Britain's foremost racing expert Philip Alexander concludes his two-part feature on the legendary punter Phil Bull, founder of the Timeform organisation and one of the UK's greatest professional punters.

William K. Temple was the pen-name used by Phil Bull in his early days. This was necessary because the teaching profession precluded him from using his own name.

Consequently, the pseudonym was adopted for his initial statistical analysis, the Temple Racetime Analysis, that was published in 1938. This was Bull's first attempt at harnessing his methodically prepared and mathematically based Racetime figures.

The choice of the fictitious name, however, is not at all well documented, although apocryphal stories about the origin are both varied and colourful. Told either by his colleagues, or friends, or even by the great man himself, at least two of them are worth recounting if only for the devilment they contain.

One explanation is that the name was "borrowed" from the Archbishop of York who, in 1942, moved on to become Archbishop of Canterbury. It is remotely possible that this explanation was true, for it would have dovetailed splendidly with Bull's mischievous and strongly held anti-Christ beliefs.

Another suggestion would have us believe that the name came like a bolt of lightning from a cloudless blue sky as Bull was passing through Temple tube station in London one night. Subsequently he introduced William, from his father's name, before adding, in true theatrical fashion of the day, the middle initial. This was done purely for effect.

Similar amusing stories abound, many of which have assumed that little extra dimension for being offered so many times, like this one. At the St Leger Dinner at Doncaster in 1955, Bull gave a particularly revealing insight into his father's life-long interest in horse-racing.

Fittingly, the story, which has now been repeated many times over, was actually first delivered in a speech that he gave at the annual dinner of the charity organisation the Saints and Sinners Club, in March, 1976. In his own words, this is what he had to say on the last occasion I have been able to find any direct reference to the subject:

"I was bred to be a saint, you know. My mother was a Sunday school teacher, and my father began his career in the Salvation Army. He used to go out in the dead of night with a bucket of whitewash, and paint religious slogans on the walls. You know: things like 'Prepare to meet thy God' and 'The Wages of Sin is Death'.

"One night at the Doncaster St Leger meeting in 1901 he went out and painted on the back of the grandstand, 'What shall we do to be saved?'. Next morning when he returned to the scene, he found that some wag had painted under his 'What shall we do to be saved?', 'Back Doricles for the St Leger'.

"Whether my father took this as a divinely inspired answer to his question, straight from the Almighty, I don't know. But he backed the horse, and it won at 40/1. That converted him. From that time on he was more concerned with backing winners than with saving souls.

"Shortly afterwards he read Tom Paine and Voltaire and became an atheist. He went up in the world. He became a coal miner (over half a century too soon); and eventually he reached the apotheosis of his career as a sanitary inspector. He sought sainthood in sanitation. His remedy for sin was disinfectant. He was a kindly man - to all except bugs, fleas and cockroaches."

Who cares a damn whether these tales have been made taller by their constant telling? I certainly don't, for to me they represent a breath of cool, clean air. They show another side to the five feet five inch colossus, a side that the general public did not always see, like the purely personal story I am about to recount now.

Coming off the motorway at a small village south of Doncaster my wife, who was driving at the time, spotted a roadside notice that announced the proximity of a nearby antique and collector's fair.

Much to my amazement, wrote he lying through his teeth, an instant decision was jointly reached that we should undertake the necessary detour so that we may have just a glance inside at what was being offered. (Incidentally, the word jointly is used in a light-hearted and frivolous manner, as is the word glance. All married men will need no translation!)

Over the years, I have become accustomed to accepting this sort of decision with reasonable good grace, but with one small proviso. It is essential for at least one book dealer to be present. A cursory glance, though, around the room did not reveal the necessary prerequisite.

So I resigned myself to suffering, in near silence, for however long the "glance" would take, but yet one more surprise came to my rescue.

Hidden away amongst an almost glittering selection of old glassware and china were a few items of racing memorabilia. There were playing cards associated with the sport in general, post cards showing views of various racetracks, race card that had not altered very much from those seen today, cigarette cards depicting jockeys and horses of years ago, games of chance based upon betting, the odd book that was of little interest, and finally my eyes came to rest upon a couple of old Timeform publications.

Obviously, the decision to make the necessary detour was one that I was pleased to have made!

Once again, my worst fears had been allayed by He who never deserts a fellow who is about to miss the first race for two-year-olds. Fortunately, for the patient reader, the story does not end at this point, but I did think it necessary to set the scene before arriving at the best part of the story.

Immediately my interest in the written word had been spotted, the dealer concerned, a Dickensian figure by the name of Fullelove, began to engage me in a friendly enough conversation. During the course of this it turned out that he had been taught mathematics at Hemsworth Grammar School, near Barnsley, by none other than Phil Bull.

With ever mounting interest I listened as a truly fascinating story, brilliantly told, was being unfolded, even learning how the great man usually appeared in the classroom with either the Sporting Pink or The Sporting Life sticking out from his tweed jacket pocket.

At length the dealer paused to get his breath and I had the opportunity of asking a question.

Had he ever caught sight of Phil Bull after those far-off schooldays had come to an end? The answer was immediately forthcoming and highlighted a side of Bull's nature that was seldom seen by the public at large.

Early in the afternoon of Saturday, September 11, 1976, when the French-trained, Daniel Wilderstein owned Crow, ridden by Yves St Martin, had started at 6/1 and proceeded to win the St Leger, the two men had come face to face as they headed towards the paddock.

Surprisingly, Phil Bull instantly recognised his former pupil. After a few words of greeting, interspersed with fond reminiscences, but without being requested to do so, old electric whiskers had painstakingly marked the younger man's card.

Like all good sporting yarns, there is an exceptionally happy ending in store for all - unless you happened to have been one of the bookmakers who attended that particular classic meeting. The outcome of those few final moments together was that the antique dealer went home with more money scattered about his person than he had ever had before (or since).

There was enough, in f act, to pay off the not inconsiderable mortgage on his house!

When Phil Bull died at the age of 79 in 1989, I was invited by the editor of one of the magazines to which I was regularly contributing at the time to write a fairly brief obituary. Mistakenly, I thought it would be easy because of the respect I had for the man, but it turned out to be one of the most onerous tasks I had ever had the misfortune to undertake.

What could possibly be written about a man who had accomplished so much? As well as being probably the most successful punter of the era, making his own fortune out of betting, as well as helping countless others to do the same by his publications, he had become a celebrated writer, a leading owner and breeder of horses and a constant "pain in the backside" to most of racing's ruling aristocracy.

Living through what will always be remembered as the greatest revolutionary period in the history of the sport, his sarcastic criticism of authority, often tinged with a bitter humour, did much to encourage the avalanche of change, particularly in racing's sadly misplaced administration.

Truly he was a man who successfully wore several hats at the same time, always combining a fastidious erudition with the unlimited foresight of the chosen few.

Here was a man of only small stature, but one of towering intellect. He was a remarkable character who had enjoyed so many aspects of life. Someone for whom I possessed the greatest admiration and for whom I shall always declare one attribute above all others.

He gave to the sport far more than he ever took from it - and that's saying a good deal.

Click here to read Part 1.

By Philip Alexander