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  1. #1
    Senior Member Kevloaf's Avatar
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    What to learn from Cheltenham 2018 (with 2019 in mind)

    Today I've decided to do my analysis on this years festival (2018) in regards to my own punting. The National Hunt season has been over for a few weeks now and the flat season is up and running. I've waited a little longer than I did last year and I feel I am coming in with a fresh pair of eyes after an intense and thoroughly enjoyable festival (and season)!

    I will apologise in advance for anything that is not relevant, down-right boring or shamelessly after-timing!

    ...and please comment, criticize and ask questions... I know there are lots of areas to discuss and improve on, and I hope it helps some people too!

    So, taking the questions from the thread last year (can be found here... http://www.fatjockey.com/forum/showt...light=analysis )

    1. How did you get on?
    2. Will you all be continuing with ante post next year? / Will your approach change for 2019?
    3. How did the yankees/multiples/ lucky 15's/placepots etc do for all?
    4. What advice or lessons can be learnt from this year (ante post and/or on the day)
    5. Your biggest mistakes / The races/horses you got wrong
    6. Other points


    1. How did you get on?
    Really well! It was my best ever festival in terms of Profit and my Return On Investment (ROI) increased on last year too.

    2018 Cheltenham:
    Total Stake: 13,268.50
    Total Return: 16,781.99
    Total Profit: 3,513.49 (+351 pts) - ROI 26.48%

    Added to my historical Cheltenham results below:
    2018 - +351 pts (ROI 26.48%) - from 1326 pts staked
    2017 - +202 pts (ROI 19.59%) - from 1033 pts staked
    2016 - +147 pts (ROI 37.70%) - from 391 pts staked
    2015 - +84 pts (ROI 50.08%) - from 165 pts staked
    2014 - +41 pts (ROI 27.79%) - from 150 pts staked
    2013 - +8 pts (ROI 3.93%) - from 209 pts staked
    2012 - +20 pts (ROI 28.37%) - from 70 pts staked
    2011 - +8 pts (ROI 15.84%) - from 50 pts staked

    Last year I noted that my ROI had gone down on previous years because it was the first year (2017) that I'd backed multiple horses in every single race, so I am pleased to see that has grown this year with me taking the same approach.

    It is the 5th year in a row that I've beaten the previous year and as it shows in my staking, the last two years have been quite a significant increase (28% increase in stake this year than 2017's) and a massive 240% increase in stake since switching my punting approach to backing multiple horses in the same race.


    2. Will you all be continuing with ante post next year? / Will your approach change for 2019?
    I will absolutely be carrying on with ante-post for 2019 - I do believe it is harder than it used to be, however I do not believe ante-post punting is dead which I hear all too often. I think enough of us on here have proved that isn't the case.

    Fundamentally I won't be changing my approach. I toyed with the idea of 'laying' rather than 'arbing' after last years analysis but didn't follow up on it and I don't think I will for next season either. Part of the reason is financial (and not wanting to tie up large amounts) but there is another part and that is that I prefer the idea of backing a horse (or horses) to win, rather than backing something 'not to win'. Even though in theory, laying a horse to win is effectively backing 'all-the-other-horses' to win I just don't feel as obliged to do it long-term.

    There is plenty I got wrong, which will be mentioned in section 5, but the best example of my approach working this year was in the Arkle. Ended up being a 5 runner race I had them running at 25/1(and 16/1)Footpad, 16/1 Petit, 100/1 Saint Calv, 20/1 Brain Power and 100/1 (Robinshill) all each way. IT was a guaranteed profitable race and that includes 100 on Finian's Oscar as a (very public on here!) non runner.

    I had 2461 in non-runners this year, which was 18.54% of my total stake. That is down from 2643 in 2017 at 25.79% of the total stake. I do remember 2017 being a particularly hard year with non runners that I had backed, Faugheen and Min on the same day, Thistlecrack, Vautour, Annie Power, Getabird, Robin Roe and of course Rawnaq haha. This year obviously had a few disappointing ones, notably Fayonagh, If The Cap Fits and Willoughby Court as well as the self-inflicted Finian's Oscar - however on the whole I personally found it a 'luckier' year in terms of injuries. As I mentioned, I felt 2017 was particularly tough in that regard and expect this years to be more of a consistent figure. I'll be aiming for less than 20% non runners again which is somewhat out of my hands but does stop me from 'over-loading' in some cases and being crippled by an injury. There was only Buveur D'air this year that really would have wounded me pre-festival but that was more in terms of multiples than anything else. Which leads me nicely on to the next question...

    3. How did the yankees/multiples/ lucky 15's/placepots etc do for all?

    Staked 3727
    Returned 3068
    Profit -659 loss

    Non runners equated to 617 from multiples.

    Now I find this quite an interesting area because, on the face of it - I'd look at reducing my multiples next year however, I was only one horse away from picking up 4 or in some cases 5 figure sums from Apple's Jade, Finian's Oscar, Our Duke, Cause of Causes. Making a 659 loss when I was that close to winning with just those 4 isn't enough to make me change my approach in this sense. What the figures also don't reflect are how it can affect the need to back other horses and the returns I have in single races. For example, I only had Monalee in multiples for the RSA - however Buveur D'air had won, and so had Samcro by the time the RSA swung by, and Monalee would have been a 1200 return. In the end, I didn't need to put anything on him because of that, and he would have lost and therefore so would my stake. I'd backed Presenting Percy at 33/1 and that meant I was in a no-lose situation in the race. I find it hard to quantify exactly how 'worthwhile' this approach is, because it's difficult to know just how I would have acted if Buveur Da'ir hadn't won for example. Would I have had a big bet on Monalee? Probably not, but that is with quite a large dollop of hindsight.

    My best multiple ended up being, an each way trixie on Buveur D'air, Samcro and Finian's Oscar (JLT) in which only the first two won. I'd be interested in people's views on multiples especially and to see if anyone else has the same mindset or whether they'd "take a pull" for want of a better expression.


    4. What advice or lessons can be learnt from this year (ante post and/or on the day)

    One of the points I solidified for myself this year, was making sure I do back horses that are still value even when I already have a strong fancy or strong position. The highest profile example for me this year is Tiger Roll in the Cross Country. Some of you will possibly remember I was reluctant to back TR as I was on CoC at a bigger price, despite that being obvious for me in pretty much any other race. In the end I did the sensible thing and backing Tiger Roll which ended up being a decent return, and still made the race a profitable one despite my position on Cause of Causes. It won't be everyone's cup of tea and I appreciate that but I'm much more inclined to solidify my position than gamble the lot on an all-or-nothing.

    Last year I think my main 'take out' was to utilise the NRNB when a specific race would alter a target (The example was Sizing John at 33/1 pre Irish Gold Cup for the Cheltenham Gold Cup) .... if he ran well, he'd shorten, if he didn't, he wouldn't turn up in that race. I completely echo that again this year and although there were no stand outs as obvious as that this year, it was worth doing again and the one that springs to mind straight away is with Terrefort before he ran in the Sciliy Isles chase for the JLT... I backed him at 25/1 for the JLT NRNB and despite not really fancying him, he went off 3/1 fav and it put me in a great position in that race. He did place each way too which was a bonus and certainly wasn't any other way of profiting from him in my opinion. I've actually just thought of a better example (despite it not having a return) and that was Getabird for the Supreme. He was available at 16/1 and 10/1 NRNB for the Supreme before he won over 2 miles and I had a decent bet on that each way. Obviously I didn't collect however it made the Supreme less of a car-accident than it could have been, if I'd have had to back Getabird at a shorter price!

    If I had to pick out a new lesson this year, it is definitely to utilise the 'cash out' from Bet365. I managed to actually cash out for full stake on some horses that for whatever reason I no longer fancied at all. *It actually may be a significant factor in my reduced non runner amounts this year too, I didn't think of that earlier*, but it was really, really useful to have the option. In the main, cashing out isn't what I'd be looking to do. I did have that exciting looking E/W Lucky 15 that included Stay Humble, Apple's Shakira, Samcro and Cause of Causes. At one stage I could have cashed that out north of 800 I think before Stay Humble flopped. I was happy enough to let that ride at the time because of the massive potential return but it is definitely an area/angle I'll be considering in much more detail this time around. In hindsight, the amount I had potentially coming back for Cause of Causes was absolutely whopping and I could have cashed out at least 1000 worth after Altior had won, but I let them all ride. What I should have done is perhaps had a rule in my head before it happened, rather than getting caught up in the moment and decided to let it all ride out. No exact science here I suppose. One thing is for sure though, is that whilst 365 continue to offer the cash out for ante post bets at any point during the season will mean I am much more inclined to use them. For anyone who doesn't have an account I couldn't recommend it highly enough.


    5. Your biggest mistakes / The races/horses you got wrong
    Buckle up...this might be a LONG section.

    Day One -
    The Supreme. I know I'm not alone here!
    I had 978 staked on the Supreme this year. That is more than I staked for the entire 2011 or 2012 festival.
    With non-runners included I made a 137 loss on this race. 223 of non runners. (and 158 in NRNB that got returned) If I didn't include the non runners, I made 85 on the race, and had every horse backed for the second season in a row. Interesting, I actually think the injury to If The Cap Fits is the reason I struggled in this race. He was by far and away my best result from very early on, I had some nice prices about Getabird (as mentioned earlier) and a few others at big prices. It is impossible to know how ITCF would have performed, but I do know I would have been very UNLIKELY to have made a book in the race (and effectively locked in a loss!) The learning must be, that it is the second year in a row I've backed the winner, however made a net loss on the race.... I should NOT be making a book in the race. In fact, I've just looked at because of the injury to If The Cap Fits, I would have done LOADS better if I'd waiting for NRNB (or only backed horses NRNB)... I will struggle to stick to that due to my nature but that is certainly a consideration for me next year. I basically ended up with no decent value on any runner in the race that wasn't NRNB, despite firing 978's worth at it!

    Faugheen NRNB at 4/1 - Had 130 on that via Skybet as a request a bet and thought it was the bet of the season. He went off a bigger price on the day which I couldn't have contemplated at all when placing the bet after the Morgiana!

    Apple's Jade - My nap of the entire week. I could not see her beaten. I got incredibly lucky in the end that I had Benie Des Dieux at 4/1 in the without market, but it was small compensation for the doubles and trebles that I'd been lining up with Apple's Jade in. That really was a hammer blow to the week. It felt like Annie Power all over again for me, because I was more confident on her than I was Footpad or Buveur D'air beforehand but not even counting what she was rolling up, that treble alone was worth 1800 for me which would have been superb. Subsequently, she's been beaten again and I am not sure she'll ever be the horse she was. My love affair with her is over for the time-being!
    Mister Whitaker - Now this is one that got away, I had backed him at 20/1 NRNB in the Brown Plate and inexplicably, didn't back him when he scraped in at the bottom of the handicap for this race. The worst part is, I forgot that I hadn't, and was sure I had, so I cheered him on along with Rather Be who I had backed, before realising I hadn't placed the bet. Really, really gutted about that.

    Day Two -
    Cause of Causes - I wouldn't say I got Cause of Causes wrong, he clearly wasn't right on the day, didn't run his race, pulled up and was retired a week or so later... just was absolutely gutted because the day had been perfect up until then.
    The Bumper - My abysmal record goes on, I've literally still not had any single returns from the bumper since 2011. The positive is that I was aware of that so it was by far and away my smallest staking race of the entire week. After Hollowgraphic came out I just didn't go in again. Wouldn't have picked out the winner in 25 attempts!

    Day Three -
    Un De Sceaux - I was fortunate to have backed Balko Des Flos before the preview circuit shortened him to a ridiculous price, before he drifted out to a backable price on the day.... but Un De Sceaux is a horse I love and could not see ANY way he was beaten on the day of the race. I hadn't gone in very much ante post on UDS but I ended up backing him and I think he was my single worst loser of the week! AS I said, the race cutting up as it did, it was all green anyway but was still a very disappointing run. Most multiples I had that day went down and it stifled quite a bit that would have rolled on to Laurina.
    Penhill - Magnificently wrong - was quite vocal about him being a terrible price, that he would have to be superb to have won first time out and he duly obliged to make me look very silly. He was one of two horses I'd decided to completely ignore (the other being L'ami Serge) A 99 net loss for the race though including non runners which was poor considering I was so confident going in to the race. Not that you need hindsight for this, but Mullins can do anything and as soon as he was NRNB I should have backed it accordingly.

    Day Four -
    Albert Bartlett - I had some strong fancies in this race, notably two that didn't run! (Cracking Smart and Next Destination)... The only thing I did 'get right' was Santini not having enough experience to win the race and I am confident time will prove that is the case as he goes on to be a top class animal. I had 7 backed in the race and after Santini, the best of them was in 7th place! A poor race all around!
    I don't think I messed up or got anything too blindly obvious wrong but feel free to let me know if you think of anything!

    6. Other points

    Handicaps - I was 1084 up over the week in all the handicaps. Now I haven't recorded that information before specifically but quickly looked and its over double my profit from last year and I put down to excellent content from members of the forum more than anything else! We had some excellent cases made for horses like Blow By Blow, Mohaayed, The Storyteller, Delta Work, Coo Star Sivola and I am sure plenty more!

    Biggest single win ever - Was on Samcro in the Ballymore, over 1000 as a single is the most I've picked up ever without a multiple being involved. That was nice, special mention of FM who is the chairman of the Fat Jockey Forum Samcro Fanclub who was unequivocal about his prospects from very early on and defended him while I questioned his bumper form/style of win!
    Favourite day was Wednesday, as I expected it would be. Watching Altior well and truly put Min in his place will be a favourite memory of mine for many years to come, on the day that Samcro (mentioned above) and Presenting Percy both won was absolutely sensational. Cause of Causes could have made it the best day of my life but... there is always next year

    Changing my staking plan - Been considering this for a while now, but I might change my 1 point from being 10 to 25. (Meaning the minimum bet I'd likely place would be 12.50 each way) I won't be doing it during the flat season as I am not as successful punting on that code however from October it is a strong consideration. One of my 'worries' with that, is it may stop me having more speculative bets. For example, if I was going to have 5 e/w on something at 50/1 or bigger now, I wouldn't really think twice about it... whereas if that was going to be 25 in total, it may make me more selective. The problem is, I am not sure if that is a good or a bad thing at the moment. The old saying goes, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it..." which is also a consideration, as whatever I am doing is working so do I need to be changing? I'd be interested to know anyone's thoughts...

    Well done if you read all that in one go...

  2. #2
    Senior Member Istabraq's Avatar
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    Interesting Kev, thanks for sharing.
    I don't think you're the first to go overboard on the Supreme, excitement gets the better of us all at times, for me it was a race that confused me all year and I never had a strong view at any point so I avoided any big interests.

    Multiples are still the way forward, whilst a loss leader in your book there's always the dream they all cop.
    I had several big pick ups from doubles/trixies/yankees this year and if Rather Be or Mall Dini had edged ahead they would have converted several more for me, had they both won it would have been the jackpot for me but on the upside I still have a live Sky account !

    Two lessons I will take forward, and one you are responsible for, always make use of the free bet offers.
    I ended up with over 1k in free bets this year and one of those 50 free bets I used on a Coo Star Sivola/Penhill double, and the free weekly fivers can mount up too, I used a number of them on Auvergnat in the Cross Country and when I realised that one was never going to win I played several Buveur D'Air, Samcro, Altior trebles.

    The other lesson is avoid ante post on handicaps.
    There needs to be a massive overhaul of the UK handicapping system for the home team to be able to compete, handicaps have always been incredibly difficult to master and at Cheltenham this is multiplied but I will no longer waste time and effort studying form when what I should be doing is looking for staying handicappers who are tailed off in 2m events at Naas and Clonmel.

  3. #3
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    Interesting read, Kev. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Istabraq View Post
    The other lesson is avoid ante post on handicaps.
    There needs to be a massive overhaul of the UK handicapping system for the home team to be able to compete, handicaps have always been incredibly difficult to master and at Cheltenham this is multiplied but I will no longer waste time and effort studying form when what I should be doing is looking for staying handicappers who are tailed off in 2m events at Naas and Clonmel.
    I'm really confused about this claim.

    2018 Handicaps
    Ultima - Coo Star Sivola Rated 142
    Close Bros - Mr Whitaker 137
    Coral - Bleu Berry 143
    Fred Winter - Veneer Of Charm 129
    Pertemps - Delta Work 139
    Brown Plate - The Storyteller 147
    Kim Muir - Missed Approach 138
    County - Mohaayed 139
    M Pipe - Blow By Blow 144
    Grand Annual - Le Prezien 150

    Hurdles - Ireland 4 UK 1
    Chases - Ireland 1 UK 4

    The Pertemps winner's previous races were also over 3 miles at Leopardstown and Punchestown.

  4. #4
    Senior Member MrMcGoldrick's Avatar
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    Great post Kev, very generous to share that. If I'm honest it fell a long way short of my best Cheltenham, but I ended the week just over 1200.00 ahead, so not complaining.
    Two best results were an ante post 4 timer going onto several in the Gold cup, and an ew treble placed on the Tuesday morning on 3 Tom George runners, which paid 200/1 for the place. Lots of what I placed were ill conceived, and quite frankly done from boredom with the dull mid season fair offered around November and early Feb.
    Totally agree with the multis, there's always the chance of a jackpot and often a profit from 2 winners.

  5. #5
    Fair play kev - thanks for sharing

  6. #6
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    Kev, from your summary it seems to me that your main loss-making bets/races were on single figure prices. With the benefit of hindsight, are you tempted to just go for the big prices early on and wait for NRNB etc before taking the shorties?

    By some way, my best bets were the specials,
    Mullins, Elliott and Henderson to train 13 or more winners between them @ 10/1
    and
    Nicholls to train the winner of the Foxhunters @ 4/1

    My worst result was taking a nice price about Coo Star Sivola.....to win the Close Bros!
    Last edited by archie; 05-14-2018 at 12:47 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Istabraq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archie View Post
    Interesting read, Kev. Thanks



    I'm really confused about this claim.

    2018 Handicaps
    Ultima - Coo Star Sivola Rated 142
    Close Bros - Mr Whitaker 137
    Coral - Bleu Berry 143
    Fred Winter - Veneer Of Charm 129
    Pertemps - Delta Work 139
    Brown Plate - The Storyteller 147
    Kim Muir - Missed Approach 138
    County - Mohaayed 139
    M Pipe - Blow By Blow 144
    Grand Annual - Le Prezien 150

    Hurdles - Ireland 4 UK 1
    Chases - Ireland 1 UK 4

    The Pertemps winner's previous races were also over 3 miles at Leopardstown and Punchestown.
    I think the trend has been there for a while archie and my comment is based more on results in the past few renewals, the 5-5 outcome this year is probably as well as UK horses have fared for some time though this comment is not based on facts to hand.....

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    Facts to hand:

    2014
    Hurdles - Ireland 1 UK 4
    Chases (incl XC) - Ireland 2 UK 4
    Total - Ireland 3 UK 8

    2015
    Hurdles - Ireland 2 UK 3
    Chases - Ireland 0 UK 5
    Total - Ireland 2 UK 8

    2016
    Hurdles - Ireland 2 UK 3
    Chases - Ireland 2 UK 3
    Total - Ireland 4 UK 6

    2017
    Hurdles - Ireland 4 UK 1
    Chases - Ireland 3 UK 2
    Total - Ireland 7 UK 3

    Historically, it seems that the handicapper was getting tougher and tougher on the Irish and made an effort to correct this in 2016 and 2017 which went too far. Maybe now he's got the balance right.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Istabraq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by archie View Post
    Facts to hand:
    That's me told !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Istabraq View Post
    That's me told !!!


    Didn't mean it to sound too abrupt, Isty, so apologies if it sounded like that. To be fair, last year there was a fair amount of whingeing from UK trainers like Nicholls who had previously been able to farm the handicaps so you did have recency on your side.

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