incredible.

There could be a Millionaire Betting System out there. What I mean by this, is a system that can take let's say £100 and in a year, two, three or four and turn that small sum of money into one million pounds profit. 

Many of you reading this will be thinking it's pie in the sky. It can't be possible. How can it be possible?

In fact, by the end of this Flat turf season, I will be in a position to detail whether or not this is fact or fiction. 

Unfortunately for me, and you, I don't understand how this system works. But I imagine it won't be sold for any amount of money. (Even two million pounds!)

It's interesting to consider what goes on behind the scene of the betting exchanges. You see a bet and you have no idea who is behind that transaction. It could be a little old lady down the road placing her first bet. It could be a trader looking to make an easy £5 here and there. It could be a professional gambler with his finger on the pulse. It may even be Harry Findlay recouping his losses lumping on the next odds-on shot. The stories behind each and every bet and gambler are unknown. 

But consider for a moment the next bet you place could well be a plus or minus for this new gambler on the block as he puts the Millionaire Betting System through its paces. 

This time next year, he'll be a millionaire.

Saturday, 9 May 2020

There's Nowt So Queer as Folk

Even though I come from the Fens I like this Yorkshire saying: ''There's nowt so queer as folk.'' 

I like to think I'm a good, kind, decent, and generous person. 

Words are always open to interpretation and I'm sure a few people have read my blog posts with varied thoughts. It depends on the quality of the post and the topic. 

At times, I have been a bit annoyed by something and I'm sure people have considered I'm a half-mad grumpy old man, and a bit full-on in my belief I know more about two-year-old horse racing than just about anyone on planet Earth. 

If you worked to understand your niche for over 30-years I'd be disappointed if you didn't think the same. I'd question what you'd been doing to learn so little over the duration. 

I hate to say it, but I believe in the quote: ''No good deed goes unpunished.'' 

You do someone a favour and by the time it comes to bringing the lawnmower back they've convinced themselves it really belongs to them and it's a pain in the arse bring it back. Or the other scenario when they bring it back and you find when you try to use it again - it's broken. 

''It was perfectly fine the last time I used it,'' says the borrower. 

(Yes, of course, it was!).

As The Doors classic 1967 song goes: ''People are strange when you're a stranger.''

Anyway, I have a mailing list in which horse racing fans can subscribe. It doesn't cost them anything. Readers receive 10 Dark Horses, which, basically, detailed a denary of unraced or lightly-raced two-year-old horses. Not just any old horses but exceptional talents. 

Being a generous soul, I thought I would add some more quality info for readers. And I mean quality. 

Here is a rundown of the new info that will be mailed about once a week. 

Now, by joining, readers will receive:

  • 10 Dark Horse Mailing
  • Secret Gambler Diary
  • Top Trainer Secrets
  • Group Horse Daily 
  • Pro Tips 
  • Speculative Tips 
  • Quality Articles
  • Psychological Edge

To be fair, the tips will be few and far between. Probably just 10 or so a year. But everything is top quality. And I mean above and beyond the norm. You know, all this stuff takes time. I think a lot of people imagine they are doing me a favour by joining the ''bloody'' list. If anyone really thinks that well they can go and jump off a cliff. They will probably be following a favourite horse.

You know what happened?

I had four people unsubscribe. 

I truly couldn't care if everyone unsubscribed because it makes sod all difference to me. In fact, I would have more time to please my self.  

So, strangely, you give more value and some people are seemingly offended or turned off by the addition. 

Mailchimp forwards the new subscribers and those who unsubscribe. I could, in theory, contact the unsubscribers and ask why they jumped out of the plane. I won't because I respect people's opinions but, similarly, don't want to be bogged down, depressed, or on the cliff edge with them by reading some bizarre logic. I'm sure a word or two on the infamous mailing may have irritated the few. 

I did mention that we have a maximum of 2,000 subscribers so make sure you read each and every email else the account may (I may have said will) be deleted. 

I said I may sell online courses in the future. That I will guarantee will make people money (more than the cost of the course, that's for sure).

That may have irritated someone who has short arms and deep pockets. 

Who knows...

I'm not going to ask them to find out. I know I should for the sake of market research but I cannot be around negative people. They are the equivalent of a bloodsucker who enjoys sapping your hard-earned energy and unlikely to give you anything back. 

As my good friend Eric Winner says: ''There are too many takers.''

Sadly, there are too many takers. I don't bump into many, as I don't give too much away these days because I have learned a few lessons along the way. 

It really is something and nothing. 

And I am sure I am a fully-fledged member of the Grumpy Old Man Club. 

I guess it is simply the fact of giving more and somehow someone is offended. 

''How dare he give me more...''

''The front of that bloke to give added value...''

''The beast...''

''I'm going to unsubscribe.''

Here's my response.

Good. Thanks for departing the little world I live in. I have created it to please me. And that's the way it is going to continue. 

That's to the four bloodsuckers who turned left at the sign detailing 1 mile to the town There's Nowt So Queer As Folk. 

I'm awaiting more unsubscribers with this sitting on the horizon.

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Learning from Experience: Betting and Life

I used to play rugby union for my local team ''The Bears''. March Bears, a town named after the third month of the year. That isn't quite right because it was originally called Merch so I guess someone in the Fens couldn't read or write the Queen's English and the letter E turned into an A. 

Hardly surprising, hey. 

As if you look into your family history a surname often changes for no apparent reason. 

Anyway, let's talk about the subject matter of Learning from Experience: Betting and Life. 

Thank the Lord we learn a few things on our long or short journey of life. I guess some people are as stubborn as mules and either fail to learn or do so all too late. Sean Coronary, didn't listen to his ticker until it didn't go tick-tock.  

I used to be quite a good rugby player and a leading try scorer for consecutive years. 

However, I was stopped in my track when I tried to kick the rugby ball as did an opposing player (who was wearing shin pads) and my leg snapped. I'm not sure if you have ever heard a human or animal bone crack but it sounds like a piece of wood. The harder the impact the louder the noise. My tibia and fibula cracked in two causing a compound fracture to my right leg. The sound could be heard from one end of the field to the other. A sickening crack that seemed to echo in my ears. 

I'm not sure if the spectators or my teammates heard it twice, but I hope not as the first time was enough to make people feel sick. It was a horrendous leg injury. Bones sticking out the back of my leg. I was still standing and this is the thought that ran through my mind 'How do you fall over with a broken leg?'' I did so as carefully as I could, falling on my backside, laying flat out for a second or two then looking at my lower leg to see the damage. It looked pretty gruesome; as if about six inches of the shin bone had been removed and the skin sunk down. 

I can imagine you are reading this and wincing if not feeling sick. 

I can't say I was feeling too good myself but strangely it wasn't too painful, a pins and needles kind of feeling no doubt due to nerve damage. The only time it hurt was when my leg was moved to put in a splint and it felt as if someone had stabbed a red-hot knife deep into my leg and dragged it about a bit for fun. I don't mind admitting I gritted my teeth at that moment and said to myself: ''Keep calm and be strong.'' 

I did exactly that.

I was in shock. The incident played through my mind as if on a loop. I could hear the sound and impact playing in my mind and it felt as real as the original. I'm sure this is what happens to a stressed mind as it tries to make sense of what is happening. People say when you are drowning your life flashes before your eyes. I'm pretty sure they mean if you are involved in a serious impact and injury you revisit it a few times before the dust settles.  

You may be thinking what did I learn and how does it relate to gambling. Firstly, I realised trying to kick a rugby ball wasn't the best idea when it was bouncing all over the place. 

I learned that I was strong, tough enough to cope and that if I grit my teeth and battle on it would be ok.  

This doesn't make me any different to 99% of the population who would do exactly the same. 

The thought of breaking your leg so it looks quite mangled isn't what you would wish for. 

However, you would cope even if you don't relish the thought.

Someone asked me if I wish it hadn't happened. Logically, you say yes. It seems a little bizarre to say I was pleased to have been involved in this injury that took one second to happen and almost two years to recover. I was walking on crutches for a year after a two-hour operation to put a titanium rod down my tibia (shin bone) via removing the kneecap and two screws holding it in place at the top of the tibia and two at the bottom a few inches about my ankle. After eighteen months I had to have the bar and screws removed. In all, my leg didn't feel right for about two years. 

In many ways, I'm pleased to have had the experience however disturbing at the time. I am a wiser person for it and learned something about myself and importantly about others. 

A number of my teammates rallied round and looked after me as I lay flat out on the turf thinking about the situation. All good people. They were most certainly there for me in my time of need. One of the spectators, who played regularly for the team, and a paramedic didn't help because he said he was off duty. I'm not sure if there was a legal reason for not helping me but he didn't. I don't hold it again the person but I don't forget either. Like it or not I don't think it was a particularly caring attitude. Perhaps they had a perfectly understandable reason and I will take that as being the case. I can't say I was impressed and I never looked upon the person the same thereafter. 

So not only did I learn something about myself, I learned something about others. 

In ways, gambling is the same. It is all about living and learning. And we can be wiser for both wins and losses. It may be a big loss or a small loss. It may be a big win or a small win. But each happening is a moment to learn. It may be the case something minor triggers an understanding that will save or make us a lot of money in the future or a wise decision for ourselves or others. 

So even a bad day can turn good if we learn a thing or two. 

Author: Jason Coote