DAYS ONE & TWO
The Ante-Post markets on Cheltenham have long lost its appeal with practically every horse at the top of the market now, drifting on the day or if very short bookmakers will be giving an enticing new offer for new customers so that a month after they can promote casino games. I certainly will not be betting on Cheltenham until the day itself and even that then it is small stakes as the order of the day.
Here is my take on the graded races.
TUESDAY 14th March – SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE
Certainly bubbles were burst by many at Dublin Festival at Leopardstown none more so than FACILE VEGA who emptied quicker than a car running out of petrol coming to the final flight when easily beaten by IL ETIAIT TEMPS. The latter reversing form from the Future Champions race late December. In normal circumstances you would think FACILE VEGA had a wind issue having weakened so quickly but only Willie Mullins with his close team knows the real issues & certainly would not be going to Cheltenham if anything was seriously amiss. Looking back on the victory pre-Christmas he did make mistakes late on so in my view is one to take on in the Supreme. I think reputation is more built on bumper form than what is actually achieved over hurdles so far.
I would have liked to have seen MARINE NATIONALE have a run again despite connections being quite happy that the route to Cheltenham would be direct after the Fairyhouse win back in early December. The fact that this one has moved into 2nd favourite without even running shows the comparative weakness of the Supreme this year, we are unlikely to see a Superstar.
IMPAIRE ET PASSE is likely to run in the Ballymore unless conditions softened considerably on the first day, Trainer Willie Mullins does hold the upper hand & can pick/choose which race he goes for but despite it being a handicap last time, I was taken by GAELIC WARRIOR who would be my pick for the Supreme, that despite jumping right in the closings stages, I do think this trip is ideal and has the best credentials coming into the race. Of course, Willie Mullins holds all the aces as to who goes into which race but failing GAELIC WARRIOR going for the Supreme, then IL ETAIT TEMPS would be my pick to confirm the form shown last time out.
SELECTION: GAELIC WARRIOR
I was no too impressed with JONBON and not sure what all the fuss has been about. He did in the end beat CALICO but anyone mad enough to take the odds would not have been too happy for the most of the journey at Warwick. Some really do get carried away.
The one clearly to beat is IL FABIOLO who demolished a good field at Leopardstown, ruining a few reputations along the way. You could not have failed to be impressed with the manner of victory in which horses like APPRECIATE IT were made to look pedestrian. I think despite the odds this is the best bet on Day One in a race which is not likely to have many runners.
SELECTION IL FABILOLO
CONSTITUTION HILL is the one to beat having been the star of the show all season. The victories against the smart mare EPATANTE have told us little that we did not already know. The six-year-old is class and will take all the beating. We have STATE MAN in opposition who in other years would be clear favourite having won so easily last time. It could be argued Paul Townend was given the run of the race in front but you cannot fail to be impressed, it’s just this year you are up against a superstar in CONSTITUTION HILL and I see no way this one can be beaten. This is a kind of race where bookmakers will be trying to entice new customers by offering some ridiculous price to get people hooked so they can push casino games at a later date.
SELECTION: CONSTITUTION HILL
People like Matt Chapman have criticised this race as being an easy route away from the Champion Hurdle when in reality most people will be just enjoying the prospect of HONEYSUCKLE taking on some smart mares in their own right. I do think the house will come down if HONEYSUCKLE wins though I have my reservations. STATE MAN really did quicken away from her last time and this race will be no cakewalk with EPATANTE and MARIES ROCK in opposition. The former has seen the rear end of CONSTITUTION HILL a couple of times before winning easily last time at Doncaster, though did pull hard early and did beat trees.
Trainer Nicky Henderson does seem to hold the keys to this race with last year’s winner MARIES ROCK likely to go off much shorter this year. I like the way she quickened away last time against a fairly good field despite having the Mares Allowance. I think that will be good enough in this field. Though trainers can easily pick and choose I would not be in favour of this one running in the Stayers despite only being an 8-1 chance. In her absence in the Mares Hurdle, I would have EPATANTE over HONEYSUCKLE.
SELECTION: MARIES ROCK
WEDNESDAY 15th March DAY TWO
BALLYMORE NOVICES HURDLE
A few in this race also have other entries in the Albert Bartlett which can make this race a hard one to weigh up. Current favourite HERMES ALLEN fits into that category, though would not be on my radar in either. You have my Supreme pick also entered in the shape of GAELIC WARRIOR (would have my doubts about staying) I cannot give a real opinion before knowing exactly who is running, until shortly before the festival as too many have multiple entries.
Some horses are over-hyped which could be argued is the case for ENERGUMENE whose win in the 2022 Champion Chase can be knocked with FUNAMBULE SIVOLA back in 2nd (despite that one winning at the weekend) and it not being a vintage race. We have already seen ENERGUMENE beat by EDWARDSTONE and EDITEUR DU GITE last time at Cheltenham with no real excuses, the fact that Willie Mullins charge remains clear favourite is questionable though on ratings still remains ahead. I saw nothing in that last race that indicated ENERGUMENE would have won. This one will definitely drift on the day from its current price. You can argue form of the Dublin Chase could be weaker than the Cheltenham race where GENTLEMAN DE MEE beat BLUE LORD, but we already have a nice win over EDWARDSTONE last year at Aintree and at the odds would seem a good each way bet. Connections did side-step Cheltenham last year so if that’s the case this year than I think EDWARDSTONE takes this contest as more likely at the top of the market.
SELECTION : GENTLEMAN DE MEE Each Way if EDWARDSTONE is a Non Runner.
CHELTENHAM DAYS THREE & FOUR
THURSDAY 16th MARCH
If anyone doubted Nicky Henderson’s ability to bring a horse back to his best than you only need to re-watch the Ascot Chase where SHISHKIN demolished a decent field. I doubted the trip and I never feel comfortable with a horse wearing a tongue tie after a wind operation though you could see how easily the nine-year-old was going with 3 flights to go, it is was just a matter of when Nico De Boinville was going to press the button in that Ascot race. After that performance you can see why odds were shortened to win the RyanAir and the only question would be the just under 4 week period before the race takes place as its quite a quick turnaround. Like many ante-post bets the 11-10 is pretty ridiculous, so waiting for the day when odds lengthen is the best option.
BLAZING KHAI put up career-best performance in the Boyne Hurdle last Sunday which put Charles Byrnes seven-year-old at the top of the Stayers market. That came after 14 months off the course so you would expect some improvement. Despite having won twice already at Cheltenham I have my reservations and I think it’s a slight over-reaction to make this one around 11-4 for a race which is bound to be very competitive. Recent reports from Gavin Cromwell seem positive regarding FLOORING PORTER who is looking for a hat-trick of wins in this race. Despite being beaten this season twice by HOME BY THE LEE in Ireland, this is Cheltenham and the latter despite being a better horse this season, would do well reverse the form from 2022. GOLD TWEET will probably not come over from France and TEAHUPOO would not want good ground which is off-putting as best runs have been in soft/heavy. If conditions did turn in favour for Gordon Elliott’s runner I would be strongly in favour. All in all a tricky contest as PAISLEY PARK is not entirely out of things if they go a good gallop. I’d wait again for the day with preference for FLYING PORTER but if it came up soft/heavy than TEAHUPOO would very much be on my shortlist.
FRIDAY 17th MARCH
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
LOSSIEMOUTH was given a poor ride by Paul Townend last time as the filly was squeezed for room just as the pace was beginning to increase, instead of accepting defeat it seemed the jockey really went for the win which seemed to annoy WIllie Mullins in a post race interview. Cheltenham after all is the main target. The filly did show a great attitude in nearly winning but as you would expect the bookmakers did drift this one out a little. Trainer Willie Mullins has the top 3 in the market but I do think LOSSIEMOUTH is the best of the trio and I would expect form to be reversed with GALA MARCEAU this time around. The Irish do seem to have this race wrapped up with COMFORT ZONE a probable good each way bet trained by Joseph O’Brien. Form is nothing special in beating SCRIPTWRITER at Cheltenham in January but I do expect a little more improvement to come. It follows the same route that DEFI DU SEUILL took in 2017 at around 10-1, I think even now it’s good each-way value.
No horse should be 5-4 for the Gold Cup, they certainly will not be on the day regarding GALOPIN DES CHAMPS. SO why major firms are offering that price now is beyond me. Main positive from the Irish Gold Cup is that the seven-year-old saw out the trip strongly over 3 miles though still questions to answer if we get a strongly run race in the Cheltenham Gold Cup over further. We have not seen A PLUS TARD since pulling up at Haydock so I am happy discount last year’s winner taking this contest. If we get good or good to firm ground on the last day at Cheltenham than BRAVEMANSGAME would be my selection. Trainer Paul Nicholls may not have won this race for a while since the days of KAUTO STAR & DENMAN, but anyone seeing the King George at Kempton Park would not failed to be impressed. The eight-year-old took a good field apart with some slick jumping and seems a much better horse this season. If we did get heavy conditions at big price around 50-1 ROYALE PAGAILLE would be a viable alternative.
Truth About Tipster Trolls (TATT)
Since I started posting on Twitter in 2013, I have seen an increase of trolling on the internet, especially on social media. Horse racing stands alone as one sport that people enjoy but whether we like it or not it is linked to an addictive culture. I have made no secret that 30 years ago I felt the addictive bug in the days of no internet when shops were only open Monday to Saturday and never in the evening. There would be Closed shops on a Good Friday and your local would shut at 6pm. I find it surprising that a few would say you cannot change a personality over 30 years yet these people change within months or even weeks. One minute they are saying how great you are, the next you are a fraud when it comes to simply putting up tips for horses. They cannot say a profit is not being made as its in black and white, but they can certainly come up with alternative lies to keep the followers ticking over.
Move forward to 2022 and it’s easier to bet on horses then it has ever been, where you can hover over a selection, click the amount you want without really considering the consequences until after the event.
I had for a number of years posted free tips every day and of course people find someone to blame or found the popularity something that they would try to interrupt if they lost for a few days. In general they were shot down by loyal followers, but now it’s become so incessant that many of those keep quiet or just simply click the “like” button. As someone who opened their account in 2013 on Twitter, it’s amazing that I have still one or two in 2022 who claim the account is not mine when reality it’s been mine all along. I think it’s annoying to them that I have 30k+ followers when they can only muster a couple of hundred. You cannot deny less interaction these days as people don’t want to be mowed down by people they don’t know continually spouting rubbish, if they did reply to a particular post.
Now, with the increase of users online you get all sorts. Generally, its people who do bet as they understand everything from points systems to odds. To believe they have NO connection to betting is the first myth we need to dispel. They clearly know the “betting game”. I suspect they do not make a profit themselves or certainly in some cases have lost more than they can afford.
Of course you do have some charlatans promoting a dead cert or asking to click “like” before they release a supposed dead cert, only to disappear for days after it loses, but you do have genuine people who like to study up form and give an opinion.
The unfortunate thing is now you have people who wish to shoot you down even if you have a good run of winners. They forget most people are level headed and can decide for themselves if they wish to follow a particular person. They certainly don’t need to be told by some loner, what to do with their lives. Social Media certainly makes them feel more important than they actually are.
I had one who would frequently message me and say I’ve done 10 times the amount you’ve said, I would often say to stick to smaller but he simply would not take any notice of my advice. Now he trolls and I’ve had the best year ever. I have another who received a restraining order from his partner a few years ago due to obsessive behaviour who comes across in such a mild mannered way that he is able to suck in a few believers too. The most amusing one, is someone who was desperate to make a name for himself on TV for which I would get emailed every day as he wanted to be considered as a presenter, he got rejected as simply a piece of pinewood had more personality but he too now holds a grudge and gets involved in the odd trolling exercise.
Then you have the classic when winning, they stop doing Profit & Loss to come up with Oddschecker pie-chart watcher. That did actually give me a smile, of course I make no qualms about getting my subscribers best prices. I study up even when on holiday and set-aside 2-3 hours per day to get it done. If you have a packed Saturday of tips it can take me even longer. I see some tipster who actually does post oddschecker movers On Twitter in the morning who has a good following but does not win every month. Most money is taken minutes before the off. It’s just a lazy argument as really nothing left unless of course you can peddle lies, which they do too.
I could go on but the majority are people who have followed you and definitely bet themselves. The most disturbing ones of course are ones who spend 24/7 conjuring up different lies, different accounts by the same person that you are so convinced it is a variety of people when in reality it is only one. For example, one has smeared me with cancer charity lies when he knows at no time did I claim to donate anything to the said charity. I guess the lowest kind of smear he can come up with considering my own personal loss due to cancer, is something that makes him feel good. That to me is a not a normal person, it’s someone that needs help. This is the same person who tried 35 times one night to keep logging into the site when someone gave him a username & password. Also the same person who I see on my timeline within 90 seconds of me posting with a reply and that could be any time of day, morning, noon or night. That despite me blocking his account. He obviously sits with another account waiting, waiting and waiting. That is obsessive behaviour which obviously translates into watching every race I pick, betting on other racing too would not be a surprise. I decided some time ago not to read it, but you know it’s happening as suddenly the name appears on a reply.
Maybe it’s because I have worked in a presenting/producing role whilst he sits in his room making up Memes and Videos that get his goat or the fact that he needs to watch my account 24/7 whilst I’m out enjoying time with my family or out with friends, that I do not know. I suspect he has lost friendships due to his gambling but that is compensated by the fact he can have cyber friends on the internet who actually encourage him. Then again, tipsters are easy targets.
You will never get rid of Trolls and they even accept they are one so it’s no surprise they really believe they own hype. On a personal note, I choose to read through mostly once a week some accounts, others I don’t even bother with unless something gets passed on to me which is personal. Best thing is to ignore them if you can, get on with your life and above all not let anyone influence your life as they do not know you. You wouldn’t even want to have a quick drink with them, more importantly no-one else would either. That’s why their lives are taken over by social media, don’t let it take over yours. This will be dissected by one or two people, in reality do I care?
………… Answer is a big fat NO!
Trainers v Courses v Jockeys
Trainers are very much creatures of habit and whilst it is not an exact science, I find it quite interesting where trainers send their horses, who they book for the rides and courses where the horses run. I have tried to avoid small samples as you cannot gage when a jockey has one ride and wins or a trainer sends two horses to a course throughout the year. Hopefully, you will find the following information useful when making decisions.
This up to date as of first week of September.
Agents play a pivotal roles these days in getting the top jockeys best rides though this a list of the top 12 Trainers currently this year and trends.
Two Year Olds – Best Jockey Ben Curtis 25% (14-57)
Three Year Olds – Worse Jockey Franny Norton (3-40) 8%
Franny Norton, Joe Fanning and Richard Kingscote do well when riding the older horses
Best Courses – Carlisle, Southwell AW
Worse Courses – Newbury (0/14), Windsor (0/10), Lingfield (0/7)
Best Courses – Ffos Las (6/11), York (9/32), Haydock (5/18)
Worse Courses – Yet to have winner at Bath, Leicester, Lingfield and Yarmouth combined (0/34)
Best Jockeys Two Year Olds – David Probert – William Buick
Three Year Olds – Oisin Murphy
Interesting Stat Oisin Murphy only 1/33 with 4+ Year Olds this year for the trainer.
Best Course Haydock 6/29
Worse Course Newmarket 1/33
Best Jockey Two-Year-olds – Thore Hammer Hansen
Best Jockey Three-Year-olds – Ryan Moore
Sean Levey best with older horses
Difficult trainer to get handle on as very good record across all tracks especially when sending ones up North of Watford.
Best Course Thirsk (4/6), Wolverhampton (7/16)
Best Jockey for Three-Year-Olds Jim Crowley, Dane O’Neill
Best Jockey Older Horses – Tom Marquand
JOHN AND THADY GOSDEN
Very good on 2 the all-weather courses, pretty poor on other.
Best Courses – Lingfield AW (5/17), Kempton AW (10/33)
Worse Course- Chelmsford (1/14)
Best with Two Year-Olds/ Older Horses Frankie Dettori
Best with Three-Year-Olds – Robert Havlin
Best Course – Chester, Southwell AW
Worse Courses – Ascot (0/7), Newcastle AW (3/37), Mussleburgh (4/49)
Worse Course for Two-Year-Olds -Thirsk (0/24)
Notable Jockey Bookings Cam Hardie/ Rob Hornby
Best Courses – Hamilton (9/33), Ayr (6/27)
Worse Courses – Ripon (3/40), Lingfield AW (4/44)
Best Course for Two-Year-Olds- Beverley
Most Profitable Jockey Three-Year-Olds – Billy Garrity
Best Courses – Chelmsford (7/18), Kempton AW (9/24), Haydock (8/24)
Most Profitable Jockeys – Eoin Walsh, Gavin Ashton
Older Horses – Jack MItchell
Worse Courses Ascot. Sandown (0/49) Combined
Best Course – Carlisle
Worse Course Thirsk (4/66)
Least Profitable Jockey Bookings – Adam Kirby (1-28),
Older Horses David Nolan (1/48)
100% records at Yarmouth, Thirsk, Brighton, Windsor – Small sample
Best Jockey Strike Rate – Adam Kirby, William Buick. James Doyle
Worse Jockey Stats – Royston French (0/16)
Best Jockey – Oisin Murphy (5/15), Tom Marquand (7/29)
Least Profitable Jockey Bookings – Ben Curtis (4/47), Frederick Larrsson (8/97)
Worse Course – Chepstow (0/10), Lingfield AW (6/67)
Best Jockey Three-Year-Olds – Alistair Rawlinson
Best Course – Catterick (6/19)
Worse Courses, Newmarket July, Sandown (0/24) combined
Best Jockey – Two-Year-olds Daniel Tudhope (5/12)
Best Jockey Three -Year-Olds Clifford Lee
Worse Jockey -Three Year-olds Sam James (0/24)
Betting The Night Before Compared to On The Day
Most betting on races is done minutes if not seconds before a race.
Since the introduction of exchanges you can often see a big drifter who drifts a few points then invariably runs down the field. You do have the odd one where the market is smashed in seconds before though in my experience this has happened less so in recent years. You are more likely to see one well backed a few hours before.
The overround on races the night before is definitely swayed in the bookmakers favour which is why you need to study up all aspects of a particular race, potential ground, draw, course form and handicap ratings are only 4 aspects you need to consider. Sprints tend to be most difficult or low grades races where horses tend to beat each other & run quite frequently. You do have exceptions where you have improvers ahead of their marks and sprinters who have dropped to lenient marks after a series of poor runs. Draw can also be a factor whether its a high draw on the turf at places like Lingfield & Chepstow or low numbers around Chester these are factors you need to consider.
The best time to bet on a horse is when you believe you are going to beat the starting price where that gives you the long term edge. It’s not a 100% science, nothing ever is. I just believe on balance that can be done early the night before. Some will disagree, which is fair enough.
You are not going to get the liquidity on the exchanges night before so bookmakers have to be used. Of course you are marked by betting liability departments if you keep beating prices but keeping bets sensible and varying companies used helps to offset this. Once you get the dreaded 14p maximum bet on a horse treat this as a compliment, use what options available to you to continue betting across the board. Bet responsibily but do not restrict yourself to one company.
Despite the overround stacked in the bookmakers favour and most companies running a best odds guaranteed market on the morning of races you should be able to spot horses that have the form to win. Anyone who suggests that a blue mark on oddschecker early at 6pm (when in most cases they have only just been priced up) has any real factor on what price a horse goes off on the day of racing, has very little clue on how betting on horses work. You would get several horses shortening in price the night before in one race, that is a fact.
Picking winners from when markets form (you should have studied up before) is probably the most difficult thing to do though ultimately can be the most rewarding.
My purpose in looking at oddschecker is to find who is providing the best price. When you go shopping to buy a phone contract you don’t go with the first one on offer, you have to look across the board to see who is offering the best price. Why take 3-1 when 4-1 is available? If you are having a 3-1 bet at £30 bet to win £120 why are you not trying to win £150 instead? Quite often the price is even more than a point different. You will not get this right everytime, you just need to be right most of the time that despite always backing more losers than winners.
Many stay loyal to one bookmaker which they favour for the website or offers (Skybet on the handicaps where you do not get GP but extra places is probably least one in your favour), but it’s important to try and keep more than one site available to you. If you are betting BIG on singles you are likely to be restricted quite quickly. Make no mistake liabilities departments are trying to ensure profit is made from every punter.
It is important to find the best price as while many bookmakers copy each other you do have price variance from say bet365 and Paddy Power. Quite often the latter are shorter in maidens & novices with the former going better prices in handicaps. It certainly does not take much money to move one in the night before as exchanges can cannot be offered as a guide to these bookmakers with liquidity in markets being very weak, unless you have the big festivals running.
Many tipsters go up in the morning which is something I used to do & considered continuing when going to a paid subscription. I then moved to 10pm night before, though found the markets had been completely squeezed by that time. On winners (not selections) I did have around 84% of winners beat the price, this has lowered recently but I still believe betting night before early is the best time unless you can be there 3-4 minutes before the race which is undoubtedly where volume of money comes in and you can see how a horse looks in the paddock or goes down to the start.
Everyone has their own way of betting, ultimately if we are making a profit long term, thats all we can ask for. No-one has a right answer to staying in profit which makes this game full of opinions and in general why we love the sport of horse racing.
Next week I’ll be focusing on trainers & jockeys and who to look out for at various courses.
We’ve all had a difficult 18 months with Covid 19 taking over many lives with lockdowns & people going through all kinds of hardships with lack of work or in some cases going through deep depression which continues to effect some people.
Betting can impact people too in many ways with so much availability to bet on including horse racing & many other sports. Racing continues to have a stigma attached with betting opportunities every day from morning French racing to afternoon & evening meetings where you have the opportunity to bet every 10 minutes. You are also reminded of having a bet with betting companies advertising one minute before every race. Make no mistake, despite showing a PR front of having to abide by regulations these companies want your money and have plenty of means to market.
I am now 52 though in my late teens/early-twenties I would bet too much despite back in those days (late eighties/early nineties) you would not have evening racing or shops opening on a Sunday. You would not even have jump meeting in the summer with no horse racing during Easter either.
I have learnt over the years that in order to make money you have to be patient, not be reliant on impulse and above all never chase losses. That is easier said than done but you can never enjoy any sport if you are betting scared of what you might lose.
I suspect this problem has effected more people in the last 18 months than people might believe. From personal experience, back in August 2020 I was going great guns with winners & probably my best month since I joined Twitter back in 2012/2013. This led to new members, few of which expected this to happen all year round & profits to come like a cash machine every week or even day. Within in a couple of months those same people praising you were then calling you a fraud & a conman. I don’t need to single those people out as they are probably reading this right now & in any case they know who they are.
No-one forces anyone to go with paid tipsters, in most cases people enjoy having a bet though you can see by the increased abuse aimed at jockeys & trainers on social media that gambling is taking over people’s lives in a way that will need to be addressed in the coming months/years. I suspect someone will get a nasty injury or a threat will be carried out before people actual focus minds on what is clearly an issue with an increasing number of people.
I have already written before that singles are the best way to make money in the long term and small multiples will not make a long term profit though can provide one or two big payouts. It seems some need the buzz every 10 minutes which is never a good idea. Set aside a budget for your bets. Advising bets does not mean you have to match them, I would rather people play less, certainly not more. I dread someone sticking a couple of hundred or more on a horse as in many cases this is simply unaffordable. This cannot be beat is often a phrase often used or people asking for a number of likes on social media to provide a name of horse that is going to win (no guarantees in life) has also sparked a more desperate betting mentality.
Horse racing is a great sport, I learned much when working with At The Races & Turf TV (Racing Uk) alongside Betracingnation when you needed to know your subject matter. If you interviewed a Nicky Henderson or a Willie Mullins you needed to know your subject matter otherwise you wouldn’t last 10 minutes.
You need a degree of knowledge in order to provide information on why you think a horse might win. No-one during the course of a long period will have more winners than losers, it simply does not happen. If you decide to go with a free tipster, paid tipster or even pick your own then bet wisely. That will ensure not only in the short term you can enjoy a bet, it should in the long term also ensure you have a little profit.
Week ending April 17th
As the start of the flat season starts to hit top gear I shall be briefly writing some weekly eyecatchers for people to browse through and take note.
The Fielden Stakes will throw up some future winners and whilst the winner Highland Avenue got a perfect sit on the golden highway at Newmarket, the one to note is the 2nd Secret Protector. Not many horses came off the pace on Tuesday so that performance can be marked up. Connections currently have this one entered for The Dante (end of May). You would suspect the step up in trip for that contest is going to be ideal. Fact; Front two finished well ahead of the field suggests they are both very decent horses who can scale much higher as the season progresses. Worth noting jockey bookings beforehand would have suggested Secret Protector was preferred over the eventual winner Highland Avenue.
From an excellent family the three-year-old is open to any amount of improvement over slightly further distance. Having won on heavy ground last season, the good to firm going would not have suited Thursday, so that performance behind Al Waqidi can be upgraded. Trainer Ralph Beckett is going to hit a purple patch at some part in the next month or so, you can see this son of Teofilo going through the ranks on soft ground.
Trainer Roger Charlton is a very patient trainer that normally starts the season slowly with winners so it was no surprise that Makram came up short over a distance short of what will be his best as the season progressed. The canny trainer will target some good handicaps for this unexposed four-year-old. A trainer to watch at particularly Newbury, it could be that he has targeted a nice race for this one in the coming weeks.
Having met Jane Chapple-Hyam she is a no nonsense trainer who is underestimated and can train a good one. Always open as well when her horses have been gambled on. This eyectacher was fairly obvious who never looked like getting beat. A good jockey booking of Oisin Murphy plus to win by 7 lengths shows this filly to have plenty of class. Connections might be tempted to come back in trip over 6 furlongs as the filly showed tremendous speed from the gates. No surprise if we might see this daughter of Awtaad in a listed event in the coming weeks, where it would take a good one to beat her.
Social Media v The Reality
In this age of Social Media you would be forgiven for believing this is the only form of communication that engages with the public. I have been very fortunate over the years to build a good number of followers on Twitter who simply have a love of horse racing, they enjoy having a bet and accept that you cannot win everyday. Social media is a tool to communicate with followers, reality is, it’s not the not only form of communication in this expansive world of ours.
The sport of horse racing is a complicated game which needs a degree of knowledge which many find useful. Some decide to pay for this knowledge, some follow other people for free, some do it for themselves. It’s a free country and a free world for the person to make their own judgement. No-one is pulling a trigger to anyone’s head forcing them to do anything they are not adult enough to do.
You do get a very small minority who simply get angry about losing, feel that its your fault and accuse you of being a “con man” . Those very people a month or two earlier when collecting winnings are the first to “big you up” or say “how great you are”. I am not here to name names but I could point to a number that fit into this category over this year alone. Of course both comments cannot be right, but it suits the individual to carry on regardless.
I am not a professional gambler, my main aim over the year is to make profit, to accept the ups & downs. Of course looking back I could do things differently, but to expect winning everyday is nonsense. You really should not be betting if you believe this to be the case. I strongly advise you do not go anywhere near horse racing as the highs & lows are far greater than many other sports.
Reading social media you would believe this is only the means to which people join up to subscribe or indeed that everyone spends 24/7 looking at Twitter. Again, I am fortunate to have people in particular from the world of sport both professionals and ex professionals who probably rarely go onto Twitter. That clientele was brought up years ago with my time in football and working as a sports presenter for Sports Tonight Live and Betracingnation.
The word “advised” stakes is simply that. No-one has to follow that to an exact science. I know some that simply do the Naps, some do less staking, some do more. Not everyone bets the night before either and others only have a bet at the weekends. To put everyone in the same bracket of adhering to exactly what I put up is a lazy thought process. To think every single person goes onto place the bet at the same time is also bonkers.
If you like a bet, are over 18 you can follow any number of tipsters. I took the decision years ago to put up the selections with the slip to show the odds are available as many will quote a price which was never there. From the times of placing them up before for free over a number of years to now, this is the best way of showing the prices are available. I have advised for a number of years that you may need many accounts for different betting companies, if you use the same daily and are beating the prices, these mighty profitable bookmakers will set into restricted mode pretty quickly. My record currently stands at 4 days with Betway from two years ago.
In regards to the losing bets, anyone can visit the SP v Advised Prices (https://betracingnationclub.com/a-advised-sp-prices) anytime on the website. By definition if you are putting up winning slips you are backing the losing ones. Unless of course, you are a conspiracy theorist.
I post weekly the profit and loss, some argue that should be monthly. Those very people, if I converted to monthly, would say why do I not do weekly. I hope you see where I am going with this? Whatever you do with some, you cannot win. Putting up losing weeks is something I never enjoy doing but it shows the reality of betting on the horses.
No-one likes losing but over the last couple of years I have seen jockeys and trainers get abused on social media. That is definitely on the increase which the sport needs to grapple with. It cannot be right that a jockey is getting ripped apart by an individual stuck in his room with a computer enabling him to write whatever he or she wants. Thankfully, people can now take legal routes which are now open to them for things like character defamation or harassment.
Of course anyone can be critical, that is part and parcel of the game but some abuse exceeds what anyone would say to the individual in the real world.
The reality compared to Social Media is vast. Most enjoy sports and placing a bet which simply enhances the enjoyment. Bookmaker advertising is excessive as you only have to switch on a minute before a race to see them promoting their brand, that is however likely to change come October 2021.
In a nutshell sometimes you just have to ignore negativity on social media as that is not the real world. Most people decide for themselves what they wish to do, they are adults and should be treated accordingly to make decisions for themselves.
Reflections on 2020
Before I reflect on 2020 it’s best to reflect on the previous eight years. Over the years, I have been very fortunate to have many loyal followers both on social media and through the Betracingnation TV programmes which started back in 2013.
Back then we had regular Saturday morning shows which would bring in knowledgeable people on horse racing to provide selections to the public. I have been accused of being in bed with the bookmakers when in reality the aim was always to provide winners. Of course the panel would have good weeks and bad weeks but we all love the sport and had reasons behind our selections.
I also covered topical midweek programmes and was proud to be the first to focus on bookmakers’ restricted accounts which all punters who make money have endured over the years. We also built a great rapport with flat and jump trainers. The reputation of providing an insight to racing allowed me to build my following. As with all good things that came to an end. Many got good jobs out of that experience which included myself, going onto Turf TV (part of RacingUK) and At The Races.
During that time, I would put up selections daily. Again, this allowed me to build up the following even more, we all had a good return most of the time. Following being made redundant from At The Races, I then decided to start up a service daily to provide selections and write ups. Circumstances change as I never thought back in 2018 that I would start this up.
I have written about the above several times, though accept new readers are reading for the first time.
Fair to say 2019 was very successful. That followed a good year in 2018 where tips were put up free, like they were for the previous six years.
In 2020 we’ve had complete ups and downs (not much in between), ranging from the nearly 2k double for £10 just before racing stopped during Covid and a remarkable August. That August was the best month since 2013 and probably in hindsight the worst thing to happen. From that point, a few new members thought it was like printing money despite me saying on more than one occasion it was not.
From mid September, we’ve had a bad run with only the odd good winning week. Experience tells me this changes at some point, though not having a crystal ball you never know when this will start. Back in 2019 we had a similar time where it was great up to August and then petered out, only 3 weeks in December bringing the figures back up.
The very same people happily winning then, now call me all sorts of things from con man to a fraud. You have to rise above this as it will not be the first or last time this happens. A select few are attracted to horse racing believing you can win, week in, week out. You cannot.
With 11 weeks lost during the horrible Covid we were never going to reach the totals achieved in previous years, though at one point that seemed likely.
Despite the awful run since mid September, I would like to thank everyone who stayed with me through the years, those who have moved on to pastures new and those who have acted with maturity by leaving when they decided to do so.
Hopefully, we have a good remainder of 2020 and even better 2021.
My daily routine is slightly different to the average tipster who feels putting up selections in the morning is most beneficial. I have a different take on the normal as I believe you have a few horses overpriced the night before plus you are one step ahead of the rest.
Currently around 88% of selections put up by myself beat the SP price so you can see the benefit of betting the night before. Of course, they do not always win but looking back on 2019 where we had 216/915 winners for the year with a profit of over £6,000 if using SP only this would have been far less. These figures clearly show the benefit of beating the price.
Anyone is happy to question the profit figures but I put every winning slip up and members clearly know what selections have been put up the night before. Of course we will have losing runs (discussed in next blog) but its about making profits and being patient.
Of course bookmakers over-rounds (percentages) the night before are heavily stacked in their favour and it could be argued they are simply looking to bookmark bets coming in from customers when the market is quieter but that can be overcome by opening various different bookmaker accounts and spreading the bets. The great thing is we live in a free market where competition is important, with horse racing prices you are generally going to find a variance. I cannot stress enough sticking to one bookmaker is not the answer as firstly you are likely to be restricted heavily after a series of wins and therefore its important to spread the bets across a variety of them. You also can get a big difference in pricing up a particular horse whereby one company will be offering 10-1 another 8-1. (some have bigger differences)
One point I often get mentioned is “the price didn’t last long”. Of course if you are using one bookmaker this is likely to happen. My one big suggestion is during this lockdown is to open up accounts with different bookmakers. It costs nothing to do so!! Set a limit on wagers if you for any reason are concerned about overdoing what you can afford.
I see so many people stick to one like Bet 365 or SKY bet out of loyalty. Remember, you win of these companies in the long term they will not show any loyalty back to you. So please, just because you like a layout of a website or love their brand, DO NOT STICK to one company. You should be treating this as a business to make money. Why on earth would you not take 16-1 with one firm just because you are not signed up and have to take say 10-1 just because of your loyalty? I would also suggest having friends & family accounts to help spread the bets even further as bookmakers especially on horses are very mindful that if accounts make money they will be observing.
I start eyeing up the form at about 5pm the night before. This would include viewing over race replays and having watched thousands of races over the years, I would like to think you get a pretty good idea of how a race will pan out. Many are convinced of speed figures which is all well and good on all weather surfaces but I am less convinced when you have a variety of ground and tracks to weigh you down. For me, this is too time consuming. Everyone is different but I tend to go with trainer form/pattern/thought process, ground, whether a horse is bred for the distance, how the race will be run and a variety of other factors.
Anyone following me for sometime may notice I tend not to go with the five furlong sprints certainly in handicaps and the further distance flat races the more you can rely on form. You only have to look at stats to appreciate you are more likely to win by a shorter distance over the shorter distances which therefore in general makes them more competitive by nature.
I unlike many others will always back horses to the amounts I recommend (all slips are posted). The world of Twitter and social media you have too many people who might recommend a bet who may show a slip (not actually placed) or you have no idea what they actually have done. The latter are more inclined to want you signing up via an affiliate link where they make money from you LOSING.
Plus, you get a number who do no homework whatsoever see a price of a horse comes in and put that selection up. That is the main driving force for me doing bets the night before as you cannot estimate the strength of social media. You may lose a couple of points still the previous evening if not getting on time they are posted but next morning prices will come down even further once other so called tipsters put them up with any kind of following. They are simply seeing the markets after you (members) have placed your bet.
Unfortunately, I’ve had people who simply copy my bets. I treat that as a compliment but it does go to show how many unscrupulous tipsters who have around the country.
I maintain the night before is still just about the best time to place your bets despite the slight downside of having your card marked. The bets suggested are often not too much (highest generally £40) so you can easily go quite a while without no problem if not getting greedy. Of course, you do have the option of Betfair exchanges with those kind of stakes the night before.
In my next Blog will focus on Losing Runs which will put up some time over the weekend… If you would like any questions answered please email email@example.com
BEST ODDS GUARANTEED (BOG)
Bookmakers have obviously used the recent reduction on FOBT’s as an excuse to change the timings on Best Odds Guaranteed which obviously cuts into their profits. I only recently found out for example that the local Paddy Power shops have a maximum of 1k on your returns above the SP returns. Shops will offer Best odds guaranteed when it suits them especially when next to any competition. I think its inevitable for online betting that all companies will go morning for best odds guaranteed at some point. Whether one will dip their toe in the water and go an hour before racing remains to be seen. Hopefully, I can answer the questions many people ask regarding Best Odds Guaranteed.
When is the best time to place a Bet ?
Fair to say markets have a big influence a few minutes before racing and despite what many say you do have to question drifters that drift like a barge to run no sort of race when they go from 1.6 to 2.5 on the machines seconds before the off. If someone does not have information on how they will run, then you have to question why a horse runs like it has lost a leg.
Saying all that, the majority of races are run fairly and squarely and that leaves the night before still the best time to take odds. If the homework is done properly you will invariably still beat the odds and just have to take it on the chin if it drifts as the profit will always outweigh the losses. You could be marking the traders cards with your expertise but generally prices do last for a short while, unless a big invariable with say one form offering 12-1 and others 6-1. In that case, the 12-1 will always go quickly.
Who Should I bet With ?
Of course bookmakers do not like winners, they do not like people who beat the prices and that leads to restrictions and ultimately closing of accounts. I have always maintained that you should not be showing loyalty to a company because you like their branding or you prefer how site is displayed. You would not go into a shop and buy the first thing you see so why should give a bookmaker that kind of priority? You should do everything to get all the accounts and if you cannot do that family & friends are an option. One of the many queries I get is ” I could not get that price” of course within half an hour a price can change but you need as many options open to getting the best price, especially if big variance in prices.
How have selections done this year : BOG compared to SP ?
Of course, recently more bookmakers have moved the goalposts but around 80% of the selections have beaten or been within half a point of the SP since launch 31st January. This coincides pretty much with previous years so the conclusion must be that taking a price night before is still beneficial. This, despite bookmakers books night before heavily stacked in their favour. (Sometimes they have 125%- 130% mark ups)
Not all have won but it shows that you should be able to beat the prices. Only two notable exceptions this year were Moon King on 28th April wins 10-1 (4-1 taken) and Power Link 20th August 2019 16-1 (8-1 taken). Luckily both were placed with Best odds, but you could understand the frustration if these had not been taken. It does make it imperative to get best odds whenever you can
Currently I am SP only with Paddy Power and I would only bet with them if I am 99% sure price will shorten. You do need experience in these circumstances and it will not always pay off, but it is a percentage call.
Should I allow Drifters to worry me ?
I never let drifters worry me, you have to believe all races on run on their merits (despite some questionable ones) as whatever you have chosen you have picked for a reason. Likewise, I never get carried away when a horse you picked goes from say 16-1 into 4-1. Yes, you have the value but does not mean it is going to romp home. Though when these do come off, no betting feeling in filling your wallet.
To Win … Accept Losing
One question answered first from the previous article..
Yes, guaranteed prices the night before are limited with very few companies but I would not be afraid of placing a bet which maybe a couple of points better with one that is not offering this service. We beat prices 88% of the time so it will still be beneficial in the long run.
Having gambled for around 35 years I have certainly seen both sides of being a gambler. Back in the eighties you could go into the betting shop aged 15/16 without the need for showing any proof of ID. My mum had actually circulated my picture to local betting shops in order to stop me sneaking into having a bet. At that time, I had no clue what I was doing. Often running books at school for Grand Nationals and other big races enabled me to have a few pounds to back horses and pass away a school lunchtime hour, until those pictures circulated.
My fascination to horse racing was strongly influenced by my dad who at the time run a few shops in the East End of London and coming from a split marriage where my mother was strict & very religious, I guess the times I did see my father horse racing played a vital part in our relationship. My teens were spent being an idiot when coming to betting and quickly I went out of control. Those experiences are part of growing up and learning.
I continued to run books for various sports and one particular memory was doing a 1990 World Cup book for staff (aged 21) and everyone seemed to be going for Holland 1 Egypt 1 which I gave odds of 14-1. I never thought for one minute the next day would be paying staff who took the bet. That was a lesson for me not to get involved in running books and Egypt scoring near the end of that game was probably one of the worse experiences knowing I had to pay out hundreds. That was difficult as being 21 you never earned much back then, whatever job you had.
In my twenties, it was a continuation of betting like an idiot. Any money earned, was put back into the bookmaker pockets. In many ways it made you clever as you would come up with ingenious ways of making money though, only to throw it all away. Luckily, I’ve been fortunate with business ventures but had nothing to show for it. That changed for me in 2002 when an opportunity came along to work with football clubs and now in my early thirties I was not going to let any money earned go back to the bookmakers. I was determined and thankfully had learn’t from my mistakes. Of course during the period up to that point I had winners ( had my biggest ever win in 1997) but it would not take me long to give it back. I had an addictive nature in my twenties and it was only by the time I reached 30+ I started to take the game seriously.
Having to run my first business in my early thirties it allowed me to take the value of money more seriously. My betting patterns changed completely from that time. I started to keep records of every bet, cut down on the number of bets and most importantly accepting to lose. It now became a way of making extra money on the side, not looking for the big blockbuster win or doing multiple of bets all the time. I can understand fully some people get trapped and you only have to see social media to see how betting has affected some very good people.
My betting now is different from the professional gambler as I am not prepared to risk what I have built up over the last 20 years and it is now set in stone that I am simply looking to make 5-6k a year as a sideline. Patience is the key. So many are sucked into those people who claim to win everyday. Reality is you don’t. We would all be millionaires if you did. Of course, many have a way with words which prey on the gullible especially on social media.
No-one for example will have inside knowledge on how a horse will run. Do you think for one minute that a trainer is going to give information to an outside source let alone someone who has only hundreds of followers? Anyone who has followed me for example since 2012 would know I had my own Betracingnation Channel in which over 4 years I got on very well with trainers. You might have a few that exude confidence but they never said this is going to win. The same applied to when I worked with Racing TV and At The Races.
Looking back over the last few years, I would certainly back more losers then winners. Just look at 2019 (pretty similar to previous years), where we had 226 winners to 915 selections which meant we had 689 losers. Profit was still over £6,000 on singles only. You can only make a judgement over a 6 month to year period. We had some losing times but fixed over the the year it equated to 13 weeks out of the 48 (started up February) and the losing period where we did take a particular hit was end of October to early December.
This led to people asking whats happening, what are you doing differently or even you are useless. This generally came from people who had just signed up after a particularly good period or had seen the good winners and felt they could make a quick buck. I guarantee everyone that bets on horses will have losing runs. Its how you deal with them that makes the big difference. This is actually a trait that bookmakers pray on (something I endured 30 years ago).
My immediate reaction in my twenties would be chase the losses after a couple of losing bets and lose even more. I’m afraid that still applies to many today, betting more than they can afford which leads to desperation instead of accepting that with racing on everyday of our lives you have of plenty of opportunity to win with patience. How many times have you been beaten in a photo finish or seen a horse fall when coming to the last when you are going through a bad patch? You have to take it on the chin, NOT look up the next race to try and get it back on the spur of the moment.
Many take time off when backing a few losers or get negative. Frankly, you have no idea of how long a bad run lasts so its more the fact you are betting beyond your means without admitting it to yourself. You should always have a bank in place that allows for losses. That bank is up to you as an individual, no-one can make that decision for you. Just make sure its surplus to your weekly or monthly needs, so it enables you to enjoy the sport of horse racing. You will win over the long term if you are patient.
I see many tipsters give a tip in every race which cannot be profitable in the long run. If you are going to have a bet in every race for enjoyment than cut your stakes down completely. This is not a get rich way of betting though you should not lose much if keeping to reduced stakes by including doubles of trebles. Make no mistake the best to make money is by backing singles.
You have to do what bookmakers do NOT like, this is one key area which if you are sensible is a moneymaker in the long term. The right races are also important. If your friendly bookmaker is offering a money back offer, enhanced odds on a tough handicap or enhanced odds on a double you need to ask yourself why. People fail to see they are a business and marketing plays a pivotal role in generating income for shareholders in a very competitive market.
I’d rather take place a good sized bet at Hereford then for example at Cheltenham. I would enjoy the latter as a spectacle but these big meetings are where the big money is made for the industry. It might sound obvious but a 5-1 winner at Hereford pays the same as 5-1 winner at Cheltenham and the field is going to be less competitive.
To close, I have learnt over the years to be a good gambler you need to know how to lose. You need to be level headed, manage a bank you can afford and above all do not spend beyond your means. This will allow you to accept the inevitable losing runs you will suffer.