When I was a kid growing up my father spent hour upon hour studying form and statistics about sport. He had a great love for horse racing and launched a successful broadcasting career giving racing tips on BBC Radio Merseyside.
Never did I get to hear about the losses, and God knows there must have been occasions when the family went short because a horse failed to fulfil its potential. But when dad won big it was good news for everyone, including an army of fans who religiously followed all his predictions.
Most famously, Ron Gubba was a big friend of the great “Ginger” McCain, the famous race horse trainer who guided the legendary Red Rum to win the Grand National three times.
I will never forget the excitement of watching Red Rum beat Crisp in one of the most thrilling races ever to win the Aintree classic for the first time in 1973.
Knowing that dad had placed a sizeable bet at favourable odds six months before the race, after McCain had urged him to back his horse, was my first taste of what it’s like to back a winner because I had also secretly gambled my pocket money.
Luckily for me, because I have never had the time to study the form, I did not get hooked on gambling on the horses. My weakness has always been football. And as a passionate fan I must confess I have been tempted to take a punt on my team from time to time. As any sports fan will concur there is nothing to match the thrill of watching your heroes triumph knowing that you have also hit the jackpot.
For some it is all about the adrenalin rush of winning and it does not matter what they bet on. Many sports fans I have met even back against their favourite team or individual occasionally to soften the blow of losing. While others are addicted to the thrill of in-play betting. We all like to predict what will happen next and the satisfaction of putting your money where your mouth is will definitely give you a buzz when you get it right.
However knowledgeable you are about horse racing – you can bet on the Aintree classic at Grand National betting – my advice is never gamble money that you can not afford to lose. Treat gambling as a purchase rather than an investment and you will never fail to enrich your sporting experience.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, dad’s winning bet on Red Rum paid for a whole year’s school fees. So do your homework and, you never know, you could be celebrating all the way to the bookmakers.