A Bloody Good Winner: Life as a Professional Gambler
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Dave Nevison is doing, every day, what thousands of punters dream of doing - living the dream of life as a professional gambler. Since taking the plunge in 1993, Nevison has made his living, a very good living, from backing racehorses. He has taken on the best bookmakers in the world, and won. It has not been easy, or a smooth journey, but a roller-coaster ride full of spectacular highs and testing lows. Nevison's frank account is full of entertaining stories of his rumbustious life, and reveals how he has succeeded while most punters fail. Heed what Nevison has to say and you will become a better bettor; ignore it, and you will still have been richly entertained, for his is a life out of the ordinary.
anything to like about Wolverhampton, which isn’t a horseracing town. I don’t like the local accent, I don’t like the pubs, and there’s only so much curry you can eat. I’ve enjoyed a couple of drinks with trainer David Evans in the racecourse bar, but, then again, who hasn’t? Although some people probably think I am a drinker bordering on being an alcoholic, I rarely have many drinks at the racecourse, with three exceptions. Three times a year I go racing with non-racing friends to Chester, York
bookmaker who I thought might know them. ‘Look,’ I said, ‘I might be in a spot of bother. I’ve claimed a horse – it’s owned by so-and-so.’ The bookmaker sucked in a mouthful of air and said, ‘Ooooh, if I was you I’d give the horse back.’ ‘I’m starting to think that might be the best policy,’ I said, ‘but they also want two grand on top.’ There was another pause. ‘You know what, Dave? That might just be the best two grand you’ll ever spend.’ Before I finally gave in, I made one last call, to
previously a jockey. Although there are plenty of former jockeys among Britain’s trainers, I don’t think many jockeys make good trainers. To me, that isn’t surprising, because the two jobs are totally different. Just because a jockey rides work on a trainer’s gallops, and then dashes off to a racecourse, doesn’t equip him to be a successful trainer. He may be very good at race-riding but probably has no experience of actually buying or training horses, dealing with their physical problems,
ridiculous – the tallest jockey on the smallest horse – but the race went like clockwork. Baker’s instructions were to sit mid-division, pick the leaders off if he could, and finish in the best position possible. That is what happened. As they came down the hill, George switched Rising Cross to the outside, and just for a moment I thought she might win. I could see that she was going to beat all the horses in front of her, but then, just as my confidence was rising, Kieren Fallon shot past on
youths in the centre streamed out, I screamed to one of the social workers to press the panic button. Mercifully, the police arrived quickly, and youths scattered in all directions. That was it for me. If I’d stayed on as a full-time worker, my starting salary would have been �8,500 a year, which wasn’t a lot for risking your life and however many limbs you’d still got left. With my student grant and my work in the West End, I was already making more than that. When the course ended, three of