Thursday, 31 March 2011

Soap Box Session

Usually I plan my blog posts. Just a scrap of paper with a couple of brief notes outlining what I'm going to yabber on about. But tonight, I'm writing as I think, because quite frankly, today I have been flabbergasted by some of the sheer, downright stupidity of some people. So forgive me if this turns into a bit of a rant...

Services are open to constructive criticism. Whether it be the rail companies, a restaurant or a tipping service, if they do something unethical or treat their customers with a lack of respect, then fair enough, they are fair game. But some of the inane, cowardly, and pathetic comments I see on occasion on forums and in the comments sections of blogs beggar belief. I'm sorry but the "letting off steam" excuse just doesn't wash. It's a cop out. Yes, have a moan about bad luck or a poor run from a tipster and how it's making you pissed off. I've done that myself. Furthermore, if someone detects something in a service that they don't like, perhaps a lack of customer service perhaps, then by all means constructively criticise. But to hide behind an 'anonymous' tag or a made up forum name and do nothing other than just slag a service off - well to me that just shows a bloke with a very small todger.

Just what do these people think they are going to achieve? Do they think for one second that the tipster who is incurring their wrath suddenly thinks, "Hang on a minute. He's right. I'm crap." and that results will then spectacularly improve? Of course that person will probably absolve themselves of all responsibility for the decision made to join that service in the first place. They will be that sort, you see. The last person they will point the finger at for failure is themselves. It will be anybody else's fault than their own that they missed the winners, lowered stakes before a winning run, couldn't get on the bets when released because of other commitments, or some other vague excuse for why they're not doing as well as they anticipated. Gambling successfully is not easy. In fact it's bloody difficult. The level of mental strength required is huge. By refusing to take responsibility for themselves, the sort of people that leave comments that go beyond constructively critical and into the realms of abuse have already shown that they will never, ever, make it.

It's bad enough and wrong to fire abuse at those that run services that are paid for. But to target people who work hard to achieve an edge, and then who make those findings publicly available for FREE, whilst constantly warning that it is all a work in progress and for anyone following not to assume success will come from following, to post abusive comments on other people's blogs about someone doing this...get a life. Seriously, grow up. What is it? Jealousy? Cynicism that has morphed into bitterness? Whatever it is, this desire to see someone fail is unhealthy, counterproductive and ultimately self-defeating.

Before anyone thinks I'm being sanctimonious or holier than thou, let me state that I have openly encouraged people to leave comments on this blog in the belief that the more people with different levels of experience chip in, or pick me up on things that they don't agree with or can offer a different perspective on, then it is to the benefit of everyone. So far, I have not failed to publish any comment made. In fact I have apologised on the blog for something I have written that on reflection I can see is wrong. But I have never, and will never, abuse a service for poor performance. I may make a decision to drop a service due to extended underperformance and I may occasionally profer a criticism of some aspect of a service. To go further than this though is wasted energy. Why concentrate on the negative when time is better spent trying to get decisions right that will positively impact your performance as a gambler moving forward?

So far, the likes of Andy, Mark, Alan, Skeeve and others have been tremendous. They have added something to the blog and I'm sure this is a huge reason as to why the readership has been steadily growing. But if anyone is thinking of leaving a comment that is abusive to anyone, any service, or anything, don't bother. Your efforts will be wasted. Criticise in a proper way or raise an issue with a service that you find questionable - fine. We can debate these things like adults. Abuse? No. That's not on, either here or anywhere else.

Why am I so agitated? What's in it for me to defend the cause of the tipster? I tell you what's in it for me. I am paying these people for their expertise. I have chosen to follow them. I approached them. I have made a judgment. They have not contacted me. They have not asked me to follow them. I want these people to be able to work under circumstances whereby the pressure they are under comes only from themselves. I do not want theit confidence affected in such a way that they start to deviate from the methods that they have used to become successful in the first place. Because if they don't, chances are they are going to make me money. It's that simple.

As for the services/blogs/sites that provide tips for free. I want them to want to do so. Mark at the Patient Speculation blog is starting a portfolio largely made up of these kind of services. Follow him. If he makes a success of it, then so can you. Without paying any fees! Put yourself in the shoes of someone doing this. Someone putting in time and huge effort for no financial rewards other than that which comes from their own betting. And then you get some pathetic, abusive message, or a comment on another's blog with snide implications. I know what I'd do. I wouldn't bother. And then what do the reasonable followers do?

I know that the majority of you reading this would never dream of acting in such a way. For the one or two who might read this post, and who have been guilty of such selfishness, just think on it for a moment, will you?

Today's Action

A bit busier on the racing today. Five services in action, three profitably so.

On The Nose managed to pick up a couple of points finding a very nice winner at Ludlow (Russian Epic - 10/1). They also permed three horses for three each way doubles and an each way treble but the other two selections finished unplaced.

Ultra efficiency from Northern Monkey today, their one tip winning (Nimue - Leicester - 4/1).

Chasemaster continue their consistent run, their one tip recommended each way and finishing second (Cruchain - Ludlow - 8/1) in Russian Epic's race.

PJA NH also had Cruchain each way and a loser. A blank today for ProBandit.

On The Nose: Staked 3.5pts, +2pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, +1.8pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.075pts.
PJA NH: Staked 1.25pts, -0.6pts.
ProBandit: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Total financial profit on the horses of £38.50.

The Sportsman had a little dabble on the Premier League Darts tonight, unsuccessfully as it turned out.

The Sportsman: Staked 0.1pt, -0.1pt.
Total financial loss on the darts of £40.

Thursday 31st March: Staked £195, -£1.50.
Week to date: Staked £580, +£206.22.
March 2011: Staked £14,175, +£1,098.25, roi 7.74%.

Thankyou for bearing with me tonight. I know I've been grumpy, but when you feel passionate about something, I reckon it's best to let it all out.

I'm aware I need to do a March review. That, and the answers to the questions that have been asked this week, will come after the weekend. The end of the month is always the best time to reflect, gain some perspective, and make sure that the strategy for the coming month is clear. There are one or two big decsions to make tonight, and I want to take my time making them.

Over and out...

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Why strike me down, Oh Mighty Zeus!?!

Those gambling gods. They're hard faced b******s! Cruel, they are. Cruel.

At lunchtime, I thought I had pleased them. You may remember that I thought that my quiet day had been granted a day early and as I was on my course today, it was likely that there would be many bets, few of which I would be able to place. But no. When I got ten minutes to myself, I discovered that only three services were playing and a mere four selections to be backed, which I was able to do quickly and easily via the amazing magical piece of kit that is the Iphone.

But then the twist of fate. The evidence that I am merely a higher being's plaything, at the mercy of the whim of the Gods. None of the buggers won. It would have been better if there were lots of selections that I couldn't get on.

Of course, you might think that this is all a bit melodramatic. Especially when I tell you it only cost me £45. Still, it's the principle of the thing...

Today's Action

Well, this bit's easy. Northern Monkey, ProBandit, and On The Nose didn't find a winner between them.

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
ProBandit: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
On The Nose: Staked: 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £45.

Accrington Stanley have played a part in my life this month, which quite frankly they have no right to play. I mean, Accrington Stanley?!? I ask you.

The Football Analyst had one bet tonight. Accrington Stanley to beat Hereford. They did.

Strike Zone had one bet tonight. Accrington Stanley to beat Hereford. They did.

Joking apart though, I have been totally ill-disciplined with the football bets this week. It has been the result of a combination of factors which include the clocks going forward, taking my children out for a bike ride when I get home from work, and being a bit of a dim wit. Anyway, I seem to have gotten away with it, but I missed the price I ought to have got on Accrington Stanley by quite some margin. Graeme at The Football Analyst tipped them when they were 1.91. I backed them at 1.75 and 1.73. Not good enough, but you will be reassured to learn that some appropriate steps have been taken....the kids are each locked into their rooms at 5.30 sharp and I've punctured the wheels on their bikes. That'll teach 'em.

The Football Analyst: Staked 1pt, +0.738pts.
Strike Zone: Staked 1pt, +0.727pts.
Total financial profit on the football of £110.22.

Wednesday 30th March: Staked £195, +£65.22.
Week to date: Staked £385, +£207.72.
Month to date: Staked £13,980, +£1,099.75, roi 7.86%.

Zeus! Pff.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Correlation #2. Oh, and I'm a pratt!

Right. Not an egg or basket in sight today, or any other stupid idioms. I promise. Bigger fish to fry...

The consequences of double staking

Well, these are as plain as the nose on your face, surely. Aren't they? A double (or more) tipped winner results in a positive spike on the performance graph, a loser a negative spike. In other words, short term performance is quite radically affected, for better or for worse. As a gambler using a portfolio, all you can do is put up with it when this situation arises and accept the situation for what it is. Yes, it's a pain in the neck when the outcome of just one or two matches dictates the levels of success or otherwise on a busy Saturday. But one point worth remembering is that if more than one tipster has identified the same value selection, then logically you should have more confidence in that selection. Different sources of expertise have reached the same conclusions and that should say something.

This is all well and good for the punter with the established portfolio of a decent number of services. But what of someone in Mark's situation...someone who is in the process of building a portfolio? Can they not put the foundations in place that will allow for a fully diversified portfolio to be constructed free of correlation, or at least with a minimum amount that can more easily be dealt with? Of course. It just takes a bit of planning.


Think ahead. Don't get caught up in the hype of a service that is blasting it's way onto the scene with results that are stupendously good. Think for a while about the nature of the service and it's selections. Will it fill an as yet unoccupied niche in your portfolio. or will it simply be sitting a bit too close for comfort, invading the personal space of services you already follow? In Mark's case, the level of correlation between his own selections and Jerry's should be easily manageable, but my advice to Mark would be to pick his next service to follow, and the ones after that, very carefully. We don't want a situation where we follow four services, three of which are targeting the same type of selection or are using similar methodologies.

My final point on this subject is that I do firmly believe that as the portfolio becomes larger, then a level of correlation has to be accepted as being part and parcel of the game. However, it becomes less of an issue, as the number of non-correlating bets increases and should therefore dilute the affect of selections that are multi-tipped.

So Mark, to answer your initial question...set up your banks properly, accept the fact that on occasion your selection criteria could well highlight the same horse as Jerry's Best Bets, stake according to your plan for each service, and choose your next tipster to follow carefully. Good planning will ensure that you don't put all your eggs in one fire. Or irons in one basket.

Today's Action

I have to go on a course tomorrow for work. All day. I don't know what will happen at lunchtime, my usual window for placing bets. Perhaps the window will be shut. And locked.

So, I have been praying for a quiet day. A day in which if it wasn't possible to get my bets on, I wouldn't miss out on too much. And you know what? The gambling Gods have obviously been listening. There is a problem though. It would seem that the gambling God assigned to me, has got his days mixed up. Just three bets today. Oh, and two Strike Zone bets which I have just realised I haven't placed! My excuse? I'm a Grade A pratt!

Chasemaster really are hitting their straps now. One selection today, the outsider in a four horse marathon (Cold Mountain - Taunton - 9/2). It stormed home.

ProBandit maintained their recent high levels of consistency, their one each way selection finishing in the frame (Crown Ridge - Lingfield - 8/1).

The only loser today was a very small bet from Northern Monkey.

Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +1.125pts.
ProBandit: Staked 0.5pts, +0.25pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Total financial profit on the horses of £72.50.

Tuesday 29th March: Staked £40, +£72.50.
Week to date: Staked £190, +£142.50.
Month to date: Staked £13,785, +£1,034.50, roi 7.5%.

And the Strike Zone bets? One winner, one loser. At the short odds on each selection, my incompetence has saved me a little loss. And I believe yesterday's Football Investor bet I missed was a loser too. Pratt, did I hear? Bloody genius more like!

Right. I'm off to place tomorrow's The Football Analyst bet. Before I forget...

Monday, 28 March 2011


Last week Mark ( expressed a concern he had as he started his Portfolio Lite, a portfolio of free or 'donation' tipping services. He realised that the first service he was following, Jerry's Best Bets, might pick the same horses as he himself does. What should he do if this were to happen? Should he effectively 'double' stake such selections?

This follows a post I made post-Cheltenham in which I had bemoaned the fact that throughout the Festival I often had numerous selections running in the same race:

"The second principle is that the portfolio should be engineered in such a way that it maximises the investor's comfort zone. Essentially this means that psychologically, the services need to match neatly the mentality of the person following them. It is when pressure is exerted that mistakes are more likely to be made. Having five or six runners in one race puts me under pressure. It may not others, but it does me."

I think Mark is in a different place from me here. He is starting to build his portfolio and can therefore plan ahead in an attempt to avoid too much correlation between services in the future. I, on the other hand, have a portfolio of thirteen, and therefore a certain level of correlation is impossible to avoid. The question for me is if the correlation I experience is within reason, or if I can (or want to) tweak things slightly to minimise the correlation as much as possible. For this post though, I want to speak in more general terms that are relevant to people in either Mark's situation, or in one closer to my own.

So what factors are important to consider when making decisions where correlation is or may become an issue? I would suggest the following:

1. The set up your banks for each service followed, and the implications thereof;
2. The psychological effects of correlation;
3. The consequences of 'double' staking; and
4. The way to plan your portfolio to avoid excessive correlation.

I will address the first two points today, the second two tomorrow.

The set up of banks for each service followed

The setting up of banks for each individual service is an absolute must. Work out your £/point value and the number of points a service needs as a bank. Do this correctly and any correlation between services ultimately becomes largely an irrelevance (at least if you want it to). You are backing the same horse, yes, but from different banks, each of which should be large enough to cater for the losing runs you will face with each service. This means that you are treating each service as being exactly what they are...two completely individual sources of selection. They are two entities each with their own unique features and you are bankrolling them as such.

Of course, it is possible that there are similarities between the methodologies employed by each service that subsequently increase the chances of the same selection being chosen on occasion. Perhaps the same sort of race is targeted, or the same price range, or the adoption of each way betting as a strategy and not win only. There could be any number of factors that overlap but ultimately the portfolio investor has to accept that the methodologies of two different services are independent of each other. If they weren't, all selections would be the same and obviously this isn't so. The logical thing to do therefore is have separate financial banks attributed to each service that will each cater specifically for the methodologies utilised by each individual service, and allow for the variances between the two.

So in summary, if the investor's banks are of sufficient size, then there really should be no problems mechanically (as opposed to psychologically) if two services within a portfolio are occasionally throwing up the same selections. When the investor examines a service's track record prior to selecting it to be an active part of the portfolio, then no allowance is made for selections that may have coincided with those backed through other services already in the portfolio. No, you see the service has an historical 10% roi and therefore has an apparent edge that you can exploit to make money. And therein is the crux...provided the investor is confident in the edge that each and every one of their services possess (and if the investor isn't confident in this, then why in the hell is the service being followed at all?) then he or she ought to realise that in the long term, occasional incidences of correlation are of no importance at all. Not that is, if the psyche isn't detrimentally effected...

2. The psychological effects

Take any three from The Football Analyst, Football Elite, Football Investor and Strike Zone. At various times this season a combination of three of them have tipped the same team in the same match. I don't mind saying, it's a bloody nightmare when it happens, and I don't like it. Similarly, I didn't enjoy backing six horses in the Gold Cup.

The problem is that suddenly, you are putting on a large amount of money on the outcome of just one event. To a portfolio investor, this is not likely to (and shouldn't) sit comfortably. The whole ethos of using different services is based on the desire to seek the sanctuary of diversification to minimise risk. Eggs are better placed between many baskets, so if one is dropped all eggs are not broken. And yet here the basket spreading egg shuffler is not keeping all his plates spinning (although his head may be, reading this) but instead has just one plate spinning in one basket...or something.

You get the point.

But why does this scenario engender such feelings of unease in the investor? If we (correctly) maintain that it is the long term edge of each service that is important, why do we not find it easy to shrug our shoulders when we happen to be loading up on one selection? I'm sure some are easily able to metaphorically partake in a bit of serious shoulder shrugging, but not me, and I'm sure not with some of you either.

The simple answer to this question is that when a double/triple tipped selection wins then it's marvellous and the result is short term euphoria. Naturally if the selection loses, it leads to real doom and gloom. The two emotions are at the opposite end of the scale, and just like the the issue of diversification, this is anathema to the mindset of someone running a portfolio. We are trying to remain as balanced as we can under trying circumstances. We do everything we can to avoid exposing ourselves to extremes of emotion. We are trying to be the Switzerland of punters - forever neutral. And yet here we are, placing all eggs into one basket and desperately hoping that the one plate we have spinning in the air does not fall (nailed it!).

The solution? Planning.

We'll talk more about that tomorrow.

Today's Action

Just the three services in action, two of which made money whilst the other came out neutral.

PJA NH had four selections today, two of which won (Connectivity - Towcester - 4/1 and Lonesome Boatman - Towcester - 4/1). The other two unplaced which was a shame as a small each way accumulator was risked on all four. Still, not to worry as a profit was made.

The other money-making service was On The Nose, which picked out a 16/1 shot that finished third (Speed Bonnie Boat - Towcester).

Winning Racing Tips found a selection that finished in the frame at 5/1, so at a fifth the odds, stakes were returned.

PJA NH: Staked 3.5pts, +2.4pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, +1.1pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1pt, N/A.
Total financial profit on the racing of £70.

Monday 28th March: Staked £150, +£70.
Week to date: Staked £150, +£70.
Month to date: Staked £13,745, +£962.03, roi 6.99%.

I do believe there is a Football Investor selection tonight. I'm not on it. Mmm...

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Quiet end to a quiet week.

Of course it was inevitable after the frantic nature of Cheltenham, but this week has felt like a quiet one. However, it has seen a steady (dare I say, quiet) accumulation of profit, and I'll take that any day/week/month/year. Just a nice, steady, quiet, gently upward curving line of profit. Oh yes.

Today's Action

Just two services sharing their expertise with us today. Both produced a profit. As they say in these parts, "Nice one!".

Northern Monkey gave just one bet which ran extremely gamely to get it's nose over the line just before any of it's competitors (West Coast Dream - Leopardstown - 8/1).

Chasemaster relished the extra hour of form study that the change to BST provided, coming up with three selections, one of which placed (Camden George - Hexham - 17/2) and one of which won (Final Veto - Hexham - 5/1).

Northern Monkey: Staked 0.75pts, +3.75pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 1pt, +0.422pts.
Total financial profit on the racing of £100.32.

Unfortunately on the football, two losing bets today, both from Football Investor.

Football Investor: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Total financial loss on the football of £30.

Sunday 27th March: Staked £105, +£70.32.
Week: Staked £2,091, +£521.98.
Month to date: Staked £13,595, +£892.03, roi 6.56%.

Got quite a bit planned for the week coming. Lots of interesting stuff, I hope. Best get an early night and the missus is calling from the bedroom. Not particularly seductively it must be said...I think there's a spider...

Saturday, 26 March 2011


And here is today's news bulletin...

Today's Action

A touch disappointed on the nags I suppose. Certainly a bit of an anticlimax after yesterday. Six services playing, two turned a profit.

The excellent recent run of ProBandit continued with the service playing in two races and finding the winner of each (Nideeb - Lingfield - 3/1 and Katmai River - Kempton - 3/1). Excellent.

The other profitable service today was PJA NH which had three selections amongst which was a nice winner (Rey Nacarado - Newbury - 6/1 & 11/2 (split my stakes between two bookies, one BOG and one non-BOG; in the end it didn't matter as it started at 7/2!)).

Chasemaster had just the one small bet today and it was just pipped to a place; Northern Monkey picked the winner Nideeb but stuck it in a double with Twice Over which ran a dreadful race in the Dubai World Cup; and 4PA had a loser and Pachattack manage to squeeze in third on an each way bet. On The Nose couldn't produce a return from their three tips.

ProBandit: Staked 1.75pts, +2.25pts.
PJA NH: Staked 2pts, +1.724pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
4PA: Staked 3pts, -1.1pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £15.53.

Skeeve continued his miraculous month, picking two winners from three. Football Investor also turned a profit after finding a 7/2 winner amongst their three bets. Strike Zone's only bet was a winner (albeit at very short odds) as was The Sportsman's.

Skeeve: Staked 12pts, +4.51pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.1pt, +0.072pts.
Football Investor: Staked 3pts, +1.5pts.
Strike Zone: Staked 1pt, +0.38pts.
Total financial profit on the football of £183.25.

Saturday 26th March: Staked £780, +£167.72.
Week to date: Staked £1,986, +£451.66.
Month to date: Staked £13,490, +£821.71, roi 6.09%.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Neither rhyme, nor reason.

Going to be a typical weekend post; primarily a breakdown of the action. More of the analytical stuff from Monday night.

Today's Action

Erm. Horse racing. Isn't it great? Six services in action today. Five of them produced a profit. The winners kept shelling peas. Strange old game, this. Wonder if we'll have the backlash tomorrow?

Northern Monkey hadn't really showed me what they can do since I joined. I've never doubted them though. Their record last year was outstanding, the write ups for the selections show sound reasoning and I have liked the feel of the service. The only thing missing has been profits (and I am still substantially down on the year to date). But today's tipping was top, top class. One selection, heavily staked, win only at a decent price (Curtains - Lingfield - 8/1). It was actually tipped at 10s but due to work, I couldn't grab that. Still, I'm not complaining.

Similarly inspired today were Chasemaster. Three tips today, two winners, and the third selection, a 22/1 shot, was quietly working itself into contention, certainly for a place, when it fell in the latter stages. We still had the winner of that one though (Elzahann - Sedgefield - 11/2) and that had been preceded by another winner (Calusa Caldera - Newbury - 11/1). Wow!

The very epitome of consistency this month has been Winning Racing Tips and today they provided another winner from their only selection (Scriptwriter - Sedgefield - 4/1). Over 73% of their tips this month have finished in the frame.

PJA NH found a winner amongst their five today (Calusa Caldera - Newbury - 11/1). Here was an example of two services tipping the same horse working out very nicely indeed.

Finally for the services producing a profit, ProBandit quietly found a winner from their only tip today (Rhaal - Wolverhampton - 4/1).

The only service not joining the merriment today was On The Nose. Even here though, I had a stroke of fortune. I understaked a losing double. Stupid, stupid mistake to make and despite getting away with it, I'm beating myself up. Can't afford to make pathetic errors like that because as sure as eggs are eggs, there will come a time when it will lead to missing out on good profits. What a plonker!

Northern Monkey: Staked 1.25pts, +10pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, +2.225pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +1.92pts.
PJA NH: Staked 3.5pts, +£3.3pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1pt, +1.2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1.5pts (should have been 2!!!), -1.5pts.
Total financial profit on the racing of £532.70.

And so it came to the football tonight, to really press home the advantage. Or not.

Football Elite's poor spell continued with a loser, and Football Investor suffered a loser too.

Football Elite: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Football Investor: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Total financial loss on the football of £115.

Friday 25th March: Staked £373, +£417.70.
Week to date: Staked £1,206, +£283.94.
Month to date: Staked £12,710, +£653.99, roi 5.14%.

So, what are we all up to this weekend?

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Andy left a comment last night which, reading it this morning, I thought rounded off the subject of time management that we discussed yesterday really nicely. It describes a link Andy believes exists between the amount of time devoted to running a portfolio and the levels of income that can be generated. As I read I found myself agreeing 100% with what he was saying...

"Time management i believe coincides with the profit you can make and sustain in a portfolio. It's something i have given a backthought to in recent months.

I only started discipline betting May 09-May 10 and tripled my starting bank from £800-£2549. I then took 8 months off to travel some of the world and restarted in February this year with the goal of doubling the bank.

This first year where i tripled my bank only took a few hours out of my week after my full time job. So as it wasn't a big time drainer it was certainly value for money.

What my thoughts are - (this does not include choosing which tipster time, which can take 1 day - several months, depending on your comfort levels to choose)

1. My recent approach - Maintaining a very small portfolio which only takes a small amount of hours a week to maintain. i.e 3 or 4 services (mainly weekend based). A decent second income and relatively little hassle.

2. Bigger portfolio - Where you do the more "Rowan" approach. You have more tipsters and takes you a while to work out which the most profitable are and spend more time maintaining your records and it means more to you than just a background hobby.

3. Full-time - This is where you have a sound knowledge of the tipsters available to you but you also have enough time to delve deeper inside their selections and work more profitable angles as well as the prospect of coming up with your own methods.

These are just generalisations and i'm sure if had more time i could write something a bit more substantial on it, but i hope it gives a little thought on time and income potential."

First of all, well done on the returns you made, Andy. They put my last three months in the shade, that's for sure!

I agree completely that the more time that can be dedicated to running any investment, not just a gambling portfolio, the more profitable you should be able to make it (granted that you're doing things as they should be done and not making basic and fundamental errors). If you are gambling full time, then I think you should be proactively making time to analyse a tipster's selections, just as Kodagira is doing with ProBandit and what some of the reviewers/analysts within the SBC conduct with other services. I would say this is actually a necessary part of being a "professional" gambler.

I think Andy is backing up the points I made yesterday but goes a bit further and points out that the more time you can devote to your gambling the better, but as most have to work full time and run their gambling operation around their work/family commitments, then certain compromises have to be made. That doesn't mean however, that you can't secure good returns, utilising your time efficiently. I also can't see any reason why anyone, if they so choose, shouldn't start at Andy's Stage 1 and then gradually progress through Stage 2 until eventually, if they wished, reach Stage 3.

Today's Action

Pretty quiet again on the racing today. Three services in action and the continuing poor form of PJA NH meant a small loss again.

ProBandit located a winner again (Kadouchski - Kempton - 3/1) to produce a small profit after the second tip finished unplaced.

Winning Racing Tips
went for an each way double, the first horse winning (Oca De Thaix - Chepstow) but the second finishing third (Swift Bird - Kempton) so a minute loss their.

PJA NH could find no returns from any of the four horses backed.

ProBandit: Staked 1pt, +0.383pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.6pts, -0.024pts.
PJA NH: Staked 2.5pts, -2.5pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £36.08.

Away from the racing, The Sportsman had one bet on the Premier League Darts tonight - Simon Whitlock to score more 180s than his opponent, which is what he duly did.

The Sportsman: Staked 0.1pt, +0.08pts.
Total financial profit on the darts of £32.

Thursday 24th March: Staked £181, -£4.08.
Week to date: Staked £833, -£133.76.
Month to date: Staked £12,337, +£236.29, roi 1.91%.

By the sounds of it, we might have a football bet or two tomorrow evening so will likely be a late post.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Time is of the essence.

Right then. A couple of days ago Mark asked for some guidance on time management. Well, I'm going to get together a quick post whilst I have a couple of minutes...I was late home from work, my wife has gone to a PTA meeting at the school so I just need to feed the kids, get them through the shower, read a story to my youngest, cook some pasta for dinner, check today's results, update my records, oh...and I'd quite like to catch up on an episode of the 'Soprano's' that I'd Sky Plus-ed recently.

I'll stop being facetious, but you get the point. I think Mark was quite right to address the issue of time management and ensure that he gets it right as he starts to run his own portfolio. Unfortunately though, Mark, I don't think there are any short cuts to explore. I've always thought that if gambling was your primary source of income, the hours would be the equivalent of a good, honest, part-time job. Stick it on the end of doing a "proper" job though, and I think that you are literally doing a job and a half, and that is going to test the time management skills of the best of them.

I think what is essential is to keep things simple. Let's not waste time doing things that don't need doing. When you look at running a portfolio, ask yourself which tasks are those that you must complete, that is once you have chosen which services to follow, set up your banks and sorted your staking? I would suggest they are:

1. Putting the bets on.

2. Keeping your betting records up to date.

3. Performing ongoing analysis of portfolio and individual service performance.

4. Analysis that will guide your choice of future additions to the portfolio.

The first point requires no explanation!

With regards to the second point, I mentioned in the introductory 'Idiot's Guide' that I posted last week how important it is to keep up to date betting records. How time consuming this becomes depends on the individual I think, and what you are trying to achieve. On a personal level, I record the 'top line' details - winning strike rate, placed strike rate on each way bets, no. of bets, how much staked (in points and monetary terms), profit/loss (in points and monetary terms), and roi. I do this for each service on an ongoing monthly and overall basis. I don't record horse/team names, course and all the other variables that might be involved in an individual bet. I could, but it would take time that I simply don't have. I did try to once. Didn't work.

The ability to conduct effective analysis of course, leads on from your record keeping...

I alluded to this recently, but I do think that if you use a service like the SBC, and if you trust your judgement in choosing the services to follow that you do, then much of the relevant analysis is done for you. This can involve taking a leap of faith, admittedly. If you have spreadsheets that provide you with stats and facts and you have basic Excel skills, you can of course analyse your services/bets from all sorts of angles and perspectives. You can then potentially work out whether certain bets of a service are worth ignoring and others should be staked more heavily. Kodagira ( is currently doing some sterling work with ProBandit, examining the performance of the 'System' bets compared with the 'NQ' selections. His findings have been of great interest and could well/are very likely to lead to achieving a higher roi over time. But you have to ask yourself whether this is something that you have time to do. If you're working full time, something has to give - the ability to prioritise effectively is a skill that once mastered, will lead quite naturally to more effective management of your time. Ask yourself this - if the like of SBC have introduced a service into their Hall of Fame, or you have identified a service as being long term profitable, it will have been done on the back of the service's results as they stand...ProBandit gained SBC approval based on the performance of both the 'System' and 'NQ' bets, not one or the other. Your projections as to ultimate profitability are based on this analysis. Yes, further examination of the stats may increase your roi, but if you were happy to follow the service based on the figures that the analysis was based upon, then that should be enough. Save the extra analysis for when the pressures on your time are not so intense.

If you are not working full time, and you are able to devote hours to the sort of deeper analysis that Kodagira is executing, then by all means, see what you you can do to increase your levels of profitability. You may of course, be a born analyst, someone to whom analytical work comes quite naturally and is therefore not so time consuming. The guy I know who has the most amazing analytical insight is Graeme Dand ( He has a skill that I simply don't possess - his brain works in a different way to mine (more quickly, for a start!) and therefore for someone like him, conducting this deep-mining analysis will come relatively fast and not take up as much time as it would if I even attempted to do the same. If you have a real talent for analysis, go for it. If not, recognise that you need to play to your own strengths and put things into context.

As far as analysis of services that you might like to add to your portfolio in the future, well, I find this no bind. My 'research' consists merely of reading SBC monthly newsletters and other people's blogs. My laptop, a good glass of red and a roaring log fire in winter, or the laptop, a chilled white and a seat in the garden in the summer - I'm not sure I want to time manage this element of running a portfolio!

If you take the time initially to set up your portfolio the way you want it, with services that you are happy with, and ensure that your staking levels are as you would want them, then actually running the portfolio should be relatively time efficient, provided you don't get dragged into micro-analysing each detail. I would go as far to suggest that it's not necessarily time management skills that you have to practice, more the ability to get the basics in place and then allow yourself to go with the flow, at least until each month end. I believe my time management skills to be excellent (they have to be with everything else going on in my life). It's the going with the flow bit I struggle with. But you know what they say...practice makes perfect.

So in a nutshell, recognise where your strengths lie, and play to them. At first sight you would think that running your own portfolio is something that doesn't involve tasks that can be delegated, and physically, they can't. But that doesn't mean that you can't rely on the expertise of others to make your burden that little bit lighter, and perhaps allow you to catch the 'Soprano's' before falling into bed, exhausted.

Today's Action

Only the racing today and a small loss overall. No hard luck stories at all. I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I thought I detected signs that ProBandit was perhaps finding things fall their way a little more than they had done over the previous few weeks and I'm pleased to say that the solid, steady and unspectacular gains that make them such an appealing service seems to be the order of the day again. Let's hope it continues.

The only winner of the day was provided by ProBandit (Best Trip - Kempton - 5/1) but their other two selections also provided place returns (Duneen Dream - Kempton - 7/2 and Desert Strike - Kempton - 4/1). As advised, Desert Strike was backed on the BetFair place market which turned out to be a good call as the horse finished third in a race reduced to seven contestants by a non-runner.

Chasemaster also had their each way selection (Marleybow - Haydock - 5/1) place but also had a loser.

Blanks for PJA NH from two selections, Northern Monkey from two and On The Nose from one.

ProBandit: Staked 2.25pts, +1.658pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.25pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
PJA NH: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £28.68.

Wednesday 23rd March: Staked £200, -£28.68.
Week to date: Staked £652, -£129.68.
Month to date: Staked £12,156, +£240.37, roi 1.97%.

Time for the 'Soprano's'...

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Accrington Stanley! Who are they?

One thing that gets my goat about gambling on horses is backing four, five, or even six different horses in the same race. It is inevitable that it happens, but when it does, I don't like it. The situation usually occurs at weekends and at the big midweek meetings when the important handicaps and competitive feature races proffer decent prices on the majority of the runners. This attracts tipsters like bees to a honey pot. Of course at Cheltenham last week, it happened a lot. I had no fewer than six selections running for me in the Gold Cup, a race in which there were only 13 runners, and it wasn't at all unusual to be backing four horses in single events.

How to deal with this situation was one thing to consider once the Festival had finished. I had to remain conscious of the fact that it is not Cheltenham every week and to take care not to blow the issue out of proportion, but the flat season will soon be upon us and with it the heritage handicaps, Ascot, York and the rest.

First things first though. Let me make it clear that I think the scenario whereby numerous selections are backed in the one race is not a bad thing for a portfolio per se. If you believe in your tipsters, which surely you must if you're investing hard earned cash on the strength of their opinions, then in the long term you must believe that each individual service will demonstrate their edge. Therefore it matters not one jot that you are staking a comparatively large amount on one competitive event; ultimately you will get your desired returns. But if like me, you wish to minimise the potential of the adverse impact that backing numerous horses in the same race without locating the winner can have on your psyche, then it is important to consider one or two fundamental principles that should guide portfolio construction and management.

So what are these principles?

Firstly, I think that a lot of thought needs to go into the type and nature of the racing services that are subscribed to. I know that this is stating the obvious rather, but I think that a crucial factor to account for when making these 'buying' decisions is the level of correlation that certain services may produce when working alongside each other. I think that generally speaking my racing services keep levels of correlation relatively manageable apart from when the big meetings come around, but 'relatively' is not quite enough at this stage, I feel. PJA NH go for handicaps over the jumps which can clash with On The Nose and 4PA. Northern Monkey seems to specialise more on the flat and does frequently clash with ProBandit, certainly whilst flat racing is restricted to the all weather. Winning Racing Tips avoid handicaps altogether so that's fine. Chasemaster concentrate on NH Chases (no kidding!) so occasional clashes with PJA NH and OTN are inevitable, but they are perhaps minimised by the fact that Chasemaster tend to concentrate most of their efforts on the Class 3/4 races and not those at the big or larger weekend meetings. So looking at this as a whole, I don't think the situation is too bad. Certainly it could be a lot worse but as I hinted earlier, it could also be a little better. The addition of another racing service would very easily disrupt the uneasy alliance that exists and I am beginning to believe that in fact, one racing service less would be a step in the right direction.

The second principle is that the portfolio should be engineered in such a way that it maximises the investor's comfort zone. Essentially this means that psychologically, the services need to match neatly the mentality of the person following them. It is when pressure is exerted that mistakes are more likely to be made. Having five or six runners in one race puts me under pressure. It may not others, but it does me.

Why did I feel so out of my comfort zone with the higher staking than is usual during Cheltenham week, and yet when it comes to the average Saturday, I would be leaving this amount staked on the horses well and truly in the shade by the amount I stake on the football? The answer I believe, is that simply I know that with the higher strike rate that comes with football betting, the chances of a complete blow out are much reduced. In fact, the chances of long losing runs, whilst always a possibility, are much less likely to happen with the frequency with which they occur when betting on horses. As an individual, would I rather the sports service with a 12% roi long term but an average win strike rate of 50%, or the racing service with an roi of 20% but a win strike rate of 15%? I know it's conservative but to me, there is only one answer.

Over time (nothing is going to happen just yet) my portfolio will evolve in a way that means it will lean more towards the higher strike rate type service. There will always be a place for five or so well chosen racing services. In the interests of diversity it must, and it shouldn't be forgotten that when the racing services get it right, they tend to reach levels of roi that can't be matched elsewhere. As a 'serious' gambler (ie. someone gambling in accordance with a plan as opposed to on a series of hunches that lack a defined strategy), that fact cannot be ignored.

And thus the guidelines that will provide the framework to my gambling future have been established. It was commented by Jason (of the HCE blog and tipping service) that it is his belief that it is an essential part of the gambler's armoury to have a plan, a framework, principles to adhere to when it comes to speculative investment and the decision-making processes that are a part of it. His comments were well-timed, for they coincided with Cheltenham where for the first time in a while, I felt out of my comfort zone.

On reflection, the Cheltenham experience has made the future much clearer and has provided me with a definite sense of purpose and direction. Prior to Cheltenham, I hadn't realised that my horizons were so hazy and ill-defined. I am not going to make drastic changes to the portfolio. There will be a couple of additions in time for the start of the next football season I'm sure, and possibly the addition of one or two other higher strike rate services. There may be in the not so distant future a racing service dropped for a temporary period whilst the adjustment occurs. I would imagine that the service, whichever it is, will still have a role to play in the future, because if the portfolio grows as I hope it will, then the wider overall spread of bets should compensate for any increased levels of correlation. But that is not for me until I am a little further down the road, a little more experienced, and a little wiser than I am now. In other words, I will be a better gambler/investor, and not feel so daunted by the prospect of poking a toe or two beyond the limits of my comfort zone.

Today's Action

Most of the horses selected today seemed to run a race and be competitive, although this is not reflected in the returns that they produced.

A bizarre affair, the race that ProBandit chose to play in. One of the selections, the 2/1 favourite, unseated it's rider when in the stalls. Off dashed Monsieur Jamie over the 5f at Southwell as his jockey was left red-faced, standing in the stalls like a naughty schoolboy told to spend the lesson in the corner of the classroom. Fortunately, the other tip in the race (Evens Stevens - 11/4) bolted in.

PJA NH found a much needed winner (Laustra Bad - Exeter - 9/2) and a placed horse (Viable - Kempton - 10/1) although there were three losers elsewhere.

Chasemaster's sole tip (Days Of Pleasure - Exeter - 11/1) managed third and so an each way return, and a similar result from Winning Racing Tips with their selection (Smart Catch - Kempton - 13/2) also finishing in the frame.

A blank day from three selections from On The Nose.

PJA NH: Staked 3.25pts, +0.725pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.25pts, +0.625pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.8pts, +0.12pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.15pts.
Total financial profit on the racing of £15.70.

After the racing then, the fate of today's performance was always going to be dictated by Accrington Stanley, The Football Analyst's only selection for me tonight. Unfortunately they could only draw.

Unfortunately Football Investor could do nothing either, with not a winner amongst their four selections.

The Football Analyst: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Football Investor: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
Total loss on the football of £160.

Tuesday 22nd March: Staked £378, -£144.30.
Week to date: Staked £452, -£101.
Month to date: Staked £11,956, +£269.05, roi 2.25%.

Finally today, a nod in the direction of two other blogs. Firstly Mark's Patient Speculation blog ( Mark is getting a portfolio of services up and running to supplement his own racing tips and it will be interesting to see how he fares. And secondly to Cassini at the erstwhile Green All Over blog ( whose third blog birthday it is today. To a mere young pup of a blogger such as me, three years seems quite something. I doff my cap to you, Sir!

Monday, 21 March 2011

The calm after the storm.

It's been very quiet today, and after the frenzy of last week, it's felt a little strange to be honest. Details on performance further down.

On Friday I wrote:
"I do feel that tipsters, whether successful or unsuccessful, do change their style when it comes to Cheltenham. And as an "investor", such changes in approach are not what I particularly want to see. Qudos to Chasemaster this week, who have stuck to what they are good at and not been sucked in to the glamour of the Festival".

Matt of Football Elite picked me up on this, forming a persuasive argument that the nature of Cheltenham's festival racing can quite naturally lead a tipster to change their strategy for the four days and that the tipster is quite justified in doing so...
"To be fair to your racing services, personally I'd say you have to change your strategy for the really big meetings. I bet regularly in handicap hurdles and my strategy for run of the mill daily meetings is a lot different to my strategy come Cheltenham, Aintree etc as the make up of a race is totally different.

Personally I feel the big meetings are the ones that offer the biggest opportunities so I try and up my bet number and stakes.

Assuming the services you follow feel the same that may be why you have seen a difference from the norm."

I accept this point and Matt's comment got me thinking a little about how I reacted to events last week, and what my thought processes were when it was all happening.

The two services in which I noticed the biggest change in strategy from the norm were those adopted by Northern Monkey and On The Nose. As I have only been with each service from the beginning of this year, I think it fair to say that I have not had enough exposure to either of them to be even remotely qualified to pass comment on their strategy at all. However, the majority of my experience with NMP has been on the all weather and so to suddenly to see bets coming through for Cheltenham caused a raised eyebrow. What I would categorically say though is that at no time did I ever get the impression that Wayne was putting any less effort into his selections for the Festival than he does on any other 'normal' day. Actually, and I don't know this for a fact, but I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't devote more time than is usual to finding these selections. Whatever, he finished the Festival in profit and after all is said and done, it is the bottom line that matters.

Regarding On The Nose, the noticeable difference was in the number of points being wagered each day. Again, my eyebrows were raised at their being at least one tip in every race last week and staking between six and eight points per day was a new experience for me with this service. Well, I think I should inject Botox into my eyebrows to deny me of the ability to raise them! A quick look at OTN's Cheltenham Festival 2010 record (a fantastic level of profit) should have been enough in itself to prevent me querying their strategy.

So, what are the lessons to be learnt here? Firstly, that snap judgements are rarely the best type to make. Secondly, that it is long-term changes in strategy that should lead one to worry about the direction in which a service is heading, or perhaps a noticeable change that is implemented during an unprecedented losing run (which is not the situation for either NMP or OTN). Thirdly, I should think more before I speak. And finally, that perhaps as a gambler, you are more inclined to make snap judgements when things aren't going so well...would my gravity-defying eyebrows have spent any time at all at high altitude if the first day of the Festival had been a stormer? Probably not, if I'm being honest with myself.

It is this last point that I think is the most important one to learn from. It is so very easy to look for, and in your own mind find, reasons why things are not going as well as you would have hoped. I don't find myself constantly analysing services, roi achieved, staking, practicalities of following, etc, etc. when I'm doing well. When things are going well, I tend to find I go with the flow and do the appropriate analysis at the appropriate time, ie. at the end of the month. I should have realised last week that Cheltenham is different, that a tipster is, as Matt stated, fully justified in adapting their approach to the level of racing on offer. I should have realised that such racing can provide an increased number of value opportunities that can be exploited. Fortunately, I was actually (deep down) aware of this I believe - somewhere in the recesses of my mind was a small voice telling me forcefully not to do anything stupid (that would have been the voice of experience). Now that the dust has settled, I am pleased that I listened. This time last year, I'm not sure I would have done. I could easily imagine myself staking eight points on the OTN selections on the Tuesday, see all eight points go up in smoke, reduce stakes on the selections the following day and consequently have much less on Wednesday's 20/1 winner, Carlito Brigante, than I had on all the losers. And that would have been a right mess, all of my own making.

I have only been able to realise the above by engaging in some quiet contemplation over the weekend. Becalmed and less emotionally frazzled, I spent some time reflecting (not analyzing, you understand - there is a subtle difference) on how the week had gone and tried to rationalise my emotions at the time. I'll post tomorrow on what conclusions I came to. I think, judging from a comment that Jason of HCE submitted last week, they may be of particular interest to him.

Today's Action

Eerily quiet today. Only four bets all told.

Chasemaster came up with a nice winner from their only selection (Tartan Snow - Kelso - 11/2). Not using a BOG bookmaker bit me on the bum though with this one. When the bet came through, Sportingbet had 11/2 on offer which was the best available anywhere. The vast majority of Chasemaster's tips shorten in price and as this was a standout, I took the risk in the interest of helping protect the overused BOG accounts. Of course, before winning comfortably, the horse drifted on course to go off at 13/2.

Winning Racing Tips have so far this month (touch wood) been very consistent. Their tip today finished second (Cleaver - Lingfield - 12/1) and provided a return.

Still no winner from PJA NH and you know things are not going well when you get the odds on favourite beat but finish second to the 33/1 outsider of the field by less than a length (Duke Of Ormond - Lingfield - 7/1).

No returns from the one On The Nose selection.

PJA NH: Staked 0.75pts, -0.15pts.
On The Nose: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.4pts, +0.28pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, +0.825pts.
Total financial profit on the racing of £43.30.

Monday 21st March: Staked £74, +£43.30.
Week to date: Staked £74, +£43.30.
Month to date: Staked £11,578, +£413.35, roi 3.57%.

Likely to be a bit later tomorrow as there are a couple of bets on the footie.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Poor end to a tough week.

It feels like it has been a long week. The excitement of Cheltenham, the losing days and the big 4PA rescue on the Friday, and now a poor weekend. If I could, I'd take a holiday from betting, just to recharge the batteries. But now is not the right time for that. That will have to wait.

Today's Action

Very quiet on the racing front, with only PJA and Northern Monkey in action. Neither service could find a winner, the only return coming from Northern Monkey, one of whose selections came third (Luisant - The Curragh - 9/2).

PJA NH: Staked 0.75pts, -0.75pts.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.75pts, -0.687pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £28.74.

Unfortunately Football Elite had a poor weekend of it, two losers from two today. Shaolin Betting also had two selections, one of them a successful one (Chelsea -1 on the handicap vs City) for a small profit.

Football Elite: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
Shaolin Betting: Staked 2pts, +0.25pts.
Total financial loss on the football of £187.50.

Sunday 20th March: Staked £350, -£216.24.
Week: Staked £4,537, -£203.17.
Month to date: Staked £11,504, +£370.05, roi 3.21%.

So a losing week, the first for a little while. Wading through treacle is the phrase that comes to mind when I look at 2011 so far though. After staking over £40k, I'm the grand total of £140 up! This all seems a far cry from the nice profits made over the second half of last year, at a decent roi too. What has hit hard is that each month has seen a disaster month for either one or two services that has simply been too heavy for the remainder of the portfolio to do anything other than keep the whole thing afloat. I have heard that this is all part and parcel of the game, that it is not uncommon for portfolios to perform like this and in fact it is a good thing. The theory goes that if you can stay with your nose just above water whilst things are not going well, then you are in a great position when things take a turn for the better. This is the first time this has happened to me though, so whilst I understand it may all be natural, it is currently feeling like a struggle. Of course, when this period ends and good profits are made, I will feel all the stronger for working through what is happening at the moment. That is the value of experience. It's just a shame that there is only one way to gain it.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

In the beginning...

A few days ago, Mark left a comment saying that he was considering starting betting on a portfolio basis, and asked if I could provide an "idiot's" guide to starting out. It is difficult to write a fully comprehensive post on this as there are so many things to take into consideration, but I have put together the fundamentals I think. Obviously if Mark, or anyone else for that matter, would like to dig into certain areas a little more, then don't hesitate to ask.

I must also add that I can only write things from my own perspective. I am not saying that the way I describe how to do things is the only way. It is simply a description of how I do things and what I have learnt from my experiences. I'm sure others have their own way of running a portfolio, and I'm not going to knock those other methods at all.

If you're reading this and are a bit too experienced for what is to follow, jump straight down to the 'Today's Action' bit, which is usually all you get from me at the weekend anyway!

So, without further ado...


Right, I'll start with something that you have no doubt heard a thousand times before in a thousand different places, but it is important. Get your betting bank, and stick it somewhere away from your day to day current or savings accounts. The reasons are obvious. Just do it.

In terms of what you put aside, yes of course it is dependant on how much you want or can afford to risk, but you also need to work out how much you will need for each service that you follow. The standard way to do this is to look at a service's results history, work out the biggest drawdown, and then double it. That is how large your bank needs to be.

Example: Service A you want to stake at £10/point. From looking at the service's results, you see that the worst drawdown is 47 points. You need a bank of 100 points (94 if you really want to be pedantic; personally I would just round it up) for this service, ie. £1,000. Don't confuse 'drawdown' with losing run. The worst losing run may be say, 25 points, but if the next bet won back a point, before embarking on another losing run of 19 points, then your drawdown is 43 points. What you're trying to do is set yourself up to be able to handle a worst case scenario, and the drawdown figure will give you some indication of what this might be. The worst losing run won't.

Naturally, you do this for each service you wish to follow.

Now there is 'leverage' that you can apply to your combined banks which will make your money go that bit further. This is a more advanced concept though and really requires a post on it's own.

Choosing your services

I believe that this is an area where it is so easy to fall down at the beginning. I know I chose some completely inappropriate tipsters to follow and continued to do so for months after I started.

I'm not talking about results here. I assume you're only going to follow services with a proven track record of success! I'm thinking more about choosing services that fit your personality better. If you don't think that you can hack long losing runs for example, don't follow a service that tips horses at an average price of 10/1. The danger here is that you set out all positively, the service has an inevitable losing run, you lose faith and either reduce stakes or perhaps stop following altogether. That of course is when the service returns to finding winners that you miss out on. After a week or two you start backing again by which time you have missed out on a load of returns and sod's law will dictate that the tips start losing again. I have been there. It is not a nice place to be.

The services you follow must also fit into your lifestyle. If you don't want to be putting bets on early on a Saturday morning, don't follow a service that issues bets early on a Saturday morning.

This takes a little introspection and you must be honest with yourself. Don't pretend to be something you're not. What I would say though, is that as you become more experienced, your aptitude to deal with losing runs improves and you may then find that you are better able to handle the services that play at the longer end of the odds range. At the start though, you want to be making life as easy for yourself as possible.

One last thing, and again a trap I have not so much fallen into in the past as hurled myself in nose first...a lot of services spring up, produce fantastic returns, and then over time fade away. I am (now) a strong believer in trying to follow experienced tipsters. If the 'Young Gun' really does have an edge, it will last. Don't be afraid of missing the boat and get sucked into a service that looks great at the moment, but may not last the pace.


Personally, I prefer betting on football to racing. Generally speaking, you are open to fewer long losing runs and I often find that securing the best prices is more straightforward. However, many has been the time when my football bets have been heading south, but my racing bets have been strong, and vice versa. Diversity is key. There are all sort of principles of correlation that better writers than me have explained in a way more succinct and easy to understand than I could ever do, but believe me, these principles are important.

I think it was Tony Blair who once said, "Diversity, diversity, diversity!", and in those days, he did little wrong, you know.


Another very simple point here. Open as many accounts as you can, and for football purposes, don't forget the Asians.

The more you can spread your bets around, the longer your accounts will be viable. Simples.

Record Keeping

How you keep records of your bets is very much the choice of the individual. If spreadsheets are your thing, fill yer boots. Obviously these will allow in depth analysis to the extent you'll be able to work out over time that if you dropped all bets on horses ridden by Barry Geraghty on a Tuesday when it is raining, you'll be much better off. Personally, I don't really go in for this. There is so much analysis done by others (eg. SBC, people on forums, etc.) that I can pick up all the most important trends/facts. I'm not knocking those that do this - it just isn't for me, that's all. But, what is very important is that you keep a full record of your bets and service performance. The bottom line is everything, and you need to know what it is.

Can you use pen and paper? Yep, if that's what works for you.

And there we have it. There is definitely room to explore some of the above points further of course, and if anyone wants to ask about any other aspect of running a portfolio, all they need do is ask. this idiot-proof enough?

Today's Action

A shocking day on the horses today with not one solitary winner from 15 bets! The only service to perform with any credit was Winning Racing Tips which got three placed from three selections (Uncle Dermot - Lingfield - 7/2, Andreo Bambaleo - Newcastle - 8/1, and Enriching - Lingfield - 9/1). Good tipping, better than reflected in the returns, I would suggest.

Elsewhere was just a nightmare, with the only other placed selection being one of On The Nose's two (Basford Bob - Uttoxeter - 8/1). Blanks for 4PA, PJA NH, Northern Monkey Punter and Chasemaster.

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
On The Nose: Staked 2.5pts, -1.2pts.
PJA NH: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 2.1pts, +0.5pts.
Total financial loss on the racing of £214.

In credit on the football today was Skeeve, whose fabulous month continues. 3/3 for his main service although the 'Late BSS' service only found one from three to bring the profits down (wakey, wakey, old boy). Still a very solid overall performance though. Football Investor got seven from fifteen which normally you might expect to bring a points profit in double figures. This week however, many selections happened to be the home teams and the average odds was therefore a little shorter than usual. Nice returns nonetheless.

Just in debit was Strike Zone which picked three winners from six. Football Elite got one from three and Shaolin Betting only had the one selection which lost. Unusual on a Saturday but nothing today from The Sportsman or from The Football Analyst (I follow System 8-22).

Football Investor: Staked 15pts, +4.6pts.
Strike Zone: Staked 6pts, -0.417pts.
Skeeve: Staked 22pts, +5.664pts.
Football Elite: Staked 3pts, -0.745pts.
Shaolin Betting: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Financial profit on the football of £65.27.

Saturday 19th March: Staked £1,821, -£148.73.
Week to date: Staked £4,187, +£13.07.
Month to date: Staked £11,154, +£586.29, roi 5.25%.

And finally, what news of Graeme Dand - The Football Analyst - who was tantalisingly close to the jackpot in the 'Racing Post's' Cheltenham Festival competition? Well, the lad done good, as they say. Just not quite good enough! (but darned good all the same). He finished second, just five points off the winner. Gutted for him to be honest but he wins a decent sum for his efforts. If you're reading this Graeme, hard luck, mate - now get back to work with those footie systems and whatever it is you've won, dare you to stick it all on the next System 8-22 selection. You know it makes sense.

Friday, 18 March 2011

A good end!

The start of the fourth and final day of the 2011 Cheltenham Festival is half an hour away. Whatever happens, even if by some chance we were to have a miraculously profitable day, I will be glad to see the back of it. This year has been a real eye opener. I love the spectacle and the sport itself is all that sport should be - dramatic, intense, deeply competitive, and honest. But as a gambler, I haven't enjoyed it. It is not the poor performance so far. That is a part and parcel of the game. No, what I feel fundamentally uncomfortable about is having four or five horses in the same competitive races, throughout each day. I do feel that tipsters, whether successful or unsuccessful, do change their style when it comes to Cheltenham. And as an "investor", such changes in approach are not what I particularly want to see. Qudos to Chasemaster this week, who have stuck to what they are good at and not been sucked in to the glamour of the Festival.

Moving forwards, this week may ultimately have some profound impact on the way I bet. Changes won't be immediate, but if I have six horses in the Gold Cup of 2012, as I have in the race this year, I would be surprised. Obviously I hope today is successful, but whether it is or if today is a blow out, there are implications to what I have seen over the last four days. You may be wondering if it was not the same at last year's Festival. It wasn't, simply because I wasn't following the number of services I am now.

So, whatever the future ramifications, let's hope for a great day today...

1.30: Triumph Hurdle

If I ever came to rely on gambling proceeds for my living, there is just no way I could watch the races. I am trembling like a leaf.

The best possible result in that race was Zarkandar. 1pt to win and half a point to place antepost at 8/1 from 4PA, and an each way antepost selection from The Sportsman at 7/1, plus a win only bet from OTN. It simply powered up the hill to win easily, and believe me, there was no greater sight!

4PA also played the other Nicholls horse Sam Winner each way at 7/1 this morning, and after coming off the bridle with a good mile to go and looking like it was running backwards, it came through with a storming late run to grab fourth place, paid out by the bookies on each way bets in this race.

The only loser was a small bet on A.Media Luz, OTN's second selection in the race.

What a great start! Plenty of time for it all to go wrong of course, but the adrenalin is not so much coursing through the veins as streaming through with no respect for the health of my heart.


2.05: County Handicap Hurdle

Back to earth with a bit of a bump. No horse staked big in the race but no returns from the four horses backed. Dirar was the choice of both PJA and OTN and finished the closest but still out of the frame. The other PJA tip - Alarazi - and the other OTN selection, the 50/1 Bellvano never threatened, and finally the NMP punt, Notus De La Tour raced prominently but faded in the closing stages. All feels a bit of an anticlimax to be honest. And of course, the psychology of it all kicks in and you start to think of getting no more returns today after such a fantastic start.

Quiet one, the next. Just the one horse with my money on it...

2.40: Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

Not a lot to say at all. OTN's Moonlight Driver was never in it.

Now for the biggie.

3.20: The Gold Cup

You know I don't really get emotionally attached to horses, but watching Kauto Star and Denman taking each other on from the bottom of the hill was quite spectacular stuff. OTN had Denman each way at 17/2 but momentarily, I can honestly say I forgot I had quite a bit of cash riding on this race, such was the enthralling nature of the action. However, as Long Run (5/1) loomed over them both, I remembered that this horse winning would be the best possible result and another great pick by 4PA to follow Zakarandar in the opener.

A truly great race, living up to hype and expectations, and profitable to boot.

NMP's two selections - Tidal Bay and Neptune Collonges were never in it, and Midnight Chase, the each way stab by Winning Racing Tips failed to ever really get competitive.

At only six years of age, 6/1 against Long Run for next year's Gold Cup strikes me as being a fair bet. Can't see anything else at this stage that could compete. Still, a year's a long time.

Am I being greedy? Can't help but think that one more good winner could make this a day to remember.

4.00: The Foxhunter's

4PA went for On The Fringe (4/1) here and although finishing in the frame, never threatened to win. OTN's tip, Jaunty Flight (20/1) was never in it.

Not long left now. One bet in the next and then perhaps a last hurrah in the 5.15.

4.40: Martin Pipe's Conditional Handicap Hurdle

Solitary OTN tip, Karasenir, is never in with a chance.

Just one to go, and it's a biggie. Get a result in this and it will have been a fantastic day.

5.15: Grand Annual Handicap Chase

Oh well, wasn't to be. 4PA had two in this and they happened to be the same two as identified by OTN - Shoreacres (8/1) and De Boitron (10/1). Either of those would have been very nice. PJA also had two in Oh Crick (10/1) and Tanks For That, but like so may of theirs at the moment, they were never in with a chance.

To be honest, I'm glad it's all over. It's been a good last day, but what I said at the top still applies. The Festival itself has been superb as it always seems to be. The Gold Cup today will be a race that lives very long in the memory and in time I think it will go down as one of the all time great races.

Just as a sidenote, there is a lot of tension in the air still. Graeme Dand (The Football Analyst) is very much in the running for the Racing Post's 'Select A Stable' competition. After Sir Des Champs won, he has a very real possibility of picking up the jackpot, which is not an inconsiderable amount. This could be the result of the week... I'll let you know what happens tomorrow.

4PA: Staked 7pts, +13.375pts.
PJA NH: Staked 3pts, -3pts.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.3pts, -0.3pts.
On The Nose: Staked 7.25pts, -1.687pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 0.1pt, +0.438pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Total financial profit on the racing of £599.52.

Friday 18th March: Staked £638, +£599.52.
Week to date: Staked £2,366, +£161.80.
Month to date: Staked £9,333, +£735.02, roi 7.87%.

It's been an interesting week, full of downs and then ups. There are a few issues to examine though once the dust has settled. More on these next week.

I'm off to get an early night.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Down in the dumps.

All set for Day 3. 4PA has gone all conservative on us today, risking just a couple of points in the Ryanair. On The Nose (OTN) is looking to press home the advantage they gave themselves by yesterday's strong performance, putting eight points at risk today. Some juicy prices in there too. Potential to hit the jackpot or crash and burn.

1.30: Jewson Novice's Chase

Wishfull Thinking was the win only selection from OTN in the opener (7/2). Making nearly all, jumping beautifully, it looked like we could collect. Shadowing it for much of the way around was Loosen The Load, put up by Northern Monkey Punter (NMP) each way at 7s. This much was very encouraging, but from about a mile from home, Noble Prince under McCoy was travelling very sweetly indeed. You always worry a little more when McCoy is on one that is stalking yours, and in this instance, that anxiety was well founded. Coming to the last, Wishfull Thinking went for a big one, got it wrong, lost momentum, and Noble Prince swooped under a masterful ride to claim the winner's spot. Loosen My Load finished third so a small return there.

2.05: Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle

An expensive race. Lush Life was the big one, tipped up at 12/1 by both PJA and OTN. It was coming under strong pressure not too far from the front as it approached the winning line. Trouble was, there was another circuit to go. No, it wasn't Barry Geraghty having an almighty 'moment', it was just that the horse didn't seem interested (or perhaps was injured in some way). Either way, it was pulled up not long after. Hope springs eternal though, and Viking Blond, OTN's each way tip at 40/1, was running a decent race, going around in third/fourth. Rivage D'or, PJA's second tip was also going ok but unfortunately with both, when the race got serious at the bottom of the hill, they were found wanting.

Right. Time for 4PA to contribute something other than crippling losses...

2.40: Ryanair Chase


Don't know why, but that race has me really hacked off. 4PA's tip, the favourite, Pocquelin each way (4/1 on a Hills special offer, and 11/4), finishes fourth and so the bad run continues. I'm a great fan of 4PA - performance has been outstanding - but it's non-performance this week is making life really tough.

J'y Vole was put up antepost by NMP and it ran well but didn't seem to last home, and OTN's Roberto Goldback (25/1) was never really competitive.

This is turning into a pretty bad day. Badly need a winner soon.

3.20: Stayers Hurdle

Well, that win has come, but the wrong horse really. Big Bucks came in to complete the NMP double (near 5/1) that he had with Quevega on the first day so a nice profit there, but the big bet was the Winning Racing Tips' each way selection Grand Crus (4/1). At one point I thought that Grand Crus was going to get up but Big Bucks powered away after the last. So a nibble taken out of the chunk of losses accrued today, as opposed to a bite. Trouble is, a nibble isn't particularly comforting to somebody who is starving hungry.

4.00: Byrne Group Plate

This is getting painful now. OTN had Quartz De Thaix antepost at 20/1 going off at 7/1 and coming nowhere. He also had Beautiful Sound this morning at 7/1 each way which was backed heavily into favouritism and after not being far from tailed off early in the race, finished strongly to take third. Edgebriar was NMP's tip - nowhere. Matuhi and Bible Lord were PJA tips - both nowhere.

Only the 4.40 left now for Cheltenham. A 24 runner, amateur riders handicap chase. Great. Oh, and one of the bets is win only at a double figure price!

4.40: The Fulke Walwyn Chase


Two selections from OTN (Saddler's Storm and Minella Theatre), neither of which were ever in it.

4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.75pts, +0.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, N/A.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 2.75pts, +1.219pts.
On The Nose: Staked 8pts, -5.937pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, +0.125pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £241.86.

Thursday 17th March: Staked £522, -£241.86.
Week to date: Staked £1,728, -£437.72.
Month to date: Staked £8,695, +£135.75, roi 1.56%.

To be quite honest, I'm feeling pretty cheesed off. The first three months of this year are proving to be the hardest I have known. It is proving to be impossible to get ahead. Not losing money, not winning money. Two steps forward followed by two steps back. Cheltenham so far has more or less wiped out what had been promising progress this month. Perhaps tomorrow will be better. Let's hope so.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A little light at the end of the tunnel...

What I thought I might do this week is jump on the Cheltenham bandwagon as it was rumbling on by. I wrote last night's post retrospectively. Today I changed this and instead wrote after each race. I quite enjoyed doing this and I hope it allows a little more of the emotions to come through. I will do the same tomorrow and Friday. On Saturday, I'll do Mark's post on setting up a portfolio as an idiot...(*that's me who is the idiot, you understand...not Mark).

1.30: Amateur Riders Novice Chase

Naturally looking to the first today to signify a change in yesterday's rotten fortunes, and it was yesterday's two culprits - 4PA and On The Nose - with an early chance for redemption. 4PA went for Aberdale win and each way at 12s, On The Nose had two single win bets on Beshabar (9/1) and Be There In Five (22/1). Aberdale never really got into contention, but I must say I found it galling to have Beshabar finish a game second and Be There In Five come third and yet receive no return at all. Can't remember the last time I backed a 22/1 shot win only. Actually, not sure "galling" sums it up!

2.05: Neptune Novices' Hurdle

I don't know who the guy at On The Nose has upset, but I wish he'd go and apologise and ask for forgiveness. Mind you, it's me saying the Hail Mary's now as I can't seem to buy a winner at Cheltenham. Rock On Ruby (15/2) was the only bet in this race, again from On The Nose, again win only. Travelling well throughout the race, I thought I had a chance here from some way out. Jumping the last hurdle, it went a length clear before being overtaken in what were literally the last two strides of the race. What is this now, "Super Galling", "Mega Galling"!?! Whatever, I am well and truly galled.

So On The Nose has had three selections so far today. All three have placed, and no returns have been provided. Surely a change of luck is due? Please...

2.40: The RSA Chase

Yes! A return! Get in! A winner at last? No, don't be daft.

On The Nose reverts to each way betting which with the benefit of hindsight is, let's face it, two races late. However, at the moment I'll take anything and Wayward Prince (9/1) finishes third under a typical driving ride from McCoy. It was actually gaining ground on the winner after the last and another 50 yards or so would have made things interesting. Having said that, as they flashed past the post, I wasn't certain that it hadn't got chinned for third which quite frankly, would have been too much but oh so typical based on what has gone before. Northern Monkey had tipped Wayward Prince at 12s a little while ago, but win only unfortunately. He also had The Great Booster (or something) each way at 33s. It may have well have been called The Great Jessie for the way it unseated it's rider early in the race.

It's a sign of how desperate things have become when I feel great relief at gaining some sort of return, even if the actual race produced a loss! On The Nose has now had all today's selections run great races. Got a feeling in me bones he might just fire in a winner or two before too much longer.

Meanwhile, over at Sedgefield in the 2.55, Chasemaster's speculative selection - Absolute Shambles - shows that it must have been named by Doris Stokes. Still, at least it's not only Cheltenham where we can't find winners.

3.20: The Champion Chase

Well, well, well. Would you believe it? A winner at Cheltenham, the first (and I pray not the last, although I wouldn't lay odds much above Evens about it being so) being provided antepost by Northern Monkey. Sizing Europe (12/1) won in a way that any punter likes to see. Always prominent, jumping beautifully, leaps the last in front and then powers away up the hill.

On The Nose had given Master Minded (4/1). Funny watching the market before the race. In the space of about a minute, Master Minded went from 3s to 2/1. In a market this strong, that must take a bit of doing. Sizing Europe meanwhile, opened at 8s and drifted to what was 11s at one point. Tells you something, I think. I'm just not too sure what.

Anyway, forget that...let the floodgates open...

4.00: The Coral Cup

Wey hey! With the demise of the big 4PA tip (Ballyhaunis - 16/1) I wouldn't say that the floodgates have opened, but step forward On The Nose. Carlito Brigante (20/1) scooted in and ensured a nice profit on the race. This is a bit more like it. I quite like Cheltenham again.

Northern Monkey and On The Nose also had Bothy each way at 14s and that came home second. Being serious, the standard of tipping from On The Nose today has been superb; it just hasn't really been reflected in hard returns.

Am I being a touch churlish though if I resent the fall of For Non Stop at the last when seemingly nailed on for second place (a PJA NH tip each way at 7/1)?

4.40: The Fred Winter

Well, after all the excitement of the last two races, a bit of an anticlimax. Only a small On The Nose bet on Paintball at 9/1. Travelled well but then found nothing when push came to shove.


5.15: Champion Bumper

And the anticlimax becomes a fizzle out...On The Nose's Raise The Beat (10/1) starts mid-division, races mid-division, and finishes mid-division.

4PA: Staked 3.5pts, -3.5pts.
PJA NH: Staked 2pts, -1.118pts.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.75pts, +3.625pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.125pts, -0.112pts.
On The Nose: Staked 6.25pts, +11.125pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.25pts, -0.25pts.
Financial profit on the racing of £78.16.

Wednesday 16th March: Staked £435, +£78.16.
Week to date: Staked £1,176, -£195.86.
Month to date: Staked £8,143, +£377.61, roi 4.63%.

So, better than yesterday then, but still a little frustrated. On The Nose has had a very good day, but I can't shake the niggle that it could have been even better. Northern Monkey had an overdue decent time of it, too. Ultimately though, for Cheltenham to be a punting success, I do think 4PA need to come good. Hopefully, that will happen tomorrow.

Right, a check list...Fingers crossed, check. Lucky heather in place, check. Horseshoe placed above the door, check. Three goats sacrificed at a burning altar, check.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Cheltenham - Pfff!

Time booked off work. A crisp copy of the Racing Post pored over eagerly whilst enjoying a leisurely breakfast. Tipsters anxious to make their mark over the Festival week sending through tips at all hours (1.40 in the morning in the case of On The Nose!). Watching 'The Morning Line' on Channel 4 adding to the keen sense of anticipation. Can't wait for it all to start.

And then it does start. Oh, dear.

1.30: The Supreme Novices' Hurdle

On The Nose, who have a selection in every Cheltenham race, look for a solid start by backing hot favourite Cue Card (5/2) and Northern Monky Punter (NMP) go for an outsider that a few different parties mention in dispatches - Magan's Star (28/1) each way. I have a curious and unfounded gut feel for Magan's Star based on no logic other than my daughter's name (Maegan) is pronounced the same way. Written in the stars, no? No. Magan's Whatever runs prominently but weakens quickly as the race gets serious. No matter. Surely Cue Card, one of the bankers of the meeting will win, won't it? No. It won't.

2.05: The Arkle

Medermit is very much in my corner. The Sportsman gave it last week antepost (4/1 each way) and On The Nose go for it too (3/1). Chasemaster manage to find a Cheltenham bet (they sound surprised in their email) and go for Realt Dubh (9/1 each way).

Medermit never quite seems to be going too well. It disappoints. Realt Dubh however, runs a solid race to claim a place and a small profit. I was hoping to get off to a decent start, especially as I'd backed the favourites in the opening two races, but it wasn't to be. Still, not too much damage done, especially as ProBandit had found the winner of the opener at Southwell (Where's Reilly - 7/4). All to play for.

2.40: Grade 3 Handicap

Right. This is where we start to get serious. 4PA, who I pronounced at the beginning of this month possibly holds the fate of March in it's hands, is into the action. Sunnyhillboy (6/1) under McCoy to win, and it is being backed on course too. Confidence is boosted by the fact that On The Nose have also stuck it up. 4PA also suggest a cheeky each way on a long shot, The Rainbow Hunter (25/1) and there are two seemingly relatively insignificant bets (stakes wise) from PJA NH - Great Endeavour (7/1) and Carole's Legacy (14/1). Oh, and On The Nose and NMP also try an each way at fancy prices (25/1) on Razor Royale.

Disaster as fairly early on in the race Sunnyhillboy dumps McCoy in such an unceremonious fashion it somehow doesn't seem befitting of a champion jockey and Sports Personality of the Year. Still, The Rainbow Hunter is racing prominently, Great Endeavour is blazing a trail and jumping like a stag, and Carole's Legacy ain't too far behind. All is not lost. Well, not quite all. The Rainbow Hunter gradually fades away in the way you would possibly expect of a 25/1 shot if you weren't so full of blind optimism (which, by the way, is beginning to fade fast), Great Endeavour approaches the last in line with two others with all to fight for and falls, and Carole's Legacy runs a brave race but fails to get the better of Bensalem in the run-in.

In a race in which I have staked £185, the only return I get is on the place part of a £5 each way bet. Not good.

3.20: The Champion Hurdle

The Sportsman advised Peddler's Cross at 20/1 back in September. Today, it started 9/2 third favourite. The Sportsman suggests an in running lay at 3.2, and I'm glad he did. My only real result of the day, as my lay is matched and Peddlers Cross is outbattled on the run in to finish second. Still, a good profit for The Sportsman, but it would have been better if the beast had won. Unfortunately, On The Nose had Peddlers to win.

If going against the crowd is the secret to betting success, NMP should have picked up a return by selecting last year's Supreme flop, Dunguib (10/1) each way. I don't suppose it flopped today, but it might as well have done for the returns provided!

4.00: The Cross Country Chase

This is where my disappointment reached it's zenith. 4PA went for a big bet on Maljimar (6/1). Heavily backed, it goes off as favourite. Garde Champetre is the On The Nose tip.

Maljimar bides it's time through the first three miles of the near four mile race. Making steady progress through the field, things are looking good. I can feel my heart beginning to pound a little (well, a lot, actually) faster. It is going like a dream with two to go. Surely this is where we hit the jackpot. Approaching the last things are still looking good - the jock surely just has to say "go". Jumping the last it is in a battle for the lead, but I still think we'll be finishes fourth, beaten a nose for third. Still, I get the stake back with there being 16 runners.

Naturally, Garde Champetre, backed win only, finishes second of the 15 (FIFTEEN) protagonists - there was a non-runner. Ho hum.

4.40: Mare's Hurdle

Optimistic as ever, On The Nose goes for Alegralil each way at 16/1 in the without Quevega market. It runs well. It finishes nowhere.

Still, at least easy winner Quevega is double up with a horse later in the week for NMP. Fingers crossed.

5.15: Novice Handicap Chase

Today's last shot at redemption. Both On The Nose and 4PA go for Definity (13/2). It goes off as 3/1 favourite. Ruby Walsh is on board. He's not in bad form, you know. You can guess the rest.

Today's Action

On The Nose: Staked 8 (eight!) pts, -8pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.75pts, +0.181pts.
The Sportsman: Staked 1.188pts, +0.568pts.
PJA NH: Staked 1.5pts, -0.125pts.
4PA: Staked 5pts, -5pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.25pts, +0.813pts.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £285.62.

Football Investor: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
Strike Zone: Staked 1pt, +0.35pts.
Financial profit on the football of £2.50.

Tuesday 15th March: Staked £668.50, -£283.12.
Week to date: Staked £741, -£274.02.
Month to date: Staked £7,708, +£299.45, roi 3.88%.

So, my highlight of the opening day at Cheltenham? Backing the winner of the first at Southwell. Not sure it should be like that!