Emotional Mastery: Don’t Let Your Heart Rule Your Head

Emotional Mastery: Don’t Let Your Heart Rule Your Head Acclaimed Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky once said, ‘A real gentleman, even if he loses everything he owns, must show no emotion.’ A ‘real’ horse racing punter, on the other hand, should never be in a position to lose everything he owns and is free to show any emotion he feels, provided that emotion doesn’t interfere with his betting activity.


Let’s start with never being in a position to lose everything you own. If you’re thinking about betting seriously on horse racing, you must acknowledge that losing runs are inevitable. You must also acknowledge that you are ultimately responsible for your own actions. No-one is forcing you to bet, so it’s up to you to set aside an adequate sum of money, known as a betting bank or betting tank, which you can lose without compromising your quality of life in any way.


Even if you experience a sequence of unfavourable results, the worst that can happen is that you lose your entire betting bank and have to start all over again.


Now let’s consider emotion and how it affects your betting decisions. Another important function of a betting bank is to detach you, emotionally, from the money you bet on horse racing. If you bet with money that you’ve borrowed, or that’s earmarked for paying bills, losing takes on a great deal more significance, emotionally, than if you bet with money set aside exclusively for the purpose. This emotional attachment can lead to feelings of anger, disappointment and resentment, none of which are conducive to your psychological and physical well-being.


Furthermore, such negative feelings are likely to affect your ability to think clearly when it comes to placing your next bet. If your judgement is clouded by desperation, or fear, you’re much more likely to make rash decisions than if you think of every bet you place as a cold, calculated business transaction. Logic has been described as the language of the conscious mind and emotion as the language of the subconscious mind; consistently profitable betting on horse racing relies on the former, not the latter.


It has been suggested that the best way of avoiding emotional attachment to the money you bet on horse racing is to avoid watching the race(s) on which you bet altogether. As a serious punter, who’s spent thousands of hours watching horse racing, on and off course, I can see how this might work to avoid feelings of betrayal or frustration over ‘unlucky’ losers but, if you’re still emotionally attached to the money with which you bet, I frankly don’t see what difference it makes.


In fact, one of the most satisfying aspects of betting on horse racing, apart from financial gain, is seeing opinions formed on paper translated into events in the real world. If you don’t watch the races of which you bet, you’re denying yourself this satisfaction, not to mention the opportunity to draw your own conclusions from watching a race first-hand.

The important point is that, as far as any future betting activity is concerned, you remain indifferent to any individual result, favourable or unfavourable. A degree of emotional attachment to horses and horse racing is what elevates champion thoroughbreds to more than just numbers on a race card and, along with the ‘glorious uncertainty’ of the racing game, makes the sport as enjoyable and exciting as it is.


However, euphoria after a win can be just as dangerous as despair after a loss. If you back a winner, you’ll naturally be happier than if you back a loser but, either way, you shouldn’t attribute any individual result to your astuteness or lack of it. Try to think of all results as neutral, rather than positive or negative, as far as your skill, judgement and self-worth are concerned. In other words, if no individual result censures or endorses these qualities you’ll find it easy to focus on your next bet, rather than your last one, and bet consistently, however things are going.

Carlisle Bells

Carlisle Bells The Carlisle racing bells, which date from the second half of the Tudor period – in fact, from the latter part of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I – are reputedly the earliest surviving racing trophies in Britain. The original bells are delicate, precious artefacts, but a replica is presented to the winning owner of the Carlisle Bell, which is still run annually each June at Carlisle Racecourse, effectively making them the oldest sporting trophies still contested anywhere in the world.

The Carlisle bells are typical of horse racing trophies of the day, which often included ornamental embellishments, such as bells, which could be attached to items of tack, such as bridles and saddles.

The larger, gold bell, which was first awarded in 1599 – the earliest record of organised horse racing in Carlisle – bears an inscription, in Tudor English, which reads ‘The swiftest horse this bell to take, for my Lady Dacre’s sake’. The Lady Dacre in question is believed to be Elizabeth, wife of William, Third Baron Dacre of Gilsland, who served as Warden of the West Marches under Queen Elizabeth I. Although not explicitly date-stamped, the bell is believed to date from c. 1560. The smaller, silver bell is easier to date because it bears the inscription ‘1599 H.B.M.C.’; the initials are believed to stand for Henry Baines, Mayor of Carlisle.

Nowadays, the Carlisle bells spend most of the year at the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing and Sporting Art at Palace House, Newmarket, but make a 267-mile annual pilgramage to the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery in Carlisle in time for the Carlisle Bell. Indeed, they often make an appearance at Carlisle Racecourse on its most prestigious raceday of the year.

Short Guide on Betting in Japan

Short Guide on Betting in Japan

Most Japanese will be very well acquainted with these rules, but foreigners coming into the country will be surprised that most gambling is banned in a country with such a large number of gamblers. Betting in Japan is only allowed in certain cases, and those can get quite popular.

There are eight forms of betting that doesn’t fall under the criminal code directly:

  1. Horse racing

  2. Bicycle racing

  3. Boat racing

  4. Car racing

  5. Football betting (soccer)

  6. Mahjong bets

  7. Pachinko

  8. Online gambling

For foreigners, it is easy to be drawn to a shady unlisted venue that pretends to be a casino. Getting caught in such a place will garner some very hefty fines, and you might lose your job in the country and be deported if on a working visa.

Additionally, due to the Japanese’s very dismissive relationship with foreigners, you might be chosen as the fall guy for the entire operation, especially if your Japanese is not up to speed.

Thankfully, accessing online betting and gaming sites is perfectly possible and legal in Japan, as you are not technically gambling in the country. Websites like www.alohashark.com/en are available even without a VPN and work seamlessly with Japanese banks.

Rules for Thee

Japan presents itself as a very orderly country. And, in many ways, they are. Rules are strict and interpersonal relationships have a lot of little queues that you would need to follow.

But, same as every other country, Japan is full of people, and humans like having fun. That is why there are a lot of places where you can find things that are not strictly speaking legal, but that are still enjoyed by a lot of natives.

Regardless, as a foreigner, you will be at a much higher risk of being exposed or reported for any wrongdoing. That is why you should avoid any type of illicit activities, no matter how tempting they might sound.

Betting or Races

Betting on races, especially horse races, is one of the biggest gambling markets in Japan. Only recently as Western online gaming operators are offering translation is digital betting and gambling surpassing in popularity.

Also, races and betting stations on them are one of the few places in Japan where people will be happy to see a foreigner, probably believing that you have money to burn. You will have no issues making a bet, even if you are trying to do so in English.

But, take care that this type of betting can cost quite a bit. Most circuits will allow bets as low as 100 Yen, which is about a US dollar, but some off-track betting facilities will ask up to 10.000 Yen per bet.


Pachinko is a type of machine that now looks very similar to what we might expect in a Western casino. You pull a pinball and try to launch a ball in a specific socket that wins a prize.

While there is a theoretical skill component in the game, it is mostly similar to a slot machine. And, with a high degree of decoration it resembles some popular online slot games. Watching the ball bounce around before falling is very exciting and very addictive.

And, similar to slots, because the buy-in is very low: often as low as 1 Yen per game. You are expected to pull a lot of times before finding the right spot that will win you a prize.

Although, even if it seems similar, RTP on pachinko is much lower than on any digital slot machine and closer to the 75% that was on the first spinners.

Online Betting

There are currently no official Japanese online betting operators. Still, this type of gambling is allowed as the provider is not inside the country. This makes things like sports betting and live casino games very popular because it is the only option for some sports.

Also, online betting on soccer and races give a lot more options than regular bets, enticing an increasing number of players to try their luck.

Nathan Moscrop

Nathan Moscrop Conditional jockey Nathan Moscrop made headlines in July, 2020, when handed a ten-day suspension for ‘winning’ the ‘9 Lives Challenge Novices’ Handicap Chase’ at Perth on Im Too Generous, a ten-year-old gelding trained by Rebecca Menzies. In a highly eventful race, Im Too Generous was left alone when his sole remaining rival, Court Dreaming, unseated rider at the third-last fence. At that point, Moscrop looked around and, seeing only loose horses in pursuit, steadied his mount to safely negotiate the final two obstacles. He did so, but having jumped the final fence Im Too Generous appeared to go lame in his left foreleg, a fact that was confirmed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) Veterinary Officer after the race.

Indeed, video footage of the incident clearly shows Moscrop glancing down, albeit briefly, after jumping the final fence, before looking around again and continuing to the finish line. Having interviewed Moscrop, the Veterinary Officer and the Veterinary Surgeon and reviewed the footage, the stewards ruled that, despite having the race at his mercy, Moscrop should, in fact, have pulled up and dismounted Im Too Generous on the run-in.

Part-owner John Dance argued that a ten-day suspension was ‘harsh’, particularly in light of the fact that Moscrop had been instrumental in the rehabilitation of Im Too Generous, on and off the racecourse, after an absence of 1,423 days. However, while Moscrop is still entitled to claim a 3lb weight allowance when riding against professionals, the conditional jockey has ridden 44 winners under National Hunt Rules, in a riding career stretching back to 2006/07. He is hardly ‘wet behind the ears’ and must surely have realised that by continuing on Im Too Generous, who was effectively running on three legs at the finish, he would incur the wrath of the stewards.