Author Archive: Neil

Food Science

My father warned me last week that my recent blogs may get me in trouble. Trainers and bookmakers are not people you want to get on the wrong side of, apparently. I reminded him that it is highly likely that…
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Altior Motives

A week after reporting on the Black Dave saga, I once again feel duty bound to peer under the murky duvet of secrecy and investigate the rancid underbelly of our beloved sport. This time though, it concerns one of the…
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Racecourse Quiz

Despite the irresistible allure of a signed copy of my book up for grabs, nobody got within 4,000 miles of the correct location for last week’s quiz. However, surely the followers of a horse racing blog will do better this…
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Where Am I?

(This blog comes with a health warning: playing this game will make you unable to function as a human being for significant periods of time.) My youngest came back from school yesterday saying that he had played a computer game…
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Betting System 1

Always championing the common punter, and with the jumps season starting in earnest this weekend at Cheltenham, ATRIED begins a series analysing betting systems in order to find the easiest route to sure-fire winnings. This week we examine the Ludicrous…
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Horse Racing Is Different

Bruce Millington’s column in the Racing Post last Thursday made for fascinating reading. He revisited the tricky topic of how horse racing should attempt to reinvent itself towards financial security in the 21st century, and used as a blueprint the…
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Metro

I tend not to purchase things on impulse. It is usually a considered and lengthy process, with all options painstakingly analysed, and often followed by periods of post-purchase reflection to evaluate if I got it right. It all started nearly…
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Fantasy Dreams

Let’s face it – we all start off the new Fantasy Premier League season with lofty ambitions of beating the other four million football managers to the title, but reality soon seeps in when it becomes clear that our ‘hidden…
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Broken Fairytale

The thing about fairytales, miracles and (to perpetuate an overused sporting adjective) ‘unbelievable’ events is that they don’t happen very often. The last time I wrote on this topic was in May 2016 just after Leicester City had secured their…
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Munich – Part 4

(Editor’s note – this week, to conclude out Munich series that has had tongue wagging across western civilisation, I hand over the keys of my precious website to m’colleague and faithful Passepar-two Simon. All of what follows is his unique…
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Munich – Part 3

Friday started with a rather splendid breakfast in the dining room of the Marc Munchen hotel. Again, the relaxed German approach to things meant that we were not asked for a room number but simply wandered in and started filling…
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Munich – Part 2

Munich is a place I remember fondly from interrailing in 1990. We spent two evenings in the Hofbrauhaus, the first of which ended prematurely after a rendition of Father Abraham got slightly out of hand, but they kindly let us…
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Munich – Part 1

In my quest to find all that is wonderful in our wide world of sports I often write off to event organisers seeking press accreditation. My application to the PGA at Wentworth, for example, was given short shrift, even after…
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Doomsday Clock

“It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the Clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the…
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Polls Apart

I said a few weeks ago, whilst revelling in the sheer side-splitting farce of the Abbott/Ferrari car crash, that this blog was never going to become political. That remains true, but on the basis that it’s more interesting when you…
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We Went To Wentworth

The Wednesday Pro-Am of the BMW PGA from Wentworth has become a firm favourite in our sporting calendar and a day where preparation is key to one’s enjoyment of proceedings. As a veteran of many racecourse hypothermic incidents I’ve developed…
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Two Years On

Two years ago today I was in Ripon, visiting my 48th racecourse in 66 days. It seems like a long time ago now. I suppose two years is a long time, really. In both a celebration of the absurd frivolity…
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Brave New Golf 2

Be careful what you wish for. Two months ago in my blog ‘Brave New Golf’ I outlined my blueprint for the reinvention of the increasingly dull game of golf. It seems that the powers that be were listening. Or perhaps…
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Safety First

Last year my ageing Ford Galaxy limped past the 100,000 milestone, an event that was marked by an agonisingly embarrassing party by the side of the road attended by one guest – myself. Since then it has gone to the…
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Lions

After the big announcement of yesterday, an even bigger one today. Governments last 5 years, sometimes less. A Lion is for life. “You’ll meet each other in the street in 30 years time and there will just be a look,…
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Patience

Three days on, and I still bask in the warm afterglow of a tremendous weekend of sport. How wonderful it is to be alive if you own a TV. They say that hold-up horses don’t win the Grand National any…
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The Perils Of Punting

(This blog was written before the news that Dustin Johnson’s rental home didn’t feature the Stannah stairlift he requires to successfully negotiate the common household hazard.) My seasons are marked by the sporting calendar. Summer means Wimbledon and occasionally the…
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Really, O’Leary?

The only question to come out of last week concerning the extent of the Irish dominance was whether they enjoyed the Cheltenham Festival or the finale to the 6 Nations more. If I was a bookmaker tasked with pricing up…
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Brave New Golf

Most sports have had to deal with change over the years. Cricket, rugby, and football are now very different products compared to 20 years ago, and in that generational shift they have updated their rules, formats, appearances and audiences. Even…
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Cheat

As the boos rang out at Twickenham on Saturday, the issue of cheating in sport once again took centre stage. For the past few days I have been trying to work out why I saw this as a valid and…
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Ante Post – Stayers Hurdle

With the Cheltenham Festival now only a month away, my penultimate look at the ante-post markets focuses on possibly the least loved of the championship races. Recent times have been dominated by specialist horses such as Baracouda, Inglis Drever, and…
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No Silver Lining

I didn’t watch it until Sunday night. Busy weekend, you see. But my wife had told me the previous evening; she’d heard it somewhere on the news. I couldn’t work out whether that was good or not, that a person…
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The Machine Never Stops

And so it came to pass that Amazon took over the world. Its electronic tentacles squelched across the globe, crawled into every orifice of disposable income, and everyone came to be nurtured and sustained by the great beast. It automatically…
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The Journeyman

This was due to be a review of the horse racing year that was 2016, but as usual in this sport events overtake us and the action witnessed over the Christmas period means there can only be one story told…
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Reasons To Rejoice

Watching or reading the news can be a gruelling task nowadays. I’m not proud to say that most of the time I just can’t face it. The world is such a disappointing and upsetting place. That’s why this blog shall…
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The Selling Game

Last Saturday was the first anniversary of selling my book, Around The Races In Eighty Days. Roger Lowson was the first brave soul to offer up his readies for my peculiar slice of literary cake – Sir, I salute you…
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Five To Follow Update

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun betting small amounts of money that you can afford to lose in search of absurd accumulators that would produce life-changing winnings (as the saying goes)? The Cheltenham Showcase meeting that heralded the proper…
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Colourful Friday

During the early hours of 25 November 2016 I received an email from Ebay reminding me, as if it was possible to forget, that it was Black Friday and I should “act accordingly”. I presumed ‘acting accordingly’ meant behaving like…
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Gin Lane

William Hogarth was an English painter and satirical illustrator whose work is still influential over 250 years after his death. His art dealt with moralistic topics such as the dangers of drinking and gambling, with titles such as ‘A Rake’s…
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Lest We Forget

Last Sunday my son returned from his regular shift at the local care home in a subdued mood. The stark realities of old age are a sobering experience, especially for a sixteen year old with his exuberant, promising, sparkling life…
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Vautour

Eight months ago I was writing in a state of shock ( www.atried.com/drop-the-bomb ). Vautour had just been rerouted to the Ryannair, after months of connections saying over and over again “he runs in the Gold Cup”. My ante-post wager…
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Top Ten TV

Eldest and I are nearing the end of re-watching Breaking Bad. It’s raised a family debate about the various qualities of TV shows over the years that may or may not shuffle them towards the status of ‘great’ or even…
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On Tour

The news recently revealed that clever people at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have made progress with the Travelling Salesperson Problem. The good folk in Waterloo used algorithms to find the shortest crawl around almost 25,000 pubs in…
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Distant Galaxy

The big news on Monday may have passed some of you by – my Ford Galaxy reached 100 (thousand miles, that is, although some of it is so tatty now you would be forgiven for thinking it was born in…
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Five To Follow

Cheltenham’s Showcase meeting, beginning on Friday 21 October, heralds the start of the jumps season proper. The fresh mornings and changing autumn hues add a daily reminder that we have almost returned to that rampantly hopeful starting line in the…
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Beaten

I announced at 9:30 on Sunday evening “I think it’s gone.” I was right. The Wife looked at me sympathetically, like I was talking about the dog dying. By that stage the writing on the wall had been transformed from…
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Recognition

The human hunger for recognition is hard to suppress. From our first breath we scream for nurturing, as children we glory in gold stars, and as teenagers we crave acceptance. Even in our blasé and seen-it-all adult lives, we seek…
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Rotten Apple

News broke earlier in the week that 69 of the Top 100 economic entities in the world are corporations, as opposed to countries. Walmart is the highest-placed business in the list at 10th, ahead of Canada, Spain and (significantly) Papua…
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The Honourable Bookie

Some of you may have noted throughout my book that I developed a growing antipathy towards our bookmaking fraternity. Let me make this clear – a vast majority of on-course bookies are friendly, decent and honest folk with whom I…
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Ryder Cup Countdown

Yesterday, European captain Darren Clarke unveiled his three picks that will join the nine qualifiers to face the American side at Hazeltine National, Minnesota, in the 2016 Ryder Cup. Those names were Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Thomas Pieters. No…
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Vegas, baby!

06:03 Clive arrives to pick me up. The Wife had got involved and was fretting about the M25 so instructed Clive to pick me up at 6 instead of the 6.30 we had agreed. As younger men we would have…
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ATTIEH, Son Of ATRIED

A flurry of shrewd and entirely made-up money has witnessed the suspension of the ‘What Is Neil’s Next Project ?’ market. When the book opened in mid February, imaginary bookmakers priced up Around The Irish Races In Eighty Days as…
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Fixture List 2017

We stand at the starting line of some big sporting occasions. Friday sees the opening ceremony of the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, an event that has crept imperceptibly under our sporting radar for reasons ranging from post-London apathy to…
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JT McNamara

I didn’t know JT McNamara, but I respect what he did. He jumped fences at speed on tons of straining horse flesh in the most fervent of arenas. He made horses win that others couldn’t. And by all accounts, he…
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Summer Reading

What does the summer mean to you? Lazy afternoons on the sofa listening to the schlock-schlock of Wimbledon on the TV? Dusting the knees off and finding that pair of shorts that you bought last year but only wore twice…
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EU Referendum

(They say that you should never discuss religion or politics in a pub. There are no clear rules, EU or otherwise, on whether you are allowed to do this in a blog, so here goes. If you are reading this…
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PlayOn

If you like fantasy sports games, you will love this. Many of you will remember the now defunct Tote Ten To Follow where you followed the progress of your stable stars through the season-long torment of injury scares, fleeting form…
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Anniversary

Anniversaries are significant. They can be joyous celebrations of happiness, or mournful reminders of things lost. They can be occasions for reflection on events past, and opportunities for planning with renewed vigour. A year ago I finished my racecourse tour….
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Wentworth Wednesday

The efficient park and ride operation takes ten minutes through leafy Surrey lanes and into the prestigious estate. Sitting on the top deck allows better viewing for the “which mansion shall I choose to live in?” game. Frankly I’d take…
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Fairytale

Finally, I am a believer. Tears have been shed and air has been punched. Joy that was confined has been released euphorically. Fairytales can come true, even in modern day sport, even in the big-money, harsh reality of professional football….
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One Year On

A year ago I was living the dream. I had just passed the halfway point in my quest to watch racing at all the British courses in eighty days, trying to comprehend what I had started, and whether I would…
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Greed

Sometimes in life, you look back and say “that was obvious really”. The 2016 Grand National was a case in point. I refer, of course, to the bookies shortening up the price of virtually every horse in the minutes before…
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The Long Walk

Yesterday I caught up with Richard Farquhar on the final leg of his quest to walk between all the racecourses of Great Britain. It has taken him 13 months, seven pairs of trainers and one dog-bite to complete the 2,915…
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The Grand National

So here’s the thing. Today I was ready to tell you the winner of the Grand National. Highland Lodge has been a revelation since joining trainer James Moffatt and won the Becher Chase in December, over the National fences, from…
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Drop The Bomb

Jobs were done, Racing Post secured, coffee made. So I settled down to luxuriate in an hour of unfettered form studying and eager anticipation with The Morning Line. Fairly early in proceedings the bomb was dropped, and the 2016 Cheltenham…
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Coincidence

Last Friday at Newbury proved once again that as a template for a great afternoon with friends, going racing is hard to beat. Mike and I caught the 12:10 and remembered the rubric of his grandfather, who always used to…
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Four Festival Fancies

I have always baulked at this blog turning into another “Big winners advised daily!” tipping line, but sometimes you have to nail your colours to the mast. Note that I’m giving you these selections for free, whether you want them…
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My Ugly Valentine

Let me make this clear from the off – this title does not refer to The Wife, who remains devastatingly attractive and remarkably patient. We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day anyway – not a casualty of almost twenty long years of…
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The New Idea

Anniversaries are significant. Not just the personal rollcall of births, deaths and marriages where social convention dictates the buying of expensive flowers, but there are some moments in history that create a more seismic resonance on the skin of this…
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Nature v Nurture

I am reminded, as news reaches me of one friend returning from far-flung ski slopes with parts of his body not entirely attached to other parts, and another recovering in hospital after having his spine rebuilt to correct a cycling…
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The Drought Breaks

Some of you may know it: a sudden, and not entirely explicable, onset of sobriety, known in the trade as Dry January. Looking back now, it’s hard to pin down the thought process behind such an absurd undertaking. I feel…
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The Whip

My youngest spent a fleeting minute enjoying quality time with me on Saturday afternoon, in front of Channel 4 Racing of course, before finding a piece of fluff on the floor more interesting and disappearing with that look on his…
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Being AP

It takes a big man to stand up and say “I was wrong!” Today, I sort of half rise from my chair and mumble “I might have misjudged it slightly”. The subject on which I now stutter towards a gradual…
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Review of 2015

Happy New Year to all my loyal followers! I hope you had a good Christmas. However, if you thought that this blog would shuffle meekly off stage to lurk in the shadows of the past, accompanied by the fading smile…
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Competition

This is your chance to win a first edition, signed copy of ‘Around The Races In Eighty Days’, the blockbuster that has taken a very small part of the literary world by storm! To enter, simply answer the ten questions…
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