Merlin Lays (Final Update)

| October 9, 2018 | 2 Replies


Product Name:

Merlin Lays

Company Name & Contact Details:

Tipster Street
E-mail contact via the “Contact Us” page on the web site


£9.95 per month or £19.95 per quarter (effectively three months for the price of two).

Both options offer a 30-day trial for just £2.49.

Money Back Guarantee:

None mentioned.

What Do You Get?

Daily lay selections from UK horse racing.

Where to Buy:

Brief Summary:

Daily (including Sunday) lay tips from UK horse racing. All tips are laid to one-point at Betfair SP (stake not liability – your liability will vary depending on the BSP of the selection).

How Much Money Do I Need to Get Started?

A 100-point starting bank is recommended.

How Much Money Can I Make?

The website states a total of 62.80 points profit since launch in March 2017 at an average of just over four-points per month.

How Much Time Will I Need to Make This Work?

Minutes daily when the tips are received. The number of tips varies. In the first month of the trial we have seen from none on some days to nine on another, the average was 3.5 tips per day.

Will I Need Any Equipment to Do This?

Internet connection through a mobile device, laptop or PC and access to Betfair or another exchange account.

Value for Money?

Under £10 per month places this service firmly in the lower echelons of the market from a cost perspective. But that doesn’t automatically mean value for money. I’ll make an assessment at the end of the review, but the early signs are promising. The historic claims of four points per month average profit are not out of reach, despite a breakeven review period. The long-term potential for a steady return is still there and at under a tenner a month it may be worth watching Merlin’s performance over a slightly longer period.

Quality of Customer Service?

Part of the Tipster Street stable of tipsters and benefits from the infrastructure that comes from that. My communication with the owner Neil has always been very professional and timely. When I have used the support link through the web site I have always received a prompt and helpful response.


Any tipster appearing on the Tipster Street platform will have undergone a two-stage vetting process to be accepted as a paid for service. Merlin Lays went live with Tipster Street in May 2017 after two-successful months trialling. Since then it has delivered 68-points of profit at an average of just over four-points per month.

The concept is simple enough in theory – identify horses with factors that make them extremely unlikely to win the race. Unlike many lay tipsters, Merlin Lays does not focus on low-priced horses. The range we have seen in the first month of the review is between 2.03 and 19.0, at an average of 5.45. Obviously, this increases the exposure should a long-shot win on any occasion and can lead to a fluctuating performance as the win selections will always return 0.95 points profit (one point staked less 5% commission).

Tips are received via e-mail between 10 and 11 each morning. As well as the e-mail notification, the tips are available each day on the web site. The e-mail is clear and concise, listing the race time, meeting and selection to lay.

The information on the website indicates an average of 71 tips per month and we saw 77 in the first month of the trial, so this seems about right on the face of it.

All selections are laid to Betfair SP so there is no rush to react to the e-mail each day to secure best prices.

There is a full breakdown of the results since Merlin Lays became a paid for service in May 2017 available on the website. There is an error on the recent results though, with American Patrol in the 5:40 at Kempton on August 8th being listed as a losing selection and -5 points, in fact this was a non-runner.

Results – Month 1 (9th July to 8th August 2018)

A steady, profitable start to our review with 6.59 points of profit secured in the first month. This is ahead of the historic monthly average and looked like being even better until the final day of the month. With 10.69 points of profit accumulated up to the penultimate day there were then two losing selections out of six on the final day, including Arcavallo at 6.92, which wiped just over four points off the profit.

Of the 77 selections in the period, 61 successfully lost to give a strike rate of 79.22%, bang in line with the historic average of 78% quoted on the website. The average odds of the losing selections were 4.21 and as well as the last day of the month there was one other occasion of two losers on the same day.

Against that, we saw a run of 16 consecutive winners during the first month, with a further run of 11 as well.

Results – Month 2 (9th August to 8th September 2018)

The month started well and we sat on just under ten points profit when Merlin’s worst nightmare came to be. The first five of seven lays on 15th August all went and won, including Pacino at 10.5. Suddenly a very promising position vanished and a loss of 8.57 points was left. To his credit, Merlin then conjured up 15 wins in the next 16 bets and profitability was restored. After a few more ups and downs we sat on a small profit with around a third of the month remaining. However, Chookie Royale won at Sedgefield at 14.56 and another big hole opened up. Another period of rebuilding was required, and although some of the losses were recovered before the end of the month, the service still ended Month 2 eight points in deficit.

The overall strike rate in the month was 78.21% and the average odds of the lays 5.36 (just under 9/2). However, it was the two double digit winners which ultimately did for this month’s profitability.

After two months we now sit on a small loss overall of 1.41 points. Of 155 lay selections, 122 of the horses have been beaten, a strike rate of 78.71%. The average odds has been consistent across both months and overall sits at 5.4 (or just under 9/2 as mentioned above).

Results – Month 3 (9th September to 8th October 2018)

This month got off to a flying start with 10 straight winning selections. Unfortunately, this was followed by two losing selections which all but wiped out the profit we had accumulated. This set the tone for the remainder of the month as we fluctuated between a small cumulative profit and a small cumulative loss. The month ended just the right side of the line with a profit of 0.85 points after an unbroken run of seven straight wining tips.

The three months of the review have been a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs, with some decent length winning sequences offset by a run of five consecutive losers and a single loss of 13.56 points from Chookie Royale in Month 2. The highest cumulative profit at any point during the review was 16.43 points (immediately before the run of five consecutive losses), whilst the worst negative position was just 7.69 points (at the end of the very first week of the review). After all the highs and lows we ended the review with a loss of just half a point. 

The strike rate was fairly consistent throughout and averaged 78.26% across the thee months. This is bang in line with the historic figures quoted by the service.

Summary at End of Month 1

A steady start with all of the indicators in line with the historic claims on the web site. This looks to have the potential to be a slow and steady earner for your portfolio.

Summary at End of Month 2

Double digit winners will always be the nemesis of any laying service, and two in one month is a killer. T0 his credit, Merlin limited the damage to eight points and with a fair wind in the final month the service could still well return cumulative results in line with the historic averages claimed. All is not yet lost.

Summary at End of Month 3

This service flattered to deceive during the review period and fluctuated between a small cumulative profit and small cumulative loss throughout. The loss on Chookie Royale at a Betfair SP of 14.56 was pivotal, as this was well outside the average lay odds of 5.32 and the second highest price we saw across the three months. No real damage was done during the review, and with a total membership cost of under £30 for the whole period, this service is probably worth watching over a longer time. You can always do this for any of the services we review at The Tipster League.

A full breakdown of results from the trial is available here.


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Category: Betting Systems

Comments (2)

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  1. Zai47 says:

    How can you lay at bsp when you don’t what price it I’ll be . That seems madness to me .

  2. says:

    I can see your point and there is definitely an added risk that the price moves against you. However, it also goes to show that the different approaches work for different people and finding the right fit is an important part of selecting tipsters to follow. Part of Merlin Lays strategy is obviously to identify horses that are going to be well-backed but have question marks over them in his opinion. There is also the question of timing, most people don’t have the luxury of being able to monitor the market and place the lay at the optimum time, so if they want a lay tipster in their armoury then Merlin offers one alternative.

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