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ITV Racing Tips – A Q & A with Carl Nicholson

carl nicholson horse racing tips
Carl Nicholson
Carl Nicholson

Updated 17th January 2022

Today we have a chat with so called King of the Tipsters – Carl Nicholson.

Carl is probably best known for his excellent and highly profitable ITV Racing Tips service as well as his tips and analysis published under his Value Backing brand.

The ITV Racing Tips service has been consistently making profits since it launched in March 2017 for the Cheltenham Festival.

In fact in those first four days of the ITV service Carl made 22 points profit for his new members.

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If you want racing tips for ITV today or this Saturday we recommend you try ITV Racing Tips.

Here's our Question and Answer with Carl Nicholson

Carl, you graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Maths and Computer Science. What career path did you take from University and how did you move into the horse racing industry?

I left Harvard and went to work for Lockheed Martin who had recruited me during my final year to work in their advanced technology sector, then in 1999 the company created a UK division and not long after I moved to London and have mostly been in the UK since then.

I developed an interest in horse racing from the late 1980’s when I visited my mother who lived in the UK during the holidays. When I was working in the UK I would take short term contracts that allowed me time to earn and have breaks in between to concentrate on horse racing.

Would you consider yourself a “gambler” or someone who takes “calculated risks”?

Calculated risks – everything I bet on is calculated and while there are risks attached it is mostly variables I cannot control.

I did have a period of being a gambler in my early days where I would just bet and bet, because I felt invincible, but I soon learned self-control after some big setbacks.

In fact that valuable lesson has meant that I now feel invincible again but in a different way, I know that there will be losers and even losing runs but I also know with 100% guaranteed conviction that the long term trend will be profitable.

So what makes up a typical working day for Carl Nicholson and Value Backing? How do you narrow down the selections given the numerous numbers of races on a daily card?

I start looking at the racing cards at the 5-day declaration stage before the meetings start. These are then broken down over those 5 intervening days so I have a clear idea of what I find interesting when the bookmakers price up the racing.

It is then just a case of determining if the price is bigger than the chance the horse has in the race. I pick out many winners, but never back them because the price is too low or just right. It sounds silly but you can back plenty of winners and still lose if you are firing off bets left right and centre throughout the day just because you think they will win.

You must have the price you are willing to back at as the most important aspect when it comes to placing a bet and that is the method that guarantees me long term profit and guarantees long term profit for followers of my ITV Racing Tips service.

We all know that losing runs are part and parcel of racing services, so how do you recommend customers look to deal with these difficult periods?

As the saying goes we are born, pay taxes and die! In betting you put a bet on, you win sometimes, but you will lose more times than you win, it is a simple fact and one you cannot avoid.

My advice is to be realistic in your expectations of what you can possibly win. If you bet in £5 or £10 wins you are not going to win £100’s of pounds day in day out.

Just remember if you can win a £1 a day for a whole year it is a nice sum of money at the end of December. The bad betty advert on TV through gamble aware is also a very good point and one in which a lot of people should listen too.

I do think as well that a lot of tipsters are guilty of not being realistic when it comes to bets they give out. My least favourite are the ones that give out profit to £100 stakes, I mean who on earth as a general man or woman in the street is going to use that staking method – it is just unrealistic.

My other bugbear is horse racing tipsters who give out multiple selections in a day’s racing. Yes during big meetings like Cheltenham or Ascot you can find value because the markets are so strong. But a mundane Monday when the markets are so weak a fiver placed on a 25’1 will send the bookies in to panic – and you are giving out 4 selections in Grade 6 or 5 races – I mean come on.

The whole racing industry is built around winners when in fact it should be about money/odds management and if a punter is not backing winners day in day out then plenty feel down beat and lose patience. Losing in betting is a fact, but if you are realistic in your expectations then you will find losing is not that hard to swallow and you will get over it just like stubbing your toe, it hurts for a while, but it soon goes off and the toe toughens up for the next stubbing.

Of course on a Saturday I do bet through the card along with my ITV members, but the good guys at ITV will have chosen the best races to broadcast live and because the races are live the bookies will be taking plenty of bets and will happy to lay at value prices from the opening show up until race time.

If you could change one single issue within the horse racing industry what would it be?

Technology – racing in the UK is so backward it is unbelievable.

Sectional times seem to pop up and go just as quick at certain track or on TV coverage. Punditry on TV is so clichéd it is painful to watch most of the time and TV channels need to treat racing fans as an adult and not be obsessed with catering for the so called mythical newbie. Although of course we can't tar all pundits with the same brush. Kevin Blake for example is very knowledgeable and knows how to make it pay. Matt Chapman is just there for entertainment value.

Do you watch a football match and see the guys on Monday Night Football explain this is a ball and that is a net, oh and aren’t the colours of the strips nice – pathetic.

What has been the most satisfying event in your career so far horse racing or otherwise, and why?

Being able to do a job I am good at and enjoy – betting on horse racing. I have a set routine just as if I am going out to work and discipline to do the best I can every day.

Meeting Nicola my other half – who understands me inside and out and with whom I share laughter every day and take life as something to be lived and not endured.

What do you enjoy most about horse racing in general? Any favourite tracks, meetings, or race types?

I enjoy the test that horse racing brings – it has so many variables and excitement thrown in, along with downsides. It encapsulates life in a few minutes.

The big Saturday meetings are the ones I like the most for the simple reason I can get a bet on them. The sad truth is that there is a wide gulf in class of horse racing in the UK. With high end racing of Class 3 or above a bookie will tend to have an opinion and will be able to see form lines they can use.

At the bottom end of the class system the horses are so unpredictable that the bookies are guessing most of the time and any market moves are so overplayed that anyone who managed to get a decent bet on one at a big price and it wins will suddenly find they are restricted because it is so highlighted to the bookie, because of such small liquidity in those markets.

Keep to the high end weekend racing and you will go un-noticed for the most part as bookies will win plenty more than they lose on these races. The low class racing is best left to the likes of Barney Curley who knows far more than you or I or any bookie – in a way his and his like’s gambles have ruined low class racing for the normal punter, because bookies now see threats everywhere and give out restrictions left right and centre. Even though it might have been a total fluke you had £20 at 25’1 the night before on one that is now 3’1 fav in a Class 6 race at Southwell on a Tuesday.

Currently is there one horse or trainer, which you think people should be keeping an eye on?

The current gulf in the have’s and have not’s of trainers is getting wider and I think a lot of gambles are going astray from the middle to low end stables in the current climate in the UK.

The best advice is to follow the money from the Joseph O’Brien yard with runners in Ireland. They absolutely know the time of day with what is expected from their horses and they have plenty of cast off’s from his father that are very well bred.

Another angle can be to watch out for money for a Mullins runner , no not Willie Mullins but the other members of the clan. They are very clever and can land massive punts when the time is right over the jumps or on the flat.

What does Carl Nicholson do to relax and unwind?

I have a nice holiday lodge just outside Windermere in the Lake District that I go to as often as I can. It is so relaxing and the views are stunning.

I also follow Tottenham Hotspur FC and try and go to watch them live when time allows. I find Spurs fans are a breed of their own when it comes to football and I have made some great friends along the way while following them.

Featured Image by RafinDeveloper from Pixabay

4 thoughts on “ITV Racing Tips – A Q & A with Carl Nicholson”

  1. hello Darren Power sent me a link to Carl Nicholson last night about one of his selection procedure

    then at the end he asked for name and email to sent other free stuff then it said in 60 minutes

    still waiting please could you help
    kind regards

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