Jones claims January crown - and takes second, too!
Steve Jones’ Daily Bargain took an early lead in the 2017 Besttipping challenge, finishing January with a table-topping 18-point profit. And Jones had more to celebrate as his second service – Probets – claimed second position with a 7-point yield. First Favourite also made a strong start to the new year, securing an 82% strike-rate whilst accumulating a 6.5-point profit.
A long-established member of the Besttipping community, Daily Bargain won the 2012 challenge and were second the following year and third in 2015. After a barren 2016, Daily Bargain were back in the groove with 14/1 Zac Brown (Wolverhampton, 5 January), and two 12/1 winners, Straidnahanna (Catterick, 12 January) and Ziga Boy (Doncaster, 28 January) leading the way.
Probets performed solidly throughout 2016 with December’s top spot securing fourth place in the overall challenge. That momentum continued into January with nineteen of Probets 28 selections finishing in the first two, with eleven making it all the way into the winners’ enclosure, including 4/1 Major Jumbo (Newcastle, 25 January). There were also strikes at 7/2, 11/4 and 9/4 along the way.
In 2015, First Favourite completed an unprecedented ‘clean sweep’ posting a profit in all 12 months. Last year saw eight winning months out of twelve, and 2017 began with yet another profitable return, and further evidence that judiciously backing favourites can be a route to long-term profit. This kind of approach requires a better than 50% strike-rate and this is something that First Favourite can be relied upon to provide. Last month saw nine winning bets out of 11 (81.81% strike-rate) with prices up to 9/4 (The New One, Haydock, 21 January). January’s gain follows profits in each of the last three months of 2016 and February has also begun brightly with three winners from just five selections.
Personal Info began the year in fine fettle with two winners, two seconds and a third from their first five selections. A further nine winners during the course of January secured a 30.55% strike-rate. Winners included 100/30 Whaleweigh Station (Kempton, 28 January) and Shah of Armaan (Wolverhampton, January).
Meanwhile, Personal Info’s Saturday-Only service narrowly missed out on a profitable start to 2017. Having secured eight months of profit in 2016, the Saturday-Only service posted a small loss, despite the success of Whaleweigh Station detailed above.
Wholestone (9/2 advice, Cheltenham, 28 January) brought a smile to the faces of Those2oppose’s many followers. Third in last year’s title race, Those2oppose just missed out on a January profit, but showed enough to indicate a return to profit is imminent.
Perhaps the most striking feature of January’s returns is the absence from the leader-board of the three-time champions, Mark Your Card. Unusually, Isiris’s bookie-bashing machine posted a January loss, the first such deficit since last April and only the fifth monthly failure since the start of 2015. However, there will be no signs of panic as, following last April’s reverse, Mark Your Card won four of the following six monthly titles, boxing off the title well before the end of the year.
So, we move towards the twin peaks of the jumping season, Cheltenham and Aintree, but, in the meantime, there is plenty of action to see us through to the festival season. Already, just a few days into February, there have been wins for Daily Bargain, Probets, Isiris, James Boyle and Middleton, while Mark Your Card are already making amends for last month with winners at 7/1, 6/1, 8/1 and 11/2.