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Update on geegeez.co.uk

Dear geegeez.co.uk reader/subscriber,

I wanted to share a quick update with you on where we are in terms of the site seeing out the current hiatus. The summary is that things are looking better than first feared, and all bar an Armageddon scenario should see our ongoing function.

Here's what's been happening:

I've reduced running costs by cutting back to a minimum: staff have kindly paused or reduced their capacity until such time as we're racing again.

I still need help with editorial content and we're still doing some development (so things will look even better, and have still more features, when we return), so there remain some non-essential expenses.

Those have been covered, give or take, by the loyalty of subscribers during this lockdown; and as a result of that we are in much better shape than I expected.

Indeed, assuming a resumption of at least two meetings a day from June, we will be absolutely fine: bloodied, but well able to continue.

At this point nobody knows when things will be back but there is some guarded optimism from BHA that racing could return somewhere between mid- and late May.

 

The rough timeline of concern here at geegeez.co.uk is as follows:

May resumption - all good

June resumption - all OK

July resumption - all OK

August resumption - just about OK

September resumption - concerning

October resumption - in trouble

 

The reality is that if we're not racing by June, some racecourses may go under as well as, quite possibly, a fair number of trainers. There is, then, a strong desire both inside racing and in the corridors of Parliament to see the industry (along with hundreds of other industries of course) sustain the least damage possible whilst contributing appropriately to the national and international efforts to combat the pandemic.

That's a verbose way of saying that others - some of them sizeable entities - will be in trouble long before geegeez.co.uk as things stand. For information, the betting on which month will see UK racing resume looks like this:

 

 

Although the overround on this - granted, novelty - market is a crippling 23.75%, there is still an implied 75% chance of racing returning before June is out (after normalising the overround to make a 100% book).

We remain in the realms of art more than science in trying to establish what next, but there are plenty of grounds to be cautiously hopeful for a late May/early June restart, perhaps earlier – though that would be best case.

If you've been wondering about geegeez.co.uk (thank you), or about racing's return more generally (me too!), I hope the above adds some colour to the situation.

In all bar a disaster scenario - the ramifications of which would render the loss of a little racing website trivial in the extreme - we'll be back better than ever before the longest day of the year.

Thank you again for your loyalty and ongoing support during what is a trying time for just about all of us.

Until next time, wishing you good health,

Matt

Geegeez Notches Best Betting Website Four-Timer

Oops, we did it again, as Britney Spears never quite sang. With the results just in from the 2020 Smart Betting Club Awards, I'm delighted to announce that geegeez.co.uk has won the Best Betting Website category... for the fourth year in a row.

Here's how the SBC Awards report broke the news

GOLD - GEEGEEZ RACING

For the 4th year running, racing website, GeeGeez.co.uk did the business by winning the coveted Gold ‘Best Betting Website’ Award with an impressive 33.47% of the vote – increasing their share by nearly 10% from last year.

Scooping more than a third of all votes is something we're immensely proud of, as is beating the likes of Oddschecker, ATR, Racing Post, Betting.Betfair, and so on.

We've never been able to compete with the massive budgets of those major media houses; but that has never stopped us punching above our weight. The ethos of geegeez.co.uk is simple: highest quality data-driven content presented in an easily consumable format.

In other words, we aim to deliver key punting messages in bite-sized snippets, whether that's through our Gold racecards and form tools, or in the insightful research-based editorial produced by the likes of Tony Keenan, Jon Shenton, Dave Renham, Chris Worrall and myself.

This is how the votes were distributed:

Of course, we'll never win an 'industry' award, because we're never nominated. We're not part of that club where members take it in turns to back slap each other. Nope, we rely on your votes - you know, the actual users of our site (ahem) - to express your feelings about the value you get. Thank you for validating the effort we put in to building the best product/site/service we can.

And we're not done yet.

Not by a long chalk.

Here are just a few of the things we have planned for 2020:

- Betfair Starting Price data in our reports and cards: so you can see profit and loss against exchange prices (with commission deducted)

- Percentage of Rivals Beaten (PRB) and PRB2 metrics: so you can deploy this professional's barometer of performance

- Draw / Pace heat map underlayed within the pace map: so you can see how stall position and run style might impact today's field.

- Query Tool v2.0: a brand new, much more functional, system builder tool. Planned for the second half of 2020.

- Headgear and 'DSLR' (days since last run) reports

- 2nd time in a handicap and 2nd time for a new trainer (HC2 / TC2) reports

...and a bundle more besides.

As always, if you have any suggestions, please do let us know via the Contact form on site. That's how some of our best features - including the heat map one above - come to life.

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On behalf of the entire team - developers, backroom staff, writers and myself - thank you so much for your ongoing support - it means the world to us to know that the hours we put in are appreciated by you, our highly valued readers and subscribers.

Matt

p.s. you can download a copy of the full report here.

p.p.s. I personally won a prize, too: the inaugural Best Betting Writer. That really is too kind. Indeed, I'm not even convinced I'm the best betting writer on geegeez.co.uk these days, something about which I'm delighted. Healthy competition at a high quality level is what I've always aspired to for readers of geegeez. It's a thrill to be a part of such a great editorial team.

Elsewhere in cyberspace, the likes of Kevin Blake and Lydia Hislop, as well as the excellent pair of Joseph Buchdahl and Paul Krishnamurty, are all writers well worth your time if you're as yet unfamiliar with them.

A Decade in the Life of geegeez.co.uk

It's that time of the year, of the decade, when retrospectives are all the rage. So, while I appreciate you've probably had more than your fill of such self-congratulatory mush in recent days, what follows will add to the pile. For regular readers who have joined at any point after 2010, there may be some interesting factoids in the below.

geegeez.co.uk first saw the light of day in August 2008, as a one man - me - blog. Now, more than eleven years later, I still drive the bus, though with co-pilots, mechanics and conductors aplenty. This remains a boutique site, it remains funded by your Geegeez Gold subscriptions (as opposed to bookmaker revenue share, which is a different model from basically every other major racecard/form provider), and it remains privately owned with an ethos that focuses on you, our loyal reader/subscriber, rather than 'shareholder value'.

Right, self-righteous back-slapping out of the way, on with the show...

Before the decade began

As mentioned, geegeez.co.uk actually began life in the second half of 2008, when we were all a little younger and faster. It looked very much like this, and sat - for those of a vaguely techie nature - on google's blogger platform. High art it was not...

 

January 2010

Moving on, and the first of many failed cosmetic enhancements was applied in early 2009. The site retained this look at the beginning of the decade, having now moved from blogger to WordPress which, ten years later, is the de facto platform for such content hubs and used by the likes of cnn.com.

The red, white and blue banner was in situ at this point but the site remained a blog funded by affiliate commissions from products we reviewed, as well as those sold ourselves such as Trainer Track Stats.

July 2011

By July 2011, there had been another facelift - things were looking a lot more professional now - and we also had a small team of writers including Ross Birkett (amateur jockey and assistant trainer to his mum, Julia Feilden) and Mal Boyle, the placepot guru.

On reflection, that front page looks better than the current one - a job to be addressed early in 2020! - and the box bottom right hints at a change in direction for the site towards what you currently know and, hopefully, love.

 

January 2012

Inexplicably, to me at least, the previous look failed to appeal to site users, so we reverted to linking from the home page to bundles of content. At this time, Ian Sutherland was writing news articles as well as some 'what's in a name' insights on horses and lost racecourses, and we were still reviewing betting products as we continue to do to this day (albeit on a smaller scale).

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice the third item down in the middle column, Stat of the Day. This feature was incepted in November 2011, meaning we recently passed eight years of service, every one of them profitable thanks, almost exclusively, to one man, Chris Worrall. He has been as important a member of the team as anybody during this past decade and I'm extremely grateful to him for his help and support, as well as his - generally - calm influence. Thanks Chris!

 

May 2013

This guy turned up in 2013, and I kind of liked him. But, in the end, he became a victim of the corporate culture as he was deemed not sufficiently professional looking for a site with upwardly mobile aspirations. Sigh.

 

Anyway, he was cool!

 

 

 

January 2014

In the middle of 2013, geegeez.co.uk published its first racecards. They were pretty basic and they were free. There was a problem with this: I couldn't afford the data and development costs to keep them going. So, after much soul searching, I decided they needed to be a premium product based on a monthly or annual subscription. The initial fee was set at just £12 a month, a figure that recognised both my discomfort at charging for something I'd expected to monetise in other ways and the fact that there wasn't a huge amount of depth to them at that stage.

Here's how a card looked back then:

However, what we did have - in its embryonic format - was Instant Expert. Here is a very early incarnation - at that time called Race Analysis Report, or RAR - of what has become a cornerstone of form profile punters' betting activity.

Of course, Alder Mairi won this race, and below are early images of both Full Form (Filter) and the Result.

 

To be perfectly honest, it was successes like this one that gave me the confidence to plough on with Geegeez Gold. The end of 2013 was a pivotal time for me and the site, as the stress of making a commercial go of what had become a significant cost base was leading me to wonder if I hadn't made a massive mistake.

I'd written this post - https://www.geegeez.co.uk/a-new-beginning-for-geegeez-co-uk/ - at the end of 2013 when it had "all come on top" as Arthur Daley used to say, and I was looking for a buyer. What an error that would have been, in so many ways, for me personally; and I'm glad that people didn't see the future value in the site that I did.

 

September 2015

By the end of 2015, the Gold service was very much the core of what we did, as it has been ever since. I tend not to blow my trumpet too much in public (though this article may contradict that!), but I had privately decided I wanted to make Geegeez Gold the best racecard and form tool service in Britain and Ireland. Five years from September 2015 - i.e. in nine months' time - I think I'll be happy we've achieved that.

Here's how the main features on Gold shaped up roughly four years ago:

 

January 2018

The site continued to provide cutting edge data driven editorial from incisive and pithy writers such as Tony Keenan, as well as Fleet Street denizens like Tony Stafford. And Geegeez Gold continued its feature accumulation, with the following being added since autumn 2015:

Meanwhile, geegeez.co.uk had evolved visually once more, into something close to its current aesthetic:

 

January 2019

And so to 2019. The 'look and feel' is fresher, with the red being dropped from the branding in favour of the white/blue combination. Content has been a little quieter this year, though where quantity has been limited we've deliberately focused on quality.

 

January 2020

And so to a new decade. Where are we?

From those humble beginnings as a little blog site with, as the excellent Robin Gibson of Racing Post's Surf and Turf feature once said, "a few serviceable posts", we've created a community of racing fans, and a betting information hub with few - arguably, no - peers.

During that time, we've syndicated horses and enjoyed numerous winners; we've sponsored jockeys such as David Probert, Rex Dingle and Callum Rodriguez, and the ever-brilliant Anthony Honeyball yard; and I/we continue to re-invest pretty much everything that doesn't put bread on my family's table into this website.

Whether it's top class editorial from the Tony's, Keenan and Stafford, Jon Shenton, Dave Renham, Andy Newton, and of course Stat of the Day Chris and myself; or new features within Geegeez Gold, such as sectional timing, additional reports, and greater user configurability (all built by the peerless Nige and our new database whizz, Jean-Francois), the subscriptions you pay contribute directly to the ongoing development of the service and the site.

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December 2020

We've a very busy year of development planned. Here's what's on the menu for 2020 and where I hope we'll be by this time next year:

- Hiring some content and marketing people to help share what we have with existing and new readers

- Bringing sectional timing to life, an ongoing project

- A revamped Query Tool allowing for far greater depth and analytical tinkery-pokery

- Betfair exchange data and interface to wager directly into the exchange

- A raft of smaller upgrades including PRB (percentage of rivals beaten), a trainer 'days since last run' report, graphical race visualisations, overrounds, HC2 and TC2 (2nd start in a handicap or for a new trainer), ROI calculations in reports and draw/pace content, and plenty more besides

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Finally, a very heartfelt word, directly from me to you.

For allowing me to live my dream for more than a decade now, I cannot thank you enough. Whether you've been here since the get go or have stumbled upon us more recently, THANK YOU. Thank you. Thank you. I hope that the content on these virtual pages attests to the sincerity of my gratitude.

Here's to the next decade!

Matt, and all of the team at geegeez.co.uk