Read all sorts of commentaries and tips across a range of racing disciplines on the most popular horse racing blog in Britain, from staff and guest writers.

[REPLAY] The Racecards & Form Tools Web TV Show

Last night, I broadcast the second in a series of four web TV shows. The quartet aims to help readers - now viewers - get to grips with the power housed inside Geegeez Gold. And, also, to improve as punters in a more general sense.

The first one, recorded last Sunday evening, was on the general approach to betting and can be watched here.

Last night's show is viewable directly in this page from the link below. In it, I cover:

- Racecard icons and customization
- When to use the breeding/sales icon
- What to look for with the trainer icon
- How H2H can help understand the 'hierarchy of the herd'
- How to slice and dice trainer, jockey and sire performance history
- Proximity form as an alternative to finishing position
- Setting up Instant Expert, and the limited data red box trap
- Pace, especially setups to be aware of
- Draw on the all weather, and those advantaged and disadvantaged
- and a fair bit more besides

It's bang on 90 minutes long, and you don't need to watch it all in one sitting; but I recommend you watch it. I think it will improve your understanding of our awesome Gold toolkit. Click the video below and take notes!


p.s. you can use the full screen 'square' icon bottom right on the recording to increase the size of the video box.


Monday Musings: International Flights of Fancy

The anticipated appeal of watching Big Brother, either in the alleged Celebrity version, or the original warts and all with its calculatedly-outrageous young contestants, ended the minute John McCririck hove into view all those years ago, writes Tony Stafford.

Around the owners’ room bar at Yarmouth races today, though, talk will inevitably turn to the prospects in the latest episode of the Channel Four show – who needs racing when you have that? – of a native of those parts.

For most of her young adult life, Isabella Farnese has been working with horses, for several years in Newmarket stables. Unsurprisingly she has known a number of jockeys. Imagine you were a former boyfriend and after the break-up you discovered her walking onto the Big Brother set some way into the series: how would you react?

I think you might well wish you were somewhere else. Andrea Atzeni, Ms Farnese’s longest-serving partner, found a rewarding way to avoid the temptation of tuning in over the weekend. Atzeni travelled over to Toronto and on Saturday night collected two of the available Group 1 prizes, the Canadian International with Desert Encounter (David Simcock) and the E P Taylor for fillies with the Roger Varian-trained Sheikha Reika.

Back home in Yarmouth, Isabella’s dad Richie, proprietor of the spacious La Continental Café close to the sea front, and a sponsor of the eponymous race at the track every September (18th this year) will have been rueing the ending of the Atzeni alliance. He’ll be telling Roger Hales, a friend ever since the latter’s arrival from Nuneaton a decade and more ago, how he should have backed the 62-1 double on the respective 8-1 and 6-1 shots.

Roger says, and on limited exposure admittedly, I can confirm: “It’s the best breakfast in town”, and as for Issy: “She’s brilliant, a natural, 14-1’s a joke!” So after Enable in the Arc, and Sod’s Law (sort of) last week, you can fill your boots again. Richie’s crowd in the bar will be (or already have been) backing her to a man. It seems almost rude not to join in.

This rather odd lead in does have an equine point. Tattersalls took great delight in announcing that the two Canadian winners, both October Yearling Sales Book 1 graduates, had picked up Grade 1 prizes. With 3.5 and 3.4million guineas individuals last week being acquired by Qatar Racing and Coolmore respectively, the auction house welcomed the quick boost before this week’s four days of Book 2 action for prospective investors on a more prosaic scale.

Nearer home, Qatar Racing will have been instantly gratified when Too Darn Hot, the full-brother to their acquisition, duly strolled away from his Dewhurst Stakes opposition to add another golden chapter to the season of John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. The Lord and Lady Lloyd Webber-owned and -bred colt is an obvious favourite and probable winner of next year’s 2,000 Guineas and possibly the Derby. He certainly finished his race very strongly.

“Finished very strongly” could also be a fair assessment of English stables generally around the world. Since the Saturday of Arc weekend, winners have been flowing in with regularity and at the highest level. On the day before the Arc Charlie Appleby sent Brundtland for his third 2018 sortie to France and the colt annexed his third winner’s prize, the Qatar Prix Chaudenay over a mile and seven furlongs, going for an easy win rather than tackle the Arc, next year’s mission.

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On Arc day, Wild Illusion was the Appleby winner in the Prix de l’Opera and merely one of five English-trained winners at that level, headed gloriously by Enable (Gosden) in the Arc and supplemented by Royal Marine (Saeed bin Suroor, Lagardere), Mabs Cross (Michael Dods, Abbaye) and One Master (William Haggas) in the Prix de la Foret.

Appleby’s stats in the UK this year have been momentous. His 80 domestic wins have come at a strike rate of 28%, even outstripping Gosden (25%) and Haggas (22%) in that regard. They have brought £3.67million and a creditable fifth place behind only Gosden, Aidan O’Brien, Sir Michael Stoute and Mark Johnston, the last-named already on 207 wins. Appleby’s haul of 12 Group-race wins and 13 places from just 48 runners at that level is also exceptional.

But it is in France where the figures make even more impressive reading. A total of 24 individual horses have run a cumulative 40 times for 15 wins (37.5%) and 18 places. Just two of the 24 has failed to pick up a cheque. Amazingly only one of the Gallic two dozen, Expressiy, has qualified for an owner’s premium. A Breeze-up buy from Arqana last year, she went over to Bordeaux and won a £24k Listed prize last month, with an additional £12k or so for the French-bred premium.

That haul of €1,255,600 is enough to place Appleby 12th in France this year. Gosden is second with €3,337,730 behind Andre Fabre who, with almost €6 million to his credit, has easily dislodged Jean-Claude Rouget (third), while Haggas is one place ahead of the Godolphin man with €1,582,540 from three wins and 11 places in 18 runs. Karl Burke (27th) and Michael Bell (58th) also feature.

Saeed bin Suroor’s revival, signalled by Royal Marine’s triumph in France, extended to Australia over the weekend. I made a 4.30 a.m. start on Saturday – no problem in these parts, even earlier today! – aiming to watch the first of the big Australian races from Caulfield. Attheraces didn’t have that coverage! Does Sod’s Law apply here too?

So while I could watch all the action from Randwick in Sydney, where the rain and heavy ground made a farce of US Navy Flag’s meticulously-planned challenge for the £3.7m to the winner Everest, I should have been looking on the Internet where the Ballydoyle team’s eyes were fixed on the Melbourne coverage.

For once Appleby had to give best in the very valuable Ladbroke, a Group 1 trial for next month’s Melbourne Cup. Saeed had the call with Benbatl, an 8-1 shot ridden by Pat Cosgrave who had a short-head to spare over Appleby’s Blair House (11-1). That works out at a very nice 100-1 or thereabouts exacta for Godolphin adherents.

Maybe more significantly with the Cup in mind, Thecliffsofmoher, formerly Cliffs Of Moher, now with the definite article preceding his name for some technical reason, stayed on after a quiet early part of the race, into a close fourth. The 2017 Derby runner-up will be one of four for Ballydoyle, if not all for Coolmore in the field, the trainer aiming to catch up with his precocious elder son who beat him to winning “the race that stops a nation” last year.

Easiest winner on the Caulfeld card evidently was Yucatan, now wholly-owned by Lloyd Williams, the Cup kingpin these days, and family. Yucatan cantered away with a Group 2 on the undercard and should have comfortably done enough to get into the big race field along with Idaho and Rostropovich.

It will be more than interesting to discover which of the four attracts the attention of Ryan Moore, possibly a little narked at his bad luck in Sydney when winners were to be had in Newmarket. Yucatan was 9-1 favourite early this morning in Betfair’s Sportsbook, but I prefer the look of 16-1 Thecliffsofmoher.

And for another hopefully happy footnote, watch out for Sod’s Law in his hat-trick attempt at Haydock on Friday. As Kieran O’Neill related after his Pontefract win last Monday, “He hated the track and was never comfortable on it”. Indeed, he raced past almost the whole of a decent field once they straightened up in the last 150 yards. It’s been a long wait for Ray Tooth, but late is better than never and Haydock looks eminently possible.

- Tony Stafford

Stat of the Day, 15th October 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

2.40 York : Dave Dexter @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 11/4 (Held up, headway in centre chasing leaders over 2f out, kept on into 2nd over 1f out, no chance with winner)

Monday's pick runs in the...

8.45 Kempton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Rose Berry @ 9/2 BOG a 12-runner, A/W handicap for 3yo+ over 6f on Polytrack worth £6469 to the winner... 


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Well, we've got a 4 yr old filly who has been running consistently well over the last 6 months, making the first three in six of her seven starts in that period and won last time out at Lingfield 30 days ago.

That was also a Class 4, 6 furlong A/W handicap where she was ridden by today's jockey Irineu Goncalves, so conditions shouldn't be entirely alien to her today.

Generally speaking, Chris Dwyer's A/W runners who won LTO also on the A/W are worth at least a second glance, since they're 23 from 85 (27.1% SR) since the start of 2013. Sadly, they don't quite make a profit from blind backing (not that I'd advocate that anyway) : they've actually lost 1.03pts at Betfair SP.

However, this is such a small loss that they remain of serious interest because (a) any blind approach with an SR of 25% or higher is a good starting point and (b) they'd be profitable at early BOG odds like we take, especially as those eventually sent off at 5/1 and shorter are 22/58 (39.3% SR) for 20.3pts profit (+36.3% ROI).

So, the basic premise here is to follow Chris Dwyer's shorter priced LTO winners.

That approach brought Rose Berry into my thinking and also at the back of my mind I has this vague memory that one of Mr Dwyer's successful angles was with lower grade handicappers on Polytrack, so I did a bit of data mining and discovered that since the start of 2016, his Class 4 to 7 Polytrack handicappers have won 28 of 137 races (20.4% SR) for profits of 166.4pts at an ROI of 121.4%, which are very decent figures indeed.

But we need to see how those numbers would fit into today's contest and what I found was that of the 28/137 stat...

  • over trips of a mile and shorter : 25/121 (20.7%) for 172.9pts (+142.9%)
  • 6-30 days since last run : 27/105 (25.7%) for 196.1pts (+186.8%)
  • at odds of 6/1 and shorter : 22/61 (36.1%) for 33.1pts (+54.3%) further proof that the market tends to get the Dwyer horses right.
  • in September / October : 8/33 (24.2%) for 62pts (+188%)
  • Fav / jt fav / co-fav (all a possibility here today) : 13/23 (56.5%) for 17.26pts (+75%)
  • LTO winners : 10/20 (50%) for 15.22pts (+76.1%)
  • and those ridden by Irineu Goncalves are 3/5 960%) for 130.75pts (+261.5%)

...all steering us towards... a 1pt win bet on Rose Berry @ 9/2 BOG , a price widely available at 7.35pm on Sunday evening ans was still there at 9.00am on Monday.  To see what your preferred bookie is quoting... here for the betting on the 8.45 Kempton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 8th to 13th October 2018

Six picks and no winners in a frustrating / unlucky / poor * (delete/apply as applicable depending on your personal viewpoint) week.

You'll each have your own take on it, but mine is that it was frustrating, but satisfying in a perverse sort of way. Handy Hollow was travelling well before unseating his rider and the other five picks all made the frame, including three runners-up.

If we can start talking with our heads rather than our wallets, you'll know we're backing the right sort of horses if they're all on the premises. The fact that 5 of the 6 went off shorter than we backed them at (the other went off at advised odds) also tell us we're backing horses that plenty others fancy too.

The bottom line is very simple, we won't win every day or every week or even every month, but so far we've won every year and I fully intend to do that again this year. You should only be panicking now if you've not got a proper structured, disciplined bankroll in place.

I'll wrap this week's report up by being quite blunt : if you can't handle some runs of losers then this isn't for you. October hasn't been the best from a P/L point of view, but the fact that I ended September with a 6 from 12 run shows how easily it can change.

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Selections & Results : 08/10/18 to 13/10/18

08/10 : Who's My Jockey @ 7/2 BOG 3rd at 5/2
09/10 : Chitra @ 5/1 BOG 2nd at 9/2
10/10 : Excellent Team @ 3/1 BOG 3rd at 3/1
11/10 : Handy Hollow @ 3/1 BOG UR at 9/4
12/10 : Astronomer @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 4/1
13/10 :Dave Dexter @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 11/4

08/10/18 to 13/10/18 :
0 winning bet from 6 = 0.00% SR
P/L: -6.00pts

October 2018 :
1 winner from 11 = 9.09% SR
P/L: -6.67pts
ROI = -60.64%

2018 to date :
52 winners from 230 = 22.61% SR
P/L: +5.87pts
ROI = +2.55%

575 winners from 2115 = 27.19% S.R
P/L: +492.11pts
ROI: +23.27%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take the plunge and get involved right now?

Click here for more details.

NH Season Fast Starters

As I’ve alluded to in previous articles I would consider myself more of a flat game specialist, writes Jon Shenton.  However, with the onset of winter and the monumental battle of wills around when to put the heating on, perhaps you could argue that my timing is less than impeccable in terms of becoming a contributor to Geegeez.

Data are data, though – and in some ways the fact that I’m not invested so much in the history, the characters and the equine stars of the show arguably means I can be more objective about what I’m looking at.  In other words, the data can speak for themselves.  Every day is a school day and I’m hopeful that I can build some profitable and interesting angles to keep things ticking over during the cold, dark months when I’m wrapped in a blanket because I’m too tight to fire up the boiler!

In this article, I will try to unearth a bit of early season value with regard to the winter game.  That said, and as a starter concession, I still can’t work out officially when the National Hunt season starts.

As ever a reminder that analysing past performance is no guarantee of future spoils; but, as a minimum, it should help in generating ideas and approaches for evolve our knowledge and therefore our betting skill.

Let’s start with a broad-brush approach evaluating National Hunt runners by trainer during the months of October and November.  This time all the data have been crunched using the Query Tool on this very site, any runners on or after 7th October 2018 are not included.

All National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter by trainer in October and November from 2012 onwards

The table above displays trainers ordered by the best return on investment (ROI) at starting price (SP).  Encouragingly, there are nine of them returning over 10% without diving any deeper.

Top of the tree and first cab off the rank is Henry Oliver, the Worcestershire-based trainer who is returning a very substantial 61% over the period in question: it’s stating the completely obvious but that’s worth more than a quick glance.   First stop is to check the context of this apparent seasonal bounty, it may be that Mr Oliver is an all year-round cash cow.

All Henry Oliver National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or less from 2012 onwards

If you backed every Oliver NH runner from January 2012 you would have a neat 5% return to SP with 90 winners from 534 bets.  Not quite ‘cash cow’ status but there are certainly worse ways to put your money on the line.  The below graph shows how the 26.7 points of profit is split by month.

Monthly P&L to a £1 level stake for all National Hunt runners at 20/1 or shorter from the Henry Oliver stable from 2012 onwards


First thing to note is that, like a number of NH trainers, the summer months are fallow for Oliver’s charges.  December aside, Oliver is operating at a profitable level over the winter months and I wouldn’t put you off tracking all stable runners over the core NH season so certainly a trainer to follow.

However, we started searching for early season value and clearly November sticks out like Brian Blessed playing hide and seek, returning 94% profit to ROI.  The 20% October ROI is worth noting, too.

Trying to dive deeper into those autumnal runners, evaluating variables such as obstacle type, race class, horse age or date of recent run doesn’t generate anything of real material value.   If you’re nit-picking, Oliver’s horses are 0/11 for runs greater in distance than 2m 6f in those months and 5/58 overall, something to keep an eye on.

The last metaphoric hurdle is to understand the consistency aspect of the performance.

The table below shows Oliver’s October/November runs by year.  Maybe a little streaky but scintillating performance in 2013, 2015, and in particular 2017, with a bit of a washout in 2016.  Only one losing year though (excluding 2018 thus far for hopefully obvious reasons) means that this is solid enough to go on the list!

All Henry Oliver National Hunt Oct/Nov runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards

Suggestion: Back all Henry Oliver runners in October/November at 20/1 or less


The second luminary of the list is Fergal O’Brien, who quite simply has the best (in my opinion) and most entertaining twitter profile of all of the trainers, well worth a follow (@FOBracing) if you’re active on that medium. The stable contains relative household names such as Chase The Spud, Cap Soleil, and their first Grade 1 winner Poetic Rhythm to name but three of them.

There is no doubt the yard has impressive credentials and performance has been very strong over recent years.  If you backed every single stable runner at SP from January 2012 you’d walk away with 3.7% more cash than you invested.

I think there are angles aplenty when it comes to O’Brien, most of which are for another day but with specific reference to the early season view there are a couple of options to home in on for profit. The first is National Hunt race code

All Fergal O’Brien Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

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All profitable, which is nice. The pertinent angle for me though is his performance in bumpers, where O’Brien has nearly double the volume of winners than expected with a 186% return to boot.  Yes, the sample size is small, but within the data there are ten winners from horses making their debut (from 22), indicating that the yard gears up to get quality horses (or horses ready to win) out on the track in the months of October and November. Generally speaking, the later in October, the better as the record is 1/11 from the 1st-16th.

Profit in relation to hurdles and fences is quite small over those two months; however, if we zoom in a little closer there is a quite telling split in monthly performance, again it looks like the stable is peaking in November.

All Fergal O’Brien Oct/Nov Hurdle & Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

It’s not an absolute rule, and certainly doesn’t mean that a horse on the track on the 1st November is in different shape to one on 31st October, but it does indicate generally that as we start heading towards the big November Cheltenham meeting, the O’Brien yard picks up pace and is a definite one to follow closely.

Suggestion 1: Back all O’Brien NHF runners in late October/November at less than 20/1 SP

Suggestion 2: Back all O’Brien Chase and Hurdle runners in November at less than 20/1 SP


Moving to the trainer in the bronze medal position in the opening table, Harry Whittington: the Lambourn-based outfit is growing rapidly, currently housing nearly 50 horses with an increasing number of runners per year. I like these yards that are growing, it often means they’re on an upwards trajectory and are worth closer review.

First port of call is checking the race type in the table below, a small number of runners but the bumper aspect doesn’t look entirely compelling so I’m happy enough to exclude and keep a watching brief.

All Harry Whittington Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type

Again, evaluating the profile of Whittington’s hurdle and chase runners across the whole year gives an interesting picture in terms of P&L.  The graph below shows that very same P&L by month to a £1 level stake, it’s fair to say that Q4 looks quite compelling – another yard that’s fast out of the blocks for the new season.

Monthly P&L to a £1 level stake for all National Hunt runners at 20/1 or less from the Harry Whittington stable from 2012 onwards


If we analyse the October to December runs in terms of race class as a differentiator there is a further shard of light to assist profitable punting.

All Harry Whittington Oct-Dec Hurdle and Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race class


The basement C5 races are easy enough to ignore in punting terms, most of them crossing over with the NHF group we already discounted; the Class 1 & 2 are less straightforward, particularly if the yard’s expansion means they may be knocking on the door of the higher echelons of the racing ladder. Here and now I’d be inclined to back the C3 & C4 horses and track the C1/2 runners for signs of improvement or add to a shortlist to back on their relative merits.

Suggestion: Back all Harry Whittington’s October, November and December Chase/Hurdle runners at less than 20/1 in Class 3 or 4 races.


The final trainer I’m going to run through from the initial table is Venetia Williams, largely due to her volume of runners: to deliver a 17% ROI across 440 runners in the months of October/November from 2012 onwards is impressive and merits closer scrutiny.  That’s not to say all of the other trainers are not worthy of further investigation and I’d definitely be inclined to sharpen the focus on Messrs Pauling and Keighley in particular.  Have a play on QT yourself and maybe post anything of interest (or otherwise) in the comments below.

Returning to Venetia Williams, the Grand National-winning trainer has a profitable record during the months in question, but the below table tells a stark tale.  Clearly, Williams has a knack for getting her cavalry of chasers ready early in the season

All Venetia Williams Oct/Nov National Hunt runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by race type


Again, if we look specifically at the month, the record in November is much stronger than that of October.

Perusing the “Venetia” page at her website the following sentence caught my eye:

“Since then Venetia's career has flourished. Never one to expose her horses to the high risk of summer ground, each year Venetia can be seen with the big Saturday winners during the core NH season”

There is a common belief that Williams’ runners love soft turf, and the statement above also seems to indicate a preference to avoiding the risks associated with summer ground.  On Geegeez we like facts to back up a theory, so the table below shows Venetia’s chase runners in November by official going.

All Venetia Williams Chase runners in November with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards by official going


While there is confirmation that Williams’ runners prefer a softer surface, it is worth noting that the stereotyped ‘hock deep’ runner from this yard fares less well than those encountering merely ‘winter ground’, i.e. good to soft or soft.

There is one mild concern with the overall angle though, namely 2017 performance, showing a loss of 28%, this is also on the back of a moderate 2016.  It could be this angle has run its natural course, albeit I will be adding it to my own armoury this November.  Williams had a very quiet spell last winter, alluding to a potential problem in the yard so I’m just about happy enough to strike a line through 2017.  This is one for keen observation though.

All Venetia Williams Chase runners with an SP of 20/1 or shorter from 2012 onwards on good to soft, soft or heavy ground by year

Oh, and incidentally the Saturday assertion in the quoted sentence does have a degree of credence too.

Suggestion: Back all Venetia Williams November Chasers on Good to soft or softer ground with a 20/1 or less SP (with caution)

- Jon Shenton

[REPLAY] The ‘Getting Started’ Web TV Show

The Laughing Gnome or Richard Johnson after nine cups of coffee..?

Last night I presented a live broadcast via the wwww. (wonderful world wide web).

It was about 'getting started'.

Actually it was about a lot more than that, and doubtless has some value regardless of where you're at with your betting and/or whether you're a geegeez subscriber or not.

It runs for 90 minutes but you can watch the whole thing in 45 minutes to an hour...

You see, I'm not used to doing this sort of thing, and one observation I have of myself is that my delivery was probably marginally slower than ideal.

Happily, youtube has this covered with a 'speed' control bottom right [click the little cog wheel to access the control].

Here, you can choose to watch me at 1.5x (where I sound like Richard Johnson on a caffeine high) or even 2x (where I invoke the spirit of David Bowie's Laughing Gnome)... or good ol' normal speed, where I sound like me, only a bit more nasal (seasonal snots, sigh).

The show covers:
- "The Art of the Possible"
- Mindset
- Staking
- Time
- Overwhelm
- "The process"
- and an overview of the Geegeez Gold platform

And you can watch it below.

p.s. this is your LAST CHANCE to get the discounted Winter Gold season ticket, OR annual discount, OR trial month then current monthly price. From Wednesday morning, the offer is closed and the monthly cost rises for anyone not already locked in to existing pricing structure.

Don't say you weren't warned! Here's the link to get in before the doors close.

Monday Musings: A Bold Bid

For many years, the counter-argument to attending the big events has always been that you can see much more on the television screen, writes Tony Stafford. Yesterday’s Arc action, exclusive to At the Races, soon to be Sky Racing, had to be spliced between Uttoxeter jumping and a mixed Irish card from Tipperary. Oh for the days when BBC was able to do the thing properly.

That’s probably unfair, especially as ITV, the current terrestrial home of racing, did a solid job. One advantage of for once not being in Paris – or Chantilly as it was the last two years – was that the undercard and its largely British-trained domination, offered many stories. Thus I can largely leave Enable’s second win to her own devices and other commentators.

Events started off with a notably successful gamble. The Arqana Arc sale, in Saint Cloud on big-race eve, seemed rather insipid beforehand, but lot 4, Lily’s Candle, a dual-winning daughter of French-based stallion Style Vendome, realised €390,000 to the bid of US owner, Martin S Schwartz. Eighteen hours later, still in the care of her previous trainer, she belied her status as second-biggest outsider at 27-1 by winning the opening Prix Marcel Boussac.

That recouped more than £200,000, less disbursements, fully deserved to trainer Fabrice Vermeulen, jockey Pierre Charles-Boudot, who is going to be champion this year, and the stable staff.

It was a fair day for Mr Schwartz as last night at Belmont Park, another of his French acquisitions, Onthemoonagain, a daughter of Cape Cross whose last run in France was when unplaced behind Rhododendron in last year’s Prix de l’Opera on the same card, finished runner-up in the Flower Bowl.

And it was more than a fair day too for Boudot who also teamed up for the Arc nearly man, William Haggas, to collect the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret on One Master. This was a fourth win in eight starts for the daughter of Fastnet Rock, who was allowed to start 47-1 despite winning a nice Group 3 prize in Tipperary last time out.

At Doncaster in August last year, One Master made a belated but highly-promising debut, staying on into third behind Equitation over six furlongs. I was there to see a filly called Betty Grable and went away happy with her keeping on sixth, two and a half lengths behind One Master and four adrift of the winner.

One Master duly picked up her maiden efficiently at Yarmouth under Ryan Moore and was carrying a never-used 75 opening handicap mark when winning an Ascot Listed race next time, bringing about a 30lb hike in one move. For handicap aficionados, Betty Grable is now on 47, has yet to win and last time finished eighth off that mark!

Haggas’s ability to develop talent has always been evident. Sea of Class’s rise through the ranks from her narrow debut defeat at Newmarket barely five months ago, through two Listed wins at Newbury and on to the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks, has been masterful. Yesterday’s all-but successful effort in the Arc where in another couple of strides she would have swept past Enable continued the progression.

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Haggas also is at least partly responsible for another of 2018’s success stories. When I wrote about Archie Watson’s unerring first year of his training career some months ago, he had been mopping up claimers and minor all-weather races. Yesterday he went within a few strides of collecting a rare Group 1, the Prix de l’Abbaye, with a two-year-old.

As the season has worn on, so his sure touch with first-season horses has become ever more obvious. Soldier’s Call’s near miss under Oisin Murphy after pegging back the flying, but fallible Battaash, as Mabs Cross in the old red colours and Gold Vibe went by late on, must have been heart-breaking for Archie.

My initial encounter with him was a brief one, but first impressions they say, are important. Archie, having left Haggas where he was assistant trainer, took over Saxon Gate Stables around two years ago. It had been developed and improved by the late Julia Tooth and continued by her partner Paul Fitzsimons. Watson’s good start had obviously been noticed by Julia’s father Raymond and in the Epsom parade ring last summer (2017) taking the chance I told Archie: “Raymond Tooth is very impressed by your start.” His answer: “Ok” had the benefit of brevity and also revealed this is someone not for diverting. Fair enough. That’s the impression he conveys to his fellow trainers in Lambourn, by all accounts.

That single-mindedness has brought 90 domestic and several overseas wins, but none that would have compared with a juvenile win in an all-aged Group 1. Domestically, Watson has 90 wins, 48 with two-year-olds. Overall he is going at a 22% strike rate and half of his 46 juveniles to have run are winners.

I had already congratulated David and Emma Armstrong in the York unsaddling enclosure back in August after the Coolmore Nunthorpe. Mabs Cross had flashed over the line with Bryan Smart-trained Alpha Delphini, but it would have been hard to find anybody that thought she had been beaten.

But beaten she was by the unconsidered fellow Yorkshire-trained sprinter. I’d had a small bet at York – got 20-1, she started 14’s – but I’m sure the owners will have been more than happy with yesterday’s consolation. Alpha Delphini was 11th yesterday – Sod’s Law.

Six years ago their first star sprinter, Mayson, was touched off in the Abbaye by Wizz Kid in his final race before entering stud. He’d won the July Cup on his previous start. To win the Abbaye with a filly was a triumph and completed a rewarding weekend for trainer Michael Dods, who the previous day won a Listed prize at Ascot with Intense Romance.

Ballydoyle’s weekend prospects looked less obvious than has often been the case and successive St Leger winners Capri and Kew Gardens were not discredited, close up in fifth and seventh, with the pacemaking Nelson (181-1!) in eighth barely four lengths behind Enable. There will be plenty more to come from them all.

More immediately, I’m looking forward to seeing whether Aidan O’Brien has entered Il Paradiso, a big bold staying type by Galileo, in next weekend’s 10-furlong Zetland Stakes. That was the race in which Kew Gardens rounded out his two-year-old campaign with a defeat of Dee Ex Bee; and Il Paradiso, though no match for Turgenev’s acceleration going into the dip in their mile maiden on Saturday, finished with a rare rattle up the hill.

Even closer to hand, I’m driving up to Pontefract to see Ray’s Sod’s Law – the real one! – tackle better opposition than he beat when opening his tally at Ffos Las last month. It would have helped if Mr Haggas had not found a 95-rated horse to run and cause us to be 3lb out of the weights, but the ground will be suitable and Hughie Morrison is in form.

Then on Tuesday at 11 a.m. it’s Book 1 of Tattersall’s October Yearling Sale. If you want to see all the big name owners and trainers close up and free of charge, go along to Park Paddocks. But beware doing a Kevin Howard. One year he arrived in mid-sale and ended up in the Bidders’ Only area opposite the rostrum. Spotting me across the way, he started gesticulating to attract my attention. “Is that a bid, sir?” he was asked with a six-figure sum on the board.  I made a suitable gesture in his direction and all was well. He hasn’t been since.

Stat of the Day, 8th October 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

2.50 Fontwell : Notnow Seamus @ 10/3 BOG non-runner (Withdrawn by the Trainer at 14:14, because the going was changed to Good to Soft from Good / Good to Firm in places)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.20 Stratford :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Who's My Jockey @ 7/2 BOG  

In an 8-runner, Class 3, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m6½f on Good ground, worth £8837 to the winner... 


Your first 30 days for just £1

This 5 yr old gelding has 3 wins and 3 places from just 7 outings so far, including 2+3 from 5 over hurdles. He's 3+1 from 5 on good ground, 2+2 from 5 under jockey Richard Johnson and 2+1 from 3 in fields of 7-9 runners, so conditions should be fine for him here.

This is his first outing in just over 20 weeks (143 days to be precise), but whilst that can be a concern for some horses, he did make the frame on this very date last year off a break of 182 days and then in April of this year won after a 126 day absence, so my fears on that score are allayed somewhat.

His trainer Philip Hobbs has had a quiet late summer/early autumn thus far, sending out just 19 runners in the last 60 days but with 7 winners (36.8% SR) in that period and a 30-day record of 4 from 12 (33.3%), I think the yard is just getting to ramp up for the season proper. His record here at Stratford is decent enough too, with 22 winners from 83 (26.5% SR) yielding punter profits of 40.5pts (+48.8% ROI) since the start of 2013 and with this contest in mind, those 83 runners are...

  • 17/59 (28.8%) for 53pts (+89.9%) in handicaps
  • 13/40 (32.5%) for 15.9pts (+39.7%) with Richard Johnson in the saddle
  • 12/33 (36.4%) for 42.3pts (+128.2%) at Class 3
  • and 6/28 (21.45) for 6.6pts (+23.5%) over hurdles

...whilst from the above : Hobbs + Johnson + Class 3 handicap = 6/13 (46.2% SR) for 18.2pts (+140.1% ROI).

That 13/40 trainer/jockey stat above is unsurprising as more generally the partnership is 32 from 146 (21.9% SR) for 33.4pts (+22.9% ROI) in Class 3 handicap hurdles here in the UK since the start of 2012.

And finally, I'd like to refer back to this horse coming off a break of just over 20 weeks. I already said he'd run well previously after a lay-off, but it's worth noting that this yard's runners do very well when the market money is down on one coming back from a lay off. In numerical terms, I'm telling you that since the start of 2010, Philip Hobbs' runners priced at 11/8 to 9/2 returning from an absence of 4 to 8 months are 54 from 167 (32.3% SR) for level stakes profits of 42.9pts (+25.7% ROI) and once again with this race in mind, this stat includes...

  • male runners at 52/153 (34%) for 50pts (+32.7%)
  • in the August-January half-year : 48/141 (34%) for 49.6pts (+35.2%)
  • with RJ in the saddle : 37/109 (34%) for 37.7pts (+34.6%)
  • over hurdles : 29/84 (34.5%) for 32.4pts (+38.6%)
  • in handicaps : 29/83 (34.9%) for 31.2pts (+37.6%)
  • at Class 3 : 17/46 (37%) for 17.3pts (+37.5%)
  • and over trips of 2m6½f to 2m7f : 6/11 (54.5%) for 15.43pts (+140.3%)

And those pretty consistent numbers can be combined to make several profitable angles. of course, each time you add a layer, you dilute the sample size but if you wanted, you could go with...RJ on male hcp hurdlers from Aug-Jan for 10 wins from 22 (45.5% SR) and 18.33pts (+83.3% ROI) profit from which those racing over trips of 2m6½f to 2m7f are 3/5 (60%) for 7.5pts (+150%)...

...all pointing towards... a 1pt win bet on Who's My Jockey @ 7/2 BOG  , a price widely available at 7.45pm on Sunday evening. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting... here for the betting on the 3.20 Stratford

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 1st to 6th October 2018

A winner and two placers from five runners to kick off October wasn't quite enough for a profitable week, but a small loss of 0.67pts isn't the end of the world and we are continuing to get horses there or thereabouts.

A slow start to the month, but we've plenty of opportunities to put it right over the coming weeks.

Selections & Results : 01/10/18 to 06/10/18

01/10 : Albert Boy @ 11/4 BOG 3rd at 5/1
02/10 : Compatriot @ 11/4 BOG 4th at 9/4
03/10 : Another Angel @ 10/3 BOG WON at 11/4
04/10 : Tikkinthebox @ 4/1 BOG 3rd at 4/1
05/10 : Barnaby Brook @ 10/3 BOG 8th at 20/1
06/10 :Notnow Seamus @ 10/3 BOG non-runner

01/10/18 to 06/10/18 :
1 winning bet from 5 = 20.00% SR
P/L: -0.67pts

October 2018 :
1 winner from 5 = 20.00% SR
P/L: -0.67pts
ROI = -13.40%

2018 to date :
52 winners from 224 = 23.21% SR
P/L: +11.87pts
ROI = +5.30%

575 winners from 2109 = 27.26% S.R
P/L: +498.11pts
ROI: +23.62%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

Stat of the Day is just one component of the excellent package available to all Geegeez Gold Members, so why not take the plunge and get involved right now?

Click here for more details.

Geegeez Gold FAQ

Here at we have a premium service called Geegeez Gold, which is currently on special offer. This post is dedicated to trying answer as many of your most frequently asked questions as I can think of. If I've missed one, either add a comment below or contact me and I'll add it in. Straight in, then, with the most obvious...

Q. What is Geegeez Gold?

A. Gold is a comprehensive service for people who bet on British and Irish racing. It includes racecards, form tools, reports, tipping, a tracker, query tools, and more besides. If you bet on racing in Ireland or the UK, Gold has something to help you do it better, regardless of how you bet.

Q. How do I join Geegeez Gold?

A. You can find out more, and get a heavily discounted Geegeez Gold subscription here. Regardless of if you've ever tried Gold before, you will be entitled to a trial of the service so that you can see if it works for the way you bet. Alternatively, if you know you need it, you can claim a 30% discount on current prices.

From next week, prices will rise by 20% to £36 a month. But existing subscribers will continue to pay the rate at which they signed up. That is why I am making this special offer. 12 monthly subscriptions at £36 = £432. An Annual subscription during this offer is just £249, a saving of more than 40%.

Get your discounted access here

Q. What happens at the end of my Gold trial?

A. If you decide take a trial rather than the bargain 'season' tickets, once your trial finishes, you will automatically be billed the monthly subscription. You may of course cancel at any time, including during your trial. And remember, the subscription rate you sign up at will be the rate at which you're locked in for as long as you remain a subscriber, regardless of future price rises.

Q. What if I forget to cancel?

A. It happens. We're all busy. If you forget to cancel during your trial period, contact us within the first month of full subscription and we'll arrange a refund of your payment (assuming you haven't been using the service, of course).


Q. Where do I start with Geegeez Gold?

A. Gold is a comprehensive package. It's designed that way. For some, it can be difficult to know where to start. The answer is different for everyone. The most sensible place to start is to pick up where you left off with whichever service you previously used.

For example, if you like to receive tips, then start with Stat of the Day, posted on site (and accessible from the home page) around 6pm each night before the next day's racing. Then check out the tipping threads in the forum, and check in on The Shortlist report (accessible from the reports menu).

If you're more interested in form, check out our racecards - and all of the content hiding behind the icons. Then take a look at the tools - Instant Expert, Draw and Pace, as well as Full Form Filter. Then get stuck into the Query Tool.

Or if you're just looking for a couple of interesting horses, use the reports. The Shortlist is a simple one with which to get started, but the real 'juice' can be found reports like Trainer/Jockey Combo, Handicap 1st Time, and Trainer Change reports (amongst others). It is well worth checking out Report Angles, too, once you're up to speed with our reporting suite.

The important thing is to take your time, and not to try to 'reinvent yourself' overnight.

See how we have enhanced the things you already do and use when betting, and build from there.

Q. Is there training for Geegeez Gold?

A. Yes! We have a range of Gold tutorials in your My Geegeez area. Also there, you'll find a 'READ THIS FIRST' link. Obviously, I recommend you read that first!

Then, make sure you check out the User Guide, also linked from My Geegeez. That's a big document these days so I'm not expecting that anyone will read it from cover to cover; but if you're using a new feature, flick to the relevant section to ensure you're 'doing it right' and that you're not missing anything.

Your first 30 days for just £1

Finally, we have our Gold Playbook. This is a series of videos and blog posts showing specific strategies and tactics for using various elements of the Gold toolkit. Oh, and I write on the blog every few days with further pointers.

Again, take your time with Gold. "Only fools rush in", as Elvis once wonderfully warbled. There's no rush.

Q. What if I get stuck?

A. If you've checked out the various help features and/or you don't know where to look for an answer, drop us a line! Chris, Steve and myself are always happy to help people get the best out of Geegeez Gold. And, unlike some faceless racing bureaucracies, we're real people who really care about your racing and betting enjoyment and success. So do get in touch whenever you need to. Our contact link is here.

Q. Can I join in on the forum?

A. Please do! We welcome new users introducing themselves and getting as engaged as they wish on our Gold subscribers' only forum. We have just two simple rules, to which we expect everybody to adhere: no pitch, and no bitch. So please don't be selling stuff (yours or someone else's) and please be nice.

Happily, everybody on our forum aligns with those basic principles which makes it a pretty friendly place to hang out. There is also some excellent tipping going on there, and some brilliant ideas and angles being explored. We'd welcome your involvement. Here's the forum link, which can also be found from the top (red) menu bar.


Q. What else do I need to know about Geegeez Gold?

A. is an independently run site, designed and built by racing bettors for racing bettors. All of the writers and developers, and the creator, bet regularly on horse racing. As such, we 'get' what people want. (We also get that because I regularly survey subscribers asking how we can add more value).

We don't have the mega brand of the big boys, but nor have we sold our souls to bookmakers. This is a site where punters win, as simple as that. Our tips are winning tips, where subscribers can actually get on at the prices; our ratings work, because they're not so over-exposed as to be factored into the market as soon as they're published; our tools look at form differently - and more deeply - providing insights not available to the market as a whole.

We do things differently at Geegeez. We do things better.

And we're not going anywhere. has been online since 2008, and has over 30,000 email and website subscribers. The number of Gold subscribers is growing by the week as word is getting out about our superior features. I'm very proud of the community feel at, and of the 'best in breed' product we've built for people, like you, who bet on British and Irish racing.

When you join us, you are becoming part of something worth being a part of. Now that's refreshing, wouldn't you say? 😉

Q. What is the best deal?

A. Geegeez Gold is priced to be accessible to anyone who has even a vague interest in making a profit from their betting - and enjoying the process. But it is a premium product, (favourably) comparable to services which currently cost more than £100 a month. As such, when the price rises to £36 a month from the second week in October, it will still be a third of the price of those other, more clunky (but still decent) services.

This week, however, an Annual ticket is just £20.75 a month (£249/year), a fifth of the price of those other offerings. Alternatively, you can get a 'Winter Season' ticket (seven months, then recurring every six months thereafter) for £149 - that's less then £23 a month over the first 13 months.

Finally, if you're not sure whether Gold is for you, take a one month trial for £1. If you love it, you'll roll onto a £30 monthly subscription at the end of your first month. Obviously, you may cancel at any time; and if you forget, drop us a line and we'll help you out. No dramas.

So what is the best deal? They're all excellent value as you can see, but the very best value is reserved for those making the longest commitment.

Q. Help! My question hasn't been answered!

A. No problem. I've tried to cover just a few of the high level questions in this post. There will be many more I've not answered. Please leave a comment and/or drop us a line if you need another question answering - we're here to help.

For now, thanks for taking time to read this page, and good luck.



Click here to take advantage of the current discount rates before the price rise.

Matt Bisogno,


Sound the HoRN for HRN!

HRN is the Horse Racing Network service and its performances under trial have made it this month's headline act for the September edition of the Geegeez Systems Reviews roundup and the reasons behind this are as follows...

Since my last roundup (which is here), the Horse Racing Network service has advised a further 63 bets at a cost of £868.52 and from those bets, there has been 13 winners at a strike rate of 20.6% and £436.01 profit at an ROI of 50.6%. Now, taken in isolation, these are excellent numbers but could be perceived as a fluke or a purple patch etc, but let me assure that's not the case.

I make this assertion because the Horse Racing Network service has now completed 60 betting days with us and the results from the whole review are astounding...

  • 407 bets at a cost of £5063.92 (avg of 6.8 bets per day costing £12.44 each)
  • 85 winners at a strike rate of 20.9%
  • £2884.46 profit at an ROI of some 57%, the second highest ROI we've ever recorded in a Geegeez 60-day review!

We try to level our nominal bet size to around the £10 mark for our reviews to make financial comparisons fairer (although ROI is the true indicator) and I'm happy to announce that no other review has made as much money as this one in 60 days!

Needless to say, I'm more than happy to approve this one to you, but don't just take my word for it. Our reviewer, Ray Pearce, has this to say about the Horse Racing Network service...

..."not too much to say about this one, other than to urge you to sign up and take the ride. Any system that has an RoI 0f over 50% and delivers 288pts profit in 60 days has got to be a recommended system. I believe the profit and RoI is the biggest of any system reviewed to date by Geegeez. (Chris ?) He was almost right!
Admin wise everything worked like clockwork. Bets arrived the evening before racing. There were bets every day - a first for any system I have reviewed. I can make no comment on customer service as none was needed. Daily outlay was often quite large at 1-7 pts per bet. The largest daily stake was £170.00. The final outcme being 85/407, 20.88% SR; 288.45 pts profit @ 57% RoI.

Definitely a recommend from me. Ray..."

Ray likes it (his full review is here), I like it and I'm confident you'd like it too.
So, if you want to get involved, click here to take out a subscription priced at...

The Horse Racing Network service wasn't the only one to catch the eye in August, though. Honourable mentions also go to ...

Your first 30 days for just £1

...Loves Racing who in just 8 betting days (Mainly a weekend service) had 8 winners from 27 (29.6% SR) yielding profits of some £672.75 at an ROI of 174.7% of £385 staked. That's a truly phenomenal return and to check out how they did that, here is Barry's review.

And I should also refer you to a recently started re-trial of Carl Nicholson's Racing Diary service. We're admittedly only nine days into this trial, but it would be remiss of me not to highlight the good start they've made. 20 level stakes bets of £10 each have produced 6 winners (30% strike rate) and £469.50 profit at a stunning ROI of some 234.75% : each bet is logged here for you.

It wasn't, however, such a good month for all our triallists, as demonstrated... the overall standings (shown by monthly P/L this time)...

System Profit/Loss Service Days Trial days Monthly P/L Full Review ROI
Loves Racing £914.35 (at day 47) 47 £672.75 Click Here 30.38%
Racing Diary £469.50 (at day 9) 9 £469.50 Click Here 234.75%
Horse Racing Network £2,884.46 (at day 60) 60 £436.01 Click Here 56.96%
The Press Man £175.25 (at day 54) 54 £193.10 Click Here 13.48%
CD Racing -£171.15 (at day 52) 52 £120.85 Click Here -14.14%
Racing Excellence 5f Lays -£73.85 (at day 57) 57 £61.52 Click Here n/a
Master Racing Tipster £17.63 (at day 60) 60 £37.50 Click Here 1.46%
Stable Whispers £0.00 (at day 7) 7 £0.00 Click Here 0.00%
The VIP Service -£51.53 (at day 45) 45 -£16.15 Click Here -12.57%
Ron Williams Racing -£17.50 (at day 9) 9 -£17.50 Click Here -6.25%
Architect Tips £207.18 (at day 53) 53 -£47.38 Click Here 9.27%
Racing Expert -£32.52 (at day 51) 51 -£75.36 Click Here -2.90%
RL Rated Racing £109.34 (at day 58) 58 -£76.50 Click Here 7.75%
The BSP Tipster -£171.31 (at day 8) 8 -£171.31 Click Here -31.14%
The Shortlist -£198.89 (at day 8) 8 -£198.89 Click Here -21.65%

As is normally the case, clicking a service's name will direct you to their homepage, where you'll find more info and no doubt be offered the opportunity to take out a subscription.

The above is pretty self explanatory, of course, but if anything's unclear, feel free to ask. You'll notice a few new additions over the last few days and you'll also see that quite a few reviews will end before the November edition of the roundup (7th Nov IIRC). This, of course, means that I'm going to need to source a few new services to trial, so if there's a product out there that you'd like me to review or that you think we should review, please do get in touch.

Other than that, I'm done here for another month and I'll leave you with another reminder to check out our review of the Horse Racing Network service maybe even with a view to subscribing.

Thanks for taking the time to read this today,


Educating Trevor: Shopping for Value

As a retired gentleman Trevor likes a bet; in fact I first met him in a Bookmakers shop around ten years ago, writes Mark Littlewood (@SmarterSig). He wasn’t a profitable punter but his daily walk into town for a bet, some banter and a cup of tea was a regular ritual. Trevor has one quality however that bookmakers do not like, he has a brain in his head. He demonstrated this by expressing to me an interest in becoming more successful with his betting.

How many punters have you met who seem to want to validate their own failure rather than improve their own betting? Trevor was not one of them and he was about to take his first steps towards profit.

He first asked me what the single most important thing was he could do to improve his bottom line, how could he at least perhaps break even and maybe even win long term. I asked him how he bets, what is his daily routine.

It is a familiar one to us all. He makes his picks around 8am, has some breakfast and then strolls into town around 10am to his favourite bookmaker which at the time happened to be Paddy Power. It sometimes changes, if the manager makes him unhappy for some reason. He will then switch to Ladbrokes, Coral, Fred or Hills. If there is one thing FOBTs have given punters it is more shops to choose from, but it is probably the only thing. Trevor will write out his bet taking the odds the bookmaker is currently offering at around 10.30am.

So what can Trevor do that will improve his bottom line. Study more form?  Follow a tipster? Invest in some fancy speed figures and follow them? My first line of advice was none of these. What all punters should do to improve their betting is to take the best price available.

I suggested that Trevor checked which bookmaker has the best odds amongst his bookmakers and make the effort to grab those prices.  If he could include online bookmakers then his prospects would be even better.

Trevor managed to do this (although not via online books) and admitted that he felt better off financially. The second thing I got Trevor to do was check out Betfair and once again Trevor was not only open to this idea but came back to me amazed at some of the prices he was getting.

Okay, so far this is all anecdotal although I can assure you perfectly true.  The real question is how much better off is Trevor and could he do even better with his bet placement choices? To test this I gathered 10:05 am prices for all High Street and online bookmakers for a period of just over two weeks starting around the St Leger meeting. I wanted to see how better or worse off the profit would be with various bet placement strategies. First of all I wanted a baseline to compare to. I decided on profit and loss to bookmaker SP on all horse who had a 10:05am average price of less than decimal 10.0 (9/1). To keep things simple I only considered races where, from 10:05am onwards, there were no non runners up to race off time. Both Flat and NH were analysed. 


AM av’g Price < 10 in betting to bookmakers’ SP £1 bets

Bets                                 PL                    Returns to £1

1236 -£87.35 £0.93


From the above we can see that during this period if we had 1236 £1 bets we would have lost £87.35 which equates on average to getting 93p back for every pound bet. What we would really like to see from a betting strategy is that last column to be above £1.00; the purpose of this article is to see which method of bet placement moves us closer to £1.00 when betting blindly.

So how can we improve matters before we even consider how we are picking our bets? Well what if we do what Trevor is now doing. What if we bet at best 10:05am prices rather than bookmakers’ SP. The first question is, which bookmakers should we realistically consider? Trevor is not going to have accounts with every available checkable bookmaker.  Perhaps a look first at betting to best price at 10:05am with the main High Street shops, namely Ladbrokes, Coral, Hills, Fred and Power.


AM av’g price < 10 in betting to best 10:05am price with main high street firms

Bets                                 PL                    Returns to £1

1236 -£77.71 £0.94


Excellent, a small improvement: a loss of £77.71 which equates to a return on every pound of 94p.

However what if Trevor is willing to really do the leg work and open accounts with all online Bookmakers? For these results I have excluded all exchanges except Betfair exchange and Betfair Sportsbook.

Your first 30 days for just £1


AM av’g price < 10 in betting to best 10:05am price with all firms

Bets                                 PL                    Returns to £1

1236 -£30.95 £0.97


It is worth noting that we will need larger samples than this to feel confident about whether that £0.97 is a realistic figure but what we are really interested in at this stage is the relative behaviour of these numbers. Is one strategy is better than another and, if so, by how much?

Let us be a little more realistic. Trevor may not want to have over a dozen online accounts. Perhaps he is only prepared to open two or three. The question now becomes one of which two or three bookmakers should he open online accounts with. A count of how often each bookmaker is top priced or joint top priced on a race should tell Trevor where to have his two or three accounts. The chart below shows this count for the period under examination.



The above chart suggests Trevor should have accounts with BetVictor, Betfair and Bet365 in addition to his high street shops

Let us now take a look at how Trevor would have performed if he took the easy option and simply placed all the bets at Betfair SP. This can be done with a single click in the morning and then the rest of the day is his.


AM av’g < 10 in betting to Betfair SP after 5% commission deducted

Bets                                 PL                    Returns to £1

1236 -7.13 £0.99


Betting all horses with a 10:05am average price less than 10.0 in the betting at Betfair SP produced a negligible loss of £7.13, which equates to a return of £0.99 for every pound invested. Once again I emphasise that this small loss is unlikely to uphold but the difference in performance from the other approaches is what we are interested in and there appears to be a clear disparity.

Furthermore, any regular punter on Betfair will not be paying the full 5% commission.

Many people will be surprised to find that the easy Betfair SP option outperformed all the other scenarios. Moreover, there is no chance of you getting your account restricted or closed betting to Betfair or Betfair SP. Seems that the old adage of "don’t work hard, work smart", applies to your betting as well.

Finally are there any bookmaker-based betting approaches that can beat Betfair SP? Well, so far there is one but it would rely on getting Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) with any of the High Street Bookmakers at 10:05am. Where BOG is offered on a race you can take a price and if the SP is bigger your bet will be settled at the bigger price. There are some challenges with this as various time caveats come into play when offering BOG; and, more materially of course, it is the first thing to go when you show any sign of intelligent punting. Still, the results are solid for as long as one can sustain them.


Av’g price < 10 in betting to best high street only and BOG at 10:05am

Bets                                 PL                    Returns to £1

1236 +44.83 £1.04


If you are not a long term winning punter then these figures suggest that when and how you bet can make a major impact on your loss figures.

What if you are a winning punter? Unless the current bookmaker climate changes you may well be forced onto Betfair anyway, but in the meantime I would advocate placing small breadcrumb bets on Betfair alongside your normal bets to gauge the difference in overall performance.

If there is interest in this article I will follow it up with a look at whether the intelligence of the market or wisdom of the crowds can be harnessed to produce a profit.

- Mark Littlewood


Monday Musings: Johnny vs Obie

Ever since Ascot’s Champions Day in late-October (20th this year) became an integral part of Britain’s autumn racing schedule, the Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch meetings at Newmarket have had to be moved forward by a week from their traditional place in the calendar, writes Tony Stafford. Meanwhile, some of the major juvenile events have consequently been shuffled with particularly the Royal Lodge and Fillies’ Mile, moving from Ascot to HQ.

Early in its lifetime, the going for Champions Day was prone to be bottomless, leading to many professionals lobbying for its transfer to earlier in the year. Such voices have been less evident more recently with the apparent change in climate; and 2018, with its near- summer-long drought conditions, should provide at least acceptable going.

One fixture which remains firmly in its time-honoured place is France’s Arc de Triomphe weekend, with the big race resolutely fixed to the first Sunday in October. Enable remains the hot favourite to follow up after last year’s comfortable success at odds-on. Her comeback run in the September Stakes at Kempton last month when she made short work of Crystal Ocean makes her an obvious choice to complete the double.

Her trainer, John Gosden, has been having a stellar season and, with £5.875million in domestic prize money, he is almost £1million ahead of Aidan O’Brien, with Sir Michael Stoute third on a ‘mere’ £4.1million. O’Brien and Stoute will almost certainly provide opposition to Enable on Sunday when O’Brien has the last two St Leger winners, Capri and Kew Gardens, as well as this term’s Oaks winner Forever Together in his possible team.

Forever Together, whose last run was when caught close home by Sea Of Class in the Irish Oaks in late July, would need to be supplemented, as would her Curragh conqueror who went on to collect the Yorkshire Oaks for the William Haggas stable. Sea Of Class is a well-supported second favourite and will almost certainly take her chance. Crystal Ocean, who will meet Enable on 5lb better terms this time should he be supplemented, could wait for Ascot.

Andre Fabre has the solid Waldgeist, easy winner of his trial a fortnight ago, as his main contender. Waldgeist is owned by his breeders, Gestut Ammerland, in partnership with Newsells Park Stud. With the latter being the home base of Nathaniel, sire of Enable, Sunday’s race will carry the full attention of the Hertfordshire farm.

The previous afternoon, fillies take centre spot at Newmarket where the Sun Chariot Stakes will probably bring together Laurens and Clemmie. Laurens’ victory on Ireland’s Champions Weekend continued her excellent season, with only a non-staying sixth behind Sea Of Class in the Yorkshire Oaks and second spot in the 1,000 Guineas interrupting four Group 1 wins for the Karl Burke stable.

Laurens was possibly a little fortunate in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last time as when challenged by Alpha Centauri inside the last furlong, the hot favourite seemed to falter, post-race inspection revealing a career-ending injury.

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Chasing home the principals, Clemmie put up easily her best performance since the Cheveley Park Stakes a year ago, when staying on for a closing third, ahead of better-fancied stable-companions Magical and Happily, and she may well get nearer to Laurens on Saturday.

A couple of months ago, some were writing off the Ballydoyle stable, but numerically the winners have been flowing, particularly in Ireland. A quick-fire Newmarket hat-trick on Saturday in the three juvenile Group races that started Cambridgeshire day, following Just Wonderful’s electric victory in the previous day’s Rockfel Stakes, shows normal service to have been fully restored.

Ryan Moore, in the saddle for Just Wonderful, then set off for yet another US away day on Mendelssohn. He was no doubt a little frustrated to miss the Newmarket treble as Mendelssohn could finish only third to the 46-1 shot  Discreet Lover in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his Breeders’ Cup Classic prep.

Donnacha O’Brien, already assured of his first Irish championship, stepped in for Mohawk (Royal Lodge), Fairyland (Cheveley Park) and odds-on Ten Sovereigns in the Middle Park. The last-named, by first-season sire No Nay Never, himself a son of ill-fated Scat Daddy, did well to hold off Jash, but it seems the Commonwealth Cup rather than the 2,000 Guineas may be his major initial target for next year.

When O’Brien is in full stride, usually sons and daughters of Galileo are heavily involved and Mohawk fulfils that requirement. Moore was back for yesterday’s Naas fixture, transferred from The Curragh which is in the final phase of its redevelopment in preparation for next season.

Just as Donnacha had collected a three-timer the previous afternoon, Ryan emulated him on the newcomer Magna Grecia in the opening maiden, followed by Group 3 winners Hermosa and Cypress Creek. The jockey looked sure to make it four, but his partner Mount Everest was caught close home by Japan in the Beresford Stakes.

Both principals are by Galileo as are Hermosa and Cypress Creek. Rarely can a race have been dominated to the extent that Aidan has farmed the Beresford. Since his initial victory in 1996 with Johan Cruyff, O’Brien has won the Group 2 race 18 times. Of five years when he failed to win, it took colts of the calibre of Azamour and Sea the Stars to interrupt the sequence.

With the future in mind, it could well be that another Galileo appearing for the first time over the weekend might be even more interesting. The stable had three runners in the opening seven furlong fillies’ maiden at Dundalk. Credenza, the 7-4 favourite finished third and Happen (8-1, unplaced), leaving newcomer Frosty, a 9-1 chance, to step up and win. She was always travelling well and won comfortably under Seamie Heffernan.

Frosty, a full-sister to the multiple Group 1 winner Winter, has the Fillies’ Mile entry at Newmarket on Friday week and it will be intriguing if she turns up against more experienced rivals.

John Gosden, who had an easy success in Saturday’s Cambridgeshire with Wissahickon, will probably reserve Cracksman for Ascot’s big day rather than send him to support Enable next Sunday. Even with his apparently secure big lead over O’Brien, he knows that with more than £4 million in prizes on offer on that day alone, the trainers’ title is one race that may be far from over.

Stat of the Day, 1st October 2018

Saturday's Pick was...

2.35 Chester : Intransigent @ 11/4 BOG 2nd at 2/1 (Raced keenly, chased leader on inside until 3f out, handy 3rd, switched right and stayed on inside final furlong, 2nd again final 50 yards, flattered by proximity to comfortable winner) 

Monday's pick runs in the...

4.10 Catterick :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.


Albert Boy @ 11/4 BOG  

In a 12-runner, Class 6, Flat Handicap for 3yo+ over 1m4f on Good ground, worth £3493 to the winner... 

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This 5 yr old gelding is arguably carrying enough weight today (more on that shortly), but he does appear to be bringing the best form to the table for this contest, having finished 24122 in his last five starts on turf. He handles pretty much all ground conditions and of his four turf wins to date...

  • all 4 were after a short break of 1 to 5 weeks
  • 3 were at Class 6
  • 3 were over today's 1m4f trip
  • 3 were on left handed tracks
  • and 1 (from just two rides) were with today's jockey, Theodore Ladd (who claims 5lbs)

Gong back to the weight issue, Albert Boy's best form is off marks in the high 50's, so today's 61 is probably as high as I'd be comfortable with, although he did win off 68 in the past, so I'm pleased to see a 5lb claimer in the saddle. This effectively puts him 2lbs lighter than when beaten by just 2 lengths LTO over half a furlong shorter, staying on well and closing in late on.

I had it in my mind that trainer Scott Dixon had done well at placing these 5lb claimer jockeys in the past, so I took a closer look and saw that since the start of 2013, his Class 6 runners were 13 from 71 (18.3% SR) for 22.5pts (+31.7% ROI) when partnered by such riders and those 71 included of relevance today...

  • at 11/1 and shorter : 13/46 (28.3%) for 47.5pts (+103.3%)
  • 4 to 15 days since last run : 8/41 (19.5%) for 23.5pts (+57.2%)
  • 2017/18 : 10/40 (25) for 36.53pts (+91.4%)
  • on the Flat  :9/36 (25%) for 33.3pts (+92.4%)
  • August - October : 8/259 (27.6%) for 27.8pts (+96%)
  • 5/1 and shorter : 8/17 (47.1%) for 19.6pts (+115.4%)
  • Catterick : 4/16 925%) for 10pts (+62.6%)
  • LTO runner-up  :3/10 (30%) for 6.4pts (+64%)
  • Theo Ladd in the saddle : 2/5 940%) for 9.35pts (+187%)
  • beaten by 1 to 2 lengths LTO : 2/3 966.6%) for 9.36pts (+312%)

And as for this promising claimer, Theo Ladd, you might be surprised to read that he's actually been profitable to follow blindly so far in his short (170 rides) career, winning 24 times (14.1% SR). A £10 stake on all his rides to date would have yielded £464 profit at an ROI of 27.3% and his stats include...

  • on the Flat : 18/100 (18%) for 62.5pts (+62.5%)
  • at Class 6 : 16/92 (17.4%) for 58.2pts (+63.3%)
  • at Class 6 on the Flat : 12/52 (23.1%) for 53.9pts (+103.6%)
  • using his 5lb claim : 5/32 (15.6%) for 10.2pts (+31.7%)
  • at Catterick : 2/12 916.6%) for 2pts (+16.6%)
  • at Class 6 on the Flat using his 5lb claim : 2/6 (33.3%) for 9.06pts (+151%)
  • and at Class 6 on the Flat using his 5lb claim here at Catterick : 1/2 (50%) for 2.56pts (+128%) us... a 1pt win bet on Albert Boy @ 11/4 BOG, a price offered by Bet365 & BetVictor at 6.30pm on Sunday evening. To see what your preferred bookie will give you later... here for the betting on the 4.10 Catterick

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!


Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

SotD Update, 24th to 29th September 2018

Another very good week where we also passed a couple of milestones. Tuesday was our 2100th selection since we started this service, and Wednesday gave us a belated 50th winner of the year.

Overall we had 3 winners and 3 placers for an excellent 9.1pts ensuring September actually finished as a better month than our overall average.

We now come towards the end of the Flat season and whilst the transition to the Jumps season is often difficult, we do at least approach in more confident mood than might have been expected a fortnight ago.

Selections & Results : 24/09/18 to 29/09/18

24/09 : Where's Jeff @ 4/1 BOG 3rd at 2/1
25/09 : Hard Taskmaster @ 3/1 BOG WON at 7/2
26/09 : Master Carpenter @ 5/1 BOG WON at 7/2
27/09 : Francis Xavier @ 9/2 BOG (=3.6/1 after 20p R4) WON at 5/2
28/09 : Main Edition @ 10/3 BOG 3rd at 5/2
29/09 : Intransigent @ 11/4 BOG 2nd at 2/1

23/09/18 to 29/09/18 :
3 winning bets from 6 = 50.00% SR
P/L: +9.10pts

September 2018 :
7 winners from 25 = 28.00% SR
P/L: +7.60pts
ROI = +30.40%

2018 to date :
51 winners from 219 = 23.29% SR
P/L: +12.54pts
ROI = +5.73%

574 winners from 2104 = 27.28% S.R
P/L: +498.78pts
ROI: +23.71%

P.S. The full month by month SotD story can be found right here.
P.P.S The review of SotD's 2012 performance is here.

Whilst the details for 2013 are now online here.
And the figures for 2014 are now available here.

Our review of 2015 can be found right here
Whilst 2016's details are right here

And here is the full story from 2017.

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