Carlisle 3-25
Noir Et Vert 3 9/2
Open de l’Isle 3 5
Bannister Lane 11/2 12
The Whisperer 6 9
Bafana Boy 7 10
Mill Side 8 14

Haydock 3-30
Well Disguised 5 8
Clova Island 5 7/2
Arctic Ben 11/2 6
Izita Star 7 5
Good Spirit 9 25
Norman the Great 9 12
Stellino 9 4
Elaala 10 33

No ‘cutoff line’ today :-) I do prefer Good Spirit to Elaala to win though so went with that in the Haydock racre. At Carlisle it is marginal between Mill Side and Bannister Boy but I will stick with the rule and back Mill Side.

Back on the trail then, a few details sorted and generally feeling happy about both the assessment and betting on today’s races. One thing is important, as noted last Saturday, namely the need to be careful about idle chatter – it’s difficult enough to make racing pay at the best of times and made the more so when people don’t appreciate the achievement and just shrug when you back a long odds horse who ‘only’ comes second (Lord Jay Jay last week, for instance). It’s not wishful thinking, positive thinking or any psychobabble, simply a fact that one treads a fine line between winning big and getting nothing – small doubts are enough to tip things the wrong way so one should really not involve anyone unless they have some modicum of respect if not knowledge. Years ago, in his classic ‘Always Back Winners’, Steward Simpson gave exactly the right advice on that point – ‘Keep your bloody mouth shut!’. That’s spot on and to be remembered. What’s more, a bit of support might even earn some of the winnings, who knows :-)

A cause for optimism too; James Quinn relates the same trauma as I have encountered when not backing the longest priced contender in a contentious race (‘Recreational Handicapping’.) It seems even the experts went through this and it is par for the course. (He also gives interesting advice about ‘difficult’ races where the form fundamentals are unclear.) His views are all the more encouraging as they put into words what I have discovered for myself – the confirmation is doubly meaningful.

Looking back over the weeks since I started this blog, I feel I have got things up to speed and can now fine tune the approach (for example, by speeding up the assessments to cover more races.) I will be investing in the Flat form book soon (which now has short but invaluable discussions of each race along with the bare results) and look forward to a long, hot and lucrative summer.