Opinion 

Helping your clients see the risks

Sarah Scott

Sarah Scott

Have you ever been to a race course rather than watch the horse racing on TV?

Feeling the horses pound past you at the side of the track, seeing the sheer exertion of both the horse and jockey as they compete?

I’m not one of life’s gamblers. In a previous blog I wrote called ‘Accidents will happen’ I explained that I’m just not the kind of person who is happy to take a chance on something unless the risk is pretty low.

So when my husband suggested we go to Kelso Races for a rare weekend away without the kids, where placing a bet is part of the experience, it seemed like the last place I’d want to be. Yet, I loved it!

When we arrived, I didn’t really understand anything, least of all why such a magnificent animal allows a human being to sit on its back, jumping over fences and racing for the finish line. (I still don’t really understand that bit).

And then there’s the betting system. How does placing a bet at the bookies work? Odds-on, fixed odds, evens, pari-mutuel - it’s another language.

I have to admit that despite having now spent a full day at the races, I can’t really claim to know a lot. Just a bit more than I did.

Being risk averse, I didn’t want to put my money on a horse with crazy odds. My head told me these horses didn’t stand a chance of winning, so I played it safe, betting on those with what I saw as narrow odds. But I quickly realised this theory didn’t hold true. 

In the third race, there was a horse whose name I just loved and the jockey wore orange, which by my reckoning was a sign I was onto a winner. But the odds were 28-1 so I decided to keep hold of my £2 for another race.

A mistake that was to cost me because the horse romped home, disproving my theory completely.

I think I placed £10 in bets and managed to bring home £3 in winnings over the whole day, which shows just how betting on something you feel is safe still doesn’t bring guaranteed results. 

I don’t think any of us really think about the chances we take on a daily basis. We leave our umbrella at home, hoping it doesn’t rain, we cross the road before the green man appears… but what about the big risks? The risk of us dying or becoming seriously ill? 

You may have seen our risk summary report that shows clients the risks they face during their working lives.

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