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27 January 2011

Enemy Number One (2009)

At school I used to wonder what happened to the kids that got bundled off to Oxford and Cambridge. What would they end up doing with themselves? Would they ever be able to catch a bus or tie their own shoelaces?

Patrick Veitch went to study Mathematics at Cambridge... and ended up as a professional gambler.

I wish I'd studied more at school!

Enemy Number One documents Pat's rise to Super-punter and savvy race horse owner.

The book starts with Ferrari-driving Pat getting the squeeze from some local head-cases. With what we are to come to learn is typical Veitch stubbornness, Pat doesn't give in, but bloody hell, what an ordeal. Pat goes underground and puts his life on hold fearing every knock on the door. It's only through sheer determination, extreme measures and perhaps a little bit of good luck that he manages to pull out the other end. My heart went out for him as he recounted the tale. What a bloody nightmare!

I've never been much of a gambler and I certainly wouldn't claim to be any good at it, but it's obvious reading Enemy Number One that Pat is. It's also obvious that he thinks a little bit differently to rest of us. Whilst he's obsessive; a perfectionist; a consummate professional; he also comes across as a likeable bloke who can have a laugh.

To say that Pat's success lies in the numbers would be doing him a disservice. Yes, he's looking for every opportunity he can to exploit 'bad' odds (and there is a lot of discussion in the book as to what this might mean), but you can't get away from the fact that he knows his bloody horses too!

As you would expect, there is a lot of detail here about the horses that have helped and frustrated Pat along his climb to financial security. He outlines his big bets: every big win and loss... to the penny. In the last 10 years Pat has won to the tune of £10m profit. And now he's writing best-selling books too!

"But is he happy?" I hear you ask.

Yeah, I think he is.

On the Triple-B, I'm making Enemy Number a general public 6-1 outsider. However, if you're a betting man who likes the Horses then this book should be a dead-on cert for your bookshelf. Well done Pat!

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