Monday, 4 February 2019

Staying at the Nelson Hotel for a night at Great Yarmouth's Grosvenor Casino

Nelson Hotel Great Yarmouth
It's never long before we visit Great Yarmouth on the Norfolk coast.  

A lot of people, including residents, question why go to ''Yarmouth'' for a holiday or weekend break. However, we have a long history of visiting this coastal town. It is a place our dad used to go horse racing, while, as children, we stayed at the Haven holiday park at Caister-on-sea. Such lovely times. 

We visit every September for the Eastern Festival, which sees sparkling racecourse action over three days. A merry pilgrimage of family and friends which remembers those who are no longer here but always in our hearts. 

Next week, I'm off to West Palm Beach, Florida to see my beloved Marlene. I wanted to visit Great Yarmouth before leaving as we haven't visited the town since September. We have stayed at a good few hotels. The best, if not most expensive, being the Andover House. The Embassy Hotel has been a regular haunt. Last night, the Nelson Hotel took centre stage. A family room, for the three of us, cost just £65, including breakfast. A great deal. The room had a view overlooking the seafront and the Grosvenor Casino, almost opposite the Wellington Pier. 

We arrived at the hotel around 9:30pm after taking the train to Great Yarmouth, changing at Norwich. A taxi from the station to the hotel giving the driver a tip (to bring us luck). 

A hundred-metre walk from the hotel to the casino at around 10pm. A decent meal in the listed building. Always exceptional service although the food can be a bit hit and miss.

Thereafter, we went downstairs to the gaming room. Sometimes we play three-card poker (not very often as the rake is high) so we favour roulette. The tables were busy so we played on the machines. I had never played on them before. In some respects, I wasn't keen as it seems a very private way to play and low key compared to the often hectic table with chips aplenty and chat from winners and losers.

Anyway, I played on the minimum £1 bet. I started with £20 and that was all I ever needed to cash because once again I got lucky. I always follow hot numbers which have come up a few times and thirty-three caught my eye. I routinely place a single bet and corner. Within five spins, the single and corner had come up and I had £50 or so in credit. A few more spins it comes up again and I am well in profit. I ended the night winning £80. I left with my two brothers at 2am. Tony won £230, while Gareth lost £40. 

All in all, it was a great evening. A brisk walk back to the train station after a full English breakfast at the hotel. 

Returning home a couple of hours later. 

Feeling tired but an evening to remember and we'll be back soon. 

Friday, 25 January 2019

Cheltenham Flashback: What Were The 2018 Festival Highlights?

Buveur d’Air seizes the Champion Hurdle
The Cheltenham Festival is the most important meeting in the National Hunt calendar and it always serves up a number of thrilling races. Punters across the land are eagerly counting down to the 2019 event and they are busy studying the form guides in anticipation. It is also worth having a look back at last year’s Cheltenham Festival to highlight some of the most memorable moments and analyse the key trends. Here are the top five moments of last year’s meeting:

Buveur d’Air seizes the Champion Hurdle 


Nicky Henderson’s Buveur d’Air went off as the odds-on favourite to win the Champion Hurdle after romping to victory the previous year. Punters backed him to the hilt as he went into the contest on the back on a nine-race winning streak, and he duly delivered. He started off strong and looked to be coasting to victory, but stablemate Melon made things interesting with a phenomenal late surge. Nearing the end of the race, Melon edged in front and punters’ hearts were in their mouths. Yet Buveur d’Air summoned up heroic reserves of strength to claw back the deficit, inch by inch over heavy ground, and claim victory by a neck, sparking scenes of joy in the crowd. Buveur D’Air extended his winning run to 11 when he landed the Fighting Fifth in early December, but the run ended when he finished second to Verdana Blue in the Christmas Hurdle on Boxing Day.

Samcro delivers for the punters 

Another heavily backed odds-on favourite was Samcro, a budding superstar from the Gordon Elliott stable. He went all the way in to 8/11 to win the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle, the opening race on Ladies’ Day, after being hailed as the Messiah of Irish racing. Owner Michael O’Leary, of Ryanair fame, said he was “s******g bricks” before the race, but he need not have worried. Samcro made a promising move on the outside as they approached the third last flight and displayed a brilliant turn of pace to take a four-length lead going into the final hurdle. Black Op made things interesting by giving chase, but Samcro ended up winning by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

Altior doubles up for Henderson 

A star-studded field assembled to battle it out for the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the leading minimum-distance chase in the National Hunt calendar. Min and Politologue were given a strong chance of securing victory, while question marks lingered over the favourite, Altior, due to his injury problems. He had won 11 races in a row before the Cheltenham Festival, including the Novices’ Chase in 2017, but some feared he could not keep up with the likes of Min and the returning Douvan. Yet Altior made a mockery of such projections by powering to a magnificent win. He was behind the leaders at the home turn, but Nico de Boinville pulled him away from congestion for a challenge and he crossed the final fence neck-and-neck with Min, before storming out of sight to win by a comfortable margin. Earlier this month he extended his winning run to 17 races when he landed the Clarence House Chase at odds of 1/10 and he will be a popular selection among punters at leading sites like Sporting Index at this year’s Cheltenham Festival, where he will attempt to match the record of 18 wins set by Big Bucks. 

Penhill climbs to the top

St Patrick’s Thursday fittingly turned into a day of Irish dominance at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival and it will live long in Willie Mullins’ memory. Penhill was given little chance in the Stayers’ Hurdle after a 323-day layoff, but he shook off any rustiness to score by two lengths from the heavily backed Supasundae. It was a second successful Cheltenham Festival for Samcro, who won the Albert Bartlett the previous year. Penhill displayed great fitness to outstay the field and his trainer, Mullins, was typically humble in accepting praise. Later that day, Laurina handed him a record-breaking 63rd winner at the Festival by romping to victory in the Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. “It’s unbelievable,” said Mullins. “When you start training you hope for one winner here. This isn’t something we ever dreamt of because we thought we couldn’t do that with a base in Ireland.”

Native River grabs gold 


The Cheltenham Gold Cup is the biggest jumps race of the year and it always attracts a sensational field. The 2018 renewal was no different as Might Bite, Native River, Definitely Red and Road To Respect were among the superstars lining up to battle for fame and fortune. There were 15 runners in total and every one of them was given a chance of success by various pundits in the build-up, but it ultimately developed into a thrilling duel between the favourite, Might Bite, and the second favourite, Native River. The latter stormed into the lead but Might Bite refused to let his rival out of his sight, and they fought tooth and nail for supremacy over 22 fences and three and a quarter miles. On the run to the home turn, Might Bite finally drew up alongside him, and everyone expected the favourite to go on a seize glory. After all, frontrunners had crumbled all week in tough conditions on the demanding home straight. But Native River is made of sterner stuff and he somehow found extra reserves, rallied and surged clear, eventually vanquishing Might Bite by four and a half lengths. 

Native River is the second favourite in the ante-post betting for this year’s Gold Cup, behind Presenting Percy, while King George victor Clan Des Obeaux is also in the mix along with Road To Respect, Al Boum Photo and Thistlecrack, with Might Bite considered an outsider this time around.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Why Did Sir Mark Prescott Stop Smoking Cigars?

Sir Mark Prescott with Cuban cigar
Famous people who smoke cigars?

I don't suppose they come any more well known than Sir Winston Churchill. He started smoking cigars around 1895, in his early 20s. This was the time he garrisoned in Havana, Cuba. He was there to observe and write about the conflict for the Daily Graphic newspaper. 

As it happened, Sir Winston enjoyed a variety of cigars. He was said to smoke 10 cigars a day. Approximately 250,000 in a lifetime! 

However, he was fond of large maduro cigars. Strangely, he was observed never to smoke more than halfway down.  

So what about another Sir... 

Sir Mark Prescott. 

He is actually a Baronet, which he inherited from his father. Educated at Harrow. He gained his trainers licence in 1970. Heath House Stables, in Newmarket, is a hugely respected trainer. Major winners include: The Nunthorpe Stakes: Marsha (2017), Pivotal (1996). 

Prescott's interests include: Hare coursing, cock fighting and bull fighting. 

And cigars...

Personally, I don't know why he gave up smoking. I guess it was health issues. 

   

Related stories: Sir Mark Prescott - A Life Less Ordinary 
Related stories: The Spectator - Cigar Smoking Has Never Been Sexier
Related stories: More Women Are Smoking Cigars - But ''Feminized'' Flavours Come With A Risk 

A Smoking Woman



Friday, 18 January 2019

Fight for the Triple Crown

Belmont Stakes 2019
There are so many sports genre in the world that keeps people so hyped up every single day and one of them is horse racing. 

When you say horse racing, we are talking about millions here. Why millions? Because in horse racing, betting on the horses has become legal and a leisure sport of horse owners and derby fanatics. Gambling as bad as it sounds is illegal in so many ways. However, some race tracks allow this in many countries with proper procedures and controlled roll out. 

One of them is Churchill Downs where they have Kentucky Derby-- the run for the roses or sometimes called the fastest two minutes in sports. Churchill is located in Louisiana where they can host up to a 170,000 crowd for the first leg of The Triple Crown. They have been doing this race for centuries now. 

Kentucky Derby was first run at 1 and half a mile same as the derby at Epsom but was changed in 1896 with a run for 1 and a quarter mile or technically said as ten furlongs. Let's not forget that the runners for this derby are 3-year-old thoroughbred and well-trained horses. These are the young ones who would race their way to winning the three races to reign for the Triple Crown series. 

Onwards to the second leg, where winners from the Kentucky derby keep up their lead on Preakness Stakes or so they called The race of black-eyed Susans. Although this is not the race where everyone is up in their feet unlike in the mile-and-a-half mile run at Belmont, what caught up the hase in Maryland is the duction of race length condition to 9 and a half furlongs. This is one of a hell stamina test that can finally clear out on the odds on to who runs the fastest in shorter tracks from the youngsters. 

The make it or break it and final stage for the crown at Belmont will be the real witness of who has got the speed in the field of horse racing. This is where the odds got clearer and where everyone would wish they have placed their bet to the right horse on the line. 

So if you are a bettor or a new player, this is where you can make use of your cash up and on the string with the others. If you are a player who has been in this field for many years, you know how things work when it comes to the fight for the Triple Crown. 

One outlet for betting people suggest would be at TVG network. Here you will get updates from about the previous races, some odds you can look into before the race and details of the contenders who are new in the field. 

TVG Kentucky Derby promos are also available exclusively for members. There are a lot of services this online horse racing expert can give that can provide you with ample knowledge and updates of Kentucky Derby and many other horse races. 

This top rated betting site not only offers attracting bonuses just like the doubling of their initial deposit, but there are also ongoing promo deals that can be claimed by handicaps for free bets and free money. 

One can access information of a certain race like the contenders’ ranking, analysis, odds and many more through TVG network. Kentucky Derby as an example, where this online expert provides step-by-step instructions on how to bet on the race with three different ways in a way a bettor wants to bag their money in. 

What’s more to this is that you will get exclusive access to amazingly in-depth information such as expert analysis, TVG’s pick and tips, details of past performances and even race replace in their Handicapping Store. Addition to everything that has given to you and available at the store are insightful blog posts and of course information on betting on The Kentucky Derby and other races. They also offer wager rewards to their members. 

In this kind of sport, it is very important to know first its differences in various sports. Horse racing in America is different from how it is in Asia and event in the United Kingdom which is why reading more knowledgeable tips about it are essential for bettors like you. 

If you are a new player and wish to be successful in your first placed bet, this online expert will guide you with a bounty of information and details from the history of the race, to the leading contenders and the odds of the possible winner. This is the membership which you can definitely say that the money you spent was worth it. 

Make your way through the inside of the fight for the Triple Crown by signing up with TVG Network today.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Time to Keep your Betting Under Control

Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) have been a hot topic of conversation with fears for backers and layers alike. The consequences to individuals and the betting industry leading to the Gambling Commission reporting their findings for change. 

Interesting to consider the problem with gambling isn't just about money but time. As Luca Cumani once said: ''You only worry about time when you are in jail.'' 

So what is the problem with time? It is that gambling is now available 24 hours a day. 


''Time multiplied by continuous staking is an equation that can result in a speedy loss of financial resources.''

This is one reason why the Gambling Commission report on FOBT didn't simply concentrate on the maximum bet but setting time limits. This may be a better approach. 

Bookmakers are keep on loyalty scheme cards which will help punters track their betting and make an informed choice whether to carry on. In addition, it would help bookmakers identify problem gamblers. 

It is an interesting point for all gamblers - whether they consider they have a problem or not - to review how they gamble and the consequences of their actions. It gives an opportunity to assess. 

Many online bookmakers now offer the option to set time limits and alarm calls. Whether gamblers will doing this is perhaps a different matter. I would like to know the percentage of players who even use this facility. My guess is that very few do. 

There is little doubt that playing slot (which are known to be one of the most addictive forms of gambling) that a reminder can be used to appear on screen as a ''reality check''. A moment to consider. 

All these aspects of gambling bring focus of self-discipline which is something lacking for the majority of gamblers. Racing Post's betting editor said:  “the more time you have to study horseracing the more likely it is you will have all bases covered when it comes to striking a bet”, he emphasised “my policy is to find the highest-class race of the day with eight or more runners and move on to the next best if I can’t find a bet”. 

He continued: '' “I know most people don’t have that luxury, so the suggestion is to limit how many races you intend to bet on.”

Monday, 24 December 2018

The Fastest Grand National Winner

Mr Frisk, fastest Grand National winner
The Grand National is held on 8th April 2017. Get ready to place your bets (5:15 Aintree). This famous steeplechase sees thoroughbred horses race over 4 miles and 3 ½ furlongs, two circuits on a course with 30 fearsome fences to jump. Who hasn't heard of Foinavon, Becher's Brook, The Canal Turn, The Chair... Each daunting structure topped with spruce from the Lake Distract, softening the blow of faltering horses.

It's the ultimate test of horse and jockey. Get ready for something special is happening at Grand National 2017

The Grand National isn't a race won easily. A daunting challenge of both man and ''beast''. Horses that excel with abundant stamina, mighty strength and lungs of steel. Toothless jockeys, battled scared, back, once more, to achieve that elusive win.

Red Rum made it look easy. In truth, his three victories in the 1970s displayed a mighty character who won again and again...

There are many different reasons why a horse wins this famous steeplechase.

Lucky: Foinavon in 1967.

Outstanding: Red Rum 1973, 1977 & 1978

Brute: Party Politics 1992

So many winners have told emotional, amazing & inspiring stories. Sometimes winning this race goes beyond the victory itself. Who could forget Aldaniti's win in 1981? A horse with crippling leg problems. Bob Champion a jockey suffering from testicular cancer and given months to live.

True winners – battling for victory and life. Imperious.

In many respects, the Grand National is as much about the swift as the strong. The classic tale of the tortoise and hare.

Records show the slowest winner of all time was witnessed on the inaugural running in 1839. Lottery beat his rivals at odds of 5-1f. He finished in a time of 14 minutes and 53 seconds. By today's records that seem very slow indeed. However, one victorian commentator was quoted as saying:

''Lottery could trot faster than most of his rivals could gallop.''

If Lottery was the slowest horse to win the Grand National then which horse is the fastest?

Many readers will remember this horse before I say his name.

Mr Frisk.

He set a new record time in1990. A sparkling display.

This eleven-year-old carried 10 stone six pounds to victory. A 16-1 winner trained by Kim Bailey, ridden by Mr Marcus Armitage, in the ownership of Lois Duffey.

He completed the course in a time: 8m 47.8s.

Mr Frisk is the only horse in the history of the Grand National to ever run under nine minutes. The fastest horse before this record was set by Red Rum in 1973 in a time of 9m 1.9s.

In truth, Mr Frisk ran so fast for one reason. It had been an unusually dry period leading up to the big race.

The official going: FIRM.

The track was lightning quick.

In these modern times, the firm ground wouldn't be considered acceptable. New guidelines regarding the safety and welfare of horses competing in the Grand National make this race different from the old days of blood, sweat & tears.

It is very unlikely Mr Frisk's time will ever be broken. He is the fastest Grand National winner in history.


Wednesday, 19 December 2018

What Makes A Successful Horse Trainer From A Betting Perspective?

There are lots of horse trainers. 

Several hundred. From the smallest one man (or lady) bands. To vast strings with hundreds of horses with high-profile owners. 

It's interesting how trainers vary in ability. Some big stables aren't very good and they usually fall by the way. Perhaps the talents of smaller trainers can be hidden. It doesn't take much ability to train a high-class horse to win a race. At least, less time and effort than a poor horse which is only going to win if placed with diligence. It must be so frustrating for talents trainers who aren't given the opportunity to show their worth. Waiting, hoping, dreaming of the day a good horse comes along to show they are as capable as the best. Just give me a chance?

The most brilliant aspect of training is that there will always be a memory of the best horse in their yard. It may be a 60-rated handicapper but he or she was the best. 

Personally, I love to see a small trainer ruffle the feathers of big stables. To defy the odds and win when those odds looked unlikely, remote or forlorn. How sweet to watch your pride and joy cross the line first. 

You know the best way to find a big priced winner?

Understand what makes a small stable tick. Do they have two-year-olds in their stable? If so, take a look to see their general standard. And then assess what identifies a better horse. 

How do we identify a better horse?

Note significant entries. These can be found by visiting the Racing Post Big Race Entries.

Friday, 14 December 2018

Betting: What's Your Strategy?

Even after betting for decades it is too easy to do the wrong thing. 

It's a lesson to be learned. 

This evening I had my eye on 5:45 Kempton. Well, I say I had my eye on the race but clearly, I wasn't thinking right. I noticed New Queen had run at Listed class so registered in my Richter scale. A wide draw made me think the filly had a mountain to climb. Why on earth I bet who really knows. 

I thought it was a decent opportunity to have a no-lose gamble. Seeing the horse drift to 30 on Betfair, I bet £50 and had the bright idea of laying it at 25. It hovered around that price but wasn't taken. I had a sinking feeling as soon as I bet and even when it was flickering around 25 I felt as though someone was just playing the fool like there was a secret camera focused on my face. Watching every expression. To be honest, I wasn't overly bothered. You just have to realise that a stupid bet is a stupid bet until the bet is taken. The price started to drift. It went to 30 and then just minutes before the off went to 40. 

Not good. 

Annoyed with myself. 

I had given up all hope of the bet being laid before the off. In fact, if the price had gone down a touch I would have laid the bloody bet to a loss. It didn't change a great deal so I had to consider laying the bet to lose £17 or just leave it and hope the 25 was laid in-running. 

I wasn't overly impressed with my decision making from start to finish. Try to achieve a no-lose bet to win £125 had come close to being but not quite. 

I listened to the commentary. Two or three horses to go into the stalls. Those dying seconds saying all kind of words. I decided I would keep the bet and try and lay it in running at 25 for a no-lose bet to win £125.  

I knew the most likely hope of this happening was the horse leading. Being draw in stall 11 didn't fill me with joy. I heard the commentator announce the start of the race. 

I didn't look at the in-running betting. Just waited those few seconds to see if New Queen led. Thankfully, I heard those words. I looked at the betting and noticed half of the stake had been laid. 

I hoped it would be the whole bet to bring a satisfactory conclusion to the miserable affair. New Queen seemed to be vying for the lead if not in front and with a couple of furlongs to go the bet was taken. 

A no-lose bet to win £125. 

Funny how you can go from thinking of losing to winning so quickly. 

The bet was frustrating because I had bet like a fool. A fool in the sense I bet to lay without any real understanding. On a whim. I was thankful the bet had been laid. New Queen was competitive until the final furlong when she tired rapidly and beaten a long way. 

When betting do it for all the right reasons. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

A Step-by-Step Guide To Playing Video Poker For The First Time

Playing Video Poker For The First Time
You must have heard about video poker a lot and so you decided to try your hands on one, but, not sure how and where to start. We will guide you through the whole thing, but first, let’s give you some details about the inception of the video poker. 

Video poker is not a new thing that has hit the gambling world; instead, it has made its presence felt since 1970. Obviously, it was not the same as it is now, but the basic concept of the game has remained intact. 

History of video poker 

In the 1970s, a primitive form of video poker came into existence in the land-based casinos. During that time, the video poker machine was known as ‘Poker-matic’. The journey of Poker-Matic started in the casinos of Las Vegas. Dale Electronics introduced the Poker-Matic for the first time, but Si Redd was the one who tried to promote it. As it was a new concept, therefore, it was not welcomed by the casino executives and let Si Redd have the patent. 

People started taking interest in the game and soon it became a popular game in the casinos along with the slot machines. 

Step by step guide of playing the video poker 

The best thing about video poker is that more or less they all follow the five card poker guidelines. Therefore, it won’t be too hard for you to pick up the game. The only thing that is different between the two is that in the classic poker, you play against an opponent and here in the video poker you will be pitted against a computer or machine. 

Rules of the game 

You will come across five random cards and from there you will have to decide which one you want to keep and which one you want to discard. The action can be completed by tapping on the screen or just by clicking on the card. Now that you have decided upon the card, you will have to hit the draw button to start your game. Once you hit the draw button, a replacement card will be provided for the ones that you have discarded. The combinations through which you win a standard poker game are also applicable in video poker as well. The most interesting part of the video poker is that there will be no restriction on time. You can take your own sweet time here to complete the game. 

Pay Tables

Pay table is the payout list of specific hands. The pay table can be accessed on the machine only and it will also help you in making decisions while playing the game. Among the six columns that are there on the pay table, the left-most column gives you the information about the hands and the other columns are the size of the wager. If you want to know, how many coins have been inserted for starting the game, you can look for the other five columns. This pay table gives a clear picture of the payout associated with the hand matching the number of coins gambled. Depending on the gambled amount the hand either increases or decreases.

Different types of video poker

Deuces, Joker’s Wild, Multi-play Poker, etc. are some of the popular video poker games that you can enjoy depending on your preferences. In ‘Deuces’, the number two card always serves as the wild card and in the Joker’s Wild, the Joker card is the wild card. Utilizing these cards, the players can get several combinations of hand. Jacks or Better is another popular game that you can try your hands on. The Multi-play video poker games include different versions like One Hundred Play, Ten Play, Triple Play, Fifty Play, Five Play, etc. 

Keeping an eye on the pay table

Lots of information can be garnered from the pay table, so it is imperative that you pay attention to the pay table. The best thing about video poker is that here you can actually conclude the payout prior to placing your first bet. It is one of those games where the house edge is the bare minimum. Therefore, if you check the pay table and come up with the perfect strategy, then you can actually emerge winner with complete profit on initial investment. 

Practice hard

It is always better to play demo games before you bet with real money. There are several video poker games online where you can play for free. Once you get a hang of it and is good at strategizing your game, you can bet with real money.

It is always good to have some fun with the cards and when you are winning, it is the best feeling in the world. Always remember to strategize your game perfectly, so that when you start playing video poker, you start with a winning streak.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Winner Takes All Horse Racing Tipping Competition

Do you fancy yourself as a horse racing tipster?

After being in the racing game for a few decades, I know there are many good judges and make your betting pay. Well, this post is worthy of your time. It could put money in your pocket! Never bad news.

We run a monthly tipping competition. It's very easy to play and the rules are simple as they come. Pick one horse every Saturday for the month. Take your mythical 2 points and you can go for a straight win or 1 point each-way. 

The rules are very simple:

Take a look at this video which explains it in 1 minute. 





The competition has been running for a number of years. We have paid out several thousands of pounds. Individual players have won getting on for £500. It costs just £10 to enter. Winner takes all! The more players to get the better. Why? Because imagine if we have 30 players every month. 

You could win £300. 

Visit the website here: Bloody Good Winner

The maximum number of players we allow is 40 so get your place. You need one win annually to cover your costs. 

Not only can you win good money, it is great fun. Players have been coming back for years. We haven't really promoted the competition but it's time Bloody Good Winner hit the headlines. If you know someone who would like to play then share this post with them. 

Take a look at the prize money of regular players:

Winter £460
Eric Winner £300
Longbow £430
HCE £120
Dan The Man £240
Betmanmike £340
Rawnsley £445
Jodonovan £300
Shukman £360
Mark J £200
Mixerman £210

Over £3000 given in prize money. (OVER £4000 NOW!!!!) 

For more information about playing contact jason@professionalgamblers.co.uk 

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Jack Berry House: A Winner

Jack Berry House Charity
When is a house not a house?

When it's a horse!

Sounds strange, hey. House, horse...next thing you'll be chatting about red shirts and Mick Easterby. 

If you love your racing and check the racing results, this seemingly cryptic clue of a conversation will, perhaps, make sense. 

Many of you will remember Jack Berry, who back in the day, was a horse trainer noted for his early-season feats of winning two-year-olds. A vast string of juveniles would swarm across the racecourses high and low picking up win after win. His training approach took advantage of the bigger stables who didn't get going until May or June. To be fair, Jack Berry had a few talented horses in his time including Mind Games who contested many Group 1 races but couldn't ever quite get his head in front. Not to say that he didn't achieve great success along the way and concluded his retirement as a stallion at stud. 

Jack Berry has always had a big heart and a passion for everything racing. Like so many successful people he was more interested in others and helped with a charity in his name called Jack Berry House. 

Take a look at their Facebook page here.    

Jack Berry House in Malton, North Yorkshire, was opened in 2015 by the IJF Patron, HRH The Princess Royal. It is a state-of-the-art rehabilitation and fitness centre for northern-based jockeys. Facilities include: 


  • A fully equipped gym for fitness and rehabilitation, and a hydrotherapy pool 
  • Four respite rooms which offer ensuite accommodation and shared communal areas with full wheelchair access throughout 
  • Education on nutrition, fitness and general lifestyle for young and aspiring jockeys designed to help reduce the risks of serious injury

Jack Berry House has made a huge difference to many people's lives. The building was literally built brick by brick from donations and acts of charity. A house blessed by all who founded such a remarkable dwelling.

I couldn't help but smile today as I noticed Mick Easterby had a two-year-old debutante running at Newcastle (6:45) called Jack Berry House. This bay gelding is a son of Harbour Watch and £12,000 yearling purchase. He is owned by G & P Hartley, J Blackburn & Mrs J Lucas (Jack Berry House). I'm not sure of the connection of Mrs Lucas with Jack Berry House but the name says it all. What a great tribute to Jack Berry House and their wonderful staff. 

The horse won at odds of 80/1. It was no fluke as he beat the favourite Drogon, who is a fair juvenile. In fact, this good-looking gelding would have been a very unlucky loser as he had no luck in running. 

Take a look at the race result here


Learn more about Jack Berry House by watching this video





Friday, 28 September 2018

Post Great Yarmouth - Jolly Boys & Girls Outing

Marlene at Great Yarmouth Ladies Day 2018
Well, the jolly boys outing has come and gone. 

My brother booked a caravan on Haven campsite. It's as cheap as chips when booked up early and a place to rest your head from Monday to Friday. I would have stayed there myself but I had my other half with me, who had travelled back with me from West Palm Beach, Florida. We booked three nights at Andover House Hotel down Camperdown Road, not far from the Grosvenor Casino. 

I can't fault the hotel. A neat, presentable room and the staff are friendly. One of the better hotels in Great Yarmouth. I wanted to book the attic room but sadly it was taken. 

There never seems enough time with going to the Eastern Festival at Great Yarmouth horse races. We travelled down by train, changing at Ely and Norwich. Got a taxi from the station to the hotel, arriving about 5pm Tuesday. Missed that day's racing. 

I heard that cousin Paul won £700 at the Grosvenor Casino. I don't think him and Danny won at the races. They both play 3-card poker and Paul hit on a great hand betting £20 on pair plus, and turned over a running flush or something in that order. 

The casino is a beautiful setting compared with some of the modern venues we have visited such as Nottingham and Luton. This listed building used to be frequented by Edward VII, the future king of England, son of Queen Victoria, if you like your history. Obviously, it wasn't a casino in his day but a private house - Shadingfield Lodge. If you want a cheap three-course meal in a regal setting then here's what you do. Take your ticket from the racecourse and you get a free alcoholic drink and free £5 match bet. Considering the three-course meal cost about £13 mid-week, it is a superb night. 

My two brothers, Marlene, Paul, Danny and Sue went to the casino that evening. 

We heard there was a problem with the electrics at the casino and as it had just gone 9pm all the pubs seemed to stop serving food. You wouldn't believe it at a coastal town, but it shows how there is a lack of footfall come mid-September. Marlene and I had to settle for a KFC. It was disgusting. Limp chips, and the bucket of chicken wasn't much better. I can normally eat anything - I did to a point - but it wasn't good at all. 

The casino betting went a little better. Just small bets for me as I am not keen on fixed odds. The only way you can win at the casino is to win early and go home. I think if you are going to be lucky you need it to be with decent odds so I bet a single number and corner [lucky 33]. It came up time after time and I won £90. The roulette is the best of all games to play in UK casinos. The house edge is less than the states without the double zero. 

Marlene watched. 

Paul won, Danny lost and Tony & Gareth won a few bob. Sue sat next to some drunk bloke at the poker table who won and he kept giving he £25 chips. Wisely, she bet with her 50p chips and cashed in the £25s later that evening. 

I went to the races with Tony and Gareth the next day. The ladies stayed at home, resting. I didn't bet. Couldn't see much at all in the two-year-old races, in which I specialise. Tony & Gareth bet on Luca Cumani's 11/1 winner. Tony went for a big win in the next race - betting William Jarvis' Lady Bowthorpe, but she was no competition for the impressive Hidden Message, who is clearly a Group Horse

Went to the casino that evening after a great meal at Pamela's restaurant. If you are going to Great Yarmouth you really need to go there because it is run exceptionally well - a blend of good food, bling and professionalism. They had a rowdy group of blokes, one who had a bizarre-sounding laugh, who seemed arrogant if not laddish. I'm not keen on loud people. I noticed them in the casino later. 

On Thursday, we went to the races and enjoyed ladies day. Always a good crowd. Marlene got in the last ten of the Best Dressed Ladies Competition. Interviewed by Thommo. Marlene's American accent catching the attention of racegoers. As my friend said: ''Let me think, where would I like to go, Great Yarmouth or West Palm Beach?'' Marlene loved the day, so on this occasion, the Norfolk coast got the nod. 

We met a lot of lovely people over the days and Marlene got many compliments.

We travelled back Friday morning, returning to the Fens just after noon. 

A great time had by all.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Jolly Boys Outing at Great Yarmouth

Great Yarmouth Racecourse
It's funny what comes to mind. 

Watching Only Fools & Horses was a family tradition in our house. So many funny moments that make me smile to this day. I loved the specials including The Jolly Boys Outing. The moment the bus blew up and they had to find somewhere to stay in Margate on a busy bank holiday. 

It reminds me of a few holidays at Great Yarmouth. Our merry pilgrimage in memory of my late father, Colin, and so many relatives who used to enjoy Great Yarmouth's Eastern Festival. The three-day meeting is a must-go every September. It holds so many special memories and I always imagine that somewhere in the bustling crowd my dad awaits. 

As children, we stopped at the caravan park at Caister-on-sea. Even as a child I had gambling in my blood. Playing the slot machines. The sounds, smell and fun of being somewhere we really shouldn't. It led to a life of gambling, which morphed into a business. 

Well, this story goes back a few years and another family holiday.  I went to the casino with my two brothers, Tony & Gareth, and cousins Danny & Paul. They all love a bet. We went to Great Yarmouth horse races and won decent money. 

Whether it's a good or bad news, Yarmouth has a casino, run by Grosvenor, down Marine Parade, a stone's throw from the seafront. The old listed building is a real gem. It has a royal heritage as it used to be a private house frequented by Edward VII, the king of England when his mother Queen Victoria died on the 6th May 1910. It is a beautiful building with majestic stairways, high ceilings, chandeliers and ornate fixtures. If you have never been there it is worth a visit. 

Great Yarmouth casino Better, still, if you go to the races and bring your racing badge, you get a free alcoholic drink and free bet. I know a lot of bookmakers give incentives, which basically, give something for nothing. Not exactly bad news. It sure beats the disappointment of hearing Towcester racecourse has closed down. A familiar scenario to Folkstone a few years back although this time it went into administration.

I witnessed a lady, who clearly had no idea what she was doing, place her free bet on a single number on the roulette table. It came up and she won £10. Not realising she had won, the chips were left on the same number which came in next spin to £350 (£360 considering it was a free bet). You should have seen the look on her face. A day to remember.  

Anyway, we left Dandy and Paul at the casino. It must have been 1am. It had been a decent night and won a small amount of money. We said goodnight and went back to the caravan.

The next day we were at the racecourse and noticed Danny and Paul in the grandstand. As we walked towards them, I could see a smile on Danny's face. I said what time did you get back? By all accounts, they had lost track of time. 

Paul had been losing money hand over fist. They both play 3-card poker. They called for a taxi and played until it arrived. On the very last hand - he turned over a prial. Won about £600 in one hand. 

Just like an episode of Only Fools & Horses. They left the casino. They were met by daylight!

In fact, it was 6am. 

I joked, they should have stayed a little longer and gone straight to the course.