The 2019 service covered the period between 1st January 2019 and 10th November 2019.
The start of the 2019 service covered, primarily, all-weather racing and some of the big weekend jumps action. We were staking on a reduced staking scale as our main focus is always the turf racing in the summer.
We broke even on our singles in January with French raider Amade (9/2) at Kempton, Outrage (11/2), Aircraft Carrier (7/2) and Confrontational (4/1) providing early winners. We also had a few small multiples which were unsuccessful and made a minor loss.
Things picked up in February when, although still staking on a reduced staking scale before the turf season began, Sweetest Smile (5/1 minus 50p R4), View The Bay (4/1), Chess Grand Master (7/2), Alsvinder (7/1), Keyser Soze (2/1), Petite Jack (9/1) and Weld Al Emarat (7/2) all won on the domestic scene.
We also had a couple of winners at Meydan once the Carnival was up and running, with both Mazzini (9/2) and Ekhtiyaar (5/1) obliging.
We ended February making +11.83 pts profit on the singles off 15.88 pts staked, though did again lose a small amount (-2 pts) off the multiples, which put us around +5 pts in profit by the end of February from all advised bets.
Another profitable Cheltenham Festival
The Festival has regularly been a source of profit for the service and 2019 was no different. It wasn't a stellar year by any means but we still ended up with over +11 pts profit on the week from 38 pts staked.
We suffered some bad luck on the first day with Buveur D'Air and Benie Des Dieux (both backed in separate ante post doubles) falling (the latter, especially, looked set to collect when tumbling at the last), though a minor return off Roksana in the Mares' Hurdle softened the blow.
Our big ante post gamble on Tower Bridge (backed at prices up to 20/1 each-way) was foiled by the classy A Plus Tard in the Close Brothers, though we did manage a place return as he finished second after enduring a nightmare passage.
On the Wednesday, Tiger Roll landed the Cross-Country for us but Thursday was the big day. Defi Du Seuil landed a gamble for us in the JLT (backed at 11/1 ante post and went off 3/1) and then Sire Du Berlais landed another gamble in the next race on the card, the Pertemps (14/1 into 4/1) - we had those two backed in a double on the day as well as in singles. Our third winner of the day was Siruh Du Lac in the Brown Advisory Plate (8/1 into 9/2), who jumped his rivals into submission from the front under Lizzie Kelly.
On the Friday our main Cheltenham Gold Cup pick, Presenting Percy, returned lame, though Defi Bleu (14/1, EW) and Dallas Des Pictons (7/2, EW) went close in the finale, the Martin Pipe.
Overall it was a profitable week and put us on the front foot ahead of the new turf season, which began weeks later at Doncaster.
Return of the Flat
The Flat turf action is the bread and butter of the service so it was pleasing to see Ventura Ocean (8/1) and Marmelo (9/1) get early April winners on the scoresheet at Pontefract and Newbury, respectively.
Just That Lord (13/2), Mountain Angel (9/2) struck at Epsom's April meeting, while Gumball (10/3), Mokhalad (6/1) and Pennsylvania Dutch (5/1) were other turf winners.
Alfredo Arcano (7/2), Eden Rose (9/2), Champarisi (3/1), Harbour Vision (5/1) all won on the all-weather in April, too, and we also had a winning double on Beringer at Newmarket and Sir Ron Priestley at Ripon at 6/1 for the pair, which took us up to +17 pts profit for the year to lowest advised prices by the end of the month.
Multiples in May
May started off very well when Burford Brown won at Ascot (10/1) for over 8 pts profit and a strong bet on Abel Handy (3/1) at Musselburgh and a bet on service favourite Mabs Cross, who defied a penalty in the Palace House Stakes (6/1), boosted our profit further.
There was time for Kynren to finish second (again!) in the Victoria Cup at Ascot before Embour delivered the goods when strongly fancied at 15/2 (10p R4) in a sprint at Windsor. With Richard Hannon's charge winning on the same day as Arthurian Fame at Leopardstown (10/3) for Joseph O'Brien, we also landed a nice double there.
May was infact a very good month for the multiples as we'd also landed a double on Abel Handy and Mabs Cross and made 11 pts profit off 6.25 pts staked on multiples that month.
For all bets combined, we ended May +25 pts in profit (to lowest advised prices) and were on track nicely going into the summer months.......except the unusual weather in the summer meant things didn't quite go to plan.......
Longest losing run in NMP history
The wet weather ruined the start of our summer and June turned into a disaster - we experienced the heaviest losing run in the 10 years I have run the service. It wasn't particularly long in terms of time, but we took some heavy blows in a short space of time.
The frustrating thing is that the selections were not running particularly badly when meetings did survive the weather (we had plenty of places), but the margins between success and failure were, at times, frighteningly tight.
The best example was Clon Coulis, who I was sweet on ante post for the Royal Hunt Cup, tipping him up at 33/1 as well as at 20/1 after the final declarations when confirmation of his draw and jockey (Jamie Spencer) had been made. Victory for him would have been huge considering our 1 pt win/0.5 pt place total stake, but he suffered an agonising defeat, losing out by just a nose to Afaak (with the front pair two lengths clear of the remainder), a rival whose jockey had broken the whip rules in the finish. We were essentially robbed by a cheat but the placings were not reversed as whip rule breakers are not thrown out in Britain. He finished second.
Cleonte won for us at the Royal Meeting (9/2) and we did have a few small key winners elsewhere in June from the likes of Camacho Chief (9/4), Snazzy Jazzy (9/4), Roulston Scar (6/1), Lathom (11/2), El Astronaute (7/1) and True Destiny (9/4). However, a -40 pt loss on the month to lowest advised prices, not helped by the Royal Hunt Cup robbing, wiped out our accrued annual profit and put us into the red temporarily.
Summer fight back
The in-running and actual/expected winners numbers suggested we'd been unlucky during that June slump (the likes of Magnetic Charm and Tiz Marvellous were just two of the seconds) and could have expected more winners from the positions our selections were getting into, so it was no surprise to see a recovery period kick in during the months which followed.
We had 13 winners in July that quickly helped get us back on track. They included the likes of Sir Ron Priestley (5/2), Jazeel (7/2), Blackheath (10/1), Raffle Prize (4/1) at Newmarket's July meeting, Royal Intervention (12/1), Tiz Marvellous (5/1), Copper Knight (3/1), Star Of Southwold (7/2), Dakota Gold (14/1), Sir Dancealot (13/2) at Glorious Goodwood and Saltonstall (9/1) at Galway. For a second time during the month, Sir Ron Priestley (8/1) also won again - latterly at Glorious Goodwood.
Sir Ron Priestley and Dakota Gold became service favourites in 2019 and the latter landed us further victories before the season was out. Him landing the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon (15/2) was a magical day as we had him doubled with Anna Bunina (11/4) in a Ripon double that yielded over 16 pts profit to lowest advised prices (on top of two winning singles). Dakota Gold also won for us on my wedding day (in York) later in the month at (fittingly) York, and set up another few multiples that week (though they weren't successful) during the Ebor Festival.
August was a brilliant month overall. The singles yielded +23.72 pts from 52.75 pts staked (at lowest prices) and we made +16 pts on the monthly multiples.
The other singles winners included a 3 pt (MAX) bet winning on Victory Day at Ascot, Waitingfortheday (7/1) and Mr Adjudicator (7/2 -15p R4) at Galway, Advertise (11/4) at Deauville, King's Advice at Glorious Goodwood, Power of Darkness at the Shergar Cup meeting at Ascot, as well as further profit being landed from the likes of Breanski (14/1), Hortzadar (7/2 -25p R4), Shine So Bright (6/1) and Que Amoro (9/1).
The latter was, along with Dakota Gold and Mabs Cross, another Michael Dods-trained sprinter - so it is fair to say we developed a bit of a soft spot for their speedsters this year!
Steadying down in the autumn
We carried on chipping away as we entered the autumn.
Swindler (7/2), Roulston Scar (5/2) and Champarisi (4/1), Current Option (11/2), Delegate This Lord (9/1), Diamond Hill (11/2), Champarisi (again), 4/1, Shamad (6/1) and Make A Challenge (5/1) were all among the winners for us in September and yielded a monthly profit of +13.67 pts profit from 38.88 pts staked on the singles.
Frustratingly, though, the multiples suffered a slump as we attempted to try put the icing on the cake for the year and push our +36 pt annual profit closer to 80 pts (the advised betting bank which we sought to double over the course of the year) - they lost us 10 pts of the profit our September singles had made.
In truth, we were unlucky with Ripp Orf in the Cunard Handicap in particular. As well as having a 1.5 pt EW (MAX) bet on him at 8/1 (he went off 7/2 at SP) we had a further 1.5 pt win rolling up onto him from a double with a sprint winner, Belated Breath, though his rider had him poorly positioned off a moderate gallop and mounted his finishing challenge too late. He finished like an express train behind the winner, Salute The Solider, who had stolen first run on him, but he couldn't get up in time. Like Clon Coulis, however, he went down in the 'near miss for a big win' column due to a mistimed ride.
More of our strongly fancied selections in the big weekend handicaps disappointed into October and November this year - which isn't typical of the service as the big weekend races have often produced lots of our profit in the past.
We made +5 pts profit off the singles (49 pts staked) in October from the likes of Fantasy Keeper (5/1), Kuwait Currency (4/1), Eva Maria (10/3), Dakota Gold (again) (5/2), Kynren (finally) (10/1), One Master (7/2), Intuitive (11/8), Thyme Hill (6/1), Anna Bunina (5/2), All Yours (5/1), Kwela (9/2) and Kafu (7/2) all winning.
However, we lost -13.5 pts during a bumper month of multiples so handed back all of the profit we had ground out from the singles that month.
Raising Sand would have been a massive winner for us on Champions Day in the Balmoral Handicap after two winning roll ups, though he failed to give his running and something was amiss as he beat only one rival home. The same had also happened with our big Ayr Gold Cup gamble in September, Buffer Zone, who we were on at 8/1 in singles and roll ups and he returned 10/3 at SP, yet bombed out during the race itself.
By late October/early November the wet weather had kicked in again and the season was winding down, with racecourses staging their final meetings of the season. The Flat season officially ended on 9th November at Doncaster.
During those final few weeks of the season we had winners from Kameko (11/2) in the rearranged Futurity Trophy, Sashenka (6/1) and Kitaabaat (3/1) on the all-weather, as well as Iridessa (15/2) at the Breeders' Cup.
There was, however, time for one more big near miss in the big turf handicaps before the season was out. I was mad keen on British raider Prince Of Arran for the Melbourne Cup down under following his third-placed finish in the race for Charlie Fellowes 12 months earlier.
We backed him EW at 20/1 in a single and also in a double with a 7/4 winner on the all-weather, Astromachia, but, despite running the race of his life, he was touched off by a nose and finished second.
You would have liked to have thought that, having seen Clon Coulis and Ripp Orf narrowly edged out, it might have been a case of 'third time lucky' with Prince of Arran and we might have got a close result for 30-40 pts go in our favour, but it wasn't to be.....so that effectively made it nose, neck and nose beatings for 100 pts+ of missed profit from those three seconds!
Final 2019 service profit
Looking back it was a generally solid year for the service. Apart from a bad June (which had followed an ante post football bonanza the preceding month.....all eight football singles advised in the 2018/19 season won, as did five of the seven football accumulators - at odds up to 75/1) we made a profit in March, April, May, July, August and September, before the heavy rain set back in late season. The bad weather and number of abandonments saw us stake much less than normal this year - we've staked closer to 800 pts in most recent seasons.
We ended the 2019 service with a final profit of +31.66 pts to lowest advised prices, from 535.35 pts outlaid at recommended stakes (a +6 % ROI and +40 % ROC using an 80 pt betting bank).
It would have been possible to better the above profit figure by taking higher odds for any of our winners (most selections are tipped up with an odds range but I settle at the lowest odds on record) and if taking enhanced places on many of the each-way selections (especially at the weekends). Some members even reported they had doubled their betting banks following the bets for the year, which is pleasing to hear (they managed this through a combination of backing bets to highest advised odds on many occasions, taking enhanced place terms or backing the bets win only as opposed to each-way).
Looking ahead to the 2020 service, I will follow a recent recommendation made to me and record a profit and loss figure to highest, as well as lowest, advised prices next year - so we have a better idea of the profit that is realistically achievable following the service bets. I have been underselling the service by settling bets at lowest advised odds for several years now, especially given the bets are advised at a sensible time and not at the overnight stage when there is great (but unrealistically sustainable) value about.
This year's results also suggest we perhaps need to tone down the number of multiples at times and ensure we don't dilute the profit we've made from the singles. They should be the main source of our profit in any year and any profit made from the multiples should be considered a bonus.
2019 End of year figures (1st Jan - 10th Nov)
Total Pts Staked: 535.25 pts
Total Profit: +31.66 pts (to lowest advised odds)
Seasonal ROI: +6 %
Seasonal ROC: +40 % (using 80 pt betting bank)
Singles: +30.07 pts (to lowest advised odds) from 439.75 pts staked (+ 7 % ROI, + 38% ROC)
Multiples: +1.59 pts from 95.60 pts staked (+2 % ROI, +2 % ROC)