The 2023 NMP service covered the period between 7th November 2022 and 30th November 2023.
With no turf racing over the winter, following the end of the Flat season in November, we mixed betting on the all-weather (AW) with betting in the better jumps action (typically that on ITV4) to start the 2023 NMP service.
The period leading into Christmas was low key. French Dynamite being touched off in the Paddy Power Gold Cup was frustrating in terms of the jumpers, but we had some small winners on the AW, the pick of which were probably Dora Penny (4/1) and Belloccio (4/1).
Festive Fun (and footy)
Racing had its typical break for a few days over Christmas, before returning with a bang on Boxing Day. We had some decent results when racing resumed, with strong fancy Into Overdrive (9/2) landing the Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day and with Remastered (13/2) and Witch Hunter (10/1) landing a couple of other nice winners over jumps and on the AW, respectively, along with Capital Theory (3/1) winning at Wolverhampton. We had a few of those winners in a small double and also had a winning Willie Mullins double over the festive period in Ireland, with State Man and Gaillard du Mesnil, a personal favourite of mine, both obliging.
Last winter was an unusual one in that the Football World Cup was staged in Qatar during December. We got involved in a few of the matches and with a few ante posts and we did land a nice 14/1 winner on record from Morocco reaching the semi-finals (and we had the eventual winners, Argentina (5/1), onside as a secondary pick alongside our main bet, Brazil). We had Morocco onside EW at 100/1 and they gave us a great run for our money and just fell short of reaching the final, where they would have landed some lovely place money, but hey ho!
January was also a slow month with most of our AW winners only small prices. A strong bet on Justcallmepete (7/2) was nice, but most of our other winners, Danni California (13/2) and Cursory Exam (7/1) aside, were generally sub 4/1. We made a small profit in January (+4 pts) and although our singles were profitable again in Feburary +(8 pts), we did lose on our multis in February, as we began to try generate some roll ups on our picks for the Cheltenham Festival. We ended February with a -9 pt loss which put us -28 pts down for the 2023 service as a whole at the time.
Another Good Cheltenham
We usually have a good Festival at Cheltenham and this year that was the case again.
We'd warmed up with a couple of nice little jumps winners in the shape of Iceo (5/1) and Espanito Bello (9/2) pre-Festival, and when the Festival itself came around, we had a couple of winners on day one in the shape of El Fabiolo (6/4) and Gaillard du Mesnil (6/4).
We ended up making +20 pts profit from the unsettled ante post bets and on-the-day bets we struck during Festival week, with our other six winners being The Real Whacker (9/2), Delta Work (Evs), A Dream To Share (5/1), Angels Dawn (10/1), Lossiemouth (13/8) and Galopin Des Champs (7/4).
However, arguably our two unluckiest results were Corbetts Cross, who was worth close to 20 pts profit to us but ran out at the last when holding every chance upsides the leader in the Albert Bartlett (we were on him at prices up to 8/1 ante post) and our main bet in the Brown Advisory, Gerri Colombe, who I thought would have beaten our secondary bet, The Real Whacker, with a better ride.
That said, it was still nice to end the week in profit - that's four of the last five Festivals proving profitable for us - especially during a year in which the ground was testing (after the snow that fell in the week leading up to the Festival) and it seemed it was a tough punting week for many in general.
We ended March with a small profit (+4.74 pts) as the Meydan World Cup didn't give us anything of note and our strong fancy, Japanese superstar Equinox, was only 11/8.
We had a losing month in April overall, although we did have some enjoyable results in the opening few meetings of the season on the Rowley Mile at Newmarket and also at the Punchestown Festival.
Canberra Legend (15/2), Like A Tiger (5/1) and Harry Magnus (7/2) won at HQ for us in April then, in May, we backed Probe (10/1), Vadream (22/1), Shaquille (5/2) and Via Sistina (4/1) also at the Suffolk venue - we had a good punting year there, including backing the Cesarewitch winner at 25/1 in the autumn.
Tax For Max (10/1) was just touched off at Punchestown during the Festival in April, although we did have A Dream To Share (11/10) and Monbeg Park (7/4) onside that week, which lessened the blow somewhat.
What really set us back this year, however, was a woeful Royal Ascot in which we did our brains on the singles, had little luck with those horses which had gone close to winning, and we lost more money on the multis. Failed ante post projects on Noble Style and Khanjar did us no favours.
We had been incredibly unlucky at Pontefract just before Royal Ascot, though, as La Pulga had been nutted on the line when we had him covered in trebles with Equality (9/2, -15p R4), Mr Freedom (13/8) and Hi Clare (10/3), all of whom had won that day. La Pulga's head defeat, from a position from which victory looked a formality, cost us about 45 pts profit, and that was a huge mental blow in the thick of the summer.
Not-so-great St Wilfrid
La Pulga wasn't the only hard luck story we had this summer. Summerghand being given an over confident ride by his jockey in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon in August - when beaten by a head, cost us a huge profit - we had generated some lovely roll ups onto the David O'Meara runner from various other Flat winners.....but it wasn't to be.
We did eventually get some respite on the multiples front, though. Multiples are volatile bets that test your patience, but they do pay well when they come in. We certainly ended the losing run with them in style when, at the end of August, Justcallmepete (9/1), Billy Mill (15/2) & Storm Catcher (11/2) all won on the AW (latter two were during a Racing League meeting) to land a 540/1+ treble and returned +67 pts.
August was consequently an unforgettable month for NMP members. It would be fair to say that 2023, up to late summer, hadn't been a vintage year by NMP standards, but we had been knocking on the door of a hot run for a while and the bad luck wasn't going to continue forever......
The singles made +33 pts profit in August, with 29 winning singles advised, including: Ash Tree Meadow (10/1), Cloud Cover (4/1), Grappa Nonino (10/1), Spirit Dancer (9/1), Silver Sword (8/1), Postileo (17/2), Isla Kai (7/2), Big Cheese (4/1), Gypsy Woman (6/1), Saturnalia (9/2), Justcallmepete (9/1), Billy Mill (15/2) & Storm Catcher (11/2).
We ended up making +88 pts profit in August overall.
September also started well with Novel Legend (11/4), Havana Party (4/1) & Gizelles Izzy (11/4) and winning on the same day.
Our best result of the month, though, was Annaf, a strong fancy in the Portland Handicap at Doncaster, landing a huge gamble (14/1 into 7/1) and returning +44 pts profit after weaving through a crowd of horses under Rossa Ryan to get up late and land the prestigious five-and-a-half furlong sprint for Mick Appleby.
Wobwobwob winning the Ayr Silver Cup (10/1) was another enjoyable sprint result around this time of the year and we had a couple of other double-figure odds sprint winners in the shape of Get It (10/1) and Regional (10/1), the latter of whom landed the Sprint Cup at Haydock, which meant we added to our August gains with another profitable (+10 pt) month.
If September was solid, though, October was outrageous, and we landed a huge chop off in the Cesarewitch, which is one of the services strongest punting races over the years.
Big Easy, Withhold, Low Sun and Run For Oscar have all returned in the winners enclosure for us in this prestigious race in the last decade, while we also came close to landing a huge gamble on Oriental Fox (20/1 into 7/1) who was done by a short-head in 2015, while Burning Victory was also pipped by Buzz and cost us a packet two years ago.
This year we bagged a 25/1 winner in The Shunter (SP 14/1) and landed winning singles and multiples! The smart dual-purpose performer, owned by JP McManus had caught my eye at Gowran a couple of months previously. He was given a lovely ride by course expert James Doyle in the Cesarewitch and rewarded us handsomely!
We ended October with +47 pts profit, meaning we'd put +145 pts profit on the board in three months and recovered our position after a poor start to the year.
In October though, we did back a hell of a lot of seconds and should have probably won more that month - we had 33 singles finish second, versus 15 winners. We normally back more winners than seconds and we were probably 10 winners short of what we'd have normally expected.
Winning runs don't last forever, though, and racing results are very much cyclical. November was a frustrating month as the bad weather set in and we had meetings abandoned galore.
The November Handicap was switched from turf to be run on the AW at Newcastle, and we lost a lot of the turf meetings. Those meetings which were run were often run on ploughed fields - which isn't ideal for betting.
We have enjoyed success at the Breeders' Cup meetings in the past but that wasn't the case this year. Having Warm Heart and Mawj touched off in the final strides didn't help, and we endured a frustrating one in the Melbourne Cup as one of our strong EW fancies, Absurde, finished just out of the frame after weakening late on - he was cruising along at the top of the straight.
We ended up losing -39 pts in November, which meant we ended the 2023 service +8.83 pts in profit from 1470 pts staked +(1% ROI) - somewhat frustrating given we'd been +48 pts up at the end of October.....but it was just how the winning and losing cycles fell and, once we started the 2024 NMP service from 1st December 2023, the winners of course returned and we ended December with +54 pts, which has kicked us off on the front foot for the 2024 NMP service!
Given the volatility in the 2023 results and the big profit and loss swings we experienced, I decided to scale back the stakes on the multiples for 2024 as I acknowledged to members that we needed the singles to be generating the bulk of our profit and that any profit from the multiples should be considered an additional bonus!
We had started the 2023 season badly and so it is my aim to start the 2024 season much better, so we aren't playing catch-up profit wise when Cheltenham and the new turf season comes around, as was the case this year!