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John Gibby – Well Handicapped Horses

Today we have the first part of an interview with John Gibby the author of Well Handicapped Horses

We also have details of two of John’s well handicapped horses running today.

This interview was conducted by Steve Carter of the Betting School Insiders Club.


INTERVIEW WITH JON GIBBY

When did you first get interested in horse racing and betting?

Whilst living in Hong Kong between 1979/1980. My father and two elder brothers were regular visitors to the two racecourses (Sha Tin and Happy Valley) and I remember being impressed on the couple of occasions that they returned home and emptied some quite large amounts of money onto the dining-room table!

My first visit to a racetrack came a few years later when I was nineteen. That was when I came to believe that there was money to be made from betting on horses.

Although I lost what little money I had that day, by betting on horses that I liked the look of in the paddock, my brothers had been studying the form and they proceeded to go through the card.

The last winner (if memory serves me correctly) was a horse called Taskforce Victory which landed them a six horse accumulator and the Placepot and combined winnings of over £2000.

It was soon after that that I began to take a keen interest in the contents of the Sporting Life paper that they regularly bought and to start listening to what they had to say about form analysis!

Did your betting activities bring instant success or did it take a while to learn the ropes?

There was certainly no instant success. It took years before I began to show regular profits.

Both myself and my brothers spent years trying to develop those illusive winning systems but most of them were unceremoniously binned after the first inevitable losing run. I had a few decent successes with Lucky 15 bets which helped to recoup some of my losses but overall, although I didn’t keep records of every bet, I was certainly in deficit to the bookies.

The great majority of punters will spend years losing money whilst learning the trade and the great majority will continue to lose money because they can’t or don’t want to learn from their experience!

Were there any early influences that shaped your approach to successful betting?

Yes, without a doubt the biggest influence was Nick Mordin’s ground breaking book Betting for a Living.

Nick’s work was outstanding, primarily because it was such a huge step up on previous British racing literature. It was this book that showed me how to work out my own draw statistics and also introduced me to pace analysis. More importantly, it also helped me to discover that there were numerous excellent American books waiting to be read and works by authors such as Andy Beyer, Tom Ainslie, William Quirin and Tom Brohammer completely transformed my understanding of form.

How would you best sum up your own style of betting?

Periodic and selective. I don’t bet professionally and I am still in the same full-time occupation that I joined twenty-five years ago. For me, betting has been, and always will be, a hobby that I aim to make a few thousand pounds out of each year, whether that be by writing books or by betting. Because of my job (which involves shift work) I don’t have the time or the energy to commit to the necessary amount of form study over long periods of time.

I tend to give it maximum effort from April through to July, betting exclusively on the Flat and then I will have just an occasional dabble during the rest of the year.

I also bet selectively. I identify horses that I believe to be well-handicapped (and therefore probable future winners) and I keep a list of them to follow. Most of them are lightly raced three-year-olds which I look to back in the first half of the season (whilst they remain well-handicapped).

Most of my analysis is done when looking at the results pages published in the Weekender every Wednesday. I scour the results looking for horses that have run well despite being disadvantaged by the various biases that are present to varying degrees in each and every race. I am also looking out for horses that have clocked fast times. For a fuller explanation of the methodology, readers will have to buy my latest book!

What led you to writing your first book “Betting on Flat Handicaps?”

I used to subscribe to the weekly publication Raceform Update and I particularly enjoyed reading the letters and systems submitted by readers to the Sports Forum page. About sixteen years ago I began sending in my own letters.

They seemed to be well received in the main and because I was making good profits at the time from the methodology I was using I decided to take it a step further and write a book. I sent in a couple of chapters to Raceform with an explanation of what would be in the remainder of the book and to my surprise they said ‘yes’!

How was your own P&L affected by the disclosure of the methods described in the book?

It is difficult to know. The method I used then was built around my knowledge of draw bias, which for a good few years gave me a significant edge over the majority of other punters.

That began to diminish as more and more people became aware of the power of the draw and the odds about the well-drawn runners started to tumble. Perhaps my book contributed to that to some extent, but I think that Graham Wheldon’s books about the draw, which were published around that time, were more influential in changing people’s perceptions.

More generally, I would say that it is a truism that winning methods normally have a limited lifetime because inevitably other people will catch on to them and they eventually become over bet as a consequence.

The game keeps slowly changing and you have to keep adapting your methods in an attempt to stay one step ahead of other punters. There is of course no guarantee that you can keep successfully doing that and that is why I have always been reluctant to risk packing up the day job in favour of full-time punting.

In your opinion where does the average every day punter go wrong given that the statistics generally quote that 98% make a loss?

They bet in too many races and on the wrong type of horse. Most people would improve their chance of success if they became a lot more selective and put more money on fewer bets. Another truism in my view is that you cannot construct good bets every time you open the Racing Post, but instead you have to wait for them to come along.

I am reminded of this most years during Royal Ascot week and the Cheltenham Festival. I meet up with one of my brothers and we treat the weeks as a bit of fun and try to find the winner of every race. More often than not we fail dismally!

In part two tomorrow John talks about his current methods for finding winners.

There are two of John’s well handicapped horses running today…


Today’s Selections courtesy of Well Handicapped Horses

4.00pm Nottingham – Future Security

Related to five winners and cost 160,000gns as a yearling. He was a relatively late foal (April 8) and will make a better 3yo once he matures and based on his 2yo form he gave the impression that he might make into Listed class.

This season he won a class 4 3yo handicap at Bath in early August and finished down the field next time out in the very hot class 2 Melrose Stakes at York. Last time out having been close up he weakened out of it on his first run on firm going and has been dropped a couple of pounds in the handicap. The forecast going today is good to soft and he drops back to a trip more in line with his two wins to date which were over 9f and 10f. Has proven form in the conditions and the ease in class may be able to bring out a return to form for this lightly raced colt should he take his chance.

13/2 Bet365 – win bet

8.30pm Kempton – Eraada

Related to no less than 12 winners including the 118 rated Almutawake so she has a lot to live up to. Being by Medician she is probably going to be suited by a sound surface. She won on her final start as a 2yo in a maiden at Catterick over 7f and did well from a poor draw. Hopefully she will get better with age and a rating of 73 looks manageable.

So far this season two runs have not shown much and she now runs off a mark of 69. Interestingly she is upped in trip to 11f for the first time having not into either of her starts over 7f and 8f as a 3yo and the trainer certainly knows the time of day when it comes to trip. This is her easiest assignment and given she stays then may have a lively chance.

14/1 Bet365 – each way bet

Breeders Cup Tips

It's Friday and so we have our regular look at the weekend racing from Nick Hardman of Betting School Insiders (http://dailypunt.com/nickhardman )

We had another decent return last week with Kleo faring best of our Cumani runners at Doncaster, winning her race at 11/2. Wishfull Thinking (adv 14/1) was one of our each-way alternatives in the Old Roan Chase with the caveat his chances would increase with the arrival of any rain.

As it happens he bolted up on good ground with not a drop of rain in sight. This Friday we will take a look at the Breeders’ Cup and we have a selection from the Charlie Hall Chase meeting from Wetherby.

To me the Breeders’ Cup is one of those meetings where a small wager can increase your enjoyment of watching it, rather than it being a serious punting mission like Royal Ascot or the Cheltenham Festival. The main action takes place on Saturday but one horse I like runs on Friday in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Much is often made of the European runners being better on turf than their American counterparts but on this occasion I am siding with the home filly Lady Eli. Unbeaten in two starts she has had the same prep as her trainer’s previous winner in this race, namely Maram in 2008, including a win in the recognised trial race The Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont. She has the finishing kick to go close here. Osaila looks the best of the Europeans.

Goldencents looks to have a massive chance in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and I am happy to have him onside at 5/4. He has most things in his favour here and for once I will side with a favourite as he bids to defend his crown.

Breeders Cup Friday
Juvenile Fillies Turf – Lady Eli @13/2
Dirt Mile – Goldencents @5/4

On Saturday Silviniaco Conti should win the Charlie Hall Chase in what is an above average renewal, but 5/4 is plenty short enough for what is essentially a prep run.

Earlier on the card I will have a couple of quid on Aurore D’Estruval in the mares hurdle. She is a course and distance winner and acquitted herself well in two subsequent starts at Haydock (subsequent Fred Winter winner Hawk High tailed off in last place) and at Aintree when 5th in a Grade 1 won by Guitar Pete. This is a Listed race and back against her own sex she can go well.

Back to the USA and I make Dank the standout bet in the Filly and Mare Turf. She has been kept in training this season with this race her prime objective. Not only will she get her firm ground but she will once again have the services of Ryan Moore, undoubtedly the best jockey on the planet right now. Add to that the positive vibes from the Stoute yard about her well-being and she has to be top of most people’s shortlist. I make her my NAP for Saturday’s action.

Elsewhere, Daredevil could take some pegging back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 3/1 looks a fair price.

Saturday

Wetherby 2.05pm – Aurore D’Estruval

Breeders’ Cup
Filly and Mare Turf – Dank @9/4
Juvenile – Daredevil @3/1

Betfred Mile Tips

Today we are joined by Nick Hardman of Betting School Insiders who has analysed the Betfred King George Stakes and the Betfred Mile.

To get access to all Nick's tips join him at http://bettinginsiders.com

The Glorious Goodwood festival is in full flow and Friday sees the Group 2 Betfred King George Stakes over 5f and the 20 runner Betfred Mile heritage handicap. I have run the rule over the entries and hopefully identified a few likely types including a 28/1 outsider for the feature sprint.

3.05pm Betfred Mile (Heritage handicap) 1m

A big field handicap over a mile and it is worth applying some trends to try and whittle the field down to a few likely contenders.

16 of the last 17 winners were all aged 3 to 5yo
14 of the last 17 winners had a previous win at the distance
All bar two of the winners since 1997 had raced in the last 30 days
14 of the winners since 1997 had run to a top 5 finish LTO

That leaves us with a short list of three – Velox, Russian Realm and Heavy Metal.

With Russian Realm doubtful we are left with the top two in the betting. These horses are those that best match the profiles of previous winners since 1997.

Trends selections: Velox @7/1 and Heavy Metal @9/1

3.40pm King George Stakes 5f

Caspian Prince looks a tad overpriced @28/1 given he has some decent form on downhill tracks including a win in the Epsom dash earlier this year.

This is an obvious step up in class but he is a speedy type who should be suited by the track and must have an each-way shout if the rain stays away (best form on good to firm).

Demora is another who brings good handicap form to the table and is worth a crack at this level. On form then Extortionist looks the one to beat but is priced up accordingly.

Tropics also has top notch Group form including a career best runner up spot to Slade Power in the July Cup.

However, this is his first attempt at the minimum trip.

Hamza has a Group 3 win to this name three starts back (Es Que Love back in 2nd) and will most likely attempt to make all. He looks a solid back-to-lay proposition.

Last year’s winner Moviesta has failed to go on this year but his figures over 5f on good or good to firm are excellent. I think he will run well.

Likeliest winner: Extortionist @9/2
Alternative: Moviesta @8/1
Each-way alternatives: Caspian Prince @28/1

Finally don’t forget to keep an eye out for the 2yo Godolphin runners at Newmarket this Friday and Saturday. We have previously highlighted their performance at the July course over the last 5 years and they have proved very profitable to follow for this column in the last 4 weeks.

Nick Hardman
http://bettinginsiders.com

Hawkeye Column

Hawkeye TipsToday I'm pleased to announce that not only do we have some words of wisdom from Peter Hawkeye but we also have a special offer on his service.

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Click Here to Trial Hawkeye Tips

Over to Peter…

I do like it when the racing trade press make assumptions about runners that are not strictly true, I call this lazy journalism.

That is the case in point today with Gregorian 3.30 Newmarket.

In the Racing Post it states that the horse is best with some ease in the ground. Well how can that be true? When the horse has only once ran on Good – Firm going in 2011 as a 2 year old in a very hot sales race and ran pretty well.

The fact that it has not raced on that surface since must leave the original statement in doubt, for we just don’t know that it is true or not. Until we see more evidence i.e it runs on the ground a few times no one can make that judgement.

I suspect that Gregorian may run well today even though you will not get rich at 11’2.

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