Hi Richard, 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 52 and have two beautiful daughters. I’m a qualified Chartered Builder and trained Quantity Surveyor by profession. QS’s are like technical building accountants, so I’m pretty good with numbers.
I ran my own Chartered Building Company for 10 years. Setting it up on my own and employed all my family and friends. They were fantastic years and so much fun, but unfortunately, I was taken for over half a million pounds and the Company didn’t survive the 2008 recession. I lost everything, including my house!!
I have always been sporty, and it’s played a big part in my life. But my biggest passion by far is Cheltenham Festival, it’s better than Christmas, birthdays, anything!! It’s very special indeed, and that’s where my foundations of Horse Racing success started and brought me to where I am today. I haven’t missed a day of it in 30 years and will watch it every day until I die… nothing will stop me!!
Would you say that you have a “typical” working day, and how would you describe it?
As a Professional Tipster I’m not going to lie, I have a perfect life… for me!
I’m so passionate about Horse Racing and studying form that it doesn’t feel like work at all!
But it’s not for everyone. For the past 15 months I’ve only had about 5 days off!
I do have a typical day and it goes something like this….
My day sounds great as I always lay in until my body is rested and ready to wake up. This usually means I’m waking up around 10am to 12 noon! Now that might sound lazy, but it’s not, read on!
The first thing I do is turn on Oddschecker and see what prices the horses are that I put up. I send my tips out either in the evening before, or via a timed email at 7am. So, it’s always exciting to see if they are a massive market mover!
I turn on Sky Racing and watch some of the race build up and race replays from the day before. But I’ve already got an eye on tomorrows cards and start scanning them to get a feel of the races I particularly like and horses that catch my eye.
There is so much racing that’s it’s impossible to properly look through every race in depth. So, I specialise in handicap’s and big priced horses. I’m good at flat but I love the jumps, so that’s where I always start.
I always have a mental note of when my horses are running that day and love watching them live, so I plan my day very much around their timings. I get such a buzz watching them run and if my neighbours are out, I’m on my feet screaming the horse on!!!
It’s a big responsibility knowing complete strangers are putting their hard earned cash on my picks, so I choose my horses very carefully and when they win or place, I’m just so happy for my customers, which include my brother and a few close mates!!
Tomorrow’s cards get finalised in the early afternoon, but for me it’s always about the price of the horse, not just the form. The prices only really start coming on line at around 4.30pm to 6pm, so this is when I really get into the form study!
If I see a horse at an exceptional early price, then I will send this out the night before up to 11pm, but most of the tips aren’t finalised until 1am-2am! Then I start doing my detailed write ups and finally set up the timed emails to go out for 7am so my customer’s know when the tips arrive.
I usually get to bed around 3.30am, which means I have studied for about 8hrs, and spent more time on admin…. now you can understand why I get up so late!!
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?
I was new to the tipping world in June 2020 and really had to search on line to understand who the incumbent tipsters were and what sort of profit they were operating at.
I was surprised how low performing they were! The majority of football tipsters think they are doing well making 5-8% return on investment.
Horse racing tipster’s fare better, but most are making between 10% to 18% return on investment, with only a very few over 20%. Many of those have only been tipping for less than 500 tips. The tipsters with over 1000 tips and over 20% return on investment are very rare indeed!!
Hanbury Racing is operating at 37.5% after 1100 tips, so I’m very happy, and so are my customers!
I was also aware of many dodgy organisations who were lying about their performance and others using dirty tricks to suck in innocent bettor’s. I didn’t realise that bookmaker’s actually paid massive kickback commissions to organisations that enticed people to sign up to a bookmaker. The bookmaker can pay a very lucrative percentage of people’s life time losses to that organisation, which can be thousands!!
I found this astonishing and didn’t want any part of it.
I think People are fundamentally looking for a tipster they can trust. An honest, hardworking tipster who can make them a long term profit. A tipster that’s profits are accurate, and 3rd party verified.
People want to get a good write up with a validated logical reason why it can win, but above all they want to get really excited watching their horses run and make a long term profit!
I think Hanbury Racing achieves all these objectives and www.MegaTipsters.co.uk is very much set up to safeguard people and help them find trusted, verified and profitable tipsters (not just Hanbury Racing!)
Do you regularly bet yourself? What style of approach do you take to your betting if any? What do you think of staking plans, loss retrieval systems etc.?
I back every single one of my horses, but that’s it. I don’t have any other bets! I put my money where my mouth is! I follow the same points staking plan that I advise to my clients but do doubles/trebles/accas at slightly higher amounts than I suggest.
Because my horses are big prices, I only have to put relatively small sums on the doubles/trebles for a big payday. I fall asleep every night dreaming that they will all come in!
What attracted you to the world of horse racing and what do you enjoy most about the sport?
My first two bets were in the Grand National when I was about 10 years old! I backed the winner at 12/1 and the third each way at 66/1! It was complete luck, but it was good fun, and I was hooked!
As I said before Cheltenham Festival was the big draw and sums up what I love about horse racing and betting.
I went in the early 90’s and absolutely loved it. The beautiful horses, the packed stands, the roar of the crowd, the buzz and excitement. Being around the winners enclosure when the great’s won their races.
The Irish craic in the evening bars, talking to random strangers who are also passionate about the horses.
But watching those brave horses and jockeys jump in harmony at speed round Cheltenham’s tough undulating course, especially the 2 Mile Queen Mother! They go like the clappers, and you can’t appreciate how fast they are going on TV, live is amazing!
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 have a huge passion for horse racing. I am fascinated by every race and love trying to solve puzzles, so I happily studying form for 5-8hrs every day to find the answers!
It’s my perfect job, I just wish I’d turned to it earlier in my life!
What makes me different? Well for starters I make a very good profit!! 37% Return on Investment and over 800 points profit for a tipster only going 15 months is very impressive!
I also do detailed write ups for every horse I tip, so there is no blind faith required when following my tips.
Hanbury Racing is also based around finding exceptional value. I know most tipsters say they go for value. But I really achieve this!
Most of my horses shorten in price and some get absolutely hammered in. Sometimes that’s the weight of money on them, but it is mainly because the horse was overpriced in the first instance. The bookmakers had priced them up wrong. They should always have been shorter!
I’ve tipped 100/1 shots that have been backed in to 13/2 and absolutely bolted up on the bridle!
Click here to read the write up for 100/1 Danilo D’Airy which I sent out to Customers giving my reasoning and logic behind his chances.
Then watch the race replay here, you won’t believe the 100/1 Danilo D’Airy could win like this!
Imagine backing that, my customers won a lot of money!!!!!
My average selection is priced up at 33/1. Within that there are still some 6/1’s and 8/1’s, but there are also 150/1 and 250/1 selections.
It’s one of my biggest edges as a 50/1 that just places is like a 9 point profit, so I’m screaming on for the places as well as the winners spot!
The bookmakers offer additional places as part of their concessions. Sometime 4 places in 11 runner fields and 6 places in big handicaps. These extra places are where I squeeze out the extra value and make a big profit from the Bookies!!!
My strike rate is 17.75% (includes placers) which is excellent considering the prices I tip at. But it still needs patience from my customers.
Now I have a 15 month track record people are able to trust my process now and know the next big winner or placed pick up isn’t far away.
The other big difference with my service is the sheer fun and excitement of cheering on a 66/1 shot to victory. Some of my Customers say they have been physically shaking after backing one of my big priced winners! They haven’t experienced anything like it before!!
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?
Hard work and form study are the key. I work really hard. There are no short cuts to watching lots of replays and studying the form in depth to unearth a massive big priced winner.
Experience of thinking outside the box! I’ve been looking for big priced winners for 34 years, it’s second nature to me, but not for other tipsters.
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?
Have less bets! Some people stand in the bookies and bet on every race. But don’t do it! Be selective and specialise. Put more on less horses, the ones you have studied yourself, or find yourself a good tipster!!
We can see from your website that Megatipsters was set up after yourself and Garry Ambrose won the Tote Ten to Follow Jumps competition in 2020. Would you share a little more about your entry and success in the competition, what led you to enter, did you have a specific criterion for your selection process?
I love the Tote Ten To Follow Jumps Competition as the key to success is finding the Grade 1 winners at Cheltenham Festival. My knowledge of Cheltenham is very much an asset and my secret weapon!!
I love it as it gives you an interest throughout the whole season, very much like Fantasy Football does for the Premiership.
When I won it, I said Tote Ten to Follow is a ‘beautiful blend of skill and luck’ and that really sums it up perfectly.
That year I had 80 entries and treated it as a perm bet so it cost me £400, but I did win £188113.54, so it was a good return!
You don’t need to enter loads of lines, but 5-10 give you a nice chance. The key ingredient is loads of luck. The horses have to stay fit and jump those fences!!
Focus on the Grade 1 winners and top class handicappers that can progress to Grade 1 horses.
There were about 70,000 entries when it started in November and finished in April. I was miles off the pace at Christmas, my winning line was in about 30,000 position!! I had two horses injured early, Buveur D’air and Klassical Dream, who were out for the season, and it wasn’t looking good. I needed an awesome run and two good subs!
But my lines were heavily focussed around Cheltenham where there is 50% of the competition points up for grabs and my winning line had a brilliant Cheltenham.
Going into Cheltenham I had some lines around the 1000th position, but my eventual winner was still in about 15000th !!
But it all changed at Cheltenham. I didn’t go to the course that year but watched every day round my good friend Garry’s house and we cheered then all on. It was incredibly exciting!!
Honeysuckle won the Mares race, and my first sub, Epatante won the Champion Hurdle, plus Fakir D’Oudaires finished second in the Arkle.
I had Champ win from an impossible position and Envoi Allen was also victorious on Wednesday.
Then on Thursday Samcro just held on by a fast diminishing nose, and when my second sub, Min, won the Ryanair I was up to 12th place going into Friday with just the Gold Cup bonus race to go, and I had the favourite Al Boum Photo!
That Gold Cup was an insane race to watch, I knew if Al Boum Photo won, we would go top of the competition. I was jumping every fence for them, and it was an incredible feeling when they crossed the line in first!!! What a buzz!!!!
That ended up being the day we won it as COVID shutdown racing, and the competition effectively ended. Now that was lucky!!
It changed my life as I handed my notice in at work and became a tipster… my perfect job!!
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?
Oh my word I have loads of stories, most revolve around Cheltenham!! I could write a book about them all!!
My best ever day for winners was on the first day at Cheltenham in 2009. My company was on the verge of going bust, I had no money to bet with, no money to stay at a hotel, but I had already bought the tickets, so I was going!!!
I slept in my car for the three nights and managed to put together £250, but that included my beer money and food!! I would normally take £2k minimum, so I knew I was in trouble!!
With 26 races that was less than £10 a race and that meant I couldn’t eat or drink anything for 4 days!!
I hatched a plan!
The first day was usually a good one for me and Wednesday the toughest, so I thought let’s go £100 on the Tuesday and fingers crossed for a good day!!
On the Tuesday I took £50 of the £100 allocated betting bank and set up a new online account with Ladbrokes, they were offering to double the stake so that was £100 on my nap of the day. The rest of the day’s selections were limited to £10 per race.
First race was the Supreme Novices Hurdle, a minefield where the favourite rarely won!! Ha-ha, I know it’s different now, but these youngsters have no idea how lucky they are to just blindly back Willie Mullins in the first!!
I went for 9/2 shot Get Me Out Of Here and he came an agonising head 2nd, I was pleased with the shout, but I needed winners!!
The races come thick and fast, and the next race was a huge moment, I had two strong fancies of the day, a 6/1 shot in the Arkle and a 7/4 shot in the last.
Which got my £100 nap? I went for the value bet! Those pesky favourites never come in when you need them to. So, my £100 went on Sizing Europe to win the Arkle and BOOM he hosed up!
I was now £590 up, plus my bank was up to £300 with my winning Laddies stake, so I was in clover at £890 bank!!
In those days at Cheltenham when I was up, I used to free roll backing bigger sums with the bookie’s profits in my pocket. I was always looking for a big day’s profit. My dream was to win £20k in a day. Could it be today, the day I really needed it?
Talking to myself I said ‘Rich, keep it real, there are still 24 races to go, and you need to eat and drink over the next four days! It’s £10/race, stick to it!!’
So, onto the 3m Handicap Chase, one of my favourite races, I love 3 mile handicap chases! But this one was devilishly difficult to pick the winner. There were loads of horses I had backed before, some had won, many had lost for me. I needed another winner from my tenner. So, which one was the one?
I couldn’t decide between two of them, so I ended up doing both, a 10/1 and 33/1 shot. I saw they were trading bigger on the Tote so I took a chance the Tote price would hopefully hold out.
At the last minute I broke my rule and put a tenner on both of them, I justified it as I would normally blow £100 on this race!!
Well, would you Adam and Eve it, my 33/1 Chief Dan George won!! I went to the Tote desk, and it paid £52.70! OMG, that’s £527!! My bank is up to £1397! I’m seriously rolling now!
My Cheltenham gambling Brain was going into overdrive now!
‘Start free rolling Rich, today’s the day!!’
‘No!!’ I told Myself, keep it real. £10 per race!!
I’m on to the Champion Hurdle. Last year I was hard on Sizing Europe, he was my banker. I told loads of my mates to do it, but he trailed in last having injured himself going well two out.
Sizing really repaid my judgement this year when I really needed it! He did have a true Grade 1 engine. I was right about that and had eventually come good for me.
But I now needed to pick the winner of this year’s Champion, but who?
I looked at the Bookie’s boards and had to look twice. It all became crystal clear the favourite was a 10/1 shot and was huge value!!
Binocular had been trading as short as 2/1 favourite leading up to The Festival but had been pulled out through injury and some shrewd punters had backed him on Betfair at 1000/1. The traders laid him thinking he was a non-runner because Nicky Henderson had said so only a few days earlier!! Silly trusting layers!!
But the legendary gambler, J P Mc Manus, and owner of Binocular, with Mr Henderson’s miraculous healing abilities got him to the race! What a surprise!
I thought ‘Could it really be that obvious?’
My Cheltenham Brain was going into overdrive ‘How much shall we have on him? £100, £200, £500???’
‘No, No, Rich, keep it real. So I went mad and had £30 on Binocular at 10/1!
He won easily!!
Cheltenham Brain started moaning! ‘Why am I being so sensible?!!!’
The banks up to £1697. This is amazing I thought! I’m going to have a nice week now. eating, drinking, celebrating with some champagne! I might even book into a hotel! No, they are all full, the car will have to do!!
On to the fifth race, the Cross Country! Now most experts and top jockeys were dishing this race, but it had been good to me over recent years. I’d backed last year’s winner, Garde Champetre, and he started to get me excited!
He was 2/1 favourite and looked a natural round the course, especially with Nina Carberry riding. She was brilliant round there and this was looking obvious!!
My Cheltenham Brain started whispering again;
‘Let’s go mad Rich. He’s gonna win again. Hit him hard! £100, £200, £500??’
The bank was £1697. I can afford it now. Let’s go for it. So I had a £100 on him!
The thing was at Cheltenham whenever I really hit a favourite they invariably lost!
I was getting bettors remorse, but it was already too late, I was on!
But something in my head had a rethink. I will do an outsider as a cover bet. So, looking through the form again I landed on A New Story. He had course experience from last year, so I had a £10 each way poke at 25/1!
It had to be each way as Garde Champetre was going to win and at least I could pick up a place on him. Or so I thought!
The race didn’t go to plan. Garde Champetre never travelled with the same smoothness as last year and was in trouble a long way out. I screamed at Garde to pick up, but to no avail.
I’d done it again, blowing another £100 to win £300 on a poxy favourite!
I had harsh words with my Cheltenham Brain.
‘Why, Why, Why do I do it!!??!! Another terrible value bet Rich!!’
But a few seconds later I was screaming again. A New Story was staying on instead and picked up the leader in the final 75 yards to win at 25/1!! This is amazing!!
Cheltenham Brain tried dampening the mood slightly saying ‘should have had that £100 on A New Story at 25/1!!’
He was right but was after timing!
I gladly took that £312.50 profit, less the £100 loss on Garde and added another £212.50 to the bank!!
‘Wow, the banks up to £1909.50 with one race to go!’
Well on to the lucky last. I’m going back with a massive profit unless I do something stupid! Which after the Garde Champetre race had tempered my enthusiasm to go big on a shorty.
It started to flash through my mind about the £20k day that I always thought was possible, but was it just a gamblers dreaming?
Cheltenham Brain started moaning!
‘If we had used our normal Cheltenham betting bank of £2k and did our usual free rolling after winning the second race, we’d be sitting on around £8k-10k going into the last!’
I knew he was right!
It was such bad timing going skint coming into Cheltenham. But I told Brain to shut up! I was euphoric with the betting bank, and we were now going to have a brilliant Cheltenham week.
That’s as long as Cheltenham Brain can be kept under control going into the Mares hurdle!!
Well, the issue was my Cheltenham Banker for the whole week was in this race at a very backable price of 7/4. She was the favourite, but I thought she should have been heavily odds on after remembering how easily she won last year, and her opponents this year looked mediocre in comparison.
The horse was Quevega sitting in the market at 7/4!
Cheltenham Brain started getting gobby ‘go on have a grand on her! You’ll still have almost £1000 for the rest of the week. You’d have settled for that bank at the start of the day!’
He was right! He was talking my logic! I would have been ecstatic with £900. If I do have £1000 on Quevega that would be another £1750 in the coffers and put the bank up to a monster £3700!! Not the £20 large, but amazing from my starting bank!
My mind quickly cast back to the largest bets I’d placed on my Cheltenham Bankers…
My biggest ever bet was £500. Twice I had counted out the notes to the Cheltenham bookies. The names were etched in my memory for ever. Inglis Drever and Denman!!
Now you might be thinking wow! That’s awesome! Inglis Drever the 3 time winner of the Cheltenham Staying Hurdle and the legend that was Denman who strode to victory in the 2008 Gold Cup!
The problem was I’d smashed Inglis Drever in the Royal Sun Alliance Hurdle at 7/4 when he looked the best staying hurdler around and was running in an easier novice race! But somehow Inglis was beaten by Fundamentalist, who never did a thing afterwards!
Then there was Denman, the unbeaten machine. I managed to get 6/4 on him as my Cheltenham 2006 banker in the Royal Sun Alliance Hurdle and couldn’t see how he could get beat. He was an awesome specimen and definitely a very good Grade 1 horse and looked way ahead of these rivals. He had won his previous 5 races and looked a proper champion.
But he lost!!! How could he lose?!
Denman went on to win another 10 races on the trot, including the 2008 Gold Cup. So that’s 14 out of 15 races and I had my £500 on the only time he was beaten – law of sod!!
I was right about the class of Denman, I had to put it down to a bad Ruby Walsh ride. Ironically Ruby admitted after he retired that he blamed himself for Denman’s defeat. He should have gone off a lot faster and relentlessly outstayed them all!! Shame he didn’t, but you can’t legislate for that sort of thing. That’s why there is no such thing as a true banker in racing!!
Anyway, back to the moment, the Mares Hurdle. I’m almost £2k up, how much do I put on Quevega?
Well, I argued with Cheltenham Brain and annoyingly chose a sensible approach of 10% of my bank on her. Rounded up to £200 on the nose at 7/4!
She bolted up on the bridle and I picked up another £350 profit to end the day with around £2250 in my bank.
‘Should have been a lot more!!’ chirped Cheltenham Brain! He was annoyingly right, this time!
So that day I had 5 winners and a head 2nd. With winning odds of 52/1 (tote), 25/1, 10/1, 6/1 and 7/4!!
I went on to have the best ever time at Cheltenham. I drank Champagne every night, ate at the best restaurants and slept in my SRI Cavalier – it was awesome!
From that £250 (including expenses), I ended up walking off the course on Friday after the last race with £6000 in my pocket, that was after expenses!
It wasn’t my most profitable Cheltenham, that was when I went with £2000 and came back with £14000 and bought a new car with the cash.
Then my wife of only 9 months took the car in the divorce settlement! She couldn’t take my Cheltenham memories though. They were all mine, and priceless!!
Or was my best Cheltenham profit The Tote To Follow Jumps 2020 winnings of £188113.54??!!
All I know is sleeping in the car was humbling, having only £250 spending money should never been enough to have the time of my life. But when Cheltenham Festival is involved, your dreams can come true – that’s why I love it so much!
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?
The bookmakers are taking far too much money out of the industry.
The UK prize money is pitiful and is driving owners away. The best UK horses are being bought to race in other Countries where prize money is much better which allows their owners to at least cover costs of ownership and even make a profit.
If you win a maiden in Australia, you can almost cover your years training fees. Whereas in the UK an owner gets a 10th of that. It’s shocking and something has to be done.
We have the best product and platform in the World both in terms of Jumps and Flat racing. But this will decline quickly unless the complacency of Government and key stakeholders don’t reform soon.
The model has to change.
With so much in their favour Bookmakers should not be able to limit their losses by limiting/closing accounts. They have the ability to lay off, so should be forced to take bets from all Customers!
Or at least have a blanket policy that states they will only close an account when someone wins more than £100,000 off them!!
What do you do to relax and unwind? What interests have you outside the world of horse racing?
Luckily, I have always been sporty and that helps get me out and about!
Table Tennis has been my main sport. I’ve been Suffolk County Champion multiple times at all age groups and was in the Top 20 in England as a junior. I still play local leagues and represent Suffolk County at Vets.
I’m ranked around the UK top 100 in the Vets.
I also played Ping Pong which is an off shoot of table tennis where you use bats with just sandpaper on each side. I did manage to become English Ping Pong Champion and played at The World Championship of Ping Pong in 2013 (run by Barry Hearn) held at Alexandra Palace. I was live on Skysports for about 5 minutes!
I also play golf, bowls and enjoy Poker!
It’s easy for me to stay in and just focus on the racing and studying, so I do try my best to play something 2 or 3 times a week. It really helps to clear my mind!
I was told by a Professional Gambler who hung around in the 1990’s with Dave Nevison that my mental strength associated with playing County level sport would help me become a good tipster. He was right. It’s easy when the winners are flowing, but you need mental fortitude to keep following the process when you inevitably have losing runs. That’s when it’s tough. That’s when you have to dig deep and believe in yourself!
What is the biggest winner you have ever had?
I managed to tip up the 150/1 winner of the Irish Grand National, Freewheelin Dylan!!
This was put up as a tip on Hanbury Racing so my customers had a bumper pay out that day!
150/1 is the biggest price winner ever of the Irish Grand National and the 3rd longest price ever in the history of Irish racing, so it was a good pick!
That’s why I tell my customer’s to follow my staking plan as I tipped that up at 1 point each way. The same amount of points each way I advise on 14/1 shots!
That’s how you win big, put the same amount on an outsider as you would a short price. That’s a golden rule of mine which definitely works!!