by David Massey

May 16, 2020

Final part of my racing life to date. Suggestions on what to write about next week more than welcome!

So I’m doing great. I’m racing most days, writing for myself and my stuff is really starting to take off on Twitter. I’ve made a few new friends through it too, and meet my now very good friend Rory Delargy at Cheltenham in 2015, which is also the first time I ever attend all four days of the Cheltenham Festival. I’ve been asked by a local community radio station to cover some work for them, along with another of my great friends in Cathryn Fry, so not only do I get to go, but I get a media pass as well. Talk about a kid at Christmas. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to get one every year, and I always have to give my head a shake to remind myself how lucky I am.

I also started doing a few stints on William Hill Radio and am invited to join the naps table. At the fourth attempt I win it, showing a very healthy level stakes profit for the six months. My prize is a grand, which we promptly blow on a holiday. Sadly it never worked out for me at Hills, and my work days dwindled away, at which point I decided to leave.

I’m also invited on to a new project that excites me callled Bet Racing Nation, the brainchild of Peter Finch. Peter basically has the idea of a “for the punters, by the punters” TV program and although we have our production issues, it is well received and after a few programs, we get our own slot on Sky, after the Polish football highlights on a Saturday morning. Peter uses me not only for studio punditry but a bit of out-and-about stuff as well, reporting from the tracks with up-to-date info and the like. It works well, and gives plenty of us lesser pundits our first big telly break. I like the program because we don’t just concentrate on the big Saturday meeting – everything gets a look in, and my knowledge of the low-grade stuff comes in handy.

Peter’s main idea of not using the bookmakers to sponsor the program is one we all agree with, as it means we are free to criticise their practices, but sadly no-one else steps up to sponsor us, despite a few making initial promising noises, and as such we are all just working for exposure and expenses. In the end Peter has to break and Betfred step in to sponsor us on a program-by-program basis. There’s still not a lot of money around though, certainly not enough for us all, and in the end, it has to fold. Not before it has had it’s moments however, and my putting up of Coneygree as one to follow, long before anyone else has even given him a second thought, is a proud moment for me.

I still think there is room for a program of this nature, by the way. Every now and then Catherine, Jack (Milner, now of Unibet, formerly of Bet Victor) and I bandy the idea around a bit but like everything, it will need funding. And that’s where it falls down, sadly. If anyone has a big pile of cash they’d like to invest, get in touch.

I’m now writing a few Sporting Life racecards every month, which I enjoy doing as it really gives you a chance to dig deep into a meeting. I love doing cards where I’m actually going the next day – if you’re fully armed with the form, and you’re there paddockside, the two together should give you a big advantage. I use the paddock a lot more than I ever used to, and I’m still learning plenty in that regard.

What else? Well, I help ghost write a weekly tipping column (have signed a non-disclosure agreement, can’t tell you who…), pop up twice a year on Radio Derby (Grand National/Cheltenham), do a few boxes at racecourses when required, and of course, write the Punt! I enjoy all the work I do, from working on the tracks to writing at home, and every day brings a new challenge.

Whether this virus means that, once again, there will have to be a change of tack somewhere down the line remains to be seen. Hopefully we can get racing again sooner rather than later. We will see.

Stay safe,

David.

Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TGH Trading Ltd or it's employees.

About the author 

David Massey

David Massey is an on course bookmakers clerk, a Sporting Life race card author, a horse racing punter and of course a regular contributor here at the Daily Punt

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  1. Always enjoy your stuff Dave, your knowledge of Class 5 Handicap hurdles at Gaffe tracks in Summer, has helped to swell my betting fund on a few occasions. Anyone can see how good the top horses are but the spotting of the nuggets at Uttoxeter and Newton Abbot take a lot of work and knowledge. Keep up the good work and hopefully onwards and upwards, there are quite a few so called “pundits” who are not even in the same parish as you .

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed your life story. Maybes it was good to write it down.
    Whatever life holds post lockdown, best wishes.

  3. Great read David, like you I have had a ricketty life with some great highs and some times on the floor too. I occasionally see you at the races. Hopefully next time I’ll get the chance to say hello. (From a safe distance, of course!)

  4. Pete’s a good guy. He’s helped me out during the lockdown by giving me the chance to do some French previews. Otherwise, I was in a “mothballing” situation with no pennies coming in.

    I’d love to be involved with a programme like the one you’ve mentioned in the piece if one ever gets any traction. I’m never afraid to ask the questions other writers/journalists won’t ask for the fear of spilling their gravy 🙂

  5. Thanks, David. Not easy to bare your sole in public but you did it with style and quality writing.
    I feel like I know you a lot better now !

    Keep up the good work.
    All the best, and stay safe.

  6. I have one question Dave. Do you ghost write the column because a) Whoever’s name is on it actually knows bugger all & the tips are really yours or b) They’re just rubbish at writing?

  7. David
    As one of the joint owners of Coneygree it sounds like you spotted his potential before I did although I have always been a pessimist as far as ownership goes( for obvious reasons) and you have to take what dear old Mattie Batchelor says with a large pinch of salt at the best of times.Bless him. I pleaded with Sara Bradstock to run him in the RSA. What do I know – but how lucky were we?
    You will be pleased to know he is still strutting his stuff at Retired Racehorses events and picking up those rosettes that Cue Card doesn’t want.
    Thanks for the very happy memories.
    Alan

  8. Looked forward to each episode David. Thank you. Have you any observations re draw course etc that are plucked from your regular visits to the races?

  9. David, Did you some time ago put up ratings for each horse in a race, I seem to remember i used it and it was quite accurate, akso i seem to remember it was printed on a coloured paper.

    Thanks for sharing these memories.

  10. Hi David, you mention about things to write about so could you explain how you tend to stake and operate using your betting bank.
    Obviously I don’t mean from a monetary value because that’s private but more along the lines of a points / percentage value on each selection, including e.w and any multiple interests.
    Do you keep strict records of everything ?

  11. Idea for a Article “Guide to the Gaff Tracks” could cover a whole Range on it, tips for Travel, Food, best place to take photo’s and watch the action, and what you look for in a horse around there in various Punting do’s and Don’ts, a sort of working mans “Ruff’s Guide”

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