With so much racing during the summer months, there is no way a normal working punter can keep up with the whole of the form book. Which is where we come in. We dedicate virtually the whole working day, Sunday to Saturday, over 360 days a year, purely on form reading. So if anyone is up to date with form, we are - though even then we still get it wrong enough times to cause us continuously to improve our methods.
Many punters now specialise in certain race types rather than just read the form of a host of races daily. If you work like normal folk during the week, don't subscribe to TowerForm, and haven't yet specialised, you will be a rare breed of successful punter if wall-to-wall racing hasn't affected your profitability.
As for punters, so for jockeys. Many jockeys, including the so-called "workaday" jockeys cannot hope to be fully informed about every single horse they ride. They are totally focussed on the job during the day, and then try to relax in the few hours before bedtime after they have finished riding at their second meeting of the day. They are enveloped by their work and rely an awful lot on both agents and trainers to discover the characteristics and quirks of many horses they ride. If they are attached to a stable then they will know the horses, having ridden them in work or seen them in work. Otherwise, they have never seen, never mind ridden, most of the horses they are expected to win on.
Somewhere in Utopia is a place where racehorses are machines and, ridden by robot jockeys, run exactly as the programming predicts. The horses all run true, there are no pace variances, no blocked runs, no undulations, and definitely no bookies because the jockeys all ride perfect races on perfect horses and every result is as predictable as the orbit of the Earth around the Sun.
But we don't live in a mythical world. We live in the real world where the vagaries of human existence produce not automated causes and effects but random events caused by the fraility of human thought and deed. No-one is a perfect human being devoid of error. Every aspect of human existence is directed by the frailty of human actions.
So why is it that when a horse loses, the jockey should be at best fined and suspended and at worst, be taken out and shot at dawn. If a jockey makes a genuine mistake during a race and then loses that race because of it, it is a normal (natural, if you will) human event. not a conspiritorial action.
If you tend to criticise jockeys in a way that questions their integrity, then you should stop betting now. Don't even go racing. Horse racing needs you like football needs a yob.
If you criticise a jockey in a way that denegrates their character, then you should leave horse racing alone and go try the roulette wheel instead because racing needs you like politics needs the BNP.
There is nothing inherently wrong with criticism, it is how that criticism is formed and voiced that is the problem. Too much is based in cynicism which has historically been defined as, "an attitude of jaded negativity, and a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of other people." The modern-day definition is similarly defined, "a distrust toward ethical and social values, especially when there are high expectations which are unfulfilled."
Cynicism is not an attractive virtue. It misrepresents a true situation. The reasons why horses lose are many. To opt for easy criticism of a jockey highlights a general misconception. The type of misconception that in other more serious circumstances causes mobs of people to daub "paedo" over a paediatricians home. It is nasty and unbecoming. But that is digression.
There is nothing wrong in questioning whether a jockey has the ability to ride as well as others. Different levels of ability are extant in all walks of life, from the warehouse to the office, to the police force, to footballers to jockeys. It is not cynicism, it is airing a view about an ability, not a view about a conspiracy.
Not every footballer is a Premiership player (including some who are already playing there). Not every trainer is Vincent O'Brien. Not every jockey is Tony McCoy. It is a fact of life. It is not cynicism. Accept this. If you expect every jockey every day to ride a perfect race, you should stop gambling. You have a problem that needs addressing.
I have criticised jockeys and trainers in the past. But from an ability viewpoint only. I have always maintained that the vast majority of jockeys and trainers range from average to competent. That is, as I said earlier, a fact of life that cannot be denied. Many will have heard the oft quoted, "anyone can play the piano but how many are concert pianists." That is the basis of all my criticisms. It is my recognition that not all footballers, athletes, jockeys,. trainers have the same level of abilities. They differ in competence - as we all do.
So, the next time you call for a jockeys head on a platter, just remember that other old saying, "There but by the grace of God go I."