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Daily Bargain recover to secure third Besttipping Challenge


After a tense final month, Daily Bargain won the 2019 Besttipping Challenge – the third time Steve Jones’ service has claimed the title. December return of 23.50 points secured victory, although nearest rivals Mark Your Card fought hard and, for much of the month, they headed the table. Yet the final margin of victory was a comparatively comfortable 27 points. Jones’ second service, Probets, finished third for the second successive year while the ever-consistent Personal Info and Personal Info Saturday-Only also finished the year in credit.

Since May, Daily Bargain and Mark Your Card have been involved in a protracted titanic struggle for supremacy, with both services taking turns at the top of the table. There was never more than 20 points between them and the race was still very much alive on the opening day of December; at that point Daily Bargain led by just 6.4 points.

Mark Your Card were quickest out of the blocks with Tzar De Lelfe (16/1, Plumpton) helping to secure an 8-point yield on 2 December. This handed them the initiative and Mark Your Card held a narrow lead until Daily Bargain hit back with the success of Kodiline (9/2, Lingfield) on 11 December. Three days later Blue Cavalier (16/1, Doncaster), Warthog (10/1, Cheltenham) and Longhousesignora (3/1, Hereford) combined to give Mark Your Card an 18-point windfall. Daily Bargain replied with the success of Above The Rest (8/1, Newcastle) the same afternoon, but the day ended with Mark Your Card more than 12 points clear.

Under intense pressure, Daily Bargain responded brilliantly: 14/1 advice Real Estate scored at Wolverhampton on 16 December and Not So Sleepy prevailed at Ascot five days later at 9/1. Suddenly Daily Bargain were ahead by fifteen points and the Welsh National victory of Potters Corner (9/1, Chepstow) five days later pushed the lead to more than 30 points.

Mark Your Card kept on to the end; the victory of 25/1 advice Galtee Mountain (Warwick) cut the deficit on the final day of the year, but Daily Bargain had enough in hand to follow up previous successes in 2012 and again in 2017.

Daily Bargain were a model of consistency throughout the year: 44 of the year’s 321 selections prevailed. With odds averaging more than 10/1, a 13.7% strike-rate was more than enough to secure a handsome reward. The annual yield (105.80 points) was significantly lower than 2018, but there is no denying that this has been a testing year, with a number of services calling it a day, and others temporarily shutting-up shop. Apart from a couple of annual breaks, Daily Bargain offered tips day-in-day-out, and apart from May’s 22-point loss, the losing months were not calamitous; in each case a losing month was followed immediately by a winning one. (In fact, only twice in the last three years have Daily Bargain posted successive losing months.)

Mark Your Card were competitive throughout 2019, although not quite the heavy hitters of yesteryear. Adapting to the challenging circumstances, less bets are advised now than in the glory days, but as December’s returns show, there are still plenty of big priced winners to be had from the four-time champions.

Probets repeated last year’s third placing with a 22.70-point annual yield (28% strike-rate). Nine of December’s 26 selections were successful with a further seven finishing second or third. Like 2018, eight profitable months were recorded with May’s 26.3-point table-topping return standing out.

Personal Info continue to thrive: December’s 1.70 point profit was the ninth of the year, following last year’s eleven winning months. Since 2005, Personal Info have recorded more than 1040 points profit, which places them second in the all-time list behind Mark Your Card. This works out to over £10,040 profit to a £10 stake. Seven races were examined in December and five winners were identified including Prince Of Naples (2/1, Dundalk, 3 December), Rough Night (3/1, Warwick, 12 December) and Shimmering (7/4, Lingfield, 18 December).

Personal Info’s Saturday-Only service posted just one advice in December. Needless to say, that was a winner – Pagero (8/11, Doncaster, 14 December). So, once again, the year’s tally was nine winning months out of 12 – equalling the record of 2017 and ’18.

For First Favourite, 2019 was frustrating. After five winning years a small loss was recorded. It wasn’t the end of the world as First Favourite’s selective approach meant that fewer selections were advised than in previous years. A bright start to 2020 will quickly recover the 4.5-point loss and set the bank straight.

Sandbets also posted an overall loss, but results in the last two months were encouraging, suggesting better days lie ahead. In the case of Sprint Specialiser, a bright opening to the year gave way to a series of disappointing results. Again, better days will follow.