Latest Cases - April 2014

The Judge names the Grand National winner...

3rd April 2014

Good afternoon, friends,

In this issue of Punters’ Verdict….

  • Out in force – the 50p each-way merchants….
  • The Grand National ‘Name’ system….
  • The Judge names the best-qualified names….
  • Observe the betting shop etiquette….

Out in force – the 50p each-way merchants….

I like to believe that these embittered ramblings – which serve as the weekly issue of Punters’ Verdict – are of immense interest to an avid readership of the great and the good that spreads both far and wide.

I know for a fact that we have at least one reader based in Australia and another in South Africa. And I have high hopes of one day conquering the other 193 countries in which we are currently unrepresented.

But I don’t expect we’ll ever get too many housewives tuning in each week to get the latest word from the Judge – wherever in the World they may rest their heads at night.

I don’t know what missing chromosome is responsible for this particular disorder but 99.87% (I am assured these are genuine Home Office figures) of the fairer sex doesn’t appreciate the finer points of the punting lifestyle.

More than that – they often feel moved to express outright distaste or genuine exasperation withthis most manly and sporting pursuit. It’s a peculiar phenomenon that makes no sense whatsoever to me. But who am I to point fingers at those so afflicted? 

Chronic as the female aversion to the delights of betting might appear for 364 days of the year, our annual ten-minute break from the rigors of it is scheduled for Saturday afternoon when literally millions of the fine and gentle gender insist on having their 50p each-way bets on no-hopers with nice names in the Grand National at Aintree.  The bookies are already rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the windfall bounty.  

And it isn’t just the girls. Millions of rank amateurs from the male side of the species will spend a very serious Saturday morning examining runners and riders in the Socialist Worker – nodding sagely to themselves and pretending they have half a clue about what it is they’re looking at (I do mean you, Dad) – before making equally poor betting decisions based on a ‘feeling’ (probably wind) or the belief that a horse ‘sounds’ like the winner. 

It’s all good fun though. And there isn’t really any right or wrong way to find your selections. I know more about brain surgery than my Mum knows about racing but I have to admit that in the last 20 years or so she’s backed the winner of the Grand National quite a few more times than I have.

Maybe there’s more to that ‘nice name’ selection method than meets the eye? Maybe that’s where the secret to solving the Grand National lottery is at?

Funnily enough there’s a University of Cambridge mathematician who reckons the name of the horse has a big bearing on whether or not it will win on Saturday afternoon. And if you’re looking for a way of formulating your own Grand National bets this week then you might do worse than get to grips with what he’s got to say….

The Grand National ‘Name’ system….

The bloke I’m talking about is 66-year-old William Hartston. He’s a Cambridge University graduate with a Master of Mathematics qualification to his name. He’s also the author of various books – including The Book of Numbers.

This guy has spent considerable time examining the names and ages of all the winners of the Grand National – across its 175-year history.

What he’s discovered is that the race is most likely to be won by a horse with a name that consists of just one word, containing 7, 8, 10 or 11 letters, the first one of which is most likely to begin with the letters S, R, M or C. And the winner is typically 9-or 10-years-old.

If all that seems a bit confusing – don’t concern yourself. Hartston has developed his idea into a system where you award points to horses when they meet a specific criterion.

Here’s how it works….

  • The number of words in a horse’s name:

1 word = 4 points
2 words = 3 points
3 words = 2 points
4 words = 1 point

  • The number of letters in a horse’s name:

8 or 10 letters = 4 points
7 letters = 3 points
6 or 11 letters = 2 points
9 or 12 letters = 1 point

  • The first letter of a horse’s name:

The letter R = 4 points
The letters A, S or M = 3 points
The letters C or T = 2 points
The letters G, B or W = 1 point

  • The age of the horse:

9-years-old = 4 points
10-years-old = 3 points
8- or 11-years-old = 2 points
12-years-old = 1 point

Apply the various scores to the runners in this year’s Grand National field and those that score best are the best bets – according to Hartston’s findings.

It’s not a system that will appeal to serious racing folk. And I have no idea what kind of strike rate this system has achieved over the last 175 years. But if you’re a housewife or a rank racing amateur then it does provide an alternative to guesswork or pin-sticking….

The Judge names the best-qualified names….

Now I know what you’re thinking – because I’m a professional mind-reader. You’re thinking…. 

‘Judge, I don’t have the time to work on this kind of intricate scientific research. I’m a busy guy. I work in an office and I’ve got to spend the next 8 hours shuffling papers, playing Solitaire and looking like I’m genuinely busy and sincerely engaged with the company’s mission statement (which I haven’t even read). This kind of research requires a real pro….’ 

And I hear you, office-bound friend. I hear you. That’s why I’ve gone to the trouble of applying Hartston’s point-scoring system to each of the 65 runners still entered to run in Saturday’s race. And here’s what I found….

Based on the Hartston system the winner of Saturday’s Grand National will be ALVARADO. He scores a standout 15 points on the system. He gets in at the bottom of the weights and currently trades as big as 50s with SportingBet, 40s in places and 33s generally. That’s a nice each-way price.

According to the system the 4 horses that will make the frame behind him (most of the bookies will pay 1/4 odds on 5 places) are MONBEG DUDE (14s), RAZ DE MAREE (50s), ROCKY CREEK (20s) and MOUNTAINOUS (40s).

So there you have it. Saturday’s Grand National result is published 48 hours before the race is even run.

Are there any other questions?

Observe the betting shop etiquette….

Housewives, grannies and once-a-year racing punters everywhere, I wish you the best of British luck with your Grand National bets. Just try not to get in the way at the bookies on Saturday morning. 

Try and abide by these 4 simple rules of betting-shop etiquette to avoid offending regulars and making an unholy exhibition of yourself.  

1.    You can’t place bets at the payout window. Don’t embarrass yourself or your family by trying. This is a schoolboy error and a complete no-no.

2.    The prices are on the screens. You should take the time to look for them before making a nuisance of yourself and bawling out panic-stricken requests for individual prices to nobody in particular. Calm yourself, son. Take some time to acclimatize and then at least try to PRETEND that you know what you’re doing. THINK, lad. Engage brain before descending into an embarrassing flap that reveals your ignorance to everybody present. It is not complicated. Observe the veterans. See how they operate. Learn from them. It will all fall into place. Trust me.

3.    Betting-shop regulars are NOT there to show you how to write out simple bets. Please respect the fact that many of these punters do not want to be disturbed when they are busy losing money. If you don’t know how to write out a simple betting slip then you should reflect on how shamefully you wasted your youth. If you must ask – ask nicely.

4.    The queue does exist for a reason. BUT it is perfectly acceptable for regular punters to push in rudely and get greyhound bets on if the traps are about to open at Sheffield or Poole. THEM ARE THE RULES THAT WERE WRIT IN STONE LONG AGO, SIR! Don’t diminish yourself by pouting or complaining because it won’t go down well.

Master those time-honored and cherished rules of the betting shop culture and you won’t go far wrong. Good luck.

I’ll be back with the Verdict next week. 

The Judge

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