2016 – the bookie beaten again
I’m glad 2016 is over with. Not for the reasons many online are bemoaning the 12 months that saw us lose a number of talented performers from the worlds of music, film, television, football, racing and the arts as a whole.
But because I found it to be a very challenging year of punting. I’ve been doing this for 19 years now, finishing each and every year ahead of the bookie that is. But it doesn’t get any easier. The opposite is true.
The increase in the number of small field horse races, bookies becoming ever meaner with their pricing (they call it being ‘cautious’), football teams proving
At the time of writing, on racing and football, I’m £1,900 ahead of the bookie. Yes, less than in previous years and not the five figure profit I became accustomed to five, six and seven years ago, but a profit nonetheless. And I am proud of that.
In a year when the goalposts were moved on us punters, to finish ahead of the bookie is itself an achievement. There are many punters out there who have lost big in 2016.
The highlight of 2016 was unquestionably offering two big price each way tips for the Grand National at Aintree – and those horses finishing first and second.
BIG PROFIT for members who were duly appreciative.
RULE THE WORLD was tipped by me at odds of 50/1 and won the Grand National at an SP of only 33/1. Late on in the race the other each way tip, the tiny The Last Samuri looked set to win for us at odds of 16/1. That one was well backed on the day and finished second at SP odds of 8/1.
Rule the World (photographed above) raced on from fourth place and you could hear me cheering from far away when jockey Davy Mullins rode our 50/1 winner past the post to land the most watched horse race in the world. And my biggest priced winner of the National – ever.
It was proof again as to why I alert members of my selections the day before racing. Take the early price using Guaranteed Price terms with your bookmaker and you’ll be paid out at the biggest price that existed between you placing that bet, and the start of the race.
There have been many double figure priced winners since that memorable day in April, and many more big priced horses that have returned us profit through being placed in the frame.
It’s been a decent 12 months, but not a great one. Crucially, I believe I know why.
More than one VG Tips member has commented to me that my best, most inspired tips come in big field handicaps. And they are right. As competitive as those races are, historically I have a good record of punting in such races.
On December 27th, in time for the shoppers among you to hit the sales, Shantou Bob (pictured above) won for members at odds of 10/1.
It’s hard to pick a winner when there is a field of between 16 and 40 runners. But, as evidenced by the Grand National of 2016 and Hennessy Gold Cup of 2014, to name just two feature races, I’ve done so several times.
When it comes to profit, I’m happier making more on a horse priced at odds such as 16/1, 20/1, 33/1, 40/1, that is placed in the frame, than I would be winning on a short priced favourite.
You cannot call big field handicaps right every time. Of course you can’t. But I am proud of my record in them. Most recently, at Sandown, my two double figure priced selections in a race for veteran racehorses finished second and third and returned me and members good profit. Yes, I kicked myself for not picking the 20/1 winner, Pete the Feat. He had been in my final four or five when I analysed the race but, even in a big field race, I feel guilty if I offer more than two selections. I sometimes make an exception for the Grand National.
Anyway, as I was saying, I believe one reason I made less profit in 2016 was simply down to there being far fewer in number big field handicaps. I love those races and it is a crying shame that they are reducing in number. Too often now we see races with 5 or fewer runners, or races with 15 runners. The problem with the latter is that bookies will only return on each way bets about the first three, and not the first four, past the post. Naughty!
There are other reasons (not excuses) for my making a smaller sum in 2016. I have placed fewer bets in 2016 than in any previous year. That is because I believe there to be fewer value bets on offer. There is far too much all weather racing these days, and I have not touched all weather racing for many years.
There are far too many races consisting of three or four runners, so offering no value in the betting market.
And, in order to feel I am offering members tips on enough days, I have from time to time been tempted to bet in races I simply should have left alone. Low grade affairs which, if you ran the race 10 times each of the 10 horses would likely win the race.
I have only looked at such race meetings because I don’t want there to be too many blank days, when paying members receive nothing. Money for nothing? But actually I would probably be doing them a greater service if I offered nothing on days when there is no good quality racing on offer.
Lapsed member Mike has told me he will return to VG Tips if I only offered tips for the feature meetings, such as Cheltenham, Aintree, Ascot, Epsom etc, along with my ‘Something for the Weekend’ tips.
So what Mike is suggesting is that I ignore all racing the rest of the week (Monday-Thursday) unless there is a top class meeting that begins in midweek. What do you think about such a plan?
Frankly, some weeks it feels like I am doing that already. There’s many a week between the feature race meetings when the racing is so bad, there is nothing worth betting on.
In the first week of 2017 – the National Hunt season – there were more flat racing meetings on the all weather than there were fixtures over the jumps. Madness!
So I may well concentrate my racing tips service solely on feature meetings and weekend tips. Mike said he wasn’t interested in Sunday racing, and I understand why he says that.
For years I totally ignored Sunday race meetings. But you can get some decent events on a Sunday these days, albeit they are usually staged in Ireland and some members choose to ignore Irish racing.
I’d be interested in hearing back from existing members what they think of Mike’s idea and also from those of you who are considering joining VG Tips.
E-mail me email@example.com
Meet Geoff Banks
When I’ve not got my head buried in form study, once or twice a year I go to the UK not only to go racing, but also to record exclusive on camera interviews.
Each year the most popular one is with the independent bookie Geoff Banks.
He is a Marmite figure. But, like him or loathe him, at least he speaks out. He tells it as it looks from his perch in the betting ring of racecourses up and down the country.
There are two parts to my latest interview with Geoff and I encourage you to take time out to watch both.
In part 1 he turns his ire on rich racehorse owners such as Rich Ricci and talks about the long term prognosis for on course bookmakers, which he says is “exceptionally poor.”
He says us punters have “never had it so good.”
What can he mean by that? Watch and find out.
In Part 2 he has a go at the British Horseracing Authority and The Jockey Club. This interview was recorded before the latter announced they plan to sell off Kempton Park racecourse for residential development. News that has rocked the racing industry and about which I will air my views at VG Tips if and when I find the time.
Football – good game, good game!
There have been plenty of winning football tips these past few months. So far, it’s been a very profitable soccer season for me and members of VG Tips.
It’s easy to say that any individual football match can only result in one of three outcomes, but I think it has never been more difficult to forecast the result of a football match in England. Inconsistency is the reason. It seems any team can beat any other these days. There have been some very surprising results of late. That alone makes the litany of profitable punts on the football more enjoyable.
Just in time for Christmas I offered members a winning 16/1 accumulator. Chelsea, Leeds, Preston and Newcastle all won and that profit helped me and members pay for the odd Christmas present. 16/1 was a great accumulative price for a 4 team bet.
Brighton have won time and time again for us so far this season but it took a while for the bookies to take flight and realise that offering an odds against price about Brighton winning every week would be taken advantage of by myself, members of VG Tips and many other punters.
You can still get odds against about Brighton winning some games, but nowhere near as big a price or as often as was the case for the first part of the season when I won backing them to win match after match.
Followers who have been with me for years have asked why I no longer offer tips for a league I know well, La Liga in Spain. What I have found in recent years is that the teams that were most likely to win, namely Real Madrid and Barcelona, were priced at odds so short as to make a single bet on them pointless.
And I have found that the majority of the other teams that make up the top Spanish league to be very inconsistent. Results don’t often go the way the league table would suggest they should.
This weekend, La Liga could be all over with. At least when it comes to the title race. Real Madrid play at second placed Sevilla. If Real Madrid win, they will have opened up such a gap that I don’t believe Sevilla or Barcelona will be able to catch them.
I will begin offering La Liga tips once again from this weekend – but only when there is a potentially value bet on offer. That might be the case for the match between Sevilla and Real Madrid, which I will be watching in a busy Spanish bar on Sunday evening.
In recent weeks single winning football bets included:- Carlisle and Leeds United at 13/10, Preston at 17/10, Wolves at 21/10, Barnsley at 5/4 and West Brom at 21/20. That’s just a handful of winning football tips in the month of December.
Some people like only to bet on racing. Others – an increasing number – prefer only to bet on football. Some of my members bet on both.
There are many ways that you too can beat the bookie. Learn how by joining VG Tips
Cheltenham – not long now
I am pleased to hear back from some members that they are learning that patience is a punters best friend.
Some are waiting for the feast of racing that is the Cheltenham Festival. It begins on Tuesday March 14th.
I have placed some ante-post bets for the festival but, in the main, I am keeping my powder dry. How can you bet in a race when you don’t know which horses will be there?
I have heard previews, for example, of the Champion Hurdle. But at the time of writing we do not know if Faugheen will turn up or if stablemate Annie Power will defend her crown. Will she even make it to Cheltenham? Time will tell.
There are some races for which you can risk placing an ante-post bet. But very few. The ante-post bets I have placed are for races in which I expect the horses in question to turn up. But I could be wrong and, if I am, I will lose my stake. Anything can happen in the next 8-9 weeks, of course, but there’s no finer feeling than predicting ahead of time a winner at the best race meeting in the world.
There are, however, few worse feelings than placing a bet on a horse that doesn’t race at all, and losing your stake money.
It is more sensible to wait until the bookies offer NON RUNNER, NO BET terms. This morning, Friday, Paddy Power have announced they are doing that for certain races at Cheltenham, but beware. They are offering only one fifth of the odds about each way bets. You’d be better off waiting for bookies offering one fourth of the odds on Non Runner, No Bet terms.
There are too many unknowns about Cheltenham right now and successful punting is about making a judgement on the balance of probability, not betting on the unknown.
I love betting at the Cheltenham Festival. It gets those little grey cells working. It’s a challenge and I love that. A punter who is afraid of betting at the festival is a punter who is afraid of their own shadow.
Who can forget my 40/1 and 16/1 winners at the Cheltenham Festival in 2012?
The first ensured one member of VG Tips was able to pay for a family holiday for four in Florida. He even sent me photos of the holiday, along with his thanks.
The horse that sent them to see Mickey Mouse was Une Artiste (pictured above), which was the surprise (though not to me) 40/1 winner of the Grade 3 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.
And my 16/1 winner that year was Champagne Fever, which won the bumper at the meeting. Both were inspired bets that came about as a result of long, deep and concentrated research. The week before Cheltenham each year you will not hear from me. That is when the crucial research is undertaken. I go into solitary confinement!
I will shortly be sending current members an update of my ante-post Cheltenham bets. They don’t have to follow me in. I am sharing the information. As always, what members do with that information is up to them.
Sign up if you want to find out what they are.
Up for the Cup!
Prior to the last round of FA Cup matches being played, I tipped the following OUTRIGHT bets to members.
I told them I would be betting on Manchester United to win the FA Cup at odds of 8/1 and Tottenham to win it at odds of 10/1.
I also placed a bet on Brighton and Hove Albion to reach the semi-finals at odds of 40/1.
Manchester United and Tottenham won their last games and have, on paper at least, very winnable games in the next round. Their respective outright win odds now are only 6/1 and 8/1.
What price about a final that sees Jose Mourinho up against his former club? A final between Manchester United and Chelsea is priced at 14/1 with BetVictor. I just wonder if Chelsea have the strength in depth to win the Premier League and make the FA Cup final. I’m not convinced.
The priority at Brighton is promotion to the Premier League. Last August I tipped them to go up by any means at odds of 4/1 and I also backed them for automatic promotion at a double figure price. They look set to return me money come May.
In 2016 Brighton played 70 matches and lost only 7 of them. A fantastic achievement by the Seagulls squad and their manager, Chris Hughton. He did wonders to lift the team last summer, following their disappointment at losing the Championship play off semi-final to Sheffield Wednesday.
Despite winning their last cup tie, and drawing Ipswich or Lincoln in the next round, Brighton remain available at odds of 40/1 with Betfair to reach the semi-final, but only 10/1 to do so with BetVictor.
So far, Hughton has fielded a strong team for the FA Cup matches and a side that loses rarely has every chance of making the final four of a knockout cup competition.
The FA Cup may not be the competition it was in my youth, and too many managers field weakened teams, but it can still offer punters the opportunity for a profitable punt.
We came close to landing the FA Cup shock of the last round. I tipped non league Lincoln City to win at Championship side Ipswich Town. But, crucially, I told members to take the 4/1 Lincoln to win, DRAW NO BET and not the 6/1 for Lincoln to win on the day. Lincoln led 2-1 with five minutes remaining. Ipswich equalised a minute later. While I was disappointed that the 4/1 bet did not pay off, I was pleased with myself that I opted for the Draw No Bet option. My stake was returned.
Bobby Moore (photographed above) was a fine footballer who experienced the joy of lifting the FA Cup for West Ham and the World Cup for England.
ITV are about to transmit a three part drama about a man I was fortunate enough to work with in his later years. I fear the ‘Tina and Bobby’ drama will seek to portray Bobby as a troubled individual. He wasn’t. As his lifelong friend Matt Lorenzo confirmed during this interview with me. The 90 minute documentary Matt produced is available on DVD and is a very good watch. Go and buy yourself or a loved one a copy.
New Year. New Offers
Over the years my service has evolved. I have always moved on and tried to offer members of VG Tips different payment options and more and more content to go along with the tips they principally sign up for.
You can sign up for one month only, for £30.
As a recurring member for £20 a month.
Or for the entire year for just £199.
I am considering a fair price for LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP. That’s your lifetime and mine! Unless I fall under a bus in the next few years, I expect to be here doing what I have done successfully for decades past. Guiding others on the path to profitable punting.
Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org if you fancy becoming a lifetime member.
And I will also be offering a REFER A FRIEND membership. So existing members will get a healthy discount if they refer a friend who signs up as a recurring monthly member, or annual member. You and your friend can then share and discuss the tips.
Existing members reading this should contact me if they have a friend signing up to VG Tips. Everyone welcome (apart from moaners that is). I don’t have the time for them.
Remember, we are in this together. Beating the bookie. The bookie is the only enemy. I do not understand when I see punters turning on each other on Twitter and Facebook. It is a waste of time and energy. United we stand, divided we fall.
And don’t forget what else is included in the VG Tips package. First sight of those exclusive interviews I undertake on camera, ante-post previews and tips, race reviews, video diary previews and reviews and – coming shortly – a new series of short, sharp video tips from me about betting and how best to become a sensible and profitable punter. They will be exclusive to members of VG Tips.
In 2017 non members will be offered the chance to pay for a stand alone video course on how to bet better.
Since I last communicated via a newsletter, several new members have signed up and others returned to the fold after a break. Among them, I’d like to welcome Pip, Simon, John, Miguel and Paul.
My FREE e-book – available to all
And finally, have you downloaded your FREE E-book?
The book is a manual for better betting and details the approach to punting that has led to me beating the bookie at the end of each and every year since 1998.
Anyone can download a copy via this link http://vgtips.co.uk/ebook-thanks/
Take time out to read the book and make notes that may help you join me on the sometimes rocky, but ultimately beneficial path to profitable punting.
If, having read all this, you are keen to become a member of my unique service and beat the bookie over the course of a year, then subscribe here