Today felt like the last twitches of a dying beast. The writing was on the wall - today's betting were the last, futile acts of a month out on it's feet. Let's get the details of today's action out of the way before having a look at the month as a whole.
There were eleven bets today, two winners amongst them. On The Nose had one win from one selection (Festival King - Ayr - 11/2) to produce a 3.4pt profit, and The Sportsman Racing had a half point on a winner at the Scottish track too (Ballabriggs - Ayr - 6/4) to produce a 0.75pt profit. Drawing blanks were PJA NH who found only one placed selection amongst it's five bets today for a 3pt loss, Northern Monkey Punter with one placed from three for a 1.1pt loss, and Chasemaster with their only bet a loser for a 0.25pt loss.
Monday 31st January: Staked £170.50, -£40.25.
Week to date: Staked £170.50, -£40.25
January 2011: Staked £16,132.50, -£273.67, roi -1.69%.
Obviously, any month in which a loss is posted can only be described as disappointing. The manner in which the loss was made though, is what irks somewhat. After being over £900 up at roughly half way through the month, to go on a run from that point whereby a loss of £273 is suffered has been a little galling to say the least.
However, a little context is required, before doom and gloom really sets in. Firstly, a loss of less than £300 is easy to absorb in the greater scheme of things. Secondly, this has been the first losing month since June of last year. And thirdly, if the two halves of the month were reversed, ie. the £1,200 lost in the first two weeks and then a recovery to a total of -£273 over the course of the last two weeks, I would probably be feeling a whole lot happier.
January was also a bit of an experimental month for me. I expanded the portfolio by three services and consequently those three services were understaked as I was careful to ensure that they would suit my preferred style of betting. These services will be staked in February very much more in line with the rest of the portfolio. Theoretically, this should add stability to overall performance. There are one or two other services that I have not been staking correctly (details below) and therefore some slight adjustments are being made for next month.
Star of the Month
This is undoubtedly On The Nose. One of the new services this month, it is a shame that I was staking at a lower level as I found my feet with it, as it's figures are extremely impressive...Staked 50.25pts, +42.424pts, roi 84.42%! Now, shame though it is to say, such a high level of performance is impossible to maintain. But looking through last year's results on their website, there were four months which produced a profit of greater than 20 points, and only two months which posted a (small) loss. The conclusion I draw from this is that hopes for a consistent ride must be high, even if expectations of hitting 40+ points of profit each month are unrealistic. I feel very comfortable with the service. The norm is to back just two to four horses per day, staking is consistent, write ups clear and concise, and advised odds generally accomplishable. I did miss out on a couple of points profit by the price being cut before I could get on, but this problem should be minimised from tomorrow when the day's selections are no longer publicly available without charge. With a limit of 50 members or so, this is a service that I can be very optimistic about. Without it this month, my +/- figures would look a whole lot worse! Staking for February: £20/point.
Chasemaster came good this month. Staked 10.125pts, +3.826pts, roi 37.78%.
It has taken me three months to get used to Chasemaster. I have outlined their idiosyncracies in a previous post, but I do feel that I am beginning to get to grips with them now. I have been seriously understaking them as again, I wanted to feel happy with the service before fully committing myself. I feel that I am there now, and can stake accordingly. They do seem prone to fairly regular losing runs, but at the odds they play at, that is only to be expected. Staking for February: £60/point.
Based on roi achieved, The Sportsman must be applauded this month. Staked 1.91pts, +0.467pts, roi 24.45%. However, it is not quite that clear cut. Having suffered a poor December, it has been pleasing to see selections performing much better in January. However, I do feel that the service has been more selective in it's approach, possibly as a direct consequence of trying to prevent the losing run from continuing. There have been many times that potential bets have been identified and detailed in the daily email but not advised as being strong enough for account bets. It feels that many of these have gone on to win (I may be wrong and it is my mind playing tricks, but I don't think so). In itself this isn't a problem, but when the month's total staked is about half of what could be expected from past staking levels, it means that although the roi is good, the actual money made is pretty low. I'm not going to change staking yet though - let's see what happens over the next couple of months first. Staking for February: £200/point.
The Sportsman Racing service, like the sports side of the service, had a good month in terms of roi but didn't actually produce very much profit in cash terms. Staked 7pts, +0.787pts, roi 11.24%. This is a direct result of it being new to the portfolio this month and a consequent low staking level. Staking for February: £60/point.
Skeeve had a good month too...staked 88pts, +12.86pts, roi 14.61%. The main service actually outperformed these figures but the 'Late Blue Square South' service, which I lump in with the main service, has dragged things back a little. Still, if Skeeve can maintain this level of performance overall until the end of the season, I'll be more than happy. Staking for February: £15/point.
It is trying to make up for ground lost in the first half of the season, but Sports Investor did ok in January...staked 9pts, +0.587pts, roi 6.52%. They have apparently been analysing their selection criteria/procedures with the aim of improving performance - let's hope it works. My only concern with this service is that they are constantly saying that they anticipate greater numbers of selections, so I keep my staking as it is, only for the greater levels to not materialise! Staking for February: £100/point.
Football Investor did ok...staked 81pts, +6.525pts, roi 8.05%. I have to admit, I struggle a little with Football Investor, through no fault of the service itself. A lot of bets, many of them coming through on a Friday night, and for football, fairly lengthy losing runs due to the odds being played at. However, all these issues lie with me and not with the service itself - if it can up the profit levels a little over the remainder of the season, then it will be worth all the effort. Staking for February: £15/point.
Football Investor's 'other' service, Strike Zone also contributed some profits...staked 36pts, +2.274pts, roi 6.31%. Steady enough in itself, but I would have hoped for a higher roi in a month in which 61% of selections were winnng ones! Staking for February: £50/point.
ProBandit...staked 26.33pts, +0.846pts, roi 3.21%. Staking for February @ £40/point.
Winning Racing Tips...staked 13.4pts, -0.235pts, roi -1.75%. Staking for February @ £60/point.
Northern Monkey Punter...staked 46pts, -2.72pts, roi -5.91%. Staking for February @ £20/point.
Not much to say about the above. No concerns with any of them. Northern Monkey Punter was understaked this month as it was the third addition to the portfolio, but for very similar reasons to On The Nose, I now feel very comfortable with it so I am upping the stakes to bring into line with the others.
4PA had to have a bad month. Previous to January, my roi since joining was running at 64%, so it seems a bit harsh to say a month in which it has dropped just two points at an roi of -15.38% is a bad one. But, by it's own high standards... I also have to account soon for a further four point loss on an antepost bet for the Tote Gold Trophy on a horse which recently sustained an injury and consequently will not be running. The only reason why I have not done so yet is that there is another selection running in the race, so my plan is to account for it on the day. Staking for February: £50/point.
I have contributed directly to my own downfall this month with PJA Racing NH by overstaking it. PJA is an admirable service in many ways, but I think it is important to keep it in the correct perspective - that is as a service that, judging by past performance, is highly likely to give you a solid 12 months, but highly unlikely to produce spectacular profits. As it is cheap, that is no problem - the target annual profit can be a little lower than say, ProBandit, as the deduction of fees will have little impact. Therefore, I need to lower my sights a little with PJA, especially as following an exchange of emails with Paul (the ever helpful and friendly chap who runs the service) it seems that the staking levels we've seen this month are likely to be maintained. The month's figures are poor - staked 65pts, -13.033pts, roi -20.05% - but the impact in monetary terms has been magnified by my overstaking. It is not unusual for PJA to have a month like this, entirely due to the fact that they play at large odds, and I have every confidence that they will soon be back on the winning trail again. Staking for February: £20/point.
Finally, Football Elite. I have never known it to perform so consistently badly. The figures do not make for comfortable viewing...staked 19pts, -10.836pts, roi -57.03%. They have had just three winners from 19 bets. For a service with a historical strike rate of nearly 50%, that is quite something. I have read about people losing faith already, of reducing stakes, of losing confidence. Personally, I will simply plough on, staking remaining as is. Last month, FE picked eight consecutive winners. Using the same logic as those advocating a reduction of stakes now whilst on a losing run, this time last month would have been the time to raise stakes after a winning run. Think of what carnage would have ensued if that had happened! Nope - full steam ahead, until the end of the season at least. Staking for February: £100/point.
It has already been a very lengthy post and I have a number of thoughts about this month just gone that I will detail more in days ahead. For now though, I would say this...in a month in which arguably the most historically reliable service in the portfolio has been responsible for a loss on it's own of over £1,000, to actually come out just £273 down isn't too bad. I'd like to break this general losing run pretty soon though!
Probably not much of a post tomorrow - the Arsenal are playing!