Monday, March 21, 2011

Cheltenham - Day Four

I took a few days off after trading this weeks Cheltenham festival. It was a great week but it was definitely energy sapping that's for sure. I've been catching up with a few things at STJ over the weekend and thought I should make a post about the last day before all is forgotten.

Cheltenham is without a doubt the highlight of the horse racing calendar and the final day didn't disappoint. The gold cup was a truly fantastic race that saw Long Run, the baby at only 6 years old smash the old boys of Denman and Kauto Star.

Kauto travelled like a dream in the race and looked back to his best, but he's lost that turn of foot over the last 2 hurdles where he couldn't hold off the cavalry. Denman is still a beast of a horse and will still give any horse a close race even at the tender age of 11. Denman's raced fewer times than the classy Kauto, so there's still a few more very top races left in the tank. I won't be giving up on one of my favourite horses just yet. I must say it's a pleasure to see the old guns back to somewhere near there best and my hat goes off to Mr Nicholls for keeping these wonderful animals on show year after year.

The Gold Cup went to a very deserving victor though and too be honest Long Run could be the best chaser we have ever seen. Due to how long he's still got left in racing and what he has achieved already. I think he's still improving and didn't even jump brilliantly half way round the course. Alarmingly to every other chaser around, this horse could be winning many more group 1 races with ease. He's got an engine like no other and I can't see any other horse other than the upcoming Diamond Harry challenging his unstoppable status. Time will tell :)

I didn't build up a great trading total on the Gold Cup race, so I thought I would stick with Long Run. But I was worried with Imperial Commander returning back to full fitness so kept my money on those two.

I did a few multiple bets on the Friday and I nearly hit another great £400+ return off a £10 stake.

I did a £2.5 Win Trixie with Long Run, Bob's Worth and Baby Run.

It was a bit painful to see Baby Run fall at the last when looking a clear winner. But I had to take that one the chin.

My best race came from the 14:40. It was one of my fancies on the day - Bob's Worth. I traded well pre race and too be honest I couldn't resist leaving all my profit on him this time. I was in a giddy mood and felt like trying to hit the jackpot. Luckily he ran like a stag and my profit looked safe from half way round the course. Well as safe as you can be when your profits on one horse :p 

In the Conditional Jockeys Hurdle I witnessed an unbelievable ride and performance by Sir Des Champs. Wow I think the horse was around 25 lengths down and somehow got up on the line to sneak the win. I was in shock watching that race and there always seems to be one ride like that every festival that blows me away. It looked like there were some burnt fingers too when I looked at the Betfair graph. It hit 75.0 and there was half decent money matched all the way down the ladder. OUCH!

All in all I was very happy with the week and really enjoyed the racing as usual. But it's back to normality now for a little while as we experience some very average meetings again. Saying that Cheltenham does tend to kick off the more liquid meetings coming up soon. So all good in the hood! I hope everyone who tackled Cheltenham learnt a lot about the more liquid markets and hopefully will know what to expect in the bigger meetings coming up in the summer.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheltenham - Day Two & Three

Day Two

After a nice start to my fun bets on the first day, my e/w shots didn't perform yesterday unfortunately. No excuses really, it was just an impressive clean sweep for the Irish who dominated all of the races.

I started the trading day steady enough, but unlike the first day I got quite stuck into the other meetings on the card on Wednesday. Which I found to be more profitable overall than the races that I traded at Cheltenham. These races lacked the huge liquidity, but this actually helped me out too be honest. It was easier to get filled and there were some huge over reactions in some markets that I caught some tasty swings on.

I was struggling to get filled at Cheltenham and it was like slow motion trading for a while. This played on my mind a bit which I will talk about soon. The reason for the poor fill rate is because the markets are getting dramatically manipulated and its quite astonishing the effect this is having on everything. There's actually more money sat in the queues than any other Cheltenham I can remember, but actually less overall turnover and fill rate. This observation is almost a contradiction in itself as more money should mean more activity in general. Let me explain further:

When a market gets aggressively manipulated, the money that is sat around in the queues is a false representation of the genuine/or even traders money in that market. The huge amounts you see are often nothing more than market domination by one, or several bots controlling things for their own benefit. As crazy as that sounds! A money machine that seems to be created to trap people into taking losses. They do this by using large orders on several runners to control the market book and push it in their favour. I'm sorry if I lost you there =/

However it's not like they always get away with this kind of activity. What I think happens is they win big but also lose big too. They surely must be winning more than they are losing though as they are still around with their apparently limitless Betfair bank. When they can't hold a market in position, they need to fight their own orders which results in them chasing their losses. So opportunities are here to be had when this occurs but this only happens when there is enough resistance battling against this manipulation. A game and cat and mouse it would seem.

The problem this caused me on Wednesday was I lost my patience, and got too aggressive in the markets. This led me to struggle to keep my profit in tact in the later Cheltenham races. It felt like a roller coaster for an hour or so and was hard on the mind. I basically let my emotions control my actions too much and if you let your head go, everything else will spiral out on control. Luckily I noticed what I was doing and finished alright on the day considering my yo yo hour.

Day Three

The fill rate was still a bit poor at Cheltz but the big thing really was controlling my green zone better when I was already in profit. I wasn't too happy with my performance at Cheltz yesterday, so I decided to adopt a slightly different approach. I toned down my aggressiveness and kept a close eye on not over staking in markets which were slow at taking orders. This helped me reach a more consistent day, even though the profits on the races weren't as big. I felt more in control of my game plan and emotions today, and these two go hand in hand. It's a constant mind battle this trading lark and you have you keep a close eye on how you are behaving in certain scenarios. If you choose to ignore your emotions, the market becomes your worst nightmare and you lose all rational thoughts on what you should be doing. I made sure from the get go that my mind was focused and my emotions were calm and collected. 

The big one today produced a cracking race- The 15:20 World Hurdle. Big Bucks was clear favourite at just above 2.0 with around 20 mins to go and it looked like a gamble all day long. I worked myself into a nice position getting a few orders matched about 2.02. I was sure a gamble looked obvious and I was waiting for it to develop. Problem was the manipulation got hold of it and after a small steam to around the 1.96 mark, it was eventually pushed out above 2.0 near the off. An annoying race in which I turned a £150 all into a £30 all as I thought the market was going to come down for ages! I was quite amazed it went back above 2.0 too be honest but hey, not to be. This was a great example of when the manipulation wins the battle. 

Big Bucks again proved to us just how good he was by beating the up and coming superstar Grand Crus. The grey will be winning a World Hurdle soon I'm sure, but the young pretender wasn't going to overturn the champ just yet. Big Bucks found another turn of foot when Grand Crus came up against him at the last, and wow I still think he's got more in that endless tank of his. Pure class that horse and a joy to watch!

So we have one more day at Cheltz ladies and gents and I'm sure the fill rate will be a bit better tomorrow (lets hope) I've learnt a few lessons over the past few days, but also experienced many a smile :)

Let's see if I can get anything out of my last cheeky multiple on Gold Cup day:

13:30 - Sam Winner
14:05 - Alarazi
14:40 - Bobs Worth
15:20 - Long Run
16:00 - Baby Run

Enjoy tomorrow all, and good luck if you are trading the last day at Cheltz.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Cheltenham - Day One

It's been a nervous lead up to the festival this year with Betfair's unexpected recent down time, so it was a pleasant surprise to receive an apology from them in response to my last blog post. Haha I doubt it was anything to do with my rambles on the subject but it was certainly coincidental anyways. Link here:

Plus they are also running the first decent promotion that I can remember that is really beneficial to us traders over Cheltz-

"We have listened to your feedback and, in recognition of your loyalty, we would like to offer you a 100% commission refund on a selection of this week's top markets."

That's more like it Betfair! Maybe my rambles weren't a waste of time after all ;)

£7 Boomer!

I always have a few cheeky bets over the Cheltz week and I landed a fantastic e/w multiple today.


13:30 - Sprinter Sacre
14:05 - Captain Chris
14:40 - Bensalem
15:20 - Peddler's Cross
17:15 - Quantativeeasing

My stakes were - 

50p E/W cross 4 folds.
£1 E/W acc. 
Total - £7

2 won and the rest placed so the place part of the bet totaled an absolute gem of £275.32. Woooop!

SettledRef IdPlacedDescriptionAvg. OddsStakeStatusDR

Transfer from Multiples, Multiples Bet Id 21328252

This finished off a great start to the festival and I'll add my selections below for tomorrow. Let's see if I can continue the good fortune. Follow me in at your own peril though I must add.

I don't fancy as many on the card tomorrow, but I think these 3 have a great chance of placing and are all priced around the 8/1 mark.

14:40 - Aiteen Thirtythree
15:20 - Woolcombe Folly
17:15 - Raise The Beat

Bensalem Beauty!

It took me about an hour to find a groove in the markets today, but I did expect that too be honest. Nothing compares to Cheltenham and we have been so used to trading very average meetings over the past few months. The first day is always a bit of a warm up really, so If you found things hard going today just stay positive as you will gradually feel more comfortable playing in these markets as the week progresses.

The high odds on these big events are quite hard to try and work yourself into a nice position. For a few reasons - They often don't move much, the price takes up a lot of liability of your bank to be sat around in queues, and also orders can take a while to get matched. So patience is key really in these, and I would recommend you sit in a few queue positions and keep an eye on if the market feels solid. Then start to become active scalping around the available when things pick up a bit and the prices are staying within an obvious range. Also don't be scared to join the back of a big order if the market is very stable, ie. 10k. When the fill rate is good, you can still get some nice scalps away even behind big money.

You can still look out for market moves on runners though which have blatant public interest on. But I would say you have to take a more of a long term view on these if you are looking to ride a swing, due to the high amount of liquidity on both sides of the book. If there's momentum behind it, you can get a nice swing out of being prepared to wait in an open position.

My best result today came in the 14:40 Stewart Family Spinal Research Handicap Chase. I have really fancied Bensalem all week and if the horse didn't fall last time round at the festival, it could/should have easily won that race a year ago. So the way I viewed it was this was an overpriced selection and the market didn't properly take this into consideration. Without a win at Cheltenham, the horse was not in the public eye like many other runners on the day. It felt like 'the forgotten horse' as it were, so that 6/1 or 5/1 available @ many bookies easily could have been 3/1 if Bensalem didn't fall last year. Massive value I thought and I couldn't resist having a win single on the little beauty too.

Trading pre race, I built up a nice hedge amount of around £90 all, but I decided to try and maximise my profit by going in play with the full amount riding on him. I ended up backing a few runners as well in the race for small stakes that looked strong to cover all angles, but made sure I kept most of the profit on Bensalem. Unfortunately I couldn't hedge up for small stakes on the outsider 'The Rainbow Hunter'. Which left me with too much profit on that runner. Oops but no complaints I was very chuffed with the final result:

I will look to adopt this technique on a few other runners I fancy this week. However this approach is backing up my own opinion that certain horses will travel well in that race, if not win it. So I'll only do this on horses I think have a really good chance.

STJ Cheltenham Offer

Better late than never hey!

I've decided to run a Sports Trading Journey Cheltenham offer that will be available from the 16th - 21st March.

If you are interested in learning how to trade from either the very beginning/ or alternatively you are a trader searching for new angles and techniques to implement into your own game, please visit the link below for more details.

 10% Off 'STJ Six Month Journey' Course!
Only available if you choose the 'pay up front' option.

Was - £199
Now - £179

for more info visit:

I'm still buzzing after today but times a ticking I must try and sleep........bring on tomorrow!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Betfair Crash! (Again)

With the Cheltenham festival just around the corner, what's the first thing on our minds right now? The excitement of seeing the greatest show on turf? The huge boost in liquidity in the markets? The sound of the loudest roar in the racing calendar? Unfortunately not.....

It's yet again the thought of Betfair's instability, and terrible service that is beyond a joke. Another Saturday arrives and another crash occurs! I've lost all faith in the company and there is simply no excuses anymore in my opinion.

It's all very well they say they have just undergone 'the largest infrastructure project in it's history' in Ireland and are claiming they are up there with the giants of the IT industry. With the likes of Google, Ebay, and Amazon. But in my eyes, Betfair are a country mile off achieving anyway near the amount respect and great praise these other giants are rewarded with. If Betfair think they should be even mentioned in the same sentence as these giants, they have a lot of work to do! The first step should be the most obvious - provide a service to customers that is stable and robust. Simples! If you cannot achieve this on a regular basis, what the hell are you doing in the IT industry. Second step I've mentioned before, is listen to your customers and make them feel like you want them as your customer. Not in the scenario right now which is a classic case of feeling the need to use your exchange due to your monopoly domination.

With the explosion of social media over the past few years, we are in constant communication with each other and the power of the consumer is really apparent. The Internet has turned into a very open playing field in terms of letting other consumers know what's really going on. Anyone can post up opinions about products/services/websites, so there really is no hiding place when it comes to corporate bull$^i! anymore. I think Betfair is treading on thin ice right now and they seem to be betting on keeping 'secrets' from people, instead of being willing to be 'open' on these issues. My opinion is, be transparent in your business and people will respect you for it.

Betfair is leaving us in the dark too often and this will only ruin them if they choose to continue operating like this in the future. I hope they open their eyes up and see how much of an impact this is having on their companies reputation.

The main problem for us is that Betfair is a monopoly, where so much of the liquidity is generated on their exchange. As a trader it's not easy to pack up our bags and move elsewhere unfortunately. So there reputation might be going South, but they know we will be coming back. Although I think you all should be keeping a keen eye on the Betfair share price, coz it's only going in one way.

Other competitors could be doing a lot more to take advantage of this situation. You have to do something more to grab our attention and make us think about alternatives to Betfair, come on how many chances do you want to land on your plate without doing something dramatic to make us move? People are crying out for change but we need persuading :)

The real question right now - Is Betfair going to be stable enough over the Cheltenham festival?

It's a big worry and all we can really do is hope they sort their Shi! out. Going by the recent shenanigans this year, I've never been so scared to trade in volumes on such a great event.

I hope nobody got caught out badly by todays drop out.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes


I noticed a few comments on the STJ forum regarding people struggling yesterday in the markets, yet finding today a breath of fresh air. So I thought I'd make a post about why this was the case to try and help other people understand the situation too. I'm comparing the 2nd and 3rd March. Did you see a difference in the market conditions? Did you do well one day and struggle the next?

Please leave comments below if you traded both these days and found this to be the case.

'What a difference a day makes' Let me explain..............

2nd March

First I want to mention there is a huge diverse range of different meetings throughout the trading calendar and particular meetings attract more interest than others. It's that simple. By 'interest' I mean more money flows into these meetings and in turn generates more liquidity. It's common sense that if there is more 'interesting' meetings for the punters and the public in general on that day, more money arrives in the markets and this has a massive knock on effect for us traders.

So on the 2nd March the meetings on the card were quite weak as a whole.


When we have cards like this on a day, we can't expect to see huge amounts of real genuine money being attracted to these meetings. So what happened yesterday was a clear case of traders and manipulators battling against each other for prices and queue positions. So spikes were common place in the market. There was lots of aggressive and erratic behaviour and this basically means patterns were harder to spot and follow. I think yesterday in particular had a lot of races where everyone was half guessing the market, and it was obvious big manipulation was dominating the market. The 'flow' was very weak so instead of money getting turned over at steady intervals, it was very quiet for minutes on end without much happening. Then suddenly someone hit a price and the whole market was thrown out of sync and the chase and battle continued. While you were sat around in queue positions, the market struggled to find an equilibrium which in turn made getting in and out of a situation with little risk hard going.

3rd March

Today was a different ball game and the meetings on the card were average.


When there is three meetings on a day (which is quite regular) we want to see at least two of those three in the day that aren't All Weather or Irish meetings. Why? Coz these meetings should attract more money to them as mentioned earlier.

Based on the meetings lined up on the card, the markets should have attracted more money in general and this was definitely the case. In fact it felt more like an average card in the summer too be honest, where there was a really good amount of overall turnover matched, with some real genuine action in the markets. Of course there was still erratic moves at times, but this behaviour happens on most days too be honest.

The huge difference was the amount of 'flow' in the market and to spot this look at how much money is spiking through the market, and how regular this is happening. So when more money is getting turned over on both sides plus with a good amount of flow in that market, you can get in and out of a position faster and with less risk. 

Also due to the fact the markets get manipulated so much nowadays, I saw an obvious battle against the big manipulation where this automation struggled sometimes to keep up with the overall activity in the market. Again the knock on affect of this was long term trends and also highs/lows of the markets were reacting quite well to momentum moves and bounce backs in a price.

Ok ramble over hope that was some help to a few people.
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