Of all the software, or as it is seemingly called nowadays …. apps, you can obtain, my favourite has to be the spreadsheet.
I love keeping lists and records of what I do and a spreadsheet is a fabulous way of recording information.
I can tell, at a glance, that in the last 12 months I have spent £3,315.13 on diesel, although that is probably a stat I don’t want to be reminded of.
I keep records of all aspects of my daily life and undoubtedly a psychologist would describe me as being OCD – I’ll have to ask my niece, who is studying psychology if she agrees, then again maybe I had best not – she undoubtedly thinks he Uncle is odd anyway.
Of course I use spreadsheets to keep records of my horseracing.
Indeed OCD or not I think it is essential for anyone who gambles to keep an honest record of all their bets – it can not only be quite sobering but careful studying of your betting history can highlight areas where you are going wrong (and right) and can be a useful tool to bet more selectively and importantly, more profitably.
I also keep a record of all the race meetings I have been to.
I didn’t start going racing “full time” until August 2007 and since that time I have been to 777 UK, plus a number of overseas race meetings as well.
Before racing full time my trips to the races were limited as I had a job which entailed long hours and if not working weekends I was almost invariably on-call so going racing regularly wasn’t practical, which meant I probably only got to the racecourse 10-20 times a year.
Another sign of my OCD is my habit of keeping the racecards of all the meetings I have been to and I still have racecards from every meeting I have been to bar two, although most of them are boxed and in the loft. One missing card was a meeting at Huntingdon in the late 90’s where I arrived just before the first race and they had run out of racecards. The other was at an exceptionally wet York meeting, where I had the racecard inside my coat pocket. When I later retrieved it, the racecard had turned into papier-mâché.
I still have the racecard from my very first meeting, at Fontwell back in the early 1980’s. My oldest (that’s in terms of longevity not his age) friend Tony took me there, to the course where his Grandfather used to take him. We could only afford the Silver Ring and our bets were no more than £1 each way, probably even 50p.
I don’t recall too much detail of the day but I do know I was smitten with the course and, to this very day, Fontwell is my favourite small course.
So what is the relevance of all this. Well last Thursday I was updating my spreadsheet following a visit to Haydock the day before and I noticed it was my 998th UK race meeting.
Out of curiosity I looked to see what would be my 1,000th meeting and it would have been Towcester, my local course.
It was then I noticed Fontwell was due to race the following day. Now wouldn’t that be good if my 1,000th meeting could also be at the one where it all started.
So a quick jig around of my schedule meant Towcester would be my 999th meeting (with Taunton as a back-up) and Fontwell the 1,000th – easy!!
Na, it wasn’t east at all.
As you undoubtedly know Towcester was cancelled on Monday, as was Taunton. It did still leave Lingfield though.
My regular reader will tell you I am no fan of artificial surface racing and I will avoid it at all costs but if it meant my 1,000th meeting Fontwell I would bite the bullet and do Lingfield on Monday.
I was all ready to go, on the train, but before I left I wanted to check the train times to see if I could change trains at East Croydon as opposed to the much busier Clapham Junction.
It was then I saw a problem. There were electricity supply problems between East Croydon And Hurst Green - the very line I wanted, with significant delays, busses replacing trains and no idea when the problem would be resolved.
I could have driven to Lingfield but that would have entailed driving home on the M25 in the rush hour and was it really worth the hassle just so my 1,000th meeting could be Fontwell.
So the plan was scrapped – with the weather I’m still stuck on 998.
My 999th should be either Ludlow of Ffos Las (tomorrow or Thursday 28th if you are reading the archive) and, ironically, my 1,000th looks again to be Towcester, this time on Easter Sunday.
In hindsight I perhaps shouldn’t have made such a fuss about the 1,000th, after all it’s only a number. Indeed my 1,000th meeting ever passed by without me even noticing (it was at Catterick if you are interested).
A few final stats, my top three most visited courses are Ascot (106), Towcester (87) and Leicester (60). Whilst Ffos Las, Great Leighs, Kelso, Musselburgh and Perth all have the least visits with three each – there could be a geographic clue there!!!
Lists can be good but they can sometimes be more trouble than they are worth.