Let’s Go: A New Start?

A new start / musings/ short term content plan…


A New Start? 

Firstly, mainly as I like looking at it and thought you may too; above is a painting of Really Super I had commissioned as a 30th Bday/Xmas gift, from the excellent Chris Winch who’s resident at The National Stud in Newmarket. Quite brilliant, if you like that style. Moving on…

Firstly I hope you’ve been keeping safe and that lockdown hasn’t sent you too mad just yet. Now I’m back in Suffolk I’ve been escaping into the countryside on my bike/long walks and have thoroughly enjoyed my time away from ‘thinking horse’. I will be scheduling in more time like that. In saying that I’ve spent some time pondering the approach to content and still have plenty of thinking to do on that front, moving forward. But, I have the time. In years to come we will look back at the ‘pre’ and ‘post’ Covid blog and they may well be very different beasts. There will be some changes to how I do things, for the better. I’ve been re-reading Nick Mordin’s ‘Winning Without Thinking’ which is the sort of racing book that makes you realise you may have been doing plenty wrong for the last two years! 

Secondly… a big thank you – I opened up the back end of my members software for the first time in a couple of weeks to see how many of you are still around – and it would appear not many of you have left, as yet 🙂 230 odd of you are still here – the majority of you are ‘early adopters’ and have been here for a good while – I will be sparking myself back into life to try and reward your loyalty. As I ponder the last 12-18 months there’s plenty that I could be doing better and large parts that have become stale. A thank you to all of you who post also – from the regulars to the not so regulars – while I play a deliberate part in creating an atmosphere that encourages engagement you still have to engage, and thankfully enough of you do – I think it’s fair to say that in recent months without the comments section, I may have been staring down the barrel as I don’t think my content has cut it, generally. (with some exceptions). What the landscape looks like in 6 months time, we shall see, but with any luck I produce content that is engaging, useful and profitable. I need to be far more contrarian in my thinking, while simplifying my ‘tipping’ approach.  

Thirdly… until racing (UK/Ire) returns (and who knows when that will be, but i’d be surprised if it was before June, gulp) there will be no set structure to the week on here – there will be posts to absorb and read as and when (I will be taking weekends off!)… my short term plan…

  • Today – a ‘Micro Monday’ piece that i’ve yet to start researching – but I want to have a look at Flat trainers and sires/dam-sires – i’m not sure if there will be sufficient data but there’s plenty of logic behind trainers knowing certain families etc and the impact on training methods. If there are any gems it’s also the sort of research that is not in the wider public domain/racing post etc. (you may start to sense a theme with such thinking – you can thank Mr Mordin, who’s books/ideas never seem to age even though this one was published in 2002 – some of the methods will have aged/no value any longer, but much to learn from how he thinks about the game. With that said… )  
  • ‘Winning Without Thinking’ – well i’ve been losing without thinking which is generally not the best approach I feel! I will type up some notes on my latest reflections based on this book / shape of things to come. I’ve still a few chapters to get through and some more thinking to do so that may be later this week/into next. As always a large thrust of anything I churn out is to give you something to ponder, that may improve your own punting etc. There are many things about racing that I think about, that could be flipped on their head, and thought about very differently. 
  • Festival Review – If I can stomach looking back at the week at all races that followed The Ultima (I can) I will produce some review posts, day by day, but trying to take a different approach from the generally tired review posts you read – ‘horses for the notebook’  etc- of course there will be some of those but it’s a good chance to research plenty that may help us into next jumps season. Thinking / ideas/ research that may go under the radar.  I’ll look back at how the micros/trends performed, and touch on the obvious glaring errors made by my illogical tired mind/eyes. If I do a proper job these posts may stretch over a few weeks. 
  • Videos – just a note to say my recording software is on my desktop which is still up in Liverpool. I’ve handed my notice in and need to get up there at some point to clear the place – but in any case, i’ll try and buy some software for my mac which does the same thing – as just reading/writing copious amounts may get tedious in the weeks ahead, for you and me. 


I think that’s it. To be honest i’m enjoying the lack of racing for now as it’s a welcome change to be setting my own timetable, not dictated by the racing calendar. It appears some relaxation is good for the mind. I was burnt out (which is my own fault for how I’ve done things on here/and in life in my pre Covid world) and while the general global situation is awful, it has at least given me the space to get my head into a better place. In terms of our racing bubble, we can only hope that the impacts are not too severe, but it’s hard to know at this stage. Racing and it’s finances had plenty of problems before this epidemic, as did smaller operations, and they will be exacerbated now. Our UK/IRE racing world may look very different in 12 months time but it’s hard to know how, and what changes /innovations may appear. 

Right, time for me to stick my head into Horse Race Base. I’ll be back with something worth reading later today/tomorrow. 

And again, for those of you still here, thank you. I’ve been testing your patience for too long and I’ll try and repay it in the coming months. 



Post Comments

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

29 responses

  1. Welcome back Josh, great artwork. Let’s hope we can have a limited resumption sooner or later. Mrs MC is finding far too many things for me to do in the interim 🙂 Your plans for RTP sound interesting.

    1. thanks Mark – oh well nothing too dramatic plans wise I don’t think, but I need to refresh the content/my approach, and I need to up my game with how I think about the game etc and I need to be smarter on that front. I have a rough plan for structure/areas of content to focus on etc. It needs to be more fluid, less static (which is what Section 2 had become, and based on a structure of angles which have no edge really) But it had all become a bit static, – I need a balance between lists of horses within useful micros – such as ‘monthly’ trainers (they will stay/be worked on – although may not be much good bothering until Autumn/jumps given all flat trainer’s usual MOs will have been upended etc) and useful daily info/pointers etc that have a bit more life/use to them. While focusing on quality over quantity and pondering my tipping approach etc which needs to change. Something needs to change, only idiots keep repeating the same things hoping for a different outcome.

  2. ELVIS who appeared to have everything yet was a very lonely man,his daughter Lisa Marie released this record again in 2018 with her voice added alongside her fathers for america’s lonely peoples day and this must mean so much to her.
    Once i stood in the night with my head bowed low in the darkness as black as could be and my heart felt alone and i cried oh Lord don’t hide your face from me hold my hand all the way every hour every day from here to the great unknown take my hand let me stand where no one stands alone like a king i may live in a palace so tall with great riches to call my own but i don’t know a thing in this whole wide world that’s worse than being alone hold my hand all the way every hour every day from here to the great unknown take my hand let me stand where no one stands alone take my hand let me stand where no one stands alone.
    Hear it on youtube and hear the passion from Elvis and his daughter in the song.
    Over the next 3 plus months there will be plenty of people who find it hard so please think of the single people near you and have a chat via a window or open door, for it can make all the difference.
    Take care

    1. Colin

      I liked the song very much as an Elvis fan I like most of his work but this just fitted the occasion.


      1. Hi Mike
        It is one of his songs that i had never heard before until it turned up on youtube and yes it does fit into the present times.
        Do enjoy his early rock and sadly his later songs reflect his sad and lonely life, Jail house rock is over 60 years old and it is great fun down town seeing the students dancing and singing along to it.

  3. Hi Josh good to read your update and hear you’ve been out enjoying the fresh air. As Mark says your plans are sounding interesting but please don’t put yourself under too much pressure to produce too much too soon. It’s a good time for all of us to take stock and remind ourselves of what’s important isn’t it?
    Take care and keep enjoying being back at home.

    1. Well it is a good time to take stock of life more generally, that’s very true. Oh my move back down south, although not at parents as such, will be more permanent but it is nice being back around here, even in these circs, and I feel better for it already.

      Oh I won’t don’t worry, I won’t be diving in to produce content for the sake of it, but i’ve some of my mojo back for the research side of things. For now anyway! 🙂

  4. after falling out of love with poker a couple of years back, the amount of richard craniums didn’t help, i’m just getting back into it to ease the boredom and was thinking maybe we could set up RTP tourney somewhere ?

    1. I’ve been doing the same Martin – our cricket club meet every Thursday evening (out of the cricket season) to play Poker and have now set this up on-line using “PokerStars” and we chat to each other whilst playing via ‘Zoom’.

      Josh – are you able to change my name from qwert1 to my actual name (Neil Burton) please?

      Keep safe everyone!!

      1. Hi Neil,
        If you click your green highlighted name at bottom of a post when you go to comment that should take you into a profile page where you can select the name that is shown etc. If that fails, I’ll do it my end etc! Should be easy enough and others have changed it before.

    2. Poker, that would be fun, all the home games are on stars though aren’t they? For some reason they won’t let me play on there. Stopped playing about 10 years ago, they allowed me to log in but not play!

      1. I am back on Pokerstars too occasionally. To me the river card is a bit too spectacular more than in real life, or it may be just me? Lots of bad beats going on. I did play semi pro for a few years but that was in live tournaments. I am out of practice but there still seems to be plenty of ordinary players about (I do not mean you lot)!

        1. Agree re the River card Martin – I guess it created excitement and entices people to continue to play!?

          You might have scared a few off now we know you were semi-pro 😉

  5. I like the painting. Can I get a copy signed by Really Super please?

    Well….I have been busy.

    The garden is pretty big which initially sounds good but the space just means more things grow. The dog walking still continues unabated but I have now caught up on podcasts.

    I was due to start new projects on Baseball and Cricket. I have done the prep work but until we get going again and I can get data……. I am still writing blogs on Golf and Football once a week.

    I did go through the Cheltenham races again for anything worth backing early for the 2021 festival but I did not think that there was much value about at present. Once we get going again properly I will look again.

    I plan to start some micro searching for the flat season soon but I am not planning on seeing any decent racing until June at best.

    I see that we have the virtual grand national is being run on Saturday and that they will be betting on it. In my experience of horse racing algorithms you have to run them a significant number of times through a Monte Carlo simulation to see if they are any good and try to iron out the errors. I guess the guys who put it together have done this. However if they are only running it once!!!!! I guess that it has been ‘twiddled’ a bit and may favour the more fancied runners. We shall see? I will have another look at the supposed market on Friday and comment again then.

    Good to see Josh back and I hope that the rest of you are coping well enough.

    1. Hi Martin good to hear you are alive and kicking in these dark times, virtual grand national don’t think i will bother watching it.
      Had a lovely 2 weeks with no racing however will start research of some ideas from tomorrow.
      For all the desperate fly up the wall racing is good, going for the left one oh no its just fell off dead!!
      Stay safe

    2. Hi Martin,

      Interesting comment this comment, “I guess that it has been ‘twiddled’ a bit and may favour the more fancied runners. We shall see?”

      Just as i thought or am i being cynical, the result is pre scripted, so some one MUST know the result, it will be interesting to see where the money goes the night before to mop up the best prices, though only Betfair and Paddy Power are pricing up with Betfred also joining the fray apparently.

      The only thing different in this case is that the bookies can’t fiddle the result in their favour.

  6. Grundy, it’s definitely not possible to know the result beforehand it’s an algorithmic RNG of sorts and definitely not pre-scripted. It’s also not in their interests for it to be fixed in any way, the same as for all games involving RNG’s especially online poker.

  7. Hi Josh,
    Delighted to hear your coming out of the Churchill “ Black Dog “ !
    There was a name from 20 + years ago —- Nick Mordin. I used to think his “ Weekender “ articles were brilliantly researched and like yourself I think he tried to specialise rather than being superficial on every aspect . I wonder if he is still around ?
    I the same way that you specialise in 3 mile + handicap chases I would be very happy we’re you to specialise in races wher Draw advantage doesn’t really come in to play— 1 mile +
    Good punting and enjoy the solitude.

    1. Ah, i’d like to think it wasn’t as bad as that but I fear i’d become stuck in a generally unenjoyable routine that I was struggling to break / re-set. As was probably evident.

      Yep NM refers to those articles plenty in the book i’m reading at the moment. I think his ‘betting for a living’ was the first racing book I read. He must be around somewhere but no idea what he’s doing – I read he may have possibly relocated to the US.

      Hmm, well you say ‘specialise’ – i feel I may need to broaden my horizons possibly through the ‘best of the blog’ aspect, if I get my content firing – although the lure of those races will often be too much I suspect! But I need to ponder the approach to those -although I suppose the Ultima was the one high from Festival week. But doing less but doing it better, and with the odd day off, may just help generally when it comes to those. I have been over thinking plenty and over complicating at times.

      Yep in terms of The Flat – I have very much gone off sprint handicaps – too many variables and results dictated by split decisions / the start etc. And often always double figure fields that in time can just give you a headache. Well that’s what I found, with maybe the C2s/Heritage an exception from a trends/stats perspective.
      But yes certainly 8 / 10f + could be an area to home in on, more time for races to develop/tactics/pace etc.


  8. How about a separate post for the Virtual Grand National? Given it’s an algorithmic based race, albeit with only 3 previous runnings, got to think that a trends based approach can get us pretty close. From an initial look seems like 4m form and LTO win in important….which gets me to Potters Corner.

      1. Not for me Josh,
        Red Rum 3 wins and 2 seconds in the race when the fences were stiff and harder, doubt if Tiger Roll would have got round over them if the fences were the same today.
        Would have liked Tiger to have been second if the race had gone ahead.

        1. Well, winning 3 in a row would have been history and that’s indisputable as no horse has ever done that – comparing horses of different eras etc is pointless given changes that go on , inc to training techniques and veterinary developments. Red Rum is a National great, and as is Tiger Roll (a ‘modern’ National great- and time will tell with these new fences how easy back to back Nationals will be) – i’m all for looking at the old fences and new fences as separate races, but again that makes comparisons futile. You have to stay better now, arguably, because they go a harder gallop for longer. Would Tiger Roll have won or even got round over the old fences – probably not, would Red Rum have had the stamina/tactical speed for Tiger Roll last 2 years in conditions – no idea.

          The debate about the fences is a different one but I’m glad they changed it as the death toll was too high for my comfort levels and I doubt the race would be in existence if they hadn’t done something about it, and jumps racing would have been in trouble maybe more generally given the times we are in. Going into those old National races knowing there was a greater chance of something not coming home was never great imo, but each to their own on that front. I like the changes and it hasn’t made the races any less competitive / harder to solve – and the fences still look ‘visually’ impressive to the horses, mentally if anything – many don’t take to them etc, the fields still get strung out and plenty PUS, and they have built the birch up better last 2 years. Falls/UR still happen but they are softer and better for the horses. But I quite enjoy the fact that more horses are coming home in one piece than was the case (that’s across all races over those fences also) and for me that makes it better, and sustainable into the future.


  9. Fun/cheap cash Poker Tournament for those interested (£5.5 buy in) – hosted by a racing colleague I know well, Josh Allen, who is part of ‘Bet Chat’ now , (used to be agora/betting rant etc , anyway, he can be trusted…)

    Josh Allen/Bet Chat

    Registration/pokers stars set up if unfamiliar –

    1. Head to pokerstars.uk.
    2. Click ‘Join’ in the top right hand corner and create an account if you don’t already have one.
    3. Download the free poker software and, once downloaded, open the software and log in.

    4. On the software home screen click ‘More’ in the bottom right hand corner.
    5. Click ‘Home Games’ and then click ‘Join a Poker Club’.
    6. Enter your name and the following details:

    7. Club ID: 3340941
    8. Invitation Code: alwaysapleasure

    9. Once I’ve accepted you as a member, click on our club (ID above) and click ‘Open Club Lobby’…

    10. Click Schedule, then click on the tournament shown (3rd April)

    11. Click ‘Play Now’ (top right)…

    12. At this stage you’ll need to deposit £5.50 into your account (if you don’t have money in there already) to enter the tournament. This money goes out as prize money to the winner, so don’t worry, it’s not a random fee. Once the money is in your Poker Stars account you can join the competition, which will start at 7pm tonight.


Leave a Reply

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