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This stockbroker turned professional gambler proves you can teach an old dog new tricks.
However, far from a misspent youth, Harris was always astute in understanding probability - it was his blood.
He defied the odds and the misconception that it's a young man's game.
His story, like many, is quite remarkable.
Firstly, he didn't get into horse racing until his mid-40s.
It's never too late.
However, he made most of his vast fortune trading in options on the stock market.
We start the story back in 1987 when Black Tuesday brought dreaded news to investors across the globe. Shares went into free-fall and many investors lost their life saving in one day. An insightful Harris took a view the markets would continue to tumble and he wasn't afraid to put his money where his mouth was.
He speculated £38,000 that the markets would plunge into massive losses.
Within 24-hours he had made a clear profit of £90,000.
After retiring from the stock market game, he had the time, money and passion to invest in his new love of horse racing.
In fact, it led to the publication of his book: Horse Racing: The Essential Guide to Backing Winners, published in 2000, by As-if publishing with a forward written by horse trainer Mark J. Polglase.
Polish Peter said: '' At first this looks like the kind of slim pamphlet you expect from the usual snake oil tipster. But contained within is a total to racing from the ground. I have it by my bedside and each time I read a page I discover something new. A Bible for horse fans.''
When Harris put pen to paper, he had been gambling professionally for just over seven years.
He said: ''No two years have been the same!''
Continuing, Harris said: ''Looking back at these seven years, I realise that I have been on both a roller-coaster ride and an acute learning curve," he says. "The objective of this book is to clarify, beyond doubt, that the best way to find winners is through constant and consistent study, and that only by taking a methodical approach is it possible to make sense of the chaos that is unleashed the moment the starting stalls open for a horse race."
He stated that most punters simply rely on luck to win.
"Each punter's journey is quite different, travelling an uncertain route without the benefit of a signpost," says Harris. "Entrenched misguided ideas lead punters to repeat mistakes that eventually become debilitating and regularly indulged habits.''
Harris wished to instill in the everyday punter that without a strategy it is impossible to spot mistakes.
One angle used by this consummate professional was to review races and look for horses treated leniently by their jockey and backing them when primed to win.
He said: ''If you watch a race two or three times you will be surprised by how little you pick up.''
This was probably the reason he would watch a race up to a dozen times.
As seen with many professional gamblers, he has a set of rules that he never breaks:
1) Never back a horse on unproven ground
2) Never a back a horse from a stable that's out of form
3) Never Never back a horse unsuited to the track
4) Never back a horse ridden by a jockey who has a poor record at the course
5) The same applies to a trainer with a poor track record
In fact, one of his golden rules is to identify trainers and jockeys who have good records at given tracks.
This is often something overlooked by punters.
Of bookmakers he gives insight to help punters to be one step ahead of what he calls barrow-boy psychology to entice punters with what seem to be the illusion of fleeting value.
Harris says: ''Most of the bookies prices are tantamount to a mirage.''
''Personally, I don't like to bet below 3/1. An exception may be a 11/4 shot.''
Looking at the percentages, he states:
"As we know, the difference between 2/1 ON and evens is approximately 16 per cent. The difference between a 9/1 chance and a 33 /1 chance is approximately 7 per cent. In this area, we have to play the bookmaker at his own game. "We have to, wherever possible, look for favourites to oppose. By the sheer fact that favourites are the worst value, they create value at the other end of the scale. The shorter the price of the favourite, the more value it creates in other horses."
Basically, anything priced below 3/1 is potentially lacking in value and the shorter the price it becomes more acute.
Harris is correct in stating that the majority of bets are struck at 3/1 and less and reason why there is value at looking for bigger price horses.
He acknowledges that backing bigger priced horses can lead to longer losing runs. However, he states the best approach to coping with losing runs is to bet well within your means so you feel no emotion at losing.
If you are struggling with emotions: ''You are staking too high.''
Harris sticks with a level stake approach. He details the bad habit of gamblers betting each-way and how it can be difficult to get out of this routine.
However, he suggests punters use the 80 over 20 rule which seems punters place 80% o their stake on the win and just 20% on the place.
He works from a 100-point betting bank. If starting with £1,000 you should be betting £10 a time. For example, if you are betting £50 your betting bank should be £5,000.
Using this method you are working from within your comfort zone and betting has a feel-good factor. Even a string of losers will not unbalance you and, more importantly, you won't be betting with your emotions.
Harris wisely advises: ''If you are tempted to increase your stake to recoup previous losses don't consider doing this betting on a horse under 5/1. It will go straight into the bookmaker's satchel.''
One of his biggest wins at the races saw him collect over £400,000.
If you want to take your betting seriously, then you need to understand these key pointers about assessing form.
''Form contains all the clues to finding winners.''
''The form book is like your map. And the basis to our understanding is what we consider to be irrefutable form. That means truly run races, and horses that make a sustained effort.''
Harris says: ''The future of any race is unknown but we can discern what happened in the past. We need to concentrate on horses which have shown their best. For example, if we have a ten-horse race and only three have made a race of it, we ignore the other seven.''
Sidney Harris' book doesn't answer every question but is does offer valuable advice.
In conclusion he states: ''You're not going to get rich overnight. I've read many books and they often detail little bits of information which benefit my own game.''
And that is the truth of this book.
''I've known many great gamblers over the years. Some pro gamblers I've known casually while others have been personal friends.''
The biggest gambler I have met is J P McManus. I know him on nodding terms. I've seen him scaring the pants off bookmakers and he walks around the betting ring.
One of my favourites was Alec Bird who loved place bets. Supposedly, his favourite bet was £200,000 place only on a red-hot favourite. He's be quite happy to bet 1/10, to get a nice return on his investment.
Without question, one of the shrewdest gamblers I ever met was Phil Bull. You may remember him as the founder of Timeform. Using his time rating system, he would be quite happy to bet on every race on the card while smoking a cigar, sipping a glass of champagne and have time for a chat. To Bull, it was simply about solving a puzzle. In fact, the money he won seemed to be of little interest to him.
Barney Curley often gets a bad press but he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. These days, he is showing his age but he is approachable and friendly. Over the years he has landed some major betting coupes including Yellow Sam in 1975.
Definitely the maddest gambler I ever met is my friend and once East End gangster ''H''. These days he is flat broke living in a housing association, passing the time looking after the gardens as he waits for a liver transplant.
However, he has lost millions over the years betting on the dogs and horse racing.
Professional gamblers come from varied backgrounds - including horse trainers. Considering this line of work, it would seem to be a very good way to make money.
However, let's get back to the start of the story. Jack Ramsden was a stockbroker until 1980, then decided to turn his hand to being a professional gambler. He had thirteen consecutive winning years (probably many more).
He said of stock brokering: ''I was working in the city, but the city wasn't working for me. I was a pretty useless stockbroker.''
Very much in the mold of Phil Bull, he based his success on speed figures.
In fact he stated: ''I cannot stress too strongly the importance of the race times. They bind the whole approach together. A good horse can do a bad time, but a bad horse cannot do a good time.''
Ramsden detailed the good times on the national hunt are few and far between but everyone seems to know about them and the prices are too short to back.
He said: ''Even cutting out the endless research of form, it takes me two to three hours a day to work out my bets.''
Giving us an insight to his approach he continues: ''I'm constantly on the look out for the 3/1 chance that starts at 8/1. There are 30 - 40 such bets a year (there to be seen by all).''
Clearly looking for value he says: ''At those odds, you don't need to be right all the time!''
What was even more intriguing with Ramsden is that he collaborated with ''his own bookmaker'' Colin Webster (pictured). In fact, the bookmaker (this must be a first) paid Ramsden £5,000 a year for his information. In addition, he had to place Ramsden's bets with other bookmakers.
What struck me as being unusual with Ramsden was his liking for multibets (trebles, yankees, lucky 15). He liked to bet on big priced horses and if seemed to be a very lucrative addition because on four occasions he reported winning over £200,000 at time on multiple bets.
However, he advised punters to forget about each-way bets This insight came from researching his bets that he would have made much more doubling his win bet rather opting for the ''safer'' method.
He said: ''I think all punters would benefit from cutting out all each-way bets and sticking to singles.''
Jack met his wife, Lynda, when she works at the horse racing stables of John Sutcliffe Snr, where Jack, one of Barry Hills' first owners, had horses. The couple married in 1977. Originally, training horses in the Isle Of Man, they moved to North Yorkshire, England, where they trained for many years.
Professional gamblers are often extroverts.
Welcome to the world of John Victor Aspinall.
Born 1926 in British Raj, India, he came from a wealthy middle class family.
Aspinall was very much an enigma. In fact, his whole life was dangerous if not controversial. He was a character of high society back in the 1960s and the press speculated he had helped aid the disappearance of Lord Lucan who was the 7th Earl of Lucan, who was not only a degenerate gambler but suspected murderer.
Aspinall was well known for his escapades as the owner of a zoo. He was forward thinking and said animals shouldn't be treat as beasts to be exhibited but friends to be pampered. They should be given adequate space and similar group dynamics as in the wild and natural diet.
Among the animals in the zoo included gorillas. Which, among being given berries, were given treats such as Sunday roast and chocolate.
In fact, he used to have a hands-on relationship with tigers and gorillas.
In 1976, he wrote a book: The Best of Friends, where he insisted the individuality of animals.
Aspinall was quoted as saying:
"Animals should have as much right to happiness as we do and to coexist on this planet, which is far more important than we are."
Among his successes, he bred captive gorillas for the first time since 1956, and hundreds of tigers, including the first Siberian born in Britain.
However, such liberal approach may have had repercussions with 5 zoo keepers being killed.
Getting on to Aspinall's talent for gambling.
After a very privileged upbringing, he went to Jesus College, Oxford. Loving a gamble, he risked his terms grant of £70 on a horse called Palestine in the 2,000 Guineas. It won at very short odds.
Oxford proved a great place to meet influential people who would later play an important part in his life, including Jimmy & Teddy Goldsmith, and fellow gambler Ian Maxwell-Scott. Aspinall set out his stall by going to the Ascot Gold Cup rather than his final exams.
He swiftly moved on to host gambling clubs which were illegal at the time attracting influential players such as the Duke of Devonshire and the Earl of Derby, enjoying the most lavish settings. With Aspinall taking a percentage of the stakes, he was becoming a very rich man.
In 1957, the police raided a gambling party he had organised, the charges were dismissed and shortly after (1960) the Gaming Act was introduced opening the doors to casinos across the country.
Not to miss out on new legislation, Aspinall opened his own club - The Claremont Club at 44 Berkeley Square. However, lack of finances saw his raise £200,000 in loan stock and the basement was turned into Annabel's Nightclub, run by Mark Birley.
Membership to Aspinall's venture was limited to 600, very much figures of high society including five dukes, five marquesses and 20 earls.
The success of the Clarmont Club and advice given by Jimmy Goldsmith to finance Howletts, a wildlife park, much to the annoyance of neighbours.
However the stock market crash in 1973 left him more or less bust.
In 1987, financial struggles forced Aspinall to return to gambling.
He set up a casino in Han's Place, and in four short years making 8 million per annum. Such was its success he moved to larger premises at Curzon Street, selling 20% on the stock market worth an estimated £20 million.
Almost 80% of the business was owned by Aspinall and Goldsmith. A large amount of the money was kept for the upkeep of the zoos.
Clearly, the worth of the casino declined over the years but still sold in 1987 for £23 million.
However, in 1992 financial struggles after losing large sums of money when Goldsmith failed in his takeover of Rank Hovis McDougall. In response, he opened another casino in Curzon Steet in 1992. It was soon making good money.
In his later years, Aspinall suffered from cancer and fought it bravely but passed away on the 29th June 2000 at Westminster, London aged 74.
Professional gamblers come in all shapes and sizes.
That could be with regard to their stature, physical and mental, bets small or large or even reputation.
In the melting pot of gamblers - from all walks of life - you hear some amazing stories. I love the extremes you see in people. Some bet big money and as disciplined as they come while others are mad, reckless, wild and destined to lose every last penny.
I guess it's simply part of their character.
It's a certain type of personality, character trait, that captures the attention of the everyday punter.
Harry Findlay always reminded me of a gambler who was pretty much on the edge.
I think he loved the thrill to push his skill and luck to the limit.
Anyway, there are other gamblers who exemplify this thought.
You may have heard about an East End gangster called 'H'.
He had a reputation as a hard man and reckless gambler. If you've been around London long enough you will know who I am talking about, said his friend.
''H is a couple of years older than me. He's flat broke living on benefits in Loughton, waiting for a liver transplant. He looks after the gardens of the flat he lives.''
It's a sobering thought to think he lost millions on the horses and dogs.
One bet stuck in the mind. ''I placed £50,000 in one and two-thousand a time, the last few grand placed at a shop in Canning Town. I watched the race to see Admiral's Cup beaten by a short head.''
''He never turned a hair.''
''Another memorable story about H came when he and his wife and me and my wife went to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. I looked posh in my mourning suit and top hat and the ladies looked gorgeous. However, H looking similarly formal wore his lucky black bootlace tie with its solid gold steer head fastener.''
One of the stewards on the Royal Enclosure spotted him and wouldn't let him in so he went berserk and stormed off to the Tattersall's betting ring.
He tried to wipe out every bookie in the enclosure with massive ''stupid'' bets.
He must have been half a million pounds down by the last race. He managed to persuade one of the major bookmakers to take a bet of £250,000 on a horse called Kris, priced even money.
This time, his horse won by a short head, after a 5-minute wait as they magnified the photo finish.
Once again, he didn't turn a hair. There was no sign of emotion.
Now he cuts the grass and prunes the rose bushes for the old ladies for a cup of tea and biscuit.
Note: I have no evidence this story is true.
When you think about professional gamblers, what comes to mind?
In truth, it could be anything: insightful, sinister, corrupt... The adjectives could go as long as you want. In truth people who make a living from gambling are, in general, one of two things: knowledgeable within their chosen niche or corrupt.
I guess the latter does a disservice to the professional status of the true gamblers as the corrupt aren't really anything but criminals.
From my point of view, I have read about many professional gamblers - the vast majority being interested and dedicated to horse racing. In this modern world of betting exchanges and laying horses and trading we have a new breed of gambler.
However, my observation is more about the retro gamblers of past: Alec Bird, Phil Bull, Dave Nevison, Harry Findlay et al.
I know some of you will be reading that list and think, 'He wasn't much of a gambler'. Or you have umpteen gamblers you would add to the list. Admittedly it is a short list. I often irritate people by adding Terry Ramsden to my list of professional gamblers just to get a response. Although he lost a lot of money betting on horses he did, don't forget, make millions as a stock broker which is still a professional gambler as far as I can see.
Anyway, I don't want to get into all that.
The one thing I noticed when reading about each of these aforementioned names is that they had very little in common.
True, they bet on horses!
I often ask people what does a tiger and a table have in common?
For example, Phil Bull was all about the fastest horses with regard to the clock.
All these professional gamblers had their own niche, a skill honed by years of trial and error to one day beat the odds. Not one, as far as I am aware, waved a magical horn from a defunct, hapless unicorn or recited a spell stolen from some old dear who lived round the corner from Rumpelstiltskin.
It's funny to read how a given gambler would say never bet in this race type or price and there is one of their counterparts detailing how they make regular money doing exactly that.
Any half wise gambler can appreciate that every winner is the answer to the question in that if you can understand what made it a winner could well be used to find more winners. Also, every loser is quietly whispering to you why you should have listened.
The very truth of winning and losing is there before you - waiting like hieroglyphics to be understood.
The problem is most gamblers never stop to think. It's all about the next race if not simply the buzz.
Have you as a gambler ever stopped to question why your horse won or lost? You may be thinking that sounds a boring endevour. However, if you don't understand the reason you are missing the best part of the race.
My niche is two-year-old horse racing. I don't pretend I understand any other age group. I enjoy saying I know nothing about the National Hunt or even three-year-old colts, geldings and fillies.
I don't need to know about them.
What makes you a winner or a loser when it comes to gambling is what makes you different from the crowd.
If you are a favourite backer - the eternal favourite backer - you may as well give up.
It's the same if you spread yourself too thin.
''I follow all types of horse racing.''
I hope if that is your answer you have some very clever way of working because my day has just 24 hours.
Ever wondered why those contestants have a specilised subject? Because if they didn't they'd be pretty much like you or me.
If you want to be a successful gambler you need to know your subject better than your average bloke down the bookies.
If you are not - give up.
It will be a long road and painful experience to realise, if you ever do, that you literally backed the wrong horse.
Eddie 'The Shoe' Fremantle is a freelance journalist, horse racing analyst and professional punter, probably best known, nowadays, for his punditry on the 'Racing TV' television channel. Fremantle developed an interest in horse racing at an early age and, in an interview with Star Sports in 2018, recalled backing Balliol in the King's Stand Stakes and Lassalle in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 1973 although, by his own admission, he could not 'really remember much about it'.
I'm reading Freud On Course: The Racing Lives of Clement Freud. Originally published in 2009, shortly after he passed away.
I've stormed through the first three or four chapters. It's a decent read full of wit and wisdom from the multi-talented grandson of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.
It's interesting to read how Clement considered having a horse in training would give him an advantage to privileged information meaning he would win a few quid gambling. Over the years, he had a number of horses in training, often in partnership with friends and acquaintances. In fact, he even owned a horse with Uri Geller, called Spoonbender. Unfortunately, that didn't result in a winner.
In fact, Freud seemed to often struggle with horse trainers, swiftly moving them to pastures new if the handler didn't quite live up to expectation. One reason given was that when you are paying considerable fees that you want to be able to phone the trainer at any time. It's interesting that when a horse was moved from a stable the trainer was rarely mentioned by name.
Anyway, it seems along the way that Clement had a number of horses in training starting with one he bought after winning a selling race.
That didn't turn out to be the best move as it seemed to be permanently lame.
Writing his column in the Racing Post, he gave a warts-and-all narrative of his hopes for his horse(s) and their chance of winning.
Many times they won unexpectedly or when fancied failed to shine. From reading his prose, it seems that the likelihood of making a return on just about any equine investment is a very unlikely happening.
However, he did have one or two bets that put a smile on his face.
In 2006, he purchased a son of Cadeaux Genereaux, at a cost, by the time it got to the trainer in North Yorkshire, of £40,000.
The horse was in training with Mark Johnston and finished second on debut at Haydock over 6f on heavy going when an 8/1 shot.
The respected owner said: ''He had two more runs, one at Ayr, the other at York and was placed at short prices each time, the short prices not wholly unconnected with my investments.''
''After the third non-win, which nearly wiped me out, I moved him to a trainer in East Anglia who charged less than half the last man's training fees.
Michael Chapman, the new trainer, sealed a win at Wolverhampton with an easy six-length victory. The horse was pretty consistent racing six times with Chapman, however, Freud fell out with the trainer and moved Eau Good to Brendan Powell, in the West Country.
Eau Good proved a memorable day when winning at Windsor at odds of 28/1. Freud went in for the kill with a hefty £300 each-way (the win part of the bet alone worth £8,400).
Now three years old, he ran twice over hurdles at Kempton and Folkestone.
''Nothing, or to put it another way, pulled up in one contest and tailed off in the other.''
Eau Good was swiftly moved back to Michael Chapman's stable because of a 'lack of success as well as a failure in communication'.
Freud said: ''For the £20,000 a year you pay to train, shoe, vet, enter and transport a racehorse, I want to be able to contact his minder when I feel like it.''
However, all didn't go well when Darryll Holland was booked to ride Eau Good at Windsor. The horse went to the start in a crab-like fashion.
The experienced jockey told the vet he wasn't happy with the mobility of the horse and they 'withdrew him not under starter's orders'.
Freud wasn't best happy to hear that the jockey had been told whatever it felt and looked like, once out of the stalls, the horse would run like a stag.
The jockey denied being told this and allegedly said: ''It felt as if the horse had broken its back.''
Hearing this news Freud sent the horse to a good friend to give him an opinion.
There was a catalogue of problems:
Bit anyone who came near him.
''A wind-sucking, weaving brute.''
Clement made up his own mind to sell Eau Good.
He went to Ascot sales (Lot 41) and sold for just 950 guineas and went to a good home in the Midlands.