Strange things can happen in the betting shop. One day a few years ago now I was busy studying form when a stranger came up and engaged me in conversation. I'm always naturally suspicious in these situations and when he proceeded to tell me that he was the driver of a horse-box that had come up to the Perth meeting that day with a couple of runners from a well known Lambourn yard, I had a good idea of what was coming next; especially when he added that both were expected to win later that afternoon, and at good prices. I hastily ended the conversation and drifted away to study my Racing Post to see if I could uncover a noted Lambourn trainer that had two runners at Perth later in the afternoon.
It didn't take too much study to reveal the answer. Kim Bailey at that time was training in Lambourn and sure enough he had two runners at Perth later that day, and they were at decent prices. He was the only trainer that fitted the bill. The fact that he had a good record at Perth was a bonus. I congratulated myself on my cunning and went ahead and backed both of them - just in singles, as I afterwards regretted, and not in a double. They both won. The prices were good, I collected my considerable winnings and was making my way out of the shop when I saw again the horsebox driver. I was thinking about bunging him a few quid from my winnings, just out of generosity, when I saw a good friend that I hadn't seen for a few months, so went to speak to him instead. I pointed out to him the Kim Bailey driver and related my story, expecting him to be impressed by my craftiness. Instead, he laughed for about two minutes. When he managed to stop he told me that my Kim Bailey driver lived along the street from him, and was a noted chancer of the highest calibre who hadn't worked a day in his life. So, although his life was one of total make-believe, my winnings were real enough. I think I had the last laugh.
That was a true story and so is this, brought to mind by the mention of the Perth race meeting in the previous anecdote. Mrs Highlander and myself were in Perth for the day, she to do some scientific testing of the power of plastic, or what I would call extreme shopping, while I had to kick my heels in a variety of pubs to pass the hours. At times it's a hard life. I found myself eventually in a pub called The Last Drop. I thought it was a great name for a hostelry and so stayed there sampling quite a few drops of malt, especially that of Highland Park which comes from the most northerly distillery in the U.K. After a while I was feeling in expansive, and probably expensive, mood and addressed the owner to the effect that I considered The Last Drop a most appropriate name for a drinking place where you could enjoy your dram to the very last sensation. He quickly put me right. He explained that it was nothing to do with that at all. It was all about the site of the pub, because it was exactly located on the place where the last gallows in Perth did its grisly business. It was indeed for many the last drop. I felt a sudden chill in the bar and quickly finished my malt before going out into the warm sunshine.
Thinking of horses' names the other day I suddenly remembered a name from the past - or rather a family of names, all including the word KYBO. It came from an acronym for a piece of matronly advice given to the owner when he was a public schoolboy. Keep Your Bowels Open. The matron's advice continued into history.
Before going on to our system for this month, how about this thought that must have occurred to most of us at some point in our pursuit of a winner? A racehorse is the only animal that can take several thousand people for a ride at the same time. Yes, and I've been aboard many times.
Now, for the system. It's called Festival and I've been tempted to introduce it many times in the past because it's a fairly well known one and is frequently referred to in discussions of the best performing systems over the years. I would just like to clarify one or two points. The three form figures should all come from the current season. And secondly, when it talks about the Topspeed ratings under each race, that is no longer how they are recorded. There is now a separate chart for each meeting, race by race, so you will have to look there to see if the selection is placed in the first three. After all that, let's hope that the Festival is a cause for celebration for all of us.
You must only use the Racing Post for this method. No other paper will do. If you follow the rules carefully you will end up with one selection, sometimes two.
1. Mark down all the horses that are running who have consistent form, i.e. horses who have finished in the first three on all of their last three runs. Next, you have to eliminate horses to get down to one horse. Eliminate all horses that are not rated in the Topspeed ratings. These can be found underneath each race. There is usually a maximum of three. Next you eliminate all horses that are not forecast favourite in the Racing Post betting forecast. If you are left with one horse then this is the day's selection. If you are left with more than one horse then the horse to be selected is the one at the shortest price in the Racing Post forecast. If two horses or more are quoted at the same price, then all horses are to be backed. If when you have eliminated all the horses that are not forecast favourite you end up with no horses left, you move onto the next rule. Obviously, with not having a selection from the first rule then this rule must be brought into operation.
All the horses that qualified through Topspeed ratings will re-qualify. Next, eliminate all horses who are not quoted second favourite in the Racing Post forecast. Once again, if you are left with one horse then this is the selection. If you are left with two or more selections then there is no bet for that day. If no horse qualifies under both rules, then obviously there is no bet for that day.
What you are backing is a horse who has shown consistent form and returned good times. So the horse when running against others must have a first rate chance.

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