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The Western Morning News delivers February nest egg

February proved to be lucrative month with the top seven tipsters in the naps table posting profits. The table was headed by West Tip of the Western Morning News. His 8.4-point gain was enough to deny Simpson of the Blackpool Gazette with The Daily Express’ The Scout third and the Sunday Mirror’s Gary Nutting fourth after a near dead-heat for third position. Profits were also earned by Garry Owen (Daily Record), The Duke (Yorkshire Post) and Wise Owl (Belfast Newsletter).

A run of three consecutive winning naps between 25 and 27 February secured the February title for West Tip. The month as a whole saw eight winning tips from 24 selections (33% strike-rate) which included the 9/1 success of Suzi’s Connoisseur at Newcastle (14 February).

Twelve of Simpson’s 24 February bets prevailed, producing an impressive 50% strike-rate. Like West Tip, Simpson ended the month on a high, claiming five consecutive winning naps between 24 and 28 February.

The Scout beat Gary Nutting for third position by a smidgeon - 0.03 of a point. Two winning 7/1 naps, Starboard (Chelmsford City, 2 February) and Air Horse One (Ascot, 18 February) were the highlights of a seven-winner February haul by The Scout (30% strike-rate). In contrast, Nutting’s strike-rate was a modest 16%, but three of his four winners came in at 7/1 or more: Allee Bleue (7/1, Leicester, 1 February, Willoughby Hedge (8/1, Sandown, 17 February) and Rocky’s Treasure (15/2, Doncaster, 22 February).

Although Nutting just failed to take third in the February, he did move to the top of the 2017 naps table. His overall profit is 16.4 points. Racing Post Ratings remain second on 13.5 with West Tip climbing to third position with 9.3 points.

In the overall tips table, Racing Post Ratings were in irrepressible form in February, registering a profit of 29.9 points. Winners included 22/1 Idol Deputy (Wolverhampton, 25 February), 16/1 Tornado in Milan (Wincanton 2 February) and 12/1 Count Montecristo (Wolverhampton, 6 February). There were also nine winning tips in the 7/1 to 10/1 price range.

Newsboy of The Daily Mirror (6.7 points) and the Daily Telegraph’s Marlborough finished second and third with profits of 6.7 points and 2.1, while Brian O’Connor of the Irish Times posted a small profit in claiming fourth spot. Modest though O’Conner’s profit was, it helped push his 2017 all-tips profit up to 35.2 points, which puts him well clear in the 2017 tips table.

Finally, this month, with Cheltenham on most punters’ minds, I thought it useful to glance back at the last three years to see if any tipster trends have emerged. Looking first at naps during the four days of Cheltenham, The Duke of the Yorkshire Post came out top in both 2014 and 2015, while Racing Post Spotlight has shown healthy profits in two of the three years under consideration.

When considering all tips during the four days of the Festival (and by this I mean at all meetings, not just Cheltenham) Racing Post Spotlight were to the fore again, posting a 2.1 yield in 2014, a 6.9-point gain in 2015, and 9.4 last year. Robin Goodfellow of the Daily Mail has also posted good profits in each of the last two years, while last year, Captain Keen of the Irish Times made hay during Cheltenham week, posting an overall profit of 33 points on all bets.

Date Published: 06/03/2017