Friday, April 01, 2016

Ten years of PG's Tips

This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of the very first blog post inspired by a guy called Mike whom I met at a wedding reception in York.

The inaugural tip a few days later was a match bet in the 2006 Grand National. Paul and Nina Carberry were the first brother and sister to ride in the same National and I was sure I'd seen Nina quoted at 2/1 to get further round than Paul.  In the event she finished ninth on Forest Gunner while Paul fell from Sir OJ at Becher's on the second circuit.

The very next selection, Mam Ratagan in the concluding bumper at the same meeting, proved far more representative of the performance of the blog's selections over the ensuing ten years - the gelding finished twentieth of the twenty two runners.

I was a different person in those early days - keen, much too keen for my own good, with a tendency towards verbosity taken from the Leonard Sachs school of music hall and at a completely different juncture on my personal betting journey.

Ten years and over a thousand posts later, I retain no plans to give up the day job - a salient demonstration of my ability to find winners - and I've failed miserably to address the prolixity issue. In all that time Ludlow has been a 'lucky' track - the other 38 jumps courses have proved far less propitious.

Still, this exercise in self-indulgence has generated the odd wry laugh here and there, helping to ease the pain of egregious performance...

The saga of John Parrott and the infernal pub quiz machine remains one of the most widely read posts, primarily because back then people had started to search Google for answers to the questions posed by those wretched machines; I still haven't received an apology from Mr Parrott for the part he played in that particular downfall.

As any follower of National Hunt racing will tell you, the twin threats of abandoned fixtures and a family Christmas make for a particularly difficult time over the festive period; on at least one occasion The Really Nasty Horse Racing Game has provided some much-needed light relief...

And perhaps you were unaware the 2012 Grand National runners had starred in a piece of 'fiction noir' of their own making?
Bay mare Big Knickers proved a source of some ribaldry back in 2010 when finishing a staying-on third in a Plumpton maiden; the comments-in-running included 'held up towards rear'. Helpfully, further additional suggestions for potential use in future racecourse commentaries were offered up:

Big Knickers pulled up / brought down; Big Knickers out the back struggling with a big weight; Big Knickers just held on; Big Knickers stayed on (up the hill); Big Knickers looking comfortable; Big Knickers squeezed for room; Big Knickers out with the washing etc. etc.

Mrs Tips continues in robust health and still retains that most piquant of qualities, the ability to walk into a room where televised racing is being broadcast and pick the winner of the next whereas all of my own carefully researched selections carrying my own hard-earned money have already fallen by the wayside...

The most galling interview I have been obliged to conduct came after the 2009 Grand National when my mother-in-law backed Mon Mome each-way at odds of 100/1; the telephone transcript, reproduced below, makes no record of my own silent sobbing:

PG: 'What made you choose that horse?'
Mother-in-law: 'Well, the name Mon Mome is quite close to Mum and as I'm Mum to five girls I thought I'd go with that.'
PG: 'What did you think during the race?'
Mother-in-law: 'I didn't realise it was going to win until right at the end. Grandpa said the horse had gone - I thought he meant it had fallen.'
PG: 'How did you feel?'
Mother-in-law: 'Very excited - we were shouting at the telly. We didn't even realise what price the horse was until the caption came up on screen! When we went to the bookies the lady said "Here comes the woman with the big win."' 

It took me some five years to recover.

Horse-racing, you know, it's a game of regrets. Allowed just the one, I'd cite watching the ill-fated Synchronised pass The Giant Bolster to win the 2012 Cheltenham Gold Cup with a 66/1 slip about David Bridgwater's charge stuffed in my pocket; Sir Anthony Peter McCoy OBE has never apologised for that particular disservice.

And a tip to mark the tenth anniversary? 

Well, the predominant themes discussed include fancy prices, the Grand National and loosing wagers so in that spirit Royale Knight is a cautious suggestion for next Saturday's showpiece. 

Before rushing in (where angels fear to tread), note that at this stage he needs twenty to drop out in order to make the cut and soft ground would appear to suit; I've seen one 10 day forecast that predicts rain in the Liverpool area on Thursday, Friday and Saturday next week. Beaten 15 lengths in sixth off a mark of 139 last year, Dr Newland's gelding runs off 142 this time and is currently priced at 50/1 in places; Paddy Power offer 40/1 with a non-runner no-bet proviso and are paying a quarter the odds five places.

Quixotic? Of course!

Onwards and upwards as they say...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy 10th Anniversary to you and your highly informative and entertaining blog. I don't know where I'd be without it!!!! TLD