Warming up for the flat
I started my tipping service in mid-February and, at that point, there was no flat racing to sink our teeth into. The first selection was Desert Vision, placed at 10/1 at Kempton, and all bets at this stage came from the all-weather. Billy Red's each-way victory at 8/1 was the first advised winner for the service and a further six winners were advised from the next sixteen runners that month to kick things off on a pleasing note - 15.59 pts profit off the opening 25 pts staked.
Start of the flat
However, the flat is where my primary interest lies and when the turf racing started again, at the Lincoln meeting in March, we started the season with a bang by having Mull of Killough placed in the Lincoln itself but nailing an ante-post Spring Mile winner (Irish Heartbeat, 10/1) as well as 14/1 chance Inxile in the Cammidge on the same card. Things then cooled off during April as it seemed to take a while for the form to settle down, with many runners returning from a break, but results were boosted with an outstanding May.
An unforgettable May
May started on a busy Saturday and although we failed to taste classic success with Fencing Master flopping in the 2,000 Guineas and Pipette finishing well held in the fillies equivalent, Jack My Boylanded a 20/1 win for us in handicap company and set the tone for the rest of the month. Ermyn Lodge and Medicean Man won at 12/1 and 16/1 respectively the following weekend at Ascot for a memorable double, Kaptain Kirkup scored at the Dante meeting at York at 12/1 (minus a 15p rule 4) and Ziggy Lee boosted profits even further - having been advised at 8/1 he infact drifted in the market and an additional bet at 12/1 on Stuart Williams' charge also proved successful. Brett Vale was priced rank outsider at Goodwood after several disappointing runs but remained open to more improvement over middle distances and got up at 28/1 to set what was then the highest priced winner record. However, the wins hadn't yet stopped and when Dayia and Swilly Ferry both won at 20/1 on the final Saturday of the month we rounded off an outstanding month. Had the third bet that day, Solar Spirit, finished a little closer (was beaten by half a length at 8/1), those following the selections in weekend multiples would have bagged a 3,779 treble. As it was, the 419/1 double was worth celebrating!
Calm after the storm
Things quietened down in June which was a very busy month but we never managed to press ahead. Hamish McGonagall (pictured, left, (c) Graham Sarson) landed a good win at York and Cill Rialaig's 16/1 Royal Ascot success was a notable highlight, but we ended the month level and a similar story was looking likely for July until Roxy Flyer (14/1) and Sea Lord(6/1) popped up at glorious Goodwood to end the month in profit. August turned out to be the worst month of the year with a 14 pt loss recorded, which chipped the profit down to +122 pts off 478 staked at that stage, however, that barren run made what was to happen in September even more sweeter.
Having endured a poor run of results in August I was a little nervous starting out September. Secret Millionaire was turned out at Musselburgh and ticked every box going at a whopping price. I wasn't sure whether to back him as strongly as I intended given my run of form at the time, but he looked a superb bet at the time and he became the first maximum strength bet of the season (3 pts) and obliged at an SP of 12/1 (remarkably, he drifted), yielding a massive +22.5 pts to get things back on track in emphatic fashion. Several other small priced winners kept things ticking over but the record return for the service to date was noted on the 18th September in the Silver Cup at Ayr as Colonel Mak landed the spoils at an SP of 33/1, paying out over 70.0 to BSP and returning huge profits. Again, he had been understimated given the strength of the race, but the form of his recent races had been working out nicely, he had race conditions to suit and had, on my calculations, bagged a good draw, so it was far from a flukey result.
Remainder of the season
The remainder of the season saw steady, if not spectacular, profits returned. Mar Adentro placed for us at 100/1 in the Prix de L'Abbaye at Longchamp and Eton Rifles placed at 66/1 in a listed race for us at Redcar in October. Other returns to note were Gunner Lindley (8/1) and Act Of Kalanisi (7/1) scoring on a decent Saturday at York and then we signed off the final day of the flat with 12/1 and 14/1 winners in the shape of Horseradish and Times Up respectively, the latter of whom was winning the ultra competitive November handicap on the 6th November.
That brought an end the first full flat season for the service and, at that point, the overall service profit (since inception) was +193.02 pts profit off 598.5 pts staked at advised prices, a ROI of +32 %(for comparative purposes the ROI at BSP in the same period was +27 %).