Tag Archives: winner

My Betting Review 2019

2019 is over! It’s been a year that has flown by like Paco Boy thundering past his rivals in the 2010 Lockinge Stakes! The last twelve months were intense. Certainly on the betting front: a real roller-coaster year!

As in 2017 as well as 2018 I like to do a detailed review of my betting year: overall results, what worked, what didn’t work, plus key lessons for the new year.

2019 in numbers:
  • 635pts Profit
  • 20.09% ROI
  • 336 bets
  • 45 winners
  • 13.39% Strike Rate

Overall it was a good year once more – the third profitable one in a row, with 9/12 months in green.

2019 was also about an ever increasing difficulty in “getting on”. My accounts with any high-street bookmaker are limited to cents now. Liquidity on exchanges for the low grade races I am usually interested in isn’t always a given either.

Nonetheless, compared to to other years I placed more bets than ever before, however, for lower profit and lower ROI than in 2017 and 2018. Which is perfectly fine – 20% ROI is plenty and any profitable year is a good year after all.

In reflection I have to be critical of myself as well because there were days when I simply gave in to my urge to have the bet because I somewhat fancied the horse without having all boxes ticked on my “checklist”. Something to address: no bet, no problem – my mantra, which I want to follow even more rigidly in 2020.

It was also a year where I missed out on some big scores. Some massive prices denied on the line – in fact my selections hit the post a whopping 80 times!

The Good:

Turf delivers the goods: A 385pts profit! I was losing in this sphere last year so I am delighted to see my slightly revised focus on how to approach the turf paying off. UK only posted 485pts (without class 6 Handicaps, a massive 615pts!).

Highlight was clearly the 1000 Guineas victory of Hermosa at 16/1. The majority of winners came in the lower grades though, class 4 and 5 Handicaps – which really is no surprise as it’s always been my happy hunting ground. Windsor and Brighton turned out to be the most lucrative tracks.

1m & 2 furlongs: The mile and a quarter trip is a clear standout profit wise: 465pts+ profit, 9 of 26 successful bets – British racing provided all winners (of 20 bets, +515pts).

Jump racing: 275pts profit, thanks to another decent Cheltenham Festival, including 22/1 selection Al Boum Photo in the Gold Cup. City Island (11/1) landing the Ballymore was another fine winner during the Festival week.

Lately the French Diesel D’Allier’s success in a Cross-Country Chase at the Cotswolds venue helped boosting a profitable 2019.

I wanted to be much more selective here, as the last years taught me my knowledge and understand of the day to day world of jump racing is simply not good enough to make it pay in the long run. The bigger races, though, have always yielded a fair return as more data – and reliable data – is freely available that helps me to make quality calls on races.

The Bad:

The All-Weather: My bread and butter. A 15pts loss! To compare: 605pts profit in 2018. Something went badly wrong here. I don’t think my selections were poor. A lot of big prices hit the post. However I know that in autumn in particular I lost focus a bit and made selections there were not quite up to the high quality I would expect of myself.

Class 6 Sprinting: A total disaster. Regardless of the surface, a 200pts loss is a clear sign for what to avoid moving forward. Across the board from 5 furlongs to 7 furlongs, in the lowest grade I struggled badly. It’s such an issue in higher classes, though. Apart from the minimum trip, specifically on turf. These are trends manifested from years before as well.

25 losers in a row: Not a single winner in October – tough autumn. It’s those long losing runs that test your mentality as a punter. However it also shows how tight the margins are: if Delphinia would have got up in the super tight finish on British Champions Day it all would have looked a little bit different – a 25/1 shot denied on the line.

2020 Outlook:

Hopefully another successful year. Potentially even more selective, with less bets and more quality, that’s the aim. Combining several different data points with my own form analysis will remain the method of choice in identifying potentially well handicapped horses, likely in lower grades.

If I can’t answer the question “Is the horse well handicapped” with a resounding YES I’ll revert back to “no bet, no problem”.

Avoiding class 6 races on turf altogether. Be properly diligent in my assessment on anything below class 5 on the All-Weather before placing a bet while swerving sprint races on the sand.

The odd group races will still keep me entertained. Speed ratings tend to hold up well in those competitions therefore they remain of interest in the right circumstances. I also enjoy writing more complete and in -depth previews of the big Group 1 races.

Become even more selective on Irish racing. Don’t get sucked into the excitement of the bigger meetings. I always struggled to make it pay.

Complete Betting Record

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Sunday Selections: June, 16th 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

It’s been another pretty quiet week – but, with only the second bet of the week (the first one  came yesterday as well and was a major disappointment, mind) the betting bank got a major boost, thanks to Gold Mount’s (SP 16/1) decisive victory in the Grand Cup at York.

To be honest I didn’t expect that after he drifted badly before the off, only minutes before the race available at 20/1. It was clear expectations were low and my worry this might only be a pipe opener seemed reflected in the market. On the other hand, even then, given his class, which I felt stood above the rest in the field, should see him go close.

In the end Gold Mount outclassed his opposition:

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2.30 Salisbury: Class 6 Handicap, 1m 4f

A quick one for today – I am missing the good prices as just as I made my decision to back this lad his odds start to tumble. Regardless, he remains one to back here – talking about favourite Robert Fitzroy who’ll take a lot to get beaten today.

He drops in grade after a highly encouraging 1 lengths beaten 4th place finish at Doncaster recently. That is fair form and I expect him to be able to improve for the different ground today.

As he ran to a top speed rating of 66 that day, equivalent of his current handicap mark, any improvement this still fairly lightly raced gelding can find, will likely be good enough to get his head in front today.

The ground conditions are the most likely factor that can have positive impact. Robert Fitzroy is a full-brother to smart filly Bolder Bob who is a multiple winner over this sort of trip with plenty of cut in the ground. Big Bad Bob offspring generally tends to perform well in soft ground conditions anyways.

SDS on board is the cherry on the cake.

Selection:
10pts win – Robert Fitzroy @ 3/1 MB

Friday Selections: May, 10th 2019

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First winner of the week with Lincoln Park (11/2) yesterday. It was a peach of a ride by Silvestre De Sousa, utilizing the good draw in the best possible way; Lincolm Park lead pretty much start to finish, even though he was hard pressed for a while. It looked like some of his rivals were travelling stronger turning for home, but the 3-year-old kept finding.

The listed Dee Stakes were an intriguing contest. The favourite Circus Maximus won it as he was entitled to do. He had the run of the race, in truth. Moving forward I’m much more keen on stable mate Mohawk, the runner-up. I was looking forward to his return this year, and was pleased with this performance.

Wherever he goes next, granted he gets decent ground, he could be value and underestimated I feel, given his profile and achievements to date aren’t quite as sexy as some of his stablemates.

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6.50 Nottingham: Class 5 Handicap, 1m 2f

You need to have ultimate confidence in favourite Group Stage at short odds to find a hell of improvement on handicap debut now as a 3yo. Not impossible, but hard to say 3/1 is a good price.

The one I’m interested on is Michael Stoute’s handicap debutatn El Picador. He’s got a phenomenal record in these type of situations and we know his horses usually improve with time.

El Picador is clearly down the packing order in the yard, although an opening handicap mark of 72 could underestimate him quite a fair bit. He didn’t show a lot in three starts as a juvenile in the second half last year. And his seasonal debut at Wolverhampton last month was also rather poor.

However, he was an 18/1 shot that day, and travelled like an inexperienced horse, who was found out for speed in the home straight, while also looking a bit awkward as his rivals quickened away.

First time blinkered today is interesting, to keep El Picador possibly focused on the job. Stepping up in trip that will suit well on pedigree should also help to see him in much better light today.

That in combination offers enough potential to see this well bred son of Dansili improve enough to overcome a 72 handicap mark, I believe.

Selection:
10pts win – El Picador @ 8/1 PP

Wednesday Selections: May, 1st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile after race

Finished April with a winner and thanks to that with a small profit. Ashazuri (6/1) finished her race really nicely and took advantage of the featherweight she carried. It could have been so much better, but both The British Lion and Chaplin Bay only managed third place.

Well, on to May now…. where the flat kicks properly into gear. The Guineas and Kentucky Derby looming large on the horizon – exciting!

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5.00 Ascot: Class 4 Handicap, 5 furlongs

Top weight Tomily drops down to class 4 as well as to a sexy mark – he’s an obvious choice in an open contest, where many could put claim on running well, but few appear truly well handicapped.

Tomily ran well enough on his seasonal reappearance in a hot race at Kempton last month. That’s a positive after his form clearly tailed off in the second half of last year.

However he was competing in much hotter grade than this today of much higher marks. He managed to run to TS ratings of 90+ on three occasions in 2018, albeit on the All-Weather. But he was also less than 3 lengths beaten in a strong class 3 sprint at Ripon in May.

So, if Tomily can regain anything near his best today he’ll be hard to beat in hands of a very capable 5lb claimer in the saddle.

Selection:
10pts win – Tomily @ 15/2 MB

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7.25 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 7 furlongs

Maazel is frustrating horse to follow, usually having a few issues at the start and then running consistently into trouble, so the last few times on the All-Weather as well as three weeks ago here over course and distance.

He got a few bumps along the way, made up a lot of ground after starting slowly but was squeezed badly inside the final furlong.

He’s down a mark of 55 now. That looks definitely a handy mark, given he ran to higher TS ratings in the past on turf and AW, most recently in March at Lingfield when he ran to a TS rating of 58. So if he can get a clear run in what appears not to be a particularly strong race, he should go close.

Selection:
10pts win – Maazel @ 15/2 MB

Sunday Selections: April, 21st 2019

Newmarket Rowley Mile Winning post

Junoesque (5/1) was punted of the boards last night at Brighton – thankfully she emerged as the winner of the final race on the card – this time, unlike on Friday, it was the ‘lucky last’! That’s been two nice winners this week – all in for a hat-trick?

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5.15 Southwell: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Without a win in 17 starts, Captain Dion may finally found the ideal opportunity to get his head in front again. The grey changed yards earlier this year and ran with plenty of promise on his two starts since returning to the track.

A pipe opener at Newcastle over 7f, followed by a strong 3rd place finish in a competitive Handicap here over course and distance – that piece of form looks particularly strong as it has worked really well already.

It was a first run on Southwell’s fibresand that day, Captain Dion didn’t seem to mind it at all, in fact looks a sort likely to be pretty effective. The handicapper has been lenient, Captain Dion dropped another pound, down to 59. He’s also dropping down in class today.

There may a be a bit of improvement to come for Captain Dion’s second run on fibresand – his sire has quite an excellent record here. The jockey/trainer combo of 3lb laiming Gabriele Malune and Ivan Furtado is a strong one – it’s also Malune’s only ride today.

Selection:
10pts win – Captain Dion @ 6/1 MB

Saturday Selections: April, 20th 2019

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Good Friday could have been a great Friday if Landing Night wouldn’t have been beaten in a tight finish in the ‘unlucky last’ at Newcastle. Thankfully Matterhorn got me out of jail (7/1) what would have been otherwise a painful day.

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4.45 Brighton: Class 5 Handicap, 6f

This is a competitive race; I can make good cases for half of them, so backing the favourite doesn’t seem wise. Still, already a course and distance winner off 3lb higher in similarly fast conditions last year, could be supremely well handicapped.

The 4-year-old, despite a poor overall record, ran to a TS rating of 70 when winning here last year; the form looks solid enough to believe it was a true running. He had a good seasonal comeback run an the All-Weather lately, so fitness is assured.

Interesting jockey booking with young Cieren Fallon on board, who’s worth every pound of his 7lb claim as he proved with worthiness on the All-Weather this year already.

Selection:
10pts win – Swissal @ 7/2 MB

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7.50 Brighton: Class 6 Handicap, 1 mile

Twice a course and distance scorer, Junoesque returns to her happy hunting ground. Those were her only victories to date, they came here last season on fast ground as well. She’s pretty much the same mark, give or take a pound, and proved in the past to be capable of running to a bit higher than that.

In fact Junoesque ran to a TS rating of 58 on both occasions when winning here at Brighton, as well as to 54 in another race – suggesting, if conditions are right, she as good, if not even a little bit better than her current 55 rating.

Fitness has to be trusted on her seasonal reappearance. But this looks an ideal opportunity to get another win on the board.

Selection:
10pts win – Junoesque @ 5/1 MB

Thursday Selections: April,18th 2019

Second Step

Besides having a runaway winner in Kylie Rules (10/1) at Beverley yesterday, I absolutely loved the debut win of UAE Jewel in the Wood Ditton. You take note if they back a newcomer in an early-season maiden at HQ as if  defeat is out of question – and boy, defeat was out of question!

Judged purely on the visuals the TV screen is giving away, this son of Dubawi looks physically impressive. The way he lengthened away so easily from the field in the final furlong left me with my mouth a little wider open than usual, as well.

UAE Jewel is an April foal, so you would think age is on his side and he can only improve with any passion week. He certainly looks an exciting prospect and I can’t wait to see him next time out, most likely at Newmarket again, in the Newmarket Stakes on Guineas weekend, then over 10 furlongs.

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2.50 Ripon: Class 5 Handicap, 6 furlongs

This looks like an ultra-competitive race for a low-grade handicap on a random Thursday in Spring. You can make cases for a number of these, and as a result some are heavily overpriced in my book.

The most compelling case can be made for recent Irish recruit Dancing Mountain. If she’s in here to take her chances and not to run the mark down (drifting in the market) – which she may not need to I feel as she looks a strong contender already – then, from a good draw, she can outrun his massive price tag.

Dancing Mountain will have her second start in the UK since moving from Johnny Murtagh to the Roger Fell yard. Her debut run off a break at Newcastle wasn’t anything the shout about; if anything it served as a pipe opener.

However, now down to a handicap mark of 60, judged by juvenile form in Ireland, and the fact she’s an April foal, I think there is potential upside. She won a competitive Naas handicap over 5.5f last autumn, running to a TS rating of 61 that day.

Subsequent performances are rated well in my book, as Dancing Mountain’s 5th and 4th in her next two starts at Fairyhouse and Cork look pretty decent form, given she is now rated 8lb lower as well.

Selection:
10pts win – Dancing Mountain @ 28/1 MB

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3.25 Ripon: Class 4 Handicap, 6 furlongs

The draw isn’t ideal, nonetheless Paddy Power looks supremely well handicapped on past form. He will not even at his best to be highly competitive, given the 6-year-old is now down a mark of 75, which was the lowest mark he’s won off throughout his career.

The gelding won a competitive York handicap off 5lb higher last summer and was an excellent 4th in a hot class 2 Handicap over course and distance when having to overcome a less than ideal draw also.

I like the fact Paddy Power already has a run under his belt this season, albeit on the All-Weather. He should strip fit and ready for a big run today, and has shown in the past to have sufficient gate speed to find himself in a good spot.

Selection:
10pts win – Paddy Power @ 5/1 Coral

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5.45 Ripon: Class 4 Apprentice Handicap, 5f

Ideal conditions for front-running Bowson Fred who also has a good draw to content with most likely. He’s also dropped to a dangerous mark – even though not quite the force of the past – last season the 7-year-old still managed to run to a TS rating of 86, backing it up with another 78 performance later the year.

A recent runner-up performance on the All-Weather, followed by a wind OP, should set Bowson Fred up for a big run today. He’s got a valuable 3lb claimer on board as well – an advantage that Josh Quinn has already ridden the gelding in the last handful of starts.

Selection:
10pts win – Bowson Fred @ 6/1 MB