July 2010 Summary

Only my second losing month since I started this lark back in Feb 2008. Only £45 mind you so hardly a major disaster.

It was a frustratingly poor pre-race horse trading that did it for me, where I struggled all month to get going. There may be a number of reasons for that, but it all boils down to a decreasing level of confidence as the frustration set in.

Psychologically, I may have struggled after my staking levels hit £50 at the end of last month. Why that would be the case compared to using £45 for the few weeks before that, I have no idea. Even though I wasn't getting anywhere, I recognised that the mental barrier that this level may have created could be an issue, so rather than decrease my stakes I decided to weather the storm. Unfortunately, that didn't work.

In addition, I was caught out numerous times by the now infamous 'mad bomber'. As you know, I tend to look for runners that are about to steam, so when he is around, I welcome it as the prices frequently come in 5-10 when he gets involved. When he is consistent, it can be like taking candy from a baby.

For example, he frequently chucks his cash on the favourite with only 30 seconds to go before the off. If you place a back bet before that, the rewards can be significant.

Unfortunately for me, I've found him very inconsistent this month. Specifically, he would concentrate on the favourite say, then, in the next race, suddenly switch to another runner. As a result, the prices on the other runners would shoot out as the market rebalanced itself against the runner he just took in. That's how I usually got caught.

The random, unpredictable nature of this behaviour, coupled with my poor trading anyway, saw me slowly descend into scalping mode and away from the swing trading I prefer, in order to try and protect some profit. As I've mentioned many times in this blog, scalping the horse markets is something I'm just not good at. I'm continually confused and fooled into an early exit by the 'noise' in the market.

Come the second half of the month and after suffering a 9 day losing run, I put a stop to my trading and concentrated on the laying system I've been paper trialling for the past two months. More of which later.

I'll be getting back to the pre-race trading in August, but I'm going to run a trial to small stakes in an attempt to get me out of the scalping mindset that I have fallen in to and I'm utterly hopeless at. In essence, I'm still going to be identifying steamers but I'll be placing my back bet 4-5 minutes before the off and leaving it there, come what may until the last minute.

I've often wondered about doing this as I frequently find that the market comes back, and past, my entry point after I've hedged for a loss. The experiment has more to do with sorting out my psychology than any financial targets. As such, I've abandoned my long standing target of achieving £50/day by the end of the summer. It is clear that that is never going to happen until I get myself sorted.

These trades will only take place on races in which I do not have a laying interest, simply to keep the two separate.

On to the laying system I've been trialling since 25th May...

Although on paper, this lay system has seen a profit of some 130 points this month, I didn't start putting money on it for real until just over a week go. During this time it has achieved a profit of 18.53 points, which I'm more than happy with. It is such a pity I started this just before the Goodwood festival started.

Looking back over the results, it is interesting how some courses have a particularly poor record. This week's Glorious Goodwood meeting is a case in point. I had a lay interest in six of the races this week, and managed to find the winner in every one of them! Unbelievable!

I also had potential picks in the last race of the meeting but was by now so nervous of getting involved that I left it. Needless to say, I would've actually won some money in that one! Not to worry. I still wound up with a profit on the day which is all that matters.

I will continue with the live trial to small stakes during August and record the performance in the sidebar to the right.

Speaking of trials, August will become a month of experimentation as I have an number of ideas that I want to explore. I've already mentioned the trading trial. I'll also be continuing the Home Selection Trial that you can find on the forum. This was started at the tale end of last season and, apart from the odd match, has remained pretty stagnant during the summer.

Keep an eye out for others appearing in the forum as and when I get organised.

I'm also wanting to speed things up and reduce the amount of time I am spending analysing data and placing bets. High on the agenda is the extraction of results data from the TimeForm website so that I can stick it in a spreadsheet. I had thought I'd be able to simply write some PHP scripts, but it appears it is a lot more involved than that. Unfortunately, I can hardly be described as a good programmer so I may very well be out of my depth having bitten off more than I can chew.

I've posted a request for some assistance on the BF developers forum, but no responses as yet. If you are able to point me in the direction of manuals, scripts and useful reading material it would be much appreciated.

Ultimately, it would be great if I could develop a script to pull out the TimeForm data, analyse it and if a suitable candidate is found, automatically place the bet via the free API. Whether that ever happens is somewhat doubtful at the moment, but it would be terrific if I could get there.

Finally, as ever, thanks for all the comments and feedback and spending the time to read my ramblings. Much appreciated.


Mike said...

You have my sympathies on the laying front - I laid 23 horses between 22nd June to 17th July and ten of them won! This included streaks of three and four consecutive 'wins'...c'est la vie I suppose!

PhilipH said...

Playing 'the bookie', i.e. laying, I found far more stressful than just having a punt. Don't know why but I always found my heart racing a lot faster when the nag I'd laid came with a smooth run and got up by a neck or something.

Doesn't make any sense of course but I much prefer being the punter and not the bookie.

Are you going to divulge your lay system/method? Or is this going to be kept close to your chest Ali?

Alistair said...

It will remain close to my chest Phil.

The method of selection and the staking is known only to me and A N Other, who was kind enough to help me with the data gathering and analysis.