Life's a Gamble! I always feel like having a ‘cheeky bet’ as we might say is frowned upon a little more than it used to be. More and more often it seems like whatever anyone is doing there is the wag of a finger from someone or other in close vicinity. It’s a shame really as many of my fondest memories involve having a flutter on the races or heading to a local casino with my brothers and cousins;  real family affair. Even playing the best online slots can bring with it memories of big wins and edge of your seat moments.

Growing up it was – and still is outside of this current hiatus we’re all experiencing – something of a family tradition to ‘do the double’ of heading to our local(ish) racecourse (Great Yarmouth) and to then make a beeline for the casino there afterwards. It’s situated in a listed building that’s dripping with history and royal connections and has a nice restaurant there too – so as a combo it works like a charm. I have many a happy memory there of having a healthy win on the roulette wheel or slots or of a family member doing the same. I’m sure it’s the same worldwide really, whether online at or in a brick and mortar establishment, there is always somebody who is ‘quids in’ and having a run of luck you wouldn’t believe. As long as people know their limit and are there with friends, there’s nothing better than seeing what lady luck brings your way.

So the next time you’re faced with someone who likes to shake their head at people ‘chancing their arm’ at their favourite casino game or cheering on an outsider at the races, be sure to remind them that there isn’t much fun to be had in life by always operating with a safety first attitude. In fact, so much in life contains some element of risk, and if you always operate with caution,  many if not most of the best memories and opportunities that life can bring will simply pass you by.



Clive Cox Nowadays, Clive Cox is best known as a Group One-winning trainer based at Beechwood Stables in Lambourn, Berkshire, to which he moved in May, 2000. However, his career in racing began, as a scrawny teenager, when he became apprentice jockey to Peter Cundell, based in the village of Compton on the Berkshire Downs, in the early Eighties. That said, his career as a Flat jockey did not last long and yielded just two winners, one in 1981 and another in 1982, before his burgeoning weight forced him to review his options.

The enforced switch to National Hunt racing did his riding career no harm. After a brief, but successful, spell as conditional jockey to Somerset trainer Stuart Pattermore, Cox returned to Lambourn and joined then-fledgling handler Oliver Sherwood in a similar capacity. He won on his first ride for his new employer, Sacred Path, at Warwick in November, 1984.

Just over three years later, in April, 1988, Sacred Path would also provide Cox with his one and only ride in the Grand National. A confirmed mudlark, Sacred Path had returned from over a year off the course, due to injury, to win the Crudwell Challenge Cup at Warwick in March. Saddled with the minimum weight of ten stone at Aintree and with conditions turning in his favour, after a torrential downpour, Sacred Path was the subject of a public gamble, which forced his price down from 14/1 to 17/2 favourite at the ‘off’. Sadly, while the eight-year-old jumped the first fence well enough, he crumpled on landing and fell.

All told, Cox rode just shy of a hundred winners and recorded his highest seasonal tally, 33, in the 1985/86 season. Indeed, in 1985 he won the Frogmore Chase at Ascot on Admiral’s Cup, trained by Fred Winter and, in 1986, the Mares Hurdle at Newbury on Atrabates, trained by Oliver Sherwood. Nevertheless, by 1988, his riding career was already in sharp decline and by the time he rode his last winner, at Newton Abbott in March, 1990, he had already taken out a public training licence.