Last year Cheltenham was nothing short of an absolute disaster for me, so I thought I would write an article about the experience, what went right (very little) and what went wrong (a lot!) and reflect on my overall experience, strategies, and thoughts during that period.
Firstly, I went into Cheltenham feeling very optimistic! I had never had a bad Cheltenham, always ended well up in previous years betting during the festival and felt that last year would be very much of the same… I was very wrong.
Looking back, there were a number of reasons I identified as to why it went wrong.
In previous years I had always done a lot of research prior to Cheltenham, kept an eye on the ante-post markets, etc and generally got a feeling for the vibe for trainers, horses and jockeys – but last year for some reason I didn’t do that, so essentially I just went into the festival thinking that if I did was I was doing in my every day betting I would be ok. That was a wrong judgement on my part, preparation is everything! This year I am better prepared.
It was also the first year where I was using my own ratings system. In previous years I had relied on Proform Racing software to analyse the races and identify good bets. But I chose to drop that just before Cheltenham and go with my relatively new ratings and stats system instead – and as it was in its infancy I was essentially relying on something relatively unproven and paid the price. I have made a lot of refinements, etc to my own bespoke system now and feel more confident it can meet the demands of Cheltenham this year.
Strangely enough, I just received an email this morning from Proform Racing to tempt me back with a 50% discount on the platinum subscription… I may just take them up on that offer for the month maybe. But in saying that, I have faith in my own ratings now – so maybe I may use the two in unison and see how they compare.
The other problem was that I relied on Cheltenham too much when putting tips up on the board. I won’t make that mistake this year! I dropped a huge number of points that month, and a couple of months thereafter struggled to get back again. This year, with the Cheltenham competition in the forum I will be keeping my Cheltenham selections strictly to that, and using the tipping board for other opportunities elsewhere.
Also, I relied heavily on the fact that Cheltenham is historically a good time to get some shock results. This was not really the case in 2015, with the Mullins shorties dominating most of the main races, there was very little room to get one home in front at decent odds. This year however I am not totally convinced it will play out that way for the Mullins camp and Cheltenham is once again open to finding some decent value bets I think. I will certainly be playing the markets with that view in mind.
Anyone who bets Cheltenham knows it can be a minefield! It really does require a good amount of research, intuition, value seeking, and a lot of luck! Punters came out ahead with the Mullins shorties heavily backed last year, but this year I sense that maybe it will be the bookies who have the advantage, who knows.
I do know this though – Cheltenham can be a gold mine if everything falls right. If you put in the time and effort, study the markets, dissect the form, have a good set of ratings, and have a good vibe for horses that could run well at decent odds, then there is money to be made!
The Betting Tools Cheltenham Tipping Competion in the forum this year is shaping up to be a fantastic opportunity for anyone who loves horse racing to participate – and the prize money is massive! Well worth having a play. Even if you are not a tipster, but fancy picking a few, this is the a good opportunity to pit your tipping talents against some of Betting Tools finest tipsters, and get them beat for a nice prize pot.
In my next article I will go over the Cheltenham Tipping competition in more detail. Some free resources you can use to help make selections, and provide pointers on what I think can win you the competition. I am also going through all the Pricewise Cheltenham selections over the next few days, identifying a few I think are good betting opportunities (even now) and ones to possibly avoid maybe. Tom Segal doesn’t have a great record at Cheltenham from what I can remember (correct me if I am wrong). So following him blindly during this period could cost you money.
And… while I have your attention. If you are a BV follower, something you should note. I have limited myself to just 2 selections a day now, and we have had a good run over the last few months, with some nice profits. But I know my strengths are not finding winners and tipping – that is more Eagle, Chief, SP1, Ron and the many other talented tipsters on the board. My strength is in identifying horses at odds considerably bigger than they should be and punting them. And with that in mind, I am changing my strategy moving forward to focus on horses with a huge upside and small downside – biggies with positives that are considerably bigger in the market than my tissue odds suggest they should be.
It makes sense to do this with just 2 tips a day. And I have had this in mind for some time, so putting it into practice now. This means a lot more losing bets for us – but BOY OH BOY, when we do get one right it is going to be at a massive price. My sole intention now is to get biggies at home in front, or at least hitting the frame. I am not a tipster, I am a value hunter, and this is where my strength is… and if you look at my betting record you will see that I can find these juicy biggies, it just takes time and patience… so if you feel uneasy about dropping points until we hit one then push that unfollow button NOW because we are going to drop a few points in the interim until things fall right (and they will!) and a biggie is landed.
The strategy is clear cut, anything on the tissue at 10/1 or shorter, that has a strong positive (horse, trainer, or jockey), and is available to bet at odds of bigger than 25/1 then I will be taking a very close look at that – and if it meets the criteria it is on the board. So if you want regular winners, drop me now! If you want a couple of nice biggies a month and don’t mind dropping a few points until we find one, than stick with me baby! It’s near enough the closest thing to a sure bet you can get that we will get 1-2 a month landed at big odds I think!
I think what has brought me to this conclusion, that I should be playing to my strengths here, is that I know I am a rubbish tipster! Honestly, I struggle to find winners the way Eagle, Chief, SP1, Ron and many of the other tipsters do. I don’t study form, I hardly ever look at a race card, and I honestly couldn’t tell you whether a horse is any good because I cannot remember the winner of the last race I watched yesterday!
What I do is study stats, I formulate ratings, and I compile a tissue price. I then compare that tissue price to the market the night before, or first thing in the morning, and if a particular horse is a lot bigger than it should be I bet it! It really is that simple. My interest in horse racing is purely from a value perspective – if there is an angle to be bet, and the tissue price supports that angle, with the price in the market being bigger than I think it should be, then I punt it. Win or lose on that race, overall I make money!
A friend and I have recently, in the last 3 weeks, set up a betting portfolio, value focused, with a few tipsters also included just to spread the risk. We have more than doubled our betting bank using this approach in that time, betting with very small stakes (on average just £3). But in most instances (apart from the few tipster we follow and the BV system bets), the portfolio is mostly made up of value bets, horses backed at odds bigger than they should be. We don’t have a lot of winners, but the winners we do have more than compensate for the losers and we have made a good profit. I am writing an article about this and nearly finished it, so more about this portfolio approach to betting soon.
Just wanted to give you the ‘heads up’ on the BV thought process right now, and the strategy moving forward. The future is bright for BV followers, but the emphasis is definitely fishing deeper waters, often in stormy seas, now. It’s the way I can top the board regularly, and it suits my overall betting style so it makes good sense to do this.
So, with Cheltenham just around the corner, the past Cheltenham disaster behind me, the Cheltenham tipping competition to look forward to, and… and some potentially big bets landed for BV followers who can weather the conditions over the coming months, there’s only ONE thing left to say… THE FUTURE’S SO BRIGHT I GOTTA WEAR SHADES!
Oh… one last thing… is that roast Eagle with all the trimmings I smell cooking? Keep the faith BV followers, we will be chomping on Eagle legs before to much longer hehehehehehehe, that’s a BV promise!
Until next time…