This is the last article in my series for Racing Ahead, I hope you’ve enjoyed it and found plenty of what I’ve told you both useful and interesting.
Then we looked at why hitching up to the wrong tipping service will cost you money and why you shouldn't let the tail wag the dog showing the obligations on both sides once you have joined one. So I thought a good way to finish off would be by giving you a ‘warts and all’ look at how Cleeve did in 2019...
It is natural for all of us to fall guilty of short-termism or to be swayed by recency bias, but when it comes to betting profitability it can be very costly to take the short-term view. Over the last 12-months, we made a profit of 96 points... not too shabby but a bit shy of our internal target of 120 points. Betting to £20 a point stakes, our members made £1,920 profit and taking into account our annual membership (£329) they cleared £1,591 profit.
We had 8 winning months and 4 losing months. Our best month was August with a 37 point profit followed by March (+33 pts) and May (+29 pts), but at the other end of the spectrum, November was a bit of a disaster (-25 pts). Even though we were slightly off target, you would still have made a return on your total investment of just over 13%, which stacks up favourably against any other investment out there. And as a profitable punter, you would have really enjoyed your whole year’s racing and had bragging rights in the pub to boot!
Our selection methodology is what you would call 'contrarian' as we only have a bet when we feel there is significant value to be had, our selections averaged an SP of just under 10/1. Betting for value can result in experiencing longer losing runs than another service that focuses on favourites would have, but for us, it's all about long-term profits. Admittedly our strategy doesn’t suit everyone… it takes self-discipline and confidence to cope with the emotional swings and roundabouts from a psychological point of view.
Cheltenham is undoubtedly the hardest meeting of the year to make a profit and we always hold our breaths going into it as in 4 days we can stake what we would stake in a normal month!
The 2019 Festival was profitable but only +14 points, we had several selections placed at big prices from 12/1 to 25/1 and it would only have taken one of these to come in and profits would have doubled, but on the most competitive meeting of the season, we’ve got to be happy with any profit. We finished the Jumps Season over 60 points up.
On the Flat, we again made over 60 points. Glorious Goodwood (another meeting notoriously difficult to pick winners given the idiosyncrasies of the track and draw) was particularly good for us with Deirdre doing the business for members at a very juicy 40/1 (personally, I was on the family holiday sat by the pool in Majorca watching the race on my phone and it paid for the whole fortnight!).
This selection highlights our strategy of value. Deirdre was all but discounted as her Group One form was in Japan and as a result, she was massively overlooked by the markets and pundits over here... in our view she was a tremendous value bet.
It would be remiss of us to focus only on the highlights because as we all know what goes up must come down. The last 3 months of the year were particularly difficult and frustrating as our 8 winning months came in the first 9 months of the year! A lot of our selections at the start of this Jumps Season have looked to be going best two out but proved ultimately to be flattering to deceive and haven’t finished off at the business end of their races. This resulted in 3 losing months on the spin and a bank drawdown of 40 points which highlights the critical importance of having, and managing your betting bank (remember that we made a profit for the year as a whole).
2019 has been our 9th profitable year in a row, that’s 17 consecutive profitable seasons… admittedly the last 3 months have been below average… but it happens, swings and roundabout are part and parcel of this game and we have to suck it up and take it on the chin.
Be sure that the whole Cleeve team will be striving harder than ever to make our members an even bigger profit from the sport we love in 2020, and if you decide to give us a try… a very warm welcome aboard. Remember Cheltenham is just around the corner and you can try a month with us for only £10!