I was fortunate enough to attend the Goodwood horse racing festival last week. I confess that I am a horse racing virgin and had never placed a bet in my life. I had an enjoyable day off with a few colleagues. Having confessed my inexperience at a very early stage I was shown the ropes and the logic behind betting odds was explained. It was a salutary reminder of what many people feel about the investment world, full of jargon and the unenviable task of finding the right adviser and the right investments.

The task of selecting the right horse, involved viewing the horses, their form guide and reading the event guide and if so desired, the relevant newspaper. I regret that on a table of 10 people, only one person picked a winner from the 6 races… you guessed it – that was me (twice!). This was a good case of beginners luck and whilst I went with a small budget, I ended the day with a smaller one.

It was fascinating to hear the excuses given about the jockey not doing the right thing, the horse being boxed in, a suggestion that perhaps the race was not entirely fair. Everyone was wise after the event, yet willing to take yet another punt on the next race. I am sure that the professionals or experienced horse racing crowd could demonstrate added advantage from their knowledge, but I could not help feeling that there was a significant degree of luck involved.

My suspicions about gambling (for me) were confirmed – I really shouldn’t. I also should not attempt to guess the outcome of things I know very little about. I am heartened by the fact that whilst selecting investment funds is no “walk in the park” I do have considerably more expertise and find it very different from gambling. Gamblers can lose a fortune, in the funds that I select, certainly the value can depreciate, but I never place someone in the position of being able to lose all their money. The rules of the game are completely different, ones with which I am thankfully very familiar.

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