I am digressing a little bit from the subject we have been following, but I thought it would be good to recap on the past year and draw some lessons from it moving forward.
When I first started tipping up on the bettingtools.co.uk website it was an experiment for me. I knew it didn’t really suit my style of betting, but I was buoyed by early success on the tipster board and did well for the first few months. This gave me a false sense of security and I fell into the trap of believing I was every bit as good as I thought I was… a big mistake! The minute you start believing that to be the case you start to fall short, and this was the case with me.
Cheltenham was a disaster for me. I dropped 70 points in that month and really struggled to get a grip of the downward spiral. It was totally devastating if I am to be honest. But it was also a reality check – however I didn’t learn the lesson and carried on with selection methods that were clearly not working because they were to ‘judgement’ based and not always grounded in the reality of the facts in front of me.
I just had it in my mind that if I carried on what I was doing, it would all come good – but it didn’t and I fell further into the red on the tipping board.
I took some time off, came back and hit it hard again. Short term success was gained a few times, hitting the top 4 spot or better on several occasion, but it was short-lived and losing months still surfaced. The problem was I wasn’t learning the lessons!
I took some more time off, focused on things other than horse racing for a while and didn’t even place a bet for a long while. It wasn’t until Brian emailed me mid November and asked if I would like to write some articles for the site that I saw an opportunity to refocus.
This was good for me. I regained the enthusiasm for the sport and started to get right back to basics again. I formulated a plan to strip my own judgement out of the selections, as this was clearly not working for me in the past, and focus again on just the facts in front of me.
I knew value betting is the key to success in the long-term, I have never wavered from that thought, I was just struggling to regain the edge I had for the past few years and translate that into winners again. My confidence had taken a knock and it was important that I got back into the driving seat and start to focus my attention again on what mattered – the facts and the stats.
I think it’s important that every tipster undergoes a period of reflection. A reprogramming of sorts – it’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own sense of importance that we need to have a few knocks in order to regain a sense of reality.
If you noticed, for a long while I didn’t put up any reasoning for my tips. This was because I struggled with the reality of having to justify why I was putting a selection up to be honest. It was by going back to providing reasoning that I have regained a sense of rationale in effect. Win or lose, provided I am confident that the horse has a good chance of winning at the odds, and the reasoning is sound, then I put the tip up.
You would be surprised at the number of times recently I have done a write-up and realised that the reasoning was faulty, so have gone back to the drawing board and come up with a totally different conclusion on the race. Reasoning forces you to think about why you are having a bet on a particular selection, and it’s one of the reasons why I strongly advocate it for every tipster – a racing diary in effect. If you have ever read Alan Potts then you know why its important that you do this.
I was encouraged when I read Paul’s recent blog post about re-evaluating his own systems, disregarding some and basically trimming the portfolio to focus on more profitable ones. This is essential – there is absolutely no point in flogging a dead horse or continuing to lose money using a strategy that clearly isn’t working.
December came and the tips started again. Only this time I have been a lot more focused. The emphasis on real value is foremost in my mind, and in races where I have been tempted to exercise judgement I have restrained myself, preferring to base my selection on fact. This has resulted in an ‘elimination’ process, where I go through the card and put a line through anything that has what I consider to be a negative factor initially. This generally results in a list of contenders, usually about 3-4 in the race that I think have a strong chance of winning.
From this point I begin to whittle down based on odds. Anything too short gets eliminated, leaving just those that fall within my odds range.
From there I focus on the key stats – proven going and distance suitability, breeding, jockey, trainer, jockey/trainer stats. You have probably noticed in my write-ups that I focus on these elements a lot. Firstly I need to know if today’s conditions suit the horse, and then turn to the jockey and trainer stats to back up my assumption that it can win. This process of elimination is the way I am going to operate moving forward.
You may have noticed I have also reverted to each way betting on the value selections most of the time now. This is intentional. Funny enough, it was when I switched to win only that my results started to decline considerably. Prior to that I almost always went each way and those small gains when we hit a place were starting to add up. It gave followers a return provided we hit the frame – and when betting at bigger odds with a stronger possibility of a losing run I think this is important.
I still have a mountain to climb, and the journey has only just begun, but progress is being made. The winners are starting to come through again and I am optimistic that in 2016 I can regain the position I was in when I first started out and continue to build on that for the benefit of the followers.
There are a lot of new tipsters coming through on the board now, and I see some real talent! I think 2016 is going to be a very good year for us tipsters, the followers and bettingtools.co.uk – the future is bright.
Stay focused, always provide sound reasoning, and keep yourself grounded in reality. You are really only as good as your next bet – anything beyond that is wishful thinking. One bet at a time – focus on quality rather than quantity, provide sound reasoning, and it will be a good year. That’s the advice I’m giving myself for 2016 anyway.
Hope you all have a happy and prosperous new year and look forward to challenging you all month after month for the top of the board! 🙂