As we draw towards the end of 2013 I discovered a little more about the relative merits of the up and coming hurdlers and the reigning champion Hurricane Fly. More importantly however I learnt a more valuable lesson about the psychology of betting. Before examining the latter let’s look at the merits of recent performances. At Kempton over Christmas My Tent or Yours did my earlier theory about last year’s Cheltenham novice race no harm with a win which propelled him to joint favouritism for the 2014 crown. I backed him to do so as I did with Jezki yesterday when I fully expected Jezki to beat Hurricane Fly at Leopards town.  Jezki seemed to get a little tapped for toe as they turned into the straight and look booked to be unplaced when he was impeded by Our Connor. He ran on however very determidly and was coming back at the winner up the straight. I would not be rock solid confident that the winner will confirm placings at Cheltenham as the race in March will be  a very different affair to yesterday’s race. The pace of the race will be more even. There will be no need for the deployment of an ineffective pace maker by Jezki’s connections and we may well get better ground which Jezki’s trainer feels will suit him better. Hurricane Fly continues to buck the trend by winning top notch grade 1’s whilst preparing to turn 10 years old. Can he do it in March, well I am still against him. The more interesting lesson for me about this weekend has been the Psychological lesson I have learnt or should I say reaffirmed as I was already aware of the following. I have very few bets these days based on strong personal observations. I get through a lot of betting action but it is all based on my ratings, statistical trends and Betfair. Pretty much all of it is automated and I very rarely pop into William Hills and ask for £200 on Jezki at 3/1 only to be told that I can only have £100 as occurred yesterday. The big difference between the personal observation betting and the more numerical statistical approach was highlighted during the remainder of Sunday, after the race at Leopards town had taken place. I have to admit that I felt deflated and disappointed that Jezki had not got the job done. This after taste was without doubt due to the fact with this type of bet you assume a greater sense of ownership and with defeat comes a greater feeling that you got it wrong. With the statistical broad brush approach one does not analyse individual bets in this way. Provided the end of year figures look healthy one feels vindicated with the overall approach. This is without doubt why most punters find it very hard to bet on a personal interpretative level and yet remain consistent with their thinking and approach. Not a bad thing if you are betting for enjoyment and the hope of making a few bob but when looking to generate the kind of turnover needed to supply a living, gloomy Sunday evenings can be a hindrance.

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