As we welcome our newest membership, Rick’s Racing Model, to our stable, we caught up with the man behind the model, Rick Williams.
G’day Rick, did you want to start by telling us a bit about yourself and your punting background? Feel free to go back to the very beginning…
I was betting from as young as I can remember. I’m from a family of punters – not anybody at a professional level but just people who loved the punt. I think I read ‘The Winning Way’ by Don Scott for the first time when I was about 12, and from there I started with paper and a calculator, trying to work out the maths.
That sounds like a very serious, considered approach from a very young age! You weren’t just picking horse names or colours like most kids?
No, I wasn’t. The process interested me, I liked trying to find the conclusions. So I had my head around the way it was meant to work from a young age. When I was about 15 or 16 I started to take it more seriously and try to get it right, and from 18 I started to track things properly and got right into weight and class ratings. It took off from there.
I was with Champion Bets (then Champion Picks) in the earlier days, and I ended up working closely with Vince Accardi for a few years. I was lucky enough to be tutored by him on his ideas and philosophies and times, which at that stage were very new to the market. I was able to find horses at significant value then, but that approach did taper off as the market adjusted.
After that I had a bit of a sabbatical from the punt. I was just cooked, it was a lot of work doing what I was doing.
You’re obviously back into it now. Are you doing anything differently?
I like to treat it like a managed fund now. You’ve got your bankroll and 20 or 30 different models or variations of what you’re doing, and you’re not so reliant on any one thing, which can be the case when you’re doing the form in a more traditional sense – say doing times and weights or watching videos. If that one thing isn’t working for you, or you’re having a bad run, you don’t have anything else.
That’s certainly okay for some people, but when I got back into racing full-time I decided I wasn’t going to go down that path again – I wanted some coverage. I’m not reliant on any one thing like I would be if I, say, did the form for one particular meeting and the track was off. That’s the sort of thing I got a bit fed up with.
Let’s look at your new Champion Bets package… so is that just one approach you follow personally, or a combination of many?
There’s a few different things in there. It’s a very small piece of what I do each day personally – I bet in much greater volumes and have a much higher number of “transactions”, as I call them.
It’s win bets only, and we’re looking at quite a high strike-rate based on our testing. It’s been around 35% – 40%, which is great. Even with that though, it’s still mathematically possible to have 13 or 14 losers in a row, so of course there’s the expectation that we can have losing days and some drawdown despite the great strike-rate. Overall though, it’s looking very positive.
What have you been seeing profit-wise?
The profit-on-turnover has been very strong. When I started this I was backing everything identified, but after a few months I saw the odds-on pops weren’t profitable. So now $2 is the minimum price we bet at. The PoT really skyrocketed after that, and has sat between 25% and 30%.
That’s obviously quite a big figure to achieve long-term… as the data gets deeper, experience tells me that will settle somewhere between 15% and 20%. Things can take a while to settle down.
What about staking? You’re using level stakes, which is something different for us!
It sure is. Because I’m betting to Betfair SP… I could use a BSP predictor tool and stake proportionately, but that’s not accessible and easy for members, obviously.
I always look at the sum total of what’s being staked and collected, and for me it’s a long-term focus – it’s not a day or a week. So I’m happy to use level staking because the stake is very much optimised to this model across all of the bets.
With these particular selections, if you take the overall stake on proportionate staking and divide it by the number of bets, it comes out at about 1.65 units. I like to have a little cushion in there, so for this package we’re making it 1.5 units staking at this stage – I’ve knocked 10% off the stake for that safety. Overall, it’s returned almost an identical amount for profit overall.
Level staking certainly isn’t something I use or recommend for everything, but at times – especially for something like this when people might just want to get their bets on in the morning then relax – it can definitely work as long as the stake is optimised, which is what we’ve done here.
Basically with a model like this – where you’re not betting a rated price, I’ve found that you need to:
- Work out what you’d stake proportionately at (for example) SP
- Work out what that total stake is across all bets in your sample
- Divide that by the number of bets, which really optimises the individual bet stake.
With our strike rate, 1.5 units works out as a good stake.
Is Betfair SP the preferred dividend type?
I’m so focussed on Betfair personally, and that’s what I’ve used. I think Best Tote / SP or even Best of the Best are great options too. The big advantage with Betfair SP is the ability to set the minimum price you’ll take at $2, so you can just put it on and forget about it. The big unknown though, and what varies, is your commission discount rate, which varies for each person.
If you have a high discount rate it makes a big difference, because on Australian racing you’re paying 6% or even up to 10% raw commission. If you’re a new Betfair user and have no discount, you’ll probably do just as well with the Best Tote options.
We will record official results at Best Tote / SP because it’s a guaranteed price that’s not subject to individual discount rates. But Betfair SP is a great option and can also throw up a few anomalies from time to time. You’ll rarely get a worse price, but on the odd occasion you get a really phenomenal price. These can really help along the way.
Good stuff. Anything else you wanted to say to members who’ve jumped on board?
Like all these things, the proof is obviously in the pudding, but I want to assure everybody that a hell of a lot of work has gone in to get this model to what I consider a solid and reliable operating level. It’s able to handle some huge data sets so there’s plenty of information in there.
As far as people’s expectations go, it probably hasn’t changed since I last worked with Champion Bets back in 2010-2014: it’s always the long-term that’s important and anybody who wants to be a successful punter has to realise that and stick at it through periods of drawdown. That’s easy when you’ve got a proper bankroll to get you through and you’re able to stick to the plan. I think anybody who’s willing to do that will do very well out of this!
Daily updates and stand out selections that will win at a high strike rate – what more could a punter want?
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