Saturday, 5 April 2008

Retirement from horse-race trading!

Daily Loss £52.68

As you can tell by the title of the post and the loss, I had a bit of a nightmare day today and as such, I’m calling it a day with regards to trading the horse-racing.

I traded 19 races today, winning on 6, losing on 12 and break-even on 1. I increased my stakes again today and was trading with £50-£100 stakes for the most part on shorter priced horses.

Over the past 5 weeks on the horse-racing, after today’s loss, I’ve now won a combined total of £13.26. I think there is only so long you can try to ‘flog a dead horse’ and I’ve reached that point. If “Denman broke Kauto’s heart” (you gotta love Harry Findlay!), then today broke my heart. I’ve worked my ass off to try to understand the way that the horse-racing market’s work on Betfair and try to find a way to exploit any weaknesses.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve learned a great deal over the past 2 months or so from trading the horse-racing but the time has come to stop. If I was at retirement age, I’d be able to reduce my stakes to £2 and then start all over again trying to learn the markets. However, I’m a 26 year old professional with a thriving career and I don’t have the time or inclination to start again with smaller stakes and build my way up.

I feel if I continue trading with these size of stakes £100+, I’m 99.9% certain that I’ll lose in the long-term and I’d rather stop now and say that I didn’t lose a penny from trading the horse-racing.

I could spend all day writing about why I don’t think it’s worked but it comes down to a few simple facts. Basically, to be a good trader at horse-racing, you need to be highly risk-averse, disciplined, controlled and take a loss when they come.

I think the best traders are people who probably have little knowledge of horse-racing and who don’t like to gamble. Unfortunately, I like to think I have a good knowledge of horse-racing and my worst fault is that I’m a gambler. I think it is nearly impossible for someone who has been gambling for 20 years to try to become a trader and I’m proof of that! Good luck to anyone else who tries this but I honestly think that it is impossible.

OK, so where do I go from here and what happens to The Experiment?

Firstly, The Experiment will continue. I am off on holiday next week from work (studying for my next professional qualification exam) and when I return to work a week on Tuesday, I will ask to resume full-time from the start of May. However, I am already thinking about what I am going to do with The Experiment and it isn’t that difficult…….

When I first started out on this adventure, the two things that I had were an excellent understanding of turf flat handicap form knowledge and knowledge of odds and probabilities. So far, none of these things have helped me at all (I chose the wrong time of year to start The Experiment as the turf season hadn’t started!) and maybe it is about time I tried to utilise these skills.

In addition to using my racing form knowledge, as you know, I’ve been building up a decent amount of knowledge of the Betfair golf markets. This is an area I am really keen to explore further and I think I can do well at this.

The Experiment from Monday 7th April…….

From Monday, I will be gambling on the flat turf horse-racing only. In particular, I will only be gambling on 5f – 1m 4f, four year old plus, low grade handicaps. This may sound a little strange considering there are only a few of these races every day (if any!) but this will give me necessary time to study the form for the following day’s races. I’ll go into the reasons for this at a later date!

When I return to work, I will aim to do my form research the night before the day’s racing and I will place my bets on Betfair the night before racing. I know this sounds very risky and I don’t have access to my Betfair account when I am at work but I do have Betfair on my Mobile Phone, so I can always check to see if my bets have been matched at lunchtime at work and if not, I can reduce the odds I’m asking for or take the Betfair SP.

I will use a staking system depending on the odds of my selections and I will also place lays on my selections at very low odds in case my horses are beat in a photo-finish.

Every night, I will aim to post up any selections on my blog with my reasons for selecting the horse or horses. I will also explain my thinking about why I have asked for particular odds and what sort of chance I think the horse has of winning.

I will continue to bet on the US golf markets every week and I will continue to use progressively higher stakes every week. So far, I have won over £350 from the golf markets in 5 weeks of trading, so I feel confident that I can increase my stakes and generate higher profits.

With regards to my £15k bank loan, I will return £10k to my bank as soon as possible and I will keep £5k back. £3.5k will go in a savings account and will be saved for a rainy day but not for Betfair!. I will keep a betting bank of £1,500 for my golf trading and my horse-race gambling.

My new target for the year is to generate a profit of £5,000+ this year. Obviously, since I’m going back to full-time work and paying £10k back to my bank, I will automatically be about £7k better off already!

A profit of £5k for the year seems like a realistic target and I’m currently at about £350 after 5 weeks, so I’m not doing too badly!


Thanks to the early exploits of Charley Hoffman at the US golf, I’m now riskfree on the golf. I’ve given away all of my profit on Hoffman to generate this position though, so in order to make a reasonable profit this week, I need one of my guys who are a bit further back to make a charge up the leaderboard. This week’s tournament has been a little strange though as the late starters have been getting the worst of the weather, so there is a chance that someone starting early can make a charge up the leaderboard over the next 2 days.

I’ll post an update up for the golf on Sunday night.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you are calling it a day on the horses. Would be interesting to hear a bit about what ultimately tipped the scales? I hope you didn't let positions go inplay?

Good to hear that you are sticking with the golf which you seem to have a good nack for - slowly and steadily increase those stakes and the profits will continue to roll in.

All the best with the bets as well, I will read on with interest.


Cassini said...

Smart decision Graeme. Stick with what you are good at. The beauty of horse-racing is plenty of action all the time, but there are plenty of sports to get involved in. Good luck with the golf trading - I've had some success with this but usually I only get involved on the last day.

Alistair said...

A wise decision Graeme. You're obviously good at the golf, so it makes sense to stick to the most profitable sport.

It's a pity about the horses as there's so many opportunities there, but it's not for everyone.

I wish you all the best with the change of emphasis of 'The Experiment'


Graeme Dand said...

Cheers for the comments guys.

I'll be posting up something later about what led me to make this decision, so I'll answer your question in that post Leon.