Saturday, 20 December 2014

Finally Messi...

You might have noticed the new ad for FIFA 15 that has hit your screens, with Messi and Hazard fighting it out on their consoles in the obligatory Christmas setting.

As a Chelsea fan I had to laugh, because Messi finally gets to score a goal against the Blues - even though he hasn't yet managed it in 'real football' - including missing a penalty.

I wonder if scoring against us was a condition of his advertising contract!

Still, he's a great player, one of a kind, so I probably shouldn't tempt fate as the next round of Champions League games approaches..

Merry Christmas Lionel.

You Tube - FIFA 15

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Is Racing Cruel..?

Racing has lost some nice horses in the last few weeks and the debate on whether or not racing is a 'cruel' sport will no doubt run and run. The discussions usually heat up around the running of the 'public races' like the Grand National and I suspect that many who watch those races don't have a clue that racing loses horses throughout the year on a regular basis.

Personally I don't think racing is cruel but no-one will convince me that horses enjoy racing, although that said, there are a small number of horses who do appear to 'excel' on the big occasion; if you could give a horse a choice of pounding around a racecourse on forelegs about the size of your arm or grazing in a large field , then the latter would be the choice every time.

Racing is an entertaining sport, a unique sport in that it is the only major sport where Man and animal work in tandem towards a common goal...except that the goal is not really 'common'. The goal for the jockey is to 'win' but not necessarily for the horse. Many horses suffer heart attacks or suffer other fatal injuries - very often as a result of fatigue. Of course thoroughbreds need running but I suspect they would rather do it on their own terms.

Racing carries risk and it always will, let's face it, there are not many sports where an ambulance follows you around while you are competing! The fatalities will always occur and all we can do is minimise the risks to horses and jockeys.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Too Slow...

Just a bit of a laugh really. I recorded this a few weeks ago - pretty poor race over 4m on heavy ground. Snails pace at the start!

Either you just say 'ok this is a pretty dire midweek race over a long distance' and forgive the jocks. Or you say 'they're paid to do a job so start racing!'

Didn't get involved on the trading front!

You Tube:

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Reality Isn't Real...

I have always been uneasy about my place in the world. Although I am generally confident, happy and content, I know that something doesn't quite 'fit' and, worse still, that that 'something' is way beyond my understanding, however, I have no doubt that it exists.

Of course my uneasiness does not stem from sensing some mysterious parallel universe or anything of that nature, merely that with what we know of life and the vast universe that surrounds us, I am unwilling to take our 'reality' at face value.

Hence my interest in Quantum Physics. I remember that it came as quite a relief to me when I first read about the Quantum world, as if it explained everything!

Part 1 of an excellent program on Quantum Physics, hosted by Jim Al-Khalili, was recently shown on TV and it did bring home to me once again how weird the world of Quantum Mechanics actually is.

The battle between Einstein and Bohr raged for years. Einstein essentially maintaining that the physical reality that we know, exists more or less as we see it, with Bohr maintaining that this could not be:

"Everything we call real is made up of things we cannot call real."

Bohr believed that in essence we 'summon into existence' reality by seeing it.

'How ridiculous' you might think, except that it has now been mathematically proven, without doubt, that Bohr was correct and Einstein was wrong. Therefore reality (certainly at the sub-atomic level) is, as yet, 'unknowable' and it is certainly not what you think it is, we just don't yet understand what it is.

Later, John Bell (Physicist) effectively streamlined the theory into this:

P(a, c) - P(b, a) - P(b, c) ≤ 1

So what are we? Where are we? It seems that we could just as easily 'exist' in the far reaches of space with our lives here being nothing more than a cosmic projection... every decision we make might create another universe... there are infinite possibilities, in fact virtually anything you can imagine could be true.

For the realists, who perceive the world as it is without question, all I can offer you is the possibility that perhaps the physical world is not as 'fluid' as Bohr would have us believe. Yet equally there will be many more Quantum 'suprises' to come in our future.

The great thing is that it doesn't matter if we 'non-physicists' fail to grasp Quantum Physics - because none of the great minds of our time have fully understood it either. Your suppositions are as good as theirs. So go ahead and theorise!

Don't worry, in my next post I'll be getting back to reality...kind of.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

You Be Lucky...

Here is quite an interesting trade on You Be Lucky. He's often a front runner but I didn't fancy him to get home. You can check out how the trade went below. It looked nip and tuck for a moment but then it often does in these types of races.

You Tube:

Monday, 8 December 2014

Balbriggan and Oscar Whiskey...

Great shame about Balbriggan and Oscar Whiskey who both suffered fatal injuries over the weekend...from what I saw of the latter for an instant on live pictures, it looked like a nasty rear leg injury and the horse was clearly in some distress - as you would expect - and there was only one option.

Oscar Whiskey


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ohh Leicester...

I got caught out today in the 13.30 at Leicester - should have known better with the uphill finish as it is - but the ground wasn't desperate and so I didn't eliminate my liability completely. Ringa Bay went out to 1000.0 before coming back to win.

I'd hedged out of most of my liability, so can't complain, and one of these days I will catch that 1000.0 spike!

So no real damage done but in essence it was a £50.00 turnaround on this trade - but still a profitable day. I actually love it when this happens (as long as I don't have full exposure!) it's a great credit to horse and jockey.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pre Race or In Play...

For me, the 'Rolls Royce' of exchange trading has always been pre-race trading. The fact that I prefer / do a bit more in-play trading is neither here nor there. You do need bags of concentration, in my view, to get through three or four racecards a day, six days a week on the pre-race and I don't always feel like applying myself over that sort of time period!

That said, I am often in the pre-race markets, especially if I have no real angle in-play. Making a bit of cash and spreading it between some big priced runners as a free bet can reap dividends

In pre-race trading it is more about the numbers on the screen. In-play it is more about reading the race. Horse racing knowledge helps if you are a pre-race trader but is critical with in-play trading.

If you have a positive expectation as regards profit in your betting/trading then there should be nothing stopping you doing both!

Monday, 1 December 2014

Races To Avoid...

There are a few types of race that I like to avoid when laying in running. Of course I will take each race as it comes - but I did manage to catch an example on video that highlighted the problems that can arise. Poor race, small field, bad jumping!

You Tube:

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Small Men Wearing Big Hats...

I think it was Andrew Marr who said that throughout history nothing ever good has followed the arrival of "small men wearing big hats". In days gone by Napoleon springs to mind. In this era we have Putin. Cold, impassive, ruthless....  most of the traits that you need to become a good trader!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Golan To War R.I.P...

Great shame about Golan To War who fell today at Lingield and suffered a fatal injury. Jockey up and ok I believe. Sad for all involved with the horse - looked a very nice animal.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hold Court...

Very quiet day for me on the trading front as I am still trying to sort out the blog and social media. I looked at some racing though.

Hold Court.

In the 13.20 at Ludlow I had the Evan Williams trained Hold Court pegged as the winner before the off - but gave up on him during the race as he got outpaced. He drifted out to 500.00 in running and came back to win - great effort!

Needless to say I wasn't on him - but I didn't lay him either!

Stamford Bridge...

Chelsea v West Brom, 1905, Division 2.

No trading this Saturday because I went to see Chelsea with my son. Brilliant first half, pretty poor second half but that was mainly due to the West Brom red card - the game just shut down - with the visitors doing a damage limitation exercise and Chelsea not needing to score.

I've been going to the Bridge since I was six years old - used to sit on my dad's shoulders in the South West corner of the ground. Different crowd today. We were surrounded by tourists mainly - a few of whom were just fiddling on their phones throughout the game. Bit of a shame really. Price of success and being a top club in a fashionable area I suppose!

It's a bit of a journey to London so my son and I killed time by associating an animal with our favourite Blues players.

So from the back:

Courtois = Giraffe

Ivanovic = Rhino

Cahill: Kangaroo

Terry: Horse

Azpilicueta: Squirrel

Matic: Manta Ray

Fabregas: Owl

Oscar: Iguana

Willian: Hedgehog

Hazard: Scorpion

Costa: Gorilla

Drogba: Lion

Next time we'll do power tools or vehicles!

Chelsea really are a machine at the moment and I for one love watching Matic destroy the opposition's game as much as I enjoy Hazard's skills. CFC are not quite the finished article and I think they will be better next season - we'll see.

I'll post again this week - maybe try to get some videos up.

Friday, 21 November 2014

How You Can Lose...

It is not my intention that this becomes too much of a 'P&L' blog. I am not sure how much point there is in putting up your profit and loss unless you are using it as a tool to help you with your own discipline. However sometimes it is worthwhile putting up a loss as a lesson to others!

On Wednesday I had a situation where my pre race opinions affected my in play decision making. Over the years you obviously pick up knowledge of horse racing - you just can't help it - but I try not to let it influence my in play decision making too much - depending on the type of race.

In the 13.50 at Hexham (4m Hcap Chase) I had formed a pre-race opinion about the J. Ewart trained Snuker and layed the horse in running at about 11.0. It wasn't a bad decision really as the horse went out to around 55.0 but I decided not to hedge out completely, deciding only to reduce my liability, even though he never looked completely beaten.

I had it in my head pre-race that he wasn't going to win and I probably looked 'too hard' to find fault with him in running.

It is not a mistake or a loss I make very often. My last loss of this nature was in the first week of November (£150.00).

Anyway I pushed on and managed to reduce the loss on the day to something respectable. It was a pity because I had virtually a 100% trade record out of the 18 markets I traded in properly. However, even without Snuker, the day was never going to be more than mediocre as real opportunities were sparse.

In hindsight it was a competitive, small field race, that I might have left alone.

Swarm Theory...

This is an old post from another blog that I have 'resurrected' to start off this one. I wrote it many years ago when the credit crunch hit and I have put it up again because already it has rung true. Since the 'bail out' it seems that every few months there there has been another embarrassing scandal driven by greed, fear and stupidity. So by all means follow...but don't follow blindly..

In National Geographic the other day there was an article on swarm theory and self organising systems. They referred to a school of fish and how they are able to make quick decisions by making use of collective intelligence or 'hive mind'. Basically they use three fairly simple rules:

a) avoid crowding nearby fish.
b) swim in roughly the same direction as other fish.
c) stay close to nearby fish.

This results in the typical behaviour of a school of fish, twisting and turning almost as one. In this way schools of fish - move to avoid a predator.

But I have also read that when schools of fish or animal groups become massive - they eventually 'swarm' across the predator - even if those close to the predator move away - the sheer weight of numbers just ploughs on so as to make the reaction of the few insignificant.

May sound familiar to a few Betfair traders out there...

'Swarm living' provides protection and a supply of potential mates, so swarm members rarely perform actions that could undermine the group. It is called 'comfort'. Move, live and feed together.

But be aware that swarm analysts also now suspect that swarms, herds or any large groups of animal are often led by mavericks but are these 'strong willed individuals' really mavericks or just desperate? Theorists now think that a whole flock of birds may change their course simply to follow a break-away bird that is nothing more than hungry and searching for food.

Applying these types of theory to markets is nothing new - many people recognise John Train as being one of the first people to compare natural swarm style phenomenon to financial markets - and that was way back in 1975.

In his book 'Dance of the Money Bees', Train described how bees forage for food and how the degree of their agitation in front of their hive is directly related to the size or status of their find. Train made the analogy to describe money managers when they are excited by a stock and how they swarm like the hive.

It is fascinating but it is also unfortunate - in fact I think it is truly terrifying. It is how we operate within the world. It is nature, our nature. I believe that it is because of this inherent behavior that we will continue to repeat in some way, shape or form the catastrophes of our existence - like those that we have just experienced in the financial markets.

It is simply a matter of time.