don't pretend to know a lot about horse racing - far from it in fact but I do wonder if what happened today in the National will be a bit of a game changer for the race itself and maybe to a lesser extent for National Hunt racing as a whole.
I am a big fan of the National - I grew up watching it - it was the one day of the year that my mum and dad ever went close to a bookies and we all picked our horses and then watched the race - I remember winning 87.5p one year and being so delighted!!
However, the race has become a bit tainted, even for me, a diehard supporter of it - last year it was quite horrific to see the two horses down and covered up while the race went round them and this year similar scenes with According to Pete and Synchronised both being fatally injured. Synchronised particularly tragic with the pre-race problems and the fact the horse was jumping without McCoy on board when it injured itself. High profile as well of course with Synchronised winning the Gold Cup this year.
I just wonder if the more horses are bred to go quicker the less likely they can cope with races like the National with the massive fences and huge field. It's becoming a tainted spectacle. Don't take my word for it - read the article here from someone who knows far more than me.
I fear for the race - while I don't agree with some of the article - is this the only way for it to continue? If I feel a bit queasy about what has happened over recent years how are the one day a year racing public feeling? Maybe because we follow the sport we analyse the detail and we worry too much - maybe the one day-ers watch the race and switch the TV off and forget about it for another year?
As for the betting - well I got beaten by a nostril today on a small personal bet but was pleased with 2nd place. 4PA haven't really made any progress since Cheltenham and it's been a frustrating time following the service - certainly getting harder to get the odds quoted and when profit is being scraped half a point here and a point there odds make a massive difference and I'm always on the wrong side of them. I do still think 4PA is a profitable service to follow, even without the odds, but we could do with a good winner (or two) in the coming weeks.
Many thanks for all the comments on the last post - much appreciated and interesting to hear some others in the same boat. I will reply to the comments in a separate post later.
So a few more days gone by and certainly still feel I've made the right decision. I've more time on my hands and am certainly a bit more relaxed in life and focused on what is important to me. Amazingly I am sleeping better so maybe it was all troubling me more than I thought.
Anyway I don't want to bore you anymore with that sort of nonsense.
So what am I doing now - well as I mentioned in the finishing post I am continuing to follow 4PA and will play the occasional personal bet through analysis / stats etc.
So 4PA were back in action at the weekend with 3 tips. Wasn't a good start to my new regime with 2 losers and 1 non runner. 3 points lost. Big drop on odds on Josh's Dreamway - by the time I managed to get out of bed (8.30) the price had already dropped from quoted 22/1 to 11/1 on most bookie sites. It's always been a problem getting bets on at the prices advised - not impossible though (well that was until my William Hill account was restricted). Will try to get a bit sharper though - with less to worry about this should be easier.
Had a small side bet on Sooraah in the 3.25 in Lingfield as well but came 5th.
So 3 bets, 3 losses but no massive damage done! Positive thinking eh!
Much apologies for not being on recently - I've had a lot of time out to think about how to take things forward.
Thanks for all the comments as well - nice to know I've been missed.
Before I start - Cheltenham went pretty well I think - I haven't totted things up but some tipsters came good and there was definitely an upward spike in the bank. However I haven't added up the figure - let's just say it was nice to end on a high....
On the last post a regular poster Baz asked the question "Is it all worth it?". It's funny to think how much that question had an impact on me and for once I took a step back and asked myself that very question.
The conclusion I reached at the end of the first day of Cheltenham as I frantically tried to get al my bets on was that it wasn't worth it and I decided that with pretty much immediate effect that I was stopping. I haven't placed a single bet for a few days and boy does it feel good.
So why did I reach that conclusion? A number of reasons which I will try to articulate below in my usual rambling style;
1) Time. I've been in a new job now for a number of months which involves a lot of time on the road visiting people as well as working from home. While I thought this may work to my advantage the reality is that it's had the opposite effect and more often than not I'm scrabbling around on my iPhone trying to get bets on at every free opportunity that I have. This has meant (as you have seen) that I have missed bets, am late with bets so miss the best prices and end up having to use betfair due to speed and efficiency. Clearly my real job has to take priority and I am spending far too much of my working day checking, placing and getting bets on.
2) Effort. I've been slogging away at this for longer now than I care to mention and am simply not making any progress - I've made a large number of mistakes but which ever way I've cut my back data there's not a huge amount to made from this game and I'm kidding myself that there is. Looking bet I'd have been better sticking my betting banks into an ISA and let the investment do the work while I actually enjoy life.
3) Relentless. The endless, 7 day a week, nature of the business has taken it's toll. Not only does it impede on me doing my real job (see point 1) but it has also impeded on my family life and that has got to stop. I'm constantly stepping out of the room to get those bets on and whenever we go on days out or off to the shops or whatever I've got to be by my phone getting things sorted. There's never a break and I can't be bothered with that anymore - I've got a young daughter and I want to get on with having fun with her when I do have spare time!
4) Enjoyment. When I first started this I absolutely loved it. I thought this is great - it's going to be work - but I can make some money out of it. Over the last 12 months it's been nothing but a hassle and all the joy of the job has slowly sapped out of it for me and there's no fun in what I do and it has just become a relentless slog, a battle against the bookies, against time and against everything else!
5) Love. I used to love horse racing - all things about it - I knew naff all about it but loved it - watching on TV, going to the race course - the smaller the better in my book - watching all the pre race prep, enjoying the flutter and loving the racing (NH in particular). But I've grown to despise it - the constant let down when things don't go to plan and gut wrenching feeling when you see race after race going against you. I stopped watching a long time ago. I'd started this business because I enjoyed racing - and I've lost that and want to get it back.
6) Psychology. It's pretty clear (as you can tell from the above and probably all my posts) that I haven't got the psyche to deal with long losing runs or bad days when they come fast and frequent. I can't detach myself, I don't enjoy the positives enough to deal with the negatives and it's better that I stop as what's the point if that's how i feel?
7) Money. You've got to have a lot of money down and tied up to make this work, you've got to bet decent sized stakes to make even the lower cost services work and you've got to be prepared to lose money (and large amounts of it) if you make the wrong choices (I have with some services) and to be honest I've got better things I can be doing with my money (other than sticking it in an ISA) than put it through this merry go round.
So there you have it. I've had enough - the betting portfolio way isn't worth it for me. Whichever way you look at it I just can't face making the decision and putting the effort in to make a portfolio of services work. Admittedly I overstretched myself towards the end in terms of number of tipsters but I did that on purpose to make a decision - I just didn't realise I'd end up where I've ended up.
I've been pretty dedicated to this over the years and determined to make it work but I think you need to know when to draw a line under it and I've reached that point and that's it.
So what now? Well I am continuing to follow one tipster (4PA). Why 4PA - well simply as it's easy to follow and ROI is excellent and it's very very light effort. I hope to make a few quid over the year from the service to spend on good stuff! I'll do more research (horses to follow for example) on my own to make personal bets as well but in my own time and in a way that will be enjoyable.
As for the blog... well I'm going to keep going and posting to let you know how things go and I'm also going to use my freed up time to do some analysis of services that I always meant to do but never having the time - will hopefully be of use to you guys.
Thanks for reading up to now. Comments / questions / thoughts welcome!
Well there's no doubt it's been a God awful week this week and not really what I needed or wanted the week before Cheltenham. Today capped it all off with a complete whitewash on the horse racing bets with 0/11 across the tipsters putting bets up. Woeful.
Anyway so what did the stats look like - overall down £542 on the week which puts March in a heavy negative position of £505. Not surprising 5 losing days out of 7 with only Monday and Tuesday posting profits (and small ones at that).
Good week for.... Hudson Horses with a cracking winner yesterday which I managed to get at 38's on betfair when it was tipped up at 20's.
Bad week for... Systematic Betting unfortunately having a tough time of it - dropping 15 points.
Not a lot more to say.
Here's to next week - good luck to all at Cheltenham!
The excitement of Cheltenham seems to be building all around!! Lets hope it lives up to expectations... I for one am dreading it! The huge volume of bets already placed has made me nervous and there will be many more on the 4 days the festival runs for. I am worrying that if I've go 4-5 tips in one race then they will cancel each other out at the very best - the worst being of course that they will lose and heavy losses occur!
Cheltenham last year was, of course the turning point of the year last year. Here's hoping it will be the same this year as the poor start to the year continues. Some of the wounds this year have been self-inflicted although Thursday was out side my control but overall performance of many hasn't been good. Steve Lewis Hamilton and Northern Monkey are the two that stand out as having poor 2012's so far. Correspondingly the year is going well for others and Piecost in particular is doing well and continuing to show promise.
Today it was the turn of football to let the account down with Formlab giving back some of previous profits. Excellent results from Piecost and Hudson today.
As you know I'm following an excessive number of services up to the 31st March to help me make a decision on how to proceed. It's worth giving an update of where I probably will get to;
Steve Lewis Hamilton - as has been well documented its been a dreadful few months for Steve and the recent run was only broken by a short priced winner on Thursday (less said about that the better!). However I've been there before with SLH and things have invariably picked up again. Ultimately though it's about subscription fees for me - with the subs coming in at the best part of £900 - then there are better or equivalent services out there that are available at less than half the price and it feels like time to move on.
Equine Main / Turnover - as I've mentioned before the service finishes up for the season at the end of next week and I won't be renewing with the new re-combined "pay as you play" service as the costs are too high for the level of subs on offer and again they are better or equivalent services available at much much lower prices.
Northern Monkey, 4PA, Systematic and Piecost - will definitely continue with these four services. Northern Monkey haven't had a good year so far but I don't think this time of year is Wayne's strongest period. The only issue in these four for me is the cost of Systematic but based on past performance even at £20 per point it delivers.
Market Examiner - my subs are paid to June for Market Examiner but I'm not sure where to go with this one - it's been a rough period since I joined - a fact confirmed by the SBC tipster report which doesn't show much progress over the last 6 months. I think it could be the end of the road for me as I can probably get more out of other services.
The Football Analyst - am likely to continue into next season - results, ease of getting bets on and communication all excellent. Although there does seem to be a question mark over the performance over the 2nd half of the season.
New boys Formlab, Herbie Fogg and Hudson... Formlab is great and I need to get tucked into the data analysis as well as following the daily reports. Hudson - very impressed with so far. Herbie Fogg - a good service in terms of communication and past results speak for themselves (although obviously I joined during a poor spell - surprise surprise). My one question mark is over the varied times of the bets - although I could rectify this by paying more to get the texts.
I'm also following the TVB blog which has been a profitable exercise so far!
As you know have already ditched Football Elite and Mr Gekko Bets.
To be honest it's been harder than I thought in making a decision as I do believe all the services I do follow all have strong positives but I do need to reduce and it may end up being a table and I take the top 5-6 no matter how service 7,8,9 etc perform.
I read in a magazine yesterday that orange's new 4g service will be called everything everywhere or something similarly awful. Well their sometime shocking data coverage cost me the best part of 350 quid today. I was on a training course and had time to cover all early bets during lunch. No such luck as down goes data and I missed 5 bets and all 5 were winning bets. When does that happen? One of those from Steve Lewis Hamilton! 19 losers in a row and the one day he picks a winner I miss it through no fault of my own. I think the modern thing to say is FFS! The other winners were from Equine and Systematic.
Of the 14 bets I have managed to get on today only 1 has won.... There are a couple still to run but instead of being 200 quid up on the day I'm £130 down. I've not had a 200 quid winning day since January.