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Record of the blog selections

Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Friday 29 May 2020

You are never to old to learn

Nobody can not be aware of the recent events which led to a close-down of horseracing in the UK and Europe.  Thankfully, for the industry, that close-down is coming to an end on Monday 1st June, when we have the first meeting of the new flat season run on the all-weather surface at Newcastle.
During the forced break, along with millions of others, I was required to work from home on "furlough" from 23rd March and managed to keep myself busy.
Then, on 8th April, I noticed something - horseracing was still operating in Hong Kong.
Having lived in the city for 7 years between 1990-97, and been a regular visitor to Happy Valley, as well as a very regular punter, I was more than interested in resuming an old relationship.
That first day was exploratory: I knew nothing of the horses, jockeys, form. A couple of small eachway wagers lost, but my enthusiasm was rekindled and I vowed to be back for the following Wednesday on 15th April. I chose the best race on the card that I had the best chance of finding the winner in - a Class 3 over 1200m - and I chose well, having an eachway wager on Island Shine at 8/1.
Since then, I've used the Hong Kong racing to review and reflect on my betting strategy.
I make no secret (via my twitter account) that I regularly revisit the Nick Mordin book "Winning Without Thinking" for inspiration and a confidence boost, and I would wholeheartedly recommend anyone who wants to place a regular wager on horseracing to read this book (with a highlighter and post-it notes).
There amongst the pages was advise that has really fine-tuned my gambling in recent weeks: nobody who seeks to gamble on horses with any degree of success does so unless they produce their own odds-line, and you cannot produce your own odds-line unless you produce your own ratings.
Producing ratings has been the backbone of blog since 2010.  Not everyone agrees with them, but that's the point - ratings are your OWN estimation of the form of the horses. If everyone had the same ratings, betting on horses would be a whole lot less profitable.
As soon as I became interested in Hong Kong's horseracing, I started producing ratings, and with just 2 meetings a week and every race televised, that was a simple operation.
Producing an odds-line was a bit more difficult.
For that I had to go back nearly 20 years to 2002, when I was a subscriber to a mail-only racing club called "Smartsig" (there was also an email forum, as this was before the days of the internet as it is now).  The raw data produced by Smartsig was groundbreaking stuff, and formed the basis of my odds-line calculations.
What I was striving to do was remove any unconscious-bias from my selections. I wanted to select horses based purely on race-form combined with the most likely circumstances that produced winners. I wasn't interested in gossip or hype, gallop reports, jockey opinion, or bookmakers publicity. So I produced a spreadsheet in 2002 that ran (luckily) in Excel which rated the horses in a race dependent on the data that I input, and that values attributed to that data.
Guess what?  It worked! Brilliantly in fact.
The first race I reviewed of the spreadsheet in its final form was a 3-mile chase at Folkstone, and the spreadsheet came up with a 12/1 chance in a field of 10 (trained by Paul Henderson). A tentative eachway wager came up trumps when the horse won easily.  Why didn't I continue? It was taking me nearly 2 hours to input the data per race, so I could only review one race a day.  My day-job (plus my complex personal life) was in the way, and the spreadsheet was saved to the hard-drive - until 13th May when I used it to prepare for the Happy Valley meeting that day.
I reviewed 4 races, and the spreadsheet came up with "best value" wagers on
Smart Leader - Won @ 9/4
Blastoise - 2nd @ 7/1 (beaten a neck)
Surrealism - Won @ 4/1 
Shamport - unplaced @ 11/2 (given poor ride, carried wide)
Since then, the spreadsheet has highlighted well-handicapped horses, that are fit, in-form and well-drawn, and available at value odds, and my profits have reflected that advantage.
I'm rethinking how I approach UK racing again, almost certainly reducing the number of races I look at and wager on, almost certainly produce ratings for more races than is required.
You are never too old to learn new tricks!