Hi David, and many thanks for joining us this month. Would you tell our readers a little about yourself and how you came to be interested in the world of horse racing?
My racing interest started when I was studying for my Maths degree. I went to Goodwood for the first time with a friend from college and I ended up winning on a 33/1 shot. I was hooked from there. In the late 90s I wrote a couple of self-published books on draw bias and a few years later I collaborated with Andrew Mount and Graham Wheldon on the Raceform published book Sprintline 2002. I started an advisory service called drawn2win in 2001 where I gave daily race insights and tips which I did for 6 years.
I worked on the Racing Post for a short time as a Spotlight writer and then spent just over 5 years working on the Racing and Football Outlook as a trend’s writer. I have been involved with two other websites, one being Punter Profits which although is essentially dormant at present, there are possible plans to relaunch in next year or so.
Finally, I have written for numerous articles for different publications and website and at the last count they totalled just over 850.
What do you enjoy most about the sport of kings?
My main enjoyment of racing comes from my competitive nature of trying to outwit and out-perform bookmakers. I love researching ideas, number crunching, thinking outside the box. Being a lover of stats lends itself beautifully to racing. Also, there is something special about physically going to a race meeting. Horses are amazing animals and seeing them close up is special. Plus, there are some amazing venues to watch racing with Goodwood and Cheltenham standing out for me.
Are you someone who regularly places a bet yourself? If so, what approach do you take to your betting? Do you have a preferred staking system and what are your thoughts on loss retrieval systems for example?
Yes, I bet fairly regularly although I tend to trade much more than simply straight betting these days. I like betting ‘in play’ be it horse racing or indeed other sports.
Tennis being my favoured sport in which to trade. I trade more these days because there are so many ways in which you can trade. It also allows me to use my mathematical understanding of markets and how they move, coupled with my knowledge of the sport I am watching.
In terms of pure win or each way bets I always look for the perceived value and I tend to back higher priced runners than those at the head of the market. Having had to compile odds in my days on the Racing Post I use that to try and pinpoint the value.
Staking wise for straight win bets I use the same stakes regardless of price. I have used Kelly’s Criterion which is arguably the best staking plan if done correctly.
Retrieval systems are a quick way to the poor house, unless you are very lucky. Just because five Even money favourites lose in a row, it does not mean the next one has more chance of winning and breaking the sequence. It still has a 50% chance of winning assuming the odds are accurate.
Making a living from betting on horse racing can be a struggle for both beginners and those more versed in the sport. If you could give one piece of advice to help them improve their profitability what would it be and why?
I’m going to cheat and give two answers here.
Firstly, BE PATIENT. Without patience I think you are ultimate doomed.
Secondly, I would urge you to specialise. It is better to have 100 bets a year when you are an expert in what you are betting on, than having 1000 bets a year when you have less expertise.
Do you have an opinion on “tipsters” in general, and are there any “reliable” tipsters out there that you are aware off?
What traits do you feel a tipster should have to offer the best service to a customer? Have you ever used a tipster yourself in the past and if so, what was your experience?
Although I was one myself back in my drawn2win days I think there are still far more unscrupulous ones out there than genuine ones. In fact, there are very few genuine ones IMO. My biggest bugbear against tipsters is how they report profits. They put up early prices that the majority of their followers are never going to get on at and then if it wins quote that price anyway. A few extra points here and there make a huge difference in the long run.
In terms of customer service, I think what I have already mentioned is the most important. Give a true reflection of how good or indeed bad your service is. Quote your results to both BSP and traditional SP.
I tried tipsters right back in the early 90s and in general they were a costly mistake. Bar one fortuitous 30/1 double at Cheltenham one year.
Which of your own personal racing experiences have been memorable for you?
Firstly, owning my own racehorse through a syndicate from my website. Watching it win at 33/1 at Kempton and then going to Cheltenham and seeing it run in a properly decent race.
Secondly was a betting experience where I landed a combination forecast and tricast in a big sprint race with a payout of over £20K.
What interests do you have outside of the world of horse racing?
All sport. Cricket was my game and I played to a good level, but I love tennis, rugby, football, etc. I have played chess all my life with my claim to fame being a draw once against a grandmaster at the age of 16 when he came to our school to play 50 people at once. He won the other 49 games! Finally, my love of stats comes from my Maths teaching. I taught for around 30 years and have now begun an online Maths tutoring service which I am aiming to expand in 2021.
Do you have any plans for further development of Punter Profits?
I mentioned earlier that the site is currently dormant, but there is scope to ‘reopen for business’. I will be looking at a variety of ideas in the coming months so watch this space.