Fred Angles Big Punter Of The Turf

Fred Angels

Fred Angels Professional Punter

For the most part, big successful gamblers are exceedingly extroverted. They like to attract notice and they are not shy about self-promotion. They prefer expensive clothes, flashy cars, glamorous women and flamboyant lifestyles.

This is not to say that exceptions are not possible, however, and there was one punter who was decidedly an introvert by temperament that went by the name of Fred Angles. He went to great lengths to maintain a low-key persona and attempted in his betting activities to avoid attention as much as was possible. He regularly and systematically took big plunges over the course of the 1920s through the 1950s.

Known simply in bookmaker circles as F.A., Fred was the oldest of 11 children and the son of a bookmaker. He also had a brother, Cyril, who approached the sport of racing from the “angle” of a race commentator, a well-respected one at that.

Fred Angles Catholic Education

Fred Angles, the beneficiary of a Catholic education, left school at the age of 15, seemingly to avoid a future as a chemist. He immediately went to work for a bookmaker named Barney Allen.

In an era before computer assisted analysis of vast data and statistics was possible, Angles employed a methodical approach that few others had ever pursued. He did not have the aid of technology, unless you consider his application of numerous telephones, to lead him to high probability wagers, but instead relied on a painstaking manual analysis of results current and historical and other statistics to make his selections.

Those who saw him in action could make no determination how well or poorly Angles was doing on race day, to the extent that some punters craving additional action would wager against each other to see who of them could perceive Fred Angles’s results from his facial expression. In typical introvert fashion, he reacted to winning days and losing days in much the same way.

His standard reaction when queried about his results on a winning day was a decidedly low-key, “I won.” Losing days received an equally laconic reaction: “I lost.” A day at the track with no definitive outcome was, “There wasn’t much in it.”

His approach not only bordered on the obsessive, but clearly crossed that border.

He typically would spend the equivalent of a standard work week preparing for a meeting, a level of labour that is hard to imagine from more flamboyant punters such as Eddie Hayson or George Edser.

Study Form And Go Broke - Well Some Do, Not All

The beginning to Angles’s work week was when he would examine the current form of up to or over 300 horses. By the time Thursday came around and fields were finalized, he had eliminated the majority of the horses with which he began. He was known to look at some of these horses on his shortened list in great detail, even when he was fairly convinced that he would not back that horse.

By Friday, Fred Angles had winnowed his original list down to around four solid candidates. If he could not further eliminate his contenders, he would back them all provided that he could acquire the right odds.

He had an extensive network of informants who for a fee, supplied Angles with subjective observations of training runs, even those runs that were not considered fare for public consumption.

An insight in Angles’s mindset was offered by the form guides that his wife had preserved after his death. He was often somewhat disparaging in his comments, calling horses that underperformed “camels” and trainers who failed to produce “mugs,” or much worse. Mrs. Angles was to say to many that Fred’s demeanor was so calm that even she had difficulty ascertaining his results on any given day.

If his exhaustive attention to detail concerning horses, trainers and jockeys were not enough to distinguish him from the typical big plunger, he was also known to take track conditions into consideration as well.

On any given day, there would have been no doubt that Angles was the best prepared, most well informed man at the track.

Fred Angles Very Generous

He was also known for a generous streak. Many on the receiving end of Fred Angles’s largess would frequently offer him tips and advice, all of which was discarded if they did not support his already formed opinions.

Angles was associated with several thoroughbreds. He supposedly played a hand in the career of Carioca, the 1947 foaled that won such big races as the Sydney Cup in 1953, the ATC Metropolitan and two Chipping Norton Stakes, winning at distances all the way from 1000 to 3200 metres. Angles also had a role involving Dark Felt, the horse who placed fourth in the 1942 Melbourne Cup, very nearly beating winner Colonus in the bargain, before coming back for a Cup victory in 1943.

While it is true than Fred Angles did not have modern technology to assist his analysis, he did use what was available to him.

He had 50 telephones in his home that he would use to place wagers with off-track bookmakers so close to the jump that those bookmakers did not have time to get the money back to the track and affect the odds that Angles sought.

He himself mad a short-lived foray into bookmaking, but that was quickly abandoned, with the cause most likely being that Angles did not want to experience the same fate as that which he had imposed on many a bookmaking victim of his expertise.

Perhaps the anecdote that serves to define Angles better than any other concerns the occasion where bets were made in his name without his authority.

This happened in the late 50s and cost Angles the then-princely sum of 28,000 pounds. Unlike some others who would have refused to honour the obligation, the simple fact that “F.A.” was on the sheets was enough for his sense of duty.

Relatives of Fred Angles claim that this may have had a role in his demise in 1961 following a series of heart attacks that may have come about as a result of the incident.

Fred Leaves Behind A Fortune

When he died, Angles left behind over 50,000 pounds, a considerable fortune for those times. Those who knew him closely were fond of speculating that this amount was won and lost on many occasions over the course of one meeting.

Fred Angles supplies the contradiction to the assertion that gamblers are reckless risk takers. He avoided the limelight and lived a conservative lifestyle that permitted him to thrive for many years from the product of his racing ventures.

Others have since used his approach combined with modern technology to prove that it is indeed a viable one, and it supplies incentive to speculate what kind of winnings Fred Angles could have produced with the assistance of modern technology combined with the exponential expansion of prize money that horse racing has undergone.