Friday, 15 April 2016

2015-16 End of Season Report

Overview

The 2015-16 season will be viewed as the one in which TVB changed from a tipping service, with race analysis – to a race analysis service, with tips.

It had been coming for a few years – but the introduction of the Info service saw the balance of the service switch from being primarily ‘prescriptive’, to more ‘guiding’.
Ofcourse it’s impossible to accurately measure the performance of a service that advises – but the figures of those who have embraced the concept, suggest that it was possible to achieve profits from the Info side, of up to twice those achievable from the tips.

Obviously, effort was required to achieve such profits – and generally, the more people put in, the more they got out.
However, no significant racing knowledge was required – just an ability to interpret my thoughts – and maybe a willingness to take some additional direction from the markets.

Needless to say, with such success, the service will continue to move in the Info direction – though I don’t plan to give up on the tips, just yet !


Info Service


I guess the Info Service has always been part of TVB – however, it was only this year that it was given a formal title.

The rationale that accompanies every tip, has long proved a useful guide for both staking – and covering bets: whilst views on other races, have provided additional betting opportunities, as and when circumstances have suited.

The introduction of a forum, enabled the sharing of knowledge and ideas – and the likes of Liam, Paul and Francis, helped others decide on a strategy for exploiting the Info in the write-ups (thank you guys).

The Forum also acted as a repository for the official ‘eye catchers’.
These were only introduced relatively late in the season – but it was merely making visible something that I’ve always done.
I expect their value to be particularly significant at the start of next season – and I am sure they will quickly become core to the whole TVB service (both Info and Tips).

The slight adjustment made to the structure of the daily write-up, now enables people to more clearly view my thoughts on individual races.

There are many reasons why it is difficult for me to tip in certain races: prices; market strength; conditions; uncertainty over other runners etc.
However, the write-up enables me to express my opinions and as situations clarify, people can decide whether or not to get involved.
The Info service is designed to point people in the right direction – without telling them exactly what to do.
This means that people can customise the bets they place – which in turn, means they have a better chance of betting profitably and maintaining bookmaker accounts.

The suggestion from the feedback on the forum, is that the Info service can be used to generate decent profits throughout the season (even during times when the tips are struggling).


Tipping Service


Despite the increased importance of the Info, the Tips are (and will remain) a big part of the service for many of you.

Results (excluding Cheltenham & Aintree)


If you were able to secure the best prices on the tips, then you would have made 21.21pts profit on 47.625pts staked (ROI 44%) – and experienced 5 consecutive winning months.

By Month

Month
Tips
Pts staked
Pts profit at advised stk
Pts profit at level stk
Pts profit at BSP advised
Pts profit at BSP level
Nov
44
13.375
10.96
43
3.51
12.11
Dec
44
12.125
4.125
14.5
2.62
9.39
Jan
31
9.25
0.5
10
-3.44
-10.72
Feb
32
8.75
1.375
2.5
-0.74
-4.54
Mar
16
4.125
4.25
16
4.53
16.96
Total
167
47.625
21.21
86
6.47
23.3

By Day of the Week

Day
Tips
Proft/Loss
Mon
4
-1.25
Tue
12
5.375
Wed
8
-2
Thur
16
1.375
Fri
27
7.65
Sat
85
10.06
Sun
15
0

 

By Race class (excluding Irish races)


Race Class
Tips
Profit/Loss
1
32
8.56
2
36
0.28
3
54
8.63
4
26
-0.88
5
1
1.5

For those who would like more detail of the tips: I will add a spreadsheet to the TVB website, showing details of all tips issued during the season, when I update the website (in the next month or so).

Issues


This was my 4th season tipping – and the actual issuing of tips was harder than ever before…

The mid-week markets in particular, are now both defensive and fragile, meaning that many horses are priced up lower than they should be, by most bookmakers (there is large over round) – and any tip quickly shortens in price.

As a consequence, finding tips in midweek races isn’t easy – and issuing them is even more difficult.
This wasn’t helped by some people backing tips on BF at below the odds – as the linkages between that and various bookmakers, meant that on those occasions, prices lasted mere seconds.

As a consequence, people who could bet with bookmakers either got accounts marked as they backed ‘steamers’ - or got frustrated at missing prices.
Clearly this is not a sustainable situation – and it made me very wary about issuing tips in such races.

Tipping on a Saturday into stronger markets, was less of an issue – and going forward, I think I will need to separate these two groups of tips…

The other big issue, was the weather.

To an extent, it’s an occupational hazard – however, I do feel that this season was particularly bad.
I lost count of the number of days on which it rained – making it almost impossible to get a proper handle on ground conditions.

As a consequence of these 2 issues, the number of tips issued was markedly down on last season – with the biggest impact in the mid-week…

Backing tips at SP


It’s a fact that more and more of you are struggling to find bookmakers prepared to take your bets – particularly at early prices.

Bookmakers talk about ‘responsible’ betting – but the reality is, they don’t want to do business with people who bet responsibly.

To an extent, I have some sympathy with them. Relatively small over-rounds, BOG and first past the post, must make their margins tiny – particularly if they are up against someone who knows what they are doing.

I suspect that most of us know exactly what we are doing – and the bookmakers soon realise they will lose if they play against us – and consequently they shut down our accounts.

The best way we can counter against this, is to bet profitably at SP (or close to SP).
It will always be possible to bet in a shop, or on BF, close to the off – though making a profit through such betting is considerably more difficult.

That said, it can be done – and a number of the Info guys did exactly that, this season.

Backing all of the tips to advised stakes, at BSP returned a profit of 6.47pts (ROI 13.6%) – at level stakes, the profit was 23.2pts (ROI 13.9%).

Quite bizarrely, over half of the tips (88 v 79) had an industry SP greater than their BSP (minus the 5% BF commission).
I really can’t explain why that might be, as typically only around 15% of horses will have an industry SP greater than BSP (which is why taking BSP is generally the best policy)
I didn’t record profit against industry SP, but I suspect the numbers would have been similar to BSP.
The conclusion from this is that if you are betting at SP, you should either try to bet BOG with a bookmaker; or place your bet a couple of minutes before the off on BF (rather than taking BSP).

More generally, the main point to note if betting at SP, is that well supported tips remain the best ones to follow.

Over the course of the season, there were 6 horses whose BSP was less than half the price advised – and 3 of these won. Backing them at advised stakes would have yielded a profit of 3.86pts at BSP (18.68pts at a level stake).
More than that, just backing all of the horses whose BSP was shorter than the advised price (and there were 125 of them), would have yielded a profit of 10.41pts at BSP (40.37pts at a level stake).

Theses numbers strongly support what I’ve always felt: the best TVB tips to follow are the ones that all well supported in the market.
In previous seasons, the numbers haven’t backed up my feelings quite as much.
Historically, there has generally been a small profit to be made backing all tips at BSP.
However, the ‘drifters’ have tended to be helped by the odd winning tip in a very big field, at a very big price (the likes of Jadanli). I didn’t put up as many of those this year – and didn’t hit on any such winner.

The bottom line seems quite clear: if you are backing the tips close to the off, stick with the ones the market likes (and the more it likes it, the better !).


Plans for Next Season


The 2016-17 season will be my fifth season tipping – and I feel like I’m now occupying the space that I always intended…

TVB is primarily a NH racing advisory service.
The Info service has cemented that position – and its success was the big thing I will take out of the season just gone.
Simply, I produce output which people can generate good profits from – if they are prepared to make the effort.

The Info service will be the core TVB offering for the 2016-17 season – but I will still continue to tip.

It did however become apparent early this season, that tipping mid-week to the number of subscribers I have, doesn’t work.
I restricted the number to 50 – but that is too many.
The market just won’t take the volume in a mid week, so I’ll need to cut the number back (and get assurances from those who receive mid week tips, that they will stay off BF).

Weekends are different.
There was no issue with the tips I issued on a Saturday – or indeed on the other big race days.

Consequently, next season, there will be 2 tipping services: mid week tips and Saturday tips.

That is likely to be the biggest change I make to the service – and I’ll spend the summer mulling over how best to handle it.


Aside from that, I think most things will stay roughly the same – with a touch of evolution…

- The forum is here to stay and I will look to use it progressively more. The ‘race of the day’ and the ‘naps competition’ helped create a sense of community – and were contributory factors in the success of the day at the races (which I will definitely look to repeat next year). The issues with the original forum were unfortunate – but the new one seems sufficiently robust.

- The eye-catchers will play an increasingly important role in the service. I would expect to spend a good deal of the pre-season, building a list which will get us through the first half of the season (at least)

- I plan to create a sub forum for ante-post thoughts, next season. I am happy keeping ante-post tips out of the main service, but I think there is scope to preview some of the big races early and ‘mention’ a few horses of interest

- Top Picks are something I need to give thought to. I only re-introduced them late this season (they were strong mentions until that point) – but they were very successful. I issued 4 Top Picks - and 3 of them won, resulting in a 6pt profit at BSP, to a level stake. It was a similar story last season, so clearly, they warrant inclusion in the service. The question is whether I turn them into short priced tips – or leave them in the Info service. This is something I need to mull over.

- Staking of tips remains an area that I probably need to work on. This season I effectively had a 4 pt range (0.125-0.5). The original plan was for an 8pt range – but I never explored the upper end ! It could be the same again next season – but to an extent, that will depend on how I handle the Top Picks.

- Seasonality is also something I need to remain mindful of. I tend to do very well until the rain comes – but then things can get tough. In fairness, I’m aware of this – but options are limited when you have little idea over the state of the ground.


Summary


This years end of season report has a slightly different feel to those I’ve produced in previous seasons - but I think that reflects the change in the service (with less emphasis on the tips).

Hopefully I’ve still covered all of the important areas: painted a fair picture of the season gone - and given an overview of how I envisage things moving forward.

TVB has always been a service for the NH enthusiast – and will continue to move in that direction.
That said, I has also always been a service which, people can use to make profit – and I have no intention of changing that, either !

The blend can be a tricky one to achieve – but if nothing else, I hope you can all see that I continually strive to do just that.

As always, any feedback on the service – or the report – will be most welcome.
TVB.

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