Review by Ian
About Cleeve Racing:
Cleeve Racing started in 2011. To still be around 10 years later means they must be doing something right given the number of services that are here one minute and gone the next, usually with nothing to show for your investment!
That’s not to say they haven’t had their problems. Since inception they’ve consistently been rated one of the best tipping services around, unfortunately that stellar reputation took a major hit when the quality of advice provided started to slide badly culminating in a disastrous 9 months tipping last year where on top of your annual subscription fees – currently £329 – you’d have lost 115 points.
They currently offer a £10 trial month stating the service is all about long term results and not a 4-week snapshot. For anyone joining Cleeve since their fall from grace those long term results would see them around 153 points down currently before the addition of annual fees.
Their home page needs a little updating e.g. the race analysis states they’ve been profitable every year for the last nine years, 2020 was not a profitable year. It also advertises a Trustpilot rating of 4.3 when in fact after last year’s losses that’s now dropped to four. In fact, if the rating was from last year it would be nearer 1. Another page suggests a 100 point starting bank for more cautious punters, stating in 9 years this has never been wiped out, clearly that is no longer the case.
They have however been man enough to respond to the more recent critical Trustpilot ratings when many others would have hidden away or discontinued the service.
The introduction of a new head tipster – John – and a change of direction re selections in December 2020 appears to have seen them turn the corner back to profitability. Previously they only provided selections in Class 2 or better races. However, by his own admission this approach didn’t sit comfortably with their new head tipster. In December Cleeve gave him free rein to change approach which appears for now to have arrested the overall run of bad results.
Using the new approach there have been 5 winning months from 9 showing an overall profit. Since September ’19 they’ve never had more than two consecutive winning months, happening only twice. Both occurring more recently on John’s watch.
Under him your suggested 100 point starting bank looks much safer i.e. Cleeve state in over 3000 bets his longest losing run is 26 bets or 19 points.
During my trial – since end of June – I’ve never gotten close to his longest losing run, 10 being the worst run experienced which took place at the end of August for a draw down of 15.9 points.
There was a winner amongst that run but it was one of two bets in the same race and the net result was a loss so I’ve chosen to include both selections as part of the losing run, contrary to how Cleeve view it. I did notice they count each way bets as having ‘won’ if they placed but lost money. Personally, any such bet which loses me money e.g. placed runners at each way returns of less than 5/1 I consider to be losing bets.
John’s strategy is to identify races where there is one horse with plenty in their favour when others in the field have conditions against them. As he explains this tends to happen more often in lower grade handicaps, hence the change in approach by Cleeve.
John explains he generally prefers to stake 1 point to win or 0.5 points each way and if there are a few more question marks his minimum stake is 0.5 points win. If he is really confident of a selection his maximum bet is 2 points win or 1 point each way. His experience tells him that win betting tends to be more profitable and he usually averages around 70% win bets.
During the trial I’ve found win bet selections are only running at 47%. Over 72 days worth of selections the strike rate on win bets is 24% for a small profit of 2.7 points. The strike rate on his maximum win bets rises to 28% for a profit of 7.1 points.
If each way betting isn’t your thing then the Cleeve service isn’t currently for you as more than 50% of selections are each way despite John’s claims. However perhaps a strike rate of 38% and a profit on each way bets of 33.71 points over the same 72 days may change your mind.
Selections are notified as being available on the website by email, usually between 10 and 10.30 am on the day of the race, advising which bookmakers have the best prices and stake. I typically found the prices were generally available at the time of advice which often isn’t the case with other services.
John supplies a concise race analysis with every selection, normally between 120 & 300 words. These can prove quite insightful, even down to having a better explanation for a 50/1 winner than the trainer was able to offer stewards after the race for its improved performance! He also provides the rationale for his belief it could over turn an odds on favourite which it duly did! in addition to the 50/1 winner he’s also advised each way bets at 66/1, 33/1 and 28/1 which have placed.
In addition to the advised bets Cleeve also provide a separate ratings service for higher class races i.e. Class 2 and above. No betting advice is given for these ratings, they are provided solely to assist you in your own betting. During my trial they’ve also started testing internally a TV service which as the name suggests are selections only for TV races which are mainly on a Saturday. The selections are provided to members in a stripped-down format but are not currently part of the standard Cleeve P&L as they’ve not decided whether the service will go live or not. A decision is envisaged by the start of the jumps season.
It’s currently showing a 24 point profit since they started tracking end of June, if they can maintain that I expect it’ll be part of any future service.
My 72 day trial has provided 108 selections.
The overall strike rate was 27% yielding 29 winning bets for a return of 36.41 points or ROI of 14.7% which also takes into account pro-rated subs paid.
Putting to one side what’s gone before – and some of the now out of date claims on their web site – I can only say I’ve found the service to be straight forward, easy to use and more to the point profitable.
There’s lots of good additional information which you can choose to use or not. I found any questions I had were answered quickly, they didn’t disappear into a black hole like many other services.
I sincerely hope John can continue the upward trajectory Cleeve currently find themselves on since changing tack back in December.