Do you want to be a professional punter in 2016? Seriously, if you are struggling to make profits from horse racing on a regular basis, how much are you willing to invest in your own education and training to become an elite, profitable punter…how about 85p a day for a 6-month subscription to FormBet Ratings & Database?

The majority of punters are looking for a quick profit, a rush, winners regardless of price or looking to bet in as many races as possible every day. That's fine if you want to be an action junkie but it's really not the best approach to take if you want to profit long-term from betting on horse racing. Primarily, I am a ratings provider but in the past I have provided by Value Best Bets via the private forum and via BetAdvisor where I was no.1 ranked profitably for Horse Racing tipsters for many years. Currently I post my Best Bets via the FormBet Private Forum as well as the filters that I use to find them.

If you want to make a 2nd-income, or even a primary income, then this approach is ideal for those who are serious about taking their betting to the next level.

Nowadays, I don't like to spend too much time analysing data as the FormBet ratings do all that number crunching for me. I have never been one for studying form…hint: if you study form in the traditional sense and do it well then you will basically end up mirroring the market and betting the obvious favourite(s) in most races. The ‘wisdom of crowds' is still in effect, particularly so on Betfair and although the ‘wisdom' of crowds may find the winner 30% of the time, they won't make a profit over time.

The best way, for me anyway, is to find horses that are priced at bigger odds than they should be, to be selective and to exploit these differences on a regular basis. The FormBet ratings look at racing data and statistics in a different way from the crowd, each race has an estimated oddsline which can then be compared to the Betfair prices to highlight value-priced selections. The key then becomes selective filtering of races to focus on, I prefer top-class races and then having a bank and proper staking plan in place.

I'm often amazed at how many people sign up to the ratings expecting every top-rated winner to win, they stake on 1 or 2 horses regardless of the value being offered and then wonder why they are struggling to make a profit. If you fail to plan then you should plan to fail. Making money through value betting requires patience, discipline, constant analysis and re-analysis of results, a bankroll, staking plan and a consistent method to find your bets. Most punters don't even come close to any of that – it's why 95%+ of punters lose.

If you want to be a winner then you first need to change your mindset if you don't adopt any of the above approaches. Anyway, this is not a lecture but a review of my year but I hope you will be able to see that this approach can and does produce hefty profits over time, crucially not every month is in profit but it all comes down to not over-reacting to short-term swings or recency bias. My stakes are £100 per point but I do operate a separate ‘test bank' which has also done very well this year but for much smaller stakes <£20 or so and usually much less. For now, let's focus on the Best Bets.

2015

JANUARY & FEBRUARY

NO BETS

I had virtually no bets at the start of the year as we changed data providers to use the Press Association and signed up to the RDC licensing to become ‘official' and to give something back to racing. If your ratings or data provider is not RDC licenced then you have to question whether they will still be in existence in years to come. There was a tremendous amount of ratings work, database design, coding and website work required to get everything up and running for March when I started betting properly again once I had confidence in our new and improved main FBR (FormBet Rating).

MARCH

+£6522

Being down £2800 by the time the Friday of Cheltenham came around was not part of the plan. There was disappointment from some but that quickly disappeared as I placed my biggest bet of the year £400 on Top-Rated CONEYGREE who scored at 9 BSP in the Gold Cup so I went into profit to the tune of £240 after that win and felt much better. There is something about getting a winner of a big race that the public had largely ignored that is satisfying and even moreso as I had £200 on at average odds of 20/1 having highlighted him on the private members forum the previous October/November. I don't include my ‘hunch' bets unless I specifically advise an ante-post Best Bet on the forum but subscribers were all on, knowing how strongly I felt about Coneygree and having confirmation from the ratings. The very next day BARAFUNDLE won at 27.9 giving around £2500 profit from a £100 stake. The 28th March provide very profitable thanks to £100 on ROYAL BAJAN at 16.23 giving close to £1500 profit but after Coneygree the biggest win came from £200 on CHATEZ at 23 BSP in the Spring Mile at Doncaster giving over £4000 profit and a fantastic start to the flat season.

APRIL

+£2941 (Running Total +£9464)

This was always going to be a shortened month as I was signed up to do a charity trek in the Great Wall Of China for Barnardo's for the last 2 weeks so I was taking off the day after the Grand National. I had 18 bets with only 2 winners during the first 2 weeks – some punters struggle with this kind of strike-rate but you can't argue with nearly £3k profit in just a few weekends betting. SIZING GRANITE was my only winner at Aintree for just under £600 but once again the big return came in the Irish Grand National. In the last 5 years I've advised the winner at 50/1, 66/1, 33/1 and once again the trends topper and Top-Rated was the winner THUNDER AND ROSES with £200 at 21.79 providing us with £3950 profit. I love the Irish Grand National, there is no better trends race on the calendar.

MAY

+£2943 (Running Total +£12,400)

I always feel a bit disappointed when I don't at least nail the winner of the 1000 or 2000 Guineas but these races are all about prestige and the last really good result I had in this race was MAKFI at 79 BSP quite a few years ago with returned me around £10k. This year at Newmarket I had BRAGGING at short odds for just under £600 but the highlight and the profits at the meeting came from having £100 on EASTERN IMPACT at 21.9 BSP for just under £2k profit. Just a few days later we nailed the Chester Cup winner with TRIP TO PARIS at 14.63 BSP for another £1300 to add to the growing bank. There was then a run of 36 losing bets, again a lot of punters really struggle with losing runs and this was one of the worst through the year. A winner with CAPTAIN COLBY for £700 eased a little pain but there was then a run of 3 decent winners at the end of the month to ensure a profitable end. £200 on PEARL SECRET at 14.5 BSP in the Temple Stakes delivered over £2500 profit, £200 on FIRE FIGHTING at 8.2 gave £1368 back but it was rounded off by the very last bet of the month with £100 on BOONGA ROOGETA at 23.25 giving just over £2000 profit which really ensured a nice end to the month.

JUNE

+£1752 (Running Total +£14,459)

CODE RED in Epsom's Surrey Stakes got things off to a cracking start with £100 at 15.81 giving £1400'ish profit. The next day £100 on TOMMY DOC at 17's in the Edinburgh Cup gave another £1520 profit. Royal Ascot was very poor but could have been so different had the £100 on MEDICEAN MAN come to fruition. The key to the ratings is that horses outrun their odds but a short-head defeat at 114 BSP was quite hard to swallow for a narrow miss on £10k. £1322 profit came from £100 on AEOLUS in the Chipchase Stakes with another £900 on the same day from QUEST FOR MORE in the Northumberland Plate to round off a solid month.

JULY

-£750 (Running Total +£13,400)

I invested some of my Coneygree ante-post winnings on 2 weeks holiday in Tuscany for the 2nd part of this month and it was perhaps in my mind when I tried to force a few bets than I should have. Having 55 bets in basically 2 weeks betting was just slack and I paid for it. Previously I had less than 20 in the 2 weeks I was betting in a reduced April so this was just careless. It goes to show that even after 20 years betting I still make stupid mistakes and I vowed not to do that again. There were some near misses that could have turned things around so perhaps I was being too harsh on myself. There was £1800'ish profit on SHALAA at the start of the month then there was just nothing really until Glorious Goodwood with MOUNT LOGAN giving £826 profit and RIDGE RANGER giving just under £2k profit

AUGUST

+£16,145 (Running Total +29,554)

The key to being a profitable punter is not only repeatedly doing the same thing over and over again that works but adapting and realising when mistakes have been made. August was a busy month for racing but I was far more selective here after the poor July and it paid off and was my highest Yield month with just 4 winners from 28. Those 4 winners were EPSOM ICON £100 at 19.51 giving over £1700 profit but it was York's Ebor meeting that proved most profitable. Not many expected the odds-on, Derby winner Golden Horn to be beaten in the Juddmonte and we had him top-rated but crucially we had the outsider of the field ARABIAN QUEEN just a point behind in 2nd on the ratings so clearly a massive overlay and value bet. Just £100 at 100.77 delivered £9478 and so far the biggest return of the year. Remember for this approach you have to totally forget about betting for the likeliest winner and bet those horses who are strong enough on the ratings but crucially are MASSIVELY overpriced. Over time this is the best way to maximise your Yield. MECCAS ANGEL was a strong £200 bet at 9.6 BSP in the Nunthorpe for a £1634 return. To round off a brilliant month I had strongly fancied LITIGANT for the Ebor before the ratings came out but when I saw he was Top-Rated my jaw dropped. Again I had £200 on at 40/1 before the race ante-post and advised him £200 for the Best Bets. Just before the race he was priced at 70+ and I had £100 on. Personally, I took down £20k when Litigant won the Ebor but it was a decent enough £5774 return for the Best Bets advised bankroll for subscribers. I am prepared to accept a little more personal risk than I advise to subscribers sometimes and this paid off big time. I am sure it was largely down to FormBet subscribers that the price collapsed from 70 into a 30 BSP as I couldn't have been stronger about it in the forum and live chat. A great day and end to the month for subscribers. You know I had guys who were with me during the early months that left in June or July, it just goes to show that you shouldn't over-react to short term flat or down spells and always be patient.

SEPTEMBER

+£3482 (Running Total +£33,036)

Traditionally, this is one of my least favourite months and part of me didn't want to give back profits. Sometimes it's a good idea to be more defensive than to let your ego take hold and think you are unbeatable. Consistency is vital in this game with approach and with staking. I had fewer bets as a result of this and could possibly have had a few more. REALTRA was Top-Rated for the Sceptre Stakes and I couldn't believe the 40 BSP with £100 on giving just over £3700 profit. GRETCHEN the same day gave another £600 profit. I calculate all my Best Bets at an assumed 5% commission after BSP, although my commission rate is less than that, I feel it's the fairest way to calculate returns. Doncaster proved profitable with £500 profit from LIMATO and BRONZE ANGEL was a very strong £200 at 11.5 for a £2k return. However, there was a sting in the tail during this meeting as Top-Rated, subsequent St Leger winner was a £200 winner at 11's returning nearly £2k which was then snatched away by the ridiculous Stewards decision. I had some money on with Paddy Power for one of their offers to win £2000 so it was not too bad personally but as far as Betfair is concerned it was treated as a loser. It's something that annoys me a bit when a decision is reversed that there is not some way for winnings to be transferred. It was extremely frustrating as it was clearly the value and eventual winner after appeal but you have to also just take decisions like that in your strike. Could have been £5k but still showed the strength of the ratings and the approach.

OCTOBER

+£2567 (Running Total +£35,602)

This was easily the worst month in terms of strike-rate with just 1 winner from 30 advised bets. A lot of people would give up this month and indeed a few people did, mainly those who didn't get on board the Best Bet winner ENERGIA DAVOS who was Top-Rated and won the Darley Stakes at 61.75 BSP…profit over number of winners again showed how important this is. A 3% strike-rate but a £2.5k profit on the month. I actually managed a bit more as I placed an additional bet on the winner in-running at 200's – it actually hit 1000 in-running which I found a bit frustrating which goes to show how ‘greed' can still make you think “What if?” – lesson is to not worry about how MANY winners you back but about the VALUE you get on those winners you do find. I covered a day's betting in the 6 races to £6k profit blog post.

NOVEMBER

+£13,245 (Running Total +48,847)

£100 win on DROP OUT JOE got the jumps season off to a great start in the Badger Ales Trophy with £100 on at 14's for a £1235 return. I have to start looking at some of these in-running also as it hit a high of 220 and I still don't understand why. £100 on PEPITE ROSE at 11's at Aintree supplied £950 profit. This turned out to be one of my single best days for the Best Bets as LITIGANT romped home in the November handicap, easily my favourite horse this year. Top-Rated and yet allowed to go off at  12.62 with an advised £200 giving £2208 profit and again I snagged a few more on at much bigger odds before the race personally. However, the day was not yet done as £100 on WESTWOOD HOE at 80.94 in the very last race of the flat season came good for a mammoth £7600 return. A fantastic way to end the flat season in style and again subscribers had a great day. I covered this day here in more detail in the following 8 races to £8k profit blog post.

There were a few more lower priced winners through the month but my personal favourite was in the Greatwood Hurdle with the very strong Top-Rated OLD GUARD advised £200 win at 17.98 giving £3200'ish profit and another example of how our ratings find horses that other ratings and form providers don't.

This month not only ended up being my highest strike-rate month at 18% but it also resulted in a half-dozen placed efforts, so could have been even better! Remember, even if you have a poor month using a value-based approach, provided your horses are outrunning their odds and hitting the frame, then you are on the right track.

DECEMBER

-£637 (Running Final Season Total +£48,210)

December is always a tricky month with Christmas holidays getting in the way somewhat and also there can be some decidedly dodgy going. The highlights this month were few and far between. There were winners but generally they were rather lower prices and some of the big-priced, value plays hit the frame with the highest number of placers, 8 hitting the frame and going very close. Sometimes, you just get months when horses outrun their odds consistently but a head or neck here or there can make the difference between profit and loss. It comes with the territory but I am sure if you look at a whole year of betting and someone offered you £48k Tax free with your betting you would take it, right?

Once again we had subscribers sign up in November based on the results only to cancel during December – it's unreal, no matter how much you explain things to new subscribers, some people are just so impatient and just not cut out to be professional, value punters which is why we have comparatively low number of subscribers and I like to keep it that way as we get the better value that most other ‘obvious' ratings providers just don't get. Those that do stay on board and ‘get it' show decent profits, develop their own methods, research their own systems and angles and providing they have the patience and discipline to ride out the lean spells, learn from mistakes and develop their talents will become part of that unique <5% of long-term profitable punters.

What are you prepared to do to become profitable in 2016? How about taking out a 6-month subscription to FormBet, it just works out at 85p a day and you can get profits like this and laugh at all those odds-on, favourite BOOM Boys !

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You can have a look at all the Best Bets since 2009 (winners and losers) and see the chart below to see how much you would have won over this time. I've won close to £200k since 2009 from my Best Bets and using the ratings to find other value bets. Remember the above bets and those in the chart below are just those with selective filtering in the very best bets. In the last few days alone I've had winners at 501 BSP and 150 BSP that were 2nd on the FormBet ratings in a couple of Irish Bumper races. The more work you invest in the ratings then the more profit you will achieve. You can download the full Best Bets results or by clicking on the profit chart below. I feel the ratings are just getting better and better at finding those big-priced winners so it's a perfect time to jump on board with our new form/ratings database research tool FRED also undergoing some massive enhancements and changes over the next few months.

LongTermBestBets

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