Starting brightly on the all-weather
Having ended 2013 with a poor December, it was great to start 2014 with a profitable January on the all-weather.
Castilo Del Diablo (5/1), Ahtoug (6/1), Keep Kicking (6/1) and Icy Blue (7/1) were all strongly-fancied 0.75 pt EW bets, but the pick of the month was undoubtedly Robin Hoods Bay - a long time favourite of the service - obliging at 4/1 under Luke Morris at Lingfield to land a big return off a MAX 3 pt win bet.
February also started brightly - with the likes of Multitask (7/2), Dixie's Dream (11/2), Eastern Rules (13/2) and Like A Diamond (11/2) all victorious, though the all-weather results in the second half of the month, and during March, were disappointing and we ended up making a loss across both months.
The March returns were helped, in part, though, by Cheltenham Festival victories for Holywell (10/1) in the Baylis & Harding Handicap Chase, O'Faolain's Boy (14/1) landing the RSA, and getting Jezki (9/1) (pictured left, (c) Graham Sarson) and My Tent Or Yours (4/1) home for the 1-2 in the Champion Hurdle.
Welcoming back the flat
We managed a double figure winner on the first weekend of the flat season at Doncaster - Dark Ruler (12/1) - which helped offset some of the disappointment of seeing our two Lincoln ante-post bets declared non-runners due to the bad ground. Those two horses - Captain Cat and Bronze Angel - went on to enjoy magnificent seasons, but mother nature wasn't bothered about that when the heavens opened and conditions turned testing and against both horses on Town Moor! Our replacement pick in the race, Tullius, ended up second - so it was a frustrating race for sure.
However, we didn't have to wait long for our first big Saturday handicap success and Gabrial's Kaka (12/1) landed a touch for us in the Spring Cup at Newbury as we entered mid-April.
Another notable win around this early-season period came courtesy of An Saighdiur (14/1) upsetting favourite Maarek in a sprint over at Cork, but our 33/1 ante-post Grand National Pick Double Sevenhad to be content with minor money in the Aintree spectacular and April was, overall, a slow month - with many horses returning from absences it took us a while to hit full stride.
A Majestic May
Once the form had settled down, and most horses had a run under their belt, results picked up spectacularly though and May was a superb month.
18 of the 56 bets advised in the month WON, with a further 10 also yielding profit. Winners included Eastern Impact (14/1), Maarek(12/1) and Tumblewind (8/1) as we ended May with 51.05 PTS PROFIT FROM 54.75 PTS ADVISED (the lowest prices I quoted in my e-mails - many winners were backable at bigger prices).
On 31st May, five of our eight bets that day won at odds of 5/1, 7/2, 7/1, 6/1, and 7/2, with 14/1 shot Duke Of Clarence also losing out by just a neck. It could have been a very memorable day for members that had permed those picks up in multiples!
Sizzling summer continues
We had more big-priced success across the summer months, including See The Sun (22/1) at York, De Rigueur (9/1) at Haydock and Filament Of Gold (16/1) at Lingfield, not forgetting Angel Gabrial (6/1) winning the Northumberland Plate.
Muthmir winning the SkyBet Dash at York was memorable after he cruised through the field, while Heavy Metal's 33/1 victory in the International Handicap at Ascot won't be forgotten in a hurry - he was the first 33/1 winner for the service since Colonel Mak landed the Silver Cup at Ayr back in 2010.
We also enjoyed terrific success backing Mark Johnston-trained winners - in the space of around six weeks, Bureau (11/2), Aryal(5/1),Little Shambles (5/1), Alex My Boy (5/4), Filament Of Gold (16/1), Hartnell (7/2 -15p R4), Torchlighter (10/1 -20p R4), Snow Squall (13/2 -10p R4), Made In Rio (3/1 -35p R4) and Bureau (15/2) ALL WON. As the service's proofing records show, all of these winners are independently verified and genuine.
Major gamble landed
August was a tricky month in which only Humidor being stripped of victory in a farcical decision by the Epsom stewards prevented us from turning a profit.
However, that boy Muthmir was at it again as we entered September and Humidor's false start shenanigans from Epsom were quickly banished to the back of the memory as Muthmir overcame a tardy start and trouble in running to still break the track record at Doncaster when landing the Portland. We'd had a 3 pt MAX bet on him at 6/1 and he returned at 3/1.
More big-race success
Having landed winners in the Spring Cup, International Handicap, Northumberland Plate, Old Newton Cup, Portland, Skybet Dash and Great St Wilfrid, we added another to the collection when Bronze Angel landed the Cambridgeshire for us at odds of 16/1. We then went on to complete the autumn double, as Big Easy landed the Cesarewitch at 10/1 to cross another big handicap off the list.
As we moved into the back-end-of-season period we had the usual issues of bad ground and horse fitness (many going over the top) to contend with. We secured a small profit in both October and November with the likes of Evening Rain (9/2), Hidden Gold (11/2), Tides Reach (12/1), Multitask (10/1) and Boom The Groom (7/1) all winning (the latter is pictured at York, right, (c) Philip Woodward), though we handed all of that profit back, and a further 4 points, when signing off a disappointing December with a loss.
The horses on the all-weather in December were actually running well and many went close in defeat, but when you have the imbalance of 16 seconds as opposed to five winners that month, I guess you just have to accept it is part of the form cycle as we didn't get the rub of the green.
All things considered, 2014 was a superb year though and many members made sufficient profit to more than double their original betting bank.
End of year figures
Total Pts Staked: 744.28 pts
Total Profit: +76.56 pts
Seasonal ROI: +10 %