Hi Matt, and many thanks for joining us this month, first off would you start by telling our readers a little about yourself and your background?
I’m CEO of the Value Rater Platform Limited which provides relevant information for Horse Racing Enthusiasts. My interest in horse racing started around 1995 where I started out punting in betting shops before going on to work in one. I later went on to work on course pro punting before having my own Radio Show every Saturday morning where the name ‘Value Rater ‘was born.
Would you say that you have a “typical” working day, and how would you describe it?
Horse Racing is a way of life these days with not much time for anything else. My working day would start at 7am (Monday- Saturday) looking through the card I will be attending before setting off in the car to the race meeting. Once home I will watch the replays and try and make sense of the form and update my paddock notes.
On a good day I will be in front of the TV having some down time by 9pm. I don’t see it as work; I enjoy it far too much.
What do you think of the world of sports tipping in general and what do you think people are in search of when it comes to their hunt for a successful tipster?
Without doubt there are some very good Horse Racing tipsters out there but, in my opinion, more bad ones. If someone is willing to pay for a service, they should be receiving expertise, not a semi-professional view. In my experience customers just want an honest service where they can see the tipster is at least working hard for them. Of course, the results are important.
My biggest frustration with punters is expecting too much of a service the truth as a pro punter is if you can make 10% of your turnover you are doing very well.
Do you regularly bet yourself? What style of approach do you take to your betting? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
Yes, I average between 3-5 bets per week sometimes more during the summer months, because I am on course all the time, I will only have a bet once I've seen them in the paddock and gone down to post.
I am very restricted with betting accounts so unable to get the early value; this is where my customers make hay. It’s frustrating when the price has gone come post time, but these days I will cheer it on for the Racing Club rather than take the shorter price. I find bigger meetings the prices hold up much better so in turn most of my personal bets will come on a Saturday or major festivals.
As for staking plans, I am a very level punter, 1pt win or 1pt each way (if horse if 5/1 or bigger). I’ve tried many staking levels over the years but this one suits me. Whatever you decide to do, I think you must stick with it and see it out. You must accept that you will be wrong more times then you are right hence why finding value is very important.
What attracted you to the world of horse racing and what do you enjoy most about the sport?
Like most people I suppose the Grand National as a child was my first introduction to horse racing. I remember in my teens seeing all the form on the walls in the betting shop, but no one was looking at it.
I became obsessed about the sport and researched it from the age of 16; I certainly didn’t want to work for a living. I love being around the horses at the races and it’s working out the puzzle of a race I enjoy most.
What led you into the world of racing tipsters and what do you feel you can offer racing enthusiasts and punters that other tipsters can’t?
I like to think I work much harder than the next tipster by not leaving a stone unturned. I don’t meet many tipsters daily on the racetrack which is the place I think you find the edge around the paddock. I have not only worked hard on my form study but now view myself as not a bad paddock judge. To have an edge in this game you need to work harder than the next person as there is so much information online these days. I sacrifice a normal life to be the best I can be for my customers.
New and old punters alike can struggle to make a success of their betting. If you could give them just one piece of advice to improve their profitability what would it be?
Be honest with yourself and record all your bets, you will spot patterns in the areas that you are more successful in. With so much racing on these days be selective whether it will be doing one race card or specialising with certain distances.
It’s ok not to have a bet if nothing stands out, the time spent researching will always pay you later down the line.
No such thing as wasted time reading the form!
What would you consider to be a highlight of your racing experience to date? Do you have any personal racing / betting experiences which when reflecting back brings a smile, or for that matter any which bring a grimace; you can share with our readers?
My highlight to date is growing Value Rater from scratch and seeing it grow over the last 6 years. Seeing your brand displayed on Starting Stalls always brings a smile to my face.
I do remember back in 2015 thinking I had pulled the place pot off only to find out on one leg I inserted the wrong number. That took a few years to get over as it would have been a decent pay-out.
What about the gambling industry, is there anything you like to see changed there? Many website forums are full of criticisms of the bookmakers and their treatment of their customers? Is this something you have an opinion on?
I am very concerned with all the betting accounts getting closed for not winning much money. It seems to me that the high levels of Horse Racing sponsorship from bookmakers is a smoke screen to really find casino players and such like.
The bookmaker's IT systems seem designed to pick up on the patterns of someone they deem might be successful and therefore restrict or close them down. I suppose if someone kept taking money out of your business you wouldn’t stand for it either.
My advice is to open as many accounts as possible and scatter money about, we all love the first restricting letter, it makes us feel we are good, it does become a problem later though.
What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?
I started Motor Racing last year which is great; I finally found something that switches me off from Horse Racing. Not a cheap hobby, but trust me when going 100mph plus around a circuit you don’t have time to think of anything else. It’s a new challenge and clears my mind believe it or not.
You can find out more about Matt and Value Rater by clicking here.