Losing runs are inevitable
One thing for certain if you are backing horses, or indeed betting on any sport, is that you will have losers along the way, and one of the most important aspects is how you cope with those losing runs.
I have kept records of all my bets on horse racing since I started my punting journey in 1982, and apart from the first few years, I have made a decent profit each year. Despite this, I have had losing runs in every one of those successful years.
In 2021 I made 426 points profit, which is my best year's return to date and included a few big priced winners (80/1, 50/1, 33/1), which boosted the normal profit margin.
However, during this record-making season I had a run of twenty-one races at the start of the year without backing a winner, and I also had two other runs of 20+ losers that season.
Curiously this season has started the same way, with eight winless selections, but I know from analysing my records that virtually every season sees my win rate land somewhere between 15 and 18%.
This winning strike rate, coupled with average odds of over 10/1, means that if I maintain that long-standing strike rate, I know I will make a profit. I also average over 25% of my selections being backed each-way and delivering a place return.
Despite the fact that I make a profit each year and have a decent winning and place strike rate, losing runs do play on my mind and it's natural to begin to question if you are doing the right thing.
I find when this happens I will either cut back on selections or reduce my stake until winners start reappearing, which they invariably do.
A lesson learned
I have memories of watching people in my local bookies when I started betting, dipping into their wage packet on a Friday afternoon, and backing a few losers.
They would then place a much larger amount than they usually would stake on a short-priced favourite to win back their lost stakes. Inevitably, this bet would lose in a close finish and the punter would blame the jockey or shout about racing being fixed.
This was an important learning experience and taught me never, ever, to chase losses, but to stick to my proven winning method.
I also set a value price on my selections following analysis, and I base this on one point for the field, one for the unexpected, and then a point for each identified threat.
Setting your limits
If there are three threats, the minimum price that I will accept is 5/1 and I will not accept a price less than that. This mental discipline is vital and although I will miss out on some winners, in the long term I am sure my profits are enhanced by using this approach.
You can translate this to a scenario in your everyday life: perhaps you need a new pair of shoes, for which you are willing to spend £50, in which case you will buy shoes at a better price, but not above that £50 budget. That same sense of value and disciplined budgeting should be applied to betting.
Mental strength and not chasing losses are vitally important, as is having a separate betting bank that will not interfere with your household budget when you encounter those inevitable losing runs.
Introducing the author
Fiosrach is run by multi-award winning tipster Andrew, who was the founder and main tipster at Cleeve Racing. Profits were made in every season when Andrew was tipping at Cleeve and he was admitted into the Secret Betting Club Hall of Fame in 2019.