Noting Eyecatchers

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.

 

SECRET PROTECTOR

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.

SCOPE

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.

MAKRAM

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.

BELLOSA

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.

 

 

Betting Strategies

FINDING WINNERS

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 betracingnationclub@gmail.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.

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