They say writers writer, gamblers gamble and cooks drink!
I remember a few years back, I used to write an article or two for this new online platform. The name has been long forgotten. It was run by a lovely lady and I wanted to help support her by writing decent content. It was a mutual thing as I would get a link back to my website which was all fine and dandy. Very few writers are going to spend hours writing decent content for nothing in return.
There wasn't a problem. It worked. She was happy with the content on what turned out to be a sinking ship simply because so few people contributed.
I used to write professional gambler articles about Alex Bird, Jack Ramsden, Phil Bull, general thought-provoking articles about gambling theory and a few race reports about two-year-old horse racing which I specialise.
Quite often I would write a post while thinking aloud and then conclude my thoughts with either a free racing tip or my obligatory '' I'll be taking a watching brief.''
It was simply the format I wrote because writers write, gamblers gamble and Delia Smith likes a glass of wine while sunning herself on the Norfolk Broads.
Anyway, after one such post about a race, I noticed a rare comment from a reader or another contributor.
It read along the lines: ''You clearly have a great understanding of your horse racing niche but are you intentionally trying to confuse people?''
This was greeted by me with a mixture of emotions: humour, as in ways it made me laugh, and irritation because I thought it was a particularly stupid question. My post had taken at least an hour to write - their comment 9.58 seconds. Strangely, exactly the same time it took Usain Bolt to run a 100m World Record in 2009.
(From a psychological point of view, I was intrigued that the person thought as fast as Bolt ran.)
Why on earth would I be trying to confuse people? It was as if I had some hidden agenda. Perhaps (in their mind) I was being paid £1,000 by William Hill to confuse people so much they bet £2,000 on a loser and we had a business to take advantage of those who read random horse racing threads.
Perhaps they couldn't get beyond the comment ''watching brief''.
I can tell you now, that comment was made to save people money rather than confuse them into such a state of bewilderment they phoned Tommo's Horse Racing Tips Hotline.
The would-be annoyance received a polite, intelligent and reasoned if not slightly prickly reply because they had put me into a state of near anaphylactic shock. It was like I was writing from inside a wasp's nest.
I was left questioning myself with the words: ''Why do I bother!''
It reminds me of Billy Wilder's quote: ''No good deed goes unpunished.''
The crazy point about the race analysis (although no tip was given) was that the whole post was crammed full of information that I had researched from my own data which had taken unending hours and embued with 30-years experience. This wasn't the last three races of magnolia form found on the pages of the Racing Post. If my words had been a painting it would have been a George Stubbs Whistlejacket (1762) not a slab of square beige in a frame from Ikea.
Although the analysis didn't give a full-blown racing tip if the reader had dissected those rich, objective prose each horse mentioned could be appreciated quite easily. In fact, for the majority of runners, it detailed those with little chance to the major contenders. Even though the post said ''watching brief'' in so many words it gave a couple of each-way chances (including the winner).
I felt like writing another comment to detail this fact but like the horse in another Stubbs' painting Lion Attacking a Horse (1765), I was losing the will to live. I didn't want to get into a war of words because I can't stand politics. In the end, it's a futile conversation of two opinions the difference being that someone is trying to label you with their perception. To be fair, we can only take all these scenarios with a pinch of salt and be polite as one can be and move quickly on. It is either that or an ugly war of words on a subject which scales into insignificance when you see what is happening around the world.
In truth, you don't need to give a free horse racing tip to give good advice. The sad fact for many tipsters out there is that their tips are not as good as someone who doesn't really give a tip.
Two, three, four tips detailing a horse, time, meeting and bet taking moments to write as boring as watching that magnolia patch of paint dry in its Ikea frame, which hangs on a beige wall of someone's random house.
The no-tip analysis is akin to a hand-crafted tapestry worked with golden thread...
Make your mind up which you would rather read.
There's always a Mills & Boon for the romantic at heart.