You know I've never had an eye for a horse. When I first started taking an interest in horse racing and betting, I would often spend my school holidays following the racing closely. I'd nip down the Newsagents first thing in the morning for a Racing Post, take it to my mate's house where we'd spend the hours up to lunchtime searching for winners. Afternoons were spent in a small, independent bookie's office located down a quiet side street (the bigger Hills office of the High Street wouldn't let us in, knowing full well we weren't 18, and anyway going in and out risked being seen by someone you didn't want to see you like parents and the such) to listen to our selections running over the old SIS radio system. If there was a meeting on worthy of Channel 4 or BBC coverage, then a quick chippie lunch was the order of the day, before settling down to watch. Those were the days.
All of this sounds great, but there was one thing sadly missing. Winners. For the life of me, I just couldn't pick winners. Didn't matter that the average odds on my selections must have been about 5/4, I just couldn't find animals that could run faster than other horses in the race. My mate had a bit of success, and even today he has an eye for a potential bet that I just don't have and have never had.
It is within this context that I received the following comment, left by Braveincadublin the other day:
"Its a normal human reaction to place your own thought out bet and to feel very satisfied with oneself when it returns a nice profit. Have you ever found yourself placing a bet it wins and your paid subscription service tips a loser. One naturally feels annoyed, as that advice costed you money to no avail!
You can imagine the wryness to my smile. I honestly can't remember the last time I placed a well thought out bet of my own which then actually won. I don't even try to anymore; I feel I'm placing enough bets following the services I do without adding my own to the workload.
It's strange though that I don't ever feel the need to start doing my own analysis and perhaps trying to find my own edge. I guess I know that I simply don't have the requisite time available to me to allow me to have a go. Perhaps if my circumstances change in the future, I will be more inclined, although even now, thinking about it, I'd have a tendency to try and find an edge that can be utilised via trading, whilst still following the opinion of others with regards betting in the same way I do at the moment.
What is even more strange, when I pause to think, is that I feel that now, I am in a much better position to try and establish my own edge than I have ever been. After seeing how tipping services operate and the methods they use, you can't help but pick things up. Take Winning Racing Tips as an example. WRT utilises a set method, targetting a certain type of race. The method is applied tremendously consistently and therein lies the strength of the service. I'mnot saying I could apply that method as successfully as WRT, but I'm pretty sure I could come up with similar selections. It's a similar story with Football Elite and Summer Of Football. Over time, it is inevitable that you pick up what it is they look for when searching for selections.
Don't get me wrong here. I'm not suggesting that I could match or better what WRT and Football Elite (or others) do. I guess I could imitate their methods and see if it brought me success. But I have no desire to do so. At this moment, with everything else that goes on in life, I'm happy to pay for the expertise and delegate these responsibilities.
I don't know if you get the Punter's Verdict emails that are sent out each week? It emanates from the Oxon press stable, a place I'm sure any of you who have looked at using tipsters before will have come across at some stage or other. In this week's email, The Judge (not the of On The Nose fame, but the author of this weekly missive) put it all rather well:
What I want from a racing [or sports] tipster is something I can’t do or don’t have the skill, experience or time to do for myself on a sustained and consistent basis – like find a stream of decent priced winners (the kind of horses the rest of the market is over-looking or looking at the wrong way).
That’s something worth paying for. And a tipping service that can meet that brief is well worth having on your side – and well worth paying for.
Sums up my stance rather well.
PS. But, having said all this, I do quietly fancy that Sprinter Sacre for the Champion Chase. Got potential that horse. You heard it here first.