Punters of the world unite. The only 'enemy' is the bookie

Punters of the world unite. The only ‘enemy’ is the bookie

When you work as hard as I do at making an annual profit from betting – and helping others to do the same – it’s always nice to hear back from people that I am not wasting my time. That my efforts are appreciated. Not only when members have backed 40/1 and 50/1 winners of the Grand National, but also from those who are quitting as members of VG Tips, for personal reasons.

At a time when the internet, Twitter especially, appears to have been taken over by trolls and nasty people with negative attitude, it is reassuring to receive e-mails like the one I got this morning, from Neil.



I just wanted to let you know I have really enjoyed the trial of your tipster service.

You are one of the very few tipsters who are genuine and it is obvious that you are passionate and care.

I have seen some very nice winners tipped by you and I have enjoyed reading your analysis of each pick.

Sadly, due to ill health I won’t be able to get my bets on over the next few months, so reluctantly I haven’t continued with my membership.

As soon as my health is back on track, I will definitely return to your first class service.

It has been refreshing to find a real person, who is a quality tipster and cares about their customers and the industry.

Please keep up the great work. You deserve the success you enjoy.

I wish you every success for the future.

Kind regards,


I have thanked Neil for those kind words. Most pleasing are his ” “cares about” “real person” “genuine” and “enjoyed reading your detailed analysis” comments.

As I have said for many years to those prepared to listen, we all have good days and bad days. All punters and/or tipsters enjoy months when they seemingly cannot back a loser, and other months when they consider giving up and looking for what some would call “a proper job.”

But beating the bookie each year is a proper job. They don’t make it any easier. Year on year the big online bookies move the goalposts. They make the playing field ever more uneven, in their favour. But a determined, passionate, long serving and ultimately successful band of us keep going and, no matter how much the bookies try to cheat us, we prevail at the end of each year.

Sadly, the doubters, the moaners, the “you couldn’t pick your nose correctly” brigade will always exist. I visualize them as people unhappy in their own work. They are under the cosh in the office or factory. They are bullied by a boss so they rush home and abuse well meaning people online. They think they could do a better job of making an annual income from betting. To which I say: Well go on then! Quit your regular work that comes with some level of job security, sickness pay and holidays. Spend your every waking hour studying the form of footballers, football teams, thoroughbred racehorses, trainers, jockeys etc. Then be prepared to put your head on the line and back your tips not only with your own money, but pass on those tips to others. Try it. See how you get on.

There are good people out there who offer their racing or football tips for free, often on Twitter. As I did for many years. I have named the more reliable ones before. Happily, I do so again here. A handful of punters who have been taking on the bookie for years, not minutes. They offer their opinions and/or betting selections on Twitter for all to see. Like me, they’ve been betting with success for many years. On Twitter they include:- @Kris1179 @jocknjude @yorkycourses and @atta4lov – to name but four. Follow them on Twitter.

None of us get it right every day. But long term profitable punters tend to stick to what they know and do best. Look out for when all or most of us agree about the chances of a certain selection. It’s just possible that we’ll all be right. If you want to be a punter, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, including mine. Follow tips via a few who are proven over a period of years, including me. But not solely me. Get to know who you like and trust. Trust is all important, as Neil proved in that heartening e-mail.

But, I hear some still ask, who am I to offer betting tips? Well my success did not happen overnight. Some, especially I sense the young, expect betting to somehow make them millionaires overnight. It won’t. That much I do guarantee! My first bet was placed at the age of nine. When your Dad went into the bookies for the Grand National only (and children had to stand outside pubs with a glass of coca cola and a packet of cheese and onion crisps!)

Honey End, probably chosen because of my love for Paddington Bear, finished second in the most infamous Grand National of them all. The so called Foinavon Grand National of 1967. One elder brother backed the 100/1 winner with a £1 each way.

I began earning my own wage in 1975 and backed horses for the big races – especially the Oaks, the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, the Derby – with small sums. That remained the case throughout the 80’s. I put myself to the test. Either choosing horses but not betting on them or, later, backing them with 50p or £1 each way, I tested myself. In the 90’s I upped my stakes and the amount of time I spent studying form. I learned which jockeys and trainers did best for me. I took on board at which racecourses I seemed to enjoy most success. Only when I was confident that I could make an additional annual income through betting with stakes high rollers would look upon as loose change; only then did I make a life changing decision.

Several years ago I built VG Tips in to something that is about much more than tips.

profitable punter vernon grant being paid out on a winning bet

This time the respected independent bookie Julie Williams hands over my winnings

I turned my back on job security and a financial offer from Sky Sports that would have seen me very well paid for doing a job I could do with my eyes closed. I’d have been sorted, probably until retirement.

I had produced for Sky Sports, for a different boss, for four years on a freelance basis. I did the job too well. It led to a different boss, a less than desirable character, offering me a permanent staff job. But let’s just say he was not someone I wanted to work for. The young ones had to put up with his dubious man management technique. I didn’t.

After many years betting with success, I chose to go it alone. I could have earned much more per year from Rupert Murdoch for half the effort I now put into VG Tips. But I wanted to be my own boss. To stand or fall by my own success. To live a healthier life under blue skies while still enjoying my involvement with the great sport of racing. My father was born into an equine background. Horses had long been at the centre of his family and that of his father and grandfather before him. In 1997 I asked my uncle why I was enjoying such success as a punter: “Simple” he replied “it’s in your Irish blood.”

When the internet took off I vowed to guide others on the path to profitable punting. But, crucially, I wanted to offer them more. For example, first sight of my on camera interviews with names from the world of sport. Interviews I could acquire because of my experience in broadcast television. From 1980 I had worked for all the major UK broadcasters. My contacts book is full of sports stars going back to the mid 70’s, when I worked in Fleet Street.

Vernon filming Ian McMillan

Filming interviews for VG Tips

When the online trolls point the finger at people charging for tips they are making the mistake of putting everyone who does so in the same dock, facing the same accusation. That’s every bit as wrong as the actions of those dubious types who do exist and charge people a small fortune to call a telephone line, leave them hanging on for ages at heaven knows how much per minute, only to eventually get around to mentioning the name of one or two horses. That’s wrong, but if people want to call such services, it’s their choice. It is a free country – even for those who want to pay.

You should not lump those who work hard at this, and charge a reasonable sum for an established, popular and honest service, in with those whose intentions are not honourable.

Regardless of whether I am tipping winners of successive Grand Nationals, 30/1 first goalscorer bets, having my selection beaten at the line by nose, or tipping three losers on the same day…

..what pleases me the most is when I hear from followers like Neil. People who “get it.”

They understand and appreciate the all encompassing service I have long offered. They read the analysis (hurrah!) that has taken me hours to write. Then they make up their own mind, based on how confident I sound, as to whether they too will back a particular horse or football team.

Many of my long term members have their own ideas. They might pinch a couple of football teams I have suggested would win, and merge them with others they think will do the same. They might build their own accumulator, rather than simply back mine. Good for them. Over the years I’ve had members who have opposed my racing selection. They’ve even won once in a while and are quick to tell me so. What’s my response when their chosen horse beats mine? I am happy for them and make a point of saying “well done.”

vicente jumps to victory at ayr

Vicente. A 3rd Grand National winner in 12 months for members of VG Tips

You see, it doesn’t matter if you charge for tips or offer them free. It doesn’t matter if you are Tom Segal or Paul Kealy of the Racing Post, Chelsea fan @Kris1179, or little old me; we are all in this together. Or at least we should be.

Our only ‘enemy’ is the bookmaker. Punters of the world unite. United we stand, divided we fall.

I don’t force anyone to join VG Tips. I don’t twist arms behind backs. I don’t insist members back with their own hard earned money any horse or football team I back with my own. It’s up to them. Betting is all about personal responsibility.

As one famous gambler, now passed on to that great racecourse in the sky, said: “If you mind losing more than you enjoy winning, don’t bet.”

Wise words.


*Between May 4th and June 3rd the special £10 for a month of tips offer is open to all. That period covers the 2000 and 1000 Guineas, the Oaks and Derby at Epsom, the May meetings at Chester and York, the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, feature meetings at the Curragh and Leopardstown in Ireland and the culmination of the English and European football season. 


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