I have been looking at The Professional Syndicate, a horse racing ratings service, which claims to be ‘the number 1 horse racing ‘ratings’ service in the country’. As far as ratings go, I have often stated that it is problematic comparing like-for-like ratings of different services because they all may have some strengths and some weaknesses. None of them claim that you would make a profit by backing every top rated runner, and understandably all of them claim that you have to be selective.

What subscribers get for their subscription money is access to daily ratings, plus suggested strategies and an enthusiastic forum where there is great camaraderie. For the past month I have kept tabs on a couple of those strategies plus suggested best bets of the day and longshots.

The overall impression I get is that the way it is run is somewhat amateurish. As strategies are suggested and run by subscribers they are understandably patchy and unreliable, and therefore frustrating to follow. So some days they won’t appear on the website, and on the days they do there will be no set time of posting.

For me, the biggest disappointment with the service is the way the ratings are presented. What you get is the first and second rated selections for every race, with no explanation and no weighting. For shrewd bettors it is very difficult to know what to do with this information. Anybody who takes their horse racing seriously won’t be interested in this, and they would do well to refer to Racing Dossier to see how the pros do it. I accept that they probably don’t have the resources in time/expertise terms, but the buying public would note that the subscription to Racing Dossier is actually cheaper, and there are other far more comprehensive ratings available such as Inform Racing and Geegeez Gold. Those also run 7 days a week, whereas this service takes Sundays off (even though their sales page says 7 days a week). The only reason I would advise subscribing to The Professional Syndicate as opposed to one of the others mentioned would be if the top rated results were actually more successful than the others. Although I don’t have these figures, I very much doubt that they could be. Other services will tell you all the factors taken into account when producing the ratings and the confidence you would have in backing a particular horse. Or, indeed, in laying a particular horse, and this is certainly an area you can’t get from The Professional Syndicate. When you do click on the Results tab, you don’t actually get results, you get the previous selections. If you want to check the results and odds, you would have to do the work yourself.

As far as the tested strategies go, I trialed a couple over the month. Pippin’s Strategy won on 20 days out of 21. Awesome, right? Well no, this only made one point profit. How so? Well, it’s a SAW (stop-at-a-winner) strategy, meaning one loss can wipe out 20 or more wins. Demoralising, and why I never go anywhere near this method. The final day I tested this it won, but you had to lay out £205 just to win a tenner!

Another strategy, James Prize Points Strategy, was a convoluted and time-consuming scoring system, which you could work out yourself, or you could wait for James to blog the selections, but this is a patchy service by a subscriber. In the testing period it ended at around 15 points down, but I only recorded the blogged selections.

I recorded results to Best Bet Of The Day, most of these were in the odds-on domain, and this finished up on around minus 5 points to BSP-5%.

The Longshots service was also patchy, sometimes many, sometimes none. This was a shame because there seemed to be some mileage here, with the win bets losing slightly, and the place bets more than compensating for an overall profit to BSP-5% of 5 points, but double that for place only bets.

Finally, occasionally forecast bets are given out, either straight or reverse. This was showing a small loss for 6 forecasts. Three of these were given as reverse, and they all won. The three which were given as straight all lost, but had they been reverse they would have won and made six out of six!

So, a likeable enough bunch of people on here, but likeable isn’t enough to recommend subscribing. I couldn’t possibly point people to this when there are much more professional ratings suppliers out there which charge lower subs. I was veering towards a neutral rating for this service, but a fail at this time really isn’t harsh. There are some glimmers of promise in there; they have been running the service for four years, but they have to make a decision to take it to the next level, or to drop the subs down to a nominal rate and keep is as a matey forum. I would also like to see them offer a free or reduced rate trial period.

Monthly membership is £34.99 by Paypal, and there are discounts for longer period subscribers.

Anyone interested can sign up here: