Monday, 12 January 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A summary of my results by month is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



leonthefixer said...

Hi mate, good read as always and good to see you are going well for both you and your followers!

How are the subscription numbers going? Have you been able to maintain a good level to make it worth all the effort you are clearly putting in?

Don't expect you to say exact numbers obviously.

All the best and good luck going forward!

Graeme Dand said...

Hi Leon.

Happy New Year by the way mate. Forgot to reply to your comment on the other post. Apologies!

I’m sure quite a few people read the blog and ask themselves the same questions you’ve asked mate. As I’ve said since day one, I don’t mind being totally up front about it if anyone asks! You’re the first person to ask……

OK, I started with 12 subscribers paying around £30 a month on average. After the first few days when I hit a few winners, I ended up with 17 guys for month one. I obviously had website costs and a few set up costs that needed paid from this, so it was a small profit in month one. Considering the time I put in, it wasn’t anywhere near the minimum wage hourly rate! Say £2 an hour

I had 16 for month two paying on average £33 a month. A few came and a few left but the new ones paid a little bit more as they weren’t here at the start. I still had server costs and small admin costs but it was a profit of around a couple of hundred for month 2. Again, if we say 100 hours I put in on form study, sending notes and writing forum posts, it’s £3 an hour!

In December, I did attract a couple of new guys towards the end of the month who paid a little bit of a premium as I put up the prices in this month and on average, it’s basically 18 guys at £34 a month. Hence, after costs, I’d say it’s maybe £5 an hour. Not bad!

January was always going to be a big month for me as the guys who joined at the start and paid 3 months were up for renewal. After a poor start when a few left, it’s gone OK and at the moment, I’m going forward with 15 guys who have paid on average £43. I had a couple of costs also in this month and it’s worked out at about £6 an hour.

Hence, I’m now running at about £6 an hour which is basically me covering my time I put into the website.

I’ve said this to the guys on the site but as long as I can keep the guys I have now, I won’t change prices for them. I’ll continue to play around with changing prices for new people to try to attract the right type of person to the site. I’m adamant that I won’t try to milk it as I can make money by backing/trading when I get the chance, so I won’t overcharge.

If I can attract new subscribers and keep the ones I currently have, I would look to cap the price and the numbers and settle for that. I could then maybe start a waiting list for anyone who wants to join when someone leaves.

I’m a fair bit away from that though at the moment and going by the fact that many of my horses drift wildly pre-race after all of us backing them, you can see I can easily absorb more new members!

I know tipsters get a hell of a hard time (I’m still as sceptical as the next person!) but when you find one that does have an ‘edge’ and does provide value for money, then I can understand why people would subscribe. My whole idea was based around proving value to subscribers and trying to help them understand the way to analyse a race and make money.

I think the majority of tipsters (95%+) are con-artists who don’t have a clue and send a horses name out as a tip with very little work or effort going into it. They then post all their winners, forget about their losers and manage to attract mug punters who see the winners. They then churn these mug punters every month or two and when one leaves, another one joins. That’s the way the industry works for mug punters and it’s partly why tipsters have such a bad name.

I said it in my review post but if anyone comes up for renewal and was in a loss making situation, I’m happy to discuss a way around it to ensure they feel like they got value for money. If this means waving the subscription fee until they get in profit, then maybe I’d consider it. Maybe it means offering a longer subscription at a cheaper rate if they feel like I can turn it around. Lots of options but I’m a reasonable guy!

I’m hoping to establish myself in the top 5% of tipsters along with guys like Equine Investments, Tipping Legends, Irisis, Maths etc. Obviously, these guys are all very good and have proven track records whereas I’m a newbie with zero track record. It will take time for me to build up the subscription base but I can promise that if I get enough subscribers, I won’t charge the prices that lots of these services charge. No disrespect to any of them as they all have families to feed and probably do this full-time. I just feel like there is a gap in the market for a service that provides the same long-term results but maybe doesn’t charge the same price.

If an opportunity came where I had enough subscribers and could charge a high enough price, I would consider doing it full-time. If I was playing this game full-time, I wouldn’t just be in the top 5%. I’d be the best and by a long way in time. The fact I can get close to these guys doing it in my spare time is amazing I think. If I was able to spend 8 hours a day, I’d give out twice the quality of tips and twice the amount of tips. My target would be more like 480+ points a year and I’d turn this industry on its head!

Obviously, I’d then have issues getting money on selections for everyone but there are lots of ways to skin a cat nowadays with Betfair. Backing horses, laying horses, playing IR. I’d maximise these ways and that would enable me to have a bigger subscription base with no problems.

Anyway, enough of my rant for now!

Thanks for the comment mate.