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It Can Be Done, by Kevin Blake

it can be done

An old saying goes, “gambling is the only way to get nothing, from something”, and while the vast majority of punters lose long term, there are a select few who make it pay – and pay well. One of those men is Kevin Blake from The Irish Field, whom we caught up with to discuss his approach to betting and his new book “It Can Be Done”.

This competition is now closed

These 3 lucky Winners were drawn at random on Monday 13th Jan

ALAN DUNCAN

KEN LEECH

CHRISTINE MARSHALL

Well done to the 3 winners and we hope you enjoy the book!

For a man who only turns 28 this month, Blake has achieved a commendable amount in a short space of time in horse racing. He is the chief racing analyst for The Irish Field and a television pundit on At The Races. To boot, he manages to put a lot of time and effort into his own betting, particularly during the Irish flat season.

The book itself begins with a few chapters which provide a fascinating insight into Kevin’s world, his approach to betting – particularly in terms of the mindset required, the discipline and of course the time and commitment. Punters who read ‘It Can Be Done’ will not find any golden goose here, no direct route to riches nor the holy grail of betting systems. But what you will learn is that through dedicating and applying yourself in the correct way, you can definitely improve your gambling to the extent that a long-term profit is within the grasp of anybody willing to put the work in.

It is a thoroughly enjoyable book for any horse racing fan and aspiring punter. We have Three copies of It Can Be Done to give away. To enter, answer the simple question below and send your answer, along with your name and address, to Competitions@GG.COM:

Fellow Irishman and GG.COM pundit Kevin O’Malley caught up with Blake to ask him about the book and try to extract some further betting gems for our readers…

Kev, thanks for taking the time out for a catch-up – it has been a busy time for you! I enjoyed reading the book and the response has been positive all around I would say, was it a relief to finally get the book out there?

I wouldn’t say it was a relief! It was a relief to get it finished, it had been a fairly intense season, but actually getting the book out there was quite a nervous time. Putting myself out there in this way was a big thing for me, as I had tended to keep my betting very private up until this. There is an unfair stigma surrounding betting amongst the general public and I did worry about how such a book would be received. In general, racing/betting people have been very positive about the book, whereas the reaction of non-racing people has been predictably mixed.

In the early chapters you allude to the discipline and mindset required to make betting pay – do you think that instinct comes naturally? If not for some, can it be taught?

It’s an interesting question and in a nutshell, no I don’t think it’s natural. It certainly didn’t come naturally to me, it took years of hard lessons and working at it for me to become as disciplined as I am now. Sure, some people are naturally more emotionally level and rational than others which will undoubtedly speed up the process, but I believe anyone can develop the necessary discipline to be as successful at betting as their level of ability dictates they should. It’s like anything in life, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out and no one should go into it thinking it is going to be easy.

With so many different types of racing across both codes, how important is it to specialise these days?

For me, specialisation is massively important. The beauty of Irish racing is that the pool of horses is big enough to create plenty of betting opportunities, but small enough so that one man can readily cover all the racing without staying up all night to do so. There is just so much racing in Britain these days that you would need a team of hard-working analysts to adequately cover all the races and specialisation is an absolute must. My advice would be identify what type of race you like and do best at and really focus on analysing those in the most detail possible. The markets are very competitive and informed nowadays and if you are spreading yourself too thinly over an array of race types, you’ll struggle to consistently find edges.

In terms of watching lots of racing, which you also place a lot of importance on, is there anything in particular you look for when watching races back, what is it you’re looking for?

In a word, everything! When analysing racing, I’ll watch the race replay as many times as necessary to fully assess the performance of every horse in the race. My objective is to miss absolutely nothing. In terms of what I like to focus in on, trip preferences are a big thing for me, especially over trips of a mile or shorter. I’m watching everything with a view to the future, trying to anticipate how much and in what circumstances horses are likely to improve.

Well its 2014 now Kevin, the Chinese ‘year of the horse’ – what are you most looking for to over the next 12 months?

Cheltenham, the return of the flat, long summer evenings, personal improvement in every area!

I can’t let you get off without some insight from yourself into to the Irish scene in 2014. So, give us a horse or two, a trainer and a jockey to look out for this year?

In terms of a trainer, Denis Hogan is a dual-purpose handler that is impressing. He takes a patient approach and places his horses shrewdly once they enter handicap company. Colin Keane and Connor King dominated the apprentice scene in 2013 and are both exceptional riders, but a darker one for 2014 might be Robbie Downey who has been impressing at Dundalk in recent months. A sprinter to follow for the year could be Kiss The Stars, I feel she has a big one in her. Another I’ll mention is a filly called Bainne. She was trained over here by Charlie Swan and I bought her for an owner with Jeremy Gask a few months ago. She is going well, should be out on the all-weather soon and will hopefully win a few.

Finally, its only 63 days to the Cheltenham Festival – who is your Banker and a Dark Horse for the week?

I honestly think ante-post betting is gone to the dogs and I wouldn’t consider having a bet at this stage myself. If you put a gun to my head, I’m really excited about Felix Yonger. Forget about his last run, the ground was too soft for him, and I think he’ll be very tough to beat in whatever race he runs in, be it the Arkle or the Jewson. In terms of a darker one, don’t underestimate Un De Sceaux for the Champion Hurdle, he is hugely promising.

To win a copy of Kevin’s book, answer this simple question with your name and address and send to Competitions@GG.COM:

Which Irish jockey has been Champion Irish Flat jockey for the last two seasons?

Entries will close on Friday at Midnight and winners will be announced on Monday (13th Jan) morning – Good Luck.

If you can’t wait, Kevin Blake’s ‘It Can Be Done’ can be purchased on The Irish Field website for €11.99 including postage to the UK. Bargain! You can also find Kevin on Twitter @KevinBlake2011, where he regularly engages in horse racing related banter.