Imaginary riches in store
Here's a great game for dreamers. You start with 1p and have to live the rest of your life on how much you win at the game, so it's important to do well or you'll starve to death.
There's only one game, on one day, let's say Wednesday December 28 2016. You pick one of the day's English meetings – Catterick, Leicester or Lingfield – and then pick a horse in each race. It's important to choose the right meeting, the one you think offers the best chance of winning a fortune at the game. All other things being equal, which they're not, Lingfield's eight race card is a better bet than either of the two other six race cards.
You're not allowed to look at the betting forecasts in the Racing Post because they lie at the heart of the game and are where knowledge and skill come into it. Each of your selections will win its race (it's a game) at the odds forecast in the Racing Post so you have to predict which will be the longest priced horses in the betting forecasts.
For instance, at Wincanton on Boxing Day, the longest price in the betting forecast for the first race was 100-1. If you picked it your 1p returned £1.01; an excellent start. £1.01 goes on to your next selection. A perfect set of selections would have produced forecast odds of 13-2, 33-1, 50-1, 40-1, 20-1 and 40-1. Well done, your bookmaker owes you £463,680,400, without a winner amongst them. To make matters even better, the bookmaker has no winning limits. All you have to do now is decide what to do with the money. You should be able to manage on it for a while.
On Wednesday, it's either a six or eight race accumulator, depending on which meeting you choose. As I write, the declarations for Lingfield are available but not yet the betting forecasts.
My selections are: 11.40 Barren Brook, 12.10 Bookmaker, 12.45 Kenyan, 1.15 Seaborn, 1.45 Tindaro, 2.20 Mount Vesuvius, 2.55 Mungo Madness and 3.30 Noble Deed. If they don't win me many millions for my 1p accumulator I will be both surprised and disappointed. I think I may go to Vietnam to start with, then Singapore, then come home and bail out the NHS.
You can play the game on your own but it’s better as a competition played with other dreamers. The winner, of course, is the person whose selections yield the highest amount. It's a pity that the winnings are make believe but it was the same with Monopoly and, subject to the current legislation on betting, you can bet between yourselves. All in all, it's a splendid game.
But I digress. Congratulations to Andrew Thornton for reaching the target of 1,000 career wins. It's probably best to ride a couple more in case someone discovers a flaw in the statistics.
Equally noteworthy, although linked to racing only through the ground's proximity to the racecourse, is the fact that Doncaster Rovers head what was Division Four. Brilliant.