Book review – 'A Wasted Life' by Alan Potts

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  • #1417654
    admin
    admin
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    Occasional TRF poster Alan Potts, who authored two betting oriented books in the ’90s, has written a new book called ‘A Wasted Life’.

    You can have a look at my review here https://bit.ly/2GmTH5Z

    Alan’s intention was to make the book available to anyone with an interest so it is downloadable for FREE from the following google drive link – http://bit.ly/2P6xHPu

    As Alan Potts himself might say, as a man who’s searched for it throughout the last thirty years or so, that’s a nice bit of value.

    #1417660
    Drone
    Drone
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    I’ve had a brief scroll through it: nice

    Thanks for publishing it buckshee Prof Potts :good:

    Not wasted

    #1417667

    gamble
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    Alan, I would like to add to Drone’s comments and thank you for your kind book.

    I started to read it and, possibly heightened by knowing you from here, I found it nonetheless highly readable and absorbing. Yes, the smoke filled form student jeans of a betting shop back then beat any bespectacled white coat manufacturing aspirin with a bunsen burner and a constant eye at the clock, by a long CHALK.

    As you relate, the tense edge of the seat excitement of the old Excel commentary building up to a dramatic, often unrealistic, tight finish could get the heart pounding in a far more life threatening way, than any moving menace of today’s Racing reality TV – and those times were just magic – bar the tax and the conjoined packets of enforced Weights..

    Great stuff Alan, and having chalked it up, I look forward to reading further.

    #1417671

    apracing
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    Indeed, and two very appropriate posters on that theme. My chemistry lecturers Droned, while I went off and Gambled.

    #1417680

    gamble
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    The title is indeed provocative and possibly challenging if implying a sense of the rhetorical ?

    I suspect the astringent 9-5 chemistry labs, the Lowry smoke stacks towering above worn out matchstick men production lines, and the drudge filled clerical backrooms of bankbrokeciti, now threatened by AI, win this in a canter, as they change things.

    There is though the opposing argument which whispers the romance of the midnight oilers, the lost soldiers, the maximilian’s, all working alone and in silence on the alchemy of form book prediction.

    Possibly the big Yin now in his Florida hideout, has if not the right answer, then the right perspective.

    ” The world is made to be fun and so it should be ! “

    #1417683
    Drone
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    APR wrote:

    My chemistry lecturers Droned

    The buzz, hum and white noise emanating from my chemistry teachers was just about bearable: top of the class 2rd year chemistry exams and I drew an enormous Periodic Table which adorned my bedroom wall. Strangely, sometime in the 4th year it rapidly acquired a foxed, dog-eared and forlorn look: the pied-pauper beckoned with nail-bitten bony finger and an intriguing question ‘is it to be Halogens, Lanthanides and Noble Gases or a Sporting Life’

    So long ago that it seems like yesterday

    Extel commentary, Bill the Boardman with his felt-tip pens and damp dishcloth, ‘what’s Piggott on’, a fog of No.6 and Woodies, 10% tax paid-on, fragrant cashiers, smelly bogs

    #1417691
    betlarge
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    I drew an enormous Periodic Table which adorned my bedroom wall

    Blimey. I had a Lamborghini Countach poster on mine. And a tennis-player scratching her arse.

    It’s an excellent read Alan. I’m surprised we never bumped into each other at some stage in the late 90s as I had various dealings (or non-dealings) with a number of people you mention.

    Mike

    #1417708
    Cav
    Cav
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    Look forward to reading this, thanks for doing it Alan.

    Dramatic,unrealistic, Extel style commentaries are still available to this very day by closing your eyes and tuning into a Darren Owen call.

    #1417742
    steeplechasing
    steeplechasing
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    Alan, thanks for that. I read it in two sittings, interrupted only by cutting the grass before tomorrow’s promised rain. It’s an excellent read, and very well written.

    Would you mind expanding on that last fence King George blunder at Kempton by Kicking King being a ‘typical wrong way round mistake’? I’m always looking for new info on jumping technique and what affects it.

    Also, I’ve heard elsewhere over the years a few pros saying that The Stayers Hurdle is more of a speed than staying test, but had understood that to be based on the typical pace in the race. Do you still see it as not as true a test as it might be, bearing in mind that most say the new course presents more of a stamina test in general than the old?

    All the best.
    Joe

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1417746

    apracing
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    Joe,

    Thank you for your generous comments. In the case of Kicking King, you can see the last mile of his 2004 King George win here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTS1g4_Acvo

    starting at about 4m 30s into that video. He actually makes two mistakes that I would say were typical of a horse adjusting to jumping on a course that is the wrong way round for him. As well as the last fence, watch also the third down the far side (just after the camera angle changes), where Geraghty asks for a big jump, but KK puts in an extra stride and gets in too close. The last is much the same, again the extra short stride that runs him into the bottom of the fence.

    My theory is that this happens because the horse is less comfortable jumping off the natural lead leg for a right handed track. It’s fine when he meets a fence in his stride, as he does with the others you can see on that film, but it gets him into trouble when he tries to adjust his stride to jump off his favoured leg. Both those mistakes look like breakdowns in communication between horse and rider and of course, there are plenty of horses that will make similar mistakes regardless of the direction of the track.

    But if you can clearly see that a horse is a fluent jumper jumper one way, but makes this sort of mistake going the other way, that’s a horse with a preference and one to back with confidence when he has his favoured direction.

    To make a human comparison, think about 400M hurdle races, where the athletes set out to take an odd number of strides between each pair of hurdles, to ensure they take off from the same lead leg at each hurdle. The best run 13 strides to hurdle eight, then change to 15 strides for the last two. But even at the highest level, at the Olympics, you’ll see runners stuttering into the last hurdle, trying to adjust because fatigue means that 15 strides has left them short of their take off point. And of course, they train and race exclusively left handed. I reckon even the great Ed Moses would have looked like a new born giraffe if he’d been asked to run a 400M hurdle race going right handed.

    #1417748

    apracing
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    The main difference between the Stayers Hurdle now and how it was on the Old Course pre 1994, is down to where they start. Currently on the New Course, the 3M hurdle races start at the beginning of the back straight, so they cover slightly less than two complete circuits.

    When the race was on the Old Course, the start was to the left of the stands, in front of the tented village erected for the Festival. Thus the final hurdle was jumped three times and the horses had to run uphill from the start, whereas now they go downhill from the start.

    And the effect of the longer distance and the uphill start is shown by the race times. Thirty years ago, when Rustle beat Galmoy on good to soft ground, he took 6m 45s. This year under similar conditions, Paisley Park won in 5m 53s. That’s about the same time difference as you’d see between the King George and the Gold Cup, where we know that one race is run over more than two furlongs further than the other.

    #1417749
    TheBluesBrother
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    And the effect of the longer distance and the uphill start is shown by the race times. Thirty years ago, when Rustle beat Galmoy on good to soft ground, he took 6m 45s. This year under similar conditions,

    Alan

    Comparing racetimes from thirty years ago to modern times changed dramatically for me in 2015, when the BHA started publishing rail movements, little did I realise that prior to 2015 using Fakenham as an example, due to rail movements, a distance could be increased by up to 258yds(17.2s).

    When I started making rail movement time adjustments to the comparison per furlong times (December 2015), my speed figures accuracy went up another level, I realised that my figures from the previous 5 years were a waste of time.

    Mike (Swindon).

    #1417779
    steeplechasing
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    Alan, Many thanks for the detailed explanations on both counts. Watching Kicking King set me wondering why a horse prefers one lead to the other in the straight, where he appears to change legs two or three times.

    I had a wee search on youtube and found this interesting – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE9KJWFW4eo&frags=pl%2Cwn. In it the horseman explains that being on one lead all the time, while comfortable for the rider, is very tiring for the horse. He recalls the US Cavalry whose commander on long trips used to call a lead change every 6 miles.

    That set me thinking of your other theory on the likes of the Johnson horses. Maybe it’s what they are used to at home that nurtures the preference. Expanding further on that, perhaps it is the case that no preference is being nurtured, but strength is being built more on one side than the other? KK is very tired close home, has changed legs a number of times and is hanging badly left despite being on the right lead. Maybe horses who hang and change legs are simply seeking relief from their weaker side rather than favouring one leg or the other? And in the case of hanging, often seen as a character defect, it might in many cases just be down to seeking temporary relief on the stronger leg?

    Never argue with a fool. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience, then onlookers might not be able to tell the difference. https://lazybet.com/

    #1417797

    gamble
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    Good detecting Joe :good:
    Just hope Richard’s not looking in, he just might be getting crisp now you’ve written a chapter with Alan !

    #1417818

    apracing
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    Since I wrote about Mark Johnston, I’ve spoken to someone that has visited the stable (Ken Pitterson) and he confirmed that their main gallop is undulating and turns right handed.

    This is a whole area of the game that I’d love to understand better and it makes me regret that I never opted to learn to ride.

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