Betting Knowledge

I was a Bookie Runner

Now I am a Bookie Basher - it only took 53 years!

Hi Folks,

Michael has kindly asked me if I would do a monthly blog about my betting journey, selection processes, staking and anything else betting wise I can think of, so here goes.

My name is Stuart, married, 76 and have lived in Belgium for the last 30 years.

Had a great working life, BR steam engine fireman, emigrated to Australia mid sixties, plantation manager in Papua New Guinea then joined an airline there as a Traffic Officer and returned to UK in 1971 and became an Air Loadmaster, flying all over the world, for the next 32 years. I have a weird and wicked sense of humour, do not suffer fools gladly and do not tolerate idiots at all.

My first contact with horse racing came in 1953, when my grandfather persuaded me to become a bookie runner for this pub, where he did most of his drinking, a couple of miles outside Berwick upon Tweed. I did this most of the school holidays from 1953 until 1958 when my folks moved down to the Midlands, my days of easy money were over. I was never allowed to bet, except for once when I put a whole shilling, the equivalent of nearly 2 months pocket money, on ESB in the 1956 Grand National. A lucky win  at 100/7, because Devon Loch ridden by Dick Francis, slipped-up just short of the post allowing ESB to get up. That was my one and only bet until the Internet arrived.

When I was over in OZ a couple of my mates hauled me off to a Two-Up game, “ national pastime” said one. So we get there and find a bunch of blokes throwing two coins up in the air and betting on how they will land, sad.

It must have been about 2000 when I really got into betting on the horses. I used to be in touch with a couple of like minded guys in the UK, and we reckoned between the three of us we could come up with various winning systems. We did, and they mostly didn’t – win that is!  We made a bit of money here and there with some of the systems, but nothing sustainable for long. However, all was not lost as, whenever I came across a nugget of info I thought may  be of use, I jotted it down in a notebook.

In 2005 we bought a newsagents, right on the promenade in Ostend.

For the previous five years my wife had managed a Ladbrokes here, and when we bought the newsagents they couldn’t find anyone to take over from her, so they asked me. Much against my better judgement I agreed. In the next four months until they found somebody to run it permanently, I never saw so much misery in one small room in my life.

The punters would spend hours pouring over the various racing papers, then put all their money on some short-priced favourite, which, most of the time, would promptly lose. This would happen day in, day out. There was only one guy there who used to bet on the UK races, paying a whopping 15% betting tax for the privilege, as opposed to only 13% on the French and Belgian races. I gave him some tips, and he made a steady small profit most weeks. This led me to think about getting into it myself as a way of extra income, just in case the shop didn’t work out, which it didn’t, but that’s another story.

January 2011 was when it all came together. I had plenty time in the shop to peruse the internet daily. I found two pieces of crucial information from the Internet, and remembered something my grandfather had said about 5 years earlier. He said, that only one person knew if a horse stood a chance of winning, and it wasn’t the stable dog. That led me to build a system that ran for 7 years and 3 months. It never had, or even looked like having, a losing month and it averaged, once I had got all the garbage out of it, 5 to 8 points to level stakes per day. It finished with 10488.6 pts on the win side and 5574.6 on the place side.

This was all achieved on the Tote. Using Betfair could probably have made more, but I didn’t see why I should pay out 5% of my hard-earned to them! This is the system which, as of next month, we are going to start from scratch. Well, not quite as I started back in April, because where I am getting my selections from now is different. I just needed to know if there were enough selections, and if they would make money or not. There are and they do.

As of the 21/4 it has made 52.78 on the win side, and 36.4 on the place side, all to one point level stakes, so it seems to be working.

All you will need, if you decide to follow me, is a A5 metal-backed spiral notebook, not plastic as the pages come loose,  and access to Microsoft Word, Excel or Open Office to enable you to make and keep a spreadsheet. A spreadsheet is one of, if not the, most important tool to enable you to make a profit from any betting medium.

Just one last thing before I wrap this up for this month. Looking at the title of this blog some of you may think I hate bookies, I don’t, I love them. How else could I sit at home, in front of my computer, listening to CCR or Smokie blasting out from the speakers, and making oodles of dosh, if it wasn’t for them……

Cheers Stuart



Born 1942 at Berwick upon Tweed. Married to Viviane from Luxemburg. Hobbies are Metal Detecting/Treasure Hunting and Flight Sims. Have 2 cats a whippet and a greyhound. Wasted a Grammar/Boarding School education by becoming a fireman on steam engines with BR. Emigrated to Australia, then became a Plantation Manager in Papua New Guinea. Returned to UK in 1971 and spent next 31 years flying all over the world as an Air Loadmaster. Managed a Ladbrokes betting shop for 4 months then we bought a Newsagents. Having a newspaper shop gave me plenty of spare time to hone my betting skills, and come up with systems that were very successful.


  1. Hi Stuart – thanks for a very fascinating read. Looking forward to read more about your system which seems to be extraordinarily good.

    1. Civvie only Doug, think the only airline I worked for that didn’t go bankrupt is Cargolux and they came close in 1982 when they got rid all 16 of us Loadies.

  2. “This was all achieved on the Tote. Using Betfair could probably have made more, but I didn’t see why I should pay out 5% of my hard-earned to them! “. This is a strange thing to say given the Tote takeout is 19.25%/

    1. True Andrew, but as Betfair is totally banned in Belgium, along with vitually all other major bookmakers, beggars can’t be choosers. On the Tote they don’t care who wins or how much and a lot of the time, especially with big priced wiinners, the Tote pays out way above the SP but it is swings and roundabouts.

    2. So, nothing to do with who takes your bet and at what charge. You’ve no legitimate choice, you have to bet with Fred Donne/Tote.. Yes, industry SP is generally poor on longshots but again not an option for you.

      1. Hi Andrew, thats about it in a nutshell, however its what ended up in my bank account that matters. Average win SR was 26% and average WIN SP 8 so for every 100 I invested I made 134 pts clear profit. Average SR for the PLACE side was 67% at a PLACE win of an average of 2pts so for every 100I invested I made 101pts clear profit, so no complaints. Stuart

  3. Sounds like an experienced betting man doing well with the racing. Would like to hear more of your wise words

    1. Hi Moss, one thing comes to mind that my grandfather told me, 60 + years ago and that was, finding winners was easy, not finding too many losers was the difficult part. Still holds true today.

  4. Hi Stuart, hope you’re well! Very interesting read, may i use only exchanges (Betfair, Smarket,..) with your system and when is your next blog next month sorry didn’t see any exact date and i definitely don’t want to miss it i’m very much looking forward to read it! Thanks

    1. Hi Fred , thanks for the interest. It will be published in the 2nd week of every month and yes you can use any betting medium you want, bookmakers , tote or exchanges…..Stuart

      1. Hi Stuart, Will the System in question be published in Full, in June’s Blog, or peacemeal over time. Thanks Colin

        1. Hi Colin, Yes it will, then I will start a thread on the forum with the days selections and only use the monthly blog for what rubbish to throw out, if any, plus all the good or bad stats to put in a notebook, which then becomes your racing bible. Anyone who has published anything, unless they do not want it, will get SS of the 2 months results so far. The full original copy, warts and all, and the 2nd copy with what rubbish I have taken out so far….Stuart

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