Sensational Mark Your Card make it four wins in five years
The 2018 Besttipping Challenge victor was, for the fourth time in five years, Mark Your Card. Overall yield for the twelve-month period was 239.2 points which ensured a comfortable 100-plus point victory over last year’s winner, Daily Bargain, with Probets and Personal Info claiming third and fourth positions.
Stung by last year’s reversal – if a 115-point gain can be so described – Mark Your Card began 2018 in determined fashion. By the end of February, they were more than 70 points clear of their nearest rivals. A heavy loss in March temporarily brought the race back to life, but by the early summer it was apparent that it would take a momentous change of fortune to deny Mark Your Card. Not only would it require a rival to put together a stunning sequence of successes, but Mark Your Card would have to slip up dramatically. It wasn’t to be. But for a late stutter in November, there was a serene passage to glory with December producing a 54.7-point yield, the fourth 50-plus point gain of the year.
Although missing out on a second consecutive Besttipping Challenge (and a third in all) Steve Jones’ Daily Bargain once again performed with a high level of consistency, posting just three losing months in 2018. A return of 113-points was enough to secure second position in the final table. It also means that this remarkable value-seeking service has now returned five annual yields of more than 100 points, and over an 11-year period with Besttipping, has averaged more than 55 points of profit per year.
At the start of December Daily Bargain still had an outside chance of retaining the crown, but a higher than normal run of seconds and thirds thwarted efforts to eat into Mark Your Card’s lead. No fewer than 12 of the month’s 28 selections finished second or third (five at odds of 10/1 or more). Mercers, an 8/1 success at Lingfield on the final day of the year, was the highlight of a frustrating month that also saw two 5/1 strikes – Another Angel (Newcastle, 5 December) and Hard Toffee (Chelmsford City, 13 December).
Jones also has much to be proud of with his second service, Probets, which finished 2018 in third place in the overall table with a yield of 61.9 points, which is, by some way, this service’s best return since joining Besttipping back in 2013. This was a solid display with nine profitable months during the course of the year. Seven of December’s 28 selections prevailed (25% strike-rate), with a further 12 finishing in the frame. Winners included 11/2 Documenting (Lingfield, 31 December) and 9/2 Glory Of Paris (Chelmsford City, 6 December).
In terms of consistency, no service could rival Personal Info, who finished 2018 with eleven monthly profits, the equal best return since First Favourite’s famous twelve winning months in 2015. December’s profit of 4 points was achieved with seven winning selections and a good each-way return from a 10/1 shot on the last Saturday of the year from just 10 bets. Getaway Trump is quickly proving to be Personal Info’s favourite horse. The Paul Nicholls-trained gelding obliged for Personal Info at Plumpton in November and added to the bank balances of subscribers at rewarding odds of 11/2 at Exeter (7 December), before finishing second at 10s in the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on 29 December. 2018’s return was an excellent 19.1 points, the best since 2015’s 63.7-point haul and the eighth year of profit since 2008.
First Favourite advised only one tip in December, the winning juvenile Quel Destin (10/11) at Doncaster on 15 December. As a result, First Favourite finished December with a 0.2-point annual profit, the fifth time in as many years that an overall profit has been recorded.
Personal Info’s Saturday-Only Service also made it five winning years on the bounce thanks to an excellent December return of three winners and an each-way return from just five selections.
Of the three services that joined Besttipping during the summer, Sprint Specialiser fared best, posting a fractional six-month loss. However, they, along with Sandbets and Early Price Profits showed enough to suggest that great days lie ahead.