That system does not exist; not in any legal format, at least. But a few years back I suddenly found myself the target of people endeavouring to convince me that it did. A Cornish gentleman, prepared to permit me to know him only as Mr Winner, had clearly spent time considering how best to harness the potential of his own version of the perfect system: ‘I know, I’ll blackmail the bookies with it – and I’ll start with that bloke Graham Sharpe at William Hill.
Times in January 2008, ‘I once subscribed to a telephone horse-tipping service that promised me huge success. It cost several hundred pounds a year for the service, but the real losses were on the races. However many thousands of pounds it promised in winnings, believe me, the truth was the reverse times ten.’ Of course, there are some extremely reputable and worthwhile operators whose advice is to be trusted.
But these are not the guys you will find writing to you in headlines, promising winners galore and cash aplenty. The search for the mythical Holy Grail, the key to The Da Vinci Code, the secret of eternal life, the mystery of the alchemists’ art or where Derek Thompson gets the energy to maintain an almost permanent media presence – these are as nought compared with the frantic cravings of a vast number of punters to discover the perfect winner-finding system.