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Trading Easter Racing – Treading on Eggshells?

It’s an important weekend on the sporting calendar this weekend it’s Easter!

This can only mean one thing. Easter eggs and the permission to eat your body weight in chocolate. However, word has it that apparently there are plenty of other reasons why we should celebrate Easter.

It’s traditionally a time of family gatherings and other events and it times gone past there wasn’t much sporting action. However, there are lots now in recent years even horse racing had joined in on this long weekend.

But the key question is, is it worth trading it?

The card for racing on the betting exchange over Easter is actually quite interesting. Traditionally Racing wasn’t run on Good Friday but the racing industry decided to break that tradition and in 2014 they started racing on Good Friday.

There is one significant meeting which is Lingfield which hosts the all-weather championships. This is a highlight for Good Friday if you choose to trade on that particular day.

So I’ve sort of slipped into the mode typically of not trading on Good Friday. If the weather is good, that’s even more likely! But sometimes circumstances conspire and I can trade it. I got a really decent result in 2017. But the result and the opportunity to do it are generally exceptions to the rule.

But if you want to trade on Good Friday, Lingfield is where the best opportunties will be.

Easter Saturday and Sunday

The Saturday card is pretty much what we would expect from a Saturday and there’s obviously a lot less racing on Easter Sunday.

The feature this Saturday will be Haydock and Fairyhouse, but there is a lot of action on and it may clash as there are still a lot of jumps meetings to be sandwiched in.

On Sunday there is racing going on but I’m probably not going to trade that. I tend to use Sundays to recharge my batteries. Fairyhouse has a good card this Sunday, but I’ll just put my automation on it.

Easter Monday

Then we come around to the Bank Holiday Monday. This actually isn’t one of my favourite days of the year, because we are still in the jumps season and there’s going to be a lot of racing on Monday.

So it’s all going to fall in over the top of itself and be a bit of a mess. This is typically what happens and this is why I’m not particularly keen on doing much on Easter Monday. It tends not to be very profitable and it’s not going to be worth the sacrifice of not being able to enjoy Easter weekend with the family or part thereof.

One race I will definitely turn up for is the Irish Grand national. At this time of year, I try to pull off the feat of a decent profit on the English and Scottish Grand National, so I try to top that off with the Irish as well!

The bottom line is, it’s a mixed bag of events. As a consequence you may want to think carefully about whether you want to do it and if you do what targets you pick.


The Newmarket Craven Meeting is around this period, which is the first flat group racing of the season. This means we’re now in that crossover period, between the jump season and the start of the flat season.

Therefore the Easter weekend does present some opportunities, but not standout opportunities. The reality is that due to the muddle of jump and flat racing at the moment it won’t present very clear-cut trading opportunities. Plus, the racing is generally of lower quality which means liquidity tends to be a little bit lower as well, which increases the level of risk that you’re going to take in the market.

To summarise Easter weekend has some highlights, but it may or may not be one that you choose to trade but you need to ensure you carefully pick and choose your opportunities. It’s a balance between what you want to do and your availability on this day.

With grown-up children now, they would typically be working or doing their own thing this Easter. That means I could trade it, but with a busy period of racing just around the corner, this is typically my chance to recharge the batteries ahead of a, hopefully, busy and long summer.

I hope you have a great Easter.

The post Trading Easter Racing – Treading on Eggshells? appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Flat packed – The Flat turf season is back

Tomorrow marks the traditional return of the flat turf season at Doncaster.

The end of the footy season is nearing, the Grand National is right upon us and the first Golf Major of the year is almost here. It’s a period of transition, but also optimism.

 The Lincoln has been going since 1859 and this complex handicap is a traditional launcher for flat turf racing season. There have been some two-year-olds out already, so the flat season has started, but this is the real launchpad.

As you are aware my trading is biased to horse racing and specifcally pre-off horse racing. During the jumps season I always pull in lower results that I can during the flat turf season. So seeing the green stuff on my TV is usually matched by seeing a lot more green stuff on my trading screen.

All my stats show that turnover, activity, suitability for trading and all those things, pick up when the flat turf season is in progress. So I’m always excited to see the first race take place. It means I’m on my way to peak season!


During this period we are going through a transitional period on the horse racing. This can be a little distruptive as different race types, over different codes at different stages of the season all jumble in together.

As we move from the National Hunt season to the Flat season proper, the return of flat racing over the green stuff may bring out new horses or improvers from last year. The Grand National is the big swansong for National Hunt season and that is winding down now, so the quality horses will be put out to pasture and the rest will be scattered around the markets. Form lines are strong, so it’s unlikely you will see that much new reflected in the market. With a lack of incentive to build to a big meeting,  the jumps racing loses a bit of steam.

Meanwhile, due to the start up of the flat season, I will keep an eye out for maidens at this time of the year. These are races where there are horses that may have never seen a course before and they can be quite interesting markets to trade.

Mixed up

So overall, you will tend to find the mix of horses out for the tail end of the jumps season changes the racing a fair bit as it winds down. That makes the markets feel very different. The untested two years olds out on the turf will also mix things up. How do you rate a horse that’s never run before?

So the theme at this time of year is for a different feel to the markets. The week before Cheltenham feels very different to Cheltenham itself and the week after, even more so.

I did a video a few of years ago about its impact which is worth a look, as it discusses the impact on the markets. The quality of videos has improved since then, but the message is more or less the same.

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How much do I get paid by Betfair?

Over my many years of trading, I’ve produced lots of videos, articles and media to promote the Betfair betting exchange. You see me demonstrating key Betfair trading strategies, concepts and give a lot of depth to how you should really trade on Betfair…

So, how much do you think

Betfair paid me to do all of that?

It’s important to start by giving you a bit of background that leads up to that particular point.

I was looking at a video the other day on Betfair’s YouTube channel and it said on there, ‘don’t listen to this guy he gets paid by Betfair to drive customers to their business.’ So I thought, well, you know what? What a cheek, that’s just not true.

I think it’s important to address that, but more specifically all of the different facets of what I do and my incentives because my journey has always been very different from everybody else’s.

My early roots

When I was younger, I did work in gambling markets, but I realised that there was no way that I can make that pay because of all the restrictions and problems you have with bookmakers, so I went to financial markets and then ended right back at gambling markets simply because of the opportunity the betting exchanges presented.

I quit my well-paid job with three children, a wife and a mortgage to do this full time.

It was because it was an opportunity of a lifetime for me and necessarily I had to take it! The problem back then was that nobody knew about the concept. When you would go to people and say, I’ve got this great concept, as soon as you mentioned the word bet, betting, gambling or anything to do with that, people immediately switched off.

Betting for a living, problems I came across with my new job!

So I discovered that when I start out it was a real problem to get any traction within the industry. It seemed such an obvious concept, much better than a bookmaker or sportsbook as it allowed you to do a whole range of things it couldn’t. For the first time in your life, you could actually bet on something for a living. There was a demonstrable chance that you could do that, whereas you couldn’t with a traditional bookmaker or sportsbook

Before Bet Angel was born, before I had any sort of relationship with Betfair, I was going around financial market exhibitions, shows and talks and talking about the concept.

It was really simple to summarise to that particular audience because I was saying:

You know what? You can trade the sports market the same way that you trade the stock market.

A simple line, but that really got the concept across. The problem was it was quite difficult to do in the early days because there was a website and you’d have to type in the orders on the website which didn’t really work very well. So fairly quickly into my betting exchange trading career, I figured out that we needed to create software.

Creating a software

I went round all of my contacts that I knew to ask if they wanted to come on board with this, but nobody would, because, again, you mentioned the word bet and people switch off immediately.

One day I was doing a talk in Lombard Street in the city of London when I got into a dialogue with somebody who was at that talk, we started chatting, he was a developer and Bet Angel was born!

So to answer one question straight away, yes, I am going to promote Bet Angel. I’m very proud of what we’ve managed to achieve and it is a business so I have to promote its many benefits to be competitive. But ultimately its creation is very different from all of the other software that you see out of there.

Seizing potential

I could see the potential, I could see the opportunity and Bet Angel was created to exploit that.

Originally, when I had dialogue with this guy, we just sort of started creating it. As soon as he began to see the potential of what was possible, he wanted to do all of this stuff as well. However, we were at an early stage in the industry and he had never traded before and he was under contract.

So we came up with this plan that basically we would sell subscriptions to the software and hopefully the payments we got from that would be enough to get him out of his existing contract and to develop full time.

Now the reality is, if we had known how well the trading would have gone, we may never have commercialised the product! Ultimately the decision that we made and that’s how Bet Angel was born.

We didn’t turn up 10 years later, say, oh look at all of this activity around Betfair trading – let’s create a product that we can sell into that market.We were there creating the opportunity right at the very beginning and that’s a process that continues to today. We put as much money back into the product for development so that we can continue to push the product forward.

It’s become something completely different from where we started.

If you’d have asked me back then, when I first started on Betfair, that I’d be around 20 years later, I would have thought that was just impossible! Also with Bet Angel, we thought that we’d maybe have 20 customers, but as the product has developed, it’s become an amalgam of ideas that we’ve had that we think would take the market forward and feedback from our customers, and I’m really grateful for the way that that is developed and the way that is moving forward.

A few years ago, I reorganised the company so that it could exist even without me, because really it’s taken on a life of its own and it’s the product of all of our customers now and not an invention by me.

I‘m very proud of the products and I am going to promote it. I make no apologies for that. It’s a great piece of software and hopefully, we can take it on to another level and let it develop itself going on into the future, whatever that future may be.

What incentive do I get from Betfair?

How much do you think that I got paid last year for all of the promotional work that I did for the Betfair betting exchange?

Well, the amount that I got paid last year for doing all of that work and being a software developer, promoting the concept and doing all of those wonderful things was, drumroll, please…

Zero, zilch, nada, none, I got nothing!

I didn’t get paid a penny for doing any work, no affiliate commissions, no direct funding, no fees for articles or videos or any anything like that at all. There was absolutely zero revenue.

In fact, I never even got so much as a have a merry Christmas email!

Well it works the other way round!

In fact, I get charged a weekly premium charge, so I actually pay Betfair to promote them, which is err…. slightly bizarre.

You would think that at least some of that money would flow back to me in terms of incentive or even sort of as a thank you! I’ve just learnt over the years that that’s not how this industry works. The industry is structured in such a way that that doesn’t happen. All the competitive aspects have conspired against that being a possibility.

With the financial trading accounts that I have with brokers in the city and other stuff that I deal with. There’s a marketing budget that comes off of the commission or fees that you pay, this nearly always ends up back at you somehow in terms of a thank you or an invite to an event.

However, Betfair aren’t particularly proactive on that. I’ll leave you to decide if you think that’s fair or the right thing to do. Ultimately, I didn’t get paid a penny last year for any promotion that I did. I received no incentive financial or otherwise.

You must think I’m a foul!

Well over the years, I’ve begun to realise that a lot of the betting industry is funded by those below the line contributions. So a lot of tipping sites that you see a lot of “advice sites” and people pretending to help you are actually getting a backhander via affiliate commissions from the bookmaker or the betting exchange.

The key problem here is that this creates is a distorted incentive. People will say anything or get you to do things even though they know that it’s wrong, just so that they get that commission. I’ve gradually grown quite uncomfortable with that I’m keen to be different.

I’m in a fortunate position that my trading has gone so well over time, that I don’t really need that hassle. The money that I made from trading I have invested and those two things together keep me more than busy.

Like I said, that having another stream from it within there may be possible, but I think that brings other incentives with it that I feel somewhat uncomfortable with now, despite the fact that it’s not there anyway.

Will I get below the line funding in the future?

It’s not impossible that at some point in the future I may need to fund something, or I may need to buy into a concept where I will get funding. Certainly, I’ll be as clear as I can with anything that I do, whether it’s been funded or not. There are obligations in some media to declare this anyhow, not that many people do.

But where I have a choice, I will reject funding in favour of putting a positive light on a job that is very misunderstood and badly represented. I have turned down funding for a number of things that I’ve done in the last few years, some of which you will have seen that’s very specific to one company or another. However, I decided that it’s better not to have that money than to have a distorted incentive.

For example, when I went to the Matchbook Traders Conference, they offered me a fee for going there, but because it was talking positively about betting exchanges, I just did it anyway.

I wanted a platform where I could talk openly and honestly without the fear of somebody pressuring me into saying something that I didn’t want to say. I’ve felt that that is probably the most appropriate way to do things.

So how am I incentivised to talk about the Betfair betting exchange and others?

If you asked am I incentivised, Yes I am, because it’s been what I’ve been doing for a living for over twenty years!

It’s been a dream job, one hell of a journey and something I want to share so others can benefit from my experience not only in the markets but also about my career and life journey in general. It’s my pleasure to do that. I want people to learn from my experiences.

It always feels funny enough that people just don’t get it and with all of the work that I’ve done when I wake up in the morning, the thing that really gets me going, is that I’m trying to solve a complicated problem. Something looks intractable and I’m thinking can I solve this issue? That’s what keeps me motivated.

Then when I do achieve that, it’s the biggest buzz that I get.

I’m very lucky in that by doing that, it generally produces something at the bottom line. That’s ultimately how you get measured when you’re in a trading or betting market, a long term P&L, the ultimate measure of success.

However, in fact, my motivation for that end result faded a long time ago. It’s more the process of doing something interesting and exciting, seeing where that road leads, is what has motivated me for a large number of years. I feel like, there’s still stuff to be done and to be discovered and it’s that which sets me off on another journey.

So who knows where that goes? Who knows where I go? I’ve no idea to be honest.

Most of the journey that I’ve had to this particular point has sort of not been preordained, I just made it up as I went along. But I’ve learnt to quite enjoy that feeling and see where it takes you.


If you are expecting to be treated like a king in the betting industry for being a net winner, forget it. If you are treated well, then it may not actually be a good sign!

But my experience of the industry is that the press loves a bad story, so you can’t talk positively about it there and you are not incentivised correctly in the other direction. If you want to talk clearly about winning, then that’s not ‘helpful’ to the industry. Much better to get somebody to stick a few quid on something and ignore the detail. Who cares if it makes money when you get paid anyway? That doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

So I have to have an arc that reaches over that divide and, being a positive kind of guy anyway, means I’ll always be talking about the opportunities. I had to work from the bottom up, right from the moment that I created this unusual concept and I’m happy to show that as my background and journey.

Even if I did get something, I guarantee you it would be nowhere near the amount of commission that I’m paying in the other that direction. Incentives tend to be geared around a percentage of income, so that would determine any payoff. It would be nice if that were not the case, but it is, and I have long since come to terms with it.

So to clarify, I received no income from Betfair for promoting them last year, no invites, gifts or err.. Christmas greetings.

I hope this enlightened you on the reality as it’s very far removed from what you may suspect! But ultimately, that’s the reality.

The post How much do I get paid by Betfair? appeared first on Betfair trading blog | Expert advice from Professional Betfair trade.

Cheltenham Festival Betting and Trading Tips

We are on the verge of the Cheltenham Festival which is the pinnacle of the jumps racing season. There will be great quality horses and excellent racing markets over the next four days, where we will see over £100 million being matched on the festival alone.

So whether you’re betting or Betfair trading, there is going to be opportunities in there for you and to prepare you for this week I am going to highlight some of the key points of this amazing festival of racing.

Cheltenham tip: Take advantage of the large volume

So the first thing to note about Cheltenham is the volume. It is absolutely huge!

You will see races turnover at the low end is 2 to 3 million. If the conditions are just right, then you could see up to £11 million on a race. However, on average, the races will turn over about £4 million per race. When you compare that to day to day racing, it’s immense because will probably match on average about 10 times less, matching at around four hundred thousand pound.

What’s different to my usual trading strategy when it comes to Cheltenham?

I tend to trade Cheltenham races a little bit differently from the way that I would trade a traditional day to day race. That is because there’s so much money in Cheltenham and that money tends to come in over a longer period of time.

So when I’m trading a day to day race, I tend to focus my energy and effort on the high liquidity period of the race. This is quite a small period in occurring around the last 5 to 10 minutes when there’s lots of money coming through in a structured manner making it possible for me to trade it.

You can catch trades earlier then usual

When we’re looking at all of the money that’s coming through Cheltenham, millions of pounds per race, you tend to find that it comes in over a much longer period of time. So it’s perfectly possible that you may actually end up trading a race for a good half an hour.

Now, typically, it tends to exhibit similar characteristics, as you get closer to the start of the race more and more money arrives. However, one of the unique characteristics about Cheltenham is that money tends to come into the market over a long period of time which makes it perfectly tradable, whereas you may not see that on a day to day basis.

Cheltenham tip: volatility & unique trends

We’ve already discussed that there’s going to be a lot of money in these markets at Cheltenham and that has an interesting effect on the way that they trade.

If you have a large amount of money waiting to get matched, it takes longer for the positions to get much through. As a consequence, the average amount of volatility that you tend to see at Cheltenham is lower than you’ll see on your average race.

Prices tend to get stuck in a smaller range than you would typically see on a day to day race. Now, the interesting thing is over a number of years, the volatility has actually been increasing at Cheltenham. So it will feel a lot more calmer than a traditional market that you’ve been trading in Bet Angel.

However, over the years, it gradually has been getting a little bit more volatile. In other words, the odds are moving around a little bit more and I would expect to see that again this year.

Catch multiple positions

So you’ll often see me posting large P&L’s during Cheltenham on individual races and obviously over the course of the week, they can add up to much bigger numbers. Now the interesting thing is that this is a by-product of the way that Cheltenham trades.

Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t actually use large amounts of money in these markets for a number of reasons that we’ve already discussed. First off, the amount of money that’s available within the markets is much higher. We’re doing it turnover about 10 times what you’d typically expect on a normal rate.

Realistically, I would expect to get 10 times as much from a race at Cheltenham than I would a typical race. Additionally, we’ve got much longer for that money to go through the market. I can actively trade it for that period of time and because the markets behave themselves a little bit more than a low quality, all weather race in the middle of winter on a Tuesday, you tend to find that you can take more than one position.

If you using Betfair trading software like Bet Angel, this is much

So it’s perfectly possible to trade on more than one runner and I tend to trade on more than one runner for a longer period of time:

I’ll open a trade, I’ll close the trade and if I’m happy with the way that the market’s behaving, then I’ll do another and another and another.

That’s typically where you see those big results coming in from any of the races that you see at Cheltenham.

Cheltenham tip: two characteristics to look out for


So bigger moves can develop in Cheltenham markets where you get a nice big trends and they tend to be downs to two key characteristics. The first one is the weather. If they’re going changes, then you can expect some price activity in the underlying market. So it’s worth checking and appraising yourself on horses where that could occur.

A spike interest in a horse

You also have this regular theme that develops at major race meetings, where you get jockey trainer gambles. So if we go back to 2017, Willie Mullins had no winners in the first two days, despite putting out the best part of, I think, 25 or 26 horses, not a single winner came in.

So when Ruby Walsh teamed up with him on the Thursday to win the first race with Yorkhill, that created a bit of interest in the remaining races where that partnership was taking place. Now, what actually happened on that day was that Ruby Walsh actually ran a four timer. So you can imagine at the end of each one of those races activity and the interest in the partnership on the next race really spiked up.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of activity in those markets and you could write some very big trends. Curiously, as we came towards the end of that day on Thursday, people started backing heavily on the Gold Cup the following day with Ruby Walsh and the Mullin’s horse.

The interesting thing was they lost the first race of the next day on the Friday and as a consequence, the whole pattern of activity changed and all of a sudden the favourite in the Gold Cup started to drift and you could have actually traded it in either direction.

So bigger moves do take place at Cheltenham, you just need to be looking very carefully for them.

Cheltenham tip: Understanding Book percentage

What does book percentage mean and how does it benefit you?

Now, one thing you may not be aware of at Cheltenham is that the book percentage is incredibly small.

Of course, this is only relevant if you are using a betting exchange, “BSP” is the Betfair exchange starting price. With a traditional bookmaker or sportsbook the overround is always going to be massive. Especially on the big handicap races.

The advantage that you have is that when you’re betting into a Cheltenham market, you’re going to lose very little to the other side of the book. That includes these really big competitive, massive field handicap races where you get some really big prices.

Now, the problem is that you are going to struggle to pick one winner out of say 20 horses at trading at very big odds. Now you should take an advantage of a feature like Dutching to cover a range of runners. That way you can basically say, I want to win £100 if any of these six horses go on to win the race.

That allows you to capture that value with a decent return at Cheltenham because the markets are so competitive between backers and layers. Now this means you’re going to lose very little in theory to the other side of the book. It’s an excellent way of betting into a market at Cheltenham. It gives you a good chance of winning at a reasonable level of risk.

Cheltenham tip: How in-play here differs to normal racing

There’s something very curious with the in-play markets at Cheltenham. Typically, when we look at day to day racing markets, about 80% of the volume is done pre-off and about 20% in-play.

What we find at Cheltenham is, that there’s more money traded pre-off than there is in-play. That balance shifts even further in favour of the pre-off markets. Typically on average, over the last 10 years, we’ve seen about 85% of volume pre-off at Cheltenham and about 15% in-play.

So as a percentage of the total amount matched in-play actually drops off a little bit at Cheltenham. When you look at the statistics around in-play, you often find that the amount of money that’s going through there tends to be firmer. What do I mean by that? Basically, when something looks like it’s going to win, then the money tends to go down and it tends to be more certain. The same is the case when it looks like a horse is about to lose.

Again, in-play we see that the volatility that you typically see on a day to day basis doesn’t exist there. Additionally, at Cheltenham you tend to find as a percentage of total turnover in-play is slightly smaller.

Cheltenham tip: Plan ahead

Cheltenham runs from Tuesday to Friday and typically every year I use the opening day on Tuesday as a sort of calibration as to how the rest of the week is going to go. You never quite know what’s going to change from one year to the next.

This year, already presents it’s differences as we actually have no crowds at Cheltenham this year, so I’m not completely sure what impact that will have on the markets.

Now typically how I plan ahead is I use that first Tuesday to experiment a bit, to effectively get my feet under the table. You find that the liquidity and interest in the markets grows as the week carries on until we peak on Friday with the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which of course is the feature race at the entire meeting.

So I recommend that you do the same as well, use Tuesday to sort of calibrate your expectations and then hopefully build your confidence as we get towards the business end of the week.

I hope those hints, tips and bits of advice have been useful for you. If you want more detail about what I am talking about and want to fully prepare yourself, then you can get it at the academy where I’ve created long videos on Cheltenham explaining in detail how to trade Cheltenham.

You can also access my trading diaries there from prior years, so you can see how I progressed through each individual day at Cheltenham in prior years. On the academy you can also view videos of actual Cheltenham markets, so if you’ve never seen them before or you’ve forgotten what they’re like, head over to the academy and you can actually watch what the markets look like and how they traded in prior years.

Last but not least, good luck for Cheltenham 2021!

Check out the academy to learn more!

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