[AusRace] The Cat in a Hat - a system

Tony Moffat tonymoffat at bigpond.com
Fri Aug 28 23:39:01 AEST 2020

Marie was LLews wife, so the boss of us all then. On one occasion she dipped
into prevalent culture, conversationally anyway, having ignored groovy, man,
hip, boss, fab, choice and almost everything anchored in street talk back
then. The one occasion was when she nominated a punter, a winner also, as
The Cat in the Hat. He was male, wearing a hat, had won with us several
times, and nobody I know had spoken to him, nothing, not a word. He tapped
the board on the runner he wanted and showed his money, two notes and coins
if his bet was more than 15, say 18, I called it, Llew handed him his
ticket, he nodded and went off down the line. It takes all types, look at me
for instance.

So if you said Cat in the Hat in relation to a client you knew it was him as
the subject.

As far as I can tell he backed longer priced runners in the last 4 races. He
was in the ring during the day, up to the fourth but usually unmoved as
those races came and went. He wrote in a note book, and to me, that is the
descriptor of a system devotee on a race course. A person writing, recording
perhaps, the movements of prices both off the boards and on the blinking
tote displays, one of which was an electro-mechanical device with displays
that rotated noisily all day, like a scoreboard at the cricket, well that
person drew attention to themselves. A studious punter is a thinking punter,
heavens, isn't that an oxymoron, an adjective affecting a noun if ever there
was one.

Say the fourth race was due and The Cat started to fidget, you saw it,
speedy glances up to the tote boards and long looks at the bookie boards,
neck extended to get that little bit closer. If his picks, the long priced
horses, were towards the bottom you could nearly pick which one he would be
buying from us, provided the fielders allowed him on, and why would you not.
What's wrong with putting folding on runners that 'good judges' have priced
out in the 'boonies' (this is Kiwi English for outback). Good judges are an
anathema (harsh) and there are dozens of him!

The Cat would arrive at the stand, tap his selection and show his money, get
called, accepted, issued and move on. 

Stewart was the nominee this day, LLew and Marie were at a Club lunch, and
he saw The Cat approaching. Stew calculated which horse was ours to sell,
and wound it in, right in, and we got bypassed, not even a second glance, a
query, a raised eyebrow, a pause and a glance around to compare, nothing,
just a quick march over to Judders to bet our horse with them, all the while
their man looking over The Cat shoulder at me, as if to utter the 60's
version of wtf, which was wtf after all.

So, by subterfuge, we had information of what he was doing. Nasty, not
really, it was meant to coerce The Cat into talking firstly, asking
essentially wtf, and Stew would have given him another 5 points on its
generally accepted, displayed, odds around the ring. Nothing.

So, again we had his style of runner

By extrapolation we gathered info on where he started his betting. This was
determined to be runner numbers plus 3. 12 acceptors, look for runners over
15/1. This was moderated to be 15/1 no matter what.
The Cat liked senior riders. Sure, he backed apprentice mounts but took
these at top fluctuation, which is an ideal no matter who the 'hoop' may be.

The Cat listened to the call, all that echo, noise from the stand in front
of our ring, hooves on turf, whips cracking, and cheering but plainly did
not leave his eyrie on the wall overlooking us all and often was first in
the queue even though correct weight was pending he was standing there,
writing, looking down, not interacting, not talking.

That was it, his betting day was done if he backed a winner in his first
chosen race, or second, or third. He was off and walking away on the grassy
footpath towards the station, or tram or bus.

I'm pretty sure I have his selection pattern, the four (or five) longest
priced conveyances. His staking remains a mystery. It, the stake, wasn't
based on percentages, dutching or betting to chances, it wasn't fixed,  it
wasn't 20 on everything, it is unknown. He had to back two winners every
three weeks just to stay even. Lets do some calculations. First race, loss
86 over 4 runners, second race loss 83 over 4 runners, third race 5 runners,
winner at 25/1 @ 19 win 494 less 86+83+87 =win 494 less 256 - profit 238.
Essentially he has funded his next day on the punt, or the first three races
of that to an extent.

I believe my first contact with The Cat was at Moonee Valley, last race,
when he was next at the stand and tapped/pointed to Bete Noire and I asked
him how much, Sir, and told him 'sure', called the bet and LLew handed him
the ticket, and I moved onto a long line of waiting punters. Bete Noire ran
second at 50/1. He was in the ring next week or so when Koda Pen won 15/1 -
he did not bet with us. He was there when Arlines Pet went 2nd, 66/1 and
then Beer Street 2nd 25/1 - this may have been a loss for him, he would
normally have left if his bet landed but he was still plonking it on the
last, but not with us.
He was there the next week and had Hodmandod with us in the last, 2nd 25/1
11 dollars (which may have been all he had actually because he dug deep for
the 1). That same day Sandsequin 15/1,Opal Prince 33/1, were backed with
others but both came 2nd. There was no sign of him for a few weeks. He was
present at the stand for the first race, and backed Theddle 20/1 Stan Aitken
which won. Marie congratulated him while paying out, nothing, no
acknowledgement, just eyes down and two counts of the money, loud, so he had
a voice. He was still there at the end and had Nemteir in the last with the
group next door, 25/1 Stan Aitken. They, and us also, had stood the
favourite for a bit so we had a result and they had one, perhaps less so.

I was aware of him being around for a couple of meetings but not at our
stand. In that time there were several long priced winners, and place
getters although not that he went after those.

On Caulfield Cup day, after the Cup, he was in our queue after Beer Street
won. It was the wrong queue, we shared a payout spot with a group 3 stands
up and it was their ticket 15/1. He came past later and said 'sorry' the
first time there had been interaction. I turned to speak but he was off and
gone, Marie smiled and shook her head. 

On Derby Day the last race was won by 125/1 Sudani (Sudami) and The Cat had
backed Raad wih us. It was a good result. LLew asked Marie if anybody had
backed anything of note and Marie mentioned Raad and Llew asked who backed
that and Marie said 'The Cat in the Hat' - hey, it was funny back then. We
didn't work Cup Day, there was a ballot for stands and we didn't tender. The
firm had ceased before years end and I went travelling



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