Thursday 12 September 2019

Interview With 2-Year-Old Racing Expert Jason Coote

Something a bit different for this post. 

I have been annoying Jason Coote (My mentor) for many years now about 2-year-old racing and picked up bits of information along the way. I have to admit I am still a million mile away from feeling confident when I bet and am pretty sure I could never earn enough money to pack in work. 

So, in this post, I will get a few words from the man himself. 

Jason at what age did you start betting and how did 2-year-old racing become your niche?

I got into horse racing because my Dad liked a bet. He wasn't a big gambler but for our family holidays we used to stay on a caravan park at Caister-on-sea, Norfolk, and it coincided with the 3-day Eastern Festival at Great Yarmouth. This had been a long tradition with my Dad, his brothers, Keith & Roy, his brother-in-law Fred Althoff, and many friends including  Pete Miller. This set the seed of interest, as we used to go as little kids. I can remember betting in the arcade on the one-armed bandits at seven or eight years old.

Our passion for horse racing started with an observation from my twin brother, Tony, he noticed the significance of Group entries for two-year-old horses when we were 17. In fact, he used to research this area and saw how amazing it was at picking winners. This was some 30-years or so back when you had the Racing Post or Sporting Life but not much else. You had to wait for the results on the radio or Teletext. I must admit I enjoyed those days. I think in many respects we were as good then as we are now. We used to rely on form and Group entries. We were exceptional at knowing every form line. Someone could say the name of a two-year-old horse and we would real off its last three or four races, be able to assess its ability and trainer, the strength of the trainer's two-year-olds. Basically, we knew everything to the point we could have been on Mastermind. We are still exceptional to this day. That may sound big-headed but it is not meant to be. It is just an honest portrayal of the work we put in to understand the two-year-old horse racing to a high level. I always say I would like to meet someone who knows more. Why? Because I would appreciate how hard they work.     

Tony was always the guiding light to our understanding. He had an article published in the Racing Post Weekender, in the Nick Mordin column. I say column, but the whole article covered two pages and was the first study of its kind in the world. Mordin was very impressed by the information and asked if we had ever considered writing a book about this unusual but dynamic and robust way of assessing as he said ''top-notch'' two-year-olds. 

From those days, we simply progressed year after year honing our skills. It has been a journey of many highs and lows. But it has always been a journey we have travelled with passion and appreciation. It has been an opportunity to follow our own path and enjoy what we do. 

Anyway, it has taken a long time to get to this point in time and I'm still learning. There is always something to learn and always times of winning and losing. However, I wouldn't change what I do. In addition, it has led to a business of founding websites which have achieved millions of page views and meeting many professional gamblers, horse trainers and bloodstock agents. It has given me the opportunity to meet some of the funniest, craziest, personable and intelligent people who all, in one way or another, have a love of horse racing or simply equine. 

I could write so much more...  

Can you remember your biggest priced winner? 

There have been many big priced winners. Although, to be honest, if you want to know the person who has had the biggest winners it is Tony. He has had a number of winners on the exchanges at 100s to one. I have had a few big priced at 60/1. I do remember missing far too many speculative bets as I call them. Peter Winkworth used to send a lot of able two-year-olds to race at Windsor on debut and for some reason, they used to go off at huge odds. A couple won at 200/1 (Betfair) and I didn't bet. The most unlucky horse/bet ever was a couple of years back when Simon Dows Chica De La Noche went to Newbury on her third start at 100/1 with the bookies. I thought she had a glimmer of hope and bet £40 on Betfair at over 300/1. She looked like the winner when the saddle slipped with about one hundred metres to go and unseated the rider. It was a very disappointing day because to this day I am convinced she would have won. Just imagine betting £40 to win £10,000 and of all days the bloody saddle slips. It was an incredibly annoying, frustrating and sickening day. A few days later, I had recomposed myself and got back to business. There will always be days of great triumph and others of disappointment. I would rather lose a bucket load of money than win by the virtue of a horse breaking down. Gambling can either destroy a person or build new wisdom and a better person. I always endeavour to be the latter.  I have a saying: ''The horses are never wrong. The results are the result however good, bad or ugly. We must learn from each experience to be victorious.        

When did you decide to become a professional gambler? 

I didn't really decide, it just happened over time. It made life a lot easier with the fact I had a number of successful websites which made betting less of a risk. I guess I have been betting in a professional manner about the last five years. Not a long time. Before then, I would consider I was semi-professional although that always sounds the kind of term used by someone who hasn't quite made it. It's a journey. But the best side is simply doing something I love and the opportunity which that brings. I mean, who wakes up with the chance to win £10,000 for £40?   

Does being a professional gambler mean you can afford to live comfortably for the rest of your days? 

I am lucky that I live the life I want at this moment in time. I am lucky that I enjoy what I do although it can be stressful at times. This year, for example, seems to have been categorised by umpteen second places, which don't bring in a lot of money. Although I am good at making the most of any situation. There is always something to learn. And it is good to listen to what the results are saying and make sure you do your best and work hard. Even in the toughest times, when little goes right, you have to find a way to enjoy the racing and keep motivated. A winner is a great motivator. A gambler is only as good as his last bet although it is all longterm profit which counts. There is no guarantee the future will remain the same. I intend to make it even better and more prosperous but that doesn't mean it will happen. We live in a competitive world and need to be better than most. You don't need to be the best to make money. But that is most certainly my aim to be better than the rest.  

Who is your favourite 2-year-old horse and why? 

In some ways the most prestigious horses capture the mind. The likes of Frankel who is one in a million horses. But each and every horse should be respected. As Nelly Cox a horse breeder from the US said to me: ''Every horse has its story to tell.'' That is true. And if you look at the journey of most two-year-olds there is a lot going on in their lives to get to the racecourse. I love to see a horse of limited ability win a race. In many ways, they are harder to achieve than a horse which hits the headlines. I enjoy all the two-year-old racing.   

Do you think another 2-year-old can ever match what the mighty Frankel did? 

I doubt we will see another horse as good as Frankel although you never know. That's the beauty of two-year-old racing because you just never know. 

After so many years studying 2-year-old racing do you still get the buzz that you did when you were younger? 

I think when I was younger horse racing was exciting in the sense it was all new. We were never natural gamblers in the sense we used to bet for fun. It is more the understanding and challenge which made it fun. It's like being good at sport and knowing you can run faster than just about anyone else. These days it is still great fun and exciting. I never tire of waiting for the new season and battling away to make a profit. Each year is a blank slate. New names, perhaps new trainers, but it's kind of the same routine. Putting in the hours and at the peak of the season feeling as if I am stuck on a conveyor belt. It can be tiring and very hard work. It is the price of too much racing. However, as most of our understanding if form-based (that is just a small part of the jigsaw) you either keep up or fall behind. If you fall behind you may as well give up.     

The final question is what advice would you give to your normal Joe punter who likes a bet or two? 

You cannot understand everything. You don't need to understand everything. There simply isn't the time to be Jack of all trades (you can be master of none). Find what you enjoy and stick to your niche. I'm not being nasty but most punters never learn anything from the first day they bet to the last. But would you go to college for 20-years and want to come out the same? The same lack of understanding. You need to enjoy what you do but work hard. It won't be easy. But, then again, working 36-hours a week for a boss isn't easy. In truth, you can be better than most in your niche. If you listen to what the results are saying you can learn to improve your lot. With time you will be on your way to making money. In truth, there is a lot more to winning at the races than backing winners. It sounds stupid hearing those words but it is true. You need to build your knowledge on a solid foundation of wisdom and discipline. Don't be told you cannot make your betting pay. It may take you a lot of time and effort but it is far from impossible. Good luck if you are taking it seriously. It's a serious business. If you keep losing - stop betting. If you can't stop betting then get professional help. If you have a family always put them first. All the best.  

Thanks for your time mate and thanks for giving some great advice out and being so honest.      


  1. I hope this reads well. Written as a first draft as it's about 1 am in West Palm Beach, Florida.

  2. Let's hope one day I can be in Palm Beach writing haha. Thanks for your time mate

  3. I'm sure you will, Craig. Be good to get back to England. It's lovely here but it is just as good if not better at home.


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