All I want for Christmas is…a racing book
I thought I would write a post looking at those racing books (betting based) that I have found most enjoyable and useful in helping me to become a profitable bettor. If you haven’t read some of them before you may wish to add them to your Christmas present list.
I would really appreciate it if you left a comment highlighting any racing books you would recommend to others and with any luck there will be a couple under my Christmas tree!
If you do fancy buying one I suggest searching for it in Google or Amazon.
So, to the books…(and they are in preferential order, 1 being what I would most recommend etc)
Title: Betting For A Living
Author: Nick Mordin
Without doubt the best racing ‘betting’ book I have read to date and I still refer to it regularly. Yes it was published in 1992 but the majority of the content is still relevant. Chapters discuss the following: speed ratings,the importance of pace and who will take the lead etc, the all-weather, the draw, distance, class, what the horse looks like (fascinating insight), what the trainer says, fitness, ‘why you should ignore weight’ (superb piece and something I have taken on board), how to bet, how to use systems and most interesting the chapter called ‘What Performance Pattern Does the Horse Fit’. This chapter was my first introduction to ‘horse profiling’ and it’s something I will come back to in future.
Finally Nick puts his approach into practice and talks through many of his bets. His racing and betting diary is fascinating and you learn so much about race analysis. (Predominantly National Hunt)
All in all a must read in my opinion. A superb book that is both very informative and engaging.
Title: Winning Without Thinking: A Guide to Horse Racing Betting Systems
Author: Nick Mordin
Published: 2002, revised 2003
My only other book written by Mr Mordin but another must read if you are interested in systematic approaches to betting. In this book he talks about the importance of betting against the crowd, using pedigrees as a basis for systems, exploiting repeat patterns, the effect of weight on performance, using class, a chapter on international racing, the psychology of betting, how to interpret statistics, how hype distorts the betting market and much more. It is packed full of useful information and contrarian thinking which I certainly found enlightening.
Title: The Definitive Guide to Betting on the Horses
Author: Racing Post (expert series)
If you are new to the Sport of Kings and want a book that provides a general, informative, introduction to racing then you could do much worse than read this. In fact even if you are an old hand at the game you may learn something new reading this. Every chapter has a different author including Paul Kealy, Nick Mordin (again!), Tom Segal and others. The book is split into two main sections (‘Finding Your Winner’ and ‘Choosing Your Bet’) and has seven parts covering the assessment of ability, assessing potential (race analysis, breeding, reading the signs), the key variables (draw, pace, knowledge) and then four parts on betting.
All in all another top notch book and a decent addition to anyone’s book shelf.
Title: Betting on Flat Handicaps
Author: Jon Gibby
Published: 2005 (third edition)
As you tell from the title this book has a specific focus on flat handicaps and predominantly, but not exclusively, sprint handicaps. In addition to trainer based systems and hose profiling my own betting approach on the flat is to focus on sprint handicaps and I found this book very informative. Many of the themes covered by the chapters are familiar (Horses style of running, draw and class) however there are a few that stand out. The first chapter is about the importance of being different, there is another on Jon’s own selection process and, much like Nick Mordin’s book, there is a chapter on the ‘Theory in Practice’. I really enjoy when the authors talk through their approach on a race by race basis and these chapters can be the most revealing of them all.
If you like your flat handicaps, and sprint handicaps in particular, then I think this is a must read and you are sure to learn something new.
Title: Against the Odds
Author: David-Lee Priest
Published: 3rd Addition 2008
This book is for those who would like to understand the complexities of betting and the language used. Its focus is more on the types of bets, numbers and statistics and the core theme that runs through the book is a look at profitable trends and how to bet them. The book is packed full of useful information and the 23 chapters cover everything from the philosophy of gambling, to sex, headgear, trainers, jockeys, fitness, jumping etc. If you are enjoy researching your own systems, angles or ideas this book is sure to spark your imagination.
Title: It Can Be Done
Author: Kevin Blake
Published: 2014, The Irish Field
A new book out this year from Kevin Blake who I am sure many of you will recognise from his regular stints on ATR. This is a great little book because you basically get an over the shoulder view of the approach of a Pro-Punter. It is interesting to see someone else’s approach, even more so when their standard stake is a £1000 win bet! Again the best part for me is the betting diary and talking through all of his bets during the course of the Irish Flat Season. What I learnt most from this book was the importance of race reading and learning about what Kevin looks for etc. The chapter on ‘The Importance of Inside Information’ is also reassuring – in essence Kevin thinks this is overblown/overstated part of horse racing. Certainly a lack of what you and I may call inside information is no barrier to punting success.
Other Books of Interest
Title: Enemy Number One
Author: Patrick Veitch
Now this is just an entreating book to read and not one necessarily that you find making notes on. Its great to read about a guy who made more than £10 million from betting on horses in an eight year period. You also learn a lot about his personal approach and what he considers when wagering. However, it is not written from a ‘how to bet’ perspective but it is still a great read. Quite simply it is just a fascinating insight into Veitch’s life of punting, horse ownership, and how he was dragged into the criminal underworld, being forced to go on the run.
Title: Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 20XX-XX
Author: Paul Ferguson
Published: Every year at the moment, 2014-15 has been on sale for a few months.
I have met Paul a couple of times at Aintree and he lives and breathes National Hunt Racing, especially when it comes to unexposed horses that are open to improvement. This book is a labour of love for him and notes on next year’s version have already started. If you like tracking and following the development of National Hunt horses then this book is a must read at the start of every season. There are numerous fascinating chapters, in addition to the horses to follow including a Stable Round up section. The book always has a couple of interviews with jockeys and pundits asking for their horses to follow as well as interesting sections in Irish horses and a round up of the most expensive horses bought at the sales. At £10 it’s a bargain, and even though I rarely bet on non-handicap races, it’s a must read every year for me (and no, I don’t get any cut if you purchase a copy! – if you search on google you should be able to find it)
Now it’s your turn…
So, that is my round up of the books that have been most useful and entertaining to me so far.
I know there are many great books that I have yet to discover so if you have read one that you think is a must read please post a comment. It’s about time I added to my own collection!