Classy TV illusionist Derren Brown performed a very useful task in exposing system scamsters in February 2008 when his Channel Four show promised to reveal the perfect racing system which would guarantee to produce winners. And it did. Except that everything wasn’t quite as advertised, even though he had persuaded virtually every paper in the land – not least the Racing Post – to run preview pieces hinting very strongly that it would be. Once the show began it very soon became obvious to anyone with even the briefest of experience with betting just what was going on.
The programme focused on a young lady called Khadesha who had been given four consecutive winning tips by Brown and had now begged, borrowed and blagged four grand to put on the next – and ﬁnal – horse Brown was going to give her. She duly turned up at the racecourse and watched as Brown took her £4,000 and stuck it on the horse he named, which promptly ﬁnished a poor fourth. Cue looks of panic and consternation as Khadish realised that her money was lost, and that there was no perfect system.
Except that, for her, there was, as Brown had not put her money on the beaten horse – he’d put it on the winner, and she was 13 grand to the good. Possibly. Brown revealed the way he had actually constructed the perfect system. He had originally contacted some 7,000 people out of the blue, giving them a tip in a six-runner race. One-sixth of the people had been given each of the six runners in the race. Of course, over 1,000 of them were on a winner. That thousand then received another tip. Once again, one sixth of them were winners. Same thing for the next race.