Right, as promised, a few thoughts on where I am at the moment, and then some necessary changes to the portfolio and the staking.
It's just over nine weeks since I started up again this year with the intention of trying to make a living out of this game. I was under no illusions as to the task ahead, particularly given the way that last year ended, but I was confident that I had a good portfolio of services, was adequately bankrolled, and experienced enough to cope with the stresses and strains of doing this on a daily basis.
I still feel that way, but the seemingly relentless losses I've incurred over the last couple of months have taken their toll - probably more than I've realised.
In terms of the amount lost - then that's nothing unusual compared to the last couple of years, I've lost more than £6000 in four days before now, but when you watch every race and see things played out in front of you each day it somehow feels different.
It doesn't help that it has immediately followed the shocking run at the end of last year, and I'm sure the psychological wish to make a good start is another factor.
The results over the last six months have been very bad really - I've said before I was clearly pushing my luck by the time last November came round, but with only one losing month in the previous twelve I was trying to cash in even more, especially as November/December 2008 were my most successful months the year before.
When I consider the £18,000 loss I had in November / December, the amount I spent on my holiday, the losses since I came back, and the bills I've had to pay each month it is quite sobering to think about the amount of money I've got through in the last six months !
Have to admit that the last few weeks have been pretty stressful - I think it's one thing to try and make money out of this on your own account, it's quite different to entrust everything to the thoughts and advice of other people - as good as a lot of that advice has been over the last couple of years.
However, it has become clear that I need to take much more control over things - been on about it for long enough but my own pre race, or in-running trades will form a much bigger part of what I do from here.
Doesn't mean I'm abandoning what I've done before, but I need to take some remedial action and try and get things back on track.
The portfolio summary for this year to date is a sorry sight - with red figures everywhere, and while I've already dropped the Punter Profits NH systems and Winabobatoo recommended bets from my portfolio, I need to cull a few more.
With immediate effect, I am dropping both Tipping Legends and The Form Guru - these two services combined have lost me over 200 points in the last nine weeks, and that is just not sustainable.
I have Tipping Legends 78 points down (75 to advised prices) so far this year - and that doesn't include the 88 points they lost in the first part of 2010 when I was away. In fairness I should point out that they won 200 points between September and December 2009 , but these ridiculous swings are impossible to sustain for someone in my position, particularly for a service that pitches its prices at the top end of the market.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you'll know that I stopped following them at the end of August following a prolonged period of disappointing results. In September, there was a re-organisation at Tipping Legends, an adjustment to the staking plan and an immediate upturn in results which was maintained for the remainder of last year.
However, this year has been terrible - which prompted another round of contemplation from JC with the aim of re-focussing for the flat season. So far he's a couple of points in front for this month - that's despite two 28/1 winners at Aintree, but I've decided that I'm going to sit and observe from the sidelines again.
As far as The Form Guru is concerned, they are 96 points down to advised stakes and prices (!) since I re-started - I don't have figures for the beginning of the year as they aren't published anywhere, but they made a fair start from what I heard.
I'm over 120 points down this year, partly due to the recent change to stake everything 2 points win or 1 point each way, but also due to the constant problem with this service - that you can't achieve the advised prices. Quoting prices which are only available with firms such as Sporting Bet, Betfred, Skybet etc (who are bookmakers in name only) is just misleading. There have also been numerous instances of the prices not being there at all when the e-mail is received.
At £35 a month, it's not an expensive service compared to many - and I do believe that Chris knows the time of day, he's found some great winners over the last year.
However since I came back I've lost everything I won last year and after 1400 bets over the last twelve months for what is now no financial reward, I think it's time to give up the chase.
I signed up with Formbet a couple of months ago, and while their ratings sheets and the website is very good, the bets which have been recommended on the daily e-mails have proved expensive to follow - with a sizeable loss shown. I'm no longer following the bets, and I need to work out whether I can make any use of the site and the ratings in future - not made my mind up yet.
The form of SLH over the last few months has been a big concern, with no profits made since last June, following a golden period of 400+ points in less than 18 months prior to that.
I've always tried to take the long term view ever since I started doing this - as difficult as that can be at times, but it really is time that SLH kicked on again, as the current run isn't acceptable for a premium service such as this one.
I've also decided to level stake SLH's bets - either win or each way. The 3-4 point bets don't sit comfortably with me, and while level staking wouldn't have made a huge difference in the returns over the last couple of years, I prefer it to SLH's current staking plan.
Paul Jones service is just about over for this season, and while he didn't hit the heights of previous years at the festival, I'll definitely be re-subscribing when the renewal comes around in October. The new midweek service didn't really fire either, although plenty of those selected ran well and I still don't believe that photo of Imperial Commander losing to Kauto Star at Haydock !
Very much looking forward to Equine Investments getting started again on May 1st - had an amazing first year with them, and I'm hoping Laurence will pick up where he left off last season !
Nearly the end of the football season now, and Football Elite has been a star performer, with Matt producing some great results - particularly before Christmas. A return of over 20% on football betting is outstanding.
I've made a losing start with Skeeve, but he clearly knows the score as far as the non league scene is concerned - the biggest issue for me is getting the prices, but as long as the edge is big enough - which I think it is, then I should do OK here.
I'll keep going with Birdie Golf, although it seems a long time since that great night with Ryan Moore last summer. However I've just added the Betting Zone golf tips and will stake all these at the same level.
Of the services I've recently started trialling , some of these look very promising and I'll make a final decision on which ones I will continue with over the next few weeks.
That's how I see things at the moment - it's been a tough few weeks for me, and for anyone who is following a similar path.
I do still believe I can crack it this year, my only target when I came back was to remain in the game - and that remains the target.