Monday, 23 February 2009

Out with a whimper!

Loss since last update £123.20

It feels a little bit sad that my 12th and final month of The Experiment is going out with a whimper. Being honest, when I started the month, I thought it would have been easy to smash the £7k mark for the year (I was only £78 short ffs!) and at the back of my mind, I maybe had pretensions to get somewhere near £8k if I got off to a good start. I think I’ve been in profit for 2 days this month, so never a chance of achieving anything near the £8k!

Before anyone worries, I haven’t traded one single day in front of the PC this month. Weekends just haven’t allowed it and I’ve traded 48 races this month and about 40 have been on BF Mobile, so it’s not like I’ve spent much time on it.

So, what has gone wrong this month?

Basically, I’ve developed an unwanted knack of not following my own tips from The Form Analyst! As you know, I am TFA but this month, I’ve only traded 2 of my 6 winners. I’ve traded nearly all of the losers though. That sort of thing doesn’t help obviously and even though I’ve had a few £50+ wins, I’ve had a couple of large losses (one £100 loss :( ) and it’s just turned into a nothing month for me.

Obviously, I’m not going to worry too much about this month and I’m not going to let it spoil the enjoyment of what I have achieved on BF this year and the fact I have started a tipping business off the back of this blog. Pretty impressive stuff in my opinion and I’m really looking forward to the next 12 months to see where I go at that game.

I sort of gave up on trading from about August and I turned my attention to trying to be a tipster. Before August, I’d never given anyone a horse-racing tip in my life to be honest. Yeah, I’d analysed races before and followed my own advice but I would have always classed myself as the worst tipster of all time. I remember writing a post on the subject and it was true. Every time I was sure a horse would win, it never did when I told others!

I have now been running the tipping service for 5 months and it has been very tough going. I think one of my problems with tipping is always going to be the fact that my knowledge of horse-racing and my ability to read form is never going to match my ability as a tipster. I used to think that it was achieveable but I know it isn’t now.

To be able to fully implement what I know about horse-racing form, I’d have to be playing this game full-time. At the moment, I spend 2-3 hours in the evening before the day’s racing and then a little bit of time each day when I see the market shaping up. As my results have shown, it isn’t enough to be as successful at this game as I wanted to be.

When I started out, I thought I’d cruise to 240 points profit a year. Anyone playing £100 a point would win £24k no probs and it would be like taking sweeties from a kid. Being honest, I still think I can make 240 points a year from tipping but it just won’t be as easy as I thought it would be.

I think one thing that needs to be pointed out is that my target of 240 points a year is a lot of points! I quote things like this all the time as I have great belief in myself and my ability as this game. To my knowledge, no tipster in the game consistently makes this many points and I can’t imagine too many tipsters with no experience start out trying to make this sort of level of profit in their first year.

One thing that makes me laugh is that I’m always being compared to other tipsters in the game who are clearly very good and are much more experienced than me. It’s very flattering to be mentioned in the same breath as Equine Investments, Tipping Legends, Maths, SLH, Optimum and the like. These services are all well established services with massive client bases. I’m sure a few of these are full-time services and that maybe explains why they can charge such a high subscription cost.

I’ve mentioned this on the forum at the site but I have stopped charging anyone who has come up for renewal. I don’t offer a guarantee of this sort on the site and I don’t feel like I need to as for the prices I charge, I’m hardly raking it in for the time and effort I put in to the service. However, it feels wrong to charge people who come up for renewal that weren’t about when I made most of the profits and therefore, I don’t mind people staying at the site free of charge until I make them a profit. Once that day comes, they can leave with a profit or stay and try to grow that profit.

Overall, a disappointing month thus far but it isn’t over yet. I’m hopeful I can turn it around this week and hopefully post a profit on the month and get through the £7k profit mark but we’ll see what happens.

Monday, 2 February 2009

A bit of luck at last!

Profit since last update £513.88

I wouldn’t say I’ve been the luckiest person this year on Betfair and given the way most of the tips ran last month, I’m not sure I’m too lucky at that game either but thankfully, I got a massive dose of luck on Friday past.

I gave out 3 selections on Friday and my first play was to put £30 win on each on BF Mobile to enable me to trade from that opening position. I’d hit 31 straight losers before giving out these tips and obviously, my confidence was pretty low that they would win. The odds of them were 9/2, 6/1 and 16/1.

As you may or may not have heard, there was a problem with Betfair Mobile from mid morning and I was unable to lay off any of the bets. Well, it doesn’t take a genius to realise what happened next…….. I joked about it on the forum before it happened, so I'm sure the guys had a good laugh about it!

My first one won with an SP of 9/2 which netted me £172 profit on my bet on Betfair.

My second one won at 11/2 and I won £214 from my bet on Betfair.

I had backed my 3rd one at 22 on Betfair, so I was getting over £600 profit alone if it had won. As it turned out, it was one of the best backed horses of the day and if I was able to access BF, I would have been able to lay off 10 points lower for a £300 riskfree bet.

As it turned out, it had an SP of 10/1 and although it traded 4 IR, it finished out with the front 3. Overall, a profit of £356 on the day from my 3 bets and it doesn’t come much luckier than that. If given the opportunity to trade pre-race or leave IR lays, I would have maybe taken £10 IR on the first two to win small sums (£50 on each maybe) and on the last one, I wouldn’t have taken any money IR and maybe made a small profit of £10 or so by leaving an IR lay, so a likely profit of £110 has turned into £356!

Clearly, this is about as lucky as you can get. The reason I had been having a good month is simply due to the fact I wasn’t gambling on my selections (I don’t do this where possible as I like to trade them) and I missed the brunt of the losses from 31 straight losers and the day when I’m forced to gamble, I hit 2 winners!

The overall P&L for The Form Analyst shows a loss of 16 points on the month which makes me cringe. I’ve stopped taking renewals from anyone that renews at the moment which seemed the right thing to do. I had a few guys join at the peak of the service and they are now carrying a loss, so it makes sense to let these guys stay around until they get into profit and then they can decide to walk away or join the roller coaster again!

Here’s an update of the rollercoaster (I mean the P&L graph!) :

I said this on the last post but it hasn’t really been a bad month for the tips although it appears that way! It was a bad month in terms of winners but when you look at the way the horses ran, it was anything but a poor month. I only had 5 winners but 20 placed horses finished 2nd or 3rd. At the odds I play at, you are nearly as likely to pick a winner as a placed horse in a lot of the races, so to only have 5 winners whilst hitting 20 placed horses takes some doing!

I obviously track my results closely and I shared this table with the guys at the site.

Without trying to put too much of a spin on things, 45% of the selections got placed and considering the average odds were 10/1, you can see why I’ve had a very good month myself trading my horses pre-race and in-running. Backing horses at big prices that run well and trade low IR is basically my ‘edge’ and the edge was still there this month. What wasn’t there was a bit of luck. In my last post, I rattled off a list of big priced horses that got placed and I won’t repeat it again.

In my opinion, the worst case for the P&L last month was the actual result of -16. If someone could promise me that 45% of my selections would place every month where they have an average SP of 10/1, I’d take that every time. If I repeated that every month, I reckon I’d make 30+ points a month easily which would be amazing.

The eagle eye-eyed amongst you will be asking why I didn’t make a profit by backing each-way. Firstly, I don’t suggest each-way bets on all of my selections and for example, I gave 1 point win on a 22/1 that finished 2nd, so if I’d backed a point each-way, I’d have reduced that loss somewhat on the month. Secondly, I always treat the win and place part of each bet as separate bets and I won’t tip each-way unless I think the horse is value to get placed. Again, this is maybe not the norm but it’s what I believe. Hence, a 22/1 chance to win may not be value to place if it isn’t very consistent. Therefore, I gave out the 22/1 at win only and kicked myself when it was 2nd!

I’ve spoken about this a great deal with the subscribers at my site but one of my greatest strengths at this tipping game is identifying my best bets. I know it sounds a bit silly as it seems commonsense but in my case, it makes a huge difference. For example, here’s my P&L graph if you had only followed my stronger bets throughout the course of the service.

The first observation that is underlying this graph and isn’t clearly visible unless you think about it is that I make a loss on my 1 point bets over the 4 months. There are a few reasons for this in my opinion. The obvious reason is the fact my average odds on these bets are much higher, so you would expect a greater variance in the P&L of these bets. More importantly, they are my weaker bets as I said. Hence, if I find a horse I think is overpriced but may not run to form or is inconsistent, I tend to only suggest a point win or 0.5EW.

Clearly, this is a great strength to have as it means you can effectively increase your stakes on these better bets and be confident that it will increase your profits. At the moment, I use a 1-3 point staking plan which works OK but clearly, making a 30 point loss on weaker bets and 80 points profit on stronger bets isn’t ideal.

Two ways around it are to reduce my number of weak bets (not keen on this at the moment due to my relative inexperience at this tipping game) or to increase my stakes on the stronger bets.

I’ve already discussed this with the guys but from March time (or whenever the flat starts), I will be using more of a 1-5 point staking plan. I was meant to be using that from the beginning of the service but I’ve only given out one 3 point win bet in 4 months, so unless I’m waiting for Shergar to run, I’m not going to be giving out 4 and 5 point bets in the near future with my current plan.

I guess the issue with changing staking plan is you are in danger of increasing the risk as I can’t do much damage to the 45 point profit I’ve made so far with a 1-3 point plan but if I give out a couple of 4 or 5 point bets that lose, my historical profit quickly vanishes!

I guess the key is the graph above and the fact I do have a great strength of recognising my better bets, so I need to maximise it much more than I currently do. Hence, I shouldn’t worry too much about losing a lot of points as it doesn’t happen with my stronger bets but we’ll see what happens in March.

A few people have dropped me emails or comments on here (not published them all) about trying to learn to trade like me or at least learn how to read form like I do. I don’t want to turn this into a sales pitch but I’m always willing to help anyone out who wants to learn. However, I do spend a lot of time with the guys on the forum at the site discussing races and my trading strategy and my methods on Betfair.

If anyone does want to learn and isn’t too interested in the tips themselves, then drop me a note and we can maybe arrange access to the site for a fee. Anyone who joins the site gets access to every email I’ve written over the past 4 months and downloading these would be a great start for anyone wanting to learn about reading form. In addition, there are over 3,000 posts in the forum and over 1,100 of these are by me and a great many are about my methods and strategy on Betfair, so in my opinion, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to join for a month to get a flavour of what I do!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Another nightmare!

Profit since last update £533.89

One of the most interesting things for me this year has been the debate about trading v gambling. I’ve discussed it before many times and there are various posts about it on the blog at different times.

To reiterate what I’ve said previously, in my opinion, everyone needs to find a style of gambling that suits their risk aversion. I’m very risk averse and I don’t like losing, so I tend to leave IR lays on 90% of my bets to ensure I make a profit or at the very least, get my stake back. I know not everyone is like me though and lots of punters would see this as money lost when a horse wins the race after they have laid part of their profit off.

Another interesting topic is the win only v each-way betting methods. As I’ve said before, I only really bet win only apart from odd occasions when I feel the each-way part of the bet gives me great value. For example, if I happen to fancy a 5/1 in an 8 runner race, I will bet each-way since I think Evs is a decent price for the horse to be placed in most cases. I will still lay off low IR on the win part of the bet as I see a place bet and win bet as two separate bets.

One topic I’ve only covered a little this year is staking. I have never bet to a staking plan in my punting life and I never will do. A lot of my staking is around how I perceive value and it’s a very subjective approach from me. I could bet on two 16/1 chances and yet, I’d be happy to gamble 10 times more IR on one than the other one. It’s the way I play and it’s something I don’t intend to change.

Lastly, as you all know, I add a different dimension to my punting by using Betfair to trade pre-race and IR. If possible, I will bet more on a horse than I want to take IR with the sole intention of laying off pre-race to get a riskfree bet or take a small sum in running if I think I’ll be able to make money IR or I may leave it as a simple bet. Again, this is all very subjective and varies according to each individual horse or race.

Why does any of the above matter?

This month, I’ve had an absolute nightmare with the tips. I can’t get across how bad the month has been and it has been a shocker. Obviously, I tend to go on losing runs now and again and I bounce back and no doubt, I’ll bounce back from this run but it has been a poor month for me and all the subscribers.

When I tell you that I’ve only had 3 winners and 18 placed horses this month, it’s easy to see how thin a line there is between success and failure!

For example, 11/1,10/1,11/1,25/1,14/1,14/1,14/1,16/1 and 10/1 selections have been placed. Obviously, I don’t back each-way for all my selections and even backing each-way, it still looks like a horrendously bad month for the tips with only 3 winners.

One reason for not posting up an update on the month has been the fact that I was waiting on it turning around and it hasn’t turned around! I know people like to read how I’m doing and I still put a lot of example analyses on the site for people to browse if they want to learn anything. The main reason for not posting though is that it feels unfair to be posting a profit when subscribers are suffering a loss and a healthy loss at that.

I’ll post up my BF P&L at the month end but since the last post, I’ve made just over £530 profit on Betfair. I’ve only really traded a couple of Saturdays on my own selections and backed a few on Betfair Mobile whilst being at work but it’s been a good run for me.

The point of my introduction is that there are a lot of different ways to skin a cat on Betfair. I’ve discussed it at length in the past and it is true. I’ll talk through an example of how a few people played a horse I tipped on Saturday. The horse was Too Forward.

To my knowledge, 4 people played this horse 4 different ways. I’m sure a few did something a bit different but I know 4 ways people played it.

I gave out the selection in the forum on the Friday night as I let everyone know how keen on it but not everyone uses the forum, so it effectively became an official selection on Saturday morning.

I suggested 1.5 points each-way at 16/1. It was available at 17.5 and 17 on Betfair on Friday night for just under £1,000 in liquidity. In the morning, it was 16.5 and you could have got around £2,000 on it if you were patient, so there were no liquidity issues even for big players.

Here’s 4 different ways people played it including myself:

Example 1 – My method (trade and aim for a risk free bet)

As you know, I like to back a horse like this with a larger stake and then look to lay off pre-race for a riskfree bet and then make some money IR.

My first bet was £50 at 17.5 on Friday night. I then topped up to have £200 at 17.5 when I went to my bed. In the morning, I had another £200 on it at 17 and I effectively had £400 win at 17.25.

Clearly, I don’t use any staking plan and considering how sweet I was on this, I was happy to risk £50 IR on it which is about my maximum bet.

Throughout the day, the horse shortened and it’s SP was 10/1 at the off. I laid off my £400 at 13.5 on average and I had £1,500 riskfree on the horse to win.

I decided I’d take £100 out at 4, £400 out at 1.9, £200 out at 1.1 and let the rest run.

Roughly, I got £100 return guaranteed if it hit 4, £500 return if it hit 1.9, £700 return if it hit 1.1 and £820 if the horse had won the race.

As it turned out, the horse hit 2.1 IR and finished 3rd. I won £100 but was very close to winning £500!

So, I won £100 for zero risk.

Example 2 – Following my Staking Plan (Bet 1.5 points each-way)

If we assume £50 a point, then someone had £75 EW at 16/1 which was a total stake of £150.

If the horse got placed, they made a profit of £225. If the horse won, they make £1,500 profit.

Hence, for a risk of £150, they won £225.

Example 3 – Win Only (Bet on it to win according to a predetermined staking plan)

One of the subscribers uses a win only staking plan according to the odds of the selections. Hence, they had £40 win at 16/1.

If the horse had won, they’d make a profit of £640.

Hence, they lost £40.

Example 4 – Follow my Staking Plan and lay off low to recoup stake

Someone had £75 EW at 16/1 and left a lay at 3 IR to recoup £150 if it hit 3.

If the horse run well and traded at 3, they would break even. If the horse won, they’d win £1,200.

Hence, they broke even for a risk of £150.

I think the above show that there are many different ways to win and lose money at this game.

I won £100 for zero risk at the off.
Someone won £225 for £150 risk at the off.
Someone lost £40 after risking £40 at the off.
Someone broke even after risking £150 at the off.

From what I can make out, the only difference between my method of gambling and other methods is that I effectively bet on two different things.

Firstly, I bet a lot on my belief that the horse is the wrong price. If we assume I use £10 a point, I was willing to bet 40 points on the fact that 16/1 was the wrong price of the horse. However, I bet zero on the fact the horse would win the race. If I wanted to, I could have took some money IR but at 10/1 at the off, I thought the horse was rightly priced. The value was nearly gone.

However, unlike most traders, I didn’t green up as I thought that IR, the horse would trade lower than 10/1. Clearly, you can’t risk 40 points IR and in this case, I didn’t risk anything. In many races though, I do risk a little IR to make additional profit if it runs well but I’ll lose if it runs poorly.

So, the second part of my bet is whether I think it will run well and trade lower. In most races, I’ll take a point or two IR but if I have a decent riskfree bet, I won’t take any money IR and will happily settle for my riskfree bet.

OK, here’s the crux of the matter………

In the long-run (and I mean long-run!), examples 2,3 and 4 will show nearly identical profits in my opinion. Whether you bet win only, follow a staking plan or follow a staking plan and lay low, it makes no difference. All you are doing is smoothing your P&L or creating extra variance in it by backing win only.

My method will show a higher profit (in proportional terms) though due to one reason. I am gambling twice! I effectively bet on the horse shortening in odds and then on the horse running well.

The above is a great example of when it goes right for me. However, people need to realise that it doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes, I’m forced to take money IR on a horse when it has drifted. Hence, I may have £20 win on a horse trading at 25 and the odds I have got are only 5/1! Hence, unless my horse runs really well or wins, I’m not going to avoid a loss but that happens now and again (not often this month but frequently in the past!).

The whole tipping service is built on my belief that I can find horses over-priced that will run better than the market odds suggest. As I’ve stated a million times, I don’t go looking for winners as backing lots of winners doesn’t mean you’ll make a profit. It only means it will take you longer to lose but ultimately, you will lose if you don’t back horses that represent value.

As I said in the intro, people need to find a style of gambling that suits their risk aversion and ultimately, their skill. My skill is identifying horses overpriced that run well. That’s why I make money at the game I play. It’s also why I’ll bounce back from this current run with the tips and make the guys money across at the site!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Annual Review of The Form Analyst (1st Oct-08 to 11th Jan-09)

This is a review I shared with the subscribers of The Form Analyst yesterday and I thought a few blog readers might enjoy the read. I've also updated my P&L for Jan-09 but it hasn't been the best of starts for me this year!

Annual Review of The Form Analyst (1st Oct-08 to 11th Jan-09)

I felt it only right to make this review run right up to the 11th of January simply due to the fact that we haven’t had the best of starts to this year and it’s important that I try to show the true picture of how the service has performed thus far.

All of my figures below are as accurate as they can be although there will always be small discrepancies between my results and anyone proofing my results. However, all of my results are proofed across at and my results are in line with the results there. All of my selections and finishing positions are also kept on the site and are easily verified by looking at Racing or Racing

Around half of my current subscribers have been here since day one of the service and I’ve picked up new subscribers along the way. I’ve also lost subscribers along the way but to my knowledge, no one has left the service after losing money following my selections. If anyone does get to this position at renewal, (a few of you are sitting with a small loss at the moment), I’m happy to discuss a way around this to ensure that people stay with the service whilst getting the opportunity to win back their previous losses. This assumes people have followed all of my selections and staking advice.

The starting point for the review should probably be our P&L graph since inception:

Everyone can see it hasn’t exactly been a smooth P&L curve and depending on when you joined, you could be anything from -12 to +72 at the moment. The majority of subscribers are in profit but I have had a couple of people join at the end of last year and these people are sitting with a small loss at the moment.

I have split the graph into 12 constituent parts and these are described along the bottom of the graph.

The highlight for us would be the 80 points profit we made in at the start of November and that was easily the best time for the service. We have had two very poor runs where we have lost 45 Pts and 29 Pts respectively. I said at the start that everyone should hold at least a 60 point betting bank and for safety, you ideally want to be playing with a 100 point betting bank. Thankfully, no one has lost their full bank if they followed this advice although they may have lost 75% of their bank at one stage which wasn’t ideal.

Apart from these highlights, our profit has been very up and down. My winners and losers tend to come in batches which isn’t ideal as people lose confidence during the poor runs and then go overboard during the good runs. I have continually tweaked my staking as we have moved through the service and by using each-way betting, we have managed to reduce the variance in our P&L I think.

A summary of my results by month is:

Strike rate throughout this report is defined as any bet where we have made a profit. Hence, it is winning bets and not winning selections.

This summary mirrors the graph somewhat but it also disguises the fact that we haven’t been having the best of times during the past 4 weeks. Over this period, we are making a loss but it is hidden by the fact that we had a great start to December. Overall, you can see that we have a strike rate of 24% and a ROI (Yield) of 20.9%.

Interestingly, we have actually had a decent strike rate in January but it is from each-way bets producing small profits which isn’t ideal. A ROI of 20.9% is highly respectable and isn’t far off the best tipsters in the business. In time, I hope to increase this a little though.

One of the things I think is very interesting is my ability to be able to recognise my better bets from my weaker bets. I use a staking plan of 1-5 although we have never had a 4/5 point bet and we have only had ten 3 PT bets thus far, so my staking tends to be very prudent.

Here is the breakdown of our P&L according to the staking plan:

One of the criticisms I have had during my time tipping is that I’m maybe not selective enough when it comes to selections. I have always said that if people don’t want to follow all my selections, then I would suggest they only follow my stronger bets since these are the ones which I obviously think will run better. Anyone who has only followed my stronger bets would be 76.9 Pts in profit and they would have a far smoother P&L than anyone following all the bets.

It may sound easy for people to think that I should stop giving any of my weaker bets and one day, this may well be the aim for this service. However, considering I have only been tipping for just over 4 months if you include my free trial month, I feel like I need the weaker bets to be able to identify the stronger bets. If I only looked for stronger bets, I would struggle to decide how strong a bet it may be and it would reduce my confidence in the stronger bets.

One of the things I can probably do when we get to March is start using my 1-5 Pt staking plan. If I continue to give out 1Pt bets, I should increase my 2 and 3 point bets by 1 point to increase our profits as we clearly have a decent ‘edge’ on these bets.

I have only given out ten 3Pt bets and 50% of these have won or been placed. Clearly, this is very good and shows that I do recognise real value when I see it. Hence, if someone wants to only bet a few times a month with higher stakes, this is definitely the horses to do it on. I have only given out one 3Pt win bet and it won after being heavily backed, so most of the better bets are each-way bets and tend to be in smallish fields.

Field size is something that seems to affect my performance. This isn’t surprising as in smaller fields, there are fewer horses to analyse for me and I can read the way the race will be run much better. Here’s the performance by field size:

This maybe isn’t surprising given the way I analyse races but when you consider our best winner was a 22/1 in a 32 runner field, I really do seem to struggle in larger fields. Before we think we are onto something special, we need to bear in the mind that at the end of the last flat season, we had large fields and some very inconsistent results on bad ground. Hence, this skews the results slightly but it is something to analyse in the future again and react to if necessary.

Another thing you should always pay attention to is your P&L backing horses at certain prices. Here are the results by odds of each selection:

This is another slightly surprising statistic and doesn’t exactly make total sense. I was conscious of the fact that I don’t pick many winners around the 9/1 mark as I know this is about my average price of the selections. I do seem to do better at shorter priced selections and longer priced selections but again, it is something to monitor and react to if it continues. It’s far too early to stop giving out selections at any particular odds!

One of the most talked about statistics by me and others has been my record on the AW flat. I openly admit I don’t think the form is reliable and for someone like me, it isn’t suited to my methods. However, during the winter, I have continued to give out selections and tried my best to persevere with it. Here is the breakdown we were all waiting for:

At first glance, it isn’t as bad as many of you thought and being honest, it isn’t as bad as I thought. Clearly, making a loss on any type of racing means you don’t have an ‘edge’ which is disappointing and therefore, it ultimately means you won’t make money. Even by breaking even, all you are doing is reducing your ROI which is an important measure.

The flat results above look very poor also but I would put that down to the fact it was the end of the flat season in October when I started and the results were almost as bad as the AW! I had a 22/1 winner and still only made 14.5Pts profit in total, so it wasn’t the best of times for us.

In my opinion, the true worth of this service will be from March-August and in this 6 month spell, I would hope to really push on and make better profits. Everyone knows my confidence when it comes to turf flat racing and in the summer when the form is holding up well, I will look to exploit that to the max. My methods work best when the form is reliable and I’ve said since day one that I would make far better returns in the summer than I would in the winter.

As everyone knows, I set myself a target at the start of the service and that was to achieve 240 points profit in a year. I said at the time that most of this would be achieved during the turf flat season and I stand by this comment. I hate the AW and I’ve never been very good at the NH game, so anything I’ve did this winter is a bonus. The fact I can make 50 points when I’m not in my comfort zone is only an indication of what I hope I can do when I get an opportunity on the turf flat.

This winter, I’ve managed to achieve these results by a lot of hard work and so far, it has paid off. When we get to March, my expertise on the flat should come to fruition and combined with the work ethic I’ve developed during this service, I think I’ll do something special at this game. Time will tell…..

Lastly, I know a few of you were keen to see my results by course. I don’t think it shows anything too much apart from the fact I can’t wait for the Cheltenham Festival in March!

Overall, it’s been a roller-coaster 3 months for anyone that has been here from the beginning. Anyone who has joined along the way is probably a little bemused by it all as I’ve hardly set the world alight this winter but I’m hopeful people have been given a taster of what I can do and as long as they remain patient, the profits will flow.

If I was asked to give myself a mark out of 10, I would say I’m probably at a 6 after the first 3 months. Pass marks but only just. I still feel like I haven’t shown everyone what I can do and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to Cheltenham in March and beyond.

Thanks for your continued support and I look forward to a prosperous year for us.


Friday, 2 January 2009

Much more like it!

Profit since last update £498.56

Not really sure where to start to be honest. I’m not going to do a yearly update as I’ll save the conclusion of this trading/gambling/tipping blog until the end of February 2009 as that will be the 12 month Experiment finished. I’d obviously like to wish any readers a Happy New Year and I hope 2009 brings you success in whatever you do.

OK, onto the fact I’m posting a profit and not just a small profit at that. I had a nightmare with the tipping and the trading over the Festive period and it was actually my worst ever day on Betfair the day after Boxing Day. One of the problems with my trading strategy is that when it goes tits up, it can really cost you a fair few quid. I had a good number of horses that day that didn’t shorten pre-race and then ran very poorly, resulting in me not getting any IR lays matched and basically losing a few quid.

As I said at the time, I was very annoyed with myself for the trading and also for the fact I’d tipped so many losers in such a short space of time. I said at the end of my last post though I wasn’t too worried as I’d get it back in the future. Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait too long!

I haven’t quite recouped all the losses for the poor tipping over the Festive period for the subscribers across at the site but I’ve got over half of it back I think, so I’m slowly getting there. I’m slowly getting my confidence back and as someone in the forum said, “my lack of confidence at times makes Sam Thomas look like the Rock of Gibraltar” which is a great quote and for those of you who don’t follow horse-racing, don’t worry about it!

The turning point for me was on Sunday when I tipped Exotic Dancer. I had a nice bet on it and laid off IR fairly early as it was travelling very well about 3 fences from home and closing on the favourite when my lay got matched. Obviously, as luck would have it, the favourite crashed out at the next fence and I was left with £98 on Exotic and £70 on the field! Shame when that happens but I didn’t complain too much as Exotic hosed up and it was a winning tip which was badly needed.

On Monday night, I spotted a horse in a race that had multiple form lines and was a very likely winner in my opinion. I decided it would be my first ever 3 point win bet on the tipping service. It was best priced 9/4 in the morning when I issued the note and my first bet was £400 on at 3.5 on Betfair as I was sure it would shorten. I then laid off at about 3 and then did about 7 other backs and lays as it shortened all day and at the off, I had £509 riskfree on the selection. It was about 2.3 at the off.

It got off to a dodgy start in the race and was available at 3.5 or above for the first mile of the race and I was cursing myself for not greening up at the off. My only lay was £100 at 1.5 and I wasn’t sure it was going to win with a few hurdles left. However, it then made up ground very easily and I had the option to cancel my lay if I wanted as large sums appeared to lay it at about 1.8 but I left my lay in case it fell at the last!

Thankfully, it pinged the last and it was a £450 win for me. I’ve waited a long time to have a trade like this on Betfair this year and it’s nice when it works so well. Obviously, the fact I put it up as 3 points win was a great relief as I was getting quite desperate for a decent winner to help me recoup some losses back from the Festive period.

Yesterday, I was very keen on a horse called Mr Willis and I put it up for 2 points win as a tip. My first bet was £200 at 3.1 and I didn’t lay off until 2.3 and I was pleased when it hosed up as I was so confident, I didn’t even leave an IR lay! Another great profit for me and another winning tip. Easy game this!

I also had a few losing trades on other selections but thankfully, all of these shortened pre-race after my initial bet and I only risked a few quid on each race.

So, all in all, I’ve won just less than £500 in 4 days and it’s a great end to the year and a great end to a very turbulent month for me with the trading!

One of the things I’ve been doing is spending a bit of time analysing my results for the tipping business since the inception. One of the things I’ve talked on here before is the fact I don’t make a profit to level stakes but to my suggested stakes, I make a nice profit.

Obviously, the reason for this is the fact I give out different strength of tips. When I gamble 2 points or more on a selection, I’d class this as a strong selection and when I gamble less than 2 points, I’d class this as a weak selection. Here’s the profit and loss to each type of bet:

Strong selections = 82 points profit
Weak Selection = 26 point loss

I was astonished by this to be honest and it does raise the question of why I’d bother giving out 1 point selections to subscribers. However, in my opinion, the only reason I’ve done so well is because the 1 point bets I give out very frequently allow me to gauge the strength of my better bets and it works very well in my opinion. If I stopped giving 1 point bets, I wouldn’t know the best bets to give out as tips then and I’d be lost I think.

I have started putting some thoughts into ways to expand the service and I’m looking at things like starting a laying service and maybe a strong bets service going by the results above but I won’t be rushing into anything new without discussing it with my current subscribers.

Saturday, 27 December 2008


Loss since last update £349.65

One of the reasons I’m keeping this blog going is simply due to the fact it has helped me so much this year with keeping my discipline. When I’ve been through some bad times punting this year, the blog has helped a great deal and after the last two days, I’m hoping to use this to let off some steam tonight as I’m fuming with myself.

As I’d said on the last blog post, my own trading hadn’t been going that well recently and being honest, I hadn’t really been on fire with the tips. I seem to go through good spells and bad spells with the tips and you could easily see that by looking at the graph of my P&L.

I was looking forward to Boxing Day as there is a feast of racing and with me being off work, I knew I’d get some quality time to spend on my analysis and I was hoping for a very good day. I also knew today would be a busy day for me also, so I was looking forward to getting some trading time and picking some winners.

26 trading races later and 17 tips later, not a single winner to show for it and as you can see above, a hefty loss to go with it. A £350 trading loss to go with a 16 point loss to suggested stakes with the tips and it’s pretty much a disaster for me and The Form Analyst.

This is painful to look at but here’s the P&L graph after the last 2 days:

So, where do I start? I’m not posting my BF P&L for today as it shows nothing apart from small losses in most races and a couple of hefty losses. I’ve tried my best to not show shitty P&L shots on here as it does nothing for my confidence and I’m not about to start now.

My worst result of the last 2 days was Twist Magic. On the form book, this was about the greatest certainty that you can get in racing in my opinion as it was 2/1 against horses rated far inferior to it and all it had to do was run to the form it has shown many times on good ground and was in the process of showing last time until it fell in the Master Minded race.

Today, I was using £100 trading stakes on it to back and lay and at the off, I had about £180 riskfree on it to win as it was heavily punted pre-race and it was the easiest horse to trade this year! Just before the off, it started to play up at the start and people started laying it. I then got involved again with a few to take some money in running but I ended up taking £100 IR on it and the horse just never travelled. I knew my fate very early on and it was basically a £100 punt that went wrong and the layers were right to lay it at the start when it played up.

This is the sort of result that has me tearing my hair out in racing. All Twist Magic had to do was run to some sort of form to win the race as the eventual winner and runner-up ran to their best form which was about 20lbs worse than Twist’s form from last time. It really is hard to figure out and I’m left with a sizable bet on a horse that ran poorly. I also gave that out as a confident tip today, so that didn’t do the subscribers much good.

The same comment applies to a horse called Pop at Wetherby which gave a horse an
easy lead and the money I took IR was pretty much lost very early on in the race.
My other bad race today was Newmill in the Irish Chase and I again took some money IR to get out as it usually front runs and travels well. The writing was on the wall very early with this one and another hefty loss here after getting caught out by a drift.

My best bet of the day was Harry Tricker in the last race at Kempton today and it was one of the best backed horses of the day. It was going in a 15 horse race and the horse needed a decent pace. I was throwing things at my TV as they went a crawl and was shouting at the jockey to let it go on and take the lead as it was pulling for its head the whole way at the back and had no chance. It was a never nearer 6th I think at the end but it had no chance as it effectively turned into a 5f sprint which is not what it wanted.

Yesterday, I wanted to be against Kauto Star and as the money came, the more I laid and I was happy to gamble a little IR. Obviously, this wasn’t the best decision I’d made and this went belly up. To make matter worse, I had £600 riskfree return on Alberta’s Run which finished 2nd in the race and I didn’t make a penny from this IR at all.

I could go on and discuss another 20 races where I’ve had small losses or small wins but the wins were few and far between and I struggled all day with horses running poorly. I can barely recall a day where I read so many races badly and this will be on my mind for a while yet.

One of the things that I don’t understand about the last 2 days is that I’ve put more work into my analysis and set aside some decent time to enable me to trade properly. I expected to win a fair amount trading and at the least, expected to have a few winnings tips to enable us to finish off the month very well. No idea what happened today and looking at the results tonight, I’m scratching my head a little as I was nowhere near to finding some of the winners today and it worries me a bit.

So much of this game is about confidence and until today, I’d been very confident that things were going well and I was riding the crest of a wave this month with winning tips. Tonight, I feel down and I can’t believe I’m only around 10 points in profit this month. I was looking at a 30 point profit at one stage and that has evaporated very quickly under my nose and I couldn’t do anything to stop it.

There have been various times when I’ve felt under pressure with the tips and obviously, when I had a new subscriber who had 34 losing tips at the start, I felt a huge strain then but I’m probably feeling a bit worse now. I’ve had a few new subscribers recently who joined on the back of decent results and they must be asking themselves why the hell they have bothered no doubt. One guy is about 18 points down after a week and I can’t imagine he’ll be too chuffed with his investment.

I’m so desperate to separate myself from other tipsters out there and I feel like I’ve taken a massive step backwards over the last few days. I’m shell shocked with what has happened and reading JP’s blog tonight makes me cringe when I see all the tips and no winners. Knowing people are losing small fortunes on my poor advice is hard to take and I’m gutted about the last two days.

I’ll no doubt ease back on the tips a little and try to claw my way back into the game but I’m now on a losing run of 19 tips which is another horrendous run. I think it’s one winning tip in about 33 or something and that’s a near disaster for a tipster. Thankfully, I’ve been playing each-way a little and have had a few placed, so it hasn’t been as bad as it sounds but not far off it.

The only thing that keeps me going is I know deep down I’m much better than I’ve shown everyone in the last couple of days. I think I’m much, much better but I now have a lot to prove again. I’ve been here before and I’ll be here again in the future no doubt, so it’s time to stand up and be counted again. Let’s hope I can rise to the challenge.

With regards to my trading, I know I messed up a bit today but I’m not going to be too hard on myself. I’ve done well this year and after last month, I can’t moan too much about a bad month. I’ll get it back next month……………

Monday, 22 December 2008

A Disappointing Post!

Loss since last update £34.77 & Subs worth £130 = £95.23 Profit to P&L

This is a bit of a disappointing blog post to be honest and I’m having to include a few recent subscriptions to even post a profit to the P&L on here.

As I hinted at last time, my trading was starting to suffer as a result of the tipping business and my lack of time to concentrate on my trading. I’ve therefore just been trading the races with my own horses and up until recently, this has been a very good income for me. Unfortunately, I’ve had a few selections that have run very poorly after drifting pre-race and I’ve not had the best of times of it. If it wasn’t for Folio winning yesterday, this would have been a 3 figure loss I’m posting and I’d have been really annoyed with myself.

As it turns out, it’s hardly a disaster considering I’ve been on a poor run with the tips. I hit 12 straight losers again which is the 3rd time this has happened since the inception of the tipping service. Apart from the fact I tend to play at bigger odds than most tipsters, it’s difficult to put my finger on why losing runs happen to me. I guess it’s partly because I’m quite cocky considering how good I’m going to do at this game, so instead of looking for a short priced selection when I’m on a poor run, I just continue on with my big priced selections and I end up putting myself under a lot of pressure to finally pick a winner and end the losing run!

One thing I have been doing recently is looking for more shorter priced selections that I feel may represent value. By shorter priced, I’m meaning more single figure odds and less double figure odds! So far, it’s been going OK although I do think it is much more difficult to make consistent profits long-term from backing shorter priced selections and it’s not something I’m going to do everyday. So far, I’ve been very selective with my shorter priced selections and a few have won this month which keeps the P&L ticking over.

Here’s the latest P&L for The Form Analyst:

As you may have noticed at the side of the blog, I’m now appearing on the proofing tables across at I’m still being proofed on racing index but it isn’t a fair reflection on how well I’m doing as I’ve said before since so many of my winners are punted on course.

At the moment, I’m up 61 points to odds available in the morning. I’m 35 points up to Betfair SP and 25 points up to Starting Price. Whatever way you look at it, it’s a pretty decent profit and considering I’ve only been at this tipping game for a few months, the potential is there for me to do something decent at this game.

One of the things that makes me laugh is when you look at my results to level stakes, I’m basically breaking even to BF SP and SP and I’m up about 20 points to early morning prices. This may raise a few eye-brows and people may say I’m using a staking plan to boost my profits but that’s part of the game I play. Because I give so many big priced selections, I need a staking plan to take into account that not every one of my tips is the same quality. When I have 0.5 Pts on some donkey and 3 points win on a strong selection, it isn’t fair to judge both of these to 1 point win. One of them is 6 times a stronger bet than the other one, so it makes no sense to look at the profit to level stakes.

I’ve lost a couple of subscribers this month but they have been replaced by new subscribers and I’m guessing that’s part and parcel of the game. I now have more subscribers than I’ve ever had and that’s a nice feeling. Obviously, the service is still very small and going by the fact the fees aren’t that large, I’m not exactly set up for life but it’s a promising start. I always knew the first 3 months were going to be the most difficult and now that I’m approaching the end of that with a decent profit in the bank and more subscribers than I’ve ever had, it’s looking promising for the future.

I would like to congratulate Alistair across at regarding the fact that he has made it past the £3k profit mark on Betfair this year. Ali’s blog is a great inspiration to any would-be trader and now that I’m not updating my blog daily, I’d suggest if people want a daily read they give Ali’s blog a try.

I’d also like to congratulate Leon on his blog and the fact he’s past the £10k profit mark on Betfair. As I’ve mentioned before, Leon’s blog was a great inspiration to my blog and was the reason I started a blog. I’m glad he revised his decision to stop updating his blog and I’ve been enjoying his little rants on all things Betfair and the like.

I feel like I’m congratulating everyone today but I must mention JP’s blog and his profit this year. JP uses a portfolio of tipsters to try to make money from gambling and The Form Analyst is one of the portfolio at the moment. So far this year, JP has made over £20k profit from his gambling which is an exceptional return. Obviously, he works hard to get all his bets on and obviously pays subscription fees with no guarantee of success, so it’s great to see someone making money at this punting game.

Lastly, as I said at the end of last month, I’m now past the £5k profit for the year on Betfair. I didn’t show my Betfair P&L at the time as I hadn’t past the £5k net deposit mark due to the fact I’ve used my account for a few friends to have losing bets on Betfair! However, even with my recent loss, I’ve managed to make a withdrawal to make me currently £5,060 up this year which is a nice achievement in itself. I’m up about £150 more but it makes little difference to be honest! I’m happy! :)