KEIRON Rowbottom has earned a lot from horse racing - and he is not talking money.

He is an expert and his love of racing has brought him into contact with the major personalities in the sport; it has given him his own radio show, a wealth of knowledge and, yes, a little money as well.

'Generally, I make a profit. But like every punter, I have highs and lows and, right now, I could not pick a winner to save my life,' said Rowbottom, of Rudheath.

'When I am on a roll, I get reckless like everyone else.

'But I love the sport. I have put in a huge amount of time and effort - I've got over 300 racing books - and if gambling did not exist, I'd still love it,' he said.

Rowbottom, now 50, last appeared on our pages two decades ago when he won the Daily Mirror Tipster of the Year competition.

He was already steeped in racing, but since then he became a stalwart of the North West Racing Club and has been general secretary for seven years. He also has two weekly slots on BBC Radio Merseyside and you can tune in on Fridays for his weekend tips.

His work with the NWRC involves organising trips to meetings and stables for its 350 members, as well as meetings which often take the form of 'preview nights' with guest speakers.

The Cheltenham Festival and Aintree were previewed at Hay-dock Park and on April 27, in the main stand at Chester, the NWRC will preview the flat season - and the flat is Keiron's particular love.

He shares his radio slot with John Morrissey, a jumps man.

'I enjoy it but it is hard work, especially as I have to script it myself. I am getting busy now the flat is under way and one pleasing aspect is that local bookies offer a charity bet on the show and, over the years, we have raised £12,000 for charity.

'I have met most of the leading trainers - the likes of Henry Cecil, John Dunlop, Sir Michael Stoute and jockeys like Lester Piggot, Frankie Dettori and Pat Eddery. I've come across the influential figures and personalties in racing and other sports, too, like Kevin Keegan and Mick Channon.

'I have been lucky and privileged. I go to 150 meetings or so a year. There are 59 courses in this country and 26 in Ireland and I have been to every one.

'It is far more important to me than having a bet. I have teamed up with Steve Taplin, who is an expert of breeding, and I have learned about the psyche of breeding and how to trace horses back through generations.

'Next week I'm off to tour Mark Johnson's stables in Yorkshire. I want to know what their expectations are and pick up background information and perhaps an inter-view for the radio.

'It is all good fun, every bit of it.' Even better fun for Keiron if a certain horse wins the Derby. He stands to collect his biggest ever winnings if the horse is first past the famous Epsom post in June.

'We saw it a year ago and reckoned straight away it would win the Derby and we backed it to win £50,000.

'It is the one horse I'm telling people to follow and it is owned by John Magnier, of Manchester United fame, and he expects big things of it.

'But if it doesn't win, I won't be any worse off, just not as well off as I might have been - and I'll still love racing.'

And the horse's name is Yates.

IT costs £18 a year to join the NWRC and anyone interested can contact membership secretary Ray Squire, 129 Cotswold Crescent, Bury.