Our Columnist Charlie McGreevy has given us his exclusive insight into horse racing.

I have always been surrounded by horse racing my dad liked a punt when I was a child.

He kept a book with all his course knowledge for reference purposes, and did quite well with his gambling, he isn’t a millionaire but made some money through his bets.

I’m a man of 42 now and have been gambling on horses since I was about 15.I used to put my pocket money on a horse I’d picked out from the paper.

As I wasn’t old enough to place bet myself had to ask folk going Into bookies to place it for me. My dad would have been furious if he knew then,at first I picked a horse if I liked it’s name or the trainer was on form but I soon realized this was the wrong approach as I lost time and again.I decided to get my money back so started watching handicap hurdles races.It was here I noticed that the favorite doesn’t win more than 25-30% of races.

I had also noticed larger priced horses won when ground was soft to heavy.Armed with my findings I trawled through the cards and picked out a 10-1 shot and put £1 E/w on it. Around an hour before the race my horse had drifted to 14-1,I was sweating pacing up and down then before I knew the race had started.

My horse sat off the pace in 4th but tracked leaders for first mile,with half mile to go my horse moved into 3rd the front pair were trying to pull away.

My horse cruised up beside them and matched them stride for stride,then with a few furlongs to go my jockey pushed his hands forward the horse quickened and pulled away and won by 2 lengths.I was so excited I had won £18 from a small bet I made it my mission to do it again.I have a real passion for handicap races and have changed the way I read a race to try and find value,this also includes the way I research stats and trends and my overall approach.Most punters try and beat the bookie first and yes you may get lucky and hit a few winners,but the bookie is the last thing you have to beat.

The first thing you have to beat is the handicap compiler,you know the one sits in an office with a suit and crunches numbers and weights,so all horses have roughly the same chance of winning.This is where knowing how to read the handicap system comes into play. 

I.e knowing which horse has the best handicap mark for the given race and conditions.Then you have to beat every other horse in race,if you have read your form and handicap marks properly this makes the bookie the last man to take on.So in a way my approach to horse racing is a bit strange to many as I do things in reverse,even when looking at a race I start from the bottom of that race and work my way through each runner until I get to the first runner before I make my selection.

I sometimes get it wrong as you can’t win every day,but i can cope with losing runs due to my study method and small stakes approach.

I hope this has gave you an idea of what I do and a deeper understanding of my thought process.