I was shocked when I learned that Statsman, our systems guru for the last 20 years, has decided to retire.

It's a decision he's been thinking of making for some time, especially since he completed what he calls his "grooming" of Chartist, the young man who is now creating systems for Equestrian Publishing. Statsman took Chartist under his wing for some time, teaching him the principles of system design that had taken him a lifetime to acquire.

When I called Statsman to confirm what I'd been told, he said: "Yes, I think it's time I pulled out of things. I've had a most enjoyable run but now I'd like to rest on my laurels and take things easy."

That won't be too hard because Statsman has been successful in many areas of his life, including property development and the share market, so he isn't short of a few quid!

We'll miss him at Equestrian because he has given us many excellent products over the years. Statsman, though, says he has passed on the mantle to a fine newcomer in Chartist and he's supremely confident that his successor will prove as worthy as himself.

The good news, so I'm told, is that Statsman has one more system which he intends releasing. Right now, I don't know much about it but I'm assured by the man himself that it's one of his very best, so I'll be looking forward to it very much.

Statsman of course, has given us not only systems through the years. He's also passed on valuable punting advice.

If anyone knows about the business of betting, it's Statsman. He's made a lifelong study of all aspects of betting.

Some years ago, in September 1989 to be exact, Statsman produced an article that won praise from many quarters. A UK publication chose it as its feature of the month so impressed were its editors by what Statsman had to say.

What follows is a collection of the key points that Statsman made in the article. They are as relevant today as they were more than a decade ago, if not MORE relevant!

  • Beating the races is entirely a question of HOW and WILL. You need to know how to beat them, and then possess the will to carry through with your resolve.
  • At times, I do become a little bored with the pessimists who claim "It can't be done!". In almost every case, an investigation of the howler's background uncovers the fact that he holds a negative view because of his own failure to make good in his punting. His opinion, then, is based on personal failure.
  • If you accept an opinion based on such a fallacy, then you'd have to accept that the possibility of success is a negative in every field of human endeavour, because there are always failures in each field.
  • It is TOUGH to beat the races, but I believe the biggest battle is the one you have to fight with yourself.
  • I put it to you that most punters lose so much that they now never expect to win. They expect to lose and only hope they can win.
  • A proper mental attitude is so essential for any punter, especially what is known as the "small punter". The $1 and $2 punter who probably gets through $20 to $30 a week at the TAB (that's up to $1500 a year, remember!).
  • I'm not suggesting that if a punter is convinced he will win, that he will indeed win, and that all he has to do is pick a number, bet on it and collect the rewards. That would be silly. The punter, like any other craftsman, must have tools. He must learn everything he can about handicapping and he must practise long and hard.

What I do say is that if a punter is convinced he can win, then that is a most important step to actually winning. Convincing yourself that you can win sounds easy, but it isn't. Fighting externally and internally inflicted doubts is extremely difficult.

  • The best advice the late, great Eric Connolly ever handed out was for punters to consider themselves as shoppers. When a person goes into a shop, he is not forced to buy. He is allowed to wander from department to department to inspect the goods on sale. There may not be a single article he likes, so he keeps his money in his pocket.
  • There is no reason why a punter can't be like a shopper. By paying his entrance fee, he has gained the right to enter the racetrack and then it's up to him. If he wants to throw away his money on every race and take any price, irrespective of quality or value, then the bookmaker and the tote will welcome him just as the shopkeeper welcomes shoppers who shop in an extravagant, unthinking way.
  • If, on the other hand, the punter goes "ring shopping" for value and bets only when he knows he's getting value, then the bookie will both fear and respect him.
  • Summing up, then, the winning punter is a self-made man. He possesses daring, caution, discipline, commonsense and the will to win. He shrugs off negative thoughts. He shrugs off the urge to bet blindly on every race. He looks for value and he doesn't bet unless he gets it.

By Martin Dowling