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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.


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

Yarmouth Selections

There's racing at Yarmouth today so it's time to pull out our Yarmouth Trainers system.

You'll remember that back in July we published a list of trainers that were profitable to follow at Yarmouth.

Since we created that system it has had…

Bets = 41
Wins = 11
Strike Rate = 26.8
Profit at iSP = 21.13
ROI = 50.3%

Which is pretty impressive.

You can see the original article here http://dailypunt.com/profitable-yarmouth-trainers/

Today these trainers have the following runners…

14:30:00 Deep Blue Sea
14:30:00 Imtiyaaz (IRE)
14:30:00 Nouveau Foret
15:00:00 Edge of Love
15:00:00 MuffriHa (IRE)
15:00:00 Queens Pearl (IRE)
15:30:00 Mr Shekells
16:00:00 Barwah (USA)
16:30:00 Kinshasa
17:00:00 Rosslyn Castle
17:00:00 Wannabe Your Man
17:30:00 Rex Imperator
17:30:00 Royal Rock
18:00:00 Vodka Chaser (IRE)

As you can see a lot of qualifiers and some races have three qualifiers.

I'll let you decide what to do with them, you could dutch the races with multiple selections. You could add your own analysis to select just one horse in those races.

But as this is a new under test approach whatever you decide keep your stakes small.

By the way one guy who takes the trainer based system approach and does extremely well is Ed Turner at http://winningtrends.co.uk he is 37 points up so far this month using this type of system and only charges £20 per month.

Newcastle Trainer Trends

Today Nick Hardman of Betting School Insiders Club takes a look at key trends for both jockeys and trainers at the Newcastle meeting.

Don't forget you can get free winning tips from the Betting School every weekend when you register on their site at http://betting-school.com.

We landed a nice winner and a few placed finishers at decent odds last Friday and this week we head off to Newcastle. The three trainers of interest are Michael Dods, Richard Guest and Tony Coyle who boast course strike rates of 16%, 16% and 19%. If we dig a little deeper we can improve on those statistics by targeting certain races and certain types of horse.

Michael Dods does exceptionally well with his 3yo handicappers at Newcastle. He has had 11 winners from 37 runners at strike rate of 30% and a level stakes profit of £27.05 since 2010. He sends the following horses to Newcastle on Friday:

2.30pm Cara’s Request & Escape To Glory in 7f handicap
3.00pm Blackfoot Brave in the 7f maiden
3.35pm Trinity Star in the 1m 2f handicap
5.10pm Dartrix in the 6f handicap

Trinity Star is the only 3yo handicapper from those horses listed above. Paul Mulrennan takes the ride on Escape To Glory, Blackfoot Brave and Trinity Star. He has ridden 3 winners from 5 rides for Michael Dods at Newcastle since 2012. Connor Beasley takes the ride on Dartrix and the Dods/ Beasley pairing have combined well this season including two winners from their last 4 starts.

Our next trainer is Richard Guest. If we concentrate on his 2yo – 4yo handicappers he has had 16 winners from 62 runners at a strike rate of 26% and a level stakes profit of £85.42 since 2010. He has a fantastic 42% place strike rate too, so backing all those runners each-way would have increased profits to £111.52. On Friday he saddles the following runners:

2.00pm Penalty Scorer in the 5f Nursery
2.30pm Johnny Cavagin & Sakhalin Star in the 7f handicap
5.10pm Hazza The Jazza in the 6f handicap

Penalty Scorer (2yo), Sakhalin Star (3yo) and Hazza The Jazza (4yo) will all be ridden by Duiilo Da Silva who claims a useful 5lbs. Richard Guest’s last 5 runners at the track have finished 21112.

Our final trainer is Tony Coyle who does quite well with his handicappers of any age. He has had 7 winners from 32 runners at a strike rate of 22% and a level stakes profit of £24.00 since 2010. He has an impressive 48% place strike rate, so backing all those runners each-way would have increased profits to £41.62. On Friday he saddles the following runners:

2.00pm Snoway in the 5f Nursery
3.00pm Molly Approve in the 7f maiden
3.35pm Shirocco Passion in the 1m 2f handicap

Snoway is perhaps his most interesting runner stepping up into handicap company for the first time after showing some ability in 3 maidens so far. She finished 4th on both her first two outings in Class 5 company before finishing a disappointing 10th of 12 in a Class 3 at York.

If we go strictly by the strongest statistics, the qualifiers are:

2.00pm Penalty Scorer @7/2 & Snoway @14/1 in the 5f Nursery
2.30pm Johnny Cavagin 14/1 & Sakhalin Star @25/1 in the 7f handicap
3.35pm Trinity Star @5/1 & Shirocco Passion @25/1 in the 1m 2f handicap
5.10pm Hazza The Jazza @12/1 in the 6f handicap

However, anything saddled by Michael Dods is worth a second look in the market whilst Tony Coyle’s horses look to be the outsiders in our list, especially Shirocco Passion who has shown nothing in 3 runs this year.

Today's Selection

6.30 Newmarket Manshaa – win bet 7/2 bet 365, bet victor

Musselburgh Tips

Today we have a guest post from Nick Hardman of Betting School Insiders (http://bettinginsiders.com)

Musselburgh Tips and Trainer Trends

We are off to Musselburgh in search of winners on Friday and we have a few trainers with some impressive strike rates at the Scottish track.

First up is Philip Kirby who does well with his handicap runners. He does not do so well with his sprinters so best to concentrate on those races of 7f or longer.

Philip Kirby – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014 over 7f or longer

Philip Kirby – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014 over 7f or longer

On Friday he has the following qualifiers – Forgiving Glance (2.30pm), Just Paul (3.30pm) and Rocky Two (4.30pm).

Our next trainer to follow is Alan Swinbank who also does well with his handicappers at middle and staying distances:

Alan Swinbank – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014 over 1 mile to 1 mile 6f

Alan Swinbank – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014 over 1 mile to 1 mile 6f

On Friday he runs Lady Kashaan & Dark Ruler (4.00pm). Robert Winston takes the ride on Lady Kashaan and the Swinbank/ Winston pairing has bagged 5 winners from 11 rides in the last 2 years at Musselburgh.

Our third trainer is Michael Dods. He is another trainer who excels with his handicappers at the course.

Michael Dods – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014

Michael Dods – handicaps at Musselburgh 2010 – 2014

On Friday he runs Alan’s Pride (2.30pm) in the Nursery. Connor Beasley takes the ride and the Dods/ Beasley combination has teamed up for 4 winners from 6 rides at the course in the last 2 years.

A few of you have asked for a list of trainers with a high strike rate at the courses we cover in this Friday column. Here is the list for all trainers with a 20% or higher strike rate at Musselburgh since 2010 (minimum of 20 runners):

R. Fahey 24%
P. Kirby 27%
Declan Carroll 26%
M. Dods 28%
A. Swinbank 21%

On a final note for Musselburgh, William Haggas has had just 11 runners at the track since 2010 but 5 have won, including three of the last four. In fact he is 1-1 in 2012, 1-1 in 2013 and 1-2 in 2014. Keep an eye out for anything he runs up at the Scottish track.

Finally, we have previously highlighted the performance of the Tom Dascombe/ Richard Kingscote combination at Haydock and on Friday they team up with the unraced Opportuna (6.20pm) and War Paint (6.50pm).

It will be interesting to see how they run at what may well be decent odds.

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