July Summary

Thankfully, I've reached the end of what must rank as my worst trading month since I started this malarkey.

After the glimmers of promise shown last month in the pre-race horse markets, I felt it important that I continue to devote much of my time to explore the possibilities. As regular readers will be aware, and as shown below, it proved to be a fruitless exercise.

Listed below are the totals for each market/sport I got involved in throughout the month:

Greyhounds... £218.68
Horses... -£95.02
Cricket... -£20.69

All year I have wanted to expand my portfolio of markets and get away from my dependence on the greyhounds. Not that the dogs haven't been good to me, but in order to achieve £400-£600 on the dogs, I have frequently found myself spending 8-10 hours/day earning pennies each race. It's not an efficient way of spending my time.

Making a concerted effort on the horses was the obvious first step, but now, I find myself thanking my lucky stars for the dogs.

My frustrations with the horse markets have been well documented over recent times. I could probably list a whole range of things that might be the problem. The bottom line is that I keep entering the market at the wrong time and/or point. As a result, I find myself on the back foot at the beginning of virtually every trade.

I do not think there's any doubt that I have had great difficulty adjusting my trading styles from the greyhounds to the horses. I'm simply not used to opening a trade 10 minutes before the off and waiting more than 15 secs to be matched and trade out again. As a result, I have been, and continue to be, completely fooled by the short term fluctuations in the market.

I have felt all month that it may be best for me, once I've opened a trade, to walk away from the computer and not come back for 3-4 mins. Indeed, to this end, I've been paper trialling the idea of backing runners earlier in the morning with a view to trading out just before the off. It has shown promise, but there's lots more monitoring to do.

In the meantime, I feel it is time to move on. I really have not enjoyed this month at all. So a more permanent return to the greyhounds is on the cards.

Over the past six months I have lost focus on why I started trading in the first place. I said very early on that achieving £400/month would make a big difference, and it has. But as I've consistently exceeded that, I've found myself dreaming of much more. I don't think the greyhounds will provide that, which is why I wanted to explore other areas. Perhaps I need to get back to what I'm good at and accept that my profit levels may be limited.

If nothing else, I need to get back to the position where I am actually enjoying my trading again. Scalping/swing trading the horse win markets 10 mins before the off simply wasn't doing that for me. Unfortunately, the lure of these markets is hard to resist.

I'll try my best though.

Profit At Last

Having taken a few days off after virtually wiping out what profit I had made this month, I decided to keep well clear of those foul smelling beast and return to what has been fertile ground for me since last September.

The greyhound markets before the the main horse racing starts continue to have good money in them and I was able to make £30 in the morning session. A very welcome profit after recent trading efforts.

I returned in the evening, hoping to get myself through the £40 barrier. I nearly made it, but, having got myself within a few pence of that goal, I made a mess of the last race I traded and lost over £6, which was rather disappointing.

I traded 52 markets today and made £33, though losing £21 over seven races was rather poor. An average losing trade of £3 is disappointing compared to the average win of £1.20. Having said that, given the thinness of these markets, it's not surprising.

So, all in all, a satisfactory day which I hope to build on during what is left of this month.

Easy Come, Easy Go

I seem determined to avoid making any money at all this month.

After yesterday's poor performance, I stayed away from trading for much of the day. I tinkered in the place markets early on, but soon got bored and spent the afternoon washing the car.

I didn't return until well after 4:00, just in time to find myself catching a fair bit of the substantial move on 'Secret Millionaire' in the 4:50. It's amazing what a decent swing trade can do for the morale. Nearly £22 better off, I felt a lot happier than I had yesterday evening, that's for sure.

As so often is the case with my horse trading though, it was short lived. I lost £6 three races later, but worse was to come when I came back for the evening races.

The 7:00 at York saw me lose nearly £40 when I got caught by a sudden reversal that took with it, not only my back stake that I had placed ahead of the market in an attempt to get matched, but the stake I had failed to cancel a few ticks higher up. So I wound up with twice as much money in the market than I intended and the market racing away in the wrong direction.

Time to switch off and watch the TV. It's a stupid bloody pastime anyway.

Ouch!

Yesterday evening's sudden and dramatic loss of profit was simply a precursor to today's efforts. I couldn't read a comic today, far less the pre-race horse markets.

I traded in 19 races today and lost 8 of them at a cost of £78.23, with the evening racing being particularly bad. I threw away over £36 in a 20 min spell starting at 7:00 ending with a £20 loss in the 7:20. At this point, I threw the toys out of the pram having cut my running total for the month by nearly 60%.

In the end, I came away with a loss of £56 for the day and the worst set of trades I can remember.

Late Evening Madness

Apologies for the lack of updates recently. I seem to have so many other things on the go at the moment that my daily blog updates are taking a bit of a hit.

I managed to do a bit of trading yesterday evening after returning from my weekly trip to a client. As it was, it turned into a good evening with a little profit on the dogs and even more profit from the horses of all things. Indeed, I got involved in 10 races and didn't lose any. If only it were always that simple.

This morning I spent an hour on the greyhounds, but I found that my software was somewhat 'sticky' in submitting bets, so I stopped with only £7 on the board.

Buoyed by my success on the horses last night, I did a bit more trading on the horses while carrying on with my paper trial.

I had the occasional screw up, but I also had some really good trades as well. By the end of the afternoon session, I was £14 up. Things were looking even rosier when I started off my evening trading with a £10 profit.

With help and encouragement from Steve, a frequent chat room visitor, I've been working very hard at trying to get my entry points correct, as well as holding my nerve when the market turns temporarily against me. This has, in the main been working well, though I'm the first to admit there's a heck of a long way to go.

Today was probably the most successful example of that work. Up until the 7:40, I was £36 up for the day and looking to make £50 for the first time for a while. Unfortunately, I then had a 30min, 3 race spell where I completely lost the plot - as well as my horse racing profit!

Since I'm sure you've all been missing my P&L graphs, here's one I prepared earlier...


So, after a very promising day, half an hour of madness late in the evening session has left me with £4 to show for my efforts today.

Better than a loss I suppose.

A Difficult Day

With an all red position in the 2nd Ashes Test, today was always going to start off on the back foot. Although there had been enough fluctuations in price since my last update to enable me to limit, if not totally recover my position on the cricket, I was unwilling to commit more money to a market I was unsure of. In any case, I wasn't around on Sunday when the opportunity arose. I had taken the decision earlier to take the hit, so I was down £25 at the start of play today.

I pulled a fair portion of that back thanks to the greyhounds, though a couple of stupid mistakes later in the day halved my profit from the dogs.

As I've mentioned before, I'm currently paper trialling something that I hope will provide a different method of tackling the horses. One of the problems with such an exercise is boredom. As a result, over the past few days, I've been trading the horses in between my monitoring.

I've been religiously sticking to higher priced runners, primarily between odds of 8.0 and 12.0, using twice as much money but looking for less ticks. This has been working quite well having profited 4 days in a row. Today's performance put an end to that.

I was caught very badly in two of the first three races I attempted, quickly finding myself £20 down. Although I got a little back, I never really recovered from that poor start and wound up losing £15 on the nags.

Given that I normally see a client on a Monday, it's unusual for me to be trading Monday markets. Starting the week some £31 down wasn't part of the plan.

Jiminy Cricket

I've had a little nibble on the cricket in the past, the most recent being a £4.50 win on trading Australia in the 1st test of the current Ashes series. Today though, I felt a little more adventurous.

Studying the various forums I frequent, the general consensus of opinion was leaning strongly towards another draw in the 2nd test - and certainly not an England win - particularly with the weather forecast to deteriorate. Due to my extended and enforced lie-in yesterday, I missed the opportunity I had intended to catch, namely laying the opening bowling team.

Having had a reasonable innings yesterday, England's odds had dropped to a level where I was happy to lay them this morning. I stuck £50 on at odds of 3.70 and waiting for them to drift as the Aussie's set about the batting. I could have traded out for a greened up profit of £4.50, but I was looking for £10-£15 so I hung on.

No sooner had I taken that decision and the first wicket was taken, quickly followed by the second and with it, my stop loss, configured to trade out at a loss of £25, was fired and I was all red.

England drifted again to around 4.5 before taking a few more wickets and are now sitting around the 1.5 mark as I type this.

In my view, not that I am in any way a cricket expert, the Aussie's are unlikely to bat so poorly for a second time, even if they are forced to follow on, so I'm thinking of laying England again in the hope that if the Aussie's cannot deliver, then the weather will. Even an Australian stand of a couple of hours will cause England's price to drift so that I can at least reduce my liability.

I'll sleep on it tonight and decide in the morning, assuming I can crawl out of bed in time!

Losing £25 on the cricket is not a major disaster. Indeed, I'm even considering just taking the hit as I've covered that loss with today's performance on the dogs and the nags. Yes, I won some money on the horses! Will wonders never cease?

I've been paper trialling something this past week, but I always get bored doing such things. As a result, I've been tinkering with my pre-race trading and actually getting somewhere. I'm very aware of having said that before, so I'm not getting that excited. I did however, make over £22 today losing only one race - for the grand sum of £0.01. I traded 17 races, scratching 8 of them.

I also made £14 on the greyhounds in the morning, so a reasonable day trading the pre-race markets which makes the hit on the cricket, if I decide to take it, a little more palatable.

It's The Thought That Counts?

Well, after declaring my intentions yesterday regarding the Open Championship, I didn't get involved.

I was ill throughout the night and didn't place my opening lay on Tiger Woods. I didn't wake up until around lunchtime by which point he had drifted out to 7.0 having traded at 3.0 earlier in the day. Having missed the boat, I spent the day ruing a missed opportunity.

Still, I take a little solace in getting the play correct, even if I didn't profit from it. It all helps to build the confidence.

I did manage to make a few pounds on the dogs this afternoon while I continued paper trialling something on the horses. The dogs markets were pretty dead though, so I didn't push my luck too much.

Plodding Along

Not a huge amount to update the blog with. I've been busy paper trialling something on the horses and nibbling away at the greyhounds when I've had the time. Thankfully, this has enabled me to put a small amount of cash on the board, though, as I said in an early post, I'm effectively writing July off. I'm continuing to trade, but it is very much low key at the moment.

During quiet spells, I've started to think about other sports and how to trade them. Doing so will be completely different from what I'm used to. I'll have to develop an opinion! With pre-race trading, whether it be dogs or horses, I'm watching the numbers bounce up and down the ladder. I don't trade based on any preconception of an animal's likelihood of winning.

With two major events on this weekend, the Ashes 2nd Test and of course, the 2009 Open Golf Championship, I have found my mind wandering to these markets.

I've only dabbled in cricket before, but having spent a watching brief during the last test, I was encouraged by the possibilities. Similarly, during The US Masters, the swings to be traded were quite terrific. One only needs to get the opening position correct. Easier said than done of course.

I haven't thought too much about the cricket tomorrow. I am a Scot after all. Where would I start? I'll spend sometime browsing forums on that one and see if I can glean any information from them.

I have been thinking about the golf though. While the idea of placing a number of smallish trades on a few outsiders appeals, I cannot help but be drawn to a certain Tiger Woods.

Surely his price is too short? At the time of writing, he has an implied probability for winning the tournament of 28%. His nearest rival, out of all the competitors taking part has a 3% chance of winning the tournament - according to the market.

Now I agree, Tiger is a terrific player, but I cannot believe that he is so much better than everyone else. Given the fact that not that long ago he underwent major knee surgery, is he really back to his best? This, combined with the vagaries of the Scottish weather, which can reduce the best to tears, means that I cannot believe his price will not drift significantly at some time during the tournament.

The weather is set to worsen as the tournament progresses, with the wind picking up significantly towards Sunday. This in itself should make for an interesting final round. Thursday though, is likely to be the better day and with Tiger teeing off just after 9am, he may well get off to a flying start.

In addition to this, I think the average golfing punters are automatically expecting Tiger to win, which is forcing his price to be lower than it really should be.

With all this in mind, I'm looking at doing the following:

If, I can get a lay @ 3.5 before the competition starts, I'll take it. Then I'll monitor the odds during Tiger's round. I suspect he will shorten in-play during his first round. I'll see how short his odds go and decide whether I will lay him again.

This should be interesting as it the first golf trade I will have attempted.

The Rewards Of Trading

I mentioned a while ago that I'd ordered a new car. Well here it is, the Seat 'Shizz' Sports Coupe in candy white and all paid for, in the main, by my trading exploits over the past 17 months or so - with a little help from Her Majesty's Government and their scrappage scheme.

It's a bit different from the Peugeot 406 I've had for the past ten years. Much smaller, both physically and in engine size. That was a deliberate ploy on my part. Downsize in order to cut running costs. Besides, I have no need for a large family car anymore, so a small hatchback was the way to go.

I picked it up late Monday afternoon and, if it hadn't been for visiting a client today, I would've spent much of the day touring around the Scottish countryside just to get used to it. Some of the controls are damn complicated. It will take ages getting used to the trip computer settings - what happened to a simple odometer?

Anyway, thanks to all the Betfair/Betdaq users who have contributed to my new wheels. It is much appreciated.

Next on the list is a new kitchen.

Admitting Defeat

At what point should one admit that something isn't working? How long does it take for something to become a self evident waste of time?

Personally, I'm quickly approaching that place. Scratch that! I'm there already.

It is three weeks now since I proudly posted my best ever day on the pre-race horse markets. Three weeks since I declared that, finally, there may be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. I'm afraid to say that that was something of a false dawn.

In those three weeks I have yo-yo'd (is that a word?) between profitable day and losing day. The result is, I've lost £25 in that time. The loss itself is unimportant, it's the marked lack of progress in that time that is getting me down. The past three weeks has been like swimming through treacle - not that I have ever indulged in that particular pastime, but I'm sure you get the right impression.

Trading the win markets in the last ten minutes before the off is just not working for me. I've tried using graphs, taking note of support and resistance points, but I'm just not getting it on a consistent basis. As a result, I am not enjoying the process at all and, I believe, that then instills a dangerous mindset. Consequently, I'm going to give the pre-race markets a rest for a while and look at other aspects of trading the nags.

I'm still trying to find an angle in the horse markets that will work for me. What that is, or will be, I have no idea at this stage. I'm going to embark on a paper exercise for a while and effectively write off the rest of July.

I'll have a little dabble in the greyhound markets when the mood takes me, but for the moment, the pre-race win markets are out of bounds. I'll still be around updating the blog as normal, as well as being available in the chat room during most afternoons.

Windoze Pains

I've just spent much of this evening repairing a friend's computer so that he could get access to his family photographs. What should have taken 30 mins turned into a 3 hr marathon. And people wonder why I use Linux!

Anyway, at least today's trading was a big improvement on recent days/weeks.

My struggles with the geegees are well documented throughout this blog and have been some cause for concern. So much so, that I decided over the weekend, to spend more time on what I'm good at, the dogs, while still tackling the horses in the afternoon/evenings. This worked well for me today, with a £30 profit on the mutts.

The horses however, did not get off to a good start. I had a couple of very small wins in the first two races I traded. The third though, the 2:20, saw me go into major panic mode and lose over £12. This happens all to often with me and is very irritating, particularly as, nine times out of ten, a while later the price comes back to my original position or beyond.

When this happened again today, it knocked my back a bit and I became very reluctant to get involved in any markets and seriously thought of packing it in for the day. It wasn't until nearly 4:00pm that I started putting in some decent trades.

All in all, I traded 24 horse races today, losing only 4 of them at a cost of £19.10. My reticence after that initial loss turned out to be a good thing as it gave me a chance to think about what I was trying to do and how I was going about it. At least I didn't go charging off trying to chase losses.

In the end, I came away with a profit of just over £23 on the nags, giving me a total for the day of over £53. The best day I have had for some time. More importantly, it brings me into profit for the month for the first time.

I confess, I was beginning to get worried particularly as I've let some excellent opportunities pass by recently. Specifically, failing to lay Andy Murray when I said I would, and today, failing to take the advice on the first Ashes test. It's a funny thing, confidence.

No Further Forward

I didn't expect to be trading tonight, but I got home earlier than expected. My mini break didn't do me any good if this evening's efforts were anything to go by.

I kicked off with a £6 loss in the 6:30 and quickly followed it with a £14 loss in the 6:40. Another 10 races later, I found myself down over £27 having lost 5 of the 12 races I had participated in.

I am clearly still not getting my entry and exit points correct. I'm still unable to hold on to a position when the market turns against me and getting out far too early when it is in my favour. As a result, I'm coming away with losing races when, with a bit of patience (not to mention nerve), I'd at least scratch them.

In addition, whilst the number of losing races is a concern, it is the size of those losses that is really killing me. In recent weeks, my average loss is significantly bigger than my average win. Not good.

While I've had the odd good day trading the nags, it still isn't 'clicking' for me. I haven't had that eureka moment of discovering something that works for me on a consistent basis. I find myself going through the motions, almost blindly, hoping that something will suddenly fall into place. Not yet though.

There's always tomorrow....

AWOL

Sorry for lack of updates. I haven't been trading this weekend as I spent the past two days at the British Superbikes meeting at my local motor racing circuit, Knockhill.


I did do some trading on Friday where I managed to get myself in profit to the tune of £34, split more or less 50:50 between dogs and horses. The nags still remain pretty erratic though.

Not much trading over the next couple of days due to other commitments so I probably won't be back in the saddle until Wednesday, or possibly Thursday.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the trouble to comment in recent days. Apologies for not responding. I simply haven't had the time. I'll endeavour to do so, later in the week.

Conspiracy Theory

Isn't it strange when things don't seem to be going right in life, everything seems to conspire against you?

I had one of those moments today that meant I came away with a very unwelcome loss, despite my trading being in profit.

I spend a couple of hours this morning trading the greyhounds. This went very well and, as I traded the 13:44 before switching to the horses, I was in profit for the day to the tune of £23. At this point, I opened another trade by backing 'Dans Your Man' looking for a couple of ticks in the last 30secs before the off.

No sooner had my finger lifted off the mouse button and my broadband connection went down. I was left unable to cancel the bet, or even confirm if it had been matched or not. Twenty minutes later it was back up and I was able to confirm that it indeed had been matched. You won't be surprised to learn that Dan certainly wasn't my man and I had lost £48 and I was over £25 down on the day, even though my dog trading had been really good.

That of course put me on the back foot, and with my horse trading being so erratic of late, I wasn't holding out any hope of recovering it. Sure enough, I had had some really good trades but, true to form, I had some really bad ones.

To cut a long story short, I lost £8 on the horses which left me with a £33 deficit for the day. Obviously, the poor horse trading didn't help, but the damage was done by that broadband failure.

Funny the timing of these things. Literally one second later and I wouldn't have been able to submit the bet. The risk we take I suppose.

Not The Best Of Starts

July kicks of with a loser, which, given my recent trend of alternating between profit and loss, might have been expected.

Quit frankly, my horse trading today was appalling. Up to 3pm, I'd done 5 races, scratching two and losing the others. The last of these was £13 at which point I switched off my computer and went for a long walk.

Thanks to some greyhound trading in the morning, I was only £4 down, but it was clear to me that things weren't going for me on the horses so I thought it wise to stop.

I returned for the evening session and kicked off with a £10+ win, followed by another £1 or so in the next. Having more or less recovered my horse racing losses from earlier in the day, things were looking up. Unfortunately, I then embarked on a 4 race losing run that saw me saying goodbye to £3.00, £10.57, £10.04 and £10.35! So off went the computer again.

As I've said many times during this journey, I'm trying to swing trade, yet everytime, I jump ship like a scalper. In each of those big losses, I place my opening bet and the market immediately reversed. I panicked, bailed out for a 1-3 tick loss only for the market to turn and go past my original position. In one case, my initial entry point was a back @ 2.98. The price eventually fell to 2.58, yet I end up with a huge loss. It is so damned frustrating.

I'm getting the move right, but, at the moment, I don't seem to be able to find the courage of my convictions and hold on for another 60 secs to let that swing develop. It is costing me dear. Having said that, Sod's Law dictates that when I do bite my lip and hold on, the damn thing keeps heading south.

Even if I abandoned the idea of trying to swing trade, and resorted to scalping, I'd end up losing because, in effect, that is what I'm doing at the moment - scalping (and losing).

This is something that I am going to have to live with whilst I try and develop the experience and confidence to believe in myself and my assessment of the markets. It sure is disappointing to get the decent moves correct so often, yet still end up losing on them.

I'm also a little concerned that my approach to the pre-race markets is scattergun like and random. That eureka moment hasn't come as yet and shows no sign of doing so anytime soon. I know, and have read, that most pre-race traders take 12 months before things really start to click consistently. I must take my hat of to them for sticking with it as I'm finding this perpetual roller coaster ride no fun at all.

I did come back for the last two races of the day and lost the first but had a decent return on the last to reduce my overall losses on the nags today to just under £30. Ouch! Fortunately, some additional greyhound trading in the evening saw me end up with an overall loss on the day of just under £15.

So, a bit of damage limitation today and I'll soon get that small loss back. It doesn't get away from the fact that I hate posting negative numbers.