What or who led you in to the racing world? Where does your interest come from?
In 2007, aged 18, I moved up to Liverpool to study. My hometown is not too far from Newmarket but in truth before I became an adopted scouser I had no real interest in racing. It was trips to Aintree that first got me hooked and watching the likes of Monet’s Garden in the Old Roan Chase were some of my earliest memories.
However my initial foray into betting was very much profit driven. I wanted to win money, and I thought it would be easy. This led me to losing around £2600 on a ‘tipster’ service in my first year at University. That experience scarred me, as did the dent it left in my student bank accounts for quite some time after.
But, that experience was the start of developing a passion for the sport, and it was the slap around the face I needed. From then on I knew I needed to rely on my own ability
and to learn about the sport. It is the daily challenge and puzzle that I now enjoy most, rather than a naïve profit driven motive.
I appreciate and enjoy the sport first and foremost.
This enjoyment is obviously enhanced by being profitable but I look at a race wanting to find the best bet, the winner, and wanting to be proved right – rather than thinking about how much I could win. It is a tough sport and you are always learning.
Do you think gambling / betting has a place in modern day society and if so what style of betting do you think appeals to the modern day gambler. What are they looking for?
Yes. (I don’t like the term gambling, as I don’t see myself as a gambler- gambling for me implies a lack of skill, a coin toss – ‘gambling’ on horse racing is not the same as ‘gambling’ on roulette – ‘red’ or 0 – not for me anyway).
Betting will always have a place as humans will always be opinionated and want to take a view about a certain event. There are ‘bettors’ and there are ‘gamblers’ and everyone is driven by different motives. There are no right or wrongs. My main driver now is trying to solve the puzzle. That is what I get enjoyment from. I like being right. Every horserace is a challenge.
Profiting long term from racing is a challenge. I would think most people who read my blog are, like me, recreational punters, who love the sport and relish the daily challenge. I am looking to be entertained and have yet to find any past time as stimulating or as enjoyable as horse racing.
The racing industry is often being criticised these days, too many races and poor cards, insufficient prize money to encourage entries etc. Is there anything that you would like to see change within the horse racing industry?
Well it would be nice for everyone to get along and all the disparate interests in the sport to come together and find workable solutions to the sports problems. I think, collectively, all those engaged in the sport are aware of, or could reel off, plenty of problems/concerns. Finding solutions appears to be the issue.
A general acceptance that at some point decisions will have to be made that will not please everyone, would be a good start, quickly followed by a willingness to make positive change. At times it feels like the sport is sleep walking into oblivion, paralysed by indecision, infighting, and petty squabbles. It is badly lacking in decisive leadership. There are plenty of bright minds in the sport but nothing ever seems to be done.
Making positive changes appears to take an age, or not happen at all. Issues with
accurate going reports, dwindling field sizes and horse population, a lack of new owners, poor race planning etc. etc. seem to have been around to some degree since I started following the sport.
Horse Racing appears to be full of opinionated talkers, but not enough doers.
This new bettor’s forum is a good start – they will come up with plenty of decent and well thought through suggestions to improve the sport – let’s hope somebody listens and takes timely, positive action.
What about within the gambling industry in general? Are there any changes you would like to see there?
Gambling, in the crudest sense, can ruin people’s lives and many can find themselves losing control. This affects them and society as a whole. ‘Britain at the Bookies’ brought that home, and specifically the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. What angers me are the likes of Coral (to name but a few) who will happily restrict me from betting £10 on a horse – but will let someone vulnerable blow £2k on one of their machines.
I forget the chaps’ name that lost all that money in a few minutes of madness. He wasn’t trying to solve the puzzle. He was ill. He was addicted. The manager could see him losing huge amounts but did nothing for quite some time. That is the bad side of the gambling industry and needs to be addressed. Sometimes intervention is required and those machines, with the levels that vulnerable people are able to pump into them, do not help. When it comes to those machines bookmakers appear to only care about profit, rather than the people using them.
What would you consider to be a highlight of your racing experiences to date?
In the last few years I've been lucky enough to be involved with horse ownership via the White Diamond Racing Syndicate. This first dip into owning shares has been rather successful, having cheered home our two horses (Blessed To Empress, and Really Super, both trained by Amy Murphy) to victory on ten occasions. We now just have Really Super, who's been some star for us. I doubt i'll ever be involved in a better horse. She hacked up in the 2020 Summer Plate at Market Rasen, which sadly due to Covid we couldn't attend. That's been a clear highlight to date but she's got plenty more wins in her. It's a great bunch of people and the most fun i've ever had at the races.
Punting wise there have been a few highlights.
Finding 33/1 and 50/1 winners always give you a real buzz and I have been lucky to pick out a few over the years and have had some crazy Festival Weeks. 2017 and 2018 were particular highs, with big priced winners galore and over +150 points profit combined. ‘Solving The Puzzle' at The Festival, especially a handicap, is a real buzz, for me anyway. Although I've also landed on the winner of The Albert Bartlett in three of the last seven years, at 50/1, 14/1 and 50/1 again. Some thrill. The most satisfaction comes from putting them up on my blog and knowing others have backed them. That is a great feeling.
In terms of experience at the racetrack, one moment stands out – The 2012 Grand National.
This race encapsulated everything that is great about the sport and why it is such a thrill.
I am yet to pick the winner of the race but this was the closest I have come. I was there, stood in one of the stands with a few friends. One of them had backed Neptune Collonges at 33s. His girlfriend knew someone who worked in Nicholls’ yard and it is fair to say they were hopeful of a big run.
That was enough for my friend to have a good EW bet on him.
I am a big user of trends and stats for big races, especially for drawing up a shortlist. I had backed Sunnyhillboy – one of a few bets in the race. The rest is history. In a pulsating finish I lost out in a photo by a nose. I was crestfallen, my friend was ecstatic. It was pure drama and a finish that I can still picture now.
To rub it in I don’t think he even bought a round! It is such excitement that keeps me coming back for more, day after day.
What approach to betting do you take yourself? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
It is safe to say I am probably a bit too conservative for my own good at times but I am very much a level stakes punter, and content with my approach. I judge myself by my ability to make a profit over time betting 1 point level stakes.
While profit is not my main motivator the sport would not be fun if I were consistently losing money.
1 point for me used to be £5 and is now up to £20. As I have become more confident and profits have grown steadily I have been comfortable upping my stakes.
I am content with my current approach to betting to the point where losing runs and financial losses do not affect me emotionally. That is the crux for me. I do not want to be in a position where the amount I bet and recent results affects my judgement on races or my enjoyment of the sport.
I have no set opinions on staking plans etc. It is all about comfort levels, emotionally and financially. In general I would say that if an approach doesn’t work to 1 point level stakes then I wouldn’t touch it. But, having said all that, I am not as studious as I should be when it comes to how I bet, and how I could make myself more profitable. That is something I need to improve on.
What are your future plans with www.racingtoprofit.co.uk? Anything in the pipeline you can tell us about?
My aim has always been to make the site the best ‘online' home possible for racing fans of all levels. I believe this sport is much more enjoyable when shared with others, even virtually. One of the best parts of my site, and my Members' Club, is the community, many of whom have been with me from when the blog really got going in 2015/16.
There are no grand plans as such. The drive is to make the content the best it can be. Both the Members' content and the free content I send out & post on the blog. While ‘tipping' winners always plays a part the main drive is to provide unique angles & ideas that help racing fans find their own winners also. I think i've created a very good ‘portfolio' approach on my blog… tips, previews, trainer stats, big race trends, videos, the community etc, so it's just a case of improving as much as possible while maintaining existing standards. And finding even more racing fans who will end up calling RTP their online racing home. It's great fun.
My next immediate focus is The Cheltenham Festival, which is always the most intense week of the year and one I like to do well at, which is easier said than done of course! The tips are +167 points and counting since 2014 but my unique stats angles throw up plenty of winners also. So, that's the next task. I can't wait.
Join my free email list now and I'll send you some free reports. Sign Up HERE>>> http://racingtoprofit.co.uk/
What interests do you have outside of horse racing?
Interests outside of horse racing??! 🙂 I do spend a lot of time thinking about racing – once you have the bug, outside of spending time with friends and family – I struggle to find time for much else. Really Super gives me plenty of joy also. I do need to be better at switching off from racing though.
I'm a follower of Liverpool FC, which is always entertaining one way or the other. I enjoy cycling around the Suffolk countryside and in lockdown I signed up to a wine club, as you do. I'm a keen follower of politics, a hangover from my university days, and I enjoy reading crime novels. But, if I wasn't a racing nut, I'm really not sure how i'd spend all those hours.