Aspire Racing Syndicate – possible scam warning

| June 30, 2017 | 6 Replies

Product Name:

Aspire Racing Multi Syndicate


John Hughes

Company Name & Contact Details

Aspire (John Hughes Proprietor) Racing Services, Suite 140, 94 London Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 9FN (accommodation address) Tel 01865 986755 email: or


Your personal invitation to join a tried and tested service.


Between 5% and 10% of stake on winning bets.

Money Back Guarantee:

States capital not at risk but not likely to be the case.

What Do You Get   .

Horse Race betting syndicate – places bets on your behalf.

Where to buy:

via phone, email or post. No website.

Brief Summary

Aspire Multi Syndicate from John Hughes offers high rates of return on horse racing win betting subject to your depositing funds with the business which then places bets collectively. Must allow service to bet on 55 days minimum to ensure they generate their minimum fee requirement. Proprietor appears to have run other services and claims made in marketing do not appear verifiable.

How Much Money Do I need to get started?

£100 minimum “investment”

How much money can I make?

Marketing advises “The Aim of Aspire is to make £540 per month profit from a one off £100 investment while leaving your investment totally intact”

How much time will I need to make this work?.

Minutes daily

Will I need any equipment to do this?

Internet Connection


Report June 2017:

We have received details about this “opportunity” from several members and have been trying to establish the bona fides of the business and whether is it operating legally. I have to say that my first thought when I saw the mailshot was that it was the latest incarnation of Chris Beek but this does not so far appear to be the case. But that very thought should alert readers to the potential downsides here.


Please take a minute to read the mailshot which is a 2 page professionally printed invitation to join a Multi Syndicate (click the image and it will open and be scaleable)

Aspire will invest your cash in horse racing bets while leaving your investment totally intact. It claims the results are all proofed and the headline says the service is tried and tested. I must say it is difficult to find where this is the case as a search does not offer any results that would back up the claims.


Before we look at the specifics of the service you might be forgiven for thinking that such an offer would need to be regulated or authorised in some way. Initially I made enquiries of the Gambling Commission who say that as described the offer does NOT fall within the terms of the Gambling Act and so they have no control over it. They have said that they do regard the offer as suspicious and will be referring it to others for possible action. Surprising that this is the case but as the circular is seeking investment we then referred it to the Financial Conduct Authority who have initially advised that it appears to be promoting a collective investment scheme and as such would require to be offered by an authorised body under the Financial Services Act and John Hughes/Aspire is not as far as they can see so registered. They will be undertaking further investigations but the chances are that the invitation being posted to the unsuspecting public is likely to be outside the regulatory umbrella which should protect people who invest.


When I first saw the circular I was interested in the claim that the results are proofed as should this be the case then even if the scheme is outside the proper legal framework then at least potential investors can check what has gone on thus far. So I emailed John Hughes as if a potential investor and asked for details of the results and where the proofing was undertaken. His reply was less than helpful:

Being old school and knowing how figures can be manipulated or simply manufactured I do not give out reams of results. Always with this type of offer there needs to be a certain degree of trust involved. That is why I have made the entry level as low as possible.

My rule of thumb is to never invest more than you are comfortable with.

Quite astounding and not only does he not give out reams of results – he does not give out any! I also asked about the capital guarantee which he makes in his circular to be told that “although the investment is protected to a maximum there is of course no guarantee. This is gambling after all”

I think these responses tell us everything we need to know about Mr Hughes but while I was debating with Matt whether to lob a ton his way and see what happens I heard from another Betting Rant member who had already done so and was becoming worried about his cash.

So I spoke with our member to find out his practical experience of the process and outcome. He advised that he is not experienced in betting at all but has looked at online business opportunities in the past and as he was now looking to add to his pension pot thought this could be a good opportunity. He said he thought it was too good to be true but took the view that he would risk £100 to find out and so sent this off to the bank advised and his betting started around 6 May.

The process is that a membership number is issued to investors and they receive a daily email with the planned bets for the day and have to reply confirming they wish the betting to proceed. Sounds reasonable and allows you to have days off although why this is a feature is mysterious when the subscribers are likely to be inexperienced and thus unable to know what effect such a decision would have. My confidant agreed that he would not have valid input on this front but that he was much more interested in finding out how his funds were performing. He has now been emailing Hughes daily asking for information and has received no reply. He has left ansaphone messages as well but to no avail.

Surprise, surprise though he has received an invitation to join another syndicate run by Hughes and invest up to £2,500 in this venture.

Our member has kindly agreed to forward emails he now receives so we can keep track of developments but I fear the worst here. There are similar tales being reported on Betting Systems Truths and it appears that Hughes has previously run a tipping service where the typical premium rate phone number trick is used. I found it interesting that all the searches I did found Mr Hughes featuring next to stories of other scams including our dear friend Colin Davey.

You will note there are 2 email addresses at the head of this page – the original one apparently ceased to operate because of what Hughes referred to as an issue caused by Google.

If the alarm bells are not sounding in your head now then you must have a very relaxed attitude to money. The invitation has all the classic signs of being a scam and our member’s experience thus far only tends to confirm this. All the comments that I have seen from Hughes are clearly designed to deflect people from enquiring into things in detail. I agree with him that trust is needed but the scheme operator needs to generate that trust and thus far has done anything but.

Our advice is to avoid this scheme at all costs and if you have received an invitation pass it on to the FCA for investigation. You can email them on When the Gambling Commission comes to  a decision on its stance we will update members.

One final thought – the common factor in the invitations we have seen is that the members have all been on the Streetwise Publications mailing list and so it appears that this list has been sold to third parties. There is no policy disclosure on the Streetwise website but I wonder if those who are prepared to receive Street wise mailings were also prepared for their details to be sold on?

It is to be hoped that there will not be too many who have passed cash over to Aspire but if you have we suggest that you seek an immediate return of your funds and if not forthcoming start a small claims court action against Mr Hughes. He uses an accommodation address but this will not prevent a claim being instigated.

We will update the thread with any material developments and our thanks again to the members who alerted us to this scheme.

Update 18/7/2017:

We have invited the author to comment on our report and asked him specific questions about the service. We have emailed him twice now and received no response. He is still ignoring emails from his clients seeking an update on their own position.

We have now established that the syndicate places bets on horses in the afternoon racing. There is 1 selection in almost every race and a stake of 3% of the bank is placed (split each way if odds over 5/1) and no backing odds on horses. Syndicate members have to email him every day to confirm that they agree the bets should be placed which must be an administrative nightmare.

Worryingly he is now seeking additional funds from his clients to “invest” in another syndicate which he claims is even better than the original – top rated! Again there is no back up of the claims made to induce acceptance. His email last Saturday (15th) advising the days selections said that he hoped this week’s success would continue. A look at the spreadsheet here Aspire Results will show that so far in that week (10 – 14 July) the betting bank had been depleted by almost 50%!

He also had to change his bank and rather a surprise that he has now managed to open an account at Barclays. I would be very surprised if the bank knows what he is really up to.

The invitation to join advises profits monthly of more than £500 for every £100 invested. We have seen 10 days selections and following the staking as advised now have just 23% of the original sum remaining. If he is paying dividends to members then the funds would seem likely to be coming from later subscribers and so perhaps we can form our own view on why a second service has been set up.

Please do let us know by commenting on the thread or email if you have experience of this service. The comment by John U says it all really. Give this a miss if you are unfortunate enough to receive an invite.



Category: General Advice, Horse Racing, Reviews

Comments (6)

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  1. JohnU says:

    If this one doesn’t ring very loud alarm bells hen to be honest nothing will. I think Peter the Reviewer has done a very comprehensive review and especially of the potential pitfalls with this one. For the Gambling commission to say that they ‘regard the offer as suspicious’ should be enough to keep anyone other than a complete chancer away from it. Just wondering how the guy who entered and was worried about his ‘investment’ has fared in terms of getting any response at all from the Vendor, or if anyone else who has had a tilt at this and how they have got on to date?

  2. xerty says:

    I received this invitation a while ago. Thankfully it looked to good to be true and I did not take up the offer. Hope he gets what he deserves and they stop him for good.

  3. Peter Philipson says:

    A member who does not wish to publish his name has asked us to add the following comment on this thread:

    “I was stupid enough to fall for this as the returns seemed excellent (too good to be true!!!!) In his original mailshot the returns on £500 after 55 days were to be £2700 on average per month!!!! (What was I thinking?)

    In has last mail shot about a week ago I was informed that my total “investment” was lost. And he was asking for more money to try and recoup the losses!!!!

    He has not responded to emails and the phone is merely an answer machine

    Interestingly he has just sent out another scam today . “Genesis Systems” … identical to Aspire! but he does not give his name on this one. (I wonder if John Hughes is his name?)
    The bank account numbers are Aspire 08-71-99 30510356 and Genesis Systems 08-71-99 28091260

    The bank is APS Financial which I believe is merely a credit card system which anyone can get without proof of identity etc. ”

    We are investigating the Genesis offer and will publish a thread shortly.

  4. Peter Philipson says:

    I have received advice from Betting Rant reader StevenS who advises
    “I contacted ActionFraud who completed a detailed report – I would advise everyone to do the same to help stop Hughes from ripping other innocent punters off. Tel. 0300 124 2040. I was on hold for about 15 minutes but then a very nice operator completed a comprehensive report that will be used to cross reference other instances of the scam being reported – hopefully leading to action being taken. They also suggested contacting the FCA – financial conduct authority, as well as Hughes’s bankers (using sort code and account number details sent in the mailshot), both of which I am going to do. Hope this helps…”
    Really good of Steven to take the time to register the problems with the authorities as this is the only way to really stop these people from perpetrating more frauds.
    If any do contact the FCA please quote reference FCA query 204787627 so that the connection may be made with other complaints.

    • Peter Philipson says:

      StevenS has now advised as follows:
      I contacted my bank to report this scam and to try and get a refund as I too had sent money via bank transfer. They very quickly responded, having contacted the recipient bank that Hughes had provided the details for (in my case I sent funds to APS financial at sort code 087199 account 30510356). Unsurprising they said ‘We have contacted the beneficiary bank but unfortunately no funds remain.’ If you sent money to the Barclays account Hughes recently changed to (204545 account 73887952) I would strongly advise that you report it to your bank and ask them to investigate – if nothing else it will raise awareness at Barclays that they are in effect providing banking services to a fraudster. I also phoned both APS and Barclays and reported Hughes to their fraud teams in an effort to expose him for the rip off merchant he is.
      Great persistence from Steven and as those involved with Beek will know it is important to have this quality.

  5. Richard Hopwood says:

    I stupidly fell for this. Fortunately I only paid £50 by bank transfer. I spoke to my bank who initially said they would pursue this for me but subsequently advised they wouldn’t / couldn’t.

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