Some of the recent bets advised on NMP include:
Indefatigable 40/1 - WON
Bachasson 33/1 EW (placed)
Dame de Compagnie 16/1 - WON
Edwardstone 16/1 EW (placed)
Bob Mahler 25/1 EW (placed)
Plan Of Attack 25/1 EW (placed)
The Conditional 14/1 - WON
Simply The Betts 12/1 - WON
Sire du Berlais 10/1 - WON
Concertista 5/1 - WON
Chosen Mate 5/1 - WON
Al Boum Photo 10/3 - WON
Epatante 3/1 - WON
Shiskin 3/1 - WON
Honeysuckle 2/1 - WON
The 2018 service covered the period between 21st November 2017 and 31st December 2018.
Glorious (if surprising) beginning
The start of the 2018 service covered the all-weather racing and jumps racing from the back end of November - when the 2017 service ended.
Considering the service is very much a Flat racing service, focussing primarily on turf racing, the 2018 service began with a surprising bang as we landed several tidy multiples in late November and December, outside of the turf season.
November was a brilliant month in which we generated +25.27 pts profit from 15.50 pts staked. Gorgeous Noora (9/4), Pactolus (8/1) and Red Verdon (5/2) won on the all-weather but our biggest success came from the jumps bets, with Verdana Blue (4/1), Limited Reserve (9/2), Sam Spinner (15/2), and Mala Beach (12/1) all obliging.
The win on Sam Spinner in a big TV race at Haydock was undoubtedly the highlight as we had him combined (0.5 pt stake) with a 3/1 winner on the all-weather at Dundalk, Clear Skies, that paid just under 20/1 for the double. That was on top of a strongly-fancied (0.75 pt EW) single on Jedd O'Keeffe's trailblazer.
With a new-found enthusiasm for the National Hunt action, December was a busy month as we started to take in more jumps racing than would have traditionally have been expected for us relative to past seasons. Old Guard (11/2), High Bridge (11/4), Presenting Percy (7/2), Blaklion (4/1), Gas Line Boy (13/2), Definitly Red (7/4), Momella (9/2), Might Bite (6/4) and Poetic Rhythm (3/1) were the jumps winners we backed in December but, overall, it was small losing month. We recorded an official total of -2 pts loss from 60 staked overall.
We had all-weather winners in the shape of Katiymann (9/4), Emenem (85/40), Gracious John (3/1), Petite Jack (5/1) that month too, though the best result was a double on Katiymann at Dundalk and Gas Line Boy in the Grand Sefton at Aintree that paid just over 11/1.
Not-so-happy New Year
We went into the New Year with +22.95 pts profit behind us (from 85 pts staked) but handed it all back during a miserable January.
January has rarely been a good month for the service and this one certainly wasn't much different. The winners we did manage were mostly short prices; Wholestone (11/4), Waiting Patiently (7/4), Black Ivory (5/1), Happy Diva (11/10) and Ramses De Teillee (13/8) from the jumps, and Clear Skies (2/1) on the all-weather.
The highlight of the month was certainly the Ruth Jefferson pair, Waiting Patiently and Black Ivory, landing an across-the-cards 14/1+ double at Kempton and Warwick to supplement the winning singles that weekend.
February was equally as insipid. Again, the winners we did get on the board were only short prices; Jordan Sport (7/2), Excellent George (9/4), Hit The Bid (Evs), Foolaad (15/8) and Derek Duval (15/8) on the Flat.
Waiting Patiently (5/2) was our only jumps winner and although we had five doubles in which one of the legs won, we had no full winning doubles to boost the P/L column for the multiples either (Boite falling in the Rendlesham was a sickner as he would have landed us a double with Great Return (8/11) on the all-weather).
February ended with a -35 pt loss from 53 pts staked, putting us behind for the year.
Thankfully, we had Cheltenham to provide us with a timely pick up. We didn't get too heavily involved in the racing either side of the Festival but we did have winners in the shape of Encore D'Or (10/3), Mount Tahan (13/2), Lancelot du Lac (3/1) and Fire Fighting (4/1) on the all-weather.
We enjoyed a magnificent Festival and almost went through the card on the Tuesday with Summerville Boy (9/1), Footpad (11/8), Coo Star Sivola (10/1), Benie Des Dieux (9/2), Rathvinden (12/1) and Mister Whitaker (8/1) all winning! The only winner we didn't have that day was Buveur D'Air, the 4/6 favourite we'd taken on purely on value grounds in the Champion Hurdle.
The winners for the week didn't stop there. The following day we landed an ante post gamble on Presenting Percy (14/1), who went off 5/2 in the RSA and had been one I'd been keen on all season, then, on the Thursday, we backed Balko Des Flos (6/1) in the Ryanair and Missed Approach (20/1, ante post) in the Kim Muir. The last-named was sent off 8/1 and produced a brilliant front-running display to fend off runner-up Mall Dini.
We didn't have any winners on the Friday with Sizing John never making it to the Gold Cup as one of our ante posts, and Road To Respect and Definitly Red finishing well-held in the same race.
March also saw the return of the turf season at Doncaster, though, and it was pleasing to be on Cammidge winner Perfect Pasture (9/2) as well as placed runners in the Spring Mile (Lord Of the Rock, 25/1) and Lincoln (Lord Glitters, 9/1) on the same card.
Further winners followed on the turf and all-weather in the shape of On The Go Again (10/1), Hammer Gun (4/1), Gronkowski (2/1) and Victory Bond (7/2).
The Dubai Carnival ended with fireworks at Meydan, too, as all three bets put up on World Cup night obliged; Vazirabad (2/1), Jungle Cat (5/1 minus a 40p R4) and Benbatl (4/1).
Unfortunately I didn't advise those three in any multiples on record but it was nice to collect on all three singles. From 51 pts staked during the month we made +19 pts profit.
As we moved into April as the new turf season properly kicked off, we unfortunately had some freak weather this year. April was one of the wettest on record and many meetings were abandoned. Horses were missing pieces of work at home, with flooding rife, and it came as no surprise to me to see us make a loss in April. Even when the weather is less extreme the problem of horse fitness makes the first month of the turf season the trickiest anyway.
The turf winners at this point were Downforce (5/2), Mjjack (6/1) and Brando (9/2) in the Abernant.
Jumps wise, We Have A Dream (2/1), Black Op (3/1), Santini (9/4) and Ultragold (14/1) were all victorious at Aintree.
All-weather wise, Monks Stand (7/4), Dancing Brave Bear (Evs), Zamjar (5/2) and Hunaina (9/2) all managed to get their heads infront, albeit at short prices.
We lost -16 pts (from 72 pts staked) in April but managed to halt the slide somewhat in May, in which we made a couple of points profit from 73 pts outlaid.
Our winners in May included The Daley Express (7/2), No Lippy (13/8 minus 25p R4) and Oasis Charm (9/1), while we also managed to get some victories in high profile races on the board; Mabs Cross (9/2) in the Palace House Stakes, Magic Circle (13/2) in the Chester Cup and then a nice double (and singles) on City Light (11/4) in the Prix de Saint-Georges and Olmedo (11/4) in the French 2000 Guineas at Longchamp.
Saltonstall (12/1) at the Curragh and Bailarico (10/1, minus 30p R4) were also notable winners, to accompany several other winning shorties such as Kaeso (4/1) and Carlton Frankie (9/4).
As we moved into June, Gurkha Friend (15/8), Sir Titan (4/1), Mancini (9/2), Justanotherbottle (9/2) and Via Serendipity (6/1) all provided early winners.
Royal Ascot kicked off on a winning note with Calyx (11/4) impressing in the Coventry and Blue Point (8/1) upsetting Battaash and Lady Aurelia in the King's Stand, though we didn't manage any other winners in the other competitive races there that week. City Light getting cuffed in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, when we were on him ante post at 16/1, was a tough defeat to take, in particular.
Hajjam (9/2), Kimifive (7/1), How Far (7/2), Penwortham (7/2, minus 10p R4) were other winners recorded before the month was out, but luck was deserting us with the bigger priced horses. Not only did City Light get touched off at 16/1, Caspian Prince did too at the same price at the Curragh. That sprint defeat was undoubtedly the low point of the year, and a -32 pt month (85 pts staked) put us -62 pts down for the year.
There is only so long bad luck can count against you, however, and those who stuck with the service were rewarded with an outstanding July.
July was a superb month. The main reason was that Foxtrot Lady (10/1) won the 3-Y-O sprint handicap at Newmarket during the July meeting, having really caught the eye on her previous run at York. We were on her in a single and also in two winning doubles with Bailarico (11/8) and Kalagia (15/8) that rolled up the stakes and yielded around 40-50 pts profit (depending on if you got lowest or top advised prices) for all of the bets combined.
Further winners were Kimifive (13/8), Walk On Walter (11/4), Marnie James (7/2), My Silver Nails (11/4), Clon Coulis (11/1), War Whisper (7/2), Communique (12/1), Vale of Kent (9/2), Jabbarockie (5/1, minus 20p R4), Mr Wagyu (5/2) and With You (9/2). We signed off the month with 46 pts profit (78 staked).
We adopted a selective staking approach during Glorious Goodwood and were rewarded with a profitable week on the Downs.
Sir Dancealot (5/1), Lil Rockerfeller (10/3) and Communique (5/1) all went in, but the most pleasing winner was undoubtedly Gifted Master, who landed the Stewards' Cup at 14/1 (returned 20/1 at SP but we'd backed ante post) under an excellent ride from Jason Watson.
Shaheen (5/1) and two winners at Ascot's Shergar Cup meeting, Via Serendipity (13/2) and Tiz Marvellous (6/1), then followed as we progressed through August, as did Quiet Endeavour (6/4), Plumatic (10/3), Argentello (5/1) and Emaraaty Ana (15/2).
We made a small profit of a few points (from 57 staked) that month, though we were offered a couple of reminders about how tight the margins are between defeat and victory; Mabs Cross (backed 12/1 ante post) suffered a cruel defeat in the Nunthorpe after hitting 1.01 in running, and Shaheen letting down a potential monster trixie on Shergar Cup day (was in with the two aforementioned winners on that card but was left with too much to do and finished fourth).
We kept the winning run going into September though and our turn came with one of the big doubles; Florencio won on the beach at Laytown (13/8) and was combined in a double with Ripp Orf (9/1) in the Cunard Handicap at Ascot, with the latter getting up to score under that man Jason Watson again!
Later in the month we enjoyed further success with the multiples when Riviera Nights (2/1) and Dakota Gold (9/2) both won at Ripon and Haydock, respectively, on one of the big Saturday's.
The Tin Man - a hero for the service over the years - landed the Sprint Cup at Haydock (15/2) on the same day Ripp Orf won at Ascot - making for an excellent weekend, while further winners arrived courtesy of Dancing Star (4/1), Limini (13/2), Sheikha Reika (8/1), Mr Lupton (15/2), Lady Dancealot (9/2) and Machree (12/1), producing a monthly profit of +27 pts from 71 pts staked.
At that point of the season, not only had we recovered the losses incurred earlier the season, we were actually starting to kick on and make a profit again (+12 pts up for the year). It is just a shame we gave ourselves a mountain to climb, getting so far behind in the early months of the season, as the profit inevitably dipped again in the final months of the season and our summer profit splurge merely ended up replenishing the betting bank.
In October, Inexes (5/1), Lush Life (5/1) and Mazzini (12/1) provided minor winners. The highlight was Low Sun landing the Cesarewitch for us at 10/1, emulating Withhold, who'd won the same race for us and landed us a big chop the previous year. Unfortunately we couldn't get any live multiple roll ups on Low Sun this year but we had a strong single on him all the same.
Mabs Cross, who we'd followed all year, won the Prix de l'Abbaye as our saver bet, though I thought we were ever so unfortunate not to win big in this race too as our main bet, Gold Vibe, was beaten by just a head. We'd backed him at 20/1 ante post but he returned over double that at SP on the day!
We had no joy on Champions Day at Ascot this year - a double on Cracksman (10/11) and Lah Ti Dar (11/8) was perhaps the closest we came to a victory as The Tin Man (lined up in a double with a 12/1 winner and backed as a single) and a strong single on Raising Sand also went west. We ended up making a -15 pt loss in October (54 pts staked).
Winding down for the winter
The Flat season wound down to a close in November, but not before Donjuan Triumphant (3/1) and Lord Oberon (10/3) won at Doncaster. We also had Buzz lined up in a big double (with a 2/1 winner) in the November Handicap that day, though Hughie Morrison's charge could manage no better than fifth.
Hasanoanda (14/1) won a minor midweek race at Redcar, Unowhatimeanharry (10/3) (another favourite horse of the service) returned to winning ways in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury, while Newspaperofrecord (13/8), Stormy Liberal (5/1) and Accelerate (4/1) all won on Breeders' Cup night at Churchill Downs.
The Melbourne Cup is a race we take an interest in each year but luck deserted us this year as main bet Avilius was badly hampered and almost taken out in the rear by a distressed rival, while our saver bet, Marmelo, ran a great race from off the pace but had to be content with second at 12/1.
We ended November with a -7 pt loss from 35 pts staked, though we did more or less cover that loss in December, as we rounded the year off with a 5 pt profit from 24 pts outlaid.
The December winners were Lady Buttons (3/1), Keyser Soze (7/1), Stargazer (10/1) and Tan (8/1), while we landed a nice double on Stanhope (10/1) at Dundalk and Definitly Red (11/8) at Aintree during the Becher meeting.
Overall, however, we perhaps didn't get the rub of the green with the multiples. We had some lovely doubles lined up off Island Of Life (9/2), Days Without End (5/1), Stargazer (10/1) and Lady Buttons (6/4) all winning that amounted to nothing off losing second legs on the likes of Shanahan's Turn and Lalor, who appeared to hold strong form chances on the book but inadvertently ran below form on the the day.
End of year figures (21st Nov 2017 - 31st Dec 2018)
Pts staked: 817.72
Profit/loss (to lowest advised odds, not highest): -5.86 pts
ROI: -1 %
ROC: -7 % (assuming an 80 pt betting bank)
Overall, 2018 was an underperforming year for the service. Although the turf results were, again, strong, we shot ourselves in the foot, making a bad start to the year before the turf season began, which dragged the annual profit figure down.
I sent out an end-of-season statistical breakdown to members after the turf season ended in November and, on the back of that e-mail, reduced our staking scale for over the winter. We'll be reducing bet frequency over the winter and also backing fewer singles at shorter odds next year. Our betting activity will increase again in the summer, when the new turf season is in full flow.