I don’t remember the exact point when I started to have a bet, but it just seemed to stem from my love for Horse Racing. Horse Racing is synonymous with betting, no matter what Mark Johnston may think, and so from my younger years of following the sport just naturally progressed into wanting to put my knowledge to the test by betting.
2. At what point did you realize that you can make some real money from sports betting?
I suppose this was when I started to properly assess and track my results. It begun with just a few bets in the big races on a Saturday and at the big meetings, but when I started to list these into Excel sheets and track my performance over time it was clear I was doing well, albeit from small stakes.
3. How did you come to select Horse Racing as your chosen sport?
I have always followed the sport. I remember being taken round racetracks across the UK when I was very young, from Ascot and Cheltenham to the likes of Hexham, and it has just continued from there. My Dad was very similar so I guess you could say it is in the family! I also lived in Cheltenham for a good few years and my family still lives there now, and that is a town that truly lives and breathes Horse Racing.
4. Are there any particular events that you look forward to throughout the year?
Cheltenham! Without doubt the best four days of every year. The feeling of expectation and anticipation walking up to the track on Champion Hurdle day is a feeling that is unrivalled. I’ve been lucky enough to live very close to the racecourse and feel the excitement build until it explodes with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, which is my favourite race of the year. I’m also a really big fan of Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham.
On the Flat I have a very good record at Royal Ascot, which is always a fantastic week of racing, and also Arc weekend, which I was lucky enough to attend last year.
3 events that are pretty obvious, but watching the best of the best compete against each other makes it for very special racing.
5. What was your best ever bet?
Ok, I’m going to do this without going through my betting history spreadsheets…this may be recency bias talking but backing Blaklion for the RSA Antepost at 25’s, and then going in again on the day at 12’s, was pretty special. There is something about an ante post bet that just makes it that bit sweeter, added to the fact he was from a local stable and young Ryan Hatch was on board. Mountainous for the Welsh National at 25-1 a few years ago was also a pretty nice bet.
6. What kind of factors do you evaluate before making a selection?
I guess there isn’t really a set process that I would look at. If it is in a handicap then I would always look at what marks they are on, and what marks they have ran to over similar tracks and distances previously. That way even if the recent form is poor you know the horse could perform on the track, and you would get a much bigger price about this than a horse with solid recent form. The main thing though, is price. Everything depends on price. Even if I have been waiting for a horse to have certain conditions for months and they finally get it but I am not considering the price value, then I won’t back it. And I am very comfortably in doing that, too. Many punters would feel obliged to back it, no matter the price, but I am very happy to leave out horses I am very sweet on if the prices are shorter than what I would want to take.
I’m also very big on statistics, and to a lesser extent, trends. Statistics could come in the form of trainer strike rates, or trainer/jockey combo profit levels, or anything really. It just helps to paint a clearer picture when assessing a race.
7. What has been the biggest influence on your betting career?
To be honest the biggest single thing to influence my betting career would have been creating a betting results spreadsheet. In there it is jam-packed full of information, from track to horse to odds to SP to stake to result etc. Without this, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to turn it from a hobby into a serious career. There have been many people that have influenced what I have achieved, but this would outweigh them.
It’s funny; people may read this and think ‘well that isn’t very profound I do that anyway’, but it is what you do with all that data that can have a real impact. Having years worth of results will show me so much information that has impacted things such as staking plans, types of race I seem to specialise in, what tracks I do better at, etc.
8. Do you have any future plans in regards to your service?
In the short-term, with the National Hunt season just around the corner we will be launching a National Hunt package, which will include things such as Antepost Cheltenham selections and similar. I’d hope this will be a really popular service as we had so much success with ante post and the NH season as a whole.
Anything longer-term, though, there is nothing that springs to mind. Just continuing to be profitable!
9. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your betting career?
Speaking strictly about betting, rather than tipping, closed and/or restricted betting accounts makes it difficult to achieve prices that are widely available. Now I am aware that many people have this issue, and I am not a fan of those who use the fact they are restricted as some kind of proof that they are very successful (there are plenty of them out there), but something does need to be done about the situation. When advising prices, I will not advise with bookmakers that are generally seen as firms that make it difficult for people to get on. Hopefully this helps to make my results be completely transparent, and helps members avoid any frustration when it comes to backing the selections.
Certain accounts I still have open which I will use regularly, and I also use Betfair Exchange often. Generally now if I see a price which is wildly inaccurate from a bookmaker, I would rather take a slightly shorter price on the Exchange to reduce the chance of the account being closed. It’s a topic I could speak for a long time on, as you can tell. Perhaps another interview!
10. How do you balance your betting time and family life?
Organisation is key. It’s all about being organised well in advance. It is as simple as that. I spend hours and hours involved with the sport but as long as I keep track of everything else going on in daily life, then there are no issues. So far (touch wood) there has been no disasters!
11. Do you have a favourite horse that you follow regularly?
I keep emotion away from betting and I find that is the best way to do it. Of course I have horses that I am particularly fond of - those that have done me big favours in the past or those that simply capture my imagination, but I really try to keep this separate from betting.
12. How do you keep calm when you hit a run of losing bets?
I have recently written a blog post on this which you’ll soon be able to find on the Tipsters Empire Blog. Essentially I keep clam when losing runs are in progress as I am fully aware that statistically speaking losing runs quite simply have to occur. Because I know this, my staking plan and bank is prepared for it. I advise all members to take a similar approach.
I also find that being level-headed helps to keep my betting consistent. I won’t get too beaten up if a horse is narrowly beaten into 2nd or endures a rough passage throughout the race. These are events that will occur over a long period and even themselves out over time. As long as I am happy with my betting and the process I go through to strike a bet then the result of a single race is not important. That may sound quite strange, but it will make full sense when you read the longer version on the Blog!
13. How do you organise your bank management?
My bank is effectively based on what statistically speaking my longest losing run should be, with a bit more to act as a buffer. Based on my selections and my strike rate, the longest losing run I should entail is around 44 bets in a row (excluding each ways, this is purely win only). My bank is therefore 40 bets, plus a buffer, which I would recommend being 25% of the longest losing run. Divide however much you are prepared to be willing to lose over a certain period by this figure, and that will be your ‘1 point’. Most of my bets are advised at 1pt wins. By following the above you are setting yourself a platform of success.
14. What is the best reason you could give to anyone who was thinking about following your service?
Well firstly, it is a proven profitable service. Not only that, but prices and results are completely transparent, so there is no need to be concerned about any of fudging numbers which does happen via other internet tipsters. Secondly, I understand what it takes to be profitable in Horse Racing. It is not easy, as it takes hours and hours of interrogation of information, but by following my selections you can be sure you are backing horses that have a better chance of winning than their odds suggest. You also get in-depth analysis of why we are choosing that horse, and an overview the following day. But most of all, you’ll enjoy your betting experience once again.