Exciting times on the all-weather
The start of 2013 was an exciting time for my service as the strong run of all-weather results from 2012 continued into the New Year.
The highlight of January was seeing the MAX bet (3 pt) selections continue their strong performance - Woolfall Sovereign (5/6), Diamond Charlie (7/2, EW) and Atlantis Crossing (10/3, EW) all obliged to help return a 3 pt profit on the opening month.
That form continued into February when a +10 pt profit and 40 % ROI was produced from 25 pts staked - the undoubted highlight being the Paul Hanagan-ridden Mufarrh winning at 14/1 at Meydan.
The solid-string of results then carried on into March, when a further +7 pts profit was returned from 33 staked (+22 % ROI).
I opted to shun Cheltenham, with the exception of a cheeky little trixie (which yielded a winner in Ted Veale but saw African Gold beaten into second to prevent double) but we had a nice run of form around that period anyway with Shea Shea (5/1), Tarooq (9/2), Aubrietia (7/4), Ladies Are Forever (10/1) and Clear Praise (11/1 minus a 20p R4) winning from seven bets at one point.
A risk which ultimately backfired
As the 2013 turf season began around the end of March I decided - in view of the strong performance of my recently-devised methods on the all-weather - that I would start to use my performance figures on turf - they had produced almost 35 pts from 100 pts staked on the all-weather over the preceding months and with such strong performance (+35 % ROI) I was hopeful they would yield solid profit on turf too.
Nevertheless, I took a gamble which ultimately backfired, as the April returns (the all-weather selections were few and far between as the turf season picked back up again) were meagre (+1.76 pts profit from 37 pts staked) and we made minor losses in May -7.18 pts from 54 pts staked) and June (-3.83 pts from 68 pts staked) before I decided to ditch the performance figures on turf and accept they had proven much less effective than I'd hoped they would be.
July, too, actually produced a loss (-4.41 pts from 60.40 pts staked) but the way the selections were running in defeat suggested our luck was set to turn anytime soon, and we got our just rewards with a spectacular August which produced 33 pts profit from 55 pts staked.
A Glorious Goodwood
The undoubted highlight was Stewards' Cup winner Rex Imperator going in at 16/1 and with the strongly-fancied Pether's Moon (4/1) and Linguine (9/2) winning along with the likes of Secret Look (14/1) and Ehtedaam (7/1), we finally got our just rewards for persevering over several sticky months.
Image: (c) Philip Woodward.
We were also very close to a spectular Ebor victory with 33/1 ante-post pick Genzy in August too. Ian William's charge hit the front in the prestigious York handicap, having hacked all over the field on the slow ground, and was matched at in-running odds of 1.10, only to somehow throw the race away close home and finish second. We had backed the horse in an each-way single and also in combination with winning 6/1 shot Magic City at Goodwood in a trixie, so were agonisingly close to chopping off a season-changing return.
Things levelled off again in September (-9 pts from 73 pts staked) and October (-1.33 pts from 45 staked) as the turf season wound down, though we enjoyed a really pleasing November in which 15 pts profit was generated from 41 pts staked (+37 % ROI) - mostly on the all-weather.
Particularly enjoyable was the period between 13th and 15th of November in which Majestic Timeline (2/1), Golden Jubilee (9/2 minus 25p R4), The Great Gabrial (11/4), Have A Nice Day (10/3) and Ned's Indian (7/2) all won, either side of the second placed EW pick Glastonberry (11/2).
It was just as well we racked up a good profit in November because December proved particularly difficult - one of the worst spells the service has experienced in its existence. Freakishly bad doesn't even begin to describe how December went, with 19 pts chalked off the profit column from 53 pts staked.
It wasn't as if the selections were performing badly as such, but nothing would stick its head infront at the line when it mattered and the lack of winners took its toll on the profit column.
Some of the tales of woe for December included Neighbourhood kicking into a ten length lead in the straight at Southwell and hitting 1.01 in-running only to be beaten, and front-running pair Seanie and Be Perfect also running mammoth races at Dundalk and Lingfield, respectively, only to be mugged close home - having been matched at 1.13 and 1.37 in-running respectively.
We had, infact, ten horses matched at even money or less in running that failed to go on and win (usually we'd expect two or three) - which just summed up, how near, yet so far, the selections were in acheiving a profit in this patience-testing period.
End of year figures
Total Pts Staked: 576.65
Total Profit: +26.82 pts
Seasonal ROI: +5 %
Needless to say, we will be keeping the performance figures for exclusive use on the all-weather in 2014, but we've just posted a profit in January and they at least continue to serve their purpose in that particular sphere.
With regards to plans for the 2014 turf - I'll be focussing on lots of sprint handicaps and trying to find more value with selections priced at double figures - as we did so successfully in 2010.