A Q and A with Jonathan Burgess of False-Favourites

Hi Jon and many thanks for joining us this month, first off would you say that you have a “typical” working day, and how would you describe it?

I organise my list the evening before, but it can change; it all depends on what comes in for the week.

I head into my garden office with a salted caramel coffee around 7.30 a.m. each day and scan through my emails for about ten minutes, then schedule replies to anything important for later.

After that, I check the systems we have running and liaise with my stats guy.

The back and lay tips are posted in the False-Favourites member's area before 10 a.m. each day. The rest of the day is spent working on marketing and writing crime fiction (see below for more details on that).

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?

It’s difficult to define precisely, but without doubt, the majority of punters are looking for a profitable tipster with affordable subscription fees.

There are a lot online, and assessing them isn’t easy. Although, the number one problem most tipsters experience is clients who jump ship at the first sign of a losing run.

Like any other long-term investment, punters should always allow enough time to assess whether a service is profitable or not. One month isn’t long enough, because horse racing is seasonal and profitable patterns change regularly. Trainers who put out a load of winners in July last year may have a poor following year, due to a change of owners, personnel and influx of new horses.

A system that worked well for months may have become unprofitable because the trend has been discovered by the masses, and even though it still produces winners, over betting has caused the bookies to overreact.

Ultimately, decreasing the odds to break-even or non-profitable level.

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 bet our backs and lays every day.

We advise several staking plans for our lay bets, depending on the odds and dynamics of a given race. A lot of layers fall foul of non-runners. We always advise our members to keep an eye out for non runners (especially the horses who were the main threat to a selection) because its chances of winning will increase significantly if its main rivals are withdrawn: as opposed to one of the outsiders being withdrawn.

Remember, laying is as much about stake protection, as it is about picking the right horses. There are several liability reduction strategies and staking plans available in our member’s area. We advise never risking more than 3x your stake on any single bet, which is a good rule to stick too.

What attracted you to the world of horse racing and what do you enjoy most about the sport?

I’d been betting, form reading and using systems since around 2000, and began to research everything I could about the sport.

It soon dawned on me that the laying market was full of sharks trying to make a fast buck from unsuspecting punters: most proclaimed that lay betting was the Holy Grail and everyone could become a bookie overnight!

The majority of the systems these unscrupulous vendors peddled were overpriced, badly back fitted nonsense, and after the initial euphoria of a few winners the losing runs would wipe out all previous gains.

Based on my research and testing I decided to put together an in-depth methodology combined with a system style approach. Something that took into consideration real racing fundamentals, along with horse form, trends, course statistics, and how the racing markets worked on Betfair.

At the time Betfair was in its infancy and the punting masses didn’t really understand how it worked, so I decided to become a Betfair accredited trainer which gave me access to information that wasn’t widely available at the time. Eventually, I put everything I’d learned the hard way through testing and mistakes into the False-Favourites laying method.

Unlike other laying systems, users learn to build solid foundations and an understanding of horse racing before they even consider placing a bet. The equally in-depth Race-Specialist laying method followed on a couple of years later. Both books have been received well by punters, and False-Favourites hit the number one slot on Clickbank several times when it was released.

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?

Providing tips was a natural progression from system development.

We feel our tipping service is unique, because unlike many services, we offer both back and lay tips, and we are also very affordable at only £88 for an annual membership.

Each six-month and annual subscription also comes with a FREE copy of either False-Favourites (£14.99) or Race-Specialist (£15.99) and members can also download the following exclusive guides at no extra cost.

  • The Punters Bible
  • Complete guide to National Hunt racing
  • Cash from the sand laying system
  • A punter’s guide to betting bots
  • Ten tips to betting success

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?

Learn to specialise on the sport you bet on.

Doing so will mean, not only will you gain better knowledge, but also become more profitable because you’ll gain insights into the runners, riders, players, and teams the majority of punters don’t know, and this means you'll only be betting races, matches or events you feel comfortable with, and most importantly, know about. 

Knowledge is power!

And secondly, never give up during or after a losing run.

Systems and tips are open to many variables beyond the control of anyone and therefore go through good and bad phases. If your methods have proven to be solid and produce long-term profits, don’t start to chop and change things.

Sod's law will dictate you will miss out on those winners when they eventually turn up.

Fickle, emotional-based changes are the equivalent of a betting curse! 

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?


Without a doubt, the feedback from thousands of customers who purchased both my systems over the last fourteen years. Many said that they’d radically turned their bad betting habits and profit levels around, based on the advice contained within those guides.

One of several brown trouser moments

Back in the days when betting bots weren’t widely used and virtually no one was using mobile phones to bet with; I was trading manually on Betfair and had just backed a horse for £350 two minutes before the off, because there was a ton of money in the queue coming in to back it, so given the odds were going to decrease significantly, I set up the opposite lay stake at £451, with odds thirteen ticks lower, giving me a no-lose trading profit of £96.

Without warning the whole street was hit by a power cut – bang!

My PC crashed and I didn’t have time to do anything except pace up and down the house in a panic. I was certain; I’d be kissing my £350 goodbye because the bet was based on market movement, not form.

Thirty minutes later the power came back on, and with shaky hands, I booted my PC up and immediately checked the results on the Racing Post site.

Peeping through my fingers, I glanced at the result: the horse had only gone and won!

I punched the air and danced around the room like a lottery winner counting out my £96

winnings in my head.

Seconds later, I logged into Betfair to check; the bloody lay bet hadn’t been taken by the market and I’d won £1680.

A nerve-racking but happy accident, I vowed never to repeat!

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?

Yes, I don’t ever use traditional bookies.

Their inflexibility, overround and odds, in general, are a joke compared to Betfair; especially on festivals and big meetings. The last few years, bar one, we’ve had very successful Cheltenham festivals. The guy I do the tips with is very well connected, his boss lives in Cheltenham and owns horses, so he’s on course every day of each festival which gives us an edge and allows us to provide our members with some big odds winners each year.

I usually share the tips with a few mates down my local pub via text each morning, and some of the odds they obtain through the likes of Coral, Bet365, Paddy Power and other UK bookies are ludicrous compared to Betfair. I’ve backed horses at 20/1, 33/1, 50/1 and even 80/1 on Betfair that have won or placed, my friends got 10/1, 12/1, 30/1 and 40/1 on the same horses. In my opinion, the bookies are awful on so-called outsiders: in many cases, offering less than half the odds available on Betfair.

In 2013, Jon gave us the heads up on Briar Hill, a Willie Mullins horse running in the Champion Bumper. Mullins had three runners in the race and this horse was the least fancied, but Jon had spoken to one of Willies stable lads earlier in the day, and he said it was the fittest out of all three horses and had been performing better than other two on the gallops for a while, and with Ruby Walsh steering he fancied it.

We advised members to get on via Betfair early in the day, the horse won and we both got 50/1. Again, my friends got around 25/1, and some even ignored the tip saying it had no chance.

A later report stated the following…

Sent off at odds of 25/1, the five-year-old made a mockery of his odds and punters will surely wonder how they allowed the Ruby Walsh-ridden gelding to go off at such a big price.

What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?

I’m a big reader and love true-crime and crime fiction. Inspired by authors such as Peter James, Val McDermid, Lee Child, and Ian Rankin, and in need of a new challenge, I felt compelled to write crime fiction and began in 2014.

After months of hard slog and sheer determination, I finished my first novel The Killer Shadow Thieves. This is (book 1) of my Murder Squad series of gritty crime thrillers set in my hometown Stoke on Trent, involving charismatic DI Tom Blake and his larger-than-life sidekick DS Jon Murphy. Book 2 A Place of Reckoning, along with book 1, has been read by thousands of readers and both have hit the top 100 on Amazon several times since being released.

Book 3 in the series is a forty-three-year-old cold case: a murder mystery involving a devious cast of well-drawn characters, with alternate chapters switching between them and their haunted past and present deceptions. The tension builds and builds as the truth of their crimes from the 1970s are slowly revealed with shocking consequences.

The book, (working title A Conspiracy of Bones), will be available for FREE download via Amazon Kindle later this year. I’ll notify Darren and Steve at On Course for Profits when it’s ready. You can read more about my gripping crime thriller series on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/3ijqMQy

I also love to walk the Staffordshire canals and remote places in the Peak District and North Wales coast. Often these locations, especially those with a degree of history attached to them, end up in my books.


Find out more about Jon Burgess and False Favourites here

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