This week, fellow TIP’s, I thought I would compile a list…. everybody likes a ‘list’ don’t they?
Most people reading this blog are looking to make their betting pay. So today I have put together a list of people who have managed to do just that – my Top Ten Professional Gamblers in UK Horse Racing.
If you bet for entertainment but want to break even and enjoy an inexpensive hobby; if your aim is to see a profit at the end of each season, no matter how small; or if you have aspirations of earning a secondary income from betting, then I also recommend you take note of some of the further reading and get hold of some of the books mentioned.
Modelling yourself on the habits of successful people is a maxim I hold very strong, and you can learn from the stories of these pro punters.
Clive Holt is a legend in punting circles and it was his father who first showed him that money could be made from betting. Holt Snr owned a couple of greyhounds during the 1960s. In the early part of 1975 Clive decided was ready to take up gambling on a full time basis and quit his job working for the Electricity Board. He started out using a fairly random approach which was dictated by his finances, and at first he didn’t keep any proper records of bets he had made. He soon made the decision to start recording all his bets, and this was the first of two business-like strategies he implemented to help him make a better profit. The second was to set aside a dedicated betting bank.
His first bet was £67 to £30 on a horse called Western Jewel who won easily, and within a couple of months he had made more money from betting than he was earning in a whole year working for the Electricity Board. Over the years, although rarely winning more than £1,000 at a time, Holt’s profits from betting afforded him an enviable lifestyle of exotic holiday, luxury cars, and a country house with acres of land.
Clive Holt was the man behind Fineform, and he has written a number of books:
Fineform Winners Guide
Terry Ramsden made his fortune through investment company Glen International in the 1980′s. He was already worth millions and, amongst other things, he owned a string of race horses. He was well known for his betting and in 1985 won £2million on just one horse. The following year he had another collossal win on Motivator in the Coral Golden Hurdle Final. Towards the end of the 80′s Ramsden’s company folded and around the same time he started losing huge sums of money on bets. There are reports he lost £1million on one bet alone. Eventually he went bust and he fled to America.
Terry Ramsden won but also lost millions of pounds. In the late 1990′s he was jailed for concealing assets during his bankruptcy, including a rumoured £70,000 win on the horses. When he returned to public life a few years later Ramsden failed to enjoy his previous successes and has since been involved in a number of legal disputes over money..
Alan Potts was just 14 years old when he started betting on horse racing and made the choice to become a full time professional punter after he was made redundant from his office job in 1991. He has revealed it took him many years to become a consistent winner, and despite making an estimated £50,000 a year from betting in the past, he has also suffered losing runs. You see, it happens to the very best!
He is an owner, a successful author and a pundit, yet his main source of income still comes from his betting. In 1999 he jointly formed The Golden Anorak Partnership and this is the banner under which his horses now run.
Alan writes articles for the WBX betting exchange, and has published two books:
Akin to Terry Ramsden above, Harry Findlay is another larger-than-life gambler who has not only made a fortune, but also lost a fortune from gambling over the years. He has always had a soft spot for greyhounds and worked with them for some while after leaving school. Also like Ramsden, Findlay suffered a spell in prison, when aged just 20 years old, having been convicted of credit card fraud.
These days bets from his home office which is fully equipped with a several television screens and monitors, often showing a variety of different sporting events. As well as being a professional punter Harry is also an owner. He jointly owns the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Denman, who has more recently won the Hennessy Gold Cup for the second time. Big Fella Thanks is another of his co-owned horses, named after his beloved greyhound 1999 Coursing Derby winner Big Fella.
Dave Nevison was a City currency trader before turning professional punter in 1993 having lost his job. He now reortedly earns a six figure income from betting and also from journalism and punditry columns for various newspapers and publications. Dave has his own horse racing tipping service and has written two books:
Multi millionaire JP McManus is one of the better-known race horse owners, and big time gamblers. Originally from Limerick in Ireland, McManus started betting as a school-boy before working in his family’s plant hire business. He stood at his own betting pitch for a while at Limerick’s greyhound track, and it wasn’t too long before he progressed into owning horses as well as betting and laying.
Today JP owns more horses than any other National Hunt owner. His first ‘sizeable’ win (rumoured to be in the region of £250,000) was at Cheltenham with a horse called Mister Donovan who was sent off second favourite but ended up winning the race. He also famously took over £1 million from the satchel of popular Scottish bookie Freddie Williams in 2006 at Cheltenham. McManus is a high roller in the world of gambling, but a fair percentage of his wealth is said to come from international financing and money dealing, which he manages from his base in Geneva. Unfortunately in 2008 McManus was diagnosed with cancer, although he is now said to be doing well.
Barney Curley is both a professional gambler and a trainer and hails from Northern Ireland. He has a reputation for being one of racing’s most colourful characters. Despite watching his father run up massive gambling debts he still decided to take up the same “career” himself. In 1975 he was the brains behind one of the biggest betting coups of all time, as a result of which he netted over £300,000 from a horse called Yellow Sam. He has also appeared in court charged with promoting an illegal lottery after raffling his mansion for £1.5 million.
Patrick Veitch has to be acknowledged as one of Britain’s most successful gamblers, and he has won over £10 million from betting. Something of a mathematical genius he was just 15 years of age when he got a place at Cambridge. Instead of completing his degree he turned to gambling and started his own tipping service. By his mid 20′s Patrick Veitch was already making a great deal of money.
But then came a turning point in his life. He was the target of a criminal and forced to live in hiding for many months, putting his career on hold and eventually leaving him broke. However, the episode only made him stronger, and he became more successful than ever. Soon he was making £1 million a year from his strategic betting methods. Veitch is a strong believer that there are no short-cuts when it comes to betting. The only way to win is by working hard at it to get it right. You will rarely see Patrick at the races. He uses thirs parties to place his bets and spends most of his time watching and analysing events from his computer.
The late Alex Bird made a considerable amount of money from betting after The War and it has been estimated he had an annual gambling turnover of £2 million. His interest in gambling began when he was a child, and he learned a lot from his father who was a bookmaker. However, he recognised there was potentially more money to be made from the punter’s side, and he became arguably Britain’s best known professional punter of all time.
Bird employed several strategies for getting one over on the bookies, but his most famous was probably the success he enjoyed betting on photo finishes, which in those days took about 5 minutes to develop. This process earned him a fortune over a period of around 20 years and only stopped when technology advanced and there was no longer the delay in photo developing. Alex Bird rarely listened to anyone when it came to betting, and invariably made up his own mind. He stuck rigidly to his rules and systems. Even now, almost 20 years after his death, there are still systems available that are based on the practices he used.
His biggest bet was on the well known horse Mill Reef in the Gimcrack. The following season Mill Reef won the Derby, again backed by Bird. By this point he had backed seven Derby winners in eight years. One of his last bets was on a horse called Final Shot in 1990 when it was victorious in the Ayr Gold Cup.
Phil Bull made huge sums of money from betting. But not only was he a very successful gambler, he was also a breeder, owner, writer and publisher. It is estimated he made millions during his career. In 1948 he launched the now internationally renowned organisation Timeform. Phil was the original ‘shrewdie’. He viewed the season as a whole, and his form study followed the same pattern for every race.
How To Make A Book