Pro Punters’

Racing Post senior writer Lee Mottershead interviews Steve along with a selection of other professionals for a three part series entitled Pro Punters. The series analysed the changes in betting from the heady days of the betting ring to the current digital age and then looked at the future. The series prompted a number of requests for more information about his work. Having responded to all requests personally he published the following on the website.

Following the three day feature on ‘Pro Punters’ in the Racing Post this week a number of people have been in touch regarding Steve’s work as a professional.

This encompassed his memorable days on the racecourses through to the more digital times we live in now.

Main questions have been about his betting strategy and advice on better betting.  Steve explains how that strategy has developed over the years and provides some guidance:

‘As a youngster I was on the books of a couple of London football clubs. In the lower football league divisions it is still a highly competitive environment where you have to learn fast. It was a similar situation when I started full-time betting on-course surrounded by some hard bitten professionals also extremely determined to beat the books. I had a young family to support and a limited bankroll. It was truly sink or swim.

They were tough years that taught me a lot of the skills which are still vital today – thorough preparation, discipline and above all true betting value. I learned to take a level-headed long term approach, treating every bet is a separate entity. Along the way I built up a small but influential network of valuable connections I could trust. It is a network which has developed over the years and still forms part of my betting decisions to this day.

I have always believed in honesty. I regularly analyse my betting. You can easily make excuses for certain things, but if you are honest with yourself you can identify the need to make changes and take decisive action. This is particularly relevant as we have watched a seismic shift in the way betting is conducted over the past few years. We are now in a digital age and betting is part of it. Markets are more accurate. However, there are still angles in if you are prepared to put in the long hours required.

I maintain my own comprehensive ratings which are more allied to professional betting than the standard ratings available publicly. My ratings in conjunction with in-depth form analysis plus latest information from connections form the basis for my race pricing. I am now more selective in my approach. When I see true betting value, I can act upon it.

The exchanges have brought innovation and greater opportunity. I have adapted my work to take advantage whilst still maintaining some other more traditional routes to getting my bets on.

National Hunt racing was my entry point to being a professional and remains my primary focus. With the flat there is an increasing amount of low quality racing put there for the bookmakers benefit. Therefore I concentrate my time on the flat towards the higher grade races. I can then use my time more effectively to find winners.

I totally understand that not everyone has the advantages I have. They do not have the time, resources, experience, connections or expertise I have built over the years. What I would recommend to anyone wanting to develop their betting skills is to specialise. Find an area that you are knowledgeable in and concentrate on it. Build that knowledge, start your own pricing, regularly review and learn. From that base you can progress.

The signs are that we may gradually be coming out of lockdown throughout the coming months. It will be good to get back on a racecourse.’

Professional backer – Horse Racing Advisory Service