Saturday April 22nd was a pleasingly profitable one for members of VG Tips. Long serving members and new followers to my selection service. I analysed five races on the day and tipped the winners in four of them.
Vicente won the Scottish Grand National for the second consecutive year and we were on at 10/1. Trained by Paul Nicholls, and given an excellent ride by Sam Twiston-Davies, Vicente was delivered just at the right time to win back to back Scottish Grand Nationals at a sun kissed Ayr racecourse.
Vicente was the second double figure price Grand National winner in April that I tipped to members of VG Tips.
The winner of the Grand National at Aintree, One For Arthur, was my 40/1 ante-post tip to members on January 24th – several weeks before the English Grand National took place in Liverpool.
Vicente had fallen at the first fence at Aintree. That did not concern me too much. After all, it meant he came to Ayr fresher than several of his opponents who had completed the gruelling race in England. Prior to Aintree, Nicholls had remarked on how good Vicente looked in his coat and at how he always races best at this time of the year.
In my post that only they can read in the members’ enclosure at the website, and via the e-mail sent to members the day before racing, I told them I would be sticking with Vicente and that this was his last chance for me this season.
I also tipped the horse that followed him home in second place at Ayr in 2016, Alvarado. For Grand Nationals I either stick with horses that have been there and done it, wherever there is. Or with horses that have proved they can stay similar distances. 12 year old Alvarado was available at odds of 25/1 with BetFred on Friday evening. That bookie was paying out on the first four past the post.
I suggested backing Alvarado each way with Paddy Power, who were only offering 16/1 but returning each way bets about the first six home. Alvarado was, like Vicente, a proven stayer over fences at this course and Brian Hughes – a jockey with an excellent return rate at Ayr – gave Alvarado a great ride. He challenged late on but could only finish fourth.
That was an excellent effort by a horse of his advanced years and trainer Fergal O’Brien said: “Absolutely delighted with Alvarado’s 4th place. He’s a complete star.”
So VG Tips members made profit on the 10/1 winner of the Scottish Grand National and the fourth horse home.
But that was far from all on super Saturday. On the flat at Newbury, members who backed Muntahaa each way when priced at 9/1 cheered that one home to victory. A horse trainer John Gosden calls “a character” now goes to the Yorkshire Cup at York. Gosden remarked on how happy he was that, when Muntahaa looked beaten, he went again, finding more under a hands and heels ride. “That’s always pleasing when they do that” said the trainer who has, as he so often does, begun the new turf season in fine form.
Members won backing yet another winner trained by John Gosden. That was the impressive filly called Dabyah, which will now enter a classic race later this season, perhaps a Guineas or the Oaks. Gosden said post race: “As long as the girl is OK, we can make bold plans.”
The day ended with members winning via the Willie Haggas trained Signe, which was available at 7/2 when tipped to them on Friday night.
So selections offered in five races on Saturday – and four winners at odds of 10/1, 9/1, 7/2 and 6/4. Plus each way profit about a selection that was available at 25/1.
I had a message from Richard, a member who joined VG Tips the day before. He’d backed the Scottish Grand National tips and also had a couple of winning football bets. He said: “Joined VG Tips yesterday, so all very interesting so far…not bad.”
Richard is clearly, like me, a master of the understatement! But Richard and all members should take note. I do not suggest or insist that they back every single tip of mine. What I do urge members of VG Tips to do is to read carefully my analysis and write up about a race, and my reasoning behind any particular selection. Then they should make their own mind up about whether or not to back that horse. I do try and get across my level of confidence behind any one selection.
I wouldn’t be backing every tip for the next six months, Richard. Remember, it’s only a few weeks ago that a here today, gone tomorrow member told me to “stick to football” and was seemingly sending himself to sleep at night not by counting stars, but by counting my losers at the races! I am pleased to report that there are many more stars in the sky than there are losers in my record books.
The fact is, as a punter or tipster, some people only judge you by the last day and not the one before that. I am amazed at how many people think picking a 50/1 winner of the 2016 Grand National, tipping ante-post a 40/1 the winner of the 2017 Grand National and tipping the 10/1 winner of the 2017 Scottish Grand National; is nothing special. That somehow I should by rights be naming such winners of big field, ultra competitive races.
Years ago (I’ve been at this 19 years, Richard) I’d often here back from followers who had won well via such bets. Now such achievements are in danger of being taken for granted. Perhaps there should be a Grand National taking place every week. Imagine how much money we’d take from the bookies then!
But the flat season has begun well for us. The early part of the flat season has long been kind to me. I like taking chances on early season maidens, when many of the horses running have never raced previously. They will likely be available at nice prices and the winners will probably never be priced as big again that flat season.
May has so often proved to be a very profitable month for my followers, going back decades. At this time of the punting year we can rely on the likes of trainers John Gosden and Richard Hannon to return us winners. And my favourite flat jockeys, Ryan Moore and Frankie Dettori, have already ridden us a few winners this flat turf season – and it only began on April Fools’ Day.
When offering tips to others you run the risk of being branded a hero one day, and a fool the next. It goes with the territory. If truth be told, I am neither.
The harder you work at this punting lark, the ‘luckier’ you get. And I’ve been working hard at it since 1998. I’m in it for the long term. Are you?
It doesn’t matter whether you are training horses, like Paul Nicholls, riding them as Sam Twiston-Davies did with Vicente, or betting on them; the characteristic that you need is patience. As a punter, it is your best friend.
Today I can walk on water. Next week, at the Punchestown Festival, I may need a life jacket. Who knows? That’s the roller coaster life of a punter. To Richard and Lance who joined VG Tips this week, I say welcome aboard. I hope you enjoy the ride!