A Gambler’s Tale: Trains, Planes & Automobiles

A Gambler’s Tale: Trains, Planes & Automobiles  Do you remember the film: Trains, Planes & Automobiles?

It must have been ten years since I last watched it, sadly never at the cinema on a big screen. Fast forward to now and my recently brother invited me to a viewing at the Bull & Swan public house in Stamford. They had a room out the back looking very festive with artificial Christmas trees, fairy lights and even fake fur on the wooden seats and a tartan blankets to put over your knees. Sitting there with a bottle of Rutland cider, triple cooked chips and a side of macaroni cheese I awaited the start of this classic film at 7pm.

Released in 1987, this American comedy is still one of my favourites. Staring John Candy and Steven Martin, it follows the journey of forlorn travellers Del Griffith and Neal Page trying to get back home for Thanksgiving.

The story is very much about identity, acrimony, tolerance and ultimately love. Together, even though at first they didn’t realise it, they needed each other to get through the rough times which later made them smile, laugh and appreciate each other.

The most poignant moment of the film for me is when after an argument Del Griffith’s says: ‘I like me!’

He reminded me of my friend Jerry Banks.

Being a horse racing bloggers, I had known the Lowestoft professional gambler via emails but it wasn’t until a good few years later we met for a day’s racing at Great Yarmouth. Thankfully, our friendship is based on a mutual interest and a respect for each other. There are many things that he knows about horse racing and gambling which I don’t and visa-versa. We’ve had many good days out which usually follow a similar pattern: A pint or two in the Troll Cart, head to the track for a few more drinks and a bet, followed by a meal in the Tandoori Savoy Indian.

It’s a good time had by all.

In fact, it has become a day for family and friends.

Gambling has always suffered from a stigma which depicts people as if on the slippery slope of life, without sense, morals or any standing. However, this is a stereotype which, if anything, holds only a grain of truth, a blemish on the people who enjoy their subject matter and like a bet. It is all too easy to miss the truth behind so many friendships that all start somewhere and often lead to a journey that captures the imagination and adds wholeheartedly to your life.

The sum is often greater than its parts.

Jerry has travelled by train, plane and automobile when heading to Santa Anita, California to watch the Derby. He went with friends. I wonder if any of them are similar to Del Griffith or Neal Page.

My cousin, Danny, a gambling man, also reminds me of John Candy, the kind of person who can talk to anyone, have a smile and laugh and enjoy all occasions.

God Bless the Del Griffith’s of this world.

Ascot Sporting Legends Slot by Playtech

Ascot Sporting Legends Slot by Playtech  Introduction

Playtech’s Ascot Sporting Legends slot is inspired by the horse races and is dubbed as one of the most exciting slot games available from Playtech. It is a progressive jackpot game with five reels and 25 paylines and has three bonus features available to the players.

Throughout High Society, there are a total of three wild symbols that appear, including two wild reels that appear as part of the free spins feature and offer the player an unlimited number of spins, as well as a 2x multiplier. Three progressive jackpots are available too.

Ascot Sporting Legends Bonus Feature

In this horse racing-themed slot, you’ll find 3 unique wilds, along with bronze, silver, and gold trophies. The Ascots Cup feature awards players 4, 12 or 40x their stake when three, four or five of the trophies appear in combination. There are also different rewards associated with each trophy.

  • Bronze Trophy – This Wild symbol will replace all other symbols but the Scatter.

  • Silver Trophy – All symbols except the Scatter are replaced by the Wild, and the reel becomes wild as a result.

  • Gold Trophy – Replaces all symbols except the Scatter, expanding and multiplying winning combinations by up to 8 times

You can win up to 20 Free Spins by landing the horse Scatter symbols on the first reel, third reel and the last reel simultaneously to activate the High Society Free Games.

Last but not least, the Sporting Legends Jackpot feature kicks in whenever a spin is made. Aside from the Sporting Legends life-changing Progressive Jackpot, you’re guaranteed to have the chance to win daily and weekly jackpots.


There are big wins at Ascot, and there’s a progressive jackpot as well. Win 1000x your stake with wilds and 8000x your stake with trophies. The race is about to begin, so place your bets now.

Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time The Day We Went to Cartmel

There are many idyllic racecourses across the world and even the United Kingdom has a few gems.

One of my favourite racecourses is Great Yarmouth, on the Norfolk coast, a track which may not figure too high compared to some. To be fair it isn’t Royal Ascot and champagne is often less popular than a pint of beer.

However, while travelling to this seaside destination via train, I got chatting to the ticket man.

I asked him: ‘Which is his favourite racecourse?’

He said one word.


With a rich history dating back to 1856, it’s a course many have enjoyed.

Nestled in the Cumbrian landscape, the natural beauty of the English countryside. It is reason why Cartmel is considered one of the most beautiful racecourses in the United Kingdom. It is a great location for horse racing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Situated in the southern part of the Lake District National Park amid rolling hills, verdant woodland and serene waterways, it has a backdrop of stunning mountains. This panoramic view captivates visitors from the moment they arrive. In addition, the racecourse is dog friendly and picnics are allowed.

Cartmel is dedicated to National Hunt racing. This small course features just nine days racing each year, from May to August. Although a small racecourse it is one of the most popular with the third highest attendance for a National Hunt course. Only Aintree and Cheltenham are more popular. The largest crowds are well over 20,000.

Spectators gather in the centre of the course which is dissected by the four-furlong finishing straight for the Steeplechase course (which is the longest in Great Britain), while the Hurdle course straight is just two furlongs. One side features a fairground and the other the Parade Ring and Winners’ Enclosure. The course is a sharp and narrow left handed oval. The main circuit being one mile and one furlong. The steeplechase features six jumps including an open ditch and water jump. The hurdle course features four obstacles. Due to the sharp nature of the course it favours front running types and course specialists. Soul Magic won on seven occasions before retiring in 2014.

The feature race is the Cumbria Crystal Hurdle Race worth over £40,000, held in July, part of the three-day meeting. Interestingly, all winning connections receive a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding to take home.

With Cartmel village a short distance from the track with shops and tearooms, it is considered a signifiant part of the race-day experience.

This part stone-lined course has captivates spectators who enjoy their horse racing and appreciate one of the most beautiful locations in Britain.

The racecourse and land are owned by the Holker Estate where the Cavendish Family resides.

Shrewd Cash Out

Shrewd Cash Out  The ability to ‘cash out’ horse racing bets has always been, and probably always will be, a bone of contention. The practice is probably best applied to ‘all-or-nothing’ accumulator bets, where two, three or more winning selections can produce a return that is difficult to resist, particularly with the prospect of losing it all if a later selection is beaten.

The quandary in which punters find themselves has, perhaps, never been better illustrated than by Paul Dean, who made headlines in March, 2021, when cashing out a bet potentially worth £511,000, for a £5 stake, for £250,000 with Betfair. The 40-year-old, who hails from Stockton-on-Tees, placed a long-range, five-fold accumulator on Golden Horde (12/1) in the Commonwealth Cup and Hello Youmzain (10/1) in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot and Shiskin (4/1) in the Arkle Challenge Trophy, Bob Olinger (25/1) in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and Envoi Allen (9/2) in the Marsh Novices’ Chase.

His first four selections won, leaving him with the choice of letting the bet stand – which, granted that Envoi Allen was, by now, odds-on for the Marsh Novices’ Chase, must have been tempting – or cashing out for a smaller, but by no means small, amount. In any event, after due celebration, a restless night and an early morning walk, Dean ‘bite the bullet’ and partially cashed out his bet, such that he stood to win £300,000 if Envoi Allen won and £250,000 if he didn’t. The decision proved shrewd because, despite starting prohibitive odds of 4/9, Envoi Allen made it no further than the fourth fence. Thus, Dean won £250,000 for a bet that was, effectively, worth nothing at all.