Mark’s Selections – September 2017

Those on the forum will know of Mark’s selections that he posts daily.

It would be fair to say that he’s getting a bit of a following these days and who can blame them?

September’s results are now in and they are as follows.

Selections   731
Winners      119
Strike Rate   16.9%
Profit       218    (at the price available at the time of posting)
ROI           29%

The largest drawdown was 106 points and there were a total of 108 profit points.

UK Racing, About Much More Than Just The Form

Racing is part of the fabric of the UK, like bacon and eggs, cups of tea and talking about the weather and it is the latter which plays a major part in the sport.

In countries where it is hot for most of the year, the going is not too much of a factor but it is everything in the UK, with four seasons in one day not uncommon.

Horses that have dominated over a period can easily be withdrawn on the day of a big race after a deluge leads to heavy ground, and punters need to be wary of those left in a contest when conditions are soft if the animal favours quicker ground.

Owners and trainers are usually watchful and diligent over this issue as the wellbeing of the horse is of paramount importance, but it can be frustrating for racegoers the length and breadth of the country.

Jumps racing in the British Isles is a huge sport, with the Cheltenham Festival the obvious centre piece as it attracts the best from Ireland to take on their British rivals.

Prestbury Park in the Gloucestershire countryside is another example of the nuances of UK racing, with the undulating course and famous hill towards the finishing line causing the downfall of many a favourite over the years.

While the form of a horse and opposition are clearly vital and should be studied as in any country, overhead and under-hoof conditions are equally as crucial and it pays to make sure you have done your homework on a particular horse’s record at a certain track before parting with any hard-earned cash.

Checking out the bookmakers with the best odds can help in this respect when it comes to the analysis prior to the start of a race.

It is also prudent to watch out for trainers who take one of their charges to a specific course for a random one-off race.

It usually means they have a good feeling that their horse may have an excellent chance of landing the spoils, otherwise they would probably not bother, and so it may be worth the odd shilling or two.

Flat racing dominates in the summer months and the draw can be all-important to the outcome of a contest.

Once again, due to the variables caused by weather and drainage, sections of a track, even over a short distance of five furlongs, may differ significantly and give horses drawn in certain stalls a big advantage.

Quite often the sprinters will split and one side of the track appears faster than the other.

Certain courses in the UK have a draw bias and punters need to take that into consideration when trying to pick a winner.

It is important to make sure you do your research to improve your odds of landing the spoils to go home with extra cash in your pocket.

There are obviously many ways to narrow down your selections to try and beat the UK bookies but some sill still favour sticking a pin in the race card or backing an animal with a fancy name.

It is not recommended but sometimes effective!

Jumping Life 2017-2018

Over the course of the past few weeks I pleased to have made the aquaintance of Martin Gray who runs a small racing club up in the North East of England.

In Martin’s own words, he says “I run a small friendly racing club which provides members with a racehorse ownership experience, regular updates, stable visits, owner’s tickets, other National Hunt information and profitable betting advice from less than £20 per week. The retention of MGR club members is running at over 90% over the first three years.”

More information on Martin’s racing club can be found on the Martin Gray site.

The purpose of this blog post is to share his first newsletter, Jumping Life, which is very much a Horses To Follow publication which is interesting. The reason why I find this publication interesting is, to use Martin’s own words again, “The approach I bring which is slightly different to the above publications is by pulling together all areas, that is horse ownership, bloodstock research, sales ring experience and form analysis on the betting side of the sport.”

The first issue of Jumping Life can be viewed or downloaded here…

2.00 Worcester – Two Selections

This was something which came from a series of posts on the forum this morning. It involves the 2.00 Worcester.

First of all, there is a Blindingly Obvious Selection here; The Land Agent which is second rated, cracking value (it went off at 33/1 and over 100s on the exchanges). The reason for The Land Agent being a Blindingly Obvious Selection is that both the Class Differentials were over 17 and the Weight Differentials were over 14.

This means that the horse was certainly falling in Class and Weight and at the price on offer it was certainly value.

It didn’t win; it ran well, taking the lead twice, before running out of steam four fences out and then being pulled up.

But that’s not the end of our story.

Look further down the page and we see Irish Octave. At the time I looked at it it was 24s on the exchanges and with it being value at 16/1 there was fair amount of edge there (about fifty percent) but I rarely look so far down to the horses where the value is around 6%.

What made this horse interesting was the fact that the Differentials across all three sets of columns were good (apart from column ‘e’: last time weight drop) and they were almost enough in themselves to be a Blindingly Good Selection.

The Cls figure for the horse was a little over 22s, which is very high indeed. And, of course, the best in the race hence the underscore.

Wit, one of the members on the forum, backs horses similar to these. This is his b-c-dd-e selections system.

The rule for this is that the value in those four columns has to be positive and the Cls has to be underscored (the best in the race). This horse failed that selection rule because the Last Race Weight Differential was zero (which was similar to Bazooka recently).

If it wasn’t for the last column being zero then Wit would have posted this on the forum.

However, given that the differentials were good and the Cls value was excellent it was pointed out as a second selection to The Land Agent. I had even placed the pair of them in an Exacta along with two win bets. These bets were announced on the forum and I am pleased that at least three others followed suit.

Irish Octave won at 16/1.


What was nearly one of Wit`s b-c-dd-e selections was the second rated in the FFos Las 5.00 race.

Bazooka was only just behind the top rated and would have been one of Wit`s selections if one of the four columns (b-c-dd-e) wasn`t a zero. Nonetheless the set of figures are overall rather good.

It had the best RAdj and Cls figures in the race which is a positive.

Value price was 3/1 and it was available on the exchanges at 24s when I went on, which was about twenty minutes before the off. Looking at the ratings it was clearly overpriced and was deserving of following.

It won at 12/1 to official SP.

Mark`s selections had it listed as well which was good as well. But it`s nice to be able to find a winner by just looking at the ratings.

Make sure you are quick on the draw

There are so many different things for punters to consider before parting with their hard-earned cash with a bet on the horses.

Form, conditions of the track and the distance being raced should all be taken into consideration but the draw is often ignored and there is plenty of evidence that it should not be.

Which stall a horse is drawn in can have a huge influence on the outcome of a race and there are a few websites that help to separate fact from fiction in this regard.

The draw is extremely important in the shortest sprints but can still be a factor in races over six or seven furlongs and it will vary from track to track.

So why is it so important?

The nature of Flat racing on courses with many bends mean that those on the inside will run less distance than those draw wide and, while it is folly to suggest an animal will hold its position throughout the race, a wide stall will certainly disadvantage those who like to get in front early on.

On a track with only a small run to the first bend, it will be almost impossible for those drawn wide to hit the front before they turn, meaning they will have to weave their away past rivals later in the contest.

If the race involves negotiating several bends then those at the front early will enjoy an advantage as it is tougher to pass while sweeping round on the outside.

Therefore the shape of the track should be taken into consideration when deciding on whether the draw bias is significant for a particular race.

It is often thought that cavalry charges on a straight track are not affected by which stall a horse starts from but under-hoof conditions will also play a part.

Parts of the course may be wetter than other due to drainage and so there will be more give in the ground – something that is a major issue for some animals.

It is not uncommon to see a split from one side of the track to another and, quite often, the horses on one of the rails appear to be travelling easier.

The number of runners also needs to be factored in when trying to pick your winners.

The draw is far less important if there only a small number of entrants as they will all have decent chance to hug the rails and take the lead at the first bend while the reverse is obviously the case when a large number are strung out across the track.

While it seems clear that the draw bias is important, the individual horse and its foibles should also be entered into calculations before placing a wager.

A horse that likes to leave it late to make its charge will not necessarily benefit from being drawn low on the rails as it will likely have to make the running and may not feel comfortable doing so.

That is where the skill of the jockey will come into it to try and manoeuvre his/her mount into a position from where it can do its best work.

Picking a winner has and always will be tough and the more that punters can do to improve their odds is always going to be a bonus – so make sure you know all about the draw bias before putting down your cash.

August CSV Results File

The August CSV file with all of the runners for the month along with the results has now been placed into the Members’ Archive section.

Please log into the Members’ Area before digging into the Archives.

28th August, 2017 – Ripon 2.45

Before I start, a disclaimer: I wasn’t on this one at all and it was only when I did the post-mortem for this race that something stood out concerning the winning horse. So, see this post as a form of discussion on that race and how the winner could have been spotted.

First, here’s the summary sheet displaying the race with some notes added.

What follows is clearly going to be a variant of the Blindingly Obvious selection.

First of all, this is very obviously a tight handicap. There’s less than eight pounds between the top rated and the bottom rated. In a race like this anything can surely win and there’s value to be had somewhere.

Secondly look at the differential figures for the horses and the bottom rated and the one of the horses with positives for the five year and the last race differentials is bottom rated Bahkit.

Not only does this horse have positive differentials for these two time intervals its differentials are the best in the field. The only negative is that it didn’t run for a year but in this day and age with advanced training techniques this isn’t necessarily an issue and, besides, those who think that it is an issue will only help to push the price out further.

So, with a moment or two of looking at the race we’ve found ourselves an interesting horse which went on to win.

In hindsight, this was a Blindingly Obvious horse and with a little more analysis of the race it should have been spotted.