On the Flat it pays to go against the crowd and to focus your betting attention on the toughest races on the programme....

The big-field valuable handicaps are referred to as benefit races for the bookmaker. But that so-called 'received wisdom' completely misses the point...

Racing punters like us have one gigantic initial advantage over the bookmakers....

The bookies have to play in every race....

If there is a race to be run on a British or an Irish racecourse, the bookmaker is almost honour-bound to price it up, form a market and to lay bets.

It would be a peculiar bookmaker that refused to do so. I certainly can’t remember the last time that scenario – or one even remotely like it – unfolded.

A bookie who doesn’t want to put up a market for a horse race is a bookmaker who will pretty soon be out of business.

The bookmaker has to play. But we punters do not....

We punters are free to pick and choose in which races we play.

We can look at any day’s cards and we can take a view on the races we want to play in and the races we want to leave alone.

We can choose to play in races where we feel we have an edge or an advantage.

We can stick to the races where our opinions are strongest.

We can confine our bets to those races where we think we know something solid.

We punters can pick and choose where we play....

So it might surprise you to learn that every summer that ever comes along I choose to play in the races considered most advantageous to the bookmaker – the races referred to as the toughest on the racing programme....

Why I play most in the toughest races on the programme....

If you were to ask me what’s my favourite kind of horse race to bet in then I would have to be honest and tell you that I like the big-field valuable handicaps on the flat – especially those run at trips between 5f and 9f....

I can guarantee you that you won’t find too many punters saying the same thing....

The truth is that my preferences go very much against the grain.

Most punters and pundits would tell you I’m round the twist.

A lot of punters run a mile from that specific type of betting heat....

Flat handicaps are considered something of a lottery. Big fields of well-matched horses – all with similar levels of ability – belting up a straight track present an impenetrable puzzle as far as most punters are concerned....

A lot of punters will tell you that the outcome is down to pure luck.

Others will tell you that the horses take turns to win.

Another group will assure you that anybody betting on the outcome in such races might as well set light to their money before the race starts....

The big flat handicaps are seen by many as ‘benefit races’ – races run purely for the benefit of the bookmaker....

And I can’t argue with the fact that the bookies are awfully keen to sponsor such races and to put up valuable prize pots.

They certainly don’t show such largesse for nothing. Such races must prove profitable – covering the cost of the sponsorship effort and more besides – or the bookie wouldn’t be putting his hand in his pocket in the first place.

And I have to concede something else. The big-field handicaps give the bookmaker an opportunity to bet to over-round percentages so big – increasing the notional profit the bookie makes on the race if he can balance his book – your toes curl up.

But – even with all those arguments made and accepted – nothing will shake me from my view that the big handicaps are the best races a punter can be betting in....

Go where the bookie gets it wrong most often....

I get the argument about the tough nature of the puzzle such races present.

Of course I do. I’ve been in and around this game for the last 25 years. And one of the first lessons you learn is that it isn’t easy for the punter to find a winner in a big handicap. Such races are indeed intensely competitive and hard to call.

But there’s a logical extension to that observation – a potent reality that also demands to be taken into consideration:

If the flat handicaps are hard races to call for punters, they are also difficult for the bookmaker to get right.

Or, put another way, given the nature of the race, it is easy for the bookmaker to get something wrong in a flat handicap....

And for me that’s a scenario that very much suits the way I play the race-betting game – because I very much want to be playing in areas where the bookmaker is making mistakes most frequently.

As a dyed-in-the-wool value-seeking punter my objective is always to be seeking out and betting the horses about which the bookmaker is offering the wrong price – a price that under-estimates a horse’s true chances of winning an individual race....

In big flat handicaps where fields of 16 to 27 horses might be going to post, the bookie has a lot he has to get right....

So there are also plenty of opportunities for him to get something wrong.... to get an opinion about a horse wrong.... to overlook a horse…. to under-estimate one…. to over-estimate another…. to go to market with a set of prices that aren’t quite right....

There’s this view that the bookie is somehow all-seeing and all-knowing....

That his range of resources and tools – financial, human and technological – somehow render him infallible....

Let me assure you of one thing. The bookmaker is not infallible.

His racing traders are men with two arms and two legs and a brain. Just like me and you.

Some are better than others. Some know more than others. Some are more committed to their jobs than others.

Some are hungover. Some have bad days. Some are looking for other jobs and couldn’t care less.

Some have their minds focused on the redhead in customer service rather than on the Stewards Cup at Goodwood or the Portland at Doncaster.

All are fallible. And all of them can get it wrong.

I worked for a bookmaker for a few years. I didn’t see any clairvoyants working on the racing desk. There were no miracle workers. There were no products of genetic experiments with their over-sized brains wired up to super-computers.

There were just men. Men of varying class and quality. They drove to work. They drove home again at night. In between times they did the job – sometimes well, sometimes not so well.

They had bits of information. They had their tools. They had their own ways of looking at races and figuring things out. But if you think the bookmaker’s office is some hallowed environ for whizz-kids and out-and-out geniuses then you are labouring under a big delusion.

The bookmaker and his minions are men. Nothing more. Nothing less. Men with opinions and thoughts. Opinions and thoughts which – like are our own – are often wrong....

And the bookmaker’s men were wrong most frequently – as logic dictates – in the races which are hardest to solve (whichever side of the bookmaking divide you occupy) – the big flat handicaps. It is in that environment that horses would most frequently out-perform big prices....

On that basis alone, the big flat handicaps are exactly the races where I want to be focusing my attention....

Such horses might not be easy to find. But the point is that they are there to be found.

What’s the point in looking at a 7-runner conditions event where one of the first two in the market wins 6 and a half times out of ten?

What’s the point in looking at a 5-runner novice chase where the long odds-on shot is head and shoulders above the opposition in terms of class – where you’ve got to hope he falls to get him beaten?

What’s the point in playing in races where the small-field ensures the prices are so tight there’s hardly any value to be found in any one single runner?

As a punter you want to be playing in races where the bookmaker is most prone to get a price completely wrong. The big-field handicaps are that fruitful area.

What is tough for the punter is tough for the bookie. I’m not saying such races are easy targets. What I am saying is that those races – the big-field valuable flat handicaps – offer you the best and most-regular opportunities to find those ‘wrong’ prices – prices that underestimate an individual horse’s true chances of winning.

Finding that value is the key to long-term profit in racing. Forget winners – that’s what the crowd are looking for. Leave that job to them.

Rather than bet with the crowd, I make it my business to bet Against the Crowd. I am, in short, a contrarian.... 

Contrarian: 

‘A person who opposes or rejects popular opinion’

[Oxford English Dictionary]

My entire betting ethos is based on the principles of being a contrarian. I deliberately go against the crowd. Because in the long run, it always pays to do so....

If every Tom, Dick and Harry in the bookies.... or the talking heads on the TV.... or the columnists in the racing press.... are saying a favourite ‘can’t get beat’ – then I’ll look deeper. I’ll look for reasons to suggest that favourite could, in fact, GET BEAT....

Not out of stubbornness or bloody-mindedness (although that comes with the territory), but out of a belief that the rest of the field could be undervalued, underrated. Their prices driven down by the sheer weight of money on the favourite. The snowball effect of everyone jumping on the next ‘sure thing’....

And I persist with this Contrarian stance because time and time again – certainly enough times to make it profitable – I am able to reap the rewards. My members and I have enjoyed some fantastic payouts from backing horses that hardly anyone else would have been supporting....

Contrarian Case Study #1:

Underestimated at a massive price in the Grand National....

  • 6th April 2013, Grand National, Aintree, Auroras Encore – advised at prices up to 100/1.

When I think the market has got something badly wrong, I don’t hesitate to wade in and capitalize.

The plain truth is that I simply thought the market had got the price about AURORA’S ENCORE totally and utterly wrong.

For the Grand National you need a horse that can travel, jump and stay on at the end on spring ground. My take on Sue Smith’s horse was that he could do just that.

He’d proved it just a year earlier at Ayr in the Scottish Grand National where he’d finished 2nd – staying on well at the last and only headed by the winner (race-specialist Merigo) right at the death.

He hadn’t been fancied that day either – the market sent him off at 25s. Now at Aintree he was trading at prices up to 4 times bigger. For me that was too big. The market was under-estimating him.

Did I think he would win? Probably not. But I thought that if he took to the National fences he could certainly hit the frame at a big price.

I played the race that way and, on the day, the horse travelled superbly and put in a cracking round of jumping to win the prize at his massive price – delivering a bumper payday for followers of the Against the Crowd column.

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Backing Favourites will only LOSE YOU MONEY....

Taking the Contrarian approach – and opposing favourites – is the only way to make money from the horses, long term. And it’s not just my opinion – the numbers back this up, too....

If you’d backed every outright favourite in class 1 races run over hurdles and fences since the 2002/2003 season you’d have lost money across the entire 15-year period.

In total you’d have placed 1,681 bets. Yes, you would have found 595 winners at an impressive strike rate of 35.3%. But you’d have lost money.

You’d have lost 109.5 betting points to be exact – or £2,190.00 to level stakes of £20.00. *

It is a similar story betting favourites in Pattern races run on the flat.

Backing every outright favourite in British, Irish and French Group races run since 2002 would have seen you back 1,615 winners from 4,546 bets. Once again, that’s an attractive enough winning strike rate of 35.5%. **

But at short prices a big strike rate does not translate to betting profit. Had you backed all those Group race favourites to win their respective races at level stakes you’d now be sitting on an overall betting loss of 521 points.

Betting to level stakes of £20.00 that loss totals £10,420.00.

* Figures based on official SP in races from the start of 2002 to November 2017

** Figures based on official SP in races from the start of 2002 to November 2017

Forget strike rates – it’s all about the bottom line, Profit or Loss....

Favourites in British, Irish and French Group races have not delivered a level stakes betting profit in any of the last 16 years.

Betting favourites in big races on the flat or over the jumps DOES NOT pay. You back plenty of winners. You get to look good heading off to the pay-out window at the bookies 35% of the time. But where it really matters – on the bottom-line – a fav-backing strategy loses money hand-over-fist year on year.

Getting in front is not just about backing winners. It’s about getting the right kinds of winners.

Finding winners is easy. Just back the favourite and you’ll have a strike rate between 30% and 40%. Making it pay is the hard part.

To get ahead over the long term you need to be backing sufficient winners at sufficiently good prices....

That’s where I come in with my Against the Crowd service....

28/1, 40/1 and 100/1 shots really do win....

Here are just some of the big-price Contrarian picks my members and I have enjoyed over the years, taking on the favourites at every opportunity....

LEVITATE @ Doncaster 2013 – WON @ 40/1
AURORAS ENCORE @ Aintree 2013 – WON @ 100/1
INTRANSIGENT @ Ascot 2014 – WON @ 20/1
PINEAU DE RE @ Aintree 2014 – WON @ 33/1
COLE HARDEN @ Cheltenham 2015 – WON @ 20/1
THUNDER AND ROSES @ Fairyhouse 2015 – WON @ 25/1
RUSSE BLANC @ Warwick 2016 – WON @ 25/1
BLAKLION @ Cheltenham 2016 – WON @ 10/1
BANKSEA @ Newbury 2017 - WON @ 12/1
TASLEET @ York 2017 - WON @ 16/1
BLEU BERRY @ Cheltenham 2018 - WON @ 33/1
DELTA WORK @ Cheltenham 2018 - WON @ 12/1

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Contrarian Case Study #2:

An over-priced horse well-suited to the specific test....

  • 26th November 2016, Hennessy Gold Cup, Newbury, Carole’s Destrier – advised at 33/1

Pretty much nobody fancied CAROLE’S DESTRIER for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. Everybody’s attention – as per usual – was focused squarely on the second-season chasers. The market had backed several of those into prominence.

Here at Against the Crowd we don’t give a hoot what the market thinks. We see it as our role to find ways of and reasons for opposing the market. We certainly don’t want to be following it.

The bottom line is that, beyond Native River, we didn’t think much of the second-season chasers and we were much more interested in Neil Mulholland’s 8yo.

We could see the horse – who jumps well and relishes a test of stamina – out-running what we thought was a massive price.

There was no doubt about the horse getting the trip – he’d won the London National over 29f on good to soft ground at Sandown the previous December. And he was running at Newbury off a mark just 2lb higher.

We felt he was on a nice racing weight, we knew he’d go well fresh, and we felt he was still not fully exposed having only raced 11 times over fences.

We also noted he’d won 4 of those 11 races and had plenty of the right kind of numbers in the book.

We felt that if there was good pace on early doors at Newbury, the 8yo would work his way into proceedings from the back at the business end of the race.

To us he appeared over-looked and over-priced at 33s. And it proved to be so. Native River won the race – narrowly beating Carole’s Destrier into 2nd. But the Mulholland horse came from the rear with a powerful late rattle – just as we thought he would. Had the post come just 20 yards later, he would have won the race.

Okay, it wasn’t a winner, it was a very near miss at a big price, but Nick reckons its right up there with his very best picks. Nobody can argue that we didn’t get the value.... 

Introducing.... 

Nick Pullen’s Against the Crowd: 

The Contrarian Racing Service

My approach is clear. The name of the service says it all. But before I invite you on board, to put my contrarian advice to the test during a three-month trial period – allow me to introduce myself....

My name is Nick Pullen and racing has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember.

It started in childhood– when it was mostly about cheering on horses I’d picked out on the basis of their names or the jockey’s colours.

I got a bit more interested in the sport thanks to an uncle. His betting activity on Saturday afternoons captured my imagination. The idea of winning money was a seductive and heady fuel to my young mind – and it served to keep the motor running.

My early teenage years saw me struggling to get to grips with a new language found in the pages of the Sporting Life.

Late teenage years marked my entry into the world of betting shops. If earlier interest had been driven by dreams, this period saw those dreams shattered and recast as the delusions of callow youth. Learning proved to be a slow and expensive process. But I persevered. And I learnt a thing or two. Mostly about what not to do.

But racing wasn’t my whole life. Other things were going on. Jobs on building sites, pubs, girls, night-school and then university in Yorkshire.

And after that jobs in financial publishing – editing and writing newsletters and books, meeting interesting people with non-mainstream ideas that they were building businesses out of. It wasn’t racing. But it was part of a parallel journey – one that was shaping my thinking and preparing me for things as yet not thought of.

The racing was always humming away in the background. The more you do something, the more you think about something, the more you work at something, the better at it you get. It’s inevitable. The interest gets deeper and the involvement more and more a fixed part of your life. The bets get a bit bigger too. And what was once a pastime has evolved into something more central to who you are and what it is you want to do.

In my early-thirties I did something I thought I’d never do and went and worked in the betting industry. I went into it thinking I might learn a few things that might be useful to a punter. And, to be fair, I did....

But the biggest lesson I learnt in the betting industry was that I am not cut out for the politics and inauthenticity of a corporate environment where you spend 40-hours a week sitting under strip- lighting watching your life disappear whilst being ‘managed’ by actors, blaggers and bare-faced, brass-necked liars.

It wasn't right for me - and I got out.

Boredom is a big part of working for a bookmaker. The business is centred on intense but isolated points in the week when betting activity reaches a zenith – 3pm on Saturday afternoon, for example. It’s like a succession of flash floods. When the waters come roaring down the culvert, it is all hands to the pump for as long as it lasts. The rest of the time you sit idle or the next thing to it – waiting for the next hotspot of activity.

I can’t sit idle. It’s a waste of life. And it’s bad for the soul. I got tired of shuffling papers and pretending to be worked off my feet during the down periods. Instead I started writing and distributing a daily racing advisory – sharing my thoughts, insights, observations and bets.

It was a privately circulated email to friends, colleagues, punters of my acquaintance. People forwarded it on to their friends and contacts and so forth. You know how these things work.

And then in the early-summer of 2007 – just as I was about to walk out of the bookmaker’s front door for the last time – some of those advisory emails found their way into the email box of an old friend and colleague from my publishing days.

It turned out he was still in the business. In fact these days he owned the business having set up his own publishing company. How did I feel about maybe writing a racing letter for his sports-betting subscribers?

One door closes and another one opens. Life works in ways we don’t always understand. But somehow we get to where we’re supposed to be.

That company was/is Oxfordshire Press and since the late summer of 2007 Dave Gibson has published every word I’ve written on racing – a fair few million of them. And we’re still going strong. This old pen hasn’t run out of ink yet.

Against the Crowd is what that daily racing advisory has evolved into over the intervening period. It reflects all the major lessons I have learnt about racing and which have served my betting so well over the years.

It is who I am, how I think about racing, what I believe and how I bet the races – on paper. It is me and my contrarian race-betting methods and analysis in my own words – Monday through Friday.

I hope you’ll give the service a try. And, if you’re already with us, I hope you stick around. We’ve had more than our fair share of big-priced contrarian successes over the last 10 years. Too many to remember them all off the top of my head.

Certain ones stick out. The highlight was probably Auroras Encore winning the Grand National having been advised the night before at prices up to 100s. Cole Harden at 20s in the 2015 World Hurdle is another one. More recently Russe Blanc at 25s in the 2016 Classic Chase at Warwick sticks in the mind.

Contrarian Case Study #3:

Cole Harden highlights the value of the right information....

  • 12th March 2015, World Hurdle, Cheltenham, Cole Harden – advised at 20/1.

COLE HARDEN was what I call an information bet.

I don’t mean I had inside information from the yard. What I mean is that I felt I was in possession of information that the general market was ignorant of and which was not being reflected in the horse’s World Hurdle price.

In other words, I felt I had the edge and that the price should have been smaller than it was.

Sometimes as a punter you stumble on things by chance. It’s not total luck – because you’re out there with your eyes and ears open. You also need to recognise the value of what comes your way. But you never know exactly what is coming your way. You must be placed to see it and smart enough to capitalize.

That’s how it was with Cole Harden. A few weeks before the Festival I was reading a press article about another horse entirely. As a footnote at the bottom of the article there was a small paragraph outlining the fact that Cole Harden had undergone a wind procedure.

Now that was key information. A wind-op might well improve an already good horse who had been struggling on soft winter ground because of a breathing issue. I sniffed about and found the story was not widely reported. It was very much under the radar.

The market had the horse in the World Hurdle at 20s. My view was that the price and the sentiment it reflected under-estimated a horse that was likely to improve beyond anything he’d shown before because of the corrective procedure he’d undergone and decent Festival ground.

We took the price and on the day Cole Harden rewarded Against the Crowd followers by running the field ragged from the front. The wind-op had done the trick and very few people had been aware of it pre-race.

Like I say, we’ve had plenty more big winners before, after and in-between times. A steady – if sometimes interrupted – flow of them across the years. But I don’t want to sound like I’m tooting my horn. I try not to do too much of that.

I just concentrate on doing my best and I let my readers come to their own conclusions. It’s what they think that matters most. Most of them say it all a lot better than I ever could....

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The Against the Crowd contrarian philosophy….

As our name – Against the Crowd – suggests, we are not in the habit of buying into consensus opinion.

I am a dyed-in-the-wool contrarian. And it is my unique against-the-grain analysis that distinguishes Against the Crowd from other horse-racing information services.

Our over-riding objective is to put you firmly on the right side of the odds in the big races....

That means that, unlike out-and-out tipping services, our focus is NOT on finding winners....

That may seem strange. But winners are only half the equation when it comes to making money. In fact – this may seem peculiar too – backing too many winners of the wrong sort will hurt long-term performance.

To secure long-term profit you need to be backing sufficient winners at sufficiently good prices. Winning at the game is not just about finding race winners. It’s about finding race winners AND prices. And the prices must be right.

If it were just a question of winners then the game would be easy. You’d simply back the favourites – the market’s opinion of the best horse in the race. Favourites win about 40% of the time. That’s as good a strike-rate as anybody can expect to achieve with their race-betting. And that should do the trick – right?

Wrong! The numbers I quote above conclusively prove that backing favourites in the big races doesn’t lead to profit....

Sure, when you back favourites, you back plenty of winners. But the short prices make it impossible to make the game pay. Fav-backing means you experience the joy of winning more frequently than most – but those wins do not translate into betting profit.

Value is our mantra at Against the Crowd....

At Against the Crowd, our focus is on finding value and our analytical methods are specifically tailored to rooting it out – like pigs hunting truffles....

Getting value doesn’t mean just betting a horse at a big price. Getting value means backing a competitive horse that is trading at the wrong price.

We don’t just throw a dart at the bottom end of the market and back the biggest-priced horse we land near. That would be rank stupidity....

What we’re all about at Against the Crowd is identifying and supporting competitive horses trading at the wrong price – the horses the market is under-valuing, over-looking or wrong-headedly ignoring.

The entire betting strategy is based on identifying and supporting horses we consider ‘live’ contenders but which are trading at prices that under-estimate their true chances of winning or hitting the frame....

Our approach is about opposing market sentiment where and when we believe it to be wrong – and capitalizing on the many attractive opportunities that anti-market approach delivers.

Week-on-week we will take a contrarian view of the big-race markets and the prices and to isolate the best and the biggest value-for-money bets we can find – complete with our reasoning.

Our view is that betting horses at value-for-money prices (the equivalent of buying a commodity on the cheap) is the most effective way of producing long-term betting profit. In other words: I believe the best place to be in the racing markets is Against the Crowd....

Now that’s not always psychologically the most comfortable place to be, of course. And the lone wolf approach to race betting won’t appeal to all-comers.

But the rewards are there for fearless punters equipped with a pioneering instinct and a temperament that can handle the trials and tribulations that inevitably arise from taking the contrarian approach to race-betting.

The right horses at the ‘wrong’ prices....

We don’t pretend that what we do is easy. Or that it’s all lollipops and apple pie.

That would be a lie. And if there’s one thing you get from me and the Against the Crowd service it is straightforward honesty.

Be under no illusions. Get on-board Against the Crowd and you will back more losers than winners. We make no bones about it. We don’t apologise for it. And we don't expect that to change any time soon.

Losing is a natural consequence of playing the contrarian game.

But there is an upside, of course. There would be no point or purpose otherwise. We win frequently enough at big enough prices to make the game pay long-term. We have a strong track record in that department. We wouldn’t have been around for the last 10 years if we hadn’t.

The bottom line is: our Contrarian Picks make money.

My approach REALLY WORKS.

Since the start of 2016, from £20 Each Way stakes, we're in profit to the tune of £4,201.20.

Including winners at prices like 14/1.... 16/1.... 25/1.... and 33/1.

And Each Way profits from horses backed at prices such as 20/1, 25/1 and 50/1.

Our long-game policy of concentrating on seeking out value and letting the winners take care of themselves has served us in good stead. You will back more losers than winners on our service. But when our winners go in they do so at prices that make up for the losers – and a fair bit more besides.

Our whole approach is about seeking out bets at the ‘wrong’ price and getting enough winners to make the game pay long-term.

That is our game. That is the way we play. And we stick to our guns whether we win, lose or draw.

Some commentators have called me bloody-minded. Maybe I am. But I prefer to think of myself as consistent – consistently contrarian.

I believe steadfastly in our contrarian anti-market approach – getting the right horses at the ‘wrong’ prices – and we will change our default strategy for no man.

We tell you no lies. It won’t be plain sailing with us. Sometimes we have a rough passage. Other times we get becalmed in the doldrums. But on those memorable occasions when we get the wind in our sails – being a Contrarian feels pretty good.... and profitable, too....

Contrarian Case Study #4:

Capitalizing on the market’s wrong-headed opinions....

  • 6th April 2015, Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse, Thunder And Roses – advised 25/1.

Contrarian betting is fundamentally an exercise in figuring out what the market is over-estimating (betting into too short a price) and under-estimating (allowing horses to trade at prices bigger than their true chances of winning the race) – and then opposing that wrong-headed stance.

It’s one of the reasons I like to bet in big-field handicaps. The market often latches onto one or two specific horses (be it a result of paper-coverage, tipping-services, the horse running out of a big yard, some talking head on TV talking the horse up) and bets them into ridiculously short prices that over-estimate their ability and their true chance of winning.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining about it. I welcome it. Over-backing one or two talking horses into short prices inevitably means other runners are trading at bigger prices than they should be – that’s value and that’s what I’m always shooting for.

Handicap events are almost ALWAYS more competitive than the market’s prices would have you believe. At Fairyhouse for the 2015 Irish Grand National Los Amigos, Empire of Dirt and Perfect Gentleman were the ones that had seen the money. They were the market fancies and I am always looking to take the market on….

Further down the list THUNDER AND ROSES was trading at a big 25s and I felt that was a value-for-money price about a horse that had been highly-enough thought of to be pitched into novice races at Grade 2 and Listed level and had recently won a beginner’s chase in a fashion and style that told me he should be well ahead of the mark of 136 he’d be racing off at Fairyhouse.

There’s no great science to this bet – and no great secret. By my estimation the horse was better than his current mark and likely to be more competitive on the day than his price said the market thought he was. We took the quote and under Katie Walsh the 7yo loomed up at the final fence and ran on well to land the money. Job done.

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Going against the crowd – in all departments….

As you’ll discover, being a Contrarian isn’t just about taking on the favourites in the big races. Contrarianism is an all-encompassing pursuit. It’s a mind-set. A way of thinking....

My approach is to look at things differently to the mainstream. And this applies to all aspects of the research, analysis and advice that you’ll receive as an Against the Crowd member.

The Against the Crowd service is about more than just value-based tips in big races....

We are expected to put our head above the parapet and reveal what we are backing with our own money – and we do. And we accept that we live or die on the results we achieve....

But the racing game is complex – and intelligence is key to getting an edge on the market. We don’t just get in touch on Friday afternoon with the name of a horse and a price and leave you to it.

You'll get a daily email from me, Monday to Friday, all-year-round – delivering our unique insights, observations, analysis and betting angles. We think of ourselves as your hired hand and the hope is that our research aides your understanding of the handicap scene and serves to assist you in finding winners of your own....

Every Friday, you'll get my Contrarian Picks for the weekend racing - including my reasons for backing each horse and why I believe the price is value.

We don’t like rules and we don’t stick to a set pattern of content. We bring you what’s on our mind; what we’re thinking about on the day; what we’re reacting to; what’s in our notebook and what we’ve seen and dug into....

That said, members can rely on one or two consistent features in our daily output....

The Watch List....

The Watch List is a list of horses that have caught my eye in recent races or for specific reasons. Horses we believe are ready to win.

You'll find it in the members-only area of our website, waiting for you right now.

The Watch List is a component feature of the Against the Crowd day to day service. We make a habit of studying big races in forensic detail – looking beyond the winner and the placed horses. Our objective is to pinpoint performances that suggest a horse is nearing the point where it is going to win.

We give you of our conclusions as part of our daily output and we add those horses to our onsite Watch List – which you can check and monitor at leisure. We keep a keen eye on those horses and the races they are entered in - in the hope of betting them at a big price when the time is right.

Our statistical research....

We give you info that will help you find dark horses at big prices.

Stats and the historic record form another core component of the Against the Crowd service. We maintain datasets going back 15 to 20 years and we frequently use these to highlight hidden trends, patterns and themes within the overall record.

As an ongoing part of our 5-day-per week coverage we alert you to potentially profitable betting angles as and when they present themselves.

And we've had some notable successes with this. For example, in January this year - when SPEREDEK was highlighted in our daily email as a 25/1 Each Way prospect for that weekend's Clarence House Chase at Ascot. The horse came 2nd for a healthy place payout.

The intelligence and insights that our stats-based research routinely uncovers offer knowledge and perspective the wider market is often betting without. And that's an edge.

  • The Watch List can be accessed on our members-only website. Member emails with our latest research, findings and advice are sent out throughout the week, and are all also available on the site

SPECIALISATION....

Many racing services will pepper your inbox and mobile phone with 'must-bet' tips, backing mountains of (usually short-price) horses and favourites. That's not the Against the Crowd way. We specialise.

I focus on one or two races a week. Mostly the biggest betting heats at the big meetings - the big handicaps and the Grade/Group races where the race shape lends itself to finding value.

And when the big Festivals like Cheltenham are on, the service goes 'daily'.

These are the territories where we go to work. If you are looking for dozens of races/ bets/ horses to back every month, then Against the Crowd isn't for you. We choose our targets carefully and take aim with precision....

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Contrarian Case Study #5:

A horse primed to leave known form behind....

  • 25th February 2017, Betbright Handicap Chase, Kempton, Pilgrims Bay – advised at 25/1

PILGRIMS BAY was a classic contrarian pick – one where we completely disagreed with the market’s assessment of the horse and were consequently able to take advantage of a big price that completely under-estimated his chance.

Nobody fancied Pilgrims Bay for this one. 24-hours ahead of the race he was the bottom horse in the market – the ‘rag’. Plenty of more-familiar ‘Saturday’ horses were taking part and those were the ones the market had latched onto.

Pilgrims Bay, on the other hand, was a bit of an unknown. And he was friendless in the betting….

But he was also the most unexposed horse in the line-up – having had only 4 previous runs over fences. His inexperience maybe put the market off. Or maybe it was the fact he’d been well-beaten, on the face of it at least, in his previous two runs….

But those two runs had been on proper winter ground over two-and-a-half miles. At Kempton, he was stepping up to the 3-mile trip for the first time and he’d be getting genuine good ground for the first time since he’d scored on his chasing debut for Neil Mulholland.

That was in the previous December at Sandown and he’d been impressive enough that day. The fact that he was in the Betbright field at all got our antenna twitching and the step-up in trip back on good ground signalled to us that this was a dark horse who might well be primed to leave his previous form behind.

The yard was certainly in good-form. And this horse wasn’t just at the bottom of the betting list. He was bottom of the weights. In short, he was an unexposed young chaser, going for a big pot for the first time and shouldering very little weight….

All things considered, we felt there was a lot to like about the 25s on offer about the horse. And we took it.

It proved a smart move. Out the back early on under James Best, the horse gained confidence before creeping into the race on the second circuit. He was travelling best of all on the turn for home and on the straight he was full of running while his rivals flagged. He saw it out nicely and landed a ‘surprise’ win.

Putting ‘rags’ up can produce a few raised eyebrows. When it goes wrong, you can look like a clown. But we’re not frightened of going against the grain. If we reckon the market has priced a horse incorrectly, we go in – ‘rag’ or not. At Kempton, it proved a correct – and profitable – decision. 

£4,201.20 profit....

I've had 43 winners from 384 races since the launch of Against the Crowd.

From £20 Each Way stakes on my Contrarian bets in those races, you would have made a PROFIT of £4,201.20.
In comparison....

If you'd backed the favourites at £20 Win Only in each of those 384 races, you'd have backed 81 winners, but made a LOSS of £499.39.

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Contrarian Case Study #6:

Ignoring the consensus can prove profitable....

  • 16th January 2016, Classic Chase, Warwick, Russe Blanc – advised 25/1.

Sometimes to get the value price in a big race you must be prepared to forgive or ignore something that the rest of the market is over-reacting to.

Betting RUSSE BLANC to win the 2016 Classic Chase at Warwick at 25s was just such a scenario.

The time before last he’d been sent to Newbury by trainer Kerry Lee where he’d put in a clear career-best chasing effort in defeat – despite losing a shoe on the way round.

The whole performance spoke of a staying chaser reaching full physical maturity and going the right way – just the kind of horse it is advisable to latch onto as a punter. Of course, the market isn’t stupid, punters were onto the horse….

Next time out at Bangor the horse was backed into joint-favouritism. But he didn’t perform. Instead of landing the money for fav-backers, he got beaten into last place. The race report said he ran out of steam. The race reporter said he looked weighted to the hilt.

Connections didn’t say too much. But they did indicate that something hadn’t gone quite right in the race. And that got my antenna twitching – because non-physical issues can be put right, and performance can be instantly elevated as a result.

At Warwick the market had only two horses in at bigger prices than Russe Blanc. There was no interest in him. The market appeared to me to be judging him on the evidence of his last race. And, for me, that was an over-reaction.

I focused on his run the time before that. I took the view that, had he pitched up at Warwick straight from Newbury as opposed to Bangor, he would be shorter than his current 25s. And, in the absence of physical issues, I saw no reason why he would replicate his Bangor form rather than the Newbury version.

For me, prepared to take the market view on and overlook one poor run, the 25s was value. And it proved so on the day with the only white horse in training winning for the Against the Crowd column in fine style. 

Stop backing favourites RIGHT NOW. 

Start MAKING MONEY from Contrarian Betting....

Join now to get my picks, analysis & advice for this week's racing.

You are invited to give Contrarian Betting a go, by taking up a guest membership to Against the Crowd.

The membership package includes:

  • Daily service, Monday to Friday – with all my latest Contrarian analysis and insights

  • Contrarian Picks - my big-value race selections (NEVER backing short-price favourites), every weekend. Picks that have made £4,201.20 profit to £20 Each Way stakes

  • PLUS - daily race coverage and Contrarian Picks during Aintree's Grand National Festival, and other major meetings throughout the year

  • Instant access to the members-only website. Including all the latest advice and daily emails, plus our Watch List of horses to follow at big prices and all our statistical research & findings

'So how much is this going to cost me?'

We're not like most racing services out there. We don't charge an arm and a leg. And we don't promise you the earth.

Unlike like the dozens and dozens of 'tipsters' that promise you untold riches 24/7, our claims are realistic.

We won't make you a millionaire. We're not promising to put a Ferrari on your drive. And we won't claim to give you winners every single weekend.

But long term, my Contrarian Picks are PROVEN to make money. £4,201.20 profit to £20 Each Way stakes, as of April 2018.

So how much will membership to a service delivering these profits cost?

I've seen other racing services charging £50 a week, and some asking for hundreds of pounds a month. Some of these don't even tell you WHY they’re backing a horse. Just a name - that's all you get. No evidence, no proof, no analysis or knowledge.

My Publisher and I have a reputation for providing honest, value for money services. Membership to Against the Crowd costs just £20 per month. All-in. No hidden extras or price hikes, ever.

In fact, I'm actually inviting you to join at LESS than that....

Join today and SAVE £40....

Why not take up our quarterly payment offer and save over £40....

PLUS....

Put Against the Crowd to the test for THREE MONTHS....

Our Money-back Guarantee covers you for your first three months. At any time in your first three months, for whatever reason, you can cancel and we will refund any membership fees you have paid us.

No strings. No catch. We want you to feel comfortable joining and testing the service, so we can prove to you how profitable Contrarian Betting can be.

Don't miss the next 33/1 winner. Get started today....

  • Join and save money by taking up one of our quarterly or annual discounts

  • And put everything to the test for three months covered by our Money-back Guarantee

I can't tell you when the first 8/1.... 16/1.... or 33/1 winner will be. But they will come. And a three month test period gives you plenty of time to see my methods at work....

As the race wins, member comments and profit & loss figures above all show - this is a realistic way to make money from racing. I’m not talking about making a second living. Or your own private island. I'm talking about a racing service that will put you in the best possible position, armed with the best possible information, to profit from the biggest races at the best prices....

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PLUS....

As well as my Contrarian advice and picks on over 100 races a year, and my daily posts on the members-only website, book your place now and you will also receive:

  • Free membership to Against the Crowd - EXTRA - an additional weekend service where I share my Contrarian bet picks for a big race every Saturday afternoon....

REMEMBER - this service will give you more losing bets than winning bets. I make no bones about that fact. But when the wins do come, the profits will more than make up for the wait. That's why I insisted on my Publisher providing a three month trial period for you....

Giving you dozens of races in which to read my analysis and see the contrarian, Against the Crowd approach at work.

And if you don’t like what you see, you are entitled to take up our FULL MONEY BACK GUARANTEE.

Start your three month test drive now. And never back a favourite or a poor value horse again....

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Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

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