Monday Musings: That ‘V’ Word Again…

Cheesy stock 'value' image

Cheesy stock 'value' image

So that was Easter. How was it for you? For me, it consisted of traipsing across Dorset visiting relatives, eating far too much meat, and generally feeling lethargic as a consequence. And I haven't even started on the chocolate yet!

There was also a lot of racing, most of it absolute dross on this side of the Irish Sea, and some of it compelling and competitive on the other side of that body of water. Let's start there, with the Irish Grand National.

I'd sniffed out what I believed to be a pair of value plays against the field in the Irish National, in the shape of solid trends pick Daring Article and interesting form pick, Heaney. And I'd played up that value by isolating a bookie offer that paid out on five places, with a refund on the win part if we were unlucky enough to finish second.

As it happened, we weren't lucky enough to finish second. Daring Article ran a poor race with seemingly no excuses, but the ride on Heaney needs to be seen to be believed. Here's the comment:

Towards rear, mistake 5th, never a factor, 15th early straight, kept on from 2 out

I hate criticizing jockeys, and it's something I've found myself doing a fair bit in the last month, but this was a ridiculous ride. Still swinging off the bridle turning in, Conor O'Farrell went from cruising to raising the whip, and that's just bad riding. You have to nudge and nurdle a bit. If you're out of your ground - as he patently was - you have to ride more vigorously earlier.

Heaney ran on for sixth place, beaten ten lengths or so. Would he have won if Barry Geraghty was riding him rather than the winner? Maybe. Would he have placed? Unequivocally.

A quick word on the winner, Shutthefrontdoor. I'd said in my preview:

Shutthefrontdoor is a smart stayer in the making, but he cannot jump for toffee. He too ran in the four miler at Cheltenham and pretty much clouted every fence on the way round. Those transgressions took their toll in the closing stages as he faded into sixth, just behind Living Next Door. Door to Door you might say.

Anyway, lousy puns aside, Shutthefrontdoor has 10-13 to carry, and is unlikely to be a significantly better jumper than the last day. If he did put in a near flawless round, he could defy a rating of 142 and go very close indeed. It’s a big if though, despite trip and ground appearing optimal.

And, based on his jumping, I couldn't back him. He jumped very well and won impressively given his weight concession to his closest rivals. He was the only one of the first seven home to carry more than 10-06, and it remains the case that the sensible play is to back low weighted horses in this race.

He is owned by JP McManus and, like Champion Hurdle winner Jezki and World Hurdle winner More Of That, was ridden by Barry Geraghty. Not Tony McCoy. This almost certainly says more about the fact that jockeys are bad judges of what to ride than it does about Geraghty versus McCoy, especially as McCoy wasn't riding yesterday... but there's generally no smoke without fire, and Geraghty for McManus looks an interesting angle.

Indeed in UK over the past five years, Geraghty has seven wins from 18 rides for McManus (39% strike rate), and has a profit of 14.31 to a level unit stake at SP. In Ireland, it's three from fourteen (21%) for a profit of 2.5 units.

Collectively, then, Geraghty riding for McManus has been worth 16.81 points profit, with ten winners from 32 runners (31% strike rate). Considering the stratospherically high profile of both men, that's an interesting little data snippet. And almost certainly represents a touch of value.


On a separate but related point, I've been banging on a bit recently about the Irish tote, and the value opportunities there. And I make no apology for it. Yesterday, I suggested it might be worth looking at the Irish Pick 6 and jackpot (four winners needed), as they look to be value bets.

And I was right. The Pick 6 was not won, but the jackpot - requiring players to pick the winners of races 3 to 6 - paid €7,000 for a €1 stake. It wasn't easy, but nor was it especially difficult.

A 16/1 shot won the first leg, and he was the eighth choice in the betting. Leg 2 was won by the favourite. Leg 3 was won by the favourite. And Leg 4 was won by... you guessed it, the favourite.

Now one of those favourites was Shutthefrontdoor in the Irish National, at 8/1. But he was still the favourite.

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The cumulative starting price odds amounted to €1,377. The winning jackpot dividend paid €7,000. That's absolutely stunning unbeatable value. In fact, the payout was more than FIVE TIMES the SP accumulator!

Seriously, you need to be playing this bet! It's not always easy to win it, but as I've said, it was hardly impossible yesterday.

There are lots more reasons to be getting involved with the Irish tote, though their four-leg jackpot bet is probably my favourite.

If you didn't already, you can read my full review and register for an account here. I'm going to be doing a lot more Tote Ireland related pieces in future, especially with the big Punchestown Festival coming up (massive guaranteed pools!), so be ready to get involved. I'm also hoping to run some syndicates, but need to work out the finer points of those.


Now then, talking as we are about value, I've written a new report that I'm going to be offering to new visitors to geegeez. Obviously, if you're reading this, you're already on my list, so there's no need to opt in or anything like that. But I think you might enjoy the report, which highlights what I consider to be the SIX KEYS to successful value betting.

I'll say no more about it here, because you can click this link and download it here.

It is well worth a read in my opinion.


If you're already a geegeez Gold subscriber, you'll know all about the awesomeness of the unrestricted racecards here on geegeez. In fact, they're taking the professionals by storm. I'm not at liberty to mention names (yet!), but trust me when I say that some pretty high profile racing 'faces' are paid up subscribers now, and loving the ease with which they can cut through the chaff of the form book to focus on precisely what they need.

As you know, I've been advising you that the price will rise. And by the end of this week, it will be £24 a month with a ten day free trial. For what we have - and what we're working on building - that's pretty stellar value.

But given that you know the subscription is about to double, and the free trial roughly half, it makes little sense to register next week.

Existing subscribers who are registered before the price rise will be locked in at the half price rate of just £12 a month for as long as they remain a member. That's my way of saying thank you to you for your early support of these next generation form tools: support which has enabled geegeez to make solid progress in the last few months.

Like I say, the sales page should be ready before the end of the week and, when it is, that's when you'll be invited to join us for 80p a day, as opposed to 40p a day.

Fair warning. 😉

Here's the link to register


geegeez Gold is much more than just a race card and form tool. It also houses Stat of the Day, a service which has been consistently profitable for over two years. Like many other services during March and early April - and like all services at one time or another - we had a lean spell. However, Stat of the Day is currently on a run of four straight winners, at odds of 7/1, 9/2, 9/4 and 10/3, meaning it has more than wiped out all of the losses from March/April!

Stat of the Day is a one-a-day value service, based on statistics, as the name rather suggests, and currently stands at just shy of 160 points in front since inception. That's a 19.3% return on investment, from a 28.4% strike rate.

You can read the latest weekly update here.


And finally, racing lost one of its better known faces/voices over Easter, as Julian Wilson succumbed to the cancer which had beset him for several years. He was 73, and former news writer, Ian S, has offered his obituary on behalf of geegeez. You can read it here.


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13 replies
  1. Tom says:

    Hi Matt. Not sure which fence but Daring Article made a shuddering mistake when still in with a squeak but don’t know if it would have been involved or not.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Tom

      Yes, he’s been accident prone. I missed his mistake yesterday, but not at all surprised if that was at the root of his decline. Was more open-mouthed at the Heaney ride…


  2. James McGough says:

    I see you talking up the Irish Tote presumably for some contingent reward.

    Undeniably, the dividends for certain bets can be good but the reason for this is that punters have lost all faith in their products many years ago. I expect that most of Tote’s turnover is generated on-course and thus the greatest cohort of loyal customers are denied “fair” odds as they do not qualify for the price guarantee. Tote bettors at the track, by definition, are not “shrewd” and I find this state of affairs appalling.

    Its not unusual to see absolutely paltry sums being bet into the pools and, in effect, what you are rightly advising at the moment is to take advantage of an over-generous offer from an organisation that is struggling to be in any way relevant to the running and financing of Irish racing. Tote profits may well go back into racing but for an organisation with no competition and an abysmal record of financial results its something most clued-in punters wont consider.

    I don’t see too much analysis of Tote place odds with their regular odds returns of 1/50!! This is their get-out clause to balance their books on a daily basis and it is a scandal.

    The Tote had their licence renewed recently to offer monopolistic totalisator services within Ireland and ass we all know monopolies are liable to worst practice.

    Just a little balance you understand.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi James

      Thanks for your comment, and yes, I’m all for balance, so in the interests of parity, let me come back on a couple of your points.

      1. Yes, I receive a contingent reward. It is based on turnover, which means I can win when ‘my’ clients win. I like this very much more than other bookmaker partnerships where someone has to lose for my company to receive a compensation. It is one of the main reasons I am so keen to promote the Irish tote.

      2. The other main reason is that there is standout value in some of the pools. I don’t mention place pools in the same way I don’t mention A vs B pools on Betfair. Because I don’t use them and I don’t advocate anyone else using them. I can’t for the life of me see anything wrong with pointing out where the pockets of value lie.

      3. On course punters. The extension of this argument is that exchanges are evil and, indeed, anything which doesn’t give the on course punter a fair crack is to be derided. I apologise if I have you wrong there, but I think it’s a very weak argument about a point which simply seems anachronistic. Betting markets change, evolve. And so must punters. Those who spot the changes first get the best value. That’s how I’m trying to help.

      4. The tote obviously does not have a monopoly, even on tote pool betting in Ireland, with tote uk also offering a jackpot at the same Pick 6 meeting recently. So I’m afraid this point doesn’t deserve any further response.

      In summary, I fundamentally disagree with your statement, “its something most clued-in punters wont consider”. After all, why wouldn’t a clued in punter want FIVE TIMES the odds on an achievable outcome. Turning one’s back on that, whatever the history (to which I have no knowledge, I should add), is a classic case of cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.


      p.s. I really do welcome challenge and balance. I just don’t believe you’ve provided any foundation to support your notion of ‘balance’ to the argument. 😉

  3. john murray says:

    hi matt,
    just want to congratulate you on your writtings today. an excellent piece on julian wilson. was unaware of a problem between the commentators but can see the reason why.
    john murray

  4. James McGough says:

    My interest in the Irish Tote is as an arm of a semi-State company that has performed very poorly and continues to do so. If my criticisms are not entirely punter-based and carry a personal, political view then so be it.

    I have accepted that you are pointing out where value lies in these poorly-supported pools and I merely point out that the place pool in general is a dreadful product in Tote. You may agree with me and argue that “because I don’t use them and I don’t advocate anyone else using them” but, unless I missed it somewhere, I didn’t notice this caveat prior to my criticism.

    In summary, I think that these guaranteed pools are an abomination and virtually no genuine business could carry the losses that are incurred regularly unless they were a cosseted non-commercial organisation using funds that should be otherwise diverted to racing’s finances. History has shown that the old, traditional jackpot in Ireland was supported to its dying days and cost the business a fortune in support-its nothing new that such value has been in place in these pool bets for many years yet they still died a slow death.

    I don’t need a lecture on the anachronisms of on-course betting. However, if you are gutted and filleted on-course at every opportunity this will result in lower pools and even poorer dividends. Pay little attention to official gross turnover returns as these includes some cash from other jurisdictions that offer very no return to Tote Ireland. Punters have rejected Tote Ireland by and large and desperation in guaranteeing jackpots etc gives rise to the current “value” as you correctly point out. I know you’ve been highlighting this for a while and yet it seems remarkable that punter Tote-jadedness remains. Take advantage of the value while you can as it simply cannot last.

    Solving the problems of Tote Ireland will take a gargantuan effort and rather than support these pools with international aspirations they would be better focussed on takeout and providing more value to their customers wheresoever and howsoever they bet.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi James

      Thanks for coming back to me on this, and I feel there’s a lot more to ‘go at’ this time than last.

      Just to top and tail my failure to mention the place pools – and indeed a good number of other pools – that’s because there’s no utility in them from my perspective. I absolutely love betting the UK placepot, but that doesn’t mean I like betting place only in UK. Why? Because there’s no value. It’s my opinion that this is nothing to do with takeout, but rather to do with exchange competition.

      Totes cannot compete with exchanges. They simply cannot. Fortunately, exchanges do not offer multi-race bets or multi-horse intra-race bets (to any significant degree). It’s my contention, and the footing from which I argue for value, that this is where tote (UK or Ireland) can set themselves apart, and offer an attractive pot for a winnable wager.

      Regarding making tote Ireland viable, the very fact that I have an agreement in place may be a stepping stone to a broader opening to partnerships. And it may not. It is my unshakeable belief that affiliations are the way to grow businesses, and it is at the very heart of how I’ve grown my own. The most successful bookmakers have the best affiliate managers and affiliate programmes. Why should it be different for totes?

      And the real joy of promoting tote, as I’ve said, is that my business receives compensation when the customer wins too. I want geegeez to be a place where winners hang out, which is why I spend all my time trying to provide content that helps isolate value and therefore makes the winning process easier (at least relatively), be that via the cutting edge race cards or posts about pockets of value squirreled away in the Irish tote.

      I hope that the new brooms in charge prove you wrong, though I accept they have their work cut out based on the historical context you’ve articulated. Growing the size of the pools involves reaching out to new markets, and seeking help to reach out to those markets. That’s what is being attempted here, and it offers a true win-win situation, for the time being at least. I know you can see that, and I hope you can embrace it.


  5. tonyb65 says:

    Interesting discussion and both of you make valid points. I think however it’s “horses for courses.” There is room for Tots, exchanges and conventional bookmakers. They all have their place. From a personal perspective I agree with you Matt about the pool bets. I think they are great as they nt only offer value but are great fun for the leisure punter rather than the pro.

    • James McGough says:

      I agree with the pool theory: my beef is with the very costly guarantees. They will only be value as long as they are pumped up with artificial support and this just simply cannot last. Make the most of it while you can.

      thanks for the pat on the head. grrrhh!

      • Matt Bisogno says:

        Ah, James, come on, don’t be so sensitive. I wasn’t being patronizing – certainly wasn’t intending to be. My point was that, as you’ve just said, you know that this is a ‘now value’ opportunity and yet you choose to spurn it. That’s fine, but you shouldn’t expect everyone else to spurn it too.


  6. stiffjimmyb says:

    Inspired by this post had my first Irish Jackpot bet today (Tipperary) – won 3 of the 4 legs at odds of 7/1; 8/1 & 9/2. Just kicking myself that I didn’t have a ‘saver’ bet elsewhere as a regular Lucky 15 !!!!
    There’s always next time. 🙂

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      That’s a good effort, stiffjimmyb, and unlucky. The jackpot was not won, so that fourth winner would have been worth a few grand to you!

      Anyway, you’re up and running ahead of Punchestown, where the big pots are waiting. 🙂


      • stiffjimmyb says:

        Yep Matt sure was close, still at least I got my stake refunded due to the new account offer. Also had my first Placepot entry at Kilbeggan today and got 5 out of 6 legs up (not picking favourites either!) Luckily this time I did have a saver EW acca on so saw a profit…

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