Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

   Home      How I Got Into Racing

 

'A school friend rather than a relative introduced me to horse racing. My father had little interest in the sport but indulged me sufficiently to take my bets to a bookmaker. He'd say to me, "that's another gallon of petrol for the bookie's car!" Petrol cost 5/- (25p) a gallon in 1965. 
 
It wasn't until university that I visited a racecourse: Newmarket, 1967, 2,000 Guineas day when Royal Palace won. From a betting perspective it wasn't successful. I'd been sold a "marked" racecard in the car park at three times its face value. None of the selections won. After racing it was rather fortunate I'd no money left and couldn't be coerced by card tricksters into "finding the lady". Nevertheless I was hooked. 
 
That term I lost most of my grant in a student betting syndicate using a martingale system based on Daily Mirror's Newsboy selections. You live and learn but it would be many years before I turned betting into a profitable hobby.
 
Not knowing what to do with my physics degree, but still harbouring the horse racing bug, I joined Ladbrokes. Later I worked for William Hill, Tote and Betfair before retiring in 2008. My most memorable racing days have been outside Britain including four trips to Breeders' Cup, visits to Sha-Tin, Pardubice, Longchamp and Chantilly.
 
My real passion though has been Irish racing. In 2004, following an afternoon at Tralee, I had  completed visits to all 27 Irish tracks. For 20 years I've written about my Irish trips and many articles have appeared in this (LRC) magazine. 
 
We live in Ludlow now which boasts a very picturesque track. However you're more likely to find me in Galway or at Leopardstown!'



          Surreal wins at a massive price for us at the Galway Festival