Could do better…(reflecting on a poor week)

A great week of racing but a rather poor one on the betting front for me personally. That is now two Festivals where the blog has lost money. I personally won at Cheltenham, but at Aintree did my level best to give it all back. But for backing the winner of the last race for the second year running (back anything trained by Alan King or Peter Bowen in the mares bumper, simple 🙂 ) , it would have been quite desperate. I am always hard on myself as I set high standards and always expect to do better. The thought that others may have lost money backing my selections makes me uncomfortable until you find the next winner. (an update on Blog profits to day is at the bottom) While I don’t like to dwell for too long in this game I was disappointed with myself this week. I expected better. I can do better than that. 

When it comes to betting on racing we are all driven by different things. For me the main driver is trying to solve the puzzle and being proved right. That may sound a bit arrogant but that is what gives me a buzz. I take great pride in being able to dissect a race and pick winners. I like being challenged and I hate being wrong. The money, and the winnings, comes second, and is a nice bi-product of  getting the first part right. (of course long term I want to make money betting, but you get my point) 

The plus side is that because money is not the main driver day to day, I can detach myself from a losing bet. I am confident I will win long term. I can cheer Many Clouds home when I know I am not in with a chance even though I have just lost £100 on the race. (5 points for me) I know I will get it back, and did just that when backing Red Devils Lad at Ffos Las yesterday.  Any true racing fan felt awful when hearing that the great Balthazar King may have suffered fatal injuries. If he hadn’t have pulled through that would have ruined the day, and the week. Thankfully it looks like he will make a recovery of sorts. Sadly Balder Succes didn’t make it home. He made one error too many. Adored by all at Alan King’s yard he will be sorely missed. I have backed him a few times and it is sad to know we will not see him again. If all you can do is think about what you have lost I don’t think you can fully enjoy this great sport. Maybe that is just me. I will always back more losers than winners, so you have to get used to that daily feeling. As soon as I stop appreciating great performances, such as that from Many Clouds, I think I will give up.


I always want to get better at this game and I hate ‘advising’ losers.

Aintree 2015 was disappointing personally, and especially the Grand National. For the second year running the best I could manage was a never nearer 6th. Portrait King was running well when falling 3 out – whether he was going backwards who knows but he maybe could have grabbed a place. The most disappointing horse was Rocky Creek. I can’t think that was his true running but I don’t think I could back him in future Nationals, unless something comes to light over the coming days.

Advising/backing/highlighting Oscar Time (33/1 winner), Alfie Spinner (25/1 4th), On The Fringe (4/1 winner), Radjani Express (10/1 winner) and Fairy Rath (33/1 2nd) means I’ve had a decent season over the famous fences. But the big winner still eludes me.   

From a profiling perspective, bar the winners, the result was fairly pleasing. It was good to see perfect trends/stats fit Monbeg Dude run a cracker in 3rd. I thought Rocky Creek and Balthazar King would finish ahead of him if running their races. The same with Saint Are. He only fell down on the ‘days since run stat’ by 1 day and other than that was a perfect fit. He ran a cracking race. Hopefully he can come back next year.

While it would have been nice to have backed one or both of them EW I still wouldn’t have picked the winner. In truth I wasn’t close to picking the winner.

For that reason alone my decision making process requires some fine tuning.

Unlike in the Gold Cup I was a bit too stats/trends focussed – blinkered even. I will always use Trends/Stats for races such as this but I made the error of not looking at the race ‘normally’ as well. I should have forgotten the trends, ignored the stats, and just looked at the race like a normal handicap chase. Whether I would have found Many Clouds who knows but it was lazy analysis. I know I didn’t give myself a chance to find him. I looked at age, weight, his hard run in a G1 last time out and put a line through him. I didn’t think hang on, this is a Grade 2 beast, and a potential Gold Cup horse, running in a handicap. This is the Hennessy winner and he is only carrying 9 lbs more. Considering he won that well, is young and is still improving, there was no reason to dismiss him from a handicapping perspective. (How short would you have made him in a normal handicap chase?!)  

The question was whether, as an 8 yo, he could carry that weight over that distance. 8 year olds have won (it clearly isn’t impossible) and actually those carrying 11-7+ have placed the number of times you would have expected, despite being 0/57 since 1997 before Saturday. And he is a bull of a horse. So, there are reasons why you could ignore those stats, especially considering his price.

Well done if you picked him out. The class horse in the race outclassed them, out jumped them and outstayed them all. I am not annoyed I didn’t back him. I am annoyed I didn’t even consider backing him. That type of shoddy analysis won’t happen again. There was every chance he was going to stay and we knew his jumping was top notch. Class won out. It will be interesting moving forwards how this develops, given the new approach to ‘discretionary’ handicapping that gives decent horses a chance. I would fancy Many Clouds to go very close next year if this race hasn’t left a permanent mark. The new Red Rum? It is possible. You could see Coneygree going very close if they ever wanted to run him in this. Class has come through and won the day and in future I won’t be so dismissive of those that the top of the card. It is all relative of course but in reality most of the other horses were decent, if moderate handicappers. Anyway, that is a line drawn through that race now. Only another year to wait!


One reader made the valid point that he couldn’t believe I was putting a horse up in every race on day 2, with staking advice. Having reflected on that comment I think he was right. The scatter gun approach at the Festivals needs to change, as the results below would testify. I think I need to be more selective on what I spend the most time on and what I advise. My strengths lie around focussing more on those races with large fences, and occasionally a handicap hurdle, or a hurdle over 3m+.  After all, although I like to solve the puzzle, the sign of success is coming out in profit at the end of the week. I have failed in that endeavour this spring so will work hard to up my game for next time, for my own benefit, as much as yours 🙂 Spending more time on certain races and nominating fewer selections  may be the best way forward; as well as a less dogmatic obsession with stats and trends. At times I ignored my own advice, which is that they should only ever be used as a guide!  

I won’t ever put up a selection again where I haven’t gone through every runner separately from using stats and trends. In truth, when you are trying to cover every race I think I you are more likely to cut corners and rely on stats too much to narrow down the field, without spending enough time looking at the actual horses. It has taken two years of blogging on Cheltenham and Aintree to get to that point. Lesson learnt. (Cheltenham was +45 points last year, and as it happens I won in pretty much the same races this year, so its not all doom and gloom!)

Right, now I have reflected on that I can now mentally move on!



The point in this blog is to provide something interesting. I am not a tipster. There will always be a mixture of race previews and research pieces looking at micro systems/angles, horse profiling etc. I am always learning and like to share information that may help your betting/enjoyment of the sport.

However, the aim of the ‘advising’ pieces is to make a profit, hence why I always advise a staking amount. I have always been open and transparent. The output for ‘advising’ bets ramped up in November and while overall I am happy there is still room for improvement. Looking at the raw numbers Cheltenham and Aintree have been awful, although that does not tell the full story. Those that have read the posts will have found more winners in the write ups and highlighted ‘danger’ horses. (something I need to get better at, selecting the right horses from he shortlist) However, I need to up my game for next year.

Anyway, the results for the ‘tipping/advising’ side are below. These cover all horses where I have explicitly given staking advice.


Preview Selections/Results…

Many Clouds – WON 9/1 + 4.5 points

Rocky Creek – UP  -1 point

Burton Port – UP -1 point

Oscar Time – 33/1 WON + 20.5 points

Alfie Spinner – 25/1 4th + 2.6 points

Hadrians Approach UP – 1 point

Bold Sir Brian UP -1 point

Kilcooley 11/2 WON +8.25 points

Hey Big Spender 14/1 UP -1 point

Kings Apollo UP – 1 point

Cape Tribulation 9/1 2nd – 2 points

Presented UP -2 points

Silviniaco Conti 3/1 WON + 6 points

Withy Mills – UP – 1point

Kudu Shine – F – 1 point

Cantlow – UP – 1 point

Hawkes Point – 1 point

One In Milan F -1 point

Mountainous PU – 1/2 point

Scotswell 8/1 WON + 8 point

Settledoutofcourt UP – 1 point

Caruuthers UP – 1 point

Hawkes Point WON 14/1 + 14 point

Petit Ecuyer UP – 1 point

Corrin Wood PU – 1 point

Green Flag PU – 1 point   

Whispering Harry 3/1 WON +3 point  =+43.75  7/27

Club House (P) – 1 point

Chavoy 4/1 2nd – 1 point

Sadler’sFlaure UP 12/1 -1point

The Job Is Right UR 12/1 -1point (decent 2nd when UR last)  = +39.75 7/31

Grandads Horse UP -1 point

Night In Milan 3rd  – 1 point

Umberto Dolivate 3rd – 1 point

Kingscombe (P) UP – 1 point

Rigadin De Beauchene – 1 point  (7/36 = +33.75)

Shotgun Paddy -2 points

Portrait King -1 point

Theatre Queen -1 point

Samingarry -1 point

CHELTENHAM -4.25 points

                ‘official’ Formline: 9,8,11,4,5,3,4 / 2,10,11,BD, 1,5 / 2,2,UP,UP,2,2,3,UP / 11,19,1,7,11,PU


Goonyella WON + 9 points

No Secrets -1 point


AINTREE -15 points

BLOG RESULTS (officially ‘advised ‘ stakes) 01/11/14 – 13/04/15

Excluding Cheltenham/Aintree: 8/41 +37.75

Cheltenham/Aintree: 3/55 -19.25 (that makes unpleasant reading)

Total: 11/96 + 18.5 points



The next preview will be for the Scottish Grand National where I hope to put in a better performance!

I will try and post something ‘Flat’ related this week, micro systems etc.   


Have a great week,



Post Comments

Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

3 Responses

  1. Josh, I have followed your bog with interest for a while now. However I have stopped backing advised bets. The reason why is because, as you have stated, that you win on several bets that you don’t advise. Please don’t think for one minute that I am having a go at you, far from it. What you bet on is your affair. But if you are offering your thoughts with advised bets it would be of great interest to understand whether your other bets, that obviously often win, are well thought out or just fun bets. It’s up up to you wether you mention them in the blog or not but it leaves the reader with the dilemma of deciding wether to back all, some or none of the horse mentioned. I do like the blog though and the analysis that you provide FOC is very helpful when trying to understand particular races and what the outcome may be. I do find my self agreeing with a lot of what you write and I’m sure many others do to. So I’ll end with congratulating you on a great blog and please take the above as thoughts of a reader not criticism.

    1. Cheers Jim…your comment is much appreciated and I fully agree. It is as frustrating for me and comes down to decision making. Often those mentioned on the shortlist are well thought through and it is a case of picking the wrong horses to put up. And that dilemma facing the reader faces me too! I will work on being clearer, after all, if I say a ‘saver bet’ then I clearly think it is a danger and should think about the betting/advise accordingly. There have a been a few notable examples, that if I had put up as main bets would have seen the blog a good +40 points better off, but i have either made the wrong call or bottled it. Dodging Bullets, Coneygree, Theinval and Radjani Express are 4 notables that were decent winners but not ‘officially’ advised. It has been a journey and I just need to get better on the preview front and final calls.

      Thanks for comment, much appreciated.

      1. Thanks for replying so quickly. Just to explain further, if I can. I see you also like tweet and have had a nice winner today ( well done). But as a reader of a blogger offering advice If I am going to follow your advice I want to achieve a near as possible to what you achieve. At the moment I feel that it is pretty difficult to do that and I am sure you are backing other horses that you don’t mention at all. It is a bit like Donald Rumsfeld with his know knowns, known unknowns etc,etc. (if you’ve heard that speech) hope this makes sense. Like I say though I like the blog and will follow it but just as a reader for now.That way I can only blame myself for bets I choose or miss for that matter. Cheers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *