Tag Archives: Soft

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

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)

Racing Tips – Nick Hardman

Today we have my favourite column of the week, the Nick Hardman – Betting Insiders column.

Before I hand you over to Nick just to mention that there is a qualifier from the Tongue Tie system, which we are paper trading currently and that's 16:15 Sandown Paddy The Stout.

If you enjoy Nick's columns as much as I do then do check out the Betting School Insiders Club where you can enjoy more of his wisdom.

Here's Nick…

We have jumps racing at Fakenham and Sandown today and Nicky Henderson’s runners might be worth a second look in the betting markets given his record at both tracks.

Since January 2011 he has sent 30 runners to Fakenham and 13 have won. However, backing each of those runners to level stakes would have resulted in a very small loss at SP.

Dig a little deeper and we find that his Fakenham runners are 1-6 in chases, 8-19 in hurdles races and 4-5 in bumper races.

Taking a closer look at the hurdlers we find they are 5-10 in novice races, 2-5 in maiden races and 1-4 in handicaps.

He has the following entries at the time of writing:

1.45 Medieval Chapel (Beginners’ Chase)
3.25pm Clean Sheet (Novices’ Hurdle)
4.35pm Clemency (Mares’ NH Flat Race)

At Sandown, Nicky Henderson has had 35 winners from 145 runners in the last 5 years at a strike rate of 24% and shows a level stakes profit of £36.07.

His hurdlers are 26-95 (27% strike rate) and show a profit of £47.72.

He has won with 8 of his last 18 hurdlers at the course for a profit of £27.69.

The Barry Geraghty/ Nicky Henderson partnership has teamed up for 17 hurdle winners at Sandown from 42 runners at an impressive strike rate of 41% and a level stakes profit of £41.12.

Nicky Henderson has the following entries at Sandown today:

2.30pm Broxbourne (Geraghty) & Hel Tara (Mares’ Novice Hurdle)

One of the feature races of the weekend is the Grand National Trial at Haydock.

Last Friday our trends analysis identified Violet Dancer as a likely candidate for the Betfair Hurdle and I am hoping for more of the same this weekend.

The key trends are a win over 3m or further, aged 9yo – 11yo, not raced in the last 31 days, raced over 3m 5f or further, a top two finish LTO and trained by Paul Nicholls, Lucinda Russell or Venetia Williams.

In addition, only 3 winners since 1997 have carried more than 11st to victory on soft or heavy going.

There is one horse who ticks all the trends boxes apart from the trainer box and that is Harry The Viking.

He has not won since his novice days from where he went on to finish runner-up to Teaforthree in the National Hunt Chase at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival.

That run earned him a rating of 143 and he competed in the Scottish National, The Hennessy and the Grand National after that.

However, he failed to build on that early promise and his mark plummeted to 122.

Off that mark he ran his best race in a long time when runner-up to Lie Forrit last time out when 2lbs out of the handicap. He has been raised just 2lbs for that effort.

Haydock Grand National Trial – Harry The Viking @20/1 (e/w)

At that price he would be the biggest winner since Rambling Minster @18/1 in 2009 but Rigadin De Beauchene won this @16/1 last year and 8 of the last 12 winners returned SPs of 10/1 or higher.

Big Race Tips

Thank Nick it's Friday 🙂

Nick Hardman (http://bettinginsiders.com) is back with tips for today's racing at Exeter and tomorrow at Sandown and Aintree.

By the way Nick also has an excellent article in the December On Course Profits magazine which explains his methods for finding winning trainer angles.

You can get that magazine for free at http://oncourseprofits.com

Over to Nick…

I have been working on some betting angles for the AW Championships that I will share with you as soon as they are ready. For a bit of a change I have taken a look at Friday’s card from Exeter which features three valuable races. We follow that up with a trends analysis and some pointers for the Becher Chase and my fancies for the Tingle Creek and the Grand Sefton Handicap Chase.

Exeter hosts a really good card today including a £12k Novice Chase, a £15k Handicap Chase and the £12k Devon Marathon Handicap chase over 4 miles. I have gone through the card in search of value plays and worthwhile betting opportunities.

The novice chase at 1.10pm is a fascinating race featuring a couple of smart former hurdlers in Deputy Dan (2nd in the 2014 Albert Bartlett and rated 145 over hurdles) and Saphir Du Rheu (Lanzarote hurdle winner and Welsh Champion hurdle winner last season and rated 168). Deputy Dan has form figures 21 over fences.

He was beaten on debut by Virak who has since followed up in impressive fashion at Haydock. Deputy Dan won his next start, beating Far West who was also a decent hurdler. That gives him a form line with Dunraven Storm (who also beat Far West) who won a Grade 2 Novice Chase at Cheltenham’s November meeting.

Saphir Du Rheu unseated on debut but is held in high regard by Paul Nicholls and he would win this if translating his hurdles form to fences. Connections (same ownership as Big Buck’s and Celestial Halo) have said they might go back over hurdles if he fails to perform here. If you think he won’t get round you can lay him for a place on the exchanges at around 1.10. If pushed for a tip I would go for Deputy Dan on that form line with Dunraven Storm.

The handicap chase at 1.40pm will probably see Paul Nicholl’s Wilton Milan go off favourite following an impressive win last time out that saw him finally get off the mark over fences. However, I am happy to take him on and the two that interest me are Workbench and Umberto D’Olivate.

Workbench has been on the go since August notching 3 wins in the process. His last two starts were a decent 5th of 11 behind John’s Spirit at Cheltenham and a 4th (revised to 3rd) in the Badger Ales Trophy over further than ideal. He travelled as well as anything that day before making a bad mistake.

The drop in trip could work out well but the concern is that all three wins came on good ground. His trainer Dan Skelton has said he does not want it soft. However, his last two runs were on good to soft so I will definitely be backing him if the going has the word “good” in it.

Umberto D’Olivate was very progressive last season, rattling off a hat-trick and he will come on for his seasonal reappearance. The slight concern is that his best form is over shorter so this trip might just stretch him.

The Devon Marathon Chase has a small field and the 4 miles takes some getting. It is another race that features a few horses with smart previous form and it also lends itself to a trends analysis.

No 6yo has won this since 2000 and no horse in that time has carried more than 11st 10lbs to victory. All of the last 5 winners were rated 110+ and all of the winners completed their previous race.

That leaves us with Reblis, Adrenalin Flight and Gorgehous Lliege.

Reblis is back down to his last winning mark but has shown nothing on his last two starts. He has won over 3m 5f on heavy off today’s mark of 119 so should see out the trip if in the right mood.

Adrenalin Flight has 49 lengths to find with Gorgehous Lliege but gets a 17lb pull in the weights. I doubt that will make much difference though as Gorgehous Lliege looks quite progressive over staying trips and should go close if this does not come too soon.

Reblis and Gorgehous Lliege are the two trends horses against the field. For the brave amongst you, Flying Award has won a Devon National, a Highland National and a Somerset National. However, his form figures since read PP0. I’ll leave that one up to you.

The Becher Chase is run over the Grand National fences where the horses jump 21 obstacles over a trip of 3m 2f. 16 of the last 17 winners had a top 5 finish LTO. Only one 7yo has won since 1997 and 8 of the last 9 winners were aged 9yo or older. The last 9 winners were all rated 130+ and only one of the last 13 winners carried 11st 7lb or more. In fact 10 of the last 13 winners carried under 11st. 15 of the last 17 winners had between 0 and 2 season runs and 8 of the last 11 winners had won over 3m or further.

The one horse who ticks all the boxes is Benbens for Nigel Twiston-Davies. The two that who fall down on just the one trend are Knock A Hand for Richard Lee and Renard for Venetia Williams. This may be a prep run for Knock a Hand ahead of a tilt at the Welsh National, Benbens has had just 6 chase starts and Renard looks a shade high in the weights. None of these are really fancied in the market and I have not seen them tipped up anywhere, but we rolled the trends dice and that’s what we have.

If you are not a fan of trends then there are a couple of other ways of looking at the race and one is course experience.

There are plenty of horses who have shown they jump these fences well including Saint Are, last year’s winners Chance Du Roy and Mr Moonshine. However the most interesting could be Across The Bay @25/1 who led the last two Grand Nationals for a fair way.

In 2013 he led until fence 26 and last year he was bowling along in front until carried into a different post code by a loose horse after fence 16. However, usual jockey Jason Maguire opts to ride Donald McCain’s other runner Kruzhlinin who is an even bigger price @40/1.

Despite this I think Across The Bay could well give each-way backers a run for their money. Saint Are @14/1 is probably the best handicapped horse in the race here off 127 which is 10lbs lower than his last winning mark. He ran his best race in a long time on his first start for Tom George at Cheltenham in November and he has attracted some support this week. It’s a wide open race and a case can be made for most of the runners. I will probably back the trends horses and Across The Bay to small stakes with any bookmaker offering 5 places. It would be a pleasant surprise if one of them were to win.

The Grand Sefton Chase looks like a cracking renewal. The trends on this one are not that strong but the one horse that ticks the most boxes (aged 8yo -10yo, rated 123+, carrying less than 11st 5lbs and a top 5 finish LTO) is Rebel Rebellion who attempts back to back wins off a 5lbs higher mark. 8/1 is plenty short enough.

One I like at a bigger price is Dolatulo who has a good form line through Court By Surprise (promoted to winner of the Badger Ales Trophy after disqualification of Young Master) whom he walloped by 35 lengths at Stratford back in March. His seasonal reappearance behind Sound Investment was a great prep for this race considering the 1st and 4th from that race occupied the front two places of the novice chase at Newbury on the first day of the Hennessy meeting. Up To Something for Charlie Longsdon could also outrun his price if taking to these fences.

The Tingle Creek has been far more straightforward for me. I think God’s Own has a huge chance and I have backed him @9/2 even when he held another entry in the novice chase on the same card. If Somersby brings his A-game he should give each-way backers a decent run for their money @10/1.

So there are my thoughts for Friday and Saturday and hopefully a few pointers for you. Racing is all about having an opinion and the conviction to back it up with a wager. With that in mind only back the selections below if you agree with my thoughts and analysis. Good luck if you are having a bet this weekend.

Friday

Exeter 1.10pm Deputy Dan @6/4
Exeter 1.40pm Umberto D’Olivate @12/1 & Workbench @6/1 (good or good-to-soft)
Exeter 3.20pm Reblis @20/1 & Gorgehous Lliege 3/1 (trends horses), Flying Award @20/1 (for the brave)

Saturday

Sandown 3.00pm God’s Own @9/2 and Somersby @10/1 (each-way alternative)
Aintree 1.30pm Benbens @20/1, Knock A Hand @20/1 & Renard @25/1 (trends horses), Across The Bay @25/1 (each-way alternative), Saint Are @14/1 (best handicapped)
Ainree 3.25pm Rebel Rebellion @8/1 (trends horse) and Dolatulo 14/1 (each-way alternative)

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