Patrick Veitch studied mathematics at Cambridge University but soon found himself devoting more time to the horses than to algorithms.
Veitch initially set up a telephone tipping line to supplement his income. He paid friends £5 per hour to answer the phone and pass on his tips. So successful was his tipping line that it was bringing in over £10,000 a month by the time that he started his third year at Uni. He was noticed by leading racehorse owner/breeder Michael Tabor who hired him to mark his card. Their association would last three years.
A Racing Certainty
In 1997, Veitch recommended a horse called Blue Goblin in a handicap at Newmarket to Tabor. It was owned by Sheikh Mohammed and ridden by Frankie Dettori. It was the only time that he suggested to Tabor that a horse was a racing certainty, investing £20,000 of his own money on the grey.
Blue Goblin had won his previous race at Lingfield Park after being placed in two very competitive handicaps at Newmarket. The horse was backed from 5-2 down to 11/10 favourite and easily beat Connemara and Sharp Hat. His next race was at Royal Ascot where he finished second in the Group 3 Cork & Orrery Stakes behind Royal Applause.
Although he did not graduate, it would be a mistake to believe that Veitch has simply drifted out of University into a life of luxury as a gambler. He once had to go underground after being physically threatened by extortionists. Two men demanded £70,000 from him to compensate for alleged losing tips. Veitch was told that, if he refused to pay, they would cut off both of his legs. The culprits were eventually tracked down and faced justice after seriously assaulting a Police Officer. Veitch was required to testify against them through a bulletproof screen.
He was able to recover from that frightening experience and has not been shy about his success, investing in a luxurious lifestyle. The rich rewards of his gambling career include a private helicopter, a Ferrari and a London apartment. Veitch has been widely labelled as Britain’s most successful professional gambler. He made over £10million from betting between 1999 and 2007. Not surprisingly, his success resulted in a ban from every bookmaker in the country.
With the chances of placing a bet at the racecourse long since gone, Veitch now watches the action unfold on a multitude of TV screens. He is never likely to be seen wildly celebrating his wins as his focus is always on the long-term. Unlike some high profile professional gamblers, Veitch never puts himself in a position to suffer a heavy gambling loss that would seriously impact his overall wealth.
Exponential gamble at Nottingham
Veitch has re-invested some of his winnings in racehorses and landed a significant coup with Exponential at Nottingham in 2004. The horse finished last on its debut at Beverley when racing in blinkers, often taken as a sign of a reluctant or skittish horse. He went off a 25-1 shot and finished 17 lengths behind Wonderful Mind.
Exponential had been working extremely well ahead of his next race at Nottingham but the horse completely slipped under the bookies’ radar. They opened him up at 100-1 and Veitch cashed in to the tune of almost a quarter of a million pounds!
Other notable gambles include Cerulean Rose at Goodwood in 2003 and Silver Touch at York in 2006. Veitch backed the improving Cerulean Rose to win £262,000 while Silver Touch netted him a cool £272,000.
In 2009, Veitch published “Enemy Number One” with the tantalising tag line of “The Secrets of the UK’s most feared Professional Punter”. These days, Veitch is reluctant to give details of his methods or his selections. He reasons that he would be feeding the bookmakers information that could undermine his system. What we do know that is that he is a facts and figures man. If his figures suggest a horse is much better than the bookmakers are rating it, there may be a winning opportunity.
Veitch maintains that it is difficult to find value at the bigger meetings and is not a fan of National Hunt racing. What he will say is that you need to dig deeper than the perceived wisdom if you are to beat the bookmakers. He has reportedly identified as many as 80 different factors when assessing a horse race. He believes that the key is discovering the single factor that the bookmakers have got wrong on any given day. He says that each factor is very subjective so it is no easy process to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Veitch insists that there is no substitute for hard work and estimates that he devotes 80 hours per week to horse racing. He must now employ “agents” to place his bets but still claims to be able to win up to £100,000 in a single week. Veitch has taken a leaf out of Barney Curley’s book by running military-style operations to place his bets up and down the country. There are no “get rich quick” schemes for Veitch but clearly his hard work has paid off very handsomely!