Sunday, 29 April 2012

Roy Hodgson??

Roy Hodgson for next England manager? He seems a decent man but it's got to be Harry hasn't it? Everyone seems to be writing off Redknapp's chances with the news the FA are speaking to Hodgson, but surely the FA won't just speak to one man. I've got a little bit of 4.2 on Betfair about Harry tonight and I reckon there are worse 3/1 shots around.* (Edited to add late Sunday night - just topped up at 6.2! - maybe somebody on there knows something...)

Mind you, it is the FA we're talking about here..

Hope you've managed to stay dry these last few days, what miserable weather. Our results since Thursday haven't been good either, just the four picks, but not one placed and all rather bleak. Plenty of support about for one or two of them though, and they just might reward that confidence in their next race or two.

Since last Monday it's been a quiet but profitable week, with two winners from our eleven selections. Treehouse (13/2) and Sotovik (5/1) did the business for us.

April as a whole has been hit by all too many abandonments, and of course this awful weather, which must be a nightmare for the jumpers who've been readied for a hit around this time but now hampered by the wrong ground. We're a little bit down for the month, with one meeting to go (assuming Windsor is on tomorrow night), which is disappointing given we were bowling along quite nicely in the first half of the month. It's been quite a while since our last massively profitable month, and it's just a matter of time before it comes again.

It's not always easy to think long-term in this game, and playing (what we think are) value bets at big odds (we're averaging 8.1/1 this year so far) is always going to play havoc with variance, but we're due a good run. We're beating SP by around 10% on average, and that edge will eventually see us through.

Variance in results can yield good, bad, or indifferent results, but in the long run if you have an edge you should be fine. It's something poker players talk about a lot - and for those starting to get a little impatient, James Atkin's blog post "the positive side of variance!" offers some encouragement -

He writes:

Variance is a funny thing. I went through 4 or 5 months of what seemed like continuous pain with no sign of reprieve. But apparently I've paid my dues, and I'm running really well recently. Overall I'm probably running to expectation, it just took 6 or 7 months to even itself out.

That is why getting frustrated with the short term in poker is so futile. Don't get me wrong, I get annoyed with the short term plenty (as you'll know if you read this blog regularly!), it's just generally a waste of energy.

The graph below shows the extremity of what I'm talking about. Okay, this graph includes all the turbo MTTs I have played (as well as SNGs) which are naturally high variance, and doesn't show rakeback, but still...

epitomised, All Games, PokerStars, Last 6 Months
It's very possible that I'm playing a whole lot better now than I was during the bad patch, as I really think success breeds confidence in poker. Obviously thought I'm not playing that much better, I'm just running hot as well.

Now that is one graph we certainly wouldn't mind seeing repeated over here sometime soon!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Ewan Whillans

Just a quick note to pay a small tribute to Ewan Whillans tonight ensuring a winner from our only selection today, Sotovik in the feature race at Perth (SP 5/1).

Looking beaten coming to the last he never gave up on him, switched him towards the near rail and got him up to win by a neck. Plenty of other jocks would have been tempted to down tools but now Ewan. Well done to him and connections for landing a nice price.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Catch Up

We've not been having the best of it just lately, I think that's fair to say. As with most poor runs, we can look at a number of selections trading short in running before not finishing the job off, but such is life.

We had Seabass (12/1 adv - 8/1sp) in the National, who ran a fantastic race just didn't quite have the legs as they went to the elbow, but what a lovely ride from Katie. It was so sad to hear of the two fatalities and on a wider level just awful news for the sport, with racing again having to defend itself because of this one brilliant, but at times tough-to-watch contest. Much has been written about the national's future and I daresay not a lot will change once the clamour for alterations dies down, but I was chatting to friends the other day and we were asking the question - if we jumped forward 50 years and found that - at some point in time - the race was scrapped - would we actually be surprised. The answer's got to be a no. With that in mind I do wonder if things should be tweaked to halt this process, and reducing the field-size might be the answer. But at the same time, it's such a spectacle, and such a contest..

Other notable runners over the past week and a bit, second placed finishes for Rosie's Lady (6/1 adv), McMurrough (7/1 adv), Robbie (6/1adv) and Besty (12/1 adv). These all went either odds on or around evens in running and not to get a winner from them was pretty frustrating to say the least. We also had Red Merlin on Saturday in the Scottish Champion Hurdle go to nearly 1/5 before flattening out in the last couple of hundred yards or so.

Such things are sent to test us, but we live to fight another day and hopefully our next big upturn of form has begun today, with Treehouse (13/2sp) running out a good winner at Hexham. Onwards and upwards!

All the best for now.

Sam and The Market Examiner team.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Grand National Market Analysis

The Market Examiner Grand National Pre-Race Market Analysis

Recently we at The Market Examiner explored whether market moves in the last few minutes before race-time at the Cheltenham festival were useful pointers towards a horse’s chance. Our main conclusion was that, yes, those horses which shortened in price in the final few minutes did outperform those others which stayed the same price, or drifted in price.

In particular, we found it would have been profitable to support, even blindly at SP, those horses running in handicap chases near the front of the market, which had shortened in price.

So would this trend transfer to the most famous handicap chase of them all – the Grand National?

First of all, here are some overall findings:

Of the 399 horses which have gone to post in the last ten Grand Nationals, 240 stayed the same price from opening show (60.2% of total) (many “touched” other prices, but if they settled at the opening show price, we count as stayed the same). 111 shortened in price (27.8% of total), and 48 drifted in price (12%).

First of all, it is quite notable just how many horses shortened, with more than one in four contracting in price. At the Cheltenham Festival over the last ten years, that figure is just over one in five (20.15%). We can perhaps put this down to the bookmakers running for cover from large liabilities from the millions of “once a year” shop punters, with reports of more than £250million staked in recent years. The National market, while mature, is liable to very big moves on the day of the race, showing that plenty of punters wait until race-day before getting their bets on. The most obvious example of this in recent years was the huge plunge on Don’t Push It in 2010 for JP McManus and ridden of course by Tony McCoy, backed down from 20/1 to 10/1f by off-time before winning comfortably.

So do the 111 horses which shortened outperform the others?

In a word, yes. While overall 27.8% of horses shortened, four of the last ten nationals (40%) have been won by a horse whose price had shortened. To extend this, of the 12% which drifted, one has won (10%) and of those 60.2% who stayed the same price, five won (50%).

So, while our sample size isn’t huge, we can see that horses which have shortened in price do outperform all other categories in relation to their numbers.

What further supports this notion, is the number of placed efforts. We have considered the front four to be places, although of course many bookies pay out on the front five these days.
40 horses have placed in the last ten years, this is made up of:

14 which shortened in the betting pre-race (35%)
21 which stayed the same price (52.5%)
5 which drifted in price (12.5%)

So again, of the 27.8% of horses which shortened from opening show, they made the frame more than their fair share. In the six years where a horse which didn’t shorten won the race – in each of those years a backed horse came second. That’s a strong trend, and is certainly something which we should be able to take advantage of as punters. But how?

Let’s break down those 111 horses which shortened in price.

The average SPs of all 111 was 28.23/1 – but the average SP of the winners was just 9.5/1. So, like our Cheltenham analysis, it looks like we should be concentrating at the front of the market.
If we look at horses which have been backed and start 14/1 or shorter we have:

43 Selections
Wins: 4 (9.3% strike rate)
Placed: 14 (35% - including the four winners) – of which SIX came second
Average odds: 9.85/1
Average Win Odds: 9.5/1
Running total to SP: -1pt

While backing them all to win at SP returns a very small loss, backing them each-way would have returned a small profit.  However, the bigger secret could be to grab a horse’s price (at 14/1 or less) when it is on the way down, thereby locking in some of that value, safe in the knowledge that you’ve backed a horse which, based on ten-year-trends - has a 23.26% chance of coming either first or second. Of course, if backing at SP, these days we have BSP as an alternative and it’s safe to assume that if BSP would have been around for all ten years, then this line would have been profitable at win-only (Don’t Push It, for example, was 17.83/1 at BSP compared to 10/1 at SP).

If we look at all other horses which have started 14/1 or shorter – but drifted from opening show the stats are:

9 Selections
Wins: 0
Placed: 2 (22.2%)
Average Odds: 12/1
Running Total to SP:  -9pts

And these are the horses which have started 14/1 or shorter, but stayed the same price:

16 Selections
Wins: 1 (6.3%)
Placed: 4 (25% including the winner)
Average Odds: 11.5/1
Average Win Odds 11/1
Running Total to SP: -4pts

We can see that, not surprisingly, most of the horses which start at 14/1 or shorter are those that have been backed – and those that are in this odds-range but haven’t been supported, perform poorly in relation to what we might otherwise expect considering their position in the market.

We hope this has been interest, and potentially useful. Best of luck with your National bets this year!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

April Update

We've had a strong start to April so far, now +15.35pts (76.75% ROI).

A good winner today in the shape of Chilly Filly at Catterick (7/1sp), and it could have been better, as we also had Come On Dave at Nottingham (9/1sp) who traded shorter than 1/3 in running before fading late on.

It is traditionally a good time of year for us at the moment, and we're really hoping that we get the rub of the green which we're owed with a continuation of profits. While things have stuttered in the main this year, we're in profit for 2012, and we're confident we can really surge forward in the coming months.

Just to say as well, that with the National just around the corner, we've helped contribute to the Secret Betting Club Grand National Tips Profit Pack, which is a free download, and well worth a look if you've got a few minutes. In our section we looked at market moves close to post time in the National. You can get it here.

In the next day or two we'll post what we wrote on our blog anyway but for now you can have a look by clicking the above link and getting the download.

All the best

The Market Examiner team

Monday, 9 April 2012

Bank Holiday Bonanza

A good day today, with a couple of winners at 18/1 and 10/1 from our eight selections. No surprise really that we had a busy Monday with so many meetings on, but it always feels a bit daunting with the equivalent of two or three days rolled into one. Fortunately Oscar Baby, at Fakenham, and Our Phylli Vera, at Warwick, did the business in good style to ensure 13.5pts of profit on the day.

It would have been an even better Easter weekend altogether had Passato (9/1) held on at Exeter on Saturday, but sadly he was caught on the line.

April is nicely in profit by 12.35pts right now (+82.33% roi) and let's hope we can keep pushing on and build a big total through the month!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

March Analysis

A good winner today in the shape of Earcomesthedream, in the 4.10 at Hereford. Unfortunately we couldn't see it as there were no pictures coming from course, but according to the RP website he ran out a pretty ready winner with the from two well clear of third. What was annoying is the hefty R4 that we had to put up with because of the withdrawal of a couple of runners prominent in the betting. Who's to say Peter Pritchard's 9yo wouldn't have won anyway, but still, never mind, 9/1, became 5.85/1 because of an average 35p R4 and we're pleased to get back to winning ways again and ensure April gets into profit early. 

Anyway, it's time now to look at March, which ended poorly with a frustrating losing run, to push the month into negative territory of -10.25pts, damn annoying, particularly as the stretch began just as things were looking looking like really getting going for us, with a 25/1 Cheltenham success, and a couple of other nice winners too. Then started a run where 11/24 made the frame (at an average price of 7.29/1) but not a single one got their head in front. This would have been a profitable month, as has been the case for 2012 as a whole, had we been advising each-way, and it's something of a stern test of our win-only resolve. We know that many of our subscribers do prefer to back each-way, and we can't really blame them, but we've just too much evidence to suggest win-only provides better long-term returns to make us waiver on this - although it does play havoc with variance in results. How ironic that our biggest winner since proofing results began, Son Of Flika, was the only selection we've ever advised each-way.. Some things are sent to test us!

These are the stats:

Bets: 57
Wins: 5 (8.77%)

2nds: 6 (10.53%)
3rds: 9 (15.8%)
Placed total: 20 (35.1%)
Average odds taken: 8.36/1
Average SP: 7.51/1
Average win odds: 8.38/1
Profit/Loss: -10.25pts
Return On Investment: -21.67%

Interestingly, March 2011 saw a losing run of 27 - but that month ended with 59pts of profit with an ROI of +79.73%. That shows that losing runs can be shrugged off if results elsewhere more than make up for them, and it was tough for ours to come at a time without a large cushion already built up. Looking at the positives, and we again strongly beat SP against average odds taken ten minutes after selections were issued, by nearly 1pt per pick which is hugely important and shows we're still very much on the right track despite the results that came. Our placed total again was solid, although not as high as through January and February. Also, to have a win strike rate of just 8.77% for the month, but to actually only be down by just over 10pts is, actually quite pleasing. This is our third lowest win strike-rate since January 1st 2010, and the other two that were lower we took very severe damage, so this has to be something of a positive (although not much of one we admit!!!).Let's see what April brings, we are certainly long overdue a huge upswing in results, and let's hope it's just around the corner. From that point of view, it may well be a good time to join us! Maybe today's heralded the start of that push upwards, let's hope so.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Weekly Update

A frustrating week, and fairly quiet, with just seven selections, and we went close to ending the month strongly, with Drummers Drumming (10/1 available ten minutes after selections issued) headed close to the line at Hereford on Tuesday after going 1.07 in running, and then on Saturday, Themanfromfraam (5/1) storming home to go down by a neck at Stratford.

Yesterday when we issued Themanfromfraam it was clear that March was going to be a losing month. Some other services have something of a reputation for trying to salvage losing months in the last few days by upping the number of selections, but we don't care about monthly totals (although we will be issuing our March review shortly) so would never do such a thing. It's all about the long-term as our subscribers probably get tired of us saying!

You may have noticed that we have eased off our daily reports on the blog in terms of result updates. These continue for subscribers, emailed directly to them. This blog will continue to be updated as and when we have interesting updates to report, at least on a weekly basis but generally more often. We have our reasons for this, and believe this a positive move to protect our subscribers' interests. We have also begun a newsletter distribution and if you wish to be on this list (it's naturally completely free), please go to and look out for the tab on the left hand side and supply an email address.

It was great to see the flat back yesterday, and with the bigger fields and competitive racing we look forward to plenty of opportunities ahead for us to get stuck in in the weeks and months ahead!