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on 12 October 2015
This is a poignant tale of how a man uses horse race gambling to fill a void in his essentially lonely life. Howells is a professional and intelligent man who devises a system that should give him the edge in the horse racing market, however a lack of discipline and bottle, common flaws in gamblers serve to scupper his quest for riches. Howells lays bare his soul in revealing the psychological torments that any gambler needs to wrestle with. The added ingredient that Howell's depressive behaviour constantly drives his need for the highs and lows that gambling provides. All in all, this is an interesting insight in to the mind of a gambler.
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on 18 May 2015
I really enjoyed this book. I think it's a discussion of obsession, of a "fair" contest between man and bookie, where the winner is clearly defined by the financial position. I was also interested in the impact the obsession had on Norton's personal life and relationships. As an analyst I was intrigued by the systems Norton used, but wanted to shout 'stick to your system'!!, to test properly whether each one worked in the long term. I also found myself wondering whether horse racing is an honest enough sport to apply science to, as a punter. It is beautifully written. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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on 23 June 2014
Superb book by someone as passionate about racing as me. Whilst Norton seems doubts his ability to be a professional gambler that's exactly what he is. Great way with words, including a few classic quotes such as Derby day being a buxom blonde who's slept with too many men as opposed to Oaks day being a demure brunette who chooses her suitors carefully........love it!

Definitely worth buying and I hope the proceeds allow him to fulfil his remaining ambitions in racing.
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on 17 April 2014
Purchased just the other day and have loved this little gem.

Essentially a Horse Racing / Life Diary it encapsulates the last 14 years of the authors life. The occasional highs and the all too frequent lows that a gambler knows only too well.

Wonderful to see Norton dust himself off time after time. Painful to see his woefully inconsistent staking cost him so much so very often.

One for the racing enthusiast and curious non gambler alike.
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on 25 June 2014
I really liked this book. Like many racing fans I have read accounts by the big gamblers who have succeeded over many years etc etc. This is the story of a racing fan, a horse fan and a gambler who has struggled like most of us to make it pay. I found many parallels to my own story, not least as a teaching colleague. The humour, honesty and style of the writing made this one of the best, certainly one of the most enjoyable, racing books I have read.
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on 21 January 2015
Pleased I gave this a try, I can totally relate to some of the authors thoughts especially going from one day thinking you have finally cracked it to been back at square one the next. My only gripe is I would of loved to know what factors he used to come up with his Y column for his ratings which I thought he would of explained at some point but overall a great read and hopefully there will be a follow up in a couple of years with his progress
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on 9 May 2014
As the title suggests, this is not simply a book about horse racing or betting - if it was, I wouldn't have read it. Despite always knowing in my gut that Norton would not win enough to put his red pen away for a whole academic year, I willed him to win and not to blow it. But then, who realy wants to read about someone winning big? Much more interesting this way. A talented writer with a charismatic and likeable style.
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on 15 July 2014
For a racing man,he captures how we feel when we gamble,and when we become obsessed with the sport of kings
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on 26 April 2015
Superbly written and interesting book. The book resonated with me both in life and with the horses. The book is extremely honest and gives us a great insight into the psychological impact betting has both positive and negative. I found the book highly original in the genre and fantastically interesting and entertaining. Well done Norton really enjoyed it !
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on 18 August 2015
...and yet horse racing is the permanent backdrop to a intriguing self evaluation of the author's personality and internal psychological struggles with himself, played out between the Rowley mile through to the conclusion at Lingfield Park.
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