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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

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)

Up In Class by Trainer Nicky Henderson

So today I am getting started on the job of researching individual trainers at individual courses when their novice hurdlers step up in class.

I'm going to start off with Nicky Henderson, simply because he has the most runners of the trainers that we have selected for this system.

It may be a case the Nicky's charges are over-bet because of his status, but we'll look at the data and see what we can find.

Because we are drilling down deeper and deeper the number of runners meeting a set of criteria will be less and less and it may be tricky to determine if a strike rate and profit is significant or not.

When looking at which courses are most profitable for Nicky Henderson, novice hurdlers that are upped in class, I have only looked at courses where there have been at least 10 qualifiers in the last 10 years.

Here's the table…

Nicky Henderson Novice Hurdlers Table

 

What jumps out is the huge profit (ROI) and strike rates at Huntingdon, Kempton and Ludlow.

Nicky Henderson is based in Upper Lambourn which is on the M4 and relatively convenient for the top class venues of Newbury, Cheltenham, Ascot, Kempton and Sandown.

Of the courses listed above Huntingdon is the furthest at around 100 miles from base.

I'm not sure if we should read something into the class of the tracks, I suppose I'm surprised that Towcester isnt in the profit list, but the stats don't lie. This is definitely how it panned out in the past, let's hope it can steer us towards some winners in the future.

Today's Selection

5.10 Pontefract Dark Ruler – win bet – 5/1 Bet Victor

Big Profit from Multiples

Do you bet in multiples?

Doubles, trebles or acca's (accumulators)?

I have always been of the opinion that these types of bets are just for the bookies benefit and have always avoided them, even though there is a promise of huge profits if they come off.

I do remember a few years back reading an article about how if you are making value bets, if you combine them into doubles or trebles that you magnify the advantage that you have because the value multiplies. But that didnt change my methods.

The results from yesterday's Racing Consultants tips have caused me to think again.

Yesterday they gave three selections to be combined into a half point each way Trixie.

A Trixie is 3 doubles (eachway doubles in this case) and a treble, so four bets.

The guys managed to land 2 of the bets, the advised prices were 6/1 and 9/1 (there was a 10p rule 4 on the 6/1)

A £5 eachway Trixie where only two of the horses won paid £376, which is a £336 profit!

That's a big return from getting just two bets home.

But the thing that really surprised me is that if they had got all three home the return would have been £5,620 for a £40 outlay.

(The non runner was 11/1)

I need to re-think my betting and staking strategy.

Do you bet in multiples? Tell me in the comments, if you've had any big wins tell me that also.

Find out more about the Racing Consultants here http://racingconsultants.co.uk

Today's Selection

4.00 Newcastle – Lady Bingo – win bet – 4/1 Bet 365

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