Overall, I squeezed out a 27.8 points profit: 135 bets and 33 wins at a rate of 24%. Total staking came in at 138 points, producing a Rate Of Return (ROR) at 20%. For that level of win rate, I'm looking for a much chunkier ROR. This betrays a lot of short priced winners.
A profit is a profit. I'm not arguing with that. But the results don't stand up to closer analysis. Against the accepted benchmark of a level 1-point stake per run, the picture is much less rosy: 155 bets giving a 4.9 point loss. Crushing.
The actual profit compared to the level stakes loss is largely accounted for by three factors in my real-wedge punting this year:
- No-bets on short priced favourites, a good proportion of whom lost. This is crucial. The 40 to follow list simply has too many novice hurdlers and chasers who will always be no value at all in most of their outings. An easy lesson to absorb, but harder to put into selection practice.
- Bigger stakes on strong fancies, a reasonable proportion of which came in. This is the key to the staking plan, of course. But the most slippery of concepts to be bullish about. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
- Spawny place returns on double-figure each-way shouts. As a purist, I'd far rather be backing the winners. But the stats do not lie about the significance of this factor. In December, I returned 9 runners up out of 12 races, including a sequence of 6 consecutive 2nds, many at big prices. I can't begin to tell you my complex emotions as each one of these bets crashed. Not all of them featured excruciating chinnings on the line, but this little run was enough to send me off to a pretty dark place....!
So those are the stats. But what about the horses?
Of the star names, Bob's Worth, Oscar Whisky and Rock On Ruby delivered the goods, but only the last named at a stand-out price. Too many others massively under-performed: Peddlers Cross, Captan Chris, Noble Prince, Realt Dubh....the list goes on. Also, too many no-shows. This is a perennial problem, of course, but it is such a shame that good prospects like Spirit Son, Recession Proof, Salden Licht, Mathew Riley, Quwetwo and others were not seen last season. Some have been retired.
Looking at the overly-represented novices and ex-bumper horses in the list, Ambion Wood stands out as a real class act. Victor Dartnell's very progressive staying hurdler managed 3 wins from 7 outings, ending the season slamming the fields of two ostensibly competitive handicaps from top weight. He'll be chasing next year. Swinging Sultan also acquitted himself well, although he ran in to some good ones, including Champion Bumper runner-up New Years Eve. It will be interesting to see where Reveley sends him next, having already dabbled with a flat campaign.
So now, with that off my chest, I'm ready for the flat season:
- Twenty To Follow picked, primed and plunging into negativity;
- Tote Ten To Follow selected and paid up: Frankel, Imperial Monarch, Born To Sea, Hoof It, Camelot, Fame and Glory, Maybe, Elusive Kate, So You Think, Immortal Verse. Can't lose, surely.
- Daily Telegraph QIPCO Champions Series competition entered and leagued up with the rest of the Atkinsons.
- Bets down for later today.