My new edge, such as it is – he said crossing himself and touching wood and appeasing the gambling gods, for they are always listening for the sound of hubris – is more even, playing around the front of the market on specific races, where losing runs are few (so far, gods, so far) and the graph moves relentlessly upwards on a shallow curve. To be honest it takes some getting used to but, after the death of my dreams several years ago and the four or five years of purdah, of aimless, pointless, broken and defeated mug-punting, this is something. This is really something.
But then there's the festivals, and my new approach does not apply there. My approach applies to places like Carlisle, Catterick,, Fontwell, Market Rasen, Mussleburgh, Newton Abbot, Sedgefield and Worcester, none of them courses I've ever been to, nor ever really bet at before this year.
The big festivals – where I used to live or die each year, and which I was later reduced to toying with like an old toothless cat failing to kill a piece of dangling string – have been new challenges within this new edge. To play or not to play? How to play? As sport, as pastime, as part of the new approach, or what?
Well, I tiptoed into Cheltenham, Aintree and Ascot, wanting some of the buzz of my previous life but desperate not to drop the ball that was working in lesser races at lesser places under a lesser pressure. No tilt - no way Jose - what I have I hold but, please, a glimpse of the thrill of the joy of the life of the whole fucking point of the glorious game. And I escaped from each of them with a handsome profit. What to make of that? Of course, I could be fooled by randomness but maybe an even keel, a steadily rising bank balance, a state of grace, a simplicity of view, is a huge advantage coming into these meetings?
Whatever, Hexham tomorrow...