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Plog 53 - 29/03/18:
Finding A Way In Time For Cheltenham

GOOD people find a way.

That's what I had to keep telling myself, as things went from bad to worse in my life away from following horse racing during January.

In the early hours of one Friday morning, about 02:30, our burglar alarm went off. We dashed downstairs to find the front door wide open, and two coats - two of my coats - had been stolen from our front porch.

I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that that was all they got. It was minus two that morning, so I guess the thief needed a layer, but that's not what goes through your mind. Too much mental energy was spent on wondering why scum like that take it upon themselves to break in to properties and steal things.

Needless to say, we didn't get any sleep for the rest of the night. I struggled to get to sleep for several nights afterwards. I'm a bad sleeper anyway, but if I was up to go to the toilet, particularly if the time happened to be near 02:30, my mind immediately went back to the events of that night, and I had to think myself back to sleep.

As far as betting on racing was concerned, that was me done for the season. No way could I get my mind back to where it should be, and I didn't want to try. I just wanted out - out of this life, out of everything I was involved in.

One thing went some way to changing that. Little did I know at the time what my wife had got for my birthday. Like it or not, my coming of age could not be avoided. Much like Christmas.

On the morning of my birthday, I gently prized open the envelope that contained the present my wife had got me.

"... er... Cheltenham badges? Seriously?"

How's This Going To Work?
So I suddenly found myself in possession of two badges for Cheltenham Gold Cup day.

I'd not actually been to a day at the Festival since I attended all three days, as it used to be, in 1999. Some who have been in recent years will no doubt suggest that the Cheltenham Festival is a victim of its own success, and that there isn't room to move, and that some racegoers are more interested in boozing than racing, and other negatives.

Speaking for myself, I'd started to think that if I was actually going to go racing during Festival week, I'd go to one of the other meetings. I might do that one year, say go to Fakenham on the Friday, but suddenly this wasn't going to be the year for that.

These two little bits of cardboard with string, shaped not unlike the Cheltenham Gold Cup itself, had set my wife back a considerable amount of money. Enough to suggest that I'm putting too much into the housekeeping, but don't tell her that.

I didn't have a clue how I was going to make this work. I knew from previous years that, in Festival week, I have to stay up past midnight to get the form study done. A typical Festival handicap takes a few hours of work.

Then there was the betting side. The gambles were going to happen on the morning of the race, before betting opened on the track. If something I fancied happened to be something that would be gambled on, I might miss the price, leave it out and back other horses, and be on the wrong end of it.

But in the mental state that I was in, would I be in any fit condition to do the legwork?

Strategy Revision Number 1,544
I'm guessing there, of course. I've lost count of the number of times I've reworked my betting strategy since I started using Excel spreadsheets, but that was something else that needed doing if I was going to make my comeback in time for the Festival. It also needed a practice run between mid-February and Cheltenham.

There was a good reason for the rethink. In what betting I'd done between mid-May and mid-January, the flaw in my 'minimum 12/1, 170%-of-price'-strategy was ruthlessly and consistently exposed. It near-enough always threw me to the bottom of the market, therefore overlooking the mid-prices - and many of the winners.

In some races I'd 'spreadsheeted', I didn't have a bet at all. I'm not sure that I can explain this in anything other than a complicated way, but stay with me. Further analysis of past races showed that in every race that I'd won, at least 25% of the field had a chance at the sort of price that I was looking for (for example in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr won by Chesterfield, of the 16 runners I decided through studying the race that nine had chances of varying strength - between and including 'favourite's chance' and 'can't be totally dismissed' - and of those nine, four could be backed at 12/1 or more, which came to exactly 25% of the field).

One race I didn't back anything in was the Badger Ales Chase at Wincanton, my sort of race these days - a cracking early-season Listed handicap chase with a double figure-field. However in this renewal, the horses with a chance at 'my end' of the market amounted to less than 20% of the field. As that was less than a quarter of the runners, I let the race go. I'm grateful to Present Man and Bryony Frost for narrowly getting the better of Final Nudge, who I fancied a bit and whose name had become highlighted on my spreadsheet - one of only two, Southfield Theatre the other.

In principle, I feel that it remains the right thing to go for competitive handicaps - but I needed to do something about winning more of them. The double figure-priced winners would turn up now and again as they would regardless of what strategy I'm using, but I'd win more often between the bigger hits.

I looked up old pre-2014 spreadsheets (towards the end of my time working the Graveyard-shift) and did some laborious research.

The result was to employ a one-size-fits-all strategy, to use for Saturdays and, if I was to ever get regularly involved during the week again, weekdays. I decided that these were what I was going to look for:

- Handicaps with seven runners or more (the bigger the field the better)
- Minimum back price: 7/1
- As long as it is a minimum 160% of my price
- Only look at non-handicaps if the handicaps have been exhausted for possibilities, or at the Festivals (usually the Grade 1s)

That will seem like a waste of time to many, but to me if my mind is involved in doing that sort of research, then I am, say, 70% to 100% functioning normally (put another way, I'm being me and there are fewer or no anxieties and worries getting in my head). So far so good, then - the next step was to put it into practice and bet on something.

We went to Kempton on February 24th. A minimum price of 8/1 was sought for those I fancied the most in the Betdaq Handicap Chase, and I got exactly that about Master Dee (162% of my price), also taking 14/1 for Ballykan and 18/1 Label Des Obeaux. Being at the track made it harder to do number-crunching but, using a combination of prices I saw and starting prices, five horses that I thought had chances could be backed at 7/1 or more - enough towards 'my end' to give me a chance.

I'd forgotten what it was like to win, so psychologically Master Dee and Ballykan coming clear from the last did me the power of good.

With all jumping frozen off the following Saturday, March 3rd, I next looked at something for March 10th. I could have gone for the Imperial Cup at Sandown, but instead I took on the Shamrock Handicap Chase at Gowran Park. I thought to myself 'Roy, if you're gonna get back to being you, you should do an Irish race'. My investments on this were all hopeless by the end of the back straight - with the exception of Goulane Chosen, who nearly sank into the swamps in the home straight, but stayed up to land a 12/1 wager.

The Gowran Park race was a throwback to the old method, sort of. I made it competitive, hard to rule anything out, and there was nothing I felt could give a favourite's chance to. Goulane Chosen's real price, though, came in at exactly 160% of my price. If the race had taken place in January and I'd bet in it, I'd have lost, as I'd have held out for a drift to 14/1 whilst backing other horses.

I had a new plan and it seemed to be working. I felt that I could do the legwork. I was going to crank up that hard drive-recorder every night - bring on Cheltenham.

Taking Care On Day One
How times change. Back in the day the Supreme, the Arkle and the Champion Hurdle were the only races that I would look for bets in on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival - the Grade 1-events. For 'Grade 1', read 'soft target'.

Fast forward to 2018 and the handicaps hold no terrors - they are the first races I study. There aren't many of them on day one, though - only the two. I didn't want to chase a value bet that wasn't there in the non-handicaps, although with 9/1-chance Summerville Boy turning over better fancied rivals Kalashnikov and the hyped-up favourite Getabird in the traditional Festival opener, it would have been worth taking a second look at the Supreme.

Footpad, Buveur D'Air and, albeit to a lesser extent, Rathvinden were all strong at the head of the market in the Arkle, Champion Hurdle and National Hunt Chase respectively and I didn't want to take them on. My first betting activity of the meeting, therefore, was in the Ultima Handicap Chase.

I can't recall if they reduced the maximum field for the race (I saw no publicity if they did), but 18 runners seemed a small field. It became apparent that the bookies wanted to keep Coo Star Sivola on the right side, as 11/2 was the biggest price I saw about him. He wasn't the only one about whom I'd come to that conclusion, but more of that later. Ramses De Teillee was my main fancy, but he wasn't sighted as Coo Star Sivola held on from Shantou Flyer.

The only other race in which I took a betting interest was the novices' handicap chase. I had great hopes for Willie Mullins' Livelovelaugh at 14/1, but he and Ruby Walsh had a parting of the ways at the sixth - the same fence that Ruby would break his leg at the following day in a fall from Al Boum Photo in the RSA Chase.

After that the eye was drawn to Rocklander, who looked in a great rhythm at the head of affairs, jumping soundly and out of trouble. The fact that I'd backed him at 33/1 had a lot to do with it, I suppose. Festival handicaps aren't won by making all though, but he went close, only headed by Mister Whitaker and Rather Be after the last. Again, the layers had the winner at the front of the market - and the second too, their best prices 8/1 and 11/1 respectively in a race where my minimum back-price was set at 14/1.

'Each way all the way' is my mantra for the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals. Rocklander holding on for third meant that, despite backing two others, I made a profit on the race. Not on the day though, but with damage considerably limited, it was as if I was about to bet on a three-day Festival when hostilities resumed on Wednesday.

Keeping A Level Head
As with Tuesday, I didn't want to chase what I didn't think was there. The first two of the day's bankers duly went in - I didn't entertain any thoughts of taking on Samcro in the Ballymore (was the Neptune), but I did briefly think about a go at the RSA Chase, betting against Presenting Percy (best odds seen 11/4) and Monalee (7/2 - between them nearly 50% of the overround at the morning prices), before making one of my better decisions of the week and leaving the race alone. My 23-year wait to back the winner of the staying novice chase-championship again goes on till at least 2019, but, unlike last year when I went against Might Bite, I didn't lose any money trying.

The Coral Cup was up first for the day's wagers. My record going in to it was zero from lots, and after the 2018 renewal it's... well, nought from plenty.

After the numbercrunching, I had a very messy spreadsheet. Seven horses were highlighted, and red lines drawn through some of them. A team of four were decided on, quickly reduced to three when Dusky Legend fell at the second. Springtown Lake was made too much use of, and Red Indian and Mischievious Max got going too late.

At the Cheltenham Festival, gut feeling comes into play. Decisions of the 'this-one-or-that-one'-sort have to be made. One such decision meant that The Organist was left out of the team, only for her to get fifth, which would have been paid out on each way by the majority of bookmakers.

The presence of Min, let alone Altior, ensured that I steered well clear of the Queen Mother Champion Chase for betting purposes, and the following cross country-chase is nowadays an automatic leave. It was predictable in the early days, when you could set your watch by Spot Thedifference and Garde Champetre, but less so now. A different sort of predictability is becoming apparent about the Festival now though - whatever race Tiger Roll runs in, he'll win. Connections of Buveur D'Air had better watch out next year.

Moving on to the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap, sponsored by Boodles for the first time. The race was left out of last year's betting plan and I slightly regretted it afterwards, as I felt that the winner Flying Tiger had a case-for. This year it was back in, and as well as form from one of the better juvenile races and/or against the better four-year-olds, I was also looking for form over longer distances, which Qualando (won in 2015) and Nietzsche (third in 2017) brought to the race.

This was more straightforward than the Coral Cup, as only three horses became highlighted on the spreadsheet, so no gut feeling required. More than half of them had some sort of chance, but the back price came in at a minimum of 16/1. More than that was available about the ex-French top weight Casa Tall, Mercenaire who'd been well held on bad ground in a Listed novice at Exeter the time before, and Padleyourowncanoe, who came into it proven over two miles three furlongs.

Padleyourowncanoe, a rare drifter at the Cheltenham Festival starting at 33/1 (he was 25/1 when he was backed), stayed on after getting outpaced to get fourth, his form over those longer distances standing him in good stead, and for the second day running I made money on a race with an each-way place, but only succeeding in limiting the day's damage - although by only betting in two races, as the closing Champion Bumper is also now a compulsory leave, that damage wasn't much.

You always look back at results to see, if you could have it again, if there was more of a case for the winner than you originally thought. Veneer Of Charm, also a drifter from the morning (25/1 to an SP of 33/1), landed the Fred Winter - the best he could offer was an eight-length second to Mitchouka, a 10/1-chance in the morning, at Fairyhouse in mid-January. However arguably that didn't tell the full story, as Veneer Of Charm moved upsides Mitchouka on the home turn, albeit ridden along to do so, and was only beaten off between the last two hurdles.

So Veneer Of Charm had kept pace with one of the leading fancies for the Fred Winter in that race at Fairyhouse, and yet was more than double Mitchouka's price (compared to Evens and 11/8 respectively in the Fairyhouse race). I'm not pretending that I'd definitely have landed on him, but there was a case for being less dismissive beforehand about Veneer Of Charm.

I Needed A Thursday Like 2017
On balance I was in a better place than I'd been going in to day three, but I still needed a winner. At least I was losing less by comparison at this stage of the meeting. The plan was to bet in the Pertemps Final (that's a given), the Stayers' Hurdle and the Plate. As I've had nothing but bad luck in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase over the years, that race was overlooked.

As had happened with the Coral Cup, the Pertemps-spreadsheet was a mess. The good thing with this race was that I felt I could leave out plenty of runners with confidence, meaning that I could look for a lower minimum back price of 12/1 - the not-so-good thing was that eight of them became highlighted. This in itself I could handle, though - when it came to gut feeling, I could pass several of them over for little things that seemed likely to prevent them from going close - The Mighty Don's jumping, Forza Milan's resolution and so on.

This meant that I could go for theoretically better-fancied contenders. The team of three consisted of Who Dares Wins (14/1), the useful dual-purpose type; Delta Work (12/1), an unexposed five-year-old; and Protek Des Flos (20/1), who'd won the Wincanton qualifier.

I'd been on the right end of a gamble. Delta Work was supported to 6/1, half what I got, but the photo showed that he held on by a nose from Glenloe, who'd been favourite at all stages of the betting, 13/2 to an SP of 9/2. It doesn't matter how many times I look at the photo-finish print - I'll never be convinced. But it's the official result they pay on, and 'first, number thirteen, Delta Work' was what the judge called. My 2018 Cheltenham Festival was off and running at last.

For a cherry on top, Who Dares Wins just held on to fifth, which meant another each way place for me. He was fortunate to get it - it would have gone to A Great View but for that one's blunder at the second last - but I'd take that too.

When Delta Work was available at 12/1, that was 162% of my price. All of the three winners, as it was now, that I'd had since changing my parameters would all have been left out if I'd been still holding on for 170% of my price.

The Ryanair Chase only had the six runners and I wasn't going to bet in that, but there was cause to regret this leave when Balko Des Flos, who found massive improvement to chase home Road To Respect in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase, showed it was no fluke when he decisively beat last year's winner Un De Sceaux. He started 8/1 and bigger prices were available in the morning. I'd narrowed it down to just those two, and if you make it between only two, you have a chance of winning.

But I was trying to stick to my plan, and that plan involved the Stayers' Hurdle this year. Unlike with the Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase, there wasn't a clear, solid favourite. I wasn't sure that Sam Spinner would last up the hill, and at 7/2 he was ripe for taking on. Supasundae, the 2017 Coral Cup winner who'd beaten a below-par Faugheen over only two miles at Leopardstown, looked a certainty for the first three and was backed at 8/1. French Champion Hurdler L'Ami Serge was backed too.

They went a steady pace, set by Sam Spinner, who I'm guessing was off his game from the tape as he went nowhere near as quick as he'd done when winning at Haydock and when finding more than L'Ami Serge in the Long Walk at Ascot. This also did for L'Ami Serge, because at the moment when he was produced to challenge, a lot of the others were cranking it up at the same time. L'Ami Serge had to come off the bit to keep up, and when he does that, that's your lot from him.

Supasundae was in there with every chance at the last, but couldn't match Penhill up the hill. I underestimated Penhill - having thought that he might develop into a Stayers' Hurdle-horse when he won the Albert Bartlett, like the majority I'd have liked to have seen him out at least once pre-Cheltenham, as he came into the Stayers' with a best rating from me of 149, whereas I had several others in the 160s. If I was to back him, I'd have wanted more than the 11/1 that was available in the morning.

The Brown & Merriebelle Stable Plate, which I'd won in 2017 with Road To Respect, was the only other betting race for me. The layers gave nothing away and kept the right side of The Storyteller, a novice like Road To Respect had been, who was supported (or just cut in price without significant bets) from 8/1 to 5/1, and did the business by just shy of two lengths from Splash Of Ginge.

I broke even on the race when the exposed Ballyalton, backed by me on account of his previous Festival form (novice handicap chase-winner in 2016) - also on account of his 20/1 morning price - got fourth. King's Odyssey, in another this-one-or-that-one decision, was left out - he also placed, so a mistake by me there. Oldgrangewood and Mercian Prince were supported at good prices, but did nothing.

Getting the winner of the Pertemps - plus getting something back through each way places in the other two races I'd bet in - meant not only an up-day, but an up-meeting so far. Thanks to the damage limitation on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the single placed horse I'd had on both days being 33/1, I'd gone ahead on the three days. As such I was comfortably ahead of where I was at the beginning of day four in 2017, but as it was then, it had melted down to a one-day shootout.

Staying In Front, And The Festival Experience 2018
Plus, there was the added complication of actually going to the track on the Friday.

In that regard, it was a help that 48-hour declarations for every race at the Festival were in place for the first time. No more waiting for midday to come - I could hit the ground running in the morning, and get five hours' sleep instead of four at night, before doing it all again the following morning.

How to go about betting was the question. The night before? Very early on the Friday morning? With cash on the track? I decided it was best to get the bets down on Thursday evening, and I did that at around 23:30.

I found that I was able to finish studying a card a little earlier than I had done in 2017. Not a lot earlier, say around an hour or so - but I got to bed at around midnight on Thursday night/Friday morning. I got my bag ready, putting my tablet in it as well as my binoculars.

The journey was a little stressful on and off, and having parked around three quarters of a mile to a mile away from the track in a field normally occupied by sheep, we walked next to the railway line towards the track, accompanied by the constant din of helicopters (presumably half of these contained Michael O'Leary and his entourage).

Eventually we arrived at the track with around an hour to spare before the first race. Normally, this is not long enough for me - I like chill-time before the first at a normal meeting. I'm not being unfair when I say that my wife and I had different ideas regarding how to go about this day. Anyway, to start with I was a bit fazed by it all, and I saw that they were betting on the Triumph already, going 5/4 about Apple's Shakira.

I think to be honest, I was a bit fazed on and off throughout the day.

The betting plan was the same as last year. I saw no reason to change what worked. The Cheltenham Gold Cup was first, then the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, then the Grand Annual. Starting the day ahead for the meeting meant that I could have a bad day where I didn't even get a single place-return, and still come out of it just a little bit down, with the approximate losses on the meeting comprising half a single day's maximum budget.

The minimum back price in the Gold Cup was set at 8/1. Despite the soft going I still felt that Native River would only be placed at best in the Gold Cup, and at 9/2 he was always going to be taken on. Might Bite was priced the same.

With there seeming no fluke about Edwulf's win in the Irish Gold Cup, he was one to back at 16/1. Killultagh Vic, who may well have held but for falling at the last in the Irish Gold Cup, was 10/1 and also backed each way, as was Road To Respect, who came into it as the Leopardstown Christmas Chase-winner (the race better known as the Lexus Chase in recent years). I felt that Road To Respect had the best chance of the three. My bets on the Gold Cup were placed even earlier than the others, at around 16:40 on the previous afternoon.

Conditions dictated that the stayers, not the class acts and strong travellers, came to the fore. Native River made most of the running and stayed up front to the end. Surely he won't repeat that if it's good ground in a year's time.

Edwulf and Killultagh Vic didn't figure, but even though Road To Respect could only manage fourth, I got paid each way on him - some firms were offering a fifth the odds the first four in the Gold Cup, even after three non-runners reduced the field to 15.

In the Martin Pipe, the minimum back price was 14/1 and I landed on Burrows Saint, Melrose Boy - who I had high hopes for after his third in a Grade 3 handicap hurdle at Sandown - and Discorama, whose defeat of Blow By Blow and good second to Ex Patriot at Limerick over Christmas pointed to having a better chance than his odds of 40/1 on Thursday afternoon suggested.

Blow By Blow made most and became the first seven-year-old to win the Martin Pipe. Nothing else was going on for me behind - nothing, that is, until Discorama, having still been last with two to jump, fairly flew going to the last and went second up the hill. Another race on which I'd made a profit just with a single horse placed each way. I think my wife was rather pleased when I got the spreadsheet up on my tablet and told her what I'd had. I dare say she'd have been happier if he'd won, but it's the Cheltenham Festival, it's hard to win and if you win something, you'll take it.

Discorama's placing meant that it was going to be an up-meeting for me no matter what. It was just a question of what the final figure would be, and I was still in the Grand Annual. It was another messy spreadsheet, the minimum back price was 12/1, and Dolos, Three Stars and, after his Kempton workout, Theinval were all in - the latter despite reservations about the going.

The win-chance disappeared between the last two fences when Le Prezien was sent on, but - a little flukishly - I got two placed; Theinval in fourth and Three Stars fifth. Plenty of bookies were going first five on the Grand Annual.

Drawing on two horses in the Grand Annual meant that I made a profit the Festival finale, despite not having the winner. More than that, it meant that despite not finding any winner, I made a profit on the day.

Having started the day in front, at the end of it all I finished a tiny bit further ahead. It hadn't been the most profitable Festival, but profitable it was.

That would have been one long, long walk back to the car if I hadn't won. It was long anyway, and the helicopter-noise filled the air once more. When we got there, not for the first time in a Cheltenham car park I had to drive like a rally-driver to get the car out of what had become a swamp.

I decided against going for the Midlands Grand National this year - I'd studied hard for Cheltenham, and that plus the travelling to and from the track on the Friday took it out of me to an extent, but when I think about where I was mentally in January, this Cheltenham Festival was a result.

Each Way Observation
The thing I noticed last year about bookmakers varying their place-terms, was still around for the 2018-meeting. It really does become a question of what's more important - going for the win and sacrificing more advantageous each way-terms, or compromising on the price for the sake of getting a quarter the odds first five.

In the Gold Cup, I was more interested in getting 12/1 about Road To Respect than I was about getting the place-money. They don't have to give you a quarter the odds in a non-handicap, and they definitely don't have to pay out over fourth. The same for Theinval, about whom I wanted 16/1 more than I wanted a quarter the odds first five - I got a fifth the odds first five for that one.

Each-waying is all about offsetting losses. It's about getting something back. At Cheltenham, you must do that if you're to stay afloat. I only experienced a total loss - nothing back at all - in two races of the ten in which I bet.

To put it into numbers:

- Number of Cheltenham Festival races I had a bet in: 10
- Number of races I got some kind of return in: 8
- Number of winners backed: 1
- Number of races in which I made a profit from getting only placed horses: 4

Trained For The Festival
If it wasn't obvious before it must be now that the two powerhouse-trainers of Irish National Hunt racing, Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins, are aiming the best of what they've got specifically at the Cheltenham Festival.

Look at the results. These horses are peaking at the Festival. They're trained to the minute for it, like horses are trained to the minute for the Grand National.

How else do you explain Bleu Berry, who'd finished 17th on his only start this season, finding dramatic improvement to take the Coral Cup? Or Tiger Roll winning at the Festival for a third time? Or Farclas improving on all previous form in the Triumph? Penhill, The Storyteller? They must be being prepared with one day in March in mind, and as a result could be over the top if they go to Punchestown.

If that is the case, they'll improve on their form in the preceding weeks and months in 2019, as many of them did in 2018. This may well have to be factored into next year's Festival betting strategy.

Here's To An Uncertain Future
So I never really smashed it, like I had on the Friday a year previously, but I could pay my credit card bill with what I'd made, so I said to myself "yeah, I'll take that".

I'd had - for all I know, might still be having as I write - a really uncomfortable two or three months, mentally. I have less problems than some, a lot less than others - but it doesn't matter. The angst I felt was real enough to make me want to draw sad-face emojis in the condensation on train windows at times.

I'm in a better place now, feeling good generally, but I need to be, because a significant change is just around the corner at the time of writing.

In January, a couple of days before the break-in, I took the decision to leave my current job.

When you know it's time for a change in your life, you should make that change. You're living a lie if you don't.

My final day, unlucky for some, is Friday the thirteenth. It's actually unlucky for me, because my last two days in my current job are the first two days of the Grand National meeting at Aintree. That means, and my apologies for it, that I won't be going full-tilt with PDF Race Previews for the first two days of the meeting. I hope to do something, but time will dictate that it won't be a lot.

That said, financially it might be a blessing in disguise. Nothing much happened until the Saturday for the last two Grand National-meetings, and then Rule The World and One For Arthur did their thing.

So, the rough schedule I have in my head for National-week is this:

- Monday evening - out after work
- Tuesday evening - videos and notes for the top 23 in the National
- Wednesday evening - videos and notes for the next 22 in the National. After that, if I've 'got' the top 45, then I'll probably have the final field
- Thursday evening - watch Aintree Thursday, a look at Friday's Grade 1 races, and odd videos and notes for other races at Aintree on Saturday
- Friday evening - real hard study for Saturday

My Brief Personal Statement
Let me round this off with my message to would-be employers. I'm 40-something, but forget that. Take me on, because from The Sporting Life to Excel and Word, and through my short stints on Raceform Update and the Essex Chronicle, I absolutely nail it. I put the power into PowerPoint. When I do workflow, I make the work flow. I not only know what this button does, I know what that button does too.

Horse racing media people, this is for you as well. Go against the crowd, dare to be different and take me on, because I just might make a better job of it than some. I'm not the best, but I can absolutely categorically promise you all that no way am I the worst. In one of my pieces for the Essex Chronicle, in August 2015, I tipped six of the seven winners on a Saturday-evening Chelmsford-card. It might still be on line - failing that I've got screengrabs.

So there you have it - look this way for:

- PowerPoint
- Word
- Excel
- Proofing
- Quality Checking
- MS Office Training
- Graphics (Illustrator, CorelDraw etc)
- Presentations' Workflow
- Corel Website Creator (this website you're looking at now was done using it - admittedly with a chunky dollop of Notepad as well)
- Writing
- Horse racing-writing
- Horse racing-analysis
- Tipping (be it Chelmsford or anywhere else)

If I can come out of a day at the Cheltenham Festival unscathed, I can do anything.

Good people find a way.


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Roy Waterhouse



Last five PLOGs

52: No Updates Over Christmas, I'm Human | 51: The Topham Is The Lottery Now |
50: A Meeting Of Two Halves | 49: Getting Out Of The Abyss |
48: The Only Losing Punter On The 2016 Cheltenham Festival