It's an interesting question.
Are you the 1% of the horse racing population who does your own research?
To be fair, I have no idea of the percentage of punters who do their own, independent research or study.
It may be more or less. I guess the first person to ask is you.
I have had this conversation with my good friend Eric Winner. And I know we have all done it, but, hopefully, we have all learned a lesson or two from our gambling pursuits over the days, months and years.
These words paint a familiar picture. We go to the bookies. Look at the Racing Post on the wall. Read the last three pieces of form. Make a bet. And another loser.
(It may have won!).
Let's face it, it's not the best approach to finding winners.
I wonder what percentage of the population does this day in day out. It may have been going on for years. Perhaps a whole lifetime of betting! The plus side, we simply need the memory of a goldfish (to appreciate the last three races).
Swim around the tank. What was I thinking? I remember... I bet three starfish to one. Turn left, via the seaweed, under the ornamental bridge, have a quick bite of fish flakes and wait for the race to begin.
I think it's the Derby.
A competitive field of three guppies (2/1), angelfish (4/6f), and the outsider one of those suction fish who just sticks to the side of the tank (50/1).
For God's sake be a piranha!
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Who am I to say what is right from wrong? As I have said umpteen times. The answer to the question is whether you make money or not. If you are winning, then keep doing what you are doing. If you are losing, then you need some aspect of assessment and re-evaluation.
What troubles me about most people who bet is that many never learn from the day they placed that first bet.
I don't know about you, but there is something very sad about that mentality. Would you go to college for years and come out knowing the same ''very little'' you went in?
A little bit more education, certificate even if it isn't a Ph.D.
But for many, the three-race analysis is the norm. You see it in bookmakers up and down the country. I have nothing against such use as a recap or just to familiarise your mind. But if that is the start and finish of your reasoning then it's a worry.
You may think: ''So what!''
You're welcome to your thoughts.
However, if you are expecting to make your betting pay by doing the same as Tom, Dick or Harry then you will probably suffer a similar failure.
That's why doing your own research is worthwhile. I'm not talking rocket science. I don't expect you to turn a piece of lead into a gold bar. However, with your own research, you may find a seam of gold. Something lying in the pan other than shit.
To achieve some level of understanding doesn't take much time or effort.
What do you need?
All you need is an inquisitive mind and the ability to ask yourself a question.
It might be something as simple as knowing a little more than most about a given horse trainer. You decide - you are going to be the font of all knowledge when it comes to a horse trainer.
It could be anyone.
John Gosden to John Ryan. It's your choice. Here's the key to understanding. What do you think 90% of the population of gamblers, race fans, journalists and pundits know about this trainer?
Find a few questions about the 10% of the knowledge no one is talking about, bothers with or tries to understand.
That knowledge may give you a chance of appreciating something that most do not.
Trust me, you are getting nearer the gold.
I love doing my own research. Why do I bother? Well, with a little bit of work I know something which most doesn't. I can clearly see that the information yields a profit or, at least, steers me away from an opinion that guarantees I lose.
The other day I detailed a thought.
A decent trainer of two-year-olds. He has a fair number of winners. His juveniles often go well on their second start. But here's the question? What can you tell me about his two-year-olds on their second start?
It's not a trick question. It is just me detailing what knowing or not knowing can reveal.
It's like one of those questions on Who Want's to be a Millionaire. It may well be the million-dollar question (or at least £500).
As I write this sentence I'm thinking: ''I know something you don't.''
Should that worry you? You may not give a rat's arse. Good for you. It makes no difference to me. I'm happy to live in my bubble of knowledge. It's a tranquil place, a cozy club chair, TV, laptop, and a bed with a mattress cushioned with a wad of cash.
We live in a world where knowledge is power.
Did you know that for over 300 horses David Simcock has never had a winning two-year-old on its second start at odds bigger than 5/1?
It didn't take me that much time to find that answer.
It didn't come from looking at the last three races published in the Racing Post, stuck on a wall in the local bookmakers.
Funny how we are limited by a lack of questions and understanding.