An insight into the types of people who bet on sport
2. How betting might not be a sport after all
Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
By Ted Walsh, author of the Crazy Horse racemare and a bloodstock consultant
Sports betting is a huge business. I have witnessed a racing meeting in America where the stake on the Grand National was more than $3bn.
But my biggest ever individual bet – a thousand dollars – on the biggest race of the year, the Kentucky Derby, is nothing.
I used it for research on a book I wrote on the Hungarian horse Phar Lap.
The big money in racing is the bettor with little knowledge of the sport, who then takes it to the level of heroes – Harry Kempe in this instance.
This is the person who might think: “What the hell am I doing down there?”
3. As not to forget the losers
Ahead of the book launch, Ian Hogg discusses the death of his friend Robert Harris and why he got involved in the betting business.
Robert, a much-loved figure in the betting world, died on 1 July last year.
He was only 45 and many friends knew him as Rob the Wolf, because he was always organising something, the bigger the better.
My respect for him was enormous. He was an absolute fighter, a survivor.
The last time we spoke, he was about to leave for his son’s funeral in Lithuania.
That’s when I took a moment to reflect on how young he was. Then I made a bet for him, to help pay the family’s expenses.
I went back to the book launch feeling pretty stupid. I had just backed a horse.
As a journalist I have written on the victims of betting shops for 20 years, and I knew it was the sort of story Robert would have wanted to write.
When it came out, it felt right that he should write it.
How to listen to From Our Own Correspondent:
BBC Radio 4: Saturdays at 11:30 and some Thursdays at 11:00
Listen online or download the podcast.
BBC World Service: Short editions Monday-Friday – see World Service programme schedule.
Subscribe to the BBC News Magazine’s email newsletter to get articles sent to your inbox.
About the author Ted Walsh Ted Walsh was the trainer of Crazy Horse, the most celebrated horse in Irish racing history. He was also an author and a bloodstock consultant. He was a hugely-popular trainer whose early successes in Britain led to a share of ownership in the Irish racing Hall of Fame and wining the Ireland’s Horse of the Year award six times. In 2006 he was asked to train a horse in Kentucky, USA. They called it Crazy Horse. He was the only Irish-trained horse to ever win the Kentucky Derby. Robert said: “It was a great day. We had no idea the extent of the impact it would have. It gave me an opportunity to show people how good a trainer I am. I was just taken aback by the huge reception it got.” His death has left a big hole in the Irish racing fraternity.
He was someone I could rely on and we spoke almost every day. He was a fantastic guy to talk to and he always had good advice.
After he got the book deal, I knew he would never see its publication.