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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

Beat The Odds and you Will Profit

Sometimes in life we need to remind ourselves of the fundamentals of whatever we are striving to be successful with in order to get our ship back on course.

With betting the biggest fundamental is value and the easiest way to make money from betting is to make your bets at odds that are better than starting price.

And beat starting price when it is adjusted down for a true market IE the prices make up a 100% chance when all possible outcomes are added up.

Starting price, especially these days with the betting exchange markets is an easy and reasonably reliable indicator of the true price/chance for any runner.

And the easiest and most efficient way to do that these days is to beat Betfair SP.

Betfair SP makes up to 100% and the prices are fair to both backers and layers.

If you can beat the Betfair SP consistently then you will make a profit.

There are tipping services that base their whole selection criteria around betting on horses that are showing signs that they will shorten in price from the morning bookie price to the starting price.

Although that is a winning strategy in itself, a better strategy is to study form and make your own selections, determine your own prices and bet where the early prices are bigger than your assessment.

That can be hard work though and you may want somebody to tell you what to bet to beat the market and if you want to be a winner without the work I would recommend Rory Delargy of the http://racingconsultants.co.uk

Rory regularly beats Betfair starting price and consequently he makes steady and consistent profits.

he also gives a full analysis of every bet he gives so you know exactly why they have made each bet. These write ups invariably include other profitable info and bets that are below Rory's minimum price

http://racingconsultants.co.uk

Updated 27 Jan 2020

Green Up: How To Calculate Your Stakes

The first thing to say is that when this article was first written there was no cash out button on Betfair, so life is easier if you just want to lock in a profit and green up on a horse you've bet, no calculator required. But don't expect to get the best bet possible using the cash out button!

But you should know the maths and how to calculate your own stakes for greening up and that's what we cover on this page.

Yesterday Pete asked how do we calculate our stakes when we have made a trade and we want to green up.

So Pete has backed a horse that is shortening in price and he wants to green up on that selection. IE lock in a profit whatever the outcome.

If for example you were lucky or smart enough to get on Shaws Diamond yesterday morning you could have bet it at around 16.0.

This mare started with a Betfair SP of 6.64. (Easier to find these greening up opportunities in hindsight!!)

So let's say you had a back bet for £10 at 16.0 in the morning and it's just before the off and your horse is now trading at 6.8.

You want to lock in a profit on Shaw's Diamond and want to know what stake to lay at 6.8.

The calculation is to multiply your initial stake times your initial back odds (£10 x 16.0 = £160)

You then divide that by the lay price that you can get (£160/6.8 = £23.52)

Place your lay of £23.52 at 6.8 and your initial bet of £10 has now converted to a guaranteed payout of £12.84.

I mentioned a while back that a lot of serious backers don't wait for a selection to win these days.

Instead they lock in a profit once their horse trades down to a certain level and then lock in the profit.

This method is great for predetermined trades or for when you have time to calculate the stake.

When the pressure is on you might prefer to use lay calculator software that can make the bet in the click of a button 🙂

If you want to it the other way around. So say you have one that's drifting and you lay a tenner at 6.8 and now can back it at 16.0.

Multiply your lay price by your lay stake (£10 x 6.8 = £68) and then divide that by your new odds (£68/16.0 = £4.25).

Back your selection for £4.25 at 16.0 and lock in a £5.46 profit.

A final note: It's easier to find steamers just listen to the pundits and check out free tipsters. Also you risk less money in the initial bet and get a better profit on the green up.

(Green Up: Common parlance for a guaranteed profit on Betfair where every selection shows it will profit if that selection win)

Backing Favourites for a Living – Malcolm Pett

Backing Favourites for a Living

This page started life with an article from Malcolm Pett that asked the simple question “can you make money backing favourites”.

Malcolms original article is included below but before we get to that, a few thoughts from 2019.

Backing Favourites

The first thing to say is that you can’t bet all favourites and expect to make a profit.

That’s just not how the betting market works, there is always a profit margin built into a bookies prices, but because it isn’t an exact science not all prices reflect the true chance of the horse.

And so it is possible to cherry pick the best value favourites and to make a profit from those.

Some Facts

The headline fact is that favourites have won 34.99% of all races over the last 10 years up to November 2019.

If you had bet them all for £1 you would have been on 114584 bets, won 40,088 times and lost £7,904 at industry SP.

Your ROI would have been – 6.9%.

The split is pretty even across Flat, All Weather and National Hunt.

That is a pretty small loss percentage wise and that is what we have to overcome to make a profit.

One way to do that is to drill down into a sub set of races, a very small subset like this system 

Another is to search for false favourites. favourites that are at the head of the market on hype rather than proven form, favourites that are on unproven ground or have some other negative factor that is against them.

BOG

As with any backing if you can bet at best odds guaranteed then you can squeeze another few percentage points from your bets.

Although we all ultimately have BOG taken from us as we become more successful, if you still have it take advantage.

It is fair to say that the bookies are a lot more tolerant of punters who bet and win on shorter priced selections and your account and privileges.

Betfair SP

You can get even closer to making a profit with Betfair SP. in fact the loss we reported above for all favourites for the past 5 years reduces to 3575 when betting at Betfair SP and ROI of – 3.12%.

Psychologically betting favourites is a good idea, many a bettor has abandoned a winning strategy because they couldn’t tolerate a losing run.

Alternative Strategies

What we really want to do when we bet favourites is to bet at a high strike rate with shorter losing runs.

Other options are to bet favourites in the place only markets at Betfair, which will get you a much higher strike rate.

Or dutching together selections to have multiple runners in a race and of course a much higher strike rate. You can use our dutching tool to work out you stakes.

Here is Malcolm's original article from 2014…

Today we have our regular Wednesday article from Malcolm Pett and this week's subject is backing favourites for a living

Can you make money backing favourites?

Most people tell you that there is no value in backing favourites and you should stay clear of them and look for those “outsiders” that come in now and then, at a really good value.

It sounds plausible except almost 80% of all winners come from the top 3 or 4 in the betting and so although it’s not rare to see an outsider come in at great value…

…It’s not easy finding and identifying them.

Backing Favourites for a Living

If you have read any of my articles then you are probably aware that I tend to go on about strike rate and average winning odds a lot.

There is good reason for this…

…They are important…very important.

At the end of the day all that matters is that these two figures stack up and make you a profit.

If you go for the lower strike rate range then you will need higher odds to make money.

Where a higher strike rate means you need lower odds to make money.

So it doesn’t matter if you are on favourites or outsiders the figures still have to add up.

People love going on about finding value and if you like being a detective then it is really good fun.

But value bets winning are rare and so even if you get good at spotting them your strike rate is still going to be low, meaning you will get a lot of losers before finding a winner.

Looking for value bets also needs a big bank roll and you need to know when to take advantage of the odds available.

I follow a number of systems like this and you soon find out that you have to go through losing runs of 20, 30 or even 50, to make these systems work.

Not many people are prepared to do this and not many people have the bank to support it.

I am not saying you shouldn’t have high price value strategies…

…I am just saying it probably doesn’t want to be your only strategy.

But we have already talked about there being no profit in favourites so what else can we do?

Well let’s discuss that for a moment.

Let us say that we came up with a system that uses favourites and has an average strike rate of 50%.

That means “on average” we win one bet and we lose one bet.

So every time we lose…we lose 1 point which means every time we win we need to do better than 1 pt to make money.

In fact if we take Betfair prices where we can generally do a little better then we need an average winning price of 1.05, just to break even.

So let’s say for arguments sake we get on average a winning price 1.26 (2.26).

1.26 * 5% = 0.06 = 1.20 profit

So if we had 100 selections in a month and won on 50 of them it would look like this…

50 * 1.20 = 60 – 50 = 10 points.

So as you can see we don’t have to have a very high “average winning odds” to make a decent amount of points every month.

The thing is to test…it’s no good saying you cannot make money on favourites unless you try some strategies over 2 or 3 months.

If you pick well then even if you don’t get the prices you need. You are unlikely to lose as much as you would following a low strike rate high value system with long losing runs.

Malcolm

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