Saturday, 10 May 2008

My 'Special Day'

Daily Loss £48.84

Firstly, after posting up quite a healthy loss, I better explain the title of the post. I kept quoting that today was a ‘special day’ for me as there were an incredible number of races which met my betting criteria. All in all, I could have gambled on 15 handicaps over the course of yesterday.

I knew this in advance as we keep a track of my qualifying races on our discussion site, so I started my form analysis on Thursday night. By late Friday night, I had analysed 9 races and had a quick look at 1 other. I settled on these 10 races to trade.

As normally happens, Andrew put up 2 more potential races to bet on, so I bet in 12 races today. Once I had carried out all my race analysis and taken on board everyone’s comments, I drew up a trading plan with which horses I wanted to generate riskfree bets on in each race.

At the start of today, I hadn’t had a losing day in over a month and I hadn’t had a losing race in over 2 weeks. My target for the day was to win £200+ and I felt this was a reasonable return for the amount of effort I had put in. I also made the wise decision to take notes throughout the day on each race and how I traded it and which horses I backed so that if anything went wrong (or very good!), I could look back to see what happened.

As it turned out, I’m glad I took notes as it proved a very eventful day for me. I should have won my £200 target+, I could easily have won £500+ if I had made a few more correct decisions and as you’ll soon see, I actually made a substantial loss (substantial for me considering how well I had been doing.).

So, here is the day of a trader trying to generate riskfree bets on Betfair:

1.10 Ascot – This was not my type of race but Andrew had put up Big Robert as a potential nice horse. I didn’t trade on this horse overnight but in the morning, I did see that it was being quite well supported. It was trading around the 20 mark and looked fairly strong at 10.30am when I was on Betfair. I left a back of £50 at 24 and returned at 1pm to see if it had been matched.

I nearly fainted when I saw it was trading at 27 and was proving very weak. I then backed it again at 27, 28 and 29 as it continued to drift. Before I started to lay off, I had £190 win on the horse at average odds of 27. It was nearly a disaster in the first race on my ‘special day’! Luckily, some money came very late for it and I managed to lay off at just over 26 for the full amount. I had a riskfree bet of £140 on it.

Unfortunately, the horse fell out of the stalls and none of my lays got matched in running. So, after all that excitement, it was a break-even first race. No harm done!

1.45 Ascot – I was really sweet on Kasumi in this race but I struggled to get any backs matched overnight or in the morning. I had left in £100 of backs from 13-15 and I only got about £18 matched. I then had to sit annoyed as it got backed pre-race to about 9 before drifting slightly before the off. Overall, I had a £52 riskfree bet on it and I fancied it to win, so I only laid off £5 at 3.4 and let the rest run.
It ran really well and traded at 2.4 in running before getting beat into 2nd place by the impressive winner. It could have been much better but I was happy with my £5 profit and my riskfree bet.

1.55 Nott – Disaster of a race for me! I wanted to get riskfree bets on Hawaii Prince and Peopleton Brook. Both were big outsiders and no one matched my 100 on either overnight! At 1.20pm, I managed to get £30 matched on Peopleton at 48 and laid off at 42 for a nice riskfree return on it.

However, I made a massive error on Hawaii Prince. My reasoning for backing Hawaii was that it likes to front run and was drawn hard up against the fence and was OK handicapped. I guessed it would lead them for 4f at least before fading, so it was an easy riskfree bet.

It had proved very weak throughout the morning and when I put in my back, there was very little money on the lay side, so it was likely to drift. I noticed that there was £30 available to back at 55, but I stupidly, stupidly asked for £30 at 60. I checked back in 5 minutes and it was trading at 44 with a good deal of money sitting at 48-55. I didn’t think much of it at the time but when I looked at the race just before the off, it was trading at 42.

I had a decision to make…..

Do I back it at 42 and forget about the fact I missed the 55 or do I let it pass? Well, I decided to let this one go and it came back to bite me on the arse. Peopleton Brook ran appallingly but Hawaii led them a merry dance for 4 and a ½ furlongs before being beat into 2nd place in a photo. It traded at 2.2 in running for large sums and I was left punching my desk in disbelieve! If I had snapped up the £30 at 55, I would have laid off at 44, had over £300 riskfree on it, and I would have left in low lays to win me around £100 (my target for this sort of horse).

Forget about it I said, it’s only one race. Just don’t make the same mistake again…. (I wish I’d listened to myself!)

2.00 Haydock – I again acted on Andrew’s advice here as it’s not my cup of tea! Overnight, I had managed to get £30 matched on Crossbow Creek at huge odds and laid off about 25 points lower for a riskfree return of £738! I managed to lay £10 off in running before it faded, so it was a decent call by Andrew.

Just before the off, I noticed that I’m So Lucky had gone on a massive drift which is unusual for a Pipe runner. I also know that it front-runs, so I backed it for £20 at 24. I laid off after 2f for a £100 riskfree return on it and I managed to make £15 by laying off at low odds in running. I still had over £40 return if it won but it finished 2nd behind the easy winner Blue Bajan.

All in all, a pleasing race with £25 profit for no risk.

2.20 Ascot – This proved a bit of a disappointing race for me. When I analysed the race, I saw it was full of potential improving 4 year olds who would probably dominate the finish. I was ultimately proved correct.

Overnight, I had managed get £30 on Middlemarch at odds of 110 and I laid off at 80 for a huge riskfree bet on it. Unfortunately, it ran a stinker and I only made £5 in running.

I had also backed Orchard Supreme and Binanti overnight. I ended up with £500 riskfree on Orchard and £190 on Binanti. I made £9 combined from both of these as I put my in-running lays too low and I was slightly annoyed as Orchard traded at about 20, so I could have made a few more pounds on that.

Overall, a £14 profit on a race where I had riskfree returns totalling over £1,400 doesn’t make nice reading to me.

2.25 Nott – I couldn’t get any bets matched on any horse I fancied here apart from Trance. I had riskfree return £38 on Trance and it finished tailed off last!

At this point in the day, I had an hour until my next race. I decided to take a little break, have a cup of tea and get away from my laptop.

I had traded 6 races, won on 3 and break-even on 3. I had made a profit of £44 which was about the least amount I could have made at this point in the day but I tried to forget about the Nottingham race in particular and put it behind. There were 6 races left and surely I’d find a winner soon!

3.20 Ascot – My winning run comes to an abrupt halt!

Amazingly, this was the only handicap from the 10 I analysed where I didn’t do a full analysis. The race was full of potential improvers, so it’s not really my type of race. I only looked at 2 horses in the race and I thought that both would maybe run well, but I wasn’t confident. What was to unfold in the 20 minutes before the race was unbelievable and I’ll never, never ever bet in a race again where I haven’t checked the form of every horse and did a reasonable amount of work on the race.

I had backed Ned Ludd overnight at about average odds of 16 and laid off at 13 for a riskfree bet of £60.

When I came back at 3.00pm, I noticed that Ned Ludd and Gabier were both very weak in the market. I watched it as they drifted a few points. Ned Ludd reached 17 and Gabier reached 15. I then backed both for £30 at these prices. By the time the off came, Ned Ludd was trading at 24 and Gabier was trading at 19. I had backed both again and again, and I had around £230 exposure on the race.

I was really annoyed with myself for backing these two as I didn’t even fancy them that much. There was no way I was putting £230 in running on two horses I didn’t even fancy, so I laid off enough for an exposure of £52 on the race with the potential of a profit if either run well or won. I left in lower lays in running and not surprisingly, both horses ran absolutely appallingly and I was left with a £52 loss on the race. OUCH!

For my own sanity, please let me say to myself, never, ever get yourself in a position where you are risking £230 on two horses where you haven’t even looked at any other horses in the race. As Andrew would say, a ‘school boy’ error.

3.55 Ascot – This race is almost as annoying as the previous race.

My analysis of the race put up two horses to back. These were Jimmy Styles and Border Music. I won’t go into the reasons as I gave these on the discussion site.

I asked for £100 worth of backs on Border Music on Friday night and I didn’t get a penny matched before the off. I also asked for £50 on Jimmy Styles all day and didn’t get a penny matched. Both horses were extremely well backed throughout the course of the day.

Just before the off, I decided to back Border Music and leave in low lays as I was convinced it would run well.

I’m not sure if anyone saw the race but I got all my low lays matched on Border Music and it still managed to lose the race! It traded at about 1.4 in running as it was absolutely cantering with 1f left. However, the jockey let Jimmy Styles get first run and the race was lost.

Overall, a £6 profit on the race but it would have been £38 if Border Music’s jockey had ridden a better race!

4.05 Nott – Frustrating!

I think the only word to describe Black Falcon is frustrating! This horse is dangerously well handicapped but it lets me down every time. I had a massive riskfree bet on it, didn’t lay a penny off even though it traded at 2.5 in running and stared in disbelief as it got beat again! Looking back, I have no complaints at all as I had an opportunity to lay off my riskfree bet but I turned it down.

I think when my handicap method throws up horses who I really think will win and they front run and are guaranteed to trade at short odds in running, I should never lay off. I could have won an obscene amount of money if this managed to win and I could never lose on the horse, so I should let these bets run. I don’t come across many horses like this in a course of a season and as long as one horse wins, I’ll be happy!

Just for good measure, one of the 2 potential dangers to Black Falcon won the race and no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get a riskfree bet on it before the race. Just rubs salt in the wound really!

5.10 Nott – Disaster strikes again!

Why is that I’ve managed to go over 30 races without a loss and two come along in 3 races?

OK, I wanted to back 3 horses in this race. These were Wahoo Sam, Brouhaha and Tough Lover. The Tricast paid £644, so maybe I’m playing the wrong game.

I gave the reasons on the discussion site but basically, Wahoo is the easiest horse in training to get riskfree on as it always sets a suicidal pace but never lasts home apart from the odd race in 10!

Brouhaha was a monster gamble last time and must be better than it showed there.
Tough Love had dropped dramatically in the weights and this was the easiest race it had ever contested.

Well, my race reading skills are still there as they finished 1st,2nd and 3rd and 5 lengths clear of the 4th horse.

However, I managed to lose £68 on the race!

I was amazed that Wahoo was 20s on Betfair. I was even more amazed when it was well backed pre-race and I couldn’t get a penny on it as it continued to shorten.

Brouhaha did the opposite and was very, very weak. I think people had known it was very well backed last time and didn’t want to take any chances in the early market. Every time I thought about backing it, it drifted in price. Think it went from 6 to 10 on Betfair.

So, that leaves me with Tough Love. I had been asking for £30 worth of backs overnight and didn’t get a penny matched. It had been backed from about 13 to 8 on Betfair. It was then backed from 15/2 to 13/2 in the betting ring 10 mins before race, so my opening back was £50 win at 8.8. I’ve never seen a horse drift so fast in my life. The line of the graph was almost vertical!

I backed at 11,12,13,14,15 and 16.

2 mins before the off, it was still very weak and no one wanted to back it. I had £210 win at average odds of 13.

I had a major decision to make again. Do I let this go in play? The difference here was that I actually thought this would run a huge race. I had one major issue. The horse is a hold up horse and I would only get out of the bet if it ran a great race. Should I gamble?

If it hadn’t been for the fact I’d had my fingers burnt earlier in the day, I would have let most of this go in play. I would have put in a lay at 6 for £100 and 3.5 for £250. This would be my normal sort of play when this sort of thing happens (but with much lower amounts at risk!).

Anyway, I decided to bail out most of the bet for a large loss and then I sat hoping it ran a stinker. Not surprisingly, I read the race almost perfectly, it came with a wet sail at the end and traded at below 2 before finishing 3rd.

Instead of winning £350, I lost £68.

Looking back, if it wasn’t for the fact I’d lost on the earlier race, I would have gambled here instead of taking the easy option. It’s amazing how one loss can affect your future decisions so much……..

6.40 Thirsk – Back to Form!

This was easily the most enjoyable race I traded today and it could be the most enjoyable race I’ve ever traded. I won £21 on the race before the off which for me is amazing!

I really fancied the Gary Moore horse Mundo’s Magic as it was OK handicapped and was drawn high (course favours high numbers). Anyway, I left £30 of backs in overnight at between 40-50 and I had every one matched by this morning. The horse was amazingly weak all day and I must have been the only person who fancied it in the world!

At 1pm, after looking at it again and seeing it was 33/1 on Oddschecker, I made the decision that I thought 50 would be the ceiling price on this horse. I then put in over £100 worth of backs between 50-60 and tried to lay off my initial £30 at 40. Over the course of the day, I didn’t lay a penny off and ended up with £130 win at average odds of 48!

At about 6pm, I went on the PC to decide what I should do. The horse was still very weak and wasn’t fancied by anyone apart from me! I decided then to follow my instinct that it was over priced and continue to back it. I then started laying off at between 40-44. Amazingly, after I’d been matched for another £50 or so at 50, floods of money came for the horse which allowed me to cancel all my backs. I then just followed the horse down as it was backed to 32. I got out at about 38 on average for a riskfree return of £1,800 or so.

It made sense to lay off a large chunk at 34 (£21) and I was still left with a huge riskfree bet on a well fancied runner (was backed from 33/1 to 25/1). As luck would have it, it started slowly, was never put in to the race and came home a never nearer 7th. Next time!

I left in about 20 lays at all prices downwards and not one lay got matched in running!

Overall, a nice race for me with £21 profit from trading a complete donkey……

7.10 Thirsk – The horse I wanted to be on here was Bazart. The horse was always going to get an easy lead and was an easy riskfree bet.

I didn’t trade the race much during the day and after everything that had happened throughout the day, I decided I wouldn’t play unless I got a riskfree bet pre-race. Unfortunately, the horse drifted which meant I didn’t play on it.

As luck would have it, it led for nearly the entire race and traded at below 3 in running (was 18 at the off). Another perfectly read race from me and not a penny to show for it.

Overall, an unbelievably disappointing day and my ‘special day’ turned into a bit of a nightmare.


Anonymous said...

I think that is the most comprehensive blog entry I've ever read ! You do write very well - if the punting fails, I'm sure you could find employment as a journalist !
With regard to what happened during the day: my main observation is that you seem to lack consistency in the execution of your plan... I know it's not easy, but you need to try establish a good price to strike for a particular horse and stick to it (not be so market driven). You also need a consistent staking plan and exit strategy. You can't afford to let the events of one race affect your actions in the next. You need to detach yourself emotionally from it all a little more...
All of this is far easier said than done - as I know myself, only too well ! You have the ability to read a race, good judgement and the nerve to place a bet - but if you are going to take a significant step forward, you need to execute in a more conistent fashion and keep your emotions under control...
I don't think I'm telling you anything you don't already know - but reading it written by someone else, will hopefully help you a little...

Loocie said...

Hi Graeme,

it is really nice to read your blog. I enjoy it very much. Have a question about you inplay trading: Do you always green up profit on each horse inplay?

Good luck with trading!

Cheers, Loocie

Graeme Dand said...


I agree 100% with your comments mate.

I'll post something up later in the week concerning this and about some other observations I've taken from Saturday.

Hopefully, next Saturday will be a £200+ day!


Graeme Dand said...

Hi Loocie.

Good to see you enjoy the blog!

My strategy now is all about trying to generate riskfree bets in races where I think I can pick the winner. However, to keep the bank ticking along nicely, I leave lays in running to give me a profit if the horse runs well.

In most cases, I'll only look to make £5-£10 in running and I'll leave a large riskfree return on the horse I think is most likely to win.

In the long-term, I'm sure that this strategy will beat most 'normal' traders but on days like Saturday, I need to take it on the chin and move on!

I never 'green up' so to speak as I really don't see the point in this if I'm using my strategy. If I trade a horse I think will win and I get a riskfree bet on it, then why on earth would I green up on this?

If it wins, I win a nice amount (usaully over £50), if it runs well, I win a small amount and if it runs badly, I break-even.

On days like Saturday when I don't manage to back a winner all day, I still should manage to make a profit. If you take away my 2 bad losses, I still made a decent profit on the day.

Obviously, I need to cut out the £50 losses and to have 2 on one day is very, very rare but I'll take it and move on.

One thing I would say about Saturday is that I made a few very bad decisions. Not backing a horse at 40 because I missed the 55 price was childish and cost me at least £100 profit. A similar comment applied in a few more races where I didn't back a horse because I missed the best price.

I need to learn that losses are OK on races and the wins will far outweigh the losses over time. At the moment, I'm obsessed with not trying to lose on any race and it's costing me a fortune.

Thanks for your comment.