Sunday, 28 April 2013

2012-13 TVB Season summary

I’ve managed to find a little time to produce a final post, to wrap up the 2012-13 TVB season…

First of all, the headline figures for the entire season:

TVB tips

Total staked: 111.5pts
Total profit: 33.5pts
ROI: 30%

Adjusted figures

Total staked: 111.5pts
Total profit: 70.3pts
ROI: 63%

*The adjusted figure assumes that all bets are layed off at 2 IR to produce the same profit regardless of whether the horse wins the race

In summary, a 30% return would have been achieved if you had backed all selections at advised odds, to advised stakes.

The adjusted profit figure attempts to strip out an element of the luck (both good and bad) and it’s superior returns, suggest that luck wasn’t really with us for a large chunk of the season (which is certainly how it felt !)

It is also interesting to note that if all of the selections had simply been backed at Betfair SP, the returns for the season would have been just over 35pts profit.
This does beg the question as to why I bother quoting prices - and why we all scurry around trying to get them !
However, this figure is skewed by the BSP of some of the longer priced horses – in particular Jadanli. The bulk of the selections returned with a lower BSP than the price advised (which is what I would expect).
It does though, flag the very valid point that Betfair will often yield greater returns on the longer priced horses (generally those priced at 20/1+).

Anyway, some more numbers for you…
There were a total of 183 tips across the season, meaning that as only 111.5pts were staked, the average stake size was little more than 0.5pt. This is definitely an area that I need to address, as my staking gave me too little room for manoeuvre (the weaker selections end up being staked similarly to the stronger ones).
The breakdown of placings for the 183 tips was as follows:

First – 22
Second – 23
Third – 19
Fourth - 21

These are quite pleasing numbers, as they mean that just under 25% of the tips finished first or second – which is bang in line with my target.
Just under 50% finished in the first 4 – which again, is were I aim to be…

The biggest draw down from a peak, at any point during the season, was 16.5 pts, which occurred at the end of the season.
Obviously, you want the draw downs to be as small as possible, as they affect confidence. That said, 16.5pts is not a massive amount on a service which is as potentially volatile as TVB !
Ofcourse, the draw downs can be reduced further if the practise of laying IR is adopted – though that is an individual decision…

In terms of stables, it was the relatively small operations that served us best this year, particularly those of Tom Symonds, Mick Channon and Kevin Bishop.
We also managed to secure a profit out of Venetia – which was nice after last seasons debacle !
This year, the stable that cost us most was that of Nigel Twiston Davies – though neither Kim Bailey nor Emma Lavelle covered themselves in glory.
I’ll be looking for better from all 3, next season ;)

On the equine front, then from the 183 tips, 16 horses were tipped twice – and 3, three times: Cootamundra, Captain Sunshine and Quart de Thaix.

And that, leads me into a very interesting area…

As you all know, what I try to do during the season (apart from simply making a profit by finding winners !), is latch on to horses who are ready to win.
They might not all win when I tip them (as you will doubtless have noticed), but often, their time is not far away.

Unfortunately, I was unable to tip at either of the seasons two big festivals: Cheltenham or Aintree. However, I hope that a few of you kept faith with the horses I’d tipped earlier in the season and followed them again at the big meetings.

36 of the horses that I had previously tipped during the season, ran at Cheltenham or Aintree (or both).
Between them, they ran 48 times – and managed 4 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds.

There appears nothing particularly remarkable about those numbers – until you look at the SPs of the ex TVB tips that were placed…
The winners returned at 66/1, 50/1, 28/1 and 16/1.
The runners up returned at 16/1, 16/1, 11/1 and 11/1
The thirds returned at 40/1 and 14/1

And that was the SPs !
I’m sure that most of them were available at bigger prices in the morning – and the BSPs were doubtless bigger as well.

However, even at SP – if you had put 1pt win on all ex TVB tips when they ran at either of the 2 big NH festivals, you would have made 116pts on 48pts staked !
Certainly food for thought for next season….

Talking of which, that is the next time that most of you will hear from me…
I will be busying myself with other activities during the summer months – but plan to return in October to kick off the new TVB season on November 1st.

Provided I can get myself organised, there will be a proper TVB website rather than a public blog.
This means that only subscribers will be able to access all of my output throughout the season.
I will contact all existing subscribers during October and find out which of you want to subscribe for the new season.
I plan to limit my membership to 50, with any spare places hopefully being filled by people who have already expressed an interest and are currently on my waiting list.

I’m optimistic that the 2013-14 season will be the best one yet.
I feel that I learnt a lot during the 2012-13 season – and I have a number of improvements already planned for the service.

I hope that everyone has a really great summer – and I’ll look forward to the winter months descending on us ;) 

Until then…


Friday, 22 February 2013

Termination of Service

Regrettably, I am going to have to terminate the TVB service for the 2012-13 season, with immediate effect…

Hopefully, I will be back in the autumn for 2013-14 season.

Thanks for your support over the past 4 months…


Thursday, 21 February 2013

Review of the day

Tim the Chair ran a reasonable race today – but wasn’t able to go with the leaders when things hotted up, 4 fences from home. No excuses – he just wasn’t good enough…

Unfortunately, that his been a familiar theme lately.
Gone are the hard luck stories and wrong borderline calls – replaced by horses that simply aren’t up to the task…

I’m honestly not sure what the issue is.
I feel that I’m picking the same kind of horses as I’ve done all season - but for some reason, they are just not performing well enough…

In truth, this is a seasonal game – and the importance of certain variables changes at certain times in the year.
I obviously try to adjust accordingly, but I’m clearly slightly out of step at the moment…

The good news, is that the situation shouldn’t last !
Like I say, things keep changing and as the better weather comes and the ground starts to quicken up, hopefully, my form will return.

Anyway, it was no better for todays mentions, than it was for the tip…
It was a wise decision to swerve Reasonable Force, who once again ran no sort of a race.
He wasn’t particularly strong in the betting – but he wasn’t outrageously weak either.
I thought it a strange move to settle him so far off the pace – but he was at least put in the race this time.
A watching brief remains the order of the day with him…

At Ayr, Kudu Country looked poised to make his move, when he made a shuddering mistake at the fifth last.
His jockey did well to stay aboard – but it effectively ended his chances.
I suspect that the next time we see him, it will be over hurdles…

Act of Kalanisi also made a nasty mistake at Huntingdon – though he was probably beaten at the time.
Whilst Katnapping managed to go one better (or worse, depending on your perspective) being brought down at the very first hurdle.
The pre-race drift on her was quite alarming. Out from 11/1 this morning to an SP of 20/1 (and 40+ on Betfair). Decanting your jockey at the first fence is always going to look a little suspicious when accompanied by those kind of market movements !

Things were no better at Clonmel, Anonis was pulled up after making mistakes in the novice hurdle, leaving our old friend Rathlin to run down the favourite, Unika La Reconce.
Beeverstown also hit the deck in the handicap chase. He was going well enough at the time, though it was too far out to know if he might have been involved in the finish.
Finally, Sandeel Bay ran a promising race in the beginners chase. He was ultimately well beaten, but moved quite nicely for much of the race - definitely building on his first run of the season.
He could ultimately be of interest in a low grade handicap…

All in all though, very much a day to forget !!

Daily write-up - Feb 21st

4 NH meetings today, at Huntingdon, Sedgefield and Ayr in the UK – plus Clonmel in Ireland…

When I looked at the declarations yesterday, I felt there were 3 or 4 potential tips. However, at the prices available this morning, only one of them has materialised into an actual tip…

Furthermore, it’s a shame that I am no longer issuing earlybird tips, as some of you would be on Tim the Chair at twice the price he was available this morning !
Paddy Power opened up with him at 12/1 last night – which now looks like a rick of the highest order.
I’d set myself as happy to take 6/1 or greater on him – and that is roughly what we’ve got, so I’m happy enough with that (even if I would obviously have been lot happier with double those odds!).

Anyway, the rationale for today’s tip – plus a few words on one or two other half fancies…

Sedgefield 3:10

Tim the Chair really caught my eye on his most recent run at Bangor, just under a fortnight ago…
That was the race in which I tipped Double Dizzy – but it was Tim the Chair who kept on catching my eye, in-running.
He travelled really well on the heals of the leaders and looked sure to be involved in the finish, until his stamina gave out in the final half mile of the race.
I find it interesting to read that spotlight in the RP feels that ‘the cheekpieces made no difference last time’, as I think they made the world of difference…
The official handicapper wasn’t too impressed either, as he has dropped Tim the Chair 3lb, putting him back on the mark from which he won, at Uttoxeter last May.
So, over a trip 3 furlongs shorter than last time, with the cheek-pieces retained, on ground that will suit him well – and clearly in decent form, Tim the Chair should be a very good bet…
However, with a record as patchy as his, it is impossible not to have some reservations about him…
Since he won his first race under rules, almost exactly 2 years ago, he has run 9 times. 4 of those runs have been commendable (if you include his last run, which I do !); 1 has been OK (his penultimate run) – but the other 4 have been shockers…
Worse than that, they have been shockers when he has been relatively well fancied (his SP has been less than 10/1) on each occasion.
Consequently he is not a horse for maximum faith - even though, he almost certainly has the ability to win today..
When faced with a profile like his, I am normally able to offer a theory on the variance in his performance – but I have to say that he has got me stumped. I can see no pattern in his form…
Consequently, we are taking a bit of a risk with him today.
However, as I said earlier, he has a lot going for him; he is also a reasonable price – and I’ve not gone mad with the staking !
Fingers crossed that he puts in a decent run for us today.

0.5pt win Tim the Chair 13/2

Later on the Sedgefield card, I was sorely tempted to tip Reasonable Force in the handicap chase at 4:40…
I pointed him out earlier in the season, on the second of his runs at Catterick.
It seemed odd that connections were dropping him back to 2 miles that day, when he has always looked as if he needed a trip.
He was never put into the race that day (quite blatantly) – and it was a similar story last time out…
Well, those tactics seem to have worked, as the handicapper has dropped him 8lb across the 2 runs (which seems very lenient).
He is now on a mark off 100 which means he can just sneak into this class 5, 0-100 race, with top weight…
He was installed at 3/1, which seems tight – but if he is backed, I would feel pretty confident that he will win.
He could easily have a stone in hand of his mark – and back over a suitable trip, he could take advantage of that fact.
Certainly if he is ridden prominently (which was how he ran over hurdles) I would expect him to run a very big race today.

Over at Ayr, I was half tempted by Kudu Country in the handicap chase at 4:50…
We were on him last time out, when he was backed into near favouritism for a stronger race than this at Sandown.
However, he hit the first fence that day, which seemed to knock his confidence and he was eventually pulled up.
If we consider that to have just been a blip, then he is clearly of interest today.
However, he has been put in at 9/4 – and the opposition includes Kealigolane, who was the winner of a decent novice chase at Carlisle last time out.
I would expect Kudu Country to be able to pick Kealigolane off close home – but there is little margin at those kind of prices…

Over at Huntingdon, Act of Kalanisi is of some interest, at the prices, in the novice chase at 3:00…
However, he is coming here on the back of two non completions, so there is always the possibility that getting him round safely will be the priority…

In the mares novice hurdle at 4:00, I would be most interested in Katnaping…
She caught my eye on her debut at Doncaster, looking likely to go very close, but then weakened in the closing stages. If that run has brought her on, she could provide a little bit of value at around 10/1.

Finally, at Clonmel…
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Anonis shake up Unika La Reconce in the novice hurdle at 2:55; whilst I would expect Beeverstown to put up a bold show in handicap chase at 4:25 (though whether he is good enough to come home in front, is a different matter).
Finally, Sandeel Bay has his second run over fences in the beginners chase at 4:55.
It might take an act of faith to support him – but he ran with some promise on his seasonal debut, when I gave him a favourable mention.
I’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on him again today ;)

Here’s hoping for a good day ahead !


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Review of the day

Relative to expectations, today must go down as one of the most disappointing days of the season so far…

As I said this morning, February has been a struggle – but I really felt that I’d found a couple of horses that could turn the month around for us.
I staked them quite aggressively (by current standards !) – and in truth, I could easily have had even more on them – but ultimately, both proved to be massive disappointments…

I guess in fairness, what happened to Auroras Encore, can happen in the NH game.
He didn’t pick up at the second fence and took a crashing fall.
Hopefully he will be OK and we will maybe get another opportunity with him before the season ends.

To Live was an even bigger disappointment though…
I really did strongly fancy him – in fact I would go so far as to say, I felt he was the best tip I had put up all month !
His form was rock solid: he had plenty of scope for improvement; the track and ground should have been fine – and he was representing an in form stable who had sent him on a long outing.
In short - he ticked a lot of boxes…
So how come he ran so poorly ?!
I’ve honestly no idea. That said, the writing seemed to be on the wall very early, when he was pulling and throwing his head about on the run to the first fence.
Maybe he just had an off day – it happens, I guess.
As I’ve said before, they are not machines….

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t a disaster – merely a disappointment.

I’ve got little option other than to brush myself down and start looking for the next winner.
Thankfully, there is always tomorrow (until we reach the last day of the season, that is ;) ).


Daily write-up - Feb 20th

There are 3 NH meetings today: at Doncaster, Ludlow and Punchestown.

All 3 put on reasonable enough cards – but I’m only interested in two races…

For whatever reason, February has been a struggle so far…
I feel that I’ve been tipping over-priced horses, with a chance of winning their races, but things just haven’t clicked.
Today, I think I’ve found a couple of horses with very good chances of winning – and both are at decent prices.

Of course, neither might win today – but that won’t stop them from being two of the best tips that I’ve put up this month.

As you might be able to tell, I’m quite hopeful of a decent day !

Ludlow 3:15

Early in January, a seemingly innocuous chase was run at Leicester…
I tipped Jack the Gent in the race and he ran creditably to finish fourth.
I was happy enough with his performance that day – but what I didn’t realise at the time, was just how hot a race it was…
Since that day, the winner, Arthurs Pass, has come out and won again  (beating subsequent winner, Sawpit Supreme). He is now rated 15lb higher than he was at Leicester.
Runner up, Prince of Dreams, has come out and won. He is now rated 10lb higher than he was that day.
Third placed Rouge et Blanc, has come out and won twice. He is now rated 23lb higher.
Fourth placed Jack the Gent has come out and finished second twice. He is now rated 5lb higher than he was that day…
The fifth placed horse in that race, was To Live…
He finished just behind Jack the Gent – but his finishing position does not flatter him.
He was poised to make his challenge, when he slipped on landing after jumping the fourth last, thereby losing any chance in the race.
Without that mistake, he would have finished at least one place better – maybe in the placing themselves.
If that had been the case, then based on the animals who surrounded him it would be safe to assume that To Live has at least 10lb in hand of today’s mark…
And looking at his form and his profile, that looks quite possible.
He has only run 4 times in this country – and only twice over fences. He certainly has plenty of scope for improvement.
He is a winner over hurdles on soft, in his native France, so the ground shouldn’t pose any problems today… 
Simply, if he jumps round safely today, he should go very close indeed…
Aside from the fences, I can see two main dangers in the race:
Favourite, Bobby Dove, is a young progressive horse, who won well last time out (beating the horse who subsequently beat Jack the Gent). He still looks very well handicapped off a mark of 87.
Darceys Dancer also looks very well handicapped off a mark more than 30lb lower when at his peak. He has been way out of form lately, but if he did stage a revival today, he would be difficult to beat.
On balance however, I am happy to stick with our tried and tested form line – and hope that To Live can provide a welcome boost for the month.

1pt win To Live 11/2

Doncaster 2:50

There is a slight chance that we are getting on Auroras Encore a race too early today – but I think I saw enough in his last run, for that not to be the case…
The thing about Auroras Encore, is that he is a spring time horse. He prefers the brighter days, shorter nights, warmer temperatures – and maybe most importantly (!), quicker ground.
When he gets those conditions, he is a very good horse – as he showed a couple of times, at the back end of last season.
On the first of those occasions, he was a very comfortable winner of a class 2 chase at Haydock and he followed that up by running second in the Scottish Grand National.
That honourable defeat, saw his handicap mark rise to 150. However, the great thing about horses like Auroras Encore, is that they can then be campaigned on unsuitably soft ground. That does them little harm – and their handicap gradually reduces.
That is precisely what has happened with Auroras Encore and he gets to run off a mark of 137 today. That is just 3lb higher than the mark he won from at Haydock – and 4lb lower than his mark when running in the Scottish Grand National.
In short, he is handicapped to just about win today…
Of course, that on it’s own wouldn’t be sufficient. We also need the right ground conditions – and preferably a few signs that he is running back into form.
Well, the official ground description today, is good to soft (good in places). I would prefer it to be good all over – but I’m just about happy with that.
In terms of him running in to form: his latest run was in the Betfred Classic chase at Warwick last month. Bearing in mind Auroras preferred conditions, that race was never going to be ideal for him, as it was run on very soft ground.
However, he ran really well in it, only weakening out of contention half way down the back straight on the final circuit.
Based on that run, I believe Auroras is ready to strike soon. The ground, is hopefully quick enough for him today; he is on a handicap mark form which he can win – and the track should be absolutely fine for him.
Of course, it is quite a competitive race – and I would be a little fearful of course specialist Corkage, in particular.
However, the fact is that Auroras Encore is capable of better form than virtually all of todays rivals – and conditions should be just about right for him to produce it.
Once again, I am optimistic of a result !

0.75pt win Auroras Encore 17/2

Here’s hoping for a memorable afternoon (preferably for the right reasons !).


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Race review

I found it desperately frustrating to watch today’s race…
Not because Cootamundra was beaten – I can cope with that – but because he ran with so much credit !
There was no point during the race – bar the last 50 yards – when I thought he was beaten. Even jumping the last, I was hopeful he might be able to quicken up - but alas it was not to be…
The trouble with him running so well against higher rated rivals, is that people will notice him…

There is less and less chance of him being under-estimated, when he runs in these conditions races – and the handicapper is likely to have his say as well….

The frustrating part, is that he could have walked a half decent novice chase – or handicap chase, a couple of moths back – but now, the latter at least, will be more difficult (and connections don’t seem keen on running him in average novice chases).

I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. It is clear that the ability is there for him to win a decent race – but whether he was be a betting proposition when the opportunity arises, is a different matter…

Earlier on the Navan card, Jadanli travelled really well in the 2m4f hurdle.
Ultimately, he was found wanting for toe when it mattered – but he is clearly still in very good heart…

Over at Wetherby, it was a case of seconditus !
First Weston Lodge finished second to Marie Des Anges in the novice chase. The winner was 3/1 this morning – but returned at 8/1 ! An incredible drift.
The race was marred by the fatal fall of Shinrock Hill – and how Young Hurricane managed to avoid a similar fate is beyond me. His fall was truly shocking…

Jack the Gent had to settle for the runners up position again – only this time he was more comfortably beaten…
However, I always felt that he would be more effective over 2m4f , so I won’t be giving up on him just yet.

Whilst in the finale, the Mark Johnston trained Willpower also managed to finish runner up.
The race was won in stunning style by Diamond King. I don’t know whether t winner is being aimed at the festival bumper, but based on today’s performance, he looked like a force to be reckoned with - even at that level.