NOVEMBER 2014, NEWSLETTER
So how was that for you? The flat season, I mean.
Better than the previous one, surely. At least when it came to the quality of the racing on offer.
I thought the past flat season travelled some way back to offering the quality of racing I’ve come to expect in the spring and summer months.
Hurrah! The National Hunt season proper is back.
When names such as Silviniaco Conti, Medermit and Menorah take each other on, you know the jumps season proper is back.
I’m proud I spotted the ability of Silviniaco Conti so early on in his career. Mind you, I did have help. Having filmed previously at the Ditcheat stables of Paul Nicholls, one of his staff I bumped into at Haydock told me to watch out for that one some considerable time ago.
Indeed, members of VG Tips won three times on the gelding in the space of six weeks back in 2010.
Later, in November 2012, we again won on him twice. Firstly, in that year’s running of the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. Thereafter, most pleasingly, when he won the Betfair Chase at Haydock just three weeks later.
Foolishly, I have also opposed him a couple of times. I backed Dynaste to beat him at Aintree in April. Silviniaco Conti beat Dynaste by a length and a half that day.
Silviniaco Conti is 8 now. How time flies. But I doubt he has finished winning.
My concentration when it comes to the many hours spent studying form will now be on the jumps meetings.
At the start of November we still see horses returning to action for the first time in anything ranging from 8 months to over a year. Some of them are able to win fresh. Others need a race behind them to wake them from their summer slumber.
But pretty soon we will know which horses are in form and which trainers have their string ready to race. No doubt the usual suspects will visit the winners’ enclosure most often. Trainers like Paul Nicholls, Nick Henderson, Jonjo O’Neil and Alan King. But I shall be keeping an eye out for the ‘young turks’ of training. Those who learned well as assistants to some of the aforementioned giants, and who have already begun their training careers in winning form.
We can now look forward to meetings such as the Betfair Chase at Haydock later this month (22nd) and, before that, to the Open meeting at Cheltenham (Nov 14-16th).
Boxing Day brings with it the atmospheric day of racing at Kempton Park that includes the King George V1 Chase. Not the same without the legend Kauto Star, for sure, but still a memorable day of top quality racing.
It all builds up, of course, to the Cheltenham Festival next March. A celebration of the finest National Hunt racing to take place anywhere in the world.
I am really looking forward to this jumps season. The overall quality of the jumps meetings is now far ahead of that offered to those who were – like me- born as fans of flat racing.
And tough though picking winners over the jumps can be, I believe the betting market offers punters more opportunities to bash the bookie. And, as ever, that is what I will be endeavouring to do with gusto this coming winter.
Be sure to either sign up for VG Tips beforehand or, if you are already along for the ride, stay on board. Profitable punting is a marathon, not a sprint. You should judge your returns over a year, not a day, a week or one month. That is how I have operated for many years and, while the racing authorities and the every increasingly mean bookies are not making life any easier for punters or tipsters these days; we must be sure to move with the times and stay ahead of the bookie year in, year out.
It’s November and I am still awaiting my first big football accumulator payout. It will happen, for sure. I have offered fewer suggested accas this season than in past years and we have been agonisingly close to landing a big win since August. That despite the fact that English football is now firmly in the era when any team can beat any other team (and they do so more often than ever before).
You too will have witnessed some baffling results since the new season began. Results that make a nonsense of previous form. But it is early days and I would expect things to settle down as we approach Christmas. The outcome of matches should become more predictable as those clubs you expect to see in the top four of the Premier League fill those places.
Chelsea continue to look good to win the Premier League. They have won games without leading scorer Diego Costa in the team, which is a good sign. If he got injured for any length of time they may have to buy a replacement but, albeit early in the season, so far so good for my bet on them to win the Premier League.
At the odds available when the season began I did, you may recall, hedge my bets, adjusting my stakes accordingly. I bet on Chelsea to win the Premier League (at odds of 19/10) and I also had a saver on Manchester City to do the same (at odds of 5/2). Then and now, I can’t see anyone else winning the title.
Southampton have made fools of many a tipster, including this one. They clearly will not be relegated despite selling the players considered to be their best last summer. Congratulations to the new manager Ronald Koeman on ensuring the Saints keep marching on (they are second at the time of writing).
One big price pre-season tip that shows signs of coming off is that for Leyton Orient to be relegated from League 1. The odds on offer in August equalled 25/1.
You may recall that the O’s were 45 minutes away from being promoted to the Championship last May.
When I tipped them for the drop this season I received messages calling me “mad” – and that was the politest comment!
My belief was a) they would suffer a play off defeat hangover b) their excellent manager Russell Slade would receive a better offer and c) the stability of the club may suffer should Barry Hearn quit the club after twenty years as Chairman at Brisbane Road.
All three happened.
Now Orient are very much in a relegation battle. They have a largely absent, non-communicative Italian owner who drove Russell Slade into the arms of Cardiff City (frying pan, fire etc), told his assistant Kevin Nugent he could be manager until the end of the season and then, after a game or two in charge, told Nugent he was no longer manager. He installed a fellow Italian as manager who himself says he may not be manager much longer.
The Orient players have rebelled, the results have suffered and I expect to collect on that pre-season bet. Incredibly, as recently as October 17th the price for Orient to be relegated actually improved. At a time when they were just 4 points off bottom place, I alerted members and non members alike (via Twitter @betonsportstips) that SkyBet were offering 28/1. A crazy price! Surely a cock up by someone at SkyBet.
Plenty can happen between now and next May. If you think you know now who will go up and be relegated from each division right now, the chances are you will be wrong more often than you’re right.
I always look again at possible football bets like that once the January transfer window has closed. When managers have played their last hand in the battle for honours or survival.
Come that day I will once again suggest to members bets that are on offer at what I perceive to be a value price.
My video diaries are making a return. You will be frightened to hear that you will soon be able to see my ugly mush once again.
Offering previews of meetings and matches, reviewing our results (good, bad and indifferent) and offering advice about the techniques you can employ to be a profitable punter. It is not simply about picking winners. There is more to it than that and I shall be offering a video guide on what to do, and what not to do, when it comes to betting on horse racing and football. I hope you find those instructional videos useful.
READ ALL ABOUT IT
I hope many of you enjoy reading my opinionated articles on the homepage of the website. I wouldn’t want to be writing these articles should I be the only person reading them. I am updating the articles daily from now on and I would like you to take a little time to read what I have to say and, if you fell suitably motivated to do so, leave your comments at the foot of those articles.
Very soon the website will receive its first complete overhaul for two years. A new look for 2015.
Fear not, members will always be able to enter their own members’ enclosure to check my tips on racing and football. Members are also e-mailed those tips but have the opportunity to also see them at the website, using their own chosen password.
From time to time I put a free odds against football tip on the homepage, something everyone can see and make their own judgement on whether or not to have a bet on.
Plenty of you did that in late October when I tipped Preston (who had won their previous 7 matches) to win at Leyton Orient at odds of 31/20 or 6/4. Preston duly won the game and members and non members alike were winners.
A classic case of the bookies getting the price wrong. Preston should have been a shorter price to win. Not that I was complaining come the final whistle!
The new look website will be simpler to use, easier to navigate and concentrate on sports news, views, video interviews and the tips.
As for me, well I will have a holiday one of these years (last one 2003/2004).
But, for the moment at least, I look forward to the winter racing and football campaigns. 2015 represents my 17th such year of punting on those sports and, so far at least, always finishing ahead of the bookie. Some years by a great deal, other years by just enough to prevent me having to go trick and treating.
Good luck with any bets of your own in November.