Nice hobby - I wouldn't do it for a living

These days, making money from horse races has little to do with horses. I wonder why many people (I call them 'The Old Boys' hence the photo) still analyse past horse race data. In finance we call them fundamentalists, people who read reams of data to ascertain a true price value. As with their religious counterparts these fundamentalists are very rigid in their thinking. Fundamental trading would make for a nice hobby but I wouldn't want to do it for a living. My preference is for technical trading.

Who wants to earn money whereby on some days you make a loss and you have no idea why? Is the betting system broken or does it have negative expectation and will fail anyway? If you have what it takes to be a trader then after the intial learning curve there will be very few losing days, if any at all. If I have a low yielding day from trading then I can usually narrow it down to getting stuck on a horse and over-trading. Either a reversal was missed and I had to trade my way out of it or I tried to noodle around scraping up pennies on narrow margin trades. Either of these two will add turnover for little return thus impacting on yield. Over-trading being my sole concern, trading is a lot easier than betting.

This morning, I awoke at 9:10AM, a little late as I have Seasonal Affective Disorder. I normally sleep with the curtains open so that sunlight awakes me naturally, every morning. In the summer, I leap out of be at 5AM to start the day. In the winter, if the day is as overcast as today then I drag myself out of bed at between 8:30AM and 9:30AM. As with any morning, the first thing I do is to switch on the PC and start my software running. I am very happy with the code that I created using the new Betfair API. The ability to monitor every runner in every race has increased the amount of trading I do. More trading leads to more turnover and more profit.

The names of race courses, runners, jockeys, owners and trainers are unknown to me. All I am interested in is trends. By 10AM I have started to open some positions and by the start of the first race I have opened all the positions that I am likely to open that day and have profits that give me leeway to speculate when the larger volume starts arriving before the off. For most of the day its a case of monitoring positions. A position might reverse and it's a case of easing into a new trend or closing out for a minimal loss. Nearer to the race start time I will start selling my position back to the market, a little at a time. Initially, to lock in a profit and then to make the most of it, if the position has done very well.

At no time do I look at a horse race. I know that other traders have a video link to the race but I never do. Any shenanigans in the paddock, leading up to the race start, will make itself known to me in the price but by then I will already have profits with which to cashout or use to trade a new position with. Whenever I read online forums dedicated to form, I am always amused. By and large the systems they come up with are so specific that I doubt they will be used much. Broadcasting them to the world doesn't help either. The idea of placing a bet on a horse and waiting for the end of the race is anathema to me. I am done and dusted before the race starts.

The late afternoon and evening is for me to do with as I please. No reading form nor watching videos of previous races. The hard work was in understanding how betting markets work. By that I don't mean the simplicities of how backing and laying works and the overround. There is a lot more to betting markets than that; such as structural and psychological factors. Much of the structure of a betting market is very subtle but easily understood by any finance quant. Many people who trade profitably do so minus a lot of knowledge that could make their trading even more profitable. By using third party software traders are constrained by the capabilities of their software and do not have the imagination to try new avenues of thought.

I have a simple motto and it goes like this "I like going to sleep every night having learned something new." Even though I am a profitable trader I am not resting on my laurels. I am constantly developing new ideas, coding improvements to my software and researching the effects of little anomalies I notice during the day. If you want to make money from horse racing then forget the horses. For me the only aspect of horse race betting that involves horses is the fact that without them I wouldn't be able to trade on the races. For that I am grateful.

1 comment:

  1. Another excellent article !!!

    Thanks a lot for that !