There are four tipping services offered by the umbrella company calling itself The Inside Rail (most probably calling itself this due to the fact that they’re based in Cheltenham so supposedly have a few contacts in the horse racing world).

On first inspection, the Inside Rail website is very impressive. Free of unnecessary fluff and hype, it’s professionally presented, to-the-point, and makes no outlandish claims.

They state that they are ‘the UK’s number one horse racing advisory service’, and that they ‘are yet to have a losing year since we launched in 2000 – in the last few years we have had just a handful of losing months, and our subscribers continue to make big long-term profits.’ All promising and seemingly honest stuff.

The only fly in the ointment at this stage is the apparent clandestine nature of the Inside Rail company, with no names being presented other than simply ‘Rob’.

Let’s take a brief look at each of the four services on offer.

The Form Guru provides daily selections from, supposedly, the ‘best form reader in the country’. He ‘has a knack of finding regular big-priced winners, and each selection is backed up by detailed analysis’. They mention that the Form Guru service has had 10 winning years in a row and very few losing months. This is ‘the ideal service for those that like an interest every day, providing excellent long term profits for a small daily investment.’ The emails instruct you to back the value-based selections as straight-win or each-way bets.

The Gold Service delivers tips that allegedly originate from contacts and horse racing insiders: ‘Over our many years in the game, we have built up a very big and reliable network of information.’ Apparently, since the service’s inception in January 2011, it ‘made over 400 points profit in the first year alone’. You’re told to expect around 4–6 bets a week with this service, but in my trial, there were fewer.

The Pro Punt service is aimed at the serious punter, ‘who likes to have fewer bets with a very high strike rate’ – 90% is claimed. The selections are research-based and we’re told that ‘the Pro Punt provides excellent long-term profits and has made a substantial profit very year since it was launched in 2000’. There are 8–10 bets a month with this service.

Lastly, there’s the Lay Service: the newest service, launched in October 2011. It too is information-based: ‘We also get regular negative reports through about certain horses, and the very best information is give out as selections to be layed on the exchanges. These bets have an extremely high strike rate and it is already established as a very important and profitable addition to our portfolio.’ During my trial, lay tips were rarer than rocking-horse poo.

The cost of each of these services is £35 a month, but thankfully (as some of the services are barely there), you can subscribe to all four for £75 a month. There’s no money-back guarantee.

They offer a free 30-day free trial, but there are many reports on the internet of people alleging that they signed up to the free trial, but upon attempting to cancel it, their card was charged and went on being charged until they called the credit card company.

In my own experience, I called the credit card company first using the benefit of hindsight, but I can confirm that none of my emails were responded to, so the customer service of the Inside Rail is non-existent.

The results section on the Inside Rail website is far from satisfactory too. There is no detail whatsoever, merely making statements like: ‘8 Maximum bets advised – 7 winners’ (for the Gold Service); ‘Over 3,000 points profit since start up’ (for Pro Punt); and: ‘22 successful lay bets in 28’ (for the Lay Service). A clumn lists winning horses, but there’s no more detail than the horses’ names and the odds.

My trial did not set my world on fire. Most irksome of all was the sometime lack of tips for days on end with three of the four services: I was paying a chunk of the £75 a month for silence. They should just combine all four systems and charge a bit less for it – I would be very annoyed to pay £35 a month respectively for the Gold, Pro Punt and Lay services.

The Form Guru was the most tipster-like service of the four, with many more selections coming through than with the other three services. There were 118 selections and, though things picked up towards the end, the first month was not impressive. Month two was better, and in total there were 34 selections that provided a return to the bank, and the trial ended with 8 points profit.

The Gold Service delivered 12 tips, of which 7 won (most of them, again, in the second month). Profit was again provided, with 4.3 points profit to the bank.

Pro Punt only provided 4 bets, and none won, giving a loss of 4 points.

The Lay Service only offered 1 bet, and it won, giving a 2-point profit.

Ultimately, I feel that the Gold, Prop Punt, and Lay services all feel like add-ons to the Form Guru service, which is by far and away the main service here. Profit was forthcoming in the trial, but when you deduct the expensive £75 a month fee and consider the complete lack of customer service, I’d think twice before subscribing to Inside Rail.

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