The punter’s week: a Magic Twist to the tale

The croupier at The Vic looked familiar
The croupier at The Vic looked familiar

Please allow me to introduce myself; I used to be a man of wealth and taste. Well, I still am, sometimes, it just depends on what time of the day it is.

This is the first of a weekly look at my attempts to self-destruct, the first in a series of weekly diary entries that reflects the exploits of a betting man. A punter who works and knows the industry inside out and both loves and hates it with a passion.

I shall be taking on the bookies, the exchanges, the poker rooms, the casinos and even the bingo sites and keeping a running total of how it all goes. Come pray with me, I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve been on your knees.

I was going to start this stream of self-loathing with a calendar of events beginning last Monday, but I can’t remember that far back. Wednesday was when it all began, waking up, like most mornings, with a throbbing head, a dry mouth and face like a bulldog chewing a thistle.

I have a recollection of being talked into going for a beer after the last race at Kempton and then another surrounded by the soft leather-topped stools of the roulette tables at the Victoria Casino. The second memory is very hazy but after a hot shower and an assessment of my wallet, things are looking up. Should be enough in there to see me through the weekend.

Now it’s time to get online; to get stuck into those exchanges, but also those nasty sportsbooks that compete for my dough yet turn me away whenever they think I’m in the know.

I have peppered both the PGA and the European tour golf tournaments on Betfair; Of course as this column is posted on a Sunday, you can all watch and laugh as my golf bets explode in a giant cloud of cheap bunker sand. Just now, though, I’ve a good feeling about Matt Kuchar and Heath Slocum (I wonder if he has a pussy?) I’m also on Kevin Na, David Howell and Brandt Snedeker. On the European front I’m all over Thomas Aiken and Sergio Garcia – the first because he manages at least one superb wheaty round amongst the normal chaff and the other because he’s just back from an injury to his wrist (he suffers from self-loathing as well). I’m also on J Singh, Louis Oosthuizen and Anthony Kim. If in doubt, add pepper.

Esteemed Racing Post tipster ‘Pricewise’ comes good with his NAP, which gives great cause for celebration – even if I did miss the original odds of 14/1. But it helps get me up and running. Also, there are some good starts by my golf picks. Come on Aiken (this can be sung to the famous Dexy Midnight Runners tune). Not much else to do, but spend the rest of the day in the pub lamenting the lack of crisp flavours.

Don’t ask.

Today is all about Twist Magic in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot. This is a horse already firmly ensconced in my ever growing portfolio of Cheltenham ante-posts (doubles, trebles, singles, Yankees, accas – it’s all there and growing). I decide to get heavily involved. Stan James takes the brunt of it, but there is plenty of love to spread around.

A small football accumulator involving a large-priced Crystal Palace, Everton and Leeds seems like another good idea. It isn’t. But Nicholls’ quirky charge puts his rivals satisfyingly to the sword and off to the casino I go. Could this be my year? Could this be Twist Magic…

Running total after week 1: + £278 (yep, tis true. Blimey).

Current ante-post portfolio:

Cheltenham Festivsal
Go Native – Champion Hurdle 8/1
Long Run – RSA 6/1
Twist Magic – Champion Chase 12/1
Captain Cee Bee – The Arkle 8/1
Poquelin – Ryanair Chase 6/1
Kauto Star – Gold Cup 11/8
Shinrock Paddy – Albert Bartlett Novices 12/1

Davydenko – Australian Open 12/1
Venus Williams – Australian Open 18/1

Chelsea – Premier League Champion 6/4
Bordeaux – Champions League 33/1
Barcelona – Champions League 3/1
Cardiff – Championship 25/1
Aston Villa – FA Cup 9/1
Lionel Messi – Champions League Topscorer 9/1
Didier Drogba – Premier League Top Scorer 6/1

Ding Junhui – World Championship 12/1
Stephen Maguire – World Championship 14/1