Turf return very much welcomed
The start of the 2012 turf season was a little later than normal this year and there wasn't much to really interest in March. We got involved in the Cheltenham Festival but with ante-post Gold Cup pick Synchronised (14/1) (pictured below, (c) Graham Sarson) the only real winner of note, we just about broke even for the Festival. Krypton Factor (10/1) landed a minor win for us in Meydan but the all-weather bets were undeperforming around this time of the year and it was a slow start from the few bets played.
With this in mind, it was a big relief to see the turf meetings return, since they are the bread and butter of the service. Although April can typically be a tough month, while the early season form is still settling down, it actually proved our most profitable month this time, with Sugar Beet, who had been kept fit on the AW, winning at 18/1 to a 1 pt EW stake at Windsor. Further victories for Mayson (7/1), Memory Cloth (13/2), Maarek (4/1) and Pearl Blue (4/1) meant the March shortfall was comfortably covered and we started to make some gains as Sulis Minerva (8/1) landed another strongly-fancied win going into May.
Calm after the storm
It was very much a quiet spell in period of the year that followed. We landed some minor winners such as Confessional (5/1), Capaill Liath (11/2), Mince (4/1) and Oriental Scot (8/1) but, overall, May closed with a loss, and as the wet weather caused non-runners, going changes and abandonments aplenty, June was a very poor month too - our worst of the season. 2012 was the wettest summer on record, with the number of races run on soft and heavy ground this much higher than normal, and it led to some strange results. We were -21 pts down in June at one point, but an excellent day on Northumberland Plate day at Newcastle restored some profit with (Ile De Re (7/2), Memory Cloth (9/2) and Union Island(3/1) all winning and things picked up thereafter with a solid July, that saw us bag 20/1 winner Sheila's Buddy (albeit to small stakes) and a number of small priced winners such as Mingun Bell (9/4), Spirit Of the Law (4/1), Show Flower (9/2), Muffin McLeay (11/4), Picabo (3/1) and Ballista (2/1) that saw us back in profit.
Swimming in circles
August was an excellent month in which the selections performed to a decent level of consistency. Lily In Pink and Khubalawere against-the-grain winners at 12/1 each and a winning 3 pt bet on Green Howard (7/4) (first MAX-strength bet of the season) at Yarmouth boosted profit further. Other winners around this time were service favourite My Girl Anna (12/1) who landed Group 3 honours when unfancied in Ireland, Highland Colori (4/1), Communicator (9/2) and Postscript (7/2).
Frustratingly, however, September saw a loss record and the August gains were handed back over the counter. Things could have been so much different on the last day of the month had 3 pt bet Long Awaited (7/1) not been collared late on at Haydock (second). To exacerbate things at the time, Capaill Liath (11/2) was also turned over (second) having also traded at long odds on in running, while 20/1 shot Redvers was another that had to be content with a silver medal - what a weekend that turned out to be!
Selectivity the way forward
Given the 'weekend of frustration' at the end of September a few wins were overdue, and Octover was a superb month, with the decision to drop some of the weaker fancied bets and adopt a more selective betting strategy reaping instant dividends. Wizz Kid landed the Prix De L'Abbaye at 12/1 and further wins for Fattsota (7/2), Gabriel's Lad (8/1), Amaze (9/2) and a MAX bet victory for Prodigality (3/1) (third 3 pt bet of the season) led to a really pleasing +10.36 pt profit from a total of 21.5 pts staked (ROI +48) on the month.
November was another solid, if not spectacular month. I briefly introduced an all-weather system for the first few weeks of the month but it ultimately didn't feel right for my service so, after more or less breaking even with two winners from seventeen picks, I ditched the system in favour of traditional form reading once again. The impact was immediate, and although we'd slipped behind at the start of the month due to a lack of winners from the final few flat meetings (14/1 pick Communicatorpassed late on into second in the November handicap), the strong performance of the all-weather picks - with wins for York Glory (twice) at 6/1 (pictured, right, running on turf, (c) Philip Woodward) and 15/8, Robin Hoods Bay(13/2) and placed profit from Rakaan (14/1) Seeking Magic (7/1) and Lockantanks saw us end the year with a good momentum going into the off-season.
Analysis of my staking at the end of 2011 suggested that dropping any bets with a total stake of less than 0.75 pt would improve profit (this finding was passed on to all present and new members from January 2012 onwards), and it did so again this year, with a profit of +33.20 pts returned from a total of 234 pts staked at advised stakes and prices (+14 % ROI), however, for those backing all selections in their entirely, the following results for the season (1st March to 30th November) were noted:
Total Pts Staked: 340.05
Total Profit: +17.39
Seasonal ROI: +5 %