Back in the saddle…

We stayed here! Chateau de Behen

We stayed here! Chateau de Behen

After nine days away, it feels very good to be back in the saddle once more: refreshed, energized and with plenty of ideas to take all things geegeez to the next level. So how was the trip?

Well, cast your mind back to a dim and distant time - a week ago last Friday to be precise. It was the second half of Glorious Goodwood or, as it has become known to me this year, Tortuous Goodwood. It happens quite often over jumps for some reason - especially at the Cheltenham Festival - but very rarely on the flat. In fact, this is the first time I can remember having such a woodwork-rattling week at a flat racing festival.

Quite simply, everything I backed to win finished second or third; everything I backed each way finished fourth or fifth (depending on the number of available places, of course). Although many such examples had already manifested themselves, the week was typified for me by my two bets on the Friday. I had a very decent bet on the well drawn Fire Ship in the Betfred Mile, each way, at 16/1.

She led until half a furlong from home, and was passed very late by TWO horses to finish... you know it, fifth.

No matter, for my bet of the week was upcoming. Winning Express had standout form to win the Oak Tree Stakes, and was well drawn to do likewise. I'd taken 5/2 for plenty early, and the 2/1 favourite had all of her main market rivals thoroughly cooked. Alas, she didn't bargain on Jonny Portman's pride and joy, Annecdote, spoiling the party. And nor, naturally, did I. The Racing Post comment for Annecdote of "quickened to lead last 75 yards" summed my week up and, if you followed me in, your week too no doubt.

At times like these, when results can be really hard to take, it pays to be philosophical: don't be tinkering with your selection method, because clearly a lot is being done right. Irritatingly, payouts are elusive, but to come that close that many times is a symptom of randomness and the yang in the good punters' qi (with apologies for the butchered Chinese philosophy). Surely, it's far worse when the wallpaper has dart marks in it, so wide of the target have your wagering arrows been.

I didn't play on Saturday, and of course, my Wokingham horse, Rex Imperator, won the Stewards' Cup. In truth, I had retired hurt by then and enjoyed a week off the punting. That week began on Friday, as we commenced a long car journey with a ten month old baby to Western France. Sensibly, we'd opted to stop half-way both there and back, and even more sensibly (for me), I'd decided to surprise Mrs Matt with a nice hotel bed rather than the Novotel in which she thought we were staying. (Of course, there's nothing wrong with Novotel, but it can be a bit, well, Alan Partridge...)

That got me in her good books, to the point where she'd almost forgiven an afternoon of listening to me eff and blind, cuss and swear, at those two close-but-no-banana wagers which defined my week.

Saturday morning involved the further drive from Chateau de Behen (recommended, and reasonable, for what it is) to Concourson-sur-Layon, a no name village in the Loire valley. There we'd spend a week in the company of nine other adults, many of them school friends from thirty years ago, and eleven (!) other children. It was not as noisy as it sounds, and there was (too much) food, (too much) wine, and (too much) sleep.

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It's been a long time since I've slept as much as last week - probably my student days! - and my battery is well and truly charged. If only all batteries had such life in them... You see, on the way west at the start of the week, we'd been caught in heavy traffic around the town of Rouen, something of a bottleneck for all routes in that part of France. So, on the homeward leg, I decided we should bypass Rouen by skirting around the west and north of it. The last part of that detour involved a short piece of motorway and a peage (French toll gate). In time terms, that was 25 minutes of motorway and EIGHTY MINUTES of queuing for the peage.

There was a parallel non-toll road that might have taken 35 minutes of driving, but with no toll and no queue. Mon dieu!

Adding insult to injury was the fact that, unbeknownst to us, the car battery had been running down nicely during that line time (though my phone was nicely charged, form the cigarette lighter USB thingie!). The upshot was that we broke down just as we drove in to refuel at a motorway service station. Dead battery.

A difficult conversation in badly fractured French, a tow truck and 310 euros later, and we were back on the move. Gulp. There were the obligatory delays at the Eurotunnel, of course, but we had a smooth run England-side, and were ultimately very glad to be home. A good break, yes, but driving with a baby in France - a very big country as it turns out (who knew?!) - was not the wisest of moves.


Now then, if you're wondering why there hasn't been an update on the tipping league for July, it's because we've experienced a bit of an issue... In a plot that could have been stolen straight from a Ruth Rendell mystery, it was the case that a number of players had performed strikingly well. Indeed, almost too well. Yes, dear friends, we had cheats in our midst.

I make a joke of it but I was actually thoroughly p155ed off that people would abuse a small loophole (now closed) in the quest for a £100 free bet. Sure, that's a very nice prize, and backing a winner with it would be extremely pleasing. But to cheat in a free 'bit of fun' competition? I'm half tempted to name and shame those who did it, such is my irritation. But I won't. Suffice to say they've been banned, and the prizes will be handed down to those who finished lower, but actually picked the race winners before the results were known...

Step forward, kendot, ynwajim, and clickclark! Congratulations to all three of you: you'll be receiving free bets to the tune of £100, £60 and £40 respectively, and I'll be in touch later to sort.

The August competition - mercifully free of such chronological shenanigans - is underway, and you have the best part of three weeks to catch up if you've not been playing or have started with less than a flourish.

You can enter here:

And that's it for today's shortish  post. Just time to tell you that the placepot picks will return this afternoon - probably online around midday - and if you're following @geegeez_uk on twitter, you'll be the first to hear about it when they're posted. You'll actually be the first to hear about all new content on geegeez, which is advertised to that twitter account within minutes of being published.

Click here to follow geegeez on twitter (and to get a twitter account if you don't have one).

It's great to be back, and over the next couple of weeks, I hope to be able to add a whole range of fancy new toys for you to play with on the site. Let me put it like this: I currently use four or five different sources to do my form study (most of them premium services), and in the not too distant future, I'll be able to use one, for free - geegeez. And so will you... 🙂


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18 replies
  1. Stuart says:

    Welcome back, good sir! Had to smile (wryly) at the cheats story. It would be one thing trying to cheat a hundred quid out of the bookies (or a lawyer, a politician, or an estate agent, of course), but what you found was effectively someone trying to pinch a hundred quid off fellow punters. Well done for banning him/them (I would write him/her/them, but suspect that the fairer sex wouldn’t normally stoop so low) – although he/they will doubtless be back, via their girlfriend, cousin, dog, local fishmonger, or whatever.

    Have a good week!

  2. Martin says:

    Good to have you back, Matt…enjoyed your holiday sojourn cum near misses at Goodwood. Martin.

  3. joshw1989 says:

    hi Matt,

    glad to hear that you had a well deserved break! And what a nice surprise to read that I have come second in the tipping league for July! (despite throwing plenty of bullets at less well researched nags,and horses i wouldnt normally back in order to overhaul the leaders!) I did think that those above me (bar kendot) had suddenly started tipping big winners from nowhere and at dispiriting regularity!! Glad they have been banished,no place for people like that at geegeez.

    good to have your ramblings back!

    Josh W

  4. Ron Combo says:

    I thought some of those winners in the league were flying a little too high!
    Bentornato Signor Matt!

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      I had breakdown insurance, but no cover for the new battery. So I’ll get at least some of it back, Dion. Brave yes, but not daft!


  5. Ray Thompson says:

    Salut! Bienvenue chez le voyageur fatigué!, Er … maybe “Hi, knackered traveller” sounds better after all! Now where’re our prezzies?

  6. mikeaston says:

    Matt missed you and your placepot magic. What a lowdown bum cheating on all of us just having a bit of fun. looks like we have a career criminal in our midst. Out them they are not wanted here.

  7. TopCat says:

    Well done for banning the buggers!! How low can some people get??? Looking forward to your future postings!

  8. Francis says:

    Good to have you back your car stories in France brought back memories of driving with my young children to Italy amazing to think that was nearly 30 years ago!

  9. Gary says:

    Welcome back Matt, raring to go no doubt, unbelievable that anyone could stoop so low for £100, I had my suspicions with the price of some of the winners being picked, if genuine would have been barred from every bookie in the land. Well done for sussing them out. Gary.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks all – very kind of you. 🙂

      Good to be back, albeit with a ‘losing winner’.


  10. Jack Kenrick says:

    Hi Matt. I avoid Facebook, Twitter and I am not registered to Google. May I ask what benefit it is for you to publish on them, when you have a perfectly good web site of your own? And why you are always suggesting we look on these sites to find you? Are you hoping to close your own sites?

    Regards Jack Kenrick

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Jack

      I’m certainly not looking to close geegeez – very, VERY far from it! It’s simply that I cannot email people eight times a day (for instance, like today, when there are eight new posts on the site), so it’s more expedient to add an update on twitter, and people can click the link (back to the site) or not.

      To clarify, it’s just a way of notifying people of new stuff here. I rarely post content to the geegeez twitter account that isn’t available here, though I do occasionally, but I do use it as the most expedient method of real time communication. Hope that makes sense.


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