The Cheltenham horse racing festival is just a week away now and many Irish people have an intense interest in the week’s events. But if you plan to have a gamble next week consider how you make your mind up on what to back. Will you have attended preview evenings, studied the form in detail already, examined the horse’s pedigree, their previous track form, the weight they’ll carry and if they like the expected ground conditions. Of course you might also need to consider the trainers form and the jockey that will be riding the horse plus many other factors.
On the other hand you might pick a horse based on its name, its number or the owner’s racing colours. Warren Buffet, one of the top investors in the world, is famous for saying that “emotions should be left out of the investing process”, however neuroscience now indicates that the brain’s wiring emphatically relies on emotion over intellect in decision-making. This means we may be as likely to back a horse because it’s Irish trained or ridden by your favourite jockey as much as its recent form. It also helps answer the question of why people continue smoking or living an unhealthy lifestyle even though all the evidence indicates it’s a bad decision. Or why you might buy a certain brand of car even though it’s taxed higher and is more expensive to run than another similar model.
But if you do plan to gamble at Cheltenham next week I’ll offer one tip that I have a personal connection with. It’s for Wednesday in the RSA Chase, a horse called Aiteen Thirtythree trained by Paul Nicholls and he is currently second favourite. My heart is definitely being ruled by my head on this one as it’s bred by my mother!