A new month began with plenty of profit for my loyal members at VG Tips.
Saturday July 1st was my sort of betting day, as I told my followers on Twitter (@betonsportstips).
What does my type of preferred betting day look like when it comes to racing? A day when the racing is competitive. A day when there are some big field handicaps and Group class races containing genuinely good thoroughbred racehorses. A mixture. Quality races at different racecourses in the UK and Ireland and, crucially, some value prices in the betting market.
I liked the look of the racing on the first day of July. I trust I conveyed that to members of VG Tips via my write up the night before. As always, they received my deep analysis and tips late afternoon/early evening.
I expressed my level of confidence about 15/2 winner Beckford in a competitive race at the Curragh (photographed above). I explained how I was able to hedge my bets in that race because, so I thought, the betting market had the wrong favourite. That meant the two horses with one race in the book, each a winner on debut, were available at bigger prices than they should have been. The easy first time out winner called Verbal Dexterity was priced at 4/1. Beckford was, as I told subscribers, “a great price” at 15/2 and 7/1. To my astonishment, neither was the favourite to win the race.
Non members may like to see the depth and detail of my analysis for that race. Here’s how I explained my thinking to VG Tips members.
“I’m not the biggest fan of the jockey, but the Jim Bolger trained Verbal Dexterity impressed when winning on debut. As ever, his son-in-law is in the saddle of the colt who won his maiden here on soft ground, and won by over 9 lengths, last month.
“Beckford also won his maiden at this course. That winning debut came in May. The subsequent form of those Beckford has raced against in the past is impressive in its own right. The runner up last time out has won since. Even the horse that finished fifth when Beckford won on debut has gone on to win. The third horse, Would Be King, has finished second in a hot Listed race in which an opponent called Aqabah came fifth. Aqabah has since finished a length and a half behind of the winner of a Group 2 race at Royal Ascot.
“All the talk has been about Verbal Dexterity. Understandable because of the margin of his winning debut. He was the one I expected to back in this race. I had, after all, placed him in my notebook for horses to watch out for in the future.
But that line of form relating to the Gordon Elliot trained Beckford has made me think about backing two in this race. Rightly or wrongly? Time will tell.
I am surprised by the early betting market prices that has Murillo as the short priced favourite. That’s fine. It permits me to hedge my bets on the other two I fancy. I think Beckford is a great price.”
Betting is all about personal choice. In the end, at those odds, I opted to play safe and be on Beckford each way at 7/1 and also on Verbal Dexterity each way, even at 4/1. After all, just so long as that one was placed, the most I would lose of my stake was £1.
Beckford won the Group 2 Railway Stakes in taking style. Verbal Dexterity was second. Proof were it needed that there is truly nothing wrong in hedging your bets or ‘dutching’ in some races.
Do I now wish I had backed Beckford to win only? No. I’ve won money on what was a confident selection. So confident I made Beckford a NAP. Above all else I am delighted that the form study I undertook regarding not only Beckford, but the horses he’d raced against previously, was justified by the result of the race.
It is not the case that the subsequent good form of others that your horse has raced against previously, always works out. But, in my long experience, it does so more often than it does not.
When I am betting I take the first best price with bookies offering Guaranteed Price terms. So often, the early price is the best one. If it’s not, you’ll be paid out at the bigger price should your horse finish the race at larger SP odds. So why wait? IF you are going to back a certain horse, then take the early price. I am forever telling members of VG Tips to read what I have to say about a certain race. Am I confident about a certain selection? Have I made a good case about the chances for a particular horse? Or do you, as a fellow punter, have a better idea and a contrary opinion? No harm in that. Punting is all about opinions.
Don’t back horses blindly. Read my analysis. If you have time, study the form yourself. Make your own mind up whether you wish to bet on a certain horse.
Saturday July 1st also saw me benefit from taken an early price about Newmarket winner, Home of the Brave. I snapped up the first price of 3/1. I could hardly believe a couple of bookies offered that price. But they didn’t do so for long. You had to be quick. That price was too big and the betting market reacted quickly. Home of the Brave won at a mere SP of 13/8.
London Prize was a third winner for members on the day. Yet again, the early price was the one to take. The 5/2 available on Friday night was snapped up and that one triumphed for us at a shorter past the post price of 7/4. As I say, why wait?
Some people think profitable punting is only about winners. It is not. Some folk believe that, unless you back the winner, you are a loser. That’s not necessarily so. After all, there is more than one way to snatch some money from the satchel of the bookie.
On Saturday, I was just as pleased with the each way placed returns. Yes, I was gutted that Natural Scenery was just held in second place in the ultra competitive running of the Northumberland Plate. But I was more annoyed because the one I had considered as being my second each way selection, Higher Power, was the one in front. I had alerted members to that one in my write up. I chose to oppose Higher Power, but it was a close call. As was the finish to the race.
Nevertheless, Natural Scenery returned placed profit at 9/1 (when tipped) as did my second each way selection. That was the stablemate of the winner called Lord George. The draw in stall 17 was not a good one. But the young claiming jockey did well to have the James Fanshawe trained second string horse placed fourth. As I had envisaged, Lord George relished the much further distance he was racing over and returned me further profit at 12/1 (when tipped).
Again, hopefully for the interest of non members, here is what I told my followers the day before racing.
“Josephine Gordon is a jockey I have plenty of time for. She’s good and she is on a good one in Natural Scenery. Godolphin own the four year old filly and she clearly likes the jockey herself. Natural Scenery and Josephine Gordon are unbeaten in the three races in which they have combined and two of those victories have come over this course and distance. The last time out defeat at Lingfield (when Gordon was not in the saddle) has one advantage. It means the filly comes into this race from the same handicap mark, which is no bad thing, and the draw in stall 10 is not a bad one. Her previous victories at Newcastle came from stalls 6 and 8. This is her most competitive race to date. She’s never faced a field as big as this one of 19 opponents.
“James Fanshawe knows how to train winners of competitive Class 2 handicaps and the form of Higher Power’s 5 length defeat by Big Orange on turf in May looks good now that Big Orange has gone on to win the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.
“Fanshawe also trains the four year old grey called Lord George. He’s finished in the frame the last twice over shorter distances, including at this racecourse. He’s been doing his best work at the finish of those races so he may actually relish the much further distance this day. Claiming jockey George Wood has a 33% strike rate at this course.”
There was further each way placed profit in the race won for us by London Prize. My 12/1 selection for each way backers, High Command, was placed. So yet more returns on a day when I doubled my stakes.
Two winners got away from me. Both of them I had tipped to win their previous races. The going conditions came right for our last time out winner called Lord Yeats. But I opposed him this time around. Only to see Lord Yeats beat my tip Second Step by the narrow margin of a short head (photographed above)
And then there was the Irish Derby. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have tipped the Aidan O’Brien trained Capri to win recent races. He’s let us down each time. So I opposed him at the Curragh. Capri won the Derby at odds of 6/1.
I once asked jockey AP McCoy why it was that, as punters, we always remember the ones that got away. He replied to me on camera by saying: “Because no matter how good your day was, there’s always that nagging feeling that it could have been even better.”
Being AP, he was thinking of his years as a multiple Champion jump jockey. But the sentiment applies to punters as it does jockeys.
But I am now able to quickly move on from the disappointment of missing out on yet another winner. I simply appreciate those I have tipped and backed and the profitable punts that ensure I end each year ahead of the bookmaker. Don’t dwell on near misses. Enjoy the days when your bets that return you profit.
Days like Saturday July 1st.