The Psychology of a Nose, a Head and a Neck
Selecting and backing a horse that then proceeds to either fail to get up in the shadow of the post, or is headed and done on the line can be one of the most painful things in a punter’s life. It makes no difference to the money lost after all whether your selection was beaten into second by an equine pixelled whisker or the full length of a yak’s back or indeed ten, but to the helpless backer close proximity offers exquisite torture.
Sometimes the centimetre of a prevailing body part causes the punter to drop to the floor and thrash about gnashing their teeth; losing slips need to be shoved in the victim’s mouth to stop their tongue being bitten clean off. Other times (when you are already ahead probably) it can merely bring on a wry smile and sanguine acceptance, but I have now actually experienced a third state: the highly-evolved nirvana of APPRECIATING the winning ride when I was on the second home.
If, I can share this joy, I thought, of backing seconds I will be able to start a new cult. Currently, seconditis is seen as a scourge. A terrible affliction causing sufferers to congregate on Betfair forums and the like for pep talks in search of winners to banish the disease. If I could remove this pain with some simple psychological insight it would be a breakthrough for humankind.
Well, I am sorry to disappoint, but I don’t think I can. This state has only ever been achieved by backing a maiden in double figures on debut who ran a bit green. He’ll pay me back next time out. No more sloppy seconds for Al Farahidi. OK?