Sunday, 31 August 2008

Thanks Mate!

I’m back........

Just wanted to say that I arrived back in one piece yesterday and I’m really looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow…..NOT! The holiday was great and it was nice to get away from work and the blog for a while….

I had a really enjoyable hour or so last night reading the blog posts and comments since I’ve been away and if I say so myself, this is quite an entertaining blog at times! I even had 6 emails from readers complimenting me on the blog while I was away, so Andrew can take some credit for this. lol

I don’t want to discuss any of Andrew’s posts as I don’t want to step on his toes in anyway but I thought it was worth putting my tuppence-worth in regarding the Return on Investments (RoI) that Andrew makes on races. I think he quoted that around 1 in 10 times he’ll select a winner at 25/1 or so and to most people, this obviously sounds like rubbish.

As Andrew clearly stated many times though, his strategy is not scalable and therefore, he is limited in someway by the returns he can make. One point I’d make regarding Andrew’s strategy is that in the majority of races, he will end up with a win bet at the off where the odds that he is getting look nothing like the starting price of the horse.

A horse that starts at 25/1 may have been backed by Andrew at average odds of 60+ on Betfair, so even though its BF starting price may only 36, Andrew will no doubt have got much higher odds from some silly layer when the market was still developing. This is effectively an ‘edge’ that he has created for himself in these types of races and this is why the return on investment is so great.

However, if Andrew started asking for £50 wins on horses that are creeping out in price when the market is being formed, his ‘edge’ would be gone and he would never get the prices that he needs to make the returns on investment that he does. It really is as simple as that.

Over the last 6 months, Andrew has taught me so much about how to earn money on Betfair and how to make my knowledge pay. Without Andrew’s input, I’ve no doubt I wouldn’t have got anywhere on Betfair as I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing in the beginning. In return, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Andrew had his best ever month on Betfair last month (I had my worst incidentally!) and therefore, I feel that by helping me think about the how to make a return, it has helped him considerably also. We both benefit greatly I feel.

A few of Andrew’s posts contain an amazing amount of advice and hints and I would suggest that if anyone is serious about trying to select decent priced winners in horse races, they pay particular attention to these posts.

I can see by the comments that everyone enjoyed Andrew’s posts and I think it worked very well in my absence. If Andrew ever wants to post again on here, I’d be happy with this and I’m sure the readers would also be happy!

I was slightly saddened to read on Leon’s blog that he has stopped posting on his blog. Leon’s blog was the reason that I actually opened a Betfair account and was one of the key reasons I started a blog, so I’ll miss reading his blog.

I think in a way, he has been a victim of his own success. The first 6 months or so of Leon’s blog was a great read as he learned how to trade properly and it was great to track his progress. However, as I found out in the few months where I traded quite profitably, a blog becomes a bit boring when all you are doing is posting up a profit every day and it all becomes too repetitive.

I could tell that Leon’s enthusiasm for the blog was waning in his posts before my holiday, so I’m not surprised he’s stopping the blog. He’s probably outgrown his blog so to speak, but I’m sure he’ll continue to do great in the future with his trading. Good luck mate!

Tomorrow starts the next chapter of The Experiment for me as I start to give out horse racing tips on a daily basis. I’m really looking forward to getting started and I’m hoping that I do well. I know a few of my readers are planning on following my advice daily, so I hope I don’t let anyone down.

Just so everyone is aware, I’m going to be following my own tips also. I’ve decided that I can afford to play £20 a point for next month, so we’ll see how I do. I’ll be keeping track of my profits on the blog as usual and I’ll also track the point’s profit/loss of my tips, so those that are not subscribing to the emails will still be able to see how I do.

I will be using Betfair to place my bets though, so this won’t always match the prices available at the bookmakers, so the points profit won’t match my P&L I assume. If I have difficulty getting decent prices on Betfair, I may open a telephone account with a bookmaker but we’ll see how it goes first.

For those that are awaiting the email tomorrow, I didn’t expect to have a selection but having spent an hour or so looking at the races this afternoon, I have found 2 possible selections but as if often the case, it will depend on how the Racing Post analyst views the races and how the races are priced up tomorrow morning on Oddschecker.

If none of the selections are at ‘value odds’, I will send an email out saying that there are no selections for tomorrow. Depending on how busy I am at work, I intend to issue the email by about 11am everyday. If I have any problems, I’ll use the blog to communicate with everyone, so keep an eye on this also.

I won’t bother doing a review of the month as there’s not much to say. I made a profit of just less than £280 on the month and most of that was from backing 2 winners before I went on holiday, so it was an OK month.

Incidentally, I haven’t given up on trading in any way! With evening racing now winding down, my trading opportunities are limited to weekends, so I will spend more time reading form and more time on my tipping experiment during the week. At weekends, I’ll still be trying to trade.

I think that’s about it. I can see that this is the 44th post on the blog for the month of August and this makes me smile. It must be a part-time job to read the blog, let alone write the blog, but as long as I feel like I’m getting something back from it, I’m happy to continue with this sort of output. The feedback has been great recently, so it makes the blog worthwhile.

Good luck for next month. Fingers crossed I can find us some winners…..

Saturday, 30 August 2008

And now, the end is near…

But before I say my final farewells, a quick review of today’s races…

In truth, as with last Saturday, today’s races provided a fair reflection of the horses I pick and how I tend do…

In the first at Sandown I was right to oppose the 2 favourites - though I picked the wrong horse to do so with in Raymi Coya...
The second race at Sandown almost perfectly encapsulated my methodology… As I’d said, I felt that Patrician’s Glory was over priced at around 30. This was pure speculation on my behalf – but the point is, nobody could be sure how good the opposition was, so speculation in this kind of race is all that you can use. Whilst Patrician’s ran a great race – and looked like wining inside the final furlong – as has often been the case for me in the past, his run just petered out and he eventually finished third. However, all of my IR lays were matched (it traded at 1.26) and though I would have won a few more pounds if he had got up, I still made a good profit on the race…

Over at Chester: Whilst I’ve had horses brought down over the jumps, Speed Gifted will go down as my first ever ‘BD’ on the flat ! In truth, I don’t think it would have won regardless. To my eyes, it just wasn’t handling the tack (as I said, Chester is a unique course). Interestingly, the race was won by the only other runner in the race with group pretensions – Red Gala.
I didn’t actually have a bet in the next race - I couldn’t decide between the 2/3 on my short-list at the prices available. As it turned out, Thebes ran a really good race, trading close to even money, but seemed to get unbalanced whilst Celtic Sultan showed speed – but faded. Pawwan never really featured.

The Newton Abbot feature was probably the most interesting race of the day for me –as it high-lighted two things: why I prefer NH races to bet in; and how I can get into a mess backing drifters !
As I mentioned, I had narrowed the race down to 3. In truth, I was never going to back Enlightenment – as it was strong all day and too short a price; I had quite a strong preference for Full House over Always Waining – so when it got to 20, I struck my first bet. I went in again at 24; and then doubled my stakes at 28. I doubled again at 34 ! I was therefore left with a bit of a hole, when it nearly refused to race and started 10 lengths behind the field ! However, one of the beauties of NH for me, is that for a few minutes, you can back and lay IR. A couple more judicious backs on Full House (one of my failings is that I find it very difficult to accept that I ever back the ‘wrong’ horse) and a few lays, actually saw me in the position with about a mile to run, where I had over £100 green on Full House and no risk on the rest of the field. Quite a recovery, even if I do say so myself !
In the end, Full House not surprisingly faded – and Always Waining did the best of my selections in fourth. The favourite did indeed get beaten as predicted – though I admit that this looked unlikely jumping the last…!

So there you have it – the end of my tenure. I believe that Graeme is flying back in tonight and I’m sure he’ll be back on the blog first thing tomorrow in preparation for the tipping challenge he’s set himself during September.

I hope that most of you have enjoyed my time in the chair – and taken it in the spirit it was intended. I acknowledge that the delivery of some of my posts hasn’t been spot on – but I have had to compose most of them under severe time pressures and hopefully the content has offset any unintentional dodgey tone…
As I’ve said before, I have derived a lot of benefit from blogs – this one in particular – over the past year or so. I know it sounds a bit cheesy – but my intention this week has purely been to try and give something back. If just one or two readers have managed to glean a few ideas or different angles, then I will feel that the time I have spent has been worthwhile.
Be lucky !

Friday, 29 August 2008

Preview for Saturday

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the races tomorrow for which there are established markets, don’t really grab me. However, I will be following the odds on a few of the runners, so I will share my thoughts and logic on here…

Chester 2:50

Over the years, I’ve found that when group class horses run in handicaps, they win – simple as. It doesn’t matter that they are invariably lumbered with top weight – provided the conditions are right (ie. distance and going), their class will see them through.
This is a high class handicap – but one horse in the race is almost certainly better than a handicapper. The horse in question is – not surprisingly – the top weight, Speed Gifted.
I say ‘almost certainly‘ because he hasn’t categorically proved his class - and therefore that would be the doubt. But he has been campaigned like a group horse by a shrewd trainer.
The last twice he has run, events have conspired against him (the soft ground at Ascot and getting upset in the preliminaries in France). Provided everything goes according to plan today, I could see him outclassing this field.
Anything above 6-1 is fair…

Chester 3:25

Chester is a unique course. A 1 mile oval, suited only to certain types of horses. The horses in question need to be sharp (out of the gates) and nimble – but just as importantly, they need to be well drawn (the lower the better) and ridden be a tactically astute jockey..
My 3 against the field in this race are Celtic Sultan, Thebes and Pawwan.
Pawwan’s jockey worries me enormously – so I would choose between the other two. However, as the likely odds of each will be around 14-1, choosing may not be necessary…

Sandown 2:05

This is a very trappy race, in which at least half the field can be given a chance.
However, the two favourites (Lindelaan and Barsheba) look beatable and the one that catches my eye, at a reasonable price, is Raymi Coya…
She has already won at listed level (as well as group 3). Her last two runs were at group 1 level, so the fact she finished eighth in both races, isn’t as bad at is it appears. In theory, she is held by Barsheba on her last run - but the going wouldn’t have suited her then, anywhere near as well as it will tomorrow.
At around 12-1, she looks a reasonable bet.

Sandown 2:35

Again, a very open race. Most of the field are open to significant improvement, which means that some speculation is in order…
Checking the Betfair odds, I see that Patrician’s Glory is currently 27 – which is too big. He won a useful maiden at Newbury on his debut and is from a stable not renowned for debut 2 year old winners (suggesting that he may well improve further). I suspect that his true chances are more in the 12-14 range – so I will certainly be playing at the available odds...

Newton Abbot 3:35

It’s great to see a decent NH race taking place – it’s a reminder that ‘proper’ racing is just around the corner…!
This is really competitive race for the time of year (and course !). Roby De Cimbre, representing Nicholls and Walsh, will almost certainly be over-backed. IMO , the race will be won by a horse that has been laid out for especially for the contest…
I quite like the look of Always Waining at around 20 – but if forced to chose the most likely winner, I would go for Full House or Enlightenment. The untapped potential of the latter would probably win the day – unless the price of Full House got much beyond the current 16 on Betfair…

Good luck for tomorrow – if you choose to play – especially if you follow me in on any of the above !

Reading between the lines…

As I mentioned in my penultimate post, my method of winner finding sees me focusing quite extensively on the betting market and trainers. I’ve also mentioned that the races I most like to get involved with are maidens…

For my penultimate blog post, I thought I would describe the market movements I witnessed in a couple of recent maiden races: an Irish maiden hurdle and an English 2 year old flat race. The ‘stars’ of both races were a couple of twice raced, twice unplaced horses…

As I’m sure many of you know, in order to receive a handicap mark, a horse needs to have run 3 time (normally in maidens) or won a race… It is reasonable to expect an inexperienced horse to improve with each outing, so a horse about to embark on it’s third outing, always sets a poser… Will it improve on it’s second run (which might well give it a good chance of winning the race) – or will it be ‘held back’ to ensure a decent handicap mark. Guessing what will happen in these situations is always fun, as the market goes through cycles of bluff, counter bluff and double bluff ! My edge in these races, is invariably calling those bluffs !!! (which is where being able to read the market and knowing your trainers, comes in)…

In this particular Irish maiden hurdle, there was a twice raced runner from a well known Irish gambling stable (I won’t name the stable, as I’m not sure what the position is with regard to liable !). However, this stable is renown for it’s ‘inspired’ gambles on unexposed horses. Personally, I always leave runners from the stable alone – you win some, you lose some – but without inside knowledge I don’t think you would stand a chance in the long run.
Anyway, this was a typical runner from the stable in a maiden – it had shown absolutely nothing in it’s first two runs. Despite this, the opening Betfair show was suitably cautious, but the horse quickly drifted to triple figures (on the assumption that it was having it’s third run to get a handicap mark).
However, money then started to come for the horse and it’s price collapsed. Every price down from 120 to 5 was taken prior to the market being formed on course. Sometimes a drift occurs at this point – but not on this horse… It just got stronger and stronger, eventually going off at 3.4 !
During the race, it was settled out of the back (again, not unusual for fancied horses in Irish maiden hurdles). Just after half way, it started to make ground on the bridle. Jumping the third last it was clearly cantering all over the field – and I watched the price on Betfair expecting it to go odds on… But it didn’t instead, thousands upon thousands appeared on the ‘back’ side at 2. The IR players obviously thought Christmas had come early and kept swallowing it up – but the cash kept reappearing. I should point out that all of this happened in about a 20 second period between the third and second last.
And then, the horse hit the second last and in a stride, went from cantering to toiling ! It eventually finished an unplaced sixth or seventh.
I could only sit back and admire what I had witnessed. The most perfectly executed coup. Not only had thousand been made by someone backing the horse in triple figures and laying it off at 2 – but the handicap mark had been preserved for another day – Genius !!!

I wasn’t quite so impressed by my second example (but then, I had money on this one, unlike the first !).
The horse in question was running in a 2 year old maiden at Sandown. Again, I won’t reveal the name of the trainer – but it was from a medium sized Lambourn yard. The horse had made a very promising debut – but then was an unplaced favourite second time out (on possibly unsuitable ground). The RP had forecast it’s price at 14-1 – so I thought 30 would be feasible on Betfair. I was a little surprised to get matched at 80 – but even more amazed as I watched it drift pre-race to the point where I got my final bet matched – 400 !!! I then watched the race and couldn’t believe what I saw. To my eyes, the jockey took a pull the whole way round and the horse finished a never nearer seventh. I wrote to Graeme the following day to tell him about it – but I also made a note of the horse in question.
A fortnight later, it reappeared in a nursery at Salisbury. It opened on Betfair at a seemingly ungenerous 16 (spotlight did not give it a favourable mention in his preview) – but it was tight in the market all day, eventually going off around 12. In the race itself, it travelled prominently and well, taking up the running a couple of furlongs out to score by a cosy 2 lengths…

The thing is, these kind of things happen every day of the week. Furthermore, the coverage by RUK and ATR and the transparency of the betting exchanges, mean they are visible to each and every one of us. The tricky bit is being able to interpret what you see and use it to your advantage…

On a different matter: as tomorrow will be my last blog post, I was hoping to be able to post analysis on a couple of the races (I feel more comfortable with this now that you have an idea of how my betting mind works !). However, I’ve had a quick look at tomorrow’s cards and no races stand out as obvious candidates. That said, if I do find anything tonight, I will post my thoughts on the blog either this evening or tomorrow morning…

Thursday, 28 August 2008

That’s a bit more like it !

If only I’d realised that all I had to do was ask for some critical feedback and the comments would roll in – LOL !
Seriously, thanks again to everyone who took the time to comment – as Graeme has said many times in the past, it’s the ‘banter’ that really makes the blog. I also happen to think it is extremely useful – a monologue might be good for the ego, but the learning opportunities are severely limited…!!

Talking of which, I have mentioned a few times lately, how I have picked up valuable snippets of information from the blog over the past months, which I’ve used to improve or consolidate my performance…

An example of this was a comment made by Matt last week, in response to a short priced winner that Graeme had put up for the tipping competition.
I’m not quoting exactly, but it was along the lines that there was virtually no difference between tipping a horse at 5-4 when it should be evens; and 20-1 when it should be 10-1.

My instinctive reaction to this was that it was nonsense and that I should just disregard – but as with one or two other posters on this blog, Matt has built up some credibility in my mind, so I felt I should give it a little thought… and low and behold I eventually got what he was saying…!

If the percentage chances are accurate, then a 5-4 shot has a 44.4% chance of winning a race whilst an even money chance has a 50% chance (ie. just over 5% difference); similarly, a 20-1 shot has just under 5% chance, whilst a 10-1 shot has just under 10% chance (again, around a 5% difference !).

To be honest, once this particular penny had dropped with me, I felt that my ability to pick 25-1 winners that should be 10-1, wasn’t really the achievement it sounded like ! Surely it would just as easy – if not easier – to pick 5-4 winners that should be even money shots, and the returns over time would be the same…
So I thought for a little longer…

Personally, I wouldn’t have a clue whether a short priced favourite should be 5-4 or even money. I can just about tell if a horse is 6-4 and it should be 1-2 (like Levera !) – but that’s about it… Therefore, I would have absolutely no confidence in my ability to pick out overpriced runners at this kind of price…

20-1 shots that should be 10-1 is a completely different matter however… These stand out to me like beacons. I would have total confidence that I could spot a true 10-1 chance trading at 20-1…

And I guess that’s why there are so many methods around and why individuals should only use methods that they personally feel comfortable with, tweaking as they go along...
However, challenging my method with Matt’s logic (an angle I would never have considered myself), was an extremely worthwhile exercise for me to undertake and one that wouldn’t have happened without the blog - and it’s comments…!

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Value Betting - Finding that hidden edge...

Well my last post didn’t get quite the number of comments I was hoping for – something I’m sure Graeme will point out to me on his return !! LOL

Having tried my best to start a debate on value betting, it’s difficult for me to know where I went wrong… Maybe I went into too much detail; maybe I didn’t go into enough; maybe my ‘style’ turned people off; or maybe it was just the content (I know that most of Graeme’s readers are traders – but what I know about trading can be written on the back of a postage stamp !). If nothing else, I would appreciate an idea of why people didn’t comment on the last post – if only so that I can adjust things accordingly, if I ever decide to do a blog of my own…

Anyway, thanks to Maggie and Markomar for their comments, and I will soldier on along my path until Graeme returns…

My particular method of value betting, sees me worrying less about specific races and more about trends. There are two areas in particular, which I focus on in order to achieve this: the Betfair market and trainers…

With regard to the Betfair market; I pay particular attention to prices available on particular horses and the weight of money waiting to back/lay at various times during the day. There are clearly key times during the day, for each race market on Betfair: the lead up to prices being available with bookmakers (normally around 9:00); the hour or so prior to the off of a race (presumably when some book balancing takes place) and the 10 minutes immediately before the off (when the on course markets are formed). Key indicators are given out at the each of these times – the tricky part is being able to interpret them…

With regard to trainers: There are particular racehorse trainers, whose horses I will never bet. This is because, if a horse of theirs is going to win (or at least run well), it will be backed; if it is not going to run so well, it will not be backed… (this doesn’t sit well with my ‘value’ philosophy !)
I have found the yard of Peter Chappel Hyam’s to be particularly transparent in this respect – but the same is true of a number of the Newmarket yards (I tend to avoid many of the Northern yards because I suspect it is rife here also).
Conversely, there are other yards, whose horses I will back if I fancy their runner, even slightly. Historically, my favourite yard has been that of Geoff Wragg – but that now seems in terminal decline, so I have switched my prime allegiance to John Dunlop.
I’m sure it is no coincidence that both of these trainers are well established ‘old school’ – the sort who don’t need to land a touch in order to keep the yard going…!

The key thing to note with both the Betfair market and following specific trainers is that once you start to understand how they work, you can pick up clues which the average punter will not see. In the search for value, well masked clues are gold dust…

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Value Betting - Embrace the uncertainty !!

As I said in my previous post, in races where all of the runners have form in the book, the market is likely to accurately reflect each runners chance of winning.
My solution to this is to back primarily in races where the form is not in the book, use my knowledge and judgement - and ‘embrace the uncertainty’ !!

Method 1 – The false priced favourite

My first method for value betting is to find a race where there is a false priced favourite and oppose it. Punters in general so want to back a winner, that many favourites are backed down to a price which grossly overstates their chances of winning, When this happens, there is value to be had elsewhere. Whilst an option is simply to lay the favourite – my preferred route is to select one or two against it…
An example of this kind of bet would be Centennial on Saturday. Patkai was the false priced favourite. He had shown enormous in winning a group 3 race, over half a mile further… But that was why he was a false priced favourite ‘potential’, ‘group 3’, and ‘half a mile further’. Centennial meanwhile, had been running in group 1 races over the same trip as Saturday’s race. He was the solid selection, yet I got matched at 18 on Betfair, whilst Patkai returned at 8-11.

Method 2 – The underrated performer

This is similar to method one – but works at the other end of the market…
In conditions races in particular, if a horse appears not good enough – or held on previous running - punters will often just write off it’s chances. As I said in my original value post, I am of the belief that any horse can win a particular race – especially as in reality, most trainers would be unlikely to run a horse if they felt it had no chance of winning. Therefore, when I see a horse trading at a huge price, because it doesn’t appear to be quite good enough, I get ready to play…
Examples of such horses were Supersonic Dave on Saturday and Big Robert on Monday. Taking Big Robert: he had just 3lbs to make up on the eventual winner, Many Volumes, on official ratings. Despite this, I managed to back him during the day at 70 on Betfair. His price never made it down to the level I expected (20-30) – but I did exit most of the bet at 44 – leaving a sizeable risk free profit if he had managed to bridge the gap with Many Volumes…

Method 3 - The ‘live’ maiden

In my experience, about 50% of all maiden races (flat and jumps) can be narrowed down to 5 or 6 runners and these runners will win over 95% of the time. Most of these will be at the top of the market – but not all of them….
My method is to find the horse in the race that has a chance but is at a massive price.
There is invariably one – it’s just a question of finding it. This is without doubt, my most successful method. Every 10 or so races, I get the winner – and whilst they are not all returned at 240 ! – 100 plus is not uncommon. The biggest issue I have is getting my stake on (as I mentioned, I could only get £1:83 matched on the 240 winner).
An example of such horses were the 2 that I selected for the maidens in Ireland on Sunday. I didn’t actually back one because it’s price was too short (this method is completely price driven – I back whatever the market ‘tells’ me to !). However I was matched at 60 on the other one and it finished a relatively close up fourth…

Method 4 – The drifter

If I was to ditch one method – this would be the one ! (after writing this, maybe I should !). Often I look at a race and whilst I quite fancy a horse, I feel its price doesn’t quite represent value… Sometimes, despite this, the price of the horse will actually contract – but other times, it lengthens… When this happens, my ‘value’ instincts kick in and I have to back it ! Furthermore, if it continues to drift, I will back it again and again and again ! I don’t get into many holes with my gambling – but this method accounts for just about all of them ! Worse still, knowing that I’m backing a drifter, I am invariably overly keen to exit the bet. So if it does run well, my profits aren’t what they should be –and if it doesn’t…!
An example of this kind of a horse was Linda Green on Sunday. As I mentioned, it was priced up at 12-1 all day – which I thought was a fair representation of it’s chances. Therefore, when I saw it at 20, 5 minutes before the off, the ‘value’ bells started ringing ! At 28 the noise was deafening ! Yet despite this, I got out of most of the bet far too early – and made only a reasonable profit…

Method 5 – The dark horse

This method involves backing the unknown horse in the field – the one who is different – who could be anything and is likely to finish first or last !
This method would see you backing foreign horses or horses running over markedly different trips to normal or novices competing in championship events…
Invariably, the odds on such horses are significantly bigger than they should be.
An example of such a horse (although admittedly not a particularly good one !) was Classic Remark on Sunday. It was from a small-ish stable running in a big race in France. A better example would probably be Kingsgate Native in last years Nunthorpe.

So there you have it – my value methods laid bare ! Hopefully, they will provoke some comments… I would be particularly interested in peoples thoughts on how I should deal with ‘the drifter’ (as this is the one I think I need to tame !) – but comments/questions/thoughts on any of the methods, will be most welcome (my target is to get more comments on this post than Graeme has had on any of his posts – don’t let me down !)

Value Betting - The Framework

As Markomar said in his comment on my last post: you will only get value if you identify something that has not been factored in to the price…
Graeme would have few peers when it comes to solving a competitive handicap – but whether his selection represents value, is out of his hands. A number of the big tipping lines seem to employ similar methods to Graeme for picking horses and once they have made public their views, the chance of getting a decent price has gone. Consequently, not only does Graeme have to resolve the riddle of a race – he also has to try and find an angle that will not be picked up by many others – a tricky job, made even more difficult…
I use to specialise in high class races. But similarly, these races are analysed and picked over to such an extent, that getting a value price on a selection, is nearly impossible.
If you bet in either of these situations, you have to be extremely accurate with your race reading, as the long term profit margins are extremely tight…

I’m a big fan of Tom Segal and he was bemoaning this very fact in his column in the Weekender a couple of weeks ago. If Pricewise doesn’t think there is value to be had any more - what chance have the rest of us got…!

Despite the difficulties - I still maintain that the vast majority of my bet are ‘value’ bets (I intend for them all to be value bets – but I have to admit that the occasional duff one gets through the net !).
In reality, I don’t have one method - I have a number. These have evolved to suit the type of racing I like to watch and the times that I am available to bet.
However, the bottom line is, that for every 10 bets I place; on average, 1 will win and 1 will trade around even money. This coupled with the fact that the odds of my average selection is 25-1, sees me comfortably in profit in the long run.
However, an average strike rate of 1 in 10 does mean that losing streaks of 20, 30 or even 40 aren’t that uncommon ! Whilst I have the belief to over-come these, they can affect judgement a little. Consequently, I place a low IR lay on all of my selections (around even money) which results in me winning approximately the same amount whether my horse wins or nearly wins… I refer to this as ‘smoothing out the luck curve’ ! It helps keep me sane when my horses are getting pipped on the post; just failing to get up or falling at the last…!

So, onto the methods I employ. The 10 or so ‘selections’ that I published on Saturday, Sunday and Monday were a fair representation of the kind of horses I back (with the exception of Coastal Path and Levera). I will therefore explain each of my methods, using these horses as examples. Therefore, if you haven’t read my previous posts or have forgotten the detail, now would be a good time to go and refresh yourselves, whilst I compose the next post…!!!

Monday, 25 August 2008

Value Betting - The Fundamentals

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks, how the term ‘value’ in relation to prices, has been cropping up with increasing frequency in Graeme’s blog posts. As I mentioned in my introduction, I became a ‘value’ disciple many years ago, so it seemed an appropriate subject for me to raise during my week in the chair…

I intend to do a few posts on ‘value’. This is the first of them and the point of it, is simply to set the scene by defining what I view as ‘value’ and what constitutes a ‘value’ bet. In subsequent posts, I will attempt to illustrate how I find value when betting…

I think that to truly get your head around value, you have to accept two things:

Firstly, that any runner can win a particular race. Now I acknowledge that the chances of certain horses winning certain races are slim to the point of being almost non-existent – but the key point is, they are not non-existent… True, on occasions, it may take a freak accident; an act of god or a shocking ride ! – but even all of these things happen (particularly the last one !), and consequently any horse could in theory, win any race it competes in…

Secondly, you must also accept that if you ran the same race over and over again, you would get different winners… Not a different winner every time – but non-the–less, the same horse would not always win the race. If you struggle with this idea, just think of the number of races in which the first 5 or 6 finish within a length of each other. The difference between victory and defeat is likely to be missing the break, not making a move at the right moment; meeting with interference… If the race was re-run, all of these things would change, so a different result is highly likely, when the runners are so closely matched.

If you can accept these two things ie. that no race is completely predictable in advance, then you should be able to buy into the concept of value betting…

Put simply, a value bet is one where the odds you take on a selection are greater than the percentage chance of it wining a particular race. Therefore if you take even money on a horse with a 60% chance of winning a race – you have value: Similarly, if you take 20-1 on a horse with a 10% chance of winning you again have value: even if you take 1000-1 on a horse with a 1% chance, it’s a value bet !

The really tricky bit however, is establishing in advance, what percentage chance a particular horse has of winning a particular race. This is where skill and judgement are required. There are literally hundreds of factors that need to be taken in to consideration when assessing the chances of a horse in a particular race: going; distance; jockey; fitness; draw, pace… the list goes on and on.

The races where the most of these factors are known, are the types of races in which Graeme specialises (ie all age handicaps). These are the races where it is possible in advance, to most accurately predict the likelihood of each of the runner winning. However, whilst assessing such races accurately is not an easy thing to do, Graeme is not the only person to have mastered it. Consequently, horses such as Golden Prospect and Icannshift trade at odds which, to the casual observer, appear far lower than they should be. In truth, there is no value in backing this kind of horse, at the odds generally available, as the market invariably accurately reflects their chances of winning…

Best laid plans....

A quick review of today’s races…

Well the conditions race at Kempton didn’t turn out to be the burn up that I predicted. As the guy on RUK said when referring to the possible pace issue ‘these jockeys aren’t stupid’ – I’m sure that’s true of at least some of them…!
Jimmy Fortune evidently decided that today was the day that Kandidate would lose his unbeaten record around Kempton, as he chose to reign the horse back and force it to race in a manner that it clearly didn’t appreciate. IMO, Frankie is probably the best tactician riding on the flat, so if he decided that Gravitas didn’t need to race prominently, I’m not going to argue with that. As a result, Hearthstead Maison got an uncontested lead at a leisurely pace – and as a consequence, would probably have won if he’d been good enough. As it turned out, he wasn’t and the class and pace of Many Volumes won the day. The lack of a searching gallop didn’t do Dansant any favours and he could only stay on into fourth. Similarly, the race wasn’t run to give Big Robert the best chance and fifth was probably a reflection of his ability.
Meanwhile, poor Kandidate trailed in last, and will be worth considering next time if the market reacts negatively to what appears to be another poor run – but in reality was probably an injudicious ride (though in fairness to Jimmy Fortune, deciding on tactics when there are multiple front runners, can’t be easy)…

Over at Huntingdon, Levara was amazingly available at 6-4 on Betfair 5 minutes before the off. I was extremely tempted to play as I felt the horse should have been around about a 1-2 shot. I didn’t – and I’m glad I didn’t, as I know I would have subsequently regretted it (even though he won !). In the race itself, Levera tavelled well and jumped economically (for a hurdling debutant). In fairness, he did come under some pressure approaching the second last, but when you’ve run the earlier part of the race at a speed similar to that which you normally canter down to the start, racing for a couple of furlongs is probably quite a nice thing to do !

Race of the Day

Although I said I probably wouldn’t analyse any more during my tenure, that was due mainly, to the fact that I didn’t anticipate any suitable races being run before Graeme’s return (apart from on Saturday maybe).
However, on scanning through the cards this morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find one of my kind of races being run at Kempton: the conditions race at 4:30.
This is a tight looking little race, with only a few pounds between all of the runners on official ratings. The big thing that strikes me about the race is that it’s likely to be run at a ferocious pace. Kandidate, Hearthsted Maison and Gravitas all like to lead. Unless two of them are prepared to ease off, all 3 could ending up compromising their chances by getting into a battle for the lead. However if they do back off, they won’t be playing to their strengths, so I will draw a line through all 3.
That just leaves, Dansant, Many Volumes and Big Robert. The winner is most likely to be one of the first two, with my preference being Dansant (due to the fact that he seems to have a little more stamina and has proved himself well suited to the AW terrain). Odds around 5-2 would seem fair…
However, the bet in the race at 60 on Betfair (50-1 with the bookies) has to be Big Robert. As I’ve said, the race should be run to suit him and he’s only a few pounds off Dansant and Many Volumes on official ratings. Sure, he’s not been in the best of form this year (though a good run was anticipated at Ascot on his penultimate start) and he’s unproven on the surface – but at 50-1 he’s not going to be bomb-proof ! IMO, he is a ‘value’ bet though…

As I mentioned yesterday, I never back odds on (I actually can’t recall ever backing below 3-1!) – but if I did, I would be sorely tempted by Levera in the 3:40 at Huntingdon. Not many 100+ rated flat horses make it onto the jumps. There are only 2 doubts: his ability to stay the trip (in reality, this probably won’t be put to the test) and his ability to jump (I can’t believe that Alan King won’t have him well schooled and he’s not likely to be put under pressure). Those 2 doubts are no where near sufficient to justify a price of even money – if I did bet at those kind of odds, I would lump on !!!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Thank goodness that’s over…!

I refer both to the worst Sunday’s racing in a good while – and the tipping competition…

Sunday tends to be my favourite days racing of the week. Domestically, it’s often not great – but the Irish invariably save the day. Not today however !!
What a shame that the weather which has resulted in the abandonment of the last ever meeting at Tralee , couldn’t have wiped out today’s dire cards at Cork and Ballinrobe instead.. It’s poor day (or Arc Sunday !) when the best racing is provided by the French…!

With regard to the tipping competition: then any tipping competition that last just 7 days, is bound to be won by the luckiest punter around – and for all our strengths (sic) Graeme and I would never claim to be lucky !!

I’ll do a quick review of today’s selections – but in truth, they barely warrant that:
The rain at Goodwood resulted in every selection bar 1 being a non-runner ! The only one that did run was Janina. I found this a little surprising as she had performed poorly on the soft before and I’m sure she has been scratched from recent races when the ground has turned soft. Maybe connections just decided to get a run into her - and should could be worth another go on better ground…
Over in Ireland, my 2 selections both finished fourth. Although I saw them both as 20-1 ish shots, I got matched on one at 60 on BF: whilst the other never traded below 11 (6-1 SP), so I didn’t back it. The 60 shot ran the better race – but was facing tough competition.
The only race I really got involved in today was the 2:45 at Deauville. I fancied both Classic Remark (at a price) and Muthabara… Amazingly, in the 5 mins leading to the off, I was able to continually back Classic Remark at close to 40 and lay around 14 ! Similarly, Muthabara was available to back around 7.6 and lay around 5.5 ! It never fails to amaze me how volatile these weak markets are. Unfortunately, neither horse ultimately proved good enough, so I had to take a loss on the race.
More surprising was the defeat of Coastal Path in the 3:45 by a horse who he had beaten 9 lengths on his penultimate start (over the same trip and on the same ground). It reminded me why I never back at odds on - or indeed below 3-1 (not that I needed reminding !). As the old cliché goes, they are not machines…

I was intending calling it a day at that point – as bad racing was just about to get even worse. But the runners for the final race at Goodwood caught my eye - or more specifically, one of the runners: Linda Green…

As you are probably aware, Graeme’s mantra, is that if you back a well handicapped horse when it encounters ideal conditions, it will invariable win (or at least run well). To be honest, although this sounds easy to do, finding these horses normally takes far more effort than I am prepared to put in. However, when Graeme identifies such a horse, I normally make a mental note of it…
Linda Green was identified by Graeme, as such a horse earlier in the year. Much to my amusement, it proceed to repeatedly run like a hairy goat, and then popped up twice in a week at Windsor during one of Graeme’s self imposed sabbaticals ! It has lost twice since then – but today, was running of a mark 3lbs lower than it’s last run. Graeme also maintains that you should follow a well handicapped horse until it ceases to be well handicapped. Linda Green had won in the past off a much higher mark than it was running off today. I checked out it’s price this morning – but at 12-1 is seemed to be priced correctly. 5 minutes before the off, at 20 on BF, it seemed overpriced - so I jumped in. I was really surprised to then see it drift to 28 (where I got my final bet matched ). I layed off almost half of my stake immediately IR at 21. The remainder, I carried through the race until the final furlong, when half of my potential winnings were matched by a lay at 2.4, to give me a profit which just about off-set the loses incurred earlier in the day.
I’m not sure how they say ‘Cheers Mate’ in Spanish – but ‘Cheers Mate’ !!

Onto tomorrow: I don’t intend to post any more tips, now that the competition has finished. Instead I will raise my first subject for serious debate: ‘Value Betting’. I’ve not actually decided what I’m going to write yet - but I’m sure it will be a riveting read, so make sure check out the blog tomorrow and let me have your thoughts on the subject…

Champion Tipster Day 7

Final day of the Champion Tipster competition and I just need a 25-1 winner to take the title on Graeme’s behalf… No pressure then !
I feel like an athlete on the last leg of the 4X400m relay, handed the baton 50m behind the leader – here’s hoping for a Kriss Akabusi moment !

Yesterday there was a feast of quality action; today whilst there is no famine, it’s like having dinner at Mcdonalds, when you’ve lunched at a Michelin starred restaurant !

Still, I’ve got to work with what’s available – and a 25-1 winner is a 25-1 winner wherever it’s running and whatever the class of the race…

That said, I’m struggling a bit to find suitable fancies… I’ve discarded the Yarmouth and Beverly cards, because they do nothing for me (ironically, Graeme would have probably lapped them up !). Instinctively, I turn to the Irish racing in times of need (I realise this is unusual – but it works for me !) however, it’s always very difficult to predict the market (more difficult I find, than predicting the winners), so I’ll have to rely on Goodwood (where there are a couple of decent races) – and Deauville (I’m not sure if the competition permits this – but I’ll submit my selection and argue about it when it’s won !).

So, after much deliberation my selections for today are:

Deauville 2:45 Classic Remark
Goodwood 2:45 Lady Acquitane

For those of you who are interested, I will explain the rationale behind my selections.

The first thing to bear in mind is that I need a big priced winner. To be honest, it’s not that easy to find a runner that will be returned with a big SP and that has a chance – hence the first selection…
I watched Classic Remark the last time it ran (in the Nassau stakes at Glorious Goodwood). It ran an absolute blinder, to finish sixth (just behind Muthabara). The thing about Classic Remark, is that it’s from an unfashionable stable and running in a foreign country. Consequently, it will almost certainly go off a bigger price than it’s form warrants. In theory, it shouldn’t beat Muthabara – but it was less than a length behind and is less exposed. If it wins, I’m sure it will pay greater than 25-1 on the PMU…
Incidentally, whilst on the subject of Deauville, I think Coastal Path is an absolute cert in the 3:45. I never bet odds on myself (and it will probably be odds on) but before the Ascot Gold cup, I’d read that it was considered unbeatable; and it travelled like a class horse during the race. It just didn’t get home. Over half a mile less, it should outclass the opposition…

My second selection is Lady Acquitane. I feel that either this or Janina will win this race. The Problem with Janina, is that if it wins, it will be backed – and I need big odds ! I’ve followed lady Acquitaine for it’s last couple of runs and it looked to me as if it was returning to form last time out. A drop in trip could be just what’s required and hopefully it will be returned around the required 25-1..
Also at Goodwood, I like the look of Regal Best in the first and Icon Project in the 3:20. I’m of the opinion that Icon Project is a class above the opposition it faces today – only the weight that it has to carry, worries me. Hopefully this won’t prove an insurmountable burden…

For completeness, I did take a look at the Irish racing and would suggest Celtic Soprano in the first at Ballinrobe and Cul a Dun in the 3:20 at Cork. I think both could outrun their odds – but I’m not confident that either will be returned at the required 25-1 (though this may well be available on Betfair).

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Review of the afternoon...

With my third post in the last 24 hours, there’s a danger of my output being as prolific as Graeme’s – however, as I’ve only got to keep it up for 7 days, I should be able to avoid verbal burnt out !

So, onto this afternoon’s action: bottom line – Graeme’s chances of winning the tipping competition receded a little further – but it wasn’t for the want of trying and with a bit of luck it could have been quite different…

Even if I say so myself (I was actually hoping that one of my readers would do this for me, so I wouldn’t have to !), I read the 2 Goodwood races near perfectly… Only 2 horses mentioned in both races and they finished first and second – a good way clear of the third. If Petara Bay’s stamina hadn’t given out in the closing stages, they really would have been perfect calls. Needless to say, I didn’t make anywhere as much from the races as I should have (as is invariable the case) – but I did turn it a bit of a profit…

I also read Balthazaar Gift’s race at Newmarket pretty well. Winker Watson didn’t perform and Balthazaar traded at 2.3 IR – but didn’t quite get there. I did look closely at the winner his morning – but just didn’t think it good enough…

The other 3 races weren’t quite as good:
Sophocles ran OK in Ireland but was simply outclassed. I was surprised to see it at such a short price and actually ended up backing Ballyhaunis in the race (as it has finished ahead of Sophocles two races ago). It ran a reasonable race to finish third, but was also not match for the winner.
Cat Junior also ran OK (though faded to finish last). The most notable thing about this race was Betfair’s failure to open the IR market. This probably cost me a few pounds (I invariably look to lay in Running and Cat Junior travelled prominently and reasonably well) – but I’m sure it cost others significantly more… I guess it’s a risk you take if you bet prior the off with a view to greening up IR…
Finally, Supersonic Dave ran a reasonable race to finish a staying on fourth , looking (somewhat ironically) like he needed a stiffer test of stamina…

So, in summary, from 6 selections, I managed a 12-1 winner, two seconds at 6-1 and 12-1, a 12-1 fourth and two unplaced. Not too bad…

However, the high-light of the afternoon for me, was the first race at Tralee. A maiden hurdle in which I managed to get £1:83 matched on the winner at odds of 240, moments before the off ! (this is the second highest priced winner I’ve ever backed !) Unfortunately, I layed off quite a big chunk, to guarantee at least £70 profit whatever the result – but I still ended up winning £130 on the race, which was a cause for moderate celebration ! Interestingly the winner’s SP was just 25-1 (though it would have been good enough for Graeme if I’d selected It for the comp !).

Just so you are all aware, I don’t intend to analyse races and post selections every day. It’s simply that I needed to go through the process for Graeme’s competitions entries, so I thought I would share my analysis on here. I may do the same tomorrow (as it’s the last day of the comp) – but from there on in, I will intend to raise more cerebral matters for debate (unless the masses demand otherwise !)

Champion Tipster Day 6

Well Graeme has left me in the unenviable position of trying to close a 20 point gap on the leader in 4 selections.

This means that I’ve either got to bag four 5-1 winners – or one 20-1 winner, in the next 2 days. As you’ll probably come to realise, with my mind–set, this really should be a no-brainer - so I’ve been doing my best to find that 20-1 winner (or bigger, if possible) !

Unlike Graeme, I have virtually no interest in handicaps. I’ve never had the quality of time required to dedicate to unravelling a 20 runner sprint handicap. Instead, I focus on conditions races: this generally means either group/listed races (on the flat) or maidens.

My interest in the racing means that I store sufficient information to be able to process and form an opinion on a group/listed race in a couple of minutes. Therefore, with races like today’s Juddmonte, I have a view on which horses I would be interested in and at what prices, almost as soon as I see the runners. The problem with these kind of races however, is that lots of other people are familiar with the runners and consequently, the prices on offer tend to be a fair reflection of a particular horses chance of winning.

Maidens, however, are a completely different ball game… There is rarely much form in the book and consequently, a lot of speculation and judgement is required. For these races, I use the knowledge and experience I’ve built up over the past 30 years. In reality, nowadays, these tend to be the races where I find the 20-1 winners…

This said, today being a Saturday, there are far more group/listed races to look at than suitable maidens. Also, with maidens, it is really difficult to judge in advance of the off, what price a particular horse will start at. Consequently, today, I have looked at a few group/listed races and made my selections from them:

Goodwood 2:10

This race revolves around favourite Patkai. The question is whether he will be as effective at 1m4f as he was at 2m – and also, to a lesser extent, whether his 2m form is as good as it appears.
Of the opposition, Scintillo doesn’t really look good enough, whilst Meydan City has a lot to prove. Therefore, I think the 2 to concentrate on are Top Lock and Centennial.
These 2 met earlier in the season at Sandown and Centenial came out on top by 3 lengths. A fair bit of water has gone under the bridge since then: Top Lock appears to have improved, whilst this doesn’t appear to have been the case with Centenial. However, Centenial is now double the price of Top Lock, who has 3 lengths to make up with him of that piece of form. For those reasons, and the doubt over Patkai, Centenial has to be the bet at around 11-1.

Goodwood 2:45

The horse that catches my eye in this race is Petara Bay. Petara Bay is not quite top class over 1m4f - so presumably connections are stepping him up in distance in the hope he can bridge that gap (and make races like the Irish St. Leger, future options for him). The opposition doesn’t look that strong, with Tungsten Strike looking the toughest opponent. However, Tungsten Strike needs firm ground to be at his best (as well as an uncontested lead). If Petara Bay’s stamina holds out, he should have too much class and at 6-1, rates a fair bet.

Newmarket 3:05

The betting suggests that Winker Watson is the horse to beat here and whilst he undoubtedly has ability/potential, I’m not so sure… One reading of his last race form is that he finished fourth in the Group 1 Sussex stakes – another reading is that he only beat 2 home (his out of form stable mate and a pacemaker). He was off for a long time after last year’s July cup and imo has not proved himself fully since his return.
At the price, I’m happy to swerve him and go instead for Balthazaars Gift. In truth, this horse wouldn’t have a lot of ground to make up on a peak form Winker Watson, so at 12-1 he’s definitely a value call.

Newmarket 3:35

Through Henrythenavigator, Cat Junior is about 3 lengths inferior to New Approach. When he finished fourth behind Henry in the St.James Palace stakes, Cat Junior was running for only the third time in his life. He would therefore appear to have scope for improvement (which seemed to be borne out by his subsequent run in France behind Tamayuz). Add to this the fact that his trainer, Brian Meehan, believes he will be a better horse over 10 furlongs than he is over 8 and you have a good bet to beat New Approach. Defeating Duke of Marmalade my be a different matter (unless you take his form line with Papal Bull literally !) – but at odds of 50-1, he’s worth a speculative punt (EW or place only for the faint hearted !)

Curragh 2:30

The going is likely to be hock deep at the Curragh. One horse that will relish this is Sophocles. He ran second in the Cheltenham Champion bumper, the year before last and showed that he’s transferred a fair amount of that ability to the flat, with a very comfortable win last time. The opposition today is not that strong and he’s still got improvement in him. At 7-1 he’s a good bet.

Windsor 6:20

There are a couple of cracking races at Windsor this evening: this race and the 6:50. For a ‘value’ bet, I’m plumping for Supersonic Dave in this race. The horse is reasonably unexposed and an experiment to try him at longer trips the last twice hasn’t really worked. He’s dropped back in distance today and in the hope that he can pick up from his first run of the campaign (behind McArthur at Chester) he’s the selection at 16-1.

Deciding which horses to use for the competition has been tricky. My best bet from the above is probably Sophocles in Ireland – but even a win from him will not see Graeme making it to the top of the leader board. However, I will stick with that one (as I’ve still got tomorrow !) but also take Cat Junior. If this wins, it’s sure to be at a big enough price – and I’ve certainly seen stranger results over the years…!

The selections are therefore:

Cat Junior 3:35 Newmarket
Sophocles 2:30 Curragh

Friday, 22 August 2008

Introduction !

As regular readers will know, Graeme is flying off to the sun tomorrow morning and rather than leave his blog gathering dust, he asked me if I fancied stepping in to the breach and keeping it going, in his absence…

Whilst fully aware of his ulterior motive (he’s trying to break national records with his blog count !) I decided that there was little harm giving it a go – and so here I am…!

Firstly, an introduction: My name is Andrew Rigby and I live in a village just outside Loughborough in north Leicestershire. My hobby/interest/passion, for most of my adult life (and a bit before that !) is horse racing.

My first racing memory is of Comedy of Errors winning the champion hurdle in 1975; I also remember taking numerous Wednesday afternoons off school to watch the mid week ascot jumps meetings in the late seventies. However, I really got into the racing in the early eighties when Michael Dickinson was dominating the NH scene and the likes of Shergar, Posse and Time Charter, were stars on the flat…

During that time, I gambled a bit, just for fun. I had no particular edge, I just enjoyed trying to solve the puzzle of a race – and although winnings were not significant, neither were losses…

The first change in my gambling mentality came in the early 1990s, when I read a book called ‘value betting’ written by Mark Cotton, the founder of pricewise. I remember an almost ‘eureka’ type moment as the concept of value betting dawned on me. Since that point, ‘value’ has under-pinned every bet I’ve placed.

Despite feeling a greater degree of comfort in my betting, it still wasn’t particularly profitable. This was down to a combination of indiscipline and lack of time, a situation that continued until May 2006, when I ‘retired’ from work.
Although I was only 42 at the time, I was work weary. Trying to juggle the demands of 3 children (now 4 !) and the renovation of a house, in addition to work, saw something being short changed. As it was invariably work, I bit the bullet and resigned !

One side benefit of this was the fact that I could put more time into my racing. The prospect of earning from gambling, has always been quite appealing (due to the flexibility as well as the interest) and this provided me with an opportunity to see if would be feasible…
This said, gambling will always sit behind family responsibilities and (in theory !) house renovation – but it did provide me with an opportunity to focus on it more than ever before.

Up until February this year, I had made solid, if unspectacular progress along my path. Break evens, had become small winnings – and winnings were becoming more consistent.

In February, I ‘met’ Graeme (we’ve never actually met – but I’ve exchanged more notes with him than most of my lifelong friends !). My initial intention was simply to use my experience to help him clarify where he was going with his Experiment. However, an unexpected benefit of giving him my opinion of virtually everything was that it started to clarify my own thoughts – and as a consequence, my gambling performance improved considerably…

Small winnings, started to turn into quite big winnings and on a consistent basis. July was my most profitable gambling month ever. In truth, I still play with small stakes (but then again, so would you, if a fair number of your bets were placed with a screaming 3 month old child on your knee !) – and not all of my gambling is scalable. But, for the first time ever, I am starting to think I could make a living from this game…

As a mentioned earlier- my method/edge is simply ‘value’ betting and I will explain what I mean by ‘value’ in my next blog post…


Daily Loss £30

Disappointing to sign off with a loss before I go on holiday but I didn’t have much luck again today.

I managed to watch 3 races today and each one made me slightly annoyed.

In the big 1m5f Ebor-like race, Tropical Strait got an appalling run through and by the time he got out, the winner had flown. Annoyingly, the winner was one of them that was held by my other two on the complicated form lines but I did sort of know that it was a potential improver, so I could have maybe factored this in more. I’ll learn.....

Whatever way you look at it, a 2nd at 9/1 in a nightmare 20 runner handicap isn’t a bad shout but it doesn’t get me anywhere in the tipping comp. I backed this for £10 and had £5 win on the other two who didn’t run to form. That’s maybe slightly harsh as Formax was 6th and was held up in last place, so he came fast and late. Too late to matter though!

In the second race, I narrowed it down to 2 horses and for the 4th time this week, I’ve opted for the wrong horse. In 4 out of 8 races for the tipster comp, I’ve narrowed it down to 2 and selected the wrong horse every bloody time. 3 favourites have won and Space Pirate at 11/1, so it is a bit frustrating.

One of the hardest things in reading form is picking which form line is the strongest. I have managed to find the correct form line twice today and not backed the correct horse either time. This should have been easy here as there were only two on the form line and I picked the wrong one!

Gift Horse finished 5th which again reads as a never nearer 5th of 17 at 7/1 which isn’t a bad pick. You get nothing in this game for consistency I’m afraid!

The last race I saw today was when I got in and saw Gentle Guru absolutely hose up at 11/4. I couldn’t believe the price to be honest as it was odds on the other night when it beat Malapropism but it won even easier here under a penalty. Therefore, Mala had basically had no chance of beating it the other night and ran well to get as close to it as he did.

At the moment, I’m now sitting at £0 in the tipping comp after 8 selections which makes me smile. This is probably the least amount I could have won this week but when you think I haven’t done that well or had much luck, then to not make a loss shows that I’m doing something right.

Andrew has kindly agreed to look after the blog while I’m away so you don’t get too bored, so that should give you something to read in my absence! I’m sure he’d be keen on some feedback and comments to his posts, so don’t be shy……

I’ll be back on here a week on Monday 1st September reviewing any selections I may have given out as a tip that day, so I’ll look forward to that. If anyone still hasn’t dropped me an email yet to get on the distribution list, this week will be your last chance before the fun starts next month.

Champion Tipster Day 5

Today's racing probably makes up for the shit racing all week but unfortunately, I won't see any of it as i'll be out getting things for my holiday I'm guessing.

I spent a fair bit of time last night on the two largest and most competitive handicaps run today, so below are my selections. I'm particularly sweet on Gift Horse today if it repeats its last few runs but it's a massive hold up horse who needs to slice through the field in the final furlong, so it needs a clean passage through to win.

Bet 1 - 3.25 Newbury Tropical Strait 12/1
Bet 2 - 4.10 Newmarket Gift Horse 7/1

3.25 Newb

1 – Will take a mammoth effort to win this off top weight and a rating of 110. Ground and trip OK but very few horses win handicaps off this sort of mark. Dismiss
2- Not beaten less than 22 lengths last 3 starts, so difficult to fancy here to be honest. Dismiss
3 – Amazing improver in handicaps but 4lbs higher than when 2nd last time. Trainer a master with this sort of horse and should run well but handicapped to the hilt and holds no secrets. Will run well but happy to take on. Dismiss.
4 – Been aimed at this all season. Was handicapper of the year two years back and struggled in group class last year. Much better this season in handicaps again this year and unlucky last time. Keep
5 – Can’t beat Young Mick on run 2 starts back and disappointed last time. Young enough to be improving but needs to bounce back from last run also. Dismiss
6 – Quirky and beaten miles last two starts on firm ground. However, previously won very easy on soft and on the a form line with the 3rd, probably has the beaten of the favourite (3). Keep
7 – Was favourite last time to win a tough race which included a few from here and was favourite for this race for a few months. Disapointed last time and can possibly be excused. Could be very well handicapped and only lost once in 4 runs. Keep
8 – Very closely weighted with 4 on run 2 starts back and can maybe excuse last run. Keep
9 – I’d be inclined to take this on here. Won 4 from 5 this season but trainer sees it as a pure stayer and needs a fast pace here to have a chance. Clearly on the upgrade and could be well handicapped but won last two over 2 miles. Drop in trip may see him caught for speed and first run on soft ground ever. Dismiss
10 – Beat 4 and a few others last time and is definitely still improving. Keep
11 – Definitely not got the handicap mark or the class to win this. Dismiss
12 – On OK mark and looks set for solid run but up against too many potential improvers here. Dismiss
13 – Massive doubt around trip. One start at greater than 1m 2f. Can’t back it. Dismiss
14 – Last two runs been very good and same mark here. Not got much to find with the principals to feature. Keep
15 – Not really improving and would need to step up a bit. Dismiss
16 – 4th last year in this but only 3 runs since and only one on flat. Well beaten last time though and needs a leap of faith. Dismiss
17 – A definite improver and last run was very, very impressive. Looked one to keep on the right side of and interesting it runs here. Keep
18 – Trainer is a magician but we’d need to guess about this one’s ability. Dismiss
19 – Won on debut this season but overall profile suggests it’s too high in the handicap to win this. Dismiss
20 – On a decent mark and capable of going close if he repeats recent runs. Keep

Appear to be left with 4,6,7,8,10,14,17,20.

One thing that’s amazing with this race is that there are at least 5 form lines containing multiple horses here. It’s nearly impossible to be honest to unpick them and lots are so closely matched. This is a difficult race to unpick.

I know that there could be a draw bias here, so I’ll try to use that to narrow these down. I also have the odds, we’ll look at these two combined to see if we can get anywhere.

No Draw Odds
4 2 7/1
6 17 12/1
7 15 10/1
8 16 33/1
10 14 11/1
14 9 33/1
17 6 12/1
20 8 25/1

The horses drawn high are on the outside at Newbury, so we are ideally looking for low drawn horses.

I’d be inclined to take on the 4 horses drawn 14-17 simply due to this fact. 3 of them are also fairly short, so I’ll dismiss these 4.

I obviously have 4 horses left now. These are 4,14,17 and 20.

Are there any clear form lines including these 4?

14 has 2 lengths to find with 4 with no weight turnaround from 27th July. However, it was hampered in running, so maybe less to find.

20 has 2 lengths to make up with 14 with no weight turnaround from 29th July. However, it was
badly hampered in running, so maybe less to find.

First conclusion is that 4 doesn’t have too much in hand and at odds of 7/1 here, I’d dismiss this one.

17 has no form lines with anything here as it’s stepping up in class after winning easily last time but it did look very impressive.

Left with 14,17 and 20. I’d be inclined to back all 3 at odds of 33/1,12/1 and 25/1.

I’ll take 17 as my selection for the tipster comp though.

4.10 Newmarket

This is a 17 runner handicap where two horses look so much better handicapped than the rest, it’s difficult to not just look at these two.

I saw the race they both ran last time and the favourite won really well and beat the other one by 4 lengths in 3rd. However, the 3rd was denied a clear run and I thought two things at the time.

Firstly, if Jamie Spencer was on that, he would have got much closer. Two, if he hadn’t been denied a clear run, he would have been beaten by 2 lengths max.

Amazingly, he has Spencer on board today which is an amazing coincidence but he really is the best jockey for exaggerated waiting tactics. He’s ridden it 3 times in 37 races and he’s fucked up on it twice before to be honest by waiting too long to make his move and then finding trouble and finishing full of running. Today, he won’t make the same mistake again hopefully!

He has a 6lb pull for 4 lengths beating but as I said, he really only got beaten by 2 lengths, so 6lbs would put him right next to the other one. Throw in Spencer and that puts it in his favour today.

Earlsmedic is priced at 5/2 and Gift Horse at 7/1 today. Guess which one I think we should back….

Gift Horse is the horse for me. Expect Spencer to ride this with the sort of exaggerated waiting tactics that we don’t see very often (even for him!). This may win on the bridle if he times it right IMO.

Obviously, the above analysis assumes that both horses run to form. If I’m right, they should finish first and second….

Thursday, 21 August 2008


Today was interesting from the aspect that I had a winner and a horse which finished last!

The winner was well backed I saw and won well with a distance of 22 lengths back to the 3rd. I said it would win 1 in 2 and in a 2 horse race, I was probably spot on!

The second race was more interesting as I had the right form line (wasn’t too difficult to spot as the fav has won its previous 4 races!) but on my reading, it didn’t have much in hand of Tony The Tap. Taking into account Tony was more than twice the price, it was an obvious selection.

I was annoyed to see the favourite won but I was pleased in a way when I saw that Tony The Tap finished last. This sounds a bit strange but if Tony had finished in the top 6 and lost, I’d have been more annoyed.

Basically, 3 different form lines meant that Tony had the beating of 2 others in the race also. It had finished 4th of 11, 3rd of 13 and 5th of 20 on its last 3 starts and was never beaten more than a length. Hence, when it finishes last and well beaten, you need to hold up your hands and say “I give up!”. Ignore this run and back it next time.

Incidentally, a similar comment applies to Icannshift who I selected last night. This finished tailed off last beaten 27 lengths. On its last 3 starts, it was never beaten more than 3 lengths. Again, all you can say is “I give up!”.

I’m not being defeatist in any way but sometimes, you just have to accept that horses are not machines and if you are unlucky, you may stumble across one or two that run too bad to be true now and again. I’ve now had two of these in two days!!!

My other two were first and second though, so it’s not all doom and gloom….

There were 2 excellent comments from Steve and Matt today which deserve a decent reply.

One common theme on the blog and comments recently has been ‘value’. As you all know, I harp on and on about value and what it means to me. However, I think I’m starting to learn that I need to alter my way of thinking for next month.

One issue I have is that I never bet at odds on and I very rarely bet at low odds. Simply, this is because I only use small stakes to back and I don’t feel risking my small stakes to win a small amount is worth it in many cases. I know this is wrong and that the stake size shouldn’t matter as it is all relative but I’m not going to get too excited by backing a 5/4 winner with £10.

However, next month, (and even at the moment!), some of you may be backing my selections with higher stakes and therefore, a 5/4 winner is worth much more to you than I realise. Hence, if I see a horse at 5/4 that I strongly believe should be odds on, I shouldn’t be afraid to give this as a selection.

One of the readers ignored my two selections yesterday and backed the favourite in both cases as he thought that my analysis led him to believe that these were the best bets. Hence, he backed two winners and got a nice double.

Another reader backed the winner today as I said it would win one in two times and it was around a 5/4 chance today and was well backed from 7/4. Hence, if my 50% probability was correct, it was vastly overpriced at 7/4 and it clearly was.

I think this has taught me another very important lesson this week. It’s not the odds of the winners that matter in the long-run, it’s how much value you can get from the odds that matters.

In the Malapropism race last night, I thought the horse was overpriced at 4/1. However, I only thought it should be a fraction shorter, so there wasn’t much value there. I deliberately didn’t select the favourite as at Evs, I didn’t see much value.

However, I wasn’t looking at value in the correct way and my thinking was clouded far too much by not wanting to back a short priced favourite. As Matt says though, it doesn’t take a short priced horse to be overpriced by much for it to represent great value.

I’m not going to dwell too much on this as I’ve spoken about value on here many times but going forward, I’m not going to be afraid to select a shorter priced horse in future if I believe it really is overpriced.

I feel so far on the blog, I have given 3 penalty kick selections. Golden Prospect lost (10/1), Shesha Bear won (13/2) and Ethaara (5/4). If I had selected these as 3 point bets and the rest as 1 and 2 point bets, I’d be doing well IMO.

With regards to the tipping comp, selecting a 5/4 winner isn’t going to help me close the 17 point gap on the guy at the top today, so I may need some fireworks tomorrow as it’s my last selections before my holidays! I'm off work tomorrow, so I will see oddschecker tomorrow before posting up my selections, so it should help me a bit.

Incidentally, assuming Andrew is happy with what I’m suggesting, I’d like to give him a guest week on the blog while I’m away. This will ensure that regular readers have something to read while I’m away. He also has a few different opinions to me on things, so it will give him a soapbox for a week if he wants it!

Andrew will also be charged with trying to catch up the points on the leader in the tipster comp in the final 2 days. If any person can do it, it’s definitely him as his average selection is 20/1 plus, so I’ll only need one winner from four to win!!!!

Champion Tipster Day 4

Bet 1 – Ethaara 2.40 Great Leighs (2/1)
Bet 2 – Tony The Tap 3.15 Great Leighs (9/1)

Similar to yesterday in many aspects, today’s racing is very poor. I wouldn’t even look at the races to be honest but since I’m in this tipping comp, I had to find two!

Do not back these horses today!!!!!!!!!!

I initially looked at a few races at Chester but they are just too competitive. I couldn’t even rule out half the field in one race.

I was short of time last night also, so there is no great analysis to go with the two selections today for the competition.

Ethaara was an unbelievably short price on debut and I couldn’t understand why as it hadn’t run. It was also fairly weak on Betfair but the money came late, so someone knew it was decent. I watched it closely and it travelled like a dream through the race but was far too inexperienced to do itself justice.

Importantly, it wasn’t commented on by the RP analyst after the race as having run well, so it becomes a straight match between his IR race reading skills and mines…..

I have this down as being close to an odds on chance today and I can’t see a tissue yet as the big bookmakers are being very slow in pricing up this race.

I did see it’s around 3 on Betfair though, so I thought it was a value bet at 3 amazingly. It should win this 1 in 2 times…..

The second selection is around the 9/1 mark which is much more like it. Basically, the reason for selecting this is that on the form book, it should just beat the favourite IMO. Hence, I think it is wrongly priced at 9/1.

As you can see from the above, not much thought gone into today’s selections being honest but I’m starting to wind down for my holiday.

Please don’t back any of these as they are not really tips. I wouldn’t give a tip today as there are no available betting opportunities for me.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Not a disaster!

Daily Loss £15

Just to keep things in order, wanted to do a quick post.

Today is one of them days when I don’t mind having a loss to be honest. I was just saying today to someone that to win in the long-run, you need to be able to read races well and understand when a bet is value.

I always find the race reading bit easier in many aspects and finding possible winners is fairly easy. However, deciding on which horse to back is more difficult and I sometimes get it wrong. With experience, I’ll get it right more often but I got it wrong twice today.

In the first race, I had narrowed it down to 2 possible bets. However, last night, I had built my own quick tissue and I knew that I was looking for 10/1 on Icannshift and 12/1 on Cruise Director. Both were priced up at less than 8/1 this morning which meant I had got my tissue wrong and hence, they weren’t a bet today. I made that clear this morning.

Looking at my tissue now, the reason I had them two overpriced was simply because I had the favourite in too short. Hence, I sort of smiled when I heard before the race that the fav was well backed all day and I had a wry grin tonight when I see that Tipping Legends had put that one up……

This morning, instead of telling everyone to not back Icannshift as it was too short, I should have went further and said to back the favourite which would have taken some leap of faith and I’m not at that advanced stage yet in my tipping career. Another lesson learnt for me though. Also maybe shows that I can do with issuing a tissue for every race I analyse…..(this thing is in danger of becoming a full-time job!)

The second race was funny. If you read my analysis, even with the 4 non-runners, the race went to nearly perfection as the fav sat at the back and came through to win as I said it would! I thought the favourite was too short this morning at 2/1 and I was right. Malapropism was 11/2 and 6/1 on opening shows and I was right to select this. Even with 4 non-runners, the favourite only started at just below Evs on Betfair, so 2/1 was too short in the morning. It won very easily though, and mines was a well beaten second.

On the face of it, I missed a 3/1 and Evs winner today in 2 handicaps. I only had one bet on Malapropism at 5 on Betfair just before the off. I didn’t have a bet in the first race as I couldn’t get the odds I wanted.

Some days when you pick 2 losers, you feel like it’s a disaster. Today doesn’t feel like that to be honest.

Hope no one went daft on Malapropism. For those that read the analysis and had a slightly different interpretation, you could have found the two winners yourself today……

I’ll post up 2 selections tomorrow.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Champion Tipster Day 3

I had a bit of a panic this morning as I wrote this post below last night but when I saw the odds this morning, I had to change a few comments.

Bet 1 - 5.55 Folkestone - Icannshift (7/1) - (Is not a bet at this price, 10/1 is what we'd want before we got involved.)
Bet 2 - 7.55 Folkestone - Malapropism (11/2)

The issue for me today is I need to give 2 selections in the comp and there were only 2 races today which meet my selection criteria. I think Icannshift is likely to run well but I don't think 7/1 is correct. Don't lay it though as it front runs and you'll never get out IR!!!

5.55 Folkestone

1 – Likely to be well fancied. Come over from France and needed two runs to ‘acclimatize’ according to trainer. Won well last time and was 7 lengths clear of 3rd. However, the 2nd looked to chuck it away and 2nd has since been beaten again when well fancied, so form may not be as strong as it looks on paper. Keep
2 – Trip and ground look perfect and ran OK last twice and dropped a few pounds since. First run on favoured ground for a while. Keep
3 – Been beaten last twice off this mark and would need to improve a bit here. Never won on anything other than good to firm, so ground is large negative. Dismiss.
4 – Interesting from the point of view it appeared to improve massively over hurdles in the winter. Rated 125 over hurdles which makes today’s mark of 65 look fairly low. Keep
5 – Trip and ground are both doubts, been beaten more than 10 lengths last 3 starts, difficult to fancy. Dismiss
6 – Ran 80 times and never won a race with soft in the description. Been running OK but getting long in the tooth for a first win on soft. Dismiss.
7 – This is the sort of horse that I’d lay all day. Never won on soft, barely ever run on soft to be honest, so clearly doesn’t like it. In amazing form but off a lifetime high mark, easily dismissed. Dismiss.
8 – Won very well last time and only carries 6lb penalty here. Won at track before and jockey rode it well last time, so could be value for their 7lb claim. Keep
9 – Came over from France and was 33/1 and tailed off on debut. Impossible to fancy. Dismiss
10 – Only been beaten once less than 10 lengths in last 7 starts over flat and NH. Beaten at 40/1 last time over 2m after staying on. Impossible to fancy here. Dismiss
11 – Sprang a 25/1 shock on debut run this season but well beaten next time. One win in last 21 runs means it’s difficult to get too excited by it here. Dismiss
12 – Last two runs have been too bad to be true. Before that, was in some sort of form. Very consistent if we can exclude the last 2 runs. Last run was first run for 2 months, so may have needed it a bit. Keep
13 – Will try to make all. Loves this track and trip. Last 4 wins have been over this course and distance. Has a definite preference for soft ground and last 3 runs have been OK on ground too firm. Dropping a little in the weights after these runs and now well handicapped. Keep.
14 – Actually running much better than it appears on paper and caught the eye a few runs back over course and distance staying on late. Keep

Right, this looks tricky. I’ve narrowed it down to 1,2,4,8,12,13,14. Exactly half the field ruled out.

I think a lot of the race revolves around 1. It won well last time and may be very well handicapped but we missed its win last time at 16/1, it’s 6lb higher today in a tougher race and will be favourite. We missed the wedding, don’t attend the funeral!

That leaves us with 6 possibles.

I think it is nearly impossible to back 4. It will be fancied and yes, if it translates its improvement over hurdles to the flat, it could be very well handicapped but it hasn’t run on the flat for 310 days. Forecast second fav in the Racing Post also, so unlikely to be value. Dismiss this one.

We are now left with 2,8,12,13,14.

8 only won a selling handicap last time and although it won well, today’s race is much tougher and it’s 6lb higher. I think with the increase in weight and the tougher race and the fact we missed the win last time, I can’t back this. Last time was the time to back it.

Right, now left with 2,12,13,14.

The odds of these in the Racing Post tissue are 8/1,14/1,12/1 and 28/1. As usual, there’s some value here……

The fact that 12 has been beaten out of sight the last twice means it has questions to answer here, so I’d maybe take a watching brief with this one instead of backing it.

3 reasons to rule out 14 are: it’s 3lb out of the handicap, so it’s going to find it even more difficult. It’s only won once in 27 races. Lastly, if this was a hurdle race, it would have 60lbs to find with 4 (which I ruled out!). We can dismiss this one I think for today.

Left with 2 and 13.

Interestingly, 13 is a front runner who always sets a good pace and 2 is a hold up horse that needs a good pace. Hence, 2 should get the pace he needs today.

However, the fact that 13 has won his last 4 races here (last twice on soft) off higher marks implies to me that it can win this today. However, after seeing the odds this morning, it is not worth a bet at less than 10/1.

For those of you that like to trade IR, this will lead them a merry dance for a long way!!!!

7.55 Folkestone

1 – Clear preference for soft ground although some doubts around best trip. Last four runs have been over 5f,6f,8f and 7f! Best runs have all been on 5f/6f soft, so will be suited by today’s trip/ground. Keep
2 – Usually wins from July/August onwards and rattled up a hat-trick last year in September. Very interesting jockey booking as Holland regarded as best front-running jockey and he rode it when it started its hat-trick last year. First time he has ridden it this season…..Keep
3 – Horse barely gets 5f and goes off too fast. Tumbling in the weights but not running well. Never run on soft, so that’s a major issue. Dismiss
4 – Well handicapped on old form and ran well last time. Ground and trip seem fine. Keep
5 – Won’t go on the ground and not that well handicapped now after winning yesterday. Now won 2 races in 3 by small margins, so needs to be still improving. Dismiss.
6 – Ran well last time and well handicapped on old form. I have a doubt concerning the ground though as wouldn’t want it too soft. Keep
7 – Impossible to know if it is well handicapped. Didn’t show much in maidens either. Difficult to fancy. Dismiss.
8 – No form on soft, well beaten last twice, earlier form was OK but even so, difficult to fancy. Interesting jockey booking. Dismiss

That leaves me with 1,2,4,6. Again, half of the field is ruled out.

One of the key aspects to this race is the pace. 3 always goes like thunder, 2 likes to lead and 6 goes from the front. Having 3 in the race messes it up for 2 and 6 to some extent in my opinion. 4 can also go from towards the front.

By process of elimination, that only leaves 1 which happens to be a hold up horse who gets much further than 5f and loves soft ground. Hence, his stamina will come into play here.

Not surprisingly, Spotlight has picked up on the pace aspect and has napped this and it’s currently 2/1 on oddschecker. Difficult to see much value there to be honest.

However, due to the fact I need a selection for the tipping comp, I’ll go for 2 at current odds of 11/2 on oddschekcer.

Holland is much renowned as being the best front-running jockey and here’s hoping he can somehow work his magic here. The fact he won on it the first time he rode it implies he was deliberately asked to ride it and I guess the same must be true here as he hasn’t ridden it this season yet. Its runs this season on soft ground have been better than on firm and it could be the case it has managed to get well handicapped by running on ground not quite right.

Incidentally, Holland is 2 from his last 3 rides for Channon over the past 6 days. Stable has had 2 winners, 3 places from last 6 horses to have run. Everything points to a better run here from Malapropism than the market expects…….


Daily Profit £149.40

This probably sounds strange to some readers but I was starting to feel just a little bit of pressure……

I’ve been continually going on about the fact that in the long-run, I can’t fail to lose and that if I just continue doing what I always do, I’ll pick winners frequently and everything will be rosy for all of us and we’ll make a decent return in the long-run.

However, from when I sent out the email last week concerning next month, it all became a bit serious and I’ve not read much right to be honest. I got too bogged down in trying to read too many races, trying to find ‘perfect’ selections, never finding any, then worst of all, started to think I’d made a huge error with the whole tipping thing!

I got in from work tonight, read the comments on the blog and thought “phew!”

As you’ll see from my profit, I made a nice profit today. I should have made more but I think Matt was snapping all the best odds! (just joking mate!) I’m slightly annoyed with the profit from the first race as I couldn’t get the odds I wanted at the time, only had a small bet on the winner and then was annoyed when I heard it drifted pre-race on Betfair to 17. I won’t complain too much!

I backed the second one though and left a lay IR (great facility on BF Mobile – but not when the selection wins!). The profit today nearly doubles my profit this month and I only risked small stakes, so it’s definitely welcome!

Similar to yesterday, I’ve learnt a few more things today. Firstly, I enjoy analysing the races the way I wrote on the blog. I was taught to use this method and I should use it all the time. I wrote similar posts back in April and they went down like a lead balloon at the time. However, I feel they are worth resurrecting now that I’m giving out selections.

Another great thing about the analysis is that it makes me much more confident in my selections and allows me to say how confident I am through my writing. If it hadn’t been for the last week’s poor run, I would have basically said that the second winner was a penalty kick today. I said that about Golden Prospect last week though at a bigger price when it lost!

The best thing about the analysis though is that I can see where I go wrong and so can everyone else. Today, there was a great form line in the first race where Space Pirate just had to finish in front of two other horses. If the formbook doesn’t lie, there was no way the other two could beat it. Space Pirate was 1st at 11/1, Croeso was 3rd at 11/1 and Mganga was 8th at 8/1. That was how they should have finished and the front 2 run nearly to the pound to be honest (See Spotlight comment), so it was a great read.

Mganga was clearly the wrong price by the way and when I placed my bet, I saw it was trading at less than 8 on Betfair, so it was a definite lay in that race. It drifted pre-race on Betfair I heard, so others spotted that same form line!

In the second race, I selected the first three home which was pleasing. However, even more pleasing was the form line between the 2nd and 3rd. As commented on by Spotlight, they ran very close to their previous form.

As I’ve said before on here many times now, the reason that I find these races easy to read is the fact that the form is all in the book. I just need to read it right. I sometimes get annoyed when I read races wrongly but as Andrew has told me on numerous occasions, I don’t need to read every race correctly!

One point that people have made to me on many occasions is what I see as ‘easy’ is actually a skill that Joe Punter doesn’t have. Hence, when I say that it’s obvious an 8/1 can’t beat an 11/1 in a race, people don’t realise what I’m exactly saying.

This is a golden nugget for the form students out there. If 2 horses run in the same race and A beats B, and B subsequently runs well, when A meets B again, A is much more likely to beat B again since B would have been raised for the subsequent run. However, B will be a shorter price since it will be judged on the subsequent run and not the previous run. Today involved A,B and C but it still holds true. Mganga was subsequently 2nd last time, so it was a shorter price than the other two horses it ran against previously.

From a personal point of view, I should have selected the other horse in the first race for the tipster comp. I’ve read the Racing Post review and I saw it on a comment on the post below but it appears it was badly hampered a few times. Hence, I can’t be too disappointed. Interestingly, I heard it was one of the best backed horses of the day today. I hope some of you traded it for a riskfree bet.

On that very point…..

It’s clear from the comments that people are backing my selections. I’m not silly enough to believe that I can post up horses and an analysis and people won’t act on it but please remember that I want to be judged on the long-run. Don’t judge me on today or on the next couple of days. Judge me on the next month and even the time after that.

I’ve said on here before that I have a substantial ‘edge’ in these types of races but that doesn’t mean I’ll get every race right. I get worried when I see people saying they’ve never had a bet on a tip and then they get both winners today! Please don’t treat today as the ‘norm.’ If I was as good as this, I wouldn’t have this blog for a start! lol

Lastly, this week was all about learning for next month for me. As I’ve said above, the analysis seemed to go down well. One point I’d like to make is that there are many ways to skin a cat on Betfair. Laying that horse today which couldn’t beat the other two was one way. Keep this in mind when you read my analysis next month. If I struggle to find a great selection but manage to narrow down the field by missing out the 4 favourites, try laying all of them instead!

Oh yeah, the tipster comp. Everyone in the top 20 after day 1 had selected a winner on day 1 of the comp, so I have a lot of catching up to do. The winner had a £14 advantage after day 1, so with my 1 winner today, I hope I’m not any further behind! I’ll post up my selections tomorrow.

Thanks for all the comments by the way on the last post. It made me have a great feeling inside when I read them all and I think it’s great that some of you made a few quid today. It’s just the start though………

If anyone hasn’t dropped me a note yet to get on the distribution list for next month, please do so. I’m maybe thinking I could have just used the blog after all for posting up my selections but it wouldn’t do my career prospects much good I think! (Pricing Analyst career that is!)

Champion Tipster Day 2

Bet 1 - 3.10 Brighton - Silky Steps (12/1)
Bet 2 - 3.45 Brighton - Shesha Bear (7/1)

Before I get on to today’s races, a few quick points. Steve made a great comment about yesterday and I agree with him concerning a few things.

Going forward, I will only ever post up an analysis of a race when I have a strong selection in the race. I don’t think it’s doing my credibility much good to be posting up thoughts on races where I have no strong selection. I know some of you are keen to hear my thoughts on races but as I’ve said before, one of my downfalls is the fact I can form a view on every race.

Secondly, I’m never going to post up a selection without giving the odds that are available. Hence, if I find a horse I think is a bet at 10/1 and it’s only 6/1 on oddschecker, then I won’t post it as I would have to quote that it is 6/1.

Overall, I’m going to try to develop a more professional approach to this tipping game.

I read on JPs blog last night that Tipping Legends selected Adage and Golden Dixie as selections yesterday. Both were well fancied by me also. One point I’ve made to JP and Andrew a few times is the fact that I think Tipping Legends use nearly an identical criteria as me for selecting horses. It’s widely regarded that they are one of the best professional tipping services out there at the moment. Hence, I don’t think there is much wrong with my selection criteria. Yesterday was just a poor day all round!

Right, on to today’s racing. I see that York has been abandoned. I will therefore stick to my new rules above and not give out my selections for York!!!

There is only one flat card remaining and being honest, it looks dreadful. And I mean dreadful!!!!

However, since I’m attempting to win a tipster comp, I better get my finger out and find a winner……

3.10 Brighton

1 – Ran badly last time and looks much better on AW than turf. Dismiss.
2 – Well beaten all 4 starts this year and I can’t see anything to recommend it. Dismiss.
3 – Was harshly handicapped after maiden runs but drooped 16lbs before popping up over C&D last time in a maiden handicap last time dropping back in trip. Only 8th run since and finished last, so difficult to know strength of the race. Up 3lbs for the win. Keep
4 – Very interesting. Never beaten further than 5 lengths in 4 handicaps and dropped a total of 5lbs since first run. Was ridden today’s jockey when 3rd in an AW maiden last season after travelling very well and looking like the winner. Will get much stronger handling today than previous races this season. Keep
5 – Was pulled up on last run but 2 previous handicap runs would put it in with a chance here. Keep
6 – Ignore last run over too far but to me, looks very, very exposed off a mark of 60. Will be disappointed if nothing is better handicapped here than him though. Keep
7 – Must be better than it has showed as had Spencer up last time and Sanders up today. Been ridden by Dettori in the past also. Not bad jockeys for a horse rated 59! Makes you think it must be better than it has showed on the track but we are having to guess. Dismiss
8 – Simialr to the stable companion above (7), has been ridden by all the top jockeys but hasn’t shown a modicum of promise in any race. May be better than shown but we again have to guess. Dismiss.
9 – Last 3 handicap runs over 8f have seen him beaten 2 lengths, 3 lengths and 2 lengths. These marks were 57,55,54 and now runs today off 52. Hence, only needs to run to same sort of form to win this. Keep.
10 – Dropping down handicap but been running dismally recently. Beaten out of sight last few starts and it would need to bounce back to last year’s form to stand a chance. Dismiss.
11 – Things haven’t fallen right the last couple of times and could still be well handicapped. Eddie Ahern rode it when it won it’s maiden – he rides 4 today. Keep
12 – Dropping down the weights quickly but looks totally out of form. Would need to bounce back to have a chance. Dismiss.
13 – Trainer doesn’t have a clue about trip and tried everything from 5f to 13f! Even if today’s trip is correct, doesn’t look well handicapped. Dismiss
14 – Ran its best race last time and was in the same race as 6 and 9. If it ran same race again, would have a chance. Keep
15 – Well beaten in sellers the last 3 times and impossible to fancy. Dismiss
16 – Impossible to fancy on form. Dismiss.

This actually looked like a very competitive 16 runner handicap on paper but I’d say that only 7 horses can possibly win the race. It’s 5/1 the field on oddschecker, so there is some nice value to be found here in my opinion.

I’m left with 3,4,5,6,9,11,14.

Interestingly, 6,9 and 14 ran in the same race 35 days ago. 9 was 3rd, 14 was 4th and 6 was 5th. Today, 9 is 2lbs lower, 14 is same mark, 6 is 3lbs higher. Hence, 9 is easily the best bet today. Interestingly, it’s the highest price today!!!!

So, we are left with 3,4,5,9,11 now.

I think we can safely say that Eddie Ahern had the choice of 4 and 11 today and he has ridden both in the past. The fact he hasn’t ridden 4 this season yet implies that he has jumped from 11 to 4. 11 is also drawn quite badly today, so we’ll pick 4 over 11.

We are left with the final four. 3,4,5,9.

3 won a poor race here last time and is 3lbs higher. It’s also the forecast fav. Hence, we have missed the wedding with this one. We won’t attend the funeral today. Dismiss.


5 is Spotlight’s pick and second favourite. It ran very poorly last time and I would have hoped that would be factored into the price. It clearly won’t be today. Hence, we will miss this one out.

We are now left with Silky Steps (4) and Space Pirate (9). Both are well drawn today. The deciding factor for me is the Eddie Ahern link and the fact he rode it once before on it’s best every run implies to me it is expected to run much better today.

Silky Steps is worth a bet. Currently a 12/1 chance. Space Pirate is 16/1 at the moment.

3.45 Brighton

1 – Not well handicapped and takes a step up in trip. Too many questions to answer IMO. Dismiss.
2 – Similar profile to 1. Step up in trip and not seemingly that well handicapped IMO. Dismiss.
3 – In excellent form and will be suited to today’s trip and ground. Up 3lbs for last win and good runs and seems fair. Keep
4 – Only ran badly once in its life and dropping a little in weights despite running well. Last time was very promising and probably only needs to repeat this to win. Keep
5 – Stepping up in trip, in sort of form, impossible to fancy. Keep
6 – Was a huge gamble on Saturday but ran badly again. Showed promise once but apart from that, done nothing. May be backed again but difficult to fancy with no form. Dismiss.
7 – Very closely weighted with 3 on previous run and difficult to separate them two. Keep

On paper, this looked competitive but I think it’s between 3. There is a great formline here between 3 and 7 as both are weighted to finish side by side.

However, we missed the wedding on 3 last time and 7 is 9 years old and not really improving. 4 is improving, only had 6 runs and seems on a good mark.

The other interesting aspect is the fact that the jockey on 4 is the apprentice of the season. He basically is only used by trainers where they feel he is a big benefit. He has ridden for this stable twice this season and had 2 winners. Hence, we can assume that this is fancied today.

Shesha Bear is currently priced at 7/1 and would be my bet of the day.