River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Money Under False Pretences

December 2001

Earning a good wage doing a bad job

We live in an age when it is very easy to earn a good living by being bad at one's job. I could quote so many people but let me suffice with: Gerald Corbett, ex-Railtrack and Kingfisher; Lord Simpson, ex-Marconi; Sir Peter Bonfield, ex-BT; and of course professional footballers - let's face it, if the average person made so many mistakes each week as they do, hardly anybody would be employable.

However, I come to a group of people who for years have been taking a salary for being very bad at their job. I refer, of course, to the horse-racing tipster. It is accepted that it is impossible to forecast a high percentage of winners for every race each day; but one would have thought that their very best bet of the day, the "Nap" selection, would have a very high success rate - after all, it is just picking one horse out of about twenty races or more. In this flat-racing season just finished, the winning tipster's success record was 41% whilst the worst was a meagre 21%. Add to that that only fifteen tipsters from sixty newspapers managed to make a profit to a £1 level stake - and a very small profit at that (an average of less than £10 for the eight months) - and one wonders how on earth they hold down their jobs.

I am going off now to ask myself what I am really "naff" at and maybe in a couple of years I could be quite comfortably off. Meanwhile, I recommend that if you want to find the winner of a horse race, rely on that trusty old pin!

Graham Forster

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