Welcome to The Racing Horse. My name is Paul Moon and aged just 16 years-old I ran away from home in Bath, Somerset to Australia. Naively, I had fallen for false promises made to me by an organisation called the Big Brother Movement of becoming a Jackaroo (young inexperienced cowboy). Here is my story...
It did not take long for reality to kick in. On my arrival 'down under' I was unceremoniously dumped and given away to a farming family best described as 'hillbilly.' My living conditions were dire, damp and cold with no access to soap or hot water and I received no pay. The farm was 10km from Mittagong and about 121km from Sydney and certainly not conducive to learning Australian farming methods as I had been promised. Apart from a couple of conspirators within the BBM hierarchy (in Sydney), no one had a clue where I had disappeared too, no records of any description were kept and my welfare was compromised.
The whole experience at the farm bordered on madness.
The whole experience at the farm bordered on madness. I was physically harmed and in serious danger before making a daring escape (a long story but one I am happy to share). Bedraggled, unwashed and penniless I angrily confronted the BBM team back at the offices in Circular Quay, Sydney and threatened to expose their child trafficking and negligence to the papers and the police. To calm me they gave me $20 from petty cash so that I could buy a can of coke and a ham sandwich because at that time I was literally starving.
None of the promises made to me materialised and I was never introduced to a big brother (someone to look after me whilst I adjusted). The organisation eventually found me a job at Lowes Department Story in the centre of Sydney and placed me in lodgings very close to Randwick Racecourse. It was there that I first watched racehorses exercise early in the mornings - a sight that thrilled me! Watching something so beautiful when at my lowest ebb captured my heart and imagination and lifted my spirits, I was hooked and fell in love with the 'Sport Of Kings.'
Randwick Racecourse - my spiritual home
From then on I rarely missed a meeting at the major Sydney racecourses of Randwick, Rosehill, Warwick Farm and Canterbury and I also enjoyed travelling to all the provincial tracks. I discovered Harness Racing at Harold Park and found that the most exciting experience of all. On many occasion I worked as a bookie's runner and quickly learnt the importance of fractions and percentages and gaining the very best prices. Any money made in those days determined how well I ate.
Trained by Ladbrokes I honed my numeric and settling skills
Many years later back in England, I was trained by Ladbrokes in settling and betting management. Compared to today they were a great company and their teaching first class and that is where I honed my numeric and settling skills. Since then my mind sees everything in terms of percentages and probability. I enjoyed my time with them and gained valued experience, whilst they were respected and the giants of the industry. Now there are a pitiful shadow of what they once were...
Mathematics aided my betting, then I tackled the emotional aspects.
Like most punters I have suffered the ups and downs of gambling. Over a very long period of time and without realising it my betting evolved into something more mathematical and mechanical. My strike-rate improved even more when I followed predetermined criteria before placing a bet. Finally I brought under control everybody's arch nemesis - I managed to shackle the emotional and disciplinary aspect of betting. I use the word 'shackle' because the emotional and disciplinary never goes away, it is always there lurking and waiting for a moment of weakness! Of course, the way one deals with the emotional aspect of betting, bridled with money-management determines how successful one is at betting.
Discipline, emotional skills and money-management are prerequisites
During my very long apprenticeship at the school of hard knocks I learnt that alcohol, guesswork, laziness and misinformation have no place in a bet - they are saboteurs! Having the right mentality is absolutely critical. A mentality equipped with good information, attitude, determination, repeatable mathematical processes and probability are still not enough if you do not have the discipline, emotional skills and money-management to underpin them. I am still learning the emotional side even now...
These days I never place a random bet because I see it as a weakness and a disciplinary lapse.
The meaning of value
Much later in life I understood the true meaning of value. I found value could be in a 4/5 favourite, a 7/2 second-favourite or a 16/1 shot. I have also learnt that although form is very important the profile of a horse in a particular race, with optimum conditions at a specific time, more so. I only look for one result at a time and because of random factors beyond my control, my brain no longer accepts the concept of ante-post betting, now I ignore it completely.
Although focusing on the next winning bet is the primary concern, keeping honest and accurate records of past bets (win and lose) is an invaluable source of information and a road map of where you have been. Make no mistake, memory tells lies and a reason why all professionals keep records. Although I have confidence of winning over a period of time it does not mean losing bets will not hurt, but losing no longer damages me emotionally and most importantly does not affect my next investment!
Punters are generally lazy, careless and uninformed and the reason why most lose
Working for bookmakers has shown me the careless uninformed way punters place their bets. Most play the game without knowing the rules - for example most do not understand what an overround is? Furthermore, there are those who still bet with bookmakers that do not pay best price guaranteed, how foolish is that?
Privileged to have written for Betfair for over four years
For over four and a half years I had been privileged to have written for Betfair on many sporting subjects including horse racing as their number one writer. The experience was very rewarding. It opened doors for me within the racing fraternity whilst giving me the confidence needed to express myself. Thankfully, Betfair have revolutionised and changed the face of betting for good.
I have since written for many publications including Geegeez, False Favourites, Race Advisor, Betting Insiders and On Course Profits as well as the press and The Racing Horse.
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