Are Postal Tipsters of Any Real Value?

I am writing this on the day that yet another horse racing tipster has somehow got hold of my address (I have only been in my house a year and haven’t subscribed to anything like this) offering me a chance to access some insider information in return for some level of subscription investment.

Now normally these letters are filed quite neatly in the recycle bin, without much reading (I know one by return address on the envelope and deposit it in said receptacle without even opening it) however this one actually had my attention – for one specific reason.

A lot of the tipsters out there are faceless wonders – men (mainly) who probably sit in a one-bed council flat, but understand that online and direct marketing of what is in fact no more than their own guesswork can generate them some additional money. And it is these individuals that cause the alarm bells to go off for many, and the use of the work “SCAM” every so often. I must admit that I can’t help but think of the likes of Roger Cook (one for the teenagers reading this) doorstepping these cloaked “gurus” and demanding refunds for the likes of Mavis and Doris who have invested life savings with the hope of turning a profit through the “Sport of Kings.”

Ex-Jockey Colin Brown

The letter that arrived today was from Colin Brown (seems to be a trend of Colin’s what with Colin Davey appearing every now and again offering amazing results but to our mind also with the inability to back them up) and was nicely printed and detailed – so no expense spared there. The key hook was an offer for Glorious Goodwood where insider knowledge was gathered on 6 gambles, with two of them being at least 10/1.

Overall it sounded okay (I’ll come back to the 10/1 statement in a bit) – and it is clear that Colin is well connected through his racing hospitality club and can probably prove his credentials with those providing testimonies, including David Elsworth, Brian Meehan and Luke Harvey.

The offer was also a fair one – take a punt with Goodwood for a small investment (£40) or go for a twelve-month subscription (£360 – discounted from £1,200) – with all information sent via text (so no further investment).

Looking at seeing how genuine tipsters are for you as a reader, I am interested and may well take up the opportunity, just as a test – however I am a bit of a mathematician so need to do “the numbers” first.

Since 2010 there have been exactly 400 races at the July/August Goodwood Festival. This has produced the following:

  • 99 winners of 10/1 or more (25%)
  • Average winning price of 7.07/1 (annually ranged from 5.52/1 – 2016 up to 8.65/1 – 2012)
  • Price range between 1/20 and 33/1

This makes me think that whilst the average price is quite healthy (I like anything between 4/1 and 8/1 as a rule), there is limited opportunity for a big gamble to be secured at double-digit prices. So the offer from Mr Brown, if it turns out to be realistic is that we would need a fair number of winners to return the subscription (assuming smallish stakes).

The other issue I have with the claims in the letter come back to the “Two of the gambles promise to be at least 10/1” statement. Again, from the numbers, backing all horses over 10/1 for the same period as above only returns a 3.81% win rate. Now this is never going to be huge as with fields of seven or more runners there is likely to be multiple horses in double figures on the board – meaning immediate losses.

Knowing two weeks out that a horse may well win and return at over 10/1 means to me that these horses are either 25/1+ currently or slightly lower but with less potential money thought to be staked to suppress the overall price. So if we go back to the numbers of 25/1+ shots the strike rate is 11 wins from 1126 runners or 0.98% for the same time period.

Either way, achieving what is claimed in terms of price is a big ask in my book – that is not to say that winners can’t be selected, however when around 37% of winners since 2010 are less than 4/1 I think we will need somewhere around 2.5 winners per day at these prices, or somewhere around 1.8 at prices in excess of 4/1 to show a reasonable profit (excluding subscription costs).

Despite the fact that the numbers are showing it hard to make a significant profit without an almost exemplary performance by Mr Brown, the fact that he is also offering an additional six months service across racing, football, golf and athletics for those who subscribe within 6 days does sweeten the purchase a little – so we may test it out.

We’ll let you know.

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