This month's Q and A is with Kelvin Chandler who is the man behind the successful Omaha Racing Tipster Service
Hi Kelvin and many thanks for joining us this month. First up would you tell us a little about yourself and your background? What attracted you to the world of horse racing?
I’m from a typically working class background, and my love for horse racing came from my parents. They only bet very small stakes but it was a big source of entertainment, I was drawn to it from there and it only got stronger as I grew older. I can remember using my paper round money to do a 10p Union Jack Trebles bet for 80p on a Saturday
How would you describe your typical working day?
My typical working day consists of a lot of data crunching, along with watching as much horse racing as I can manage. Replays allow me to analyse things that wouldn’t typically be available in the data – this is probably the most important aspect to my analysis. Without watching the replays, I don’t think I’d be as successful.
I use multiple pieces of software and ratings services to help corroborate what I find. This process takes up most of my working day, I don’t always watch the races where I have selections live, as typically it isn’t overly useful.
What style of approach do you take to your betting on a personal level? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
Level stakes is my preferred method to be honest, it keeps things simple, measurable and makes discipline very simple and straightforward. Staking plans are crucial, as is accountability and bank management. Similar to level stakes is to compound your stakes, where your stakes remain proportional to your betting bank. This works too, but as a tipster it’s not feasible to do this for your members, because any different prices achieved would change the stakes and keep everything out of kilter, so for me, level stakes works best by far.
Loss retrieval systems are a nightmare really; I’d strongly recommend no one using such a strategy as it can be a complete recipe for disaster. With level stakes, a losing run will only have a small impact on your betting bank, but by chasing losses and increasing stakes during a losing run can grow those losses exponentially. It’s a dangerous game to play.
What traits do you think a good racing tipster should possess and what do you think the average punter is looking for from a tipping service?
A common misconception from punters is that overall profit is the key to a successful tipster. Really though, the return on investment (ROI) is a much better indicator. If a tipster places 5,000 tips and makes £2,000 profit that’s great, but if another tipster makes £1,000 from 500 tips at the same stakes, I’d prefer to follow the second one all day long.
A tipster should also really be backing their own bets – “putting their money where their mouth is” – as this gives users confidence in the tipster, as it shows they’re willing to commit financially to their own advice.
We all know that tipping services of all types can hit losing runs. How do you suggest that punters handle these situations psychologically?
As previously mentioned, compounding stakes can help with this, as betting with a % of your betting bank means as you lose a few, stakes will decrease, meaning losses can be limited. Of course, this means that winners on the lower stakes won’t return as much profit. Sticking to level stakes means you’ll always know where you stand, and will help stop people lumping to try and reclaim losses sustained during a losing streak.
Discipline is the biggest key. Avoiding the temptation to try and chase some short term losses is a slippery slope. Instead, punters need to understand that it’s a long term game, and even the best tipsters will inevitably go through lean spells – it’s a statistical certainty. Services should be looked at over months/years rather than days/weeks.
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?
The biggest issue is people jumping in head first, too quickly and finding they’re losing too quickly before they’ve learned how to win. Learn everything you can about how the numbers work, and pick up any pieces of advice you can from the guys that have been doing it for a while.
The racing industry is often criticised for having too many races and poor quality meetings with insufficient prize monies to encourage entries etc. Is there anything that you would like to see changed within the horse racing industry and why?
Low quality racing is required for trainers/owners/jockeys who don’t get as many horses. For many, having a winner as an owner is just as enjoyable if it’s a class 5 handicap at Southwell or a Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot. Possibly controversial as it could be exploited (maybe), but I would like to see only the winner be given rises in the handicap. This way horses who are consistent but don’t often get their head in front don’t get hiked up the ratings without even winning!
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?
Bookmakers limiting bets/closing accounts for winning punters/tipsters is obviously a problem, the introduction of bookies like BlackType.bet could help encourage bookmakers to be more punter friendly, but the jury is still out on that. An issue more relevant to my industry is tipsters being sponsored/affiliated with bookmaker. When the tipster makes money from their users losing bets, why would the tipster want to find winners?
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?
From a horse racing perspective, it’s Peter O’Sullivan’s 1973 Grand National commentary “he’s going to get up, Red Rum is going to win the Grand National”. As a tipster, My Omaha Racing profile picture is Agrapart winning the 2016 Betfair Hurdle that I backed and advised at 22/1 when proofing to a third party.
What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?
I play golf (20 handicap) and play at my local 9-hole course to relax. I enjoy the challenge of the course, but also the challenge against yourself.
In many ways it’s similar to being a horse racing tipster – you have to stay disciplined, play the percentage shots, and focus only on what you’re doing, not the people around you.