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The Grand National: five ways you can hang on to your cash

The Aintree blue-riband race is the single biggest betting event of the year, so let’s remind ourselves what to do with our hard-earned money when it comes to the nags.

Image: David Davies/PA Archive/Press Association Images

THEY SAY A fool and his money are easily parted. Here’s five ways to turn the fool into fool-proof.

No 1: Don’t Listen to Tips

We all get them. Every so often someone has to open their mouth. You’ll get pulled aside into some dark crevice of the office by a nervous, sweaty colleague.

It’s a relief when you hear the words; “Cork, two-thirty. Sheila’s Angel.” An old school friend owns him you’ll hear, and the trainer won’t hear of the lovely creature being beaten. You’ll rush down to the bookies with a look that says – “I’m in the know.”

But soon you’ll be reminded – trainers don’t tell owners that their horses are useless.

No 2: Don’t Back Your Favourite Horses

Sometimes it’s hard not to get emotionally involved with horses. But beware. Horses, like members of the opposite sex; will only break your heart.

He may win you a few hundred when he’s six-years-old at Cheltenham, but you don’t want lump on when he’s running in veteran chases as a 13 year-old.

So if your heart strings are pulled upon by an equine stud; just be happy when he wins. You don’t have to back him.

No 3: Don’t Hang Around With Your Winnings

Lovely! The 33/1 shot you threw a tenner on because she’s named after your childhood sweetheart bolts up, and for once your luck is in. This is what it feels like to be alive, you think. Call the missus (not telling her that you still think about the ex-girlfriend of your youth of course), tell her you’re bringing her out to dinner and you’ll be back in half an hour.

But then you look up at the boards and think that you couldn’t leave without backing Trap Five.  €30 on at 3/1. Oh, a close second! But there’s an even-money shot next in Kempton so you can just win back the loss on that. The jockey gives a terrible ride and you lose out again. But there’s another Trap Five off in three minutes…well you can see where this is going.

The moral of the story is leave with your winnings before you start doing stupid things with it. Because when you arrive home with a cooked chicken from the Tesco hot counter and a bottle of half-price wine, your other half won’t care whether Jamie Spencer left it too late or not.

No 4: Don’t Become Illogical

Even those that possess the coldest and most logical minds will find themselves examining the entrails of sacrificed animals for signs after a dry spell in terms of winners. Battle as hard as you can against this.

If a jockey has won the last two races he’s not any more likely to win the next; it’s a different horse for starters. And if a trainer or horse hasn’t won for months do not let yourself utter the phrase; “Sure he’s due a win”.

A horse that is owned by someone you know, or whose name is slightly similar to your favourite footballer/food/actor/mortgage provider is not more likely to win.

Remember – it’s all probability, not fate. Wow, that sounds sort of deep doesn’t it?

No 5: Don’t Chase Your Losses

When you ignore all of these rules and you end up dropping money quicker than a Celtic Tiger banker, try to take a step back.  Take a bath, go for a walk, try and pair up all your socks so you don’t have to go into work wearing one football and one Simpsons number. Again.

You’re not thinking straight. Tomorrow is another day.

Of course, I suppose we could have given you actual pointers on what to do, resulting in us all beating the bookies and finally having the financial opportunity to live out our greatest dreams and wishes. But that would be a bit too easy, wouldn’t it?

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About the author:

Mark Hobbs

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