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19 Apr 19 10:37
Date Joined: 28 Oct 01
| Topic/replies: 3,750 | Blogger: TheAnorak's blog
When the idea of writing an autobigraphy was first suggested to me by a poster on the Betfair forum in 2010, I dismissed it out of hand, wanting nothing to do with either the chore of writing or the business of publishing.

Then late in 2017, I gave an interview to Simon Nott for his Star Sports blog and from the feedback that generated, I was prompted to think again. Now aged 71 (at the time of writing), I have more spare time than was the case ten years ago, so the chore looked less of an issue. And technology (or more relevantly, my understanding of it) has moved on to the point that I could keep what I wrote online and simply provide a link to any reader, eliminating the need to deal with a publisher, or even get involved in the aggro of self publishing.

So I decided to spend the winter of 2018/19 working on what follows, which is less an autobiography than a memoir of my involvement with racing and betting. It's a purely personal piece, written as much for my own amusement as for any specific readership. As such, it might or might not appeal to you, but at least it isn't going to involve a cash outlay before you can start reading.

The link is:


You can read it as it appears, or download it using the arrow top right of the screen.

Comment, criticism, questions welcome.
Pause Switch to Standard View A New Book - and it's FREE!
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Report TheAnorak April 19, 2019 6:52 PM BST
Already 140 clicks on the link since I posted the details. Perhaps the forum isn't quite dead after all.
Report glentoby April 19, 2019 7:02 PM BST
Many is the time Anorak when I have thought about a thread completely dedicated to a short racing and gambling based mystery.Written exclusively by such as yourself,tried a few years ago but the usual idiots got abusive to some of the other idiots who actually contributed sensibly.

Fact is always much stranger than fiction in this game and more compelling,is it worth another try do you think?
Report TheAnorak April 19, 2019 7:16 PM BST
I once tried to write one myself - the first two chapters were good and I had a decent plot ouline. but I could never get the tone right. And I found out that I have no talent at all for writing dialogue. Or sex scenes either! So I stuck to non fiction.

Sound like Mr Easterby holds a similar view to Mr Elsworth. A while back, around the time of Persian Punch, a publisher asked if I'd be interested in writing an Elsworth biography. I thought I could tackle that and had a clear idea of a format, involving alternate chapters based on people that had worked or owned with him, and horses he had trained. So Chapter 1 for example is Paul Holley, Chapter 2 is Heighlin, Chapter 3 is Richard Burridge and so on.

When I approached David, he said it was too soon, plenty of chapters still to be written in his life. And he said that anyway, if such a book was to be written, he'd recruit three writers and tell each of them different lies.
Report glentoby April 19, 2019 7:31 PM BST
Such is life in the true sense of perception of biographical tomes.In the late 80s I had just completed a tour where I actually had time to write some fact based fiction.The plot was partially based around my job and also involved racing,when I got around to trying to complete it 3 years later the fiction had actually become fact.

I still have the draughts with copyright and JK Rowling actually used a character so similar it was nearly plagiarism other than she had not a clue about reality.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves April 19, 2019 7:43 PM BST
Enjoying the book so far. Liked the description of how life working abroad used to revolve solely around trying to piece together what was happening on the British turf a day late. I had the same experience in W Germany in 1981-2, via Peter Bromley on the British Forces Broadcasting Service and catching the train into Hamburg every Saturday morning to buy a day-old Daily Mail.

By the way, the 7f seller at Brighton in the Steyning Selling H'cap, rather than the Stelning.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves April 19, 2019 7:43 PM BST
(page 13)
Report glentoby April 19, 2019 7:54 PM BST
There you go Anorak and I havent even looked yet.The 85 bet to a German based bookie £1,000 on Sagace to win the Arc.

He wins and if memory serves it was radio 2 the commentary came through on.Same night I treat my friends in Sa Barraca to Lobster etc to the tune of over a grand.Get the paper in Cagliari on the Tuesday to find that Sagace has been disqualified.

Great days.......£2k down and did not care!!!
Report Wadders April 19, 2019 11:13 PM BST
Thanks, holiday reading!
Report Brave dancer April 20, 2019 12:22 AM BST
Enjoying your book Alan. One wonders what you'd have done if you hadn't won that Jackpot in your second year.
Report mouse muldoon April 20, 2019 1:00 AM BST
Read the first 2 chapters, quality.
Report Deltâ April 20, 2019 7:15 AM BST
FAO the Anorak

Roscoe 20 Apr 19 06:58
Thanks, downloaded your book. I really enjoy that sort of thing!

For some reason I can create posts but can't reply to them!

I used to enjoy arbing, but always fancied writing a book. I ended up doing crime thrillers, after randomly deciding to work in a prison

Fifty Years of Fear
Report s.kenbo April 20, 2019 8:20 AM BST
A thicko is signing in!

I’ve just downloaded it onto an iPad. I’ve got safari and chrome as web browsers but can’t find out where it’s stored. I was expecting to find a ‘my downloads’ tab somewhere but it seems to be evading me.

Has anyone got an idea where I can find it please?
Report top2rated April 20, 2019 8:38 AM BST
Here's how to find saved PDF files on an iPad:

From the iPad's home screen, tap iBooks to open it.

Tap the Collections button in the top left corner.

Tap PDF. The saved PDF files will appear.
Report big aitch April 20, 2019 8:52 AM BST
Thanks Alan, just downloaded it and read the introduction, I'm sure it will be an interesting read.

I can see it will appeal to Mart as you mention after-timing.
Report chavman April 20, 2019 9:10 AM BST
half way through it,very good reading.
Report s.kenbo April 20, 2019 10:20 AM BST
It’s not there t2r.

I will try again later. Thank you.
Report 11kv April 20, 2019 10:26 AM BST
A good read Alan thanks.
Report Tribal Dancer April 20, 2019 11:37 AM BST
Well done for putting the book together. Excellent read. Thank you.
Report golightly April 20, 2019 12:05 PM BST
A good read Alan. Thanks
Report TheAnorak April 20, 2019 12:08 PM BST
Thanks for all the comments, apologies for not replying to them all individually. In the 24 hours since I started this thread, there have been 275 clicks on the link.

Kenbo - I've never owned an Ipad, but presumably, just like my laptop, it has an option to search all the files stored on it. If so, just put 'book' into the search box and that should locate it.
Report the old nanny ;-) April 20, 2019 12:13 PM BST
Looks an interesting Read  ,Thanks Happy
Report s.kenbo April 20, 2019 1:12 PM BST
All sorted. Thanks.
Report Trusty April 21, 2019 10:21 PM BST
Thanks for posting. A few enjoyable hours spent reading it this afternoon.

If you were considering a first or second season trainer to put a dual-purpose horse with today - who would be your choice?
Report Buzzards April 21, 2019 10:50 PM BST
4 hours today to The canary’s, I was saving this! Read it all, Didn’t disappoint Alan as always, well done pal an excellent read.
Report GLASGOWCALLING April 21, 2019 10:56 PM BST
Dont you like the sun Buzzards. ? Happy
Report TheAnorak April 21, 2019 11:03 PM BST

Based on the first or second season limitaton, it would have to be Olly Murphy. His results speak for themselves. I've actually got two in training with Michael Blake, one NH currently recovering from injury, and a 4-y-old middle distance flat filly on a lease until the end of September. For me, the absolute priority in choosing a trainer is trust and I've known Michael since we were both punters on the western NH circuit in the 80's and 90's.
Report Trusty April 22, 2019 10:44 AM BST
Thanks for your reply, unfortunately young Olly already has some of the big boys placing horses with him and I don't think a Trusty nag would add much for him. His results are remarkable. I still have to persuade the wife though about an "investment" in a horse which she is so far none too enamoured about!
Report s.kenbo April 22, 2019 11:23 AM BST
You won’t catch the sun on an airplane!!
Report sj April 22, 2019 11:48 AM BST
great read thank you for sharing your story
Report Howellsy April 22, 2019 5:25 PM BST
an enjoyable read with some very shrewd comments on the handicap system.
Report HudM April 22, 2019 5:44 PM BST
As soon as i saw Simon Nott, ive downloaded. Thanks Alan
Report TheAnorak April 22, 2019 6:36 PM BST

Has Simon put the link on social media?
Report rooster booster April 22, 2019 9:06 PM BST
Enjoying the read Alan...Many Thanks for sharing.
Report the dealer April 22, 2019 9:09 PM BST
great read

many thanks for posting
Report ima_mazed66 April 22, 2019 9:55 PM BST
Report stewarty b April 23, 2019 2:05 PM BST
Hi Alan, I'm halfway through and fining it a very good read. Two questions if you don't mind....

Can you remember the trainer A.W. Potts whom I know trained in the early eighties?

Secondly, you put a big emphasis on the draw on the flat albeit a more level playing field now. My mentor, (an ex independent bookmaker)

told me it was on of the most important things that one should take into consideration.

I'm slightly surprised you didn't mention the bias at Thirsk that used to exist? I forget his name but you will know of him.

He was the punter who kept getting the tricast up at the meeting perming the high numbers. (or was it low)?
Report howard April 23, 2019 2:49 PM BST
That was Cooperman. Suppose the numbers would be low then , high ( stands side ) now.
Report TheAnorak April 23, 2019 4:07 PM BST

I do remember the trainer you mention - the A in his case stood for Anthony - but I can't say I followed his fortunes particularly.

The Thirsk tricast man was indeed Paul Cooper - if you have a copy of Hitting The Turf by David Ashforth, you'll find his story on pages 110/111.

I never played the draw at Thirsk, because I'd never been there to see it for myself and it simply wasn't a course I ever studied or considered for betting. Bear in mind that when Cooper was making his fortune there in the late 80's, I was still in full time employment. Thirsk was hardly ever shown on TV, apart from a couple of Saturdays each year, when I'd have been out racing elsewhere.
Report stewarty b April 23, 2019 4:55 PM BST
Thanks for the reply Alan. Finished it now and totally agree with your viewpoint re: handicaps near the end. Go over to Ireland and sometimes there are more maidens and graded races on the card.
Report 1830 April 23, 2019 7:21 PM BST
Finished the book over 4 days.
Enjoyed the vast majority most of it.
I also work Nights as you did when starting out,a guaranteed income makes a massive difference in choices and pressure.
I was suprised to read you having 3 pints before One meeting, do you think drink before a meeting ever affected your judgement?
As I make all of my money through betting in handicaps at lower grades, I wouldnt want to see any changes to them myself, as that is my edge.
Did you ever find the same months every year providing losses and the same months providing profits year after year?
Did you ever make notes of your return on investment year after year?
If so what was your best and your worst?
I agree 100 percent about confidence and on a bad run looking through your previous profits from the past.

I understand if you dont answer,just curious.
Report cobs101 April 23, 2019 10:06 PM BST
Alan, thank you for sharing your book, nice gesture to make it free to access. Looking forward to reading it and I am sure I will enjoy it just as much as the other 2, all those years ago...
Report cobs101 April 23, 2019 10:06 PM BST
Alan, thank you for sharing your book, nice gesture to make it free to access. Looking forward to reading it and I am sure I will enjoy it just as much as the other 2, all those years ago...
Report TheAnorak April 23, 2019 10:10 PM BST
My experience was that two or three pints just relaxed me, rather then inducing over confidence. I usually stuck to two once I switched from hobby to full time though. But my liking for a pint was obvious in my first book, which included a list of the pubs I used for different tracks.

And I never had favourite months - I reckon every one of the twelve was good in some years, bad in others. Return on investment wasn't a figure I was bothered about, just the bottom line.
Report 1830 April 24, 2019 12:19 AM BST
Report alun2005 April 24, 2019 5:23 PM BST
Have really enjoyed reading the book over the Easter period.

Some nice sections about horses I'd long forgotten, and the author's wry humour is always a welcome feature.
Report ProSniper April 24, 2019 5:46 PM BST
Good stuff raki. Pleased to learn the Title(which I was saddened by when you first mentioned it a while back) was far from a truth.
Report grayhawk April 24, 2019 5:54 PM BST
Thanks for that Alan...spent an enjoyable couple of hours reading it last night...
Report Roger De Bris April 24, 2019 8:08 PM BST
Great to hear that Alan. Looking forward to reading your journey. Loved the Star Sports interview. Here's to many more winners. Best of luck. Graham.
Report saxon farm April 24, 2019 8:36 PM BST
Thankyou Alan.  Really enjoyed that.
Report east end boy April 25, 2019 1:15 PM BST
I got it I got it.Am now enjoying. Thank you.
Report flatcap April 25, 2019 1:20 PM BST
Thanks Alan. Really enjoyed reading it.
Report Nogoody April 26, 2019 2:27 PM BST
Thanks for the great read Alan. Unfortunately now, on top of all the other mistakes I've made in my life, I now discover, at the age of 66, that I haven't even been looking at horses in the parade ring properly.
My new homework begins at Punchestown on Tuesday.
Report seaside April 26, 2019 2:34 PM BST
Nice one Alan.
Report TheAnorak April 26, 2019 2:36 PM BST
Never fear, I'd probably been to more than two thousand meetings before I had any idea what to look for. It's like art anyway, you don't have to know much, you just have to know what you like, and sound authoritative when talking about it. Hope you enjoy Punchestown next week.

Just to add once again, many thanks to all those that have commented on this thread. It makes those days during the winter when I stared at the screen, but no words would come, all worthwhile.
Report Nogoody April 26, 2019 3:03 PM BST
Met a friend of mine on the way out of Leopardstown in the 80s and he told me he'd backed the last winner at 33s e.w. I asked him how the f*** he'd picked that and was told he was only one of three that were fitted with racing plates in the whole field. Been Cross-eyed ever since watching out for a repeat. I think its not optional these days, another edge gone.
Report coolkal April 27, 2019 9:11 PM BST
Thanks Alan for a great read.  I also years ago enjoyed reading both your books and Odds On articles, and didn't find that you came across as arrogant in 'Against The Crowd' but as someone confident in their own ability.

Many thanks
Report April 27, 2019 9:17 PM BST
Alan, i noticed this thread last week and copied the link. I have a 2 hour flight tomorrow evening so i will try to get around to reading it. Well done with your project, i remember you mentioning last year you were going to write a non-published book.
Report Zsa_Zsa_Gabors_Leg April 27, 2019 9:40 PM BST
Thanks Alan, a very good read. The section about King's Curate was very poignant for me. I followed him from his first hurdle win onwards and after the Ascot run backed him for the Stayers Hurdle at all rates down from 33's down. Thankfully youtube provides me with the chance to re-live the memory, sadly I was present when he ran his last race at Haydock.
Report Charlton2005 April 28, 2019 10:42 AM BST
really good, thx.
Report Billy Liddell April 28, 2019 11:42 AM BST
Thanks AP

I love racing books and enjoyed your other books, I will get around to reading your new one when I finish off my kitchen, only got the finishing touches to do now. Cool
Report stewarts rise April 28, 2019 8:40 PM BST
Just an update as i've just managed to get to the end of Chapter 5, not a great reader but i'll get through it eventually. Thoroughly enjoying it Alan and good to see some of those old names from the past cropping up, would love to see you trying to get 200EW on a 100/1 shot now.Grin
Report stewarts rise April 28, 2019 8:41 PM BST
Notice you've even managed to get Roger De Bris out of the woodwork, well done!
Report Deltâ September 18, 2019 4:14 PM BST
Report Fourgoldcups September 18, 2019 4:33 PM BST
thanks Delta. Been waiting for this to re-appear to thank AP for distributing the book. Great fun and educational as well. All the best Mr AP.
Report HGS September 18, 2019 8:45 PM BST
Sorry I missed this first time round as an exceptional read. Really enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing Anorak.
Report glentoby September 18, 2019 8:56 PM BST
Anorak is now busy writing his new book which should imo be a best seller based as it is on the life and times of a Native American lost on a betting Forum and desperately seeking redemption for being a complete and utter............can't complete the final word or words due to copyright.

Maybe Anorak will enlighten us pr-release.........btw if as entertaining as the last it will be worth the wait.Happy
Report Movewiththetimes September 19, 2019 1:37 PM BST
Glad this was brought back had a look hour ago before I started looking at the racecards on page 40 and still don't know what's running today Laugh Excellent read, thanks for taking the time to do it.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves September 20, 2019 12:55 AM BST
In the section on Balasani (page 109) you mention the owner, "a Mr M Smith".

Smudger Smith was/is(?) a proper punter who loved his racing. Here's an interview with him from 1999:

"My mate has three kids and bets on everything. Now he is a real pro." The mate in question was Nevison. Those were happy days.
Report Movewiththetimes September 20, 2019 3:25 PM BST
Just finished brilliant read and defo not a wasted life, pushing a pen/keyboard at a desk 9-5 for 40 years is a wasted life imo, alot of racing people would of loved to do what you did/do. Thanks for writing it.
Report ItsMeSwaddle September 25, 2019 9:42 PM BST
Just finished reading this, a good read and insight, thanks.
Report Deltâ October 10, 2019 5:11 PM BST
finally got round to finshing this today between races, very good. Thanks AP

your Torcello HQ wind tale is interesting, more so as now just back in form completing a hatrick, now own by a fellow forumite.
Report hong kong fooey October 10, 2019 5:21 PM BST
Really enjoyed it AP.Wink
Report TheAnorak October 10, 2019 6:45 PM BST
Thanks for the feedback everybody - since Delta moved this thread up again last month, there have been 150+ more downloads. The comments make the time spent writing well worthwhile.

Delta - the wind at Newmarket might influence the result of the 12F handicap again tomorrow if the forecast is right.
Report glentoby October 10, 2019 6:54 PM BST
Well deserved Alan, in case anyone doubts the readability of the tome.Just an aside,you may have noticed a couple of references vis vi Dave N, Alan.In my posts recently although making no assumptions you have ever read any but going to my tongue in cheek post on this thread re-your new book about the Forum and trolling and stalking.

Have you thought about the possibilities before the RP do their expose' i.e you know more than they do? Ref Dave,do you get on with him these days and keep in touch? Might pay some on here to read your book and his in tandem and learn plenty?

Yours In Sport

Report TheAnorak October 10, 2019 7:15 PM BST
I found it difficult to be polite to DN after the manner in which he referred to me in his first book. We've certainly had no contact since then.
Report glentoby October 10, 2019 7:38 PM BST
Thats fair enough Alan,I think he missed the point somewhat and tbh it was more of the ghost writing that made it look so derogatory if not too strong a word.I know he actually admired you but it was the scale of what he was doing which made it look as if he was the big "I am" and the tone in the latter parts did not sound like the Dave I knew.

Seen little of him since but had the odd bit of confidence recently and both worked out well.(Both JBs btw) He had a lot further to fall than most of us and perhaps he regrets an awful lot now,same fate awaits me if you believe the trolls but a lot further to fall before having to take a grand a day to appear as a pundit.........never happen btw.

Contrary to the book he was one of the quietest most reserved pro punters I have ever met on a racecourse so I never did get the glory angle,he could have learned plenty by just taking a step back and reading yours again imo.

As always,yours in sport.GT
Report Roger De Bris October 10, 2019 8:01 PM BST
Dave N not fit to lace Alan's boots. Cheers.
Report kansas October 10, 2019 8:35 PM BST
The Anorak....apparently that Listed hurdle you said in France last week that wasn't a Listed race actually was.....apparently every exact race condition detail isn't posted in the France Galop race headers....will post a link to the list of Listed races if you need.
Report Deltâ October 10, 2019 8:39 PM BST
do you know seaside? [off here]
Report glentoby October 10, 2019 8:52 PM BST
I remember seaside Delta,while back though?
Report TheAnorak October 11, 2019 8:07 AM BST

Have sent you a PM.
Report kansas October 11, 2019 9:25 AM BST
Have replied
Report October 11, 2019 9:51 AM BST

A good read as mentioned many times on this thread (i read it some time ago).

I know you had issues with publishers of your previous books and didn't want the hassle again (hence the 'free') although it would have been popular. Maybe you could have requested a voluntary donation at the end to reward your authorship efforts, it wouldn't have taken much to set this up.
Report stewarts rise October 11, 2019 9:58 AM BST
Alan doesn't need the money he's minted! No money in publishing racing books these days, HR followers are becoming thin on the ground.
Report October 11, 2019 10:01 AM BST

As my Grandmother (bless her) used to say .... look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves Wink
Report stewarts rise October 11, 2019 10:07 AM BST
Yes the old sayings  were indeed well reasoned and valid.
By the way, sorry that KS has tried to ruin your thread, i have repeatedly asked him to stop, but definitely has a bee in his bonnet with you, i did ask him again on a thread yesterday morning and think he stopped at least for the day.
Report Johnny_Mustang October 11, 2019 10:13 AM BST
Publishers simply cannot be trusted.
Report bluebook October 11, 2019 10:24 AM BST
My god !

So TheAnorak is THE Alan Potts !

Picture me now bowing down to you at the keyboard !

I loved your two books from the 90s. It was a joy to find books dealing with the betting side of racing in the UK rather than biographies of famous horses/jockeys.

Many thanks for those, and also for you new book, which I shall no doubt devour once downloaded.
Report Johnny_Mustang October 11, 2019 10:30 AM BST
I think Alan needs to do the decent thing and autograph a PDF version for Bluebook..........
Report stewarts rise October 11, 2019 10:34 AM BST
Took a while to sink in Bluebook! Sharp minds and all that.Grin
Report bluebook October 11, 2019 10:45 AM BST
Well, to be honest, my brain is a bit on the slow side, but I get there eventually, and the journey always makes it more than worthwhile. You'd be amazed what you learn along the way.

In my defence, I don't spend much time on here, so I'm utterly clueless as to which racing notables are lurking under an alias. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me ? Wink
Report Deltâ October 11, 2019 10:46 AM BST
stewarts rise = Brough Scott
Report October 11, 2019 10:48 AM BST

Ref 10.07, no worries, i don't, but thanks anyway.



Ref 10.13
Report GLASGOWCALLING October 11, 2019 10:49 AM BST
Kemo sabe - Harvey Proctor.
Report stewarts rise October 11, 2019 10:51 AM BST
Dam you delta, how dare you out me after all these years, i would never dream of outing you, Clare!
Report Deltâ October 11, 2019 10:52 AM BST
Report jollyswagman October 13, 2019 1:43 PM BST
thank you very much for sharing this alan potts, i enjoyed it greatly.

i was sitting down having a quiet read when after the line 'we're going to need a bigger envelope' i let out a rather loud, involuntary laugh.
Report BESTMATE44 October 13, 2019 2:01 PM BST
Thanks Alan,a thoroughly good read which I really enjoyed.
Report geoff m October 13, 2019 3:26 PM BST

I don't spend much time on here, so I'm utterly clueless as to which racing notables are lurking under an alias. Perhaps somebody could enlighten me ?

Seeing your not being too Pushy like yer mum.

Ratpack:Richard Hoiles
Prufrock:Simon Rowlands
Irish Whisper:Kevin Blake
Report October 13, 2019 3:33 PM BST
Flashbookie: Ed Thompson
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