From Spectre on our Forum
Each year I try to find a UK handicap horse that’s gone under the radar while everyone is focusing on the Irish plot horses. In the past I’ve had some fairly substantial wins by chipping away at the prices in this way. Fortunately over the last few years the plunge horse has hit more than missed. Admittedly placing more than winning, but the wins have been substantial, and the bet has been nicely profitable, and on a rolling basis it is substantially ahead. There have been reversals and the odd one doesn’t make it the Festival so there is a health warning too. There are no certs in this game. NRNB does help and I would recommend using that concession, and also only betting with sums that are affordable. There are never any guarantees. There’s a long way to go between now and the Festival, and on the day there are several fences or hurdles between the tapes and the finishing line.
Most of you already know the story of how all this came about, but for the benefit for any new members that don’t, the first big win I had doing this was on Ferdy Murphy’s Naiad du Misselot in the Coral Cup in 2008, when he returned a whopping 2700 points. There’s a story on a thread here somewhere of my friendship with Ferdy, and how I came to make the selection, and why I backed him in the away I did#. I won’t repeat it now, but I’ll try and find it and refresh the thread if I can find it. Anyway the short version is he was the first horse that set me on the path of finding a single bullet horse each year (hence the name of the thread), and he still remains my biggest single horse Festival winner. There have been other very nice winners too since then that have got close to the original win, and also several horses that have placed that made between 100 and 400 point returns, but I’ve never managed to beat the original ‘Naiad’ win. Largely because the markets move so quickly now, and it’s become harder and harder to get decent sums down. I’m currently at around 50% of the original Naiad return on this years selection, and at best now because of various restrictions and limitations I’ll find it difficult to get close to the return I want. But now the entries are out and I know the intention is for him to run, it’s time to go public.
So why am I saying this? Whilst it always feels good to remember the big winners, I’m not saying it to aftertime, I’m saying it to make what I think is a relevant point to consider in terms of Festival betting strategy. Think of it this way. Most of us have bets in all 28 races, or at least close to, and we try to spread our risk to keep our interest. We also like to do life-changer multiples that can require several big price horses to hit in the right combinations, when surely it’s easier to just find one. How often do the big price multiples happen? How many stories are there each year on here of multiples bringing 20k plus wins? Not many, but they do hit. The percentage of wins overall is very very small though, and don’t forget there are some seriously knowledgeable people here and elsewhere that attempt to pull off those big wins. But they just don’t happen very often. So instead why not invest just a percentage of the amount you’d invest in multiples on just one horse. If you’re going to pull off a big one there is a significantly better chance of doing so by picking out a single horse and focusing on it at the right price? And doing it now eliminates 46 weeks of antepost risk, and therefore can make a big difference to your overall result? More specifically it’s easier to have a single horse that can really make your Festival, rather than 10’s or 100’s. Think of it this way, we’re all very good at finding and playing the value in the antepost markets, and applying that principle to the handicaps at bigger prices, and before the markets form and mature, must be an opportunity worth considering.
The first year we started the ‘The Naiad’ with Fat Jockey was 2021, and a lot of people joined in the forum plunge with Happygolucky in the Ultima. We backed him down from 33/1 to 100/30 favourite on the day, and we were all seriously unlucky with him hitting the crossbar in second place. But nevertheless the place money was substantial because of the big prices we had, and from my own perspective I continued to back him until he hit 7/1. Anyway he was a very significant and profitable player in our books despite finishing second. Perhaps if he’d jumped like he did when winning later at the Aintree Grand National meeting we could have landed the really big money, but it wasn’t to be.
Last year’s ‘Naiad’ Galahad Quest didn’t run, and with no runner no bet no harm was done. It was hard to find a replacement because we were close to the Festival and much of the value had already gone from the markets. But I did later recommend Tea Clipper initially at 33/1 as a replacement, and we picked up some really good place money when he finished fourth. The reality was that I couldn’t put him up as a Naiad though because that ship had already sailed.
Either way though we’ve had two profitable years, and hopefully this year we’ll nail the big one at a decent price. The markets are very quick to react to money, results, tipsters, tweets, and even Fat Jockey, and as such there is a strong possibility that the price on this season’s ‘Naiad’ will go. So now I’ve got my opening position on it feels like I need to get on with it, and therefore it’s time to invite you to join in if you want to. Obviously there are no cast iron guarantees with the result, but as always there is some science behind the selection, and we will definitely be on at the right price, as I expect the chosen horse to go off at single figures rather than the much bigger price I’ll be advising it at.
The plan is to do a Live Podcast tomorrow evening at 7.30pm, Wednesday 22nd February, and hopefully you guys will come and join the fun.
The intention is that we get our accounts ready and all hit the button on ‘The Naiad’ at the same time to ensure we all get on before the price completely goes. I expect said horse to go off at single figures anyway, so we can all ensure we have the much bigger prices available now. Clearly with today being entry day there is some risk to the price being nibbled at anyway, but I think this is a horse that’s going to go off at the 5/1-6/1 mark, so we’ll definitely have the value, and even if there’s money between now and 7.30 tomorrow evening I’ll still be selecting him because I believe he wins.
There’s no necessity to back the selection at all if you don’t want to of course. I’ll make the case and you can make your mind up. You may fundamentally disagree with my selection. But perhaps there’s no harm having just a small each way bet to join us in what would be a Fat Jockey ‘Curelyesque Betting Coup’ if it comes off. Hopefully we’ll hit one or two of the bookies hard, and give them a noticeable liability on this years selected Naiad.