Month: March 2021

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RACING: New highs for Bet Alchemist and Racing Service 1.

After a slow start to the year the racing tipsters have largely run into some strong form.  Cheltenham proved to be the catalyst, as I had hoped it might.  We’ve covered the sterling performance of Northern Monkey at the Festival but it should be noted that Racing Service 1 didn’t let us down, either.  Although Bet Alchemist didn’t generate too much during the four days, its form just prior and since has been good with a regular supply of decent priced winners.

As a result, both Bet Alchemist and RS1 have hit new profit highs for the year to date, as has the racing section as a whole.  From running along in negative territory for much of the first three months of the year, the ROI now stands at a very decent 16.9%.  It just goes to show how quickly things can turn around.

Such a reversal in fortune would be much appreciated by Precision Value whose form feels typified by the number of second places its currently hitting – three, only yesterday!  As a rule, the horses PV are tipping are running well enough, but not quite well enough to get in front when the line arrives.  No doubt at some point this trend will reverse and we’ll get a prolific run of winners, many of them prevailing by heads and short heads.  We’re certainly due.

It all means as we hit the end of Month 3, that overall the portfolio is running at an ROI of 18.28%.  I’d take that, any day of the week!


Bet Alchemist (100pts): Staked 99pts, +24.135pts, roi 24.37%, roc 24.13%, High: 22.385pts, CDD: 0pts, Max DD: -9pts.

Northern Monkey Punter (100): Staked 133.75pts, +22.977pts, roi 17.17%, roc 22.97%, High: 27.874pts, CDD: -4.897pts, Max DD: -27.028pts

Precision Value (200):  Staked 210pts, -14.012pts, roi -6.67%, roc -7%, High: 5.989pts, CDD: -20.001pts, Max DD: -24.834pts.

Racing Service 1 (50): Staked 22.5pts, +12.312pts, roi 54.72%, roc 24.62%, High: 12.312pts, CDD: 0pts, Max DD: -8pts.

Racing Portfolio: ROI 16.9%, ROC 16.18%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown

SPORTS: A new high line for The Poacher.

The sports portfolio is very distinctly cut in half at the moment.  Of the four services, two are doing extremely well (Sports Service 2 and The Poacher) and the other two not so well.  This is normal, and I’ve no doubt that at some point in the months ahead the roles of each will be reversed.  That’s the idea of spreading the risk and diversification – you look for the profits of some to balance out and then provide more than the losses from others.  That as a whole the sports section is still running at an overall ROI around the 5% mark means it is meeting expectations.

The Poacher in particular has had a good week, reaching a new high water line for the year before yesterday’s losing tip.  I can’t emphasise how easy it is to get on.  It’s not infrequent that the advised price is a few ticks lower than advised by the time I got to the exchanges to get on, but I just leave an order for the recommended price and most of the time it is matched before kick off.  I’ll “keep” the order when the game goes in-play too, and have no real concerns about time erosion before the order is matched.  Occasionally I miss a bet if it’s a + on the Asian Handicap, but most are not and I’m not going to fret about missing the odd bet here or there…and it really is only the odd bet.

So, all good, and just a case of keepin’ on truckin’…

Sports Service 1 (40pts): Staked 23pts, -6.264pts, roi -27.23%, roc -15.66%, High 0pts, CDD: -6.264pts, Max DD: -6.264pts.

Sports Service 2 (30): Staked 14.25pts, +5.265pts, roi 36.94%, roc 17.55%, High: 5.265pts, CDD: -0pts, Max DD: -0.7pts.

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 43pts, -10.63pts, roi -24.72%, roc -10.63%, High: 4.394pts, CDD: -14.984pts, Max DD: -14.984pts.

The Poacher (40): Staked 125pts, +13.183pts, roi 10.54%, roc 32.95%, High: 14.183pts, CDD: -1pts, Max DD: -9.645pts

Sports Portfolio: ROI 4.93%, ROC 5.62%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown

GOLF: Disaster averted at the last!

It was a busy week of golf betting with no fewer than three tournaments being played across the two tours, and for much of it things looked pretty threatening.  If I tell you that between the three tipsters, we had 39 separate bets and that only one ended up finishing in the frame, you can see where I’m coming from.

But, all that said, the one that did come in the frame was Billy Horschel who ended up winning the WGC matchplay tournie at odds of 66/1 (many would have got 70/1) for Weekly Golf Value, which in turn meant that I made a profit on the week.  So, another winner for WGV and their annus miraculis continues for now!

To be honest, the standard of the golf in the final yesterday meant that the hours the two players got to get around really dragged, despite having the prospect of a good win to be excited about.  In some respects, the late night didn’t really feel worth it. I couldn’t help think this morning I would have been better going to bed at a normal time and finding out the result today, it really was that poor and slow.  Not a great advert for golf, but ultimately, who cares when the outcome is a 66/1 winner?

This might be  good time to point out that if Weekly Golf Value is of interest to you (and if it’s not, why not!?!), the SBC are running a member offer this week of the first month subscription of just £10.  You can read more here: SBC Weekly Golf Value Offer.

Golf Insider (200pts bank): Staked 85pts, -36.535pts, roi -47.68%, roc -20.26%, High 14.95pts, CDD: -55.215pts, Max DD: -55.215pts

 PGA Profit (500): Staked 241.5pts, +111.73pts, roi 46.26%, roc 22.34%, High +178.5pts, CDD: -66.77pts, Max DD: -66.77pts

 Weekly Golf Value (1,000): 2,223pts, +1,336.09pts, roi 60.1%, roc 66.8%, High 1,124.85pts, CDD: 0pts, Max DD: -93.25pts.

Golf portfolio: ROI 43.38%, ROC 33.95%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown

RACING: Further reflections on NMP’s Cheltenham

I don’t know about anyone else, but this week definitely has an ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’ feel to it.  With no flat racing until Friday, Northern Monkey is taking a very well-earned break from tipping, and I can’t blame him.  Cheltenham must have been a pretty full on experience for him, and that’s before taking into account the rollercoaster of emotions that we all go through during the Festival itself.

It certainly was a good week for NMP.  You can’t argue with over 43 points profit at an ROI of 136%.  It feels as if each year at the Festival is a good one for Wayne, and he certainly builds up to it over a fair old period of time.  It can be easy at times to question the wisdom of rolling up a selection on the all weather at Southwell with a horse ante post for Cheltenham, especially when the horse running at Southwell loses, but when you see the potential returns during Festival week add up it is easy to alter your thinking.  Even more so when the results run the right way.

What has been nice is that NMP followed up Cheltenham with a good day on Saturday, landing two win singles and a double for another 9 points profit.  At this point I was going to drop Wayne a quick email and ask for his advice on what numbers I should pick on the lottery, such has been his recent form!  It shouldn’t be forgotten that prior to Cheltenham, NMP was finding the going pretty sticky.  The last week or so has shown just how quickly things can turn around.  We’ve gone from being about 27 points down to 27 points up in a fortnight, give or take.  Certainly something to remember the next time we have a bad spell.

Bet Alchemist (100pts): Staked 96pts, +22.385pts, roi 23.31%, roc 22.38%, High: 22.385pts, CDD: 0pts, Max DD: -9pts.

Northern Monkey Punter (100): Staked 122pts, +25.874pts, roi 21.2%, roc 25.87%, High: 27.874pts, CDD: -2pts, Max DD: -27.028pts

Precision Value (200):  Staked 192pts, -9.012pts, roi -4.69%, roc -4.5%, High: 5.989pts, CDD: -15.001pts, Max DD: -24.834pts.

Racing Service 1 (50): Staked 20.5pts, +8.562pts, roi 41.76%, roc 17.12%, High: 11.25pts, CDD: -2.688pts, Max DD: -8pts.

Racing Portfolio: ROI 17.14%, ROC 15.21%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown


SPORTS: Chugging along very nicely indeed, thank you.

It’s been a very good week for The Poacher.  You may remember a couple of weeks or so ago I’d commented on how this service had started 2021 on fire, but was going through a rougher patch.  It was framed in the context that the ROI had reverted much closer to expected levels and that we should in no way be alarmed at what was in my view, simply a “correction”.  Well, as is so typical when it comes to betting, The Poacher has had a good run and from the perspective of my personal figures, from reaching a drawdown figure around the 9.5 point mark, I’m now back to within a couple of points of the previous high water line.

The current ROI (for me) now stands at a lofty 9.5%, once again a figure considerably higher than the 4-5% historical long term roi.  If anything shows how we should manage our own expectations, not getting carried away when things are going swimmingly, and not growing despondent when things are not going so well, surely it is this.

As for the sports portfolio as a whole, I’m now tracking along at exactly the level I aim for long term, ie. an ROI around the 5% mark.  The ROI over time is never going to be as high as it is with golf or the horses, but if a 5% ROI figure can be maintained over the long term, then it’s happy days indeed.

Sports Service 1 (40pts): Staked 17pts, -5.39pts, roi -31.7%, roc -13.47%, High 0pts, CDD: -5.39pts, Max DD: -6.13pts.

Sports Service 2 (30): Staked 14.25pts, +5.265pts, roi 36.94%, roc 17.55%, High: 5.265pts, CDD: -0pts, Max DD: -0.7pts.

Scottish Football Income Booster (100): Staked 33pts, -8.699pts, roi -26.36%, roc -8.69%, High: 4.394pts, CDD: -13.093pts, Max DD: -13.86pts.

The Poacher (40): Staked 112.5pts, +10.689pts, roi 9.5%, roc 26.72%, High: 12.955pts, CDD: -2.266pts, Max DD: -9.645pts

Sports Portfolio: ROI 5.09%, ROC 5.08%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown

GOLF: An overdue reality check.

All in all, last week’s betting went swimmingly with both the racing and sports elements of the portfolio making good profits.  However, over the weekend we had a bit of a reality check with the golf.

This had to be expected.  In the same way as I warned a few weeks ago that the ROI being generated by The Poacher was unsustainable, the golf had reached the point where a correction had grown overdue.  This was the week when that happened, to an extent.

Between the three services, we backed something like 23/24 golfers with only two or three overlapping.  Two finished in the places; an in-running bet from PGA Profit at 12/1 which had to share its final place position with a fair few others meaning the return was minimal, and a 125/1 shot from Weekly Golf Value.  I actually ended up backing the place part of the latter bet in the Top 10 market and was unable to secure the odds I would have liked to.

So, not the best of weeks but if you look at the overall golfing ROI for the year to date in the figures below you will see it still sits at a lofty 43.75%.  This is still some way above the level I would expect long term, so all needs to be placed into perspective.  I think too that we have been spoiled a little recently, and weekends like this one are to be expected on a fairly regular basis.

Golf Insider (200pts bank): Staked 73pts, -28.535pts, roi -39.08%, roc -14.26%, High 14.95pts, CDD: -43.215pts, Max DD: -43.215pts

 PGA Profit (500): Staked 215.5pts, +137.73pts, roi 63.91%, roc 27.54%, High +178.5pts, CDD: -40.77pts, Max DD: -65pts

 Weekly Golf Value (1,000): 1,875pts, +1,034.49pts, roi 55.17%, roc 51.72%, High 1,124.85pts, CDD: -90.36pts, Max DD: -93.25pts.

Golf portfolio: ROI 43.75%, ROC 29.21%.

*ROI – Return On investment, ROC – Return On Capital (ie. bank growth), CDD – Current Drawdown, Max DD – Maximum Drawdown

Cheltenham Day 4: A Grand Finale or an Anticlimax?

So here we are, then.  The final day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival.  In truth, I’ve found it a strange one, inevitable under the circumstances I guess.  It’s been great to have top class horse racing to enjoy, and to date it has also been great to make a few bob.  But if we’re honest, the lack of crowds have leant a surreal air to it all.  Sport of any kind needs atmosphere to be at its enthralling best, and it is a crowd that creates that atmosphere.

Whatever happens today, I want to say acknowledge the tipsters who have worked so hard.  The thing is, tipsters and us bettors dance every day with the mistress that is Variance.  Variance is, we all know, a cruel mistress.  She can be kind, joyful even.  But she can also be vindictive.  If she were a television character, she’d be Villanelle from Killing Eve; charming, witty and engaging one day, but you know she’d nick your carotid with a stanley knife in a flash if the mood took her, and show not even a flicker of remorse as she watches your very life essence drain away.

So no matter how talented, when it comes to Cheltenham, our tipsters are playing a dangerous game.  It is simply too short a period of time to ensure that they can avoid the gleam and swish of the knife.  What can’t be ignored however, is the sheer hard work the tipsters put in, which makes me so want them to do well.  They deserve to do well.  It’s not all about putting a few quid in our pockets.  It’s about getting a just reward for your efforts.

So, tipsters (if any of you read this)…I salute you.

1.20: Triumph Hurdle

BA: Quilixios (AP) ew 8/1

NMP: Zanahiyr (in a series of doubles)

PV: Quilixios 5/2

That’s a very pleasant start to the day and a triumph (see what I did there?) for Bet Alchemist who had 8/1 early on Quilixios who won convincingly, going off at 2s.  This was Rachael Blackmore’s sixth winner of the week which is quite something.  I think I’ve just heard that only AP McCoy has won more, with seven.

1.55: County Handicap Hurdle

BA: Buildmeupbuttercup ew 20/1, Cayd Boy ew 20/1

NMP: Thirdtimelucki (AP) win/ew 10/1 (and in a double), You Raised Me up (AP) win/ew 16/1

PCB: Ganapathi ew 6/1

RS1: Le Patriote ew 50/1 (non-runner), Petit Mouchoir ew 33/1

A storming run from RS1’s Petit Mouchoir who battled back up the hill to run into 2nd.  Other than that, this was a ridiculously competitive race that we move on from quickly and without looking back.

2.30: Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

BA: N’golo ew 25/1

NMP: Fakiera 9/2 (first leg of a double), and (AP) win/ew 11/1

PV: Fakiera 9/2

RS1: Streets of Doyen SP

Well after proceedings got off to a good start, they’ve taken a more disappointing course since.  I’m not writing too much  after each race as there’s not much to write about.  No hard luck stories, no being pipped in an exciting finish.  Just horses not really getting into contention.

So, the Gold Cup next.  The big one.  What price we get the 1-2-3…?

3.05: The Gold Cup

BA: Minella Indo ew 15/2

NMP: A Plus Tard (AP) win/ew 10/1 (and in a double), Champ 5/1

PCB: A Plus Tard ew 7/2, Minella Indo ew 9/1

PV: Al Boum Photo 5/2, A Plus Tard 4/1

RS1: Minella Indo 8/1

Well, would you believe it?  1. Minella Indo, 2. A Plus Tard, 3. Al Boum Photo.  Yup, that’s the 1-2-3!

Minella Indo was a big result for today’s betting and hats off to Bet Alchemist, PCB and RS1 for picking him out.  It means every tipster has had a good winner this week, and we can’t ask for much more than that.  As for the race, it seemed that there were so many horses making clunking jumping errors or going through flat spots.  I may be wrong, but I don’t get the feeling this will prove to be a classic Gold Cup.  But who cares about that when you’ve backed a great winner!?!

3.40: The Hunters’ Chase

BA: It Came To Pass ew 8/1, Latenightpass ew 20/1

NMP: Bob And Co (AP) ew 11/2

PCB: Bob And Co 9/2

PV: Billaway 5/2

Just pipped at the post by the shortest of short heads as Billaway finished second.  My big hope was Bob And Co, and although when falling three out it was impossible to say whether it would have been in the final reckoning, it would’ve been nice to find out.  Oh, well.  Not to be.

Latenightpass picked up useful place money for BA.

4.15: Mares’ Chase

NMP: Colreevy 100/30, Elimay (AP) (in doubles)

I’ve not been able to see the last two races, but a quick check in the results show NMP got the 1-2 here.  Given the choice, second placed Elimay would have won, but it seems churlish to complain after a winner!

4.50: Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle

BA: Mill Green ew 33/1

NMP: Fire Attack win/ew 10/1 (plus second leg of a double), Leoncavallo ew 25/1, Galopin Des Champs (AP) win/ew 25/1

Well, I asked in the title to this post whether we were going to have a grand finale today or an anticlimax, and with Galopin Des Champs winning, it is definitely the former!  And it feels appropriate for NMP to finish what has been an amazing Festival for him with a 25/1 winner in the last race.  He’s has an incredible week – fully merited and it’s great to see him reap the rewards for his endeavour.

So, here we have today’s figures, and in brackets, each tipster’s performance for the week.  It’s been great.  Can’t wait for next year now, with crowds and all.  For those of you who have read this far, thank you.  See you next week.

Bet Alchemist: Staked 9pts, +5.7pts (Staked 31pts, -1.951pts, roi -6.29%).

Northern Monkey: Staked 9pts, +1.322pts (Staked 31.875pts, +43.396pts, roi 136.14%)

Precision Value: Staked 5pts, -1.5pts (Staked 9pts, -1.5pts, roi -16.66%)

PCB Pricewise: Staked 6pts, +2.1pts (Staked 20pts, -1.6pts, roi -8%)

Racing Service 1: Staked 1.5pts, +5.812pts (Staked 5.5pts, +1.812pts, roi 32.94%)

TOTAL ROI: 43.42%

Cheltenham Day 3: More winners!

I have a confession to make.

After the first race at Cheltenham this afternoon, I have to go out, and am unlikely to miss a couple of races.  I know, I know – how can you let life get in the way of Cheltenham?  I hear you.  I really do.  But I can’t do anything about it.

So, I’m afraid that just for today, for some of the races, you’re not going to get the witty, insightful and high-level assessment of each race in the normal way.  And I can’t write between races either!

Knowing my luck, this will be the day of all days for Cheltenham thrills and spills.  A day for the ages, one that will be discussed in hushed and awe-struck tones for years to come in Cotswold pubs on the eve of every future Festival.  “Do you remember when, back in ’21…?”  And all you’re going to get from me is, “Yeah, it won” or “Nope, mine got beat”.  Sorry.

My final pre-race thought for today?

Yesterday was a reference to Scorsese, today I’m turning to Guy Ritchie, and a scene from Lock Stock…”Oh, and if Racing Service 1, PCB Pricewise, Bet Alchemist or anyone else for that matter feels like givin’ the bookies a bit of a kickin’, I’m sure it won’t do any harm.”

Well said, that man!

1.20: Novice’s Chase

NMP: Envoi Allen in multiples.

Well, that wasn’t in the script.  What’s all that about?

Envoi Allen went off at 4/9 but before the race got anywhere near the stage of being serious, had fallen.  I hope it’s not going to be one of those days.

1.55: Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle

BA: The Bosses Oscar ew 11/2, Dandy Mag ew 20/1

NMP: Come On Teddy (AP) win/ew 40/1 and 25/1 (plus in multiples – would be a big win!), Champagne Platinum (AP) win/ew 20/1 and 14/1

RS1: Come On Teddy 10/1

Looks like a couple placed.  I think in a race as competitive as this one, that goes down as a result.

2.30: Ryanair Chase

BA: Melon ew 7/1.

NMP: Imperial Aura (AP) win/ew 6/1

RS1: Mister Fisher 8/1.

OK, so I go away for an hour and I come back to this!?!  What on earth happened in this race?  More than half the field pulled up, including all three of those I’d backed.  Not sure I’ll bother watching a replay…

3.05: Stayers’ Hurdle

BA: Fury Road (AP) ew 12/1

NMP: Sire Du Berlais win/ew (AP) 11/2 and 8/1

PV: Fury Road 9/2

RS1: Lisnagar Oscar 11/1

Got home just in time to see the off, and kinda wished I hadn’t bothered.  Lisnagar Oscar tipped over down the back straight, managed to almost take out Fury Road in the process which never really recovered.  Paisley Park looked outpaced quite a way from home and despite battling away and looking at one point as if a remarkable win might be on the cards, it could never quite get to the leader.  And Sire Du Berlais managed to pick up a little place money in 2nd, but never really threatened to win.

Right then.  Need a winner.

3.40: Plate Handicap Chase

BA: Farclas ew 13/2, Happy Diva ew 16/1

NMP: The Shunter win/ew 100/30, Mister Whitaker (AP) ew 33/1

PV: The Shunter 3/1

Well, I asked for a winner, and a winner I got with The Shunter doing remarkably well for a jumps horse who today looked like he couldn’t jump!  Seriously, it seemed to lose ground at each flight, but on the flat it flew and ended up winning pretty cosily, fending off Farclas which we had each way.  And at last, a winner at the Festival not put up by NMP, as Precision Value weighs in.  Well, I say that, but of course The Shunter was an NMP pick too.

Of course it was.

4.15: Mares’ Novices Hurdle

BA: Tellmesomethinggirl ew 6/1

NMP: Glens Of Antrim 7/1, Roses Hollow (AP) ew 6/1

And not to be outdone by Precision Value, Bet Alchemist hits the mark with Tellmesomethinggirl, which came up with a strong run up the hill to win nicely.  So at last, from what was becoming the Northern Monkey Benefit Festival we’re getting winning contributions from others.  May it continue.

4.50: Kim Muir Handicap Chase

BA: Shantou Flyer ew 10/1, Storm Control ew 16/1.

NMP: Mount Ida win/ew 11/2, Plan Of Attack win/ew 8/1

PCB: Mount Ida ew 6/1, Plan Of Attack ew 17/2.

RS1: Hold The Note 8/1.

Well, well, well.  Now everyone’s piling on.  Precision Value sticking up a winner is proving to be a bit like the first person up on the dancefloor.  Get that person on, and slowly but surely more follow.  Hopefully tomorrow, it’ll be the equivalent of a rave in a field in Hertfordshire with every tipster throwing their shapes in the form of winners.  Didn’t see the race, but Mount Ida did the biz!  Just to help, Shantou Flyer, and Storm Control finished in the frame for some place returns.

So another day comes to an end with NMP producing a profit, but nice to see Precision Value, Bet Alchemist and PCB Pricewise starting their contributions too.  Going into the final day I can say it’s been a pretty decent Festival on the betting front.  Wouldn’t it be nice to end it with a bang.

Figures below, but be aware I’m pretty sure there are a couple or so more small multiples I’ve not yet accounted for.  Done my totting up in a bit of a rush….the Arsenal are on!

Bet Alchemist: Staked 10pts, +1.349pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 9.125pts, +1.477pts.

PCB Pricewise: Staked 4pts, +5.2pts.

Precision Value:  Staked 2pts, +2pts

Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, -2pts.

Cheltenham Day 2: Unbelievable, Jeff! as NMP can’t stop tipping winners…

A consequence of yesterday’s NMP-driven profit making was that after a period of drawdown, the entire portfolio – that’s racing, golf, and sports – is pushing close to setting a new high profit mark for the year.  Another semi-decent day today should get me there.  So, no pressure there then, you racing tipsters, you.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a scene from a Martin Scorsese film.  We’re sitting together, mi amici and I, crowded around a green velvet top table.  A Bronx gambling den in the basement of Giuseppe’s Joint on 49th, cigar smoke swirling above our heads, a deck of cards laid out on the table. I’m there, Don Denman, a knowing smile playing across my lips.  But there’s no smile in my eyes, dark, cold, unforgiving.  I appraise the Usual Suspects sitting in front of me… Northern Wazza, ‘Trigger Finger’ Andy from the Value Gang, Double Barrell Paulo, and Irish ‘Nicky’ Nico.  They’re nervous.  They’re under no illusions as to what they need to do.  The smile suggests camaraderie and bonhomie, a we’re-all-in-this-together brotherhood, but the eyes give it away.  Everyone knows it.  The smile tells all.  A clear warning to anyone who dares let me down.  A smile that tells the gang that unless they come up with the goods, and unless it’s at 5/1 or longer, then tonight, someone’s gonna swim with the fishes.

I think the stress is getting to me…

1.20: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

NMP: Bob Olinger (second leg of a double).

PV: Gaillard Du Mesnil 2/1

A nice little pick up for NMP which landed the double with yesterday’s Supreme winner Appreciate It, when Bob Olinger – which never really looked like not winning right from the bottom of the hill – drew clear up the straight to win convincingly.  An Irish 1-2 on St Patrick’s Day; you can’t help but think just a little wistfully to how the reception would have been had we the normal Cheltenham full house.

1.55: Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

NMP: Monkfish (AP) 7/4.

Bet landed despite the 1/4 shot doing his level best to blunder away the lead at the last!  (Didn’t actually see the race as had to run an errand, but that’s certainly how it sounded on the radio!).

2.30: Coral Cup

BA: Monte Cristo ew 11/1, Grand Roi ew 7/1.

NMP: Thomas Darby ew 12/1, Heaven Help Us win/ew 25/1.

PCB: Thomas Darby ew 16/1.

Racing Service 1: Guard Your Dreams 9/1

Heh!  Who’d have thunk?  All the ante post bets in NMP’s Cheltenham dossier, and there we have it, a 33/1 winner given a wee small stake as a bet just this morning.  To be honest, Heaven Help Us made an ultra-competitive handicap look anything but.  All the way round, it was off in front and I was sure it was just another of those horses that go like the clappers and then fade badly towards the end to finish nearer last than first.  But as they went down the hill, it just looked stronger and stronger, and it didn’t slow down at all coming up the hill.  Lovely stuff.

3.05: Champion Chase

BA: Chacun Pour Soi (AP) 4/1

NMP: Put The Kettle On win/ew 12/1

PCB: Chacun Pour Soi 5/6

Yesterday was supposed to be NMP’s big day, but bloomin’ eck.  He’s just gone and got the winners of all of the first four races.  Unbelieveable, Jeff!

On a serious point, this race epitomised what to me, is the essence of National Hunt racing.  Put The Kettle on had blazed the way and as she was overtaken two from home by odds on favourite Chacun Pour Soi, I wrote her off.  But clearly a very brave horse, Put The Kettle On fought back and got up again near the line.  Guts from the horse, determination from the jockey – full commitment from both and in its basest terms, it’s all very admirable, not to mention fantastic, exciting sport.

3.40: Cross Country Chase

NMP: Easyland (second part of a double).

PCB: Hogan’s Heights ew 25/1.

I say it every year, but I don’t like this race.  I find it dull, not a proper Cheltenham race.  Still, a winner is a winner whatever race it’s in.  Neither of my bets won, so we move on, and put this one behind us, forgetting all about it.  Not a particularly difficult thing to do.

4.15: Grand Annual Handicap Chase

BA: Chosen Mate (AP) ew 12/1, Bun Doran ew 28/1 (t6)

NMP: Embittered win/ew 9/2, Sky Pirate (AP) ew 10/1 and backed again today at 14/1.

PCB: Embittered 9/2.

PV: Embittered 5/1.

This is getting a bit silly now!  Embittered was clearly the big one with it being the tip for three services, and unfortunately it fell down the back straight.  And yet, we had the winner.  And yes, it came (again) from NMP with Sky Pirate.  It only just held on by a short head and a wee bit, but to be honest with you, as it jumped the last I couldn’t help but feel there was an inevitability to the fact that it was going to win, simply because of who tipped it.

I won’t be watching the last.  Does NMP have a bet in it?  Yes?  Bound to win then…

4.50: Champion Bumper

NMP: Sir Gerhard (AP) 4/1.

….It did!

Bet Alchemist: Staked 7pts, -7pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 5.25pts, +25.217pts.

PCB Pricewise: Staked 6pts, -6pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

I will need to go over all the NMP bets again to make sure I’ve got my calculations correct.  Could be I’ve missed something here or there.

And so on to Day 3.  Perhaps the time for the others to start chipping in.  Let’s see.

Cheltenham Day 1: Here we go…!

“There may be a lot of rubbish going on in the world at the moment; we may have just come through a bleak couple of winter months; the fields for a a few of the races may be smaller than ideal – but it’s the first day of Cheltenham – and Cheltenham is always brilliant.”  – A., Racing Service 1.

“If a jumps winner at Cheltenham doesn’t excite you more than some clogger at Southwell then you have probably been operated on by Howard Johnson’s vet! Mine perhaps isn’t a take you’d find in the ‘pro punter textbook’, which states you need to take all emotion out of betting, but bugger that. To me, Cheltenham is about getting your prep done in advance. Get all the bets on. Then jump around the office or living room each day giving it the big ‘oi oi’s and basking in the glory, if you are lucky to experience any winners.” – Wayne, Northern Monkey.

I can’t describe this year’s Festival, or the Cheltenham experience as a whole, any better than these two chaps have, so I’m not going to try.

Here we go…

1.30: Supreme Novices Hurdle

NMP: Appreciate It and Soaring Glory – in a couple of doubles with horses running later in the week.

There have, of course, been many weird things happen over the past 12 months.  So weird in fact, that their very weirdness often loses its impact because the world as a whole is so, well, weird.  But as the eight horses for the first race of the 2021 Festival were sent on their way by the Starter,  I found the lack of the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’  really striking.  ITV’s imposed sound effect didn’t quite hit the mark.  But what would we rather have?  A rather surreal atmosphere but four days of top class racing, or no meeting at all?  I know which I would prefer, and anyway, hopefully next year will see a return to what we remember and associate Cheltenham with.

As for the race, well, Appreciate It absolutely bolted up to get some stakes rolling up for later in the week.  Not much else to say in what over the first two races, is a fairly quiet start.

1.55: The Arkle

NMP: Shishkin in various ante post (AP) multiples.

So here we go.  Is this the start of another memorable NMP Cheltenham day?  Shishkin becomes the second odds on favourite to win in a canter in two races so far, and in so doing netted about 4 points profit from a number of multiples.  To be fair, Shishkin didn’t so much win easily as saunter up the Cheltenham hill puffing on a big Cuban with a copy of the Racing Post tucked under one if its hooves, winking at the cameras.

2.30: The Ultima Handicap

Bet Alchemist: Pym ew 12/1, Aye Right ew (AP) 20/1.

NMP: Happygolucky ew/win 20/1 (plus in doubles), Aye Right ew/win 12/1.

PCB Pricewise: Alnadum 8/1, Aye Right ew 6/1.

Now that felt more like a Cheltenham race.  Big field handicap, a number of horses in with a chance coming down the hill, and some real excitement as Happygolucky was in obvious contention approaching the last.  Success would have meant a big return for NMP, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as veteran Vintage Clouds came home first, Happygolucky finishing second.  Aye Right landed the place for PCB and Bet Alchemist.

3.05: Champion Hurdle

BA: Saldier ew 20/1.

NMP: Abracadabras ew 12/1, Epatante in doubles and accumulators.

RS1: Epatante 4/1.

A third easy winning favourite of the day as Honeysuckle beat off all-comers, sadly without any of my money on it.  The best I could do was Epatante which finished third.

3.40: Mares’ Hurdle

BA: Great White Shark ew 20/1.

NMP: Dame De Compagnie ew 6/1, Concertista 11/10 in multiples.

PCB: Concertista 5/4.


Hot favourite Concertista would have been a big result for NMP (not to mention PCB).  Entering the home straight at the bottom of the hill, the odds-on hot thing kicked for home and moved a length or two clear, but as we all know by now, that hill often takes a toll.  Fast closing Black Tears managed to get up in the last few strides to pip us by a head in an excruciating finish.  Bugger!

4.30: Boodles Handicap Hurdle

BA: Riviere Detel ew 8/1.

NMP: Glorious Zoff ew/win 33/1, Nassalam ew 10/1

RS1: Sage Advice 18.5/1.

OK, not the best, and it’s got to that point, where it does every year, where I feel I need a winner.  For a moment I thought Sage Advice was going to come through late to land the spoils at a nice price, but it wasn’t to be.  Ultimately, not one horse finished in the frame.

Not going to see the last.  Here’s hoping we get a result…

4.50: National Hunt Chase

NMP: Galvin ew/win 4/1, plus in multiples.

RS1: Remastered 13/2.

Ask for a winner, and the Betting Gods, should they not be in too malevolent a mood, shall (sometimes) deliver.  Galvin was a darned good win for NMP, worth over 14 points profit to round Day 1 off very nicely indeed thank you!  Didn’t see the race so can’t comment.  Just checked the result, saw Galvin had won, and finished my dog walk off with a spring in my step.

Summary of Day 1

Northern Monkey had last week described the first day of the Festival as likely the most important betting day of the year, and to be fair, he’s delivered.  It is hard to avoid a quick “what might have been” thought, because if odds on Concertista had just managed to hold on, it would truly have been a day to remember.  No complaints from me, though, and it’s on to Day 2.

Below are today’s numbers.  I will be double-checking at some point later as it really isn’t impossible, with so much going on, I’ve missed a place return here or a small losing bet there.

Bet Alchemist: Staked 5pts, -2pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 8.5pts, +15.38pts.

PCB Pricewise: Staked 4pts, -2.9pts.

The Value Bettor: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.