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3.4 out of 5 stars16
3.4 out of 5 stars
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2014
It's simply awful stuff! Better betting? BETTER?How Raceform can continue to publish these types of books, often with a tie-in to subscribe to the Racing Post, is beyond me. I've rated 12 races over 2 weekends using the "Larkspur". One horse...yes one! ..won, and that was awarded the race in the Stewards' room. It was also an unremarkable 15/8 fav. Similar to another Raceform publication.. called Class Figures (which is the WORST book ever written on selecting horses to back), this method uses very reassuring and logical sounding procedures in finding the winner. Don't be reassured by it's logic. It's utter C--P! Avoid like the plague. I wouldn't even give it a spark never mind a star but it's a requirement by Amazon, so don't be fooled by the 1 star rating because this book doesn't deserve it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2014
Thought i would try this method out ,so bought the book.
After rating 23 races over a period of 2 weeks using the larkspur method exactly as written i ended up with a 30% strike rate with 7 winners from the top rated horse and a reasonable profit ( the 2nd rated horse in each race produced 2 winners ).My selections were either backed each way or win depending on the race conditions.
I trialed various races from AW claimers to NH Hunter chases to normal handicaps and the book threw up winning prices of 2/1,14/1,8/13,4/1,5/2,7/4 & 1/2 so a fair mixture.
If you are looking to rate every race and win you will be disapointed,you would need to search out the races and the conditions to find a suitable field to rate,Non handicap races tended to throw up the forecast aswell so that was usefull.
The author stresses that you need to be disciplined and i tend to agree,the method in the book does have a lot going for it but the punter would need to be a) Race selective & b) patient,i will continue to use the method to rate 9 or 10 selected races per week and im confident at the end of the season i can make a small profit.

Review update: original review was posted on 13/4/14 and today(14/4/14) i selected
2 races to rate and had a second at 9/2 Bop along 2.30 Hexam and in the 6.35 Tranmore a 5/1 winner (Preswell lad - top rated) the 2nd rated was Lord Alfie which finished 2nd at 6/4 in a 16 runner race
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 May 2014
My wife once commented my weakness wasn’t gambling but gambling books. I buy just about everything and my lack of quality control has frequently had me cursing myself after the event. This book unfortunately does nothing to reverse my recent trend of picking duds in this sphere.

I’ll start with the positives – firstly the book is quite well written and easily understood even to someone with little or no horseracing knowledge. The calculation methods are straightforward and if automated it would take very little time to do a full day’s racing. Secondly the author makes no extravagant claims about his book or method. He rightly states there is no “Holy Grail”. There is mercifully very little hard sell in the book or him telling you how great him or his method is. Unfortunately I feel there are some reasons why the author should be modest – foremost amongst them being I feel following the methods here would have your wallet empty fairly quickly.

The author blends a number of fairly traditional methods of analysing form into a system where points are allocated to each horse in accordance to where the horse sits in that criteria. There are points for recent (previous 3 race form), points for course and distance winners, points for days since last run, points for appearing in the top ranks of the betting forecast and so on. On the face of it they all appear reasonable. The reality is I think a lot different – its like throwing a lot of nice ingredients into a blender, flicking the switch and hoping that something nice will come up.

My issues with the methodology are many but foremost would be:

1.There seems no rigorous explanation of the weightings attached to each element. For example recent form could make up almost ½ the weighting if a horse has won its last three outings (18 points maximum). My experience would be that horses with such form figure are way overbet and offer very little in the way of value. A horse with these figures however will figure prominently in the Larkspur method. I have done a lot of research on course and distance winners and found that bar a few specialist courses and distances that they have very little predictive weight.

2.There are no explanations as to why certain elements are included and others not included. For example there is no attempt to quantify class. To take the form example above three wins at Class 6 are treated no differently from three wins at Class 3. Why not factor in some sort of class factor such as Van Der Wheil? Equally grievous is no consideration to trainer form or trainer specialization. What about the draw factor?

3.The method has no consideration whatsoever of value. The author in fact dismisses the value argument in a sentence. This leads to a situation where the top rated is bet regardless of price. For example a horse with 30 at 2/1 will be bet despite a horse at 29 being at 8/1. I have no problem with ratings and use various ratings myself – there has to be come consideration of value. The best ratings in the world will not turn a profit if just blindly betting top rated.

The proof of the pudding should be very much in the eating however and while the author includes a few winning example at the rear of the book he is very shy in not publishing the results of his newsletter. I have followed the newsletter in recent times and found results to be frankly dire. As I write this last weekends (17th May) results were – 8 top rated with 1 winner (Van Percy @ 11/4 SP). 7 alternates ran. There were no winners from this lot. This has not been atypical. In the tipster challenge in the newsletter the method lies 5th of 13 tipsters with a fairly startling loss of 46 units. Admittedly only the Racing Post’s postdata shows a small profit but the author’s claim that “it only takes one decent day for a dramatic turnaround in fortunes” I do not feel is credible.

This review might sound very harsh and I thought long and hard about whether two stars was merited but reluctantly concluded it was. The author seems a genuine lover of horse racing and I know from long years of battling the bookies how hard it is to make a profit of any sort but this to my mind is a dangerous type of book. Well written and apparently logical there are serious flaws in the underlying methodology and nothing approaching a scientific basis for many of the decisions made. Some decent ideas lurking here and worth reading for those but I would strongly advise extensive paper trading of this method before parting with any cash on selections.
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on 19 May 2014
As a follower of all matters of the turf for more than a quarter of a century I have read more than my fair share of books, systems etc. So it was a delight to read this no-nonsense approach to the Sport of Kings. Gambling on horse racing is easy - place a bet and await the outcome; winning consistently is not at all easy. Using this book as either an introduction or as a refresher to betting on horses is highly recommended. Breaking down races into their component parts and identifying a method that enables the student to rate each race on it's participants' merits provides both insight and winners.

Only a fool or charlatan believes you can win race after race, even the best professionals only make in the region of 10% on turnover. The art is being able to assess which race provides a good gambling medium and thereafter which of its participants is the likely winner. Using Mr Flannagan's method this is possible.

This book provides a clear analysis of the sport from the bettors standpoint and helps remove both myth and mystery. Adhering to his method helps build up a bank of useful knowledge and leads to winners.

Since acquiring the Larkspur Method my tally of weekly winners has risen - I recommend it for newbies and old hands alike, it reminded me in this sport we can always learn new analytical perspectives.
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on 6 May 2015
Lots of verbiage for a sensible scorecard type system that awards points based on recent form, handicap rating, position in betting market, and a few other obvious attributes. Experienced punters will quickly spot that they need not laboriously rate every horse in the race as some will clearly not achieve the top rating. Sound reasoning that will find winners and unlikely to cause serious losses. Lack of any longer term LSP figures is disappointing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 March 2014
This book was a bit simplistic in its approach for me but did give some interesting ideas to mov forward
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on 23 March 2014
Bought this book as I am a sucker for racing systems (looking for elderado ) anyway tried it out at Cheltenham and had a profitable festival including a couple of winners at 10/1 plus. The method itself is quick and incorporates all that is required in been able to select quality bets. We had a tipping competition at work and I won hands down.Top system highly recommended.
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on 27 March 2014
very good book,after using Clive holds fine form method,using this method was pretty well up there as well,simple and easy to use,and very accurate.very good book well worth reading and putting into practice,I've picked more winners this month than I would ever had,
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on 23 June 2014
There are far better books on the market than this- only 50+ pages and not worth the money.

Do not be fooled
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2014
Having been a Larkspur fan since the original edition came out in 2011, I was pleased to get the very latest edition from Tony. Although the system is more or less the same as in the original book, the presentation in the latest edition is much more easy to follow. In addition, Tony has included workings of the system for some big races from the past. I can thoroughly recommend this to all systemites, particularly as Tony also has a free Newsletter for every Saturday and most Festivals so this takes all the hard work from those who do not have time or inclination to carry out the calculations for themselves. (John Lawson)
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