What can you do now you’re 18

Tom's top horse racing tips

Turning 18 is arguably the most significant birthday that you will ever have. With the main reason being that you can have a bet (forget the alcohol!). The very first thing I did on my 18th was set myself up a Skybet account. I thought it was great fun putting on my first £2 bet on a horse no matter whether it was a winner or not. I was there watching lots of the races every day, with my racing post app open on my phone studying the form. I realised that every race was like a puzzle and you had to spend a lot of time working out the form. I absolutely loved doing this and enjoy every minute of studying the form and will take however long it does for me to come to the conclusion as to what horse will come out on top. This is where my passion began as I was determined to work out the winners of every race. My knowledge of racing has developed significantly, and I felt that I wanted to share this with other people and help them find the winners of each race.

In Upper Sixth form at school, with people turning 18, no one seemed to be interested in gambling, but I couldn’t wait to turn 18, so I could have a bet. Once I started betting my friends gradually saw the appeal of it and the fun you can have having a small bet. By the end of the year, lots of people had started having a bet on the horses and there was me in class secretly watching the racing to check whether I had been successful. We would all be happy for each other’s big wins on the accumulators as someone would always end up getting lucky. I don’t think this went down well with the school but who’s to say betting is bad because everyone loves a cheeky dabble on the horses whether they’re at the races or at home watching the racing on ITV.

Forget about being able to drive when your 17 or your 16th when you can buy a scratch card. Your 18th birthday is your biggest day as your now treated like an adult and is the reason why people always throw huge birthday parties on their 18th. For my 18th, I organised all my friends to have a day out at the Ascot as there is great quality racing there and you can get dressed up for the occasion. For a lot of my friends it was their first time at the races, and I was the designated person teaching them through each different type of bet along with the placepot which is probably the funniest bet you can do. I always enter the placepot as for a £2 bet, you can get thousands in return depending what the dividend is. So, people who are there and don’t know what they are looking at can just pick random numbers and hope they place or even win. From what I guided my friends on how to read the form and what is most important in looking for a winner, they were picking all the winners between them and one of them returned £50 on a £2 bet, which sorted us out for drinks for the day. They all love going racing now whether it is Ascot or a smaller racecourse like Plumpton. Turning 18 has opened a whole new world to people who have never been racing before or not had any interest in going before. But once they’ve been, they realise the fun of having a few quid on a horse as a bit of fun. It’s not only being able to buy alcohol when you turn 18 but more importantly you can legally place bets which is where the real fun is at.

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