I very rarely enter into Twitter debates but on a weekend not devoid of controversy I brought about some interesting response with my reaction the SPs that were returned for a three-runner novice chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
When the returns flashed on the screen in front of us for Angus Mcnae to read out, it showed the winner had returned at 10-11 - no problem there. But when the second was also returned at odds-on at 5/6, I commented that it was criminal.
Two returned at odds-on at Wetherby— chris cook (@claimsfive) November 14, 2020
Oh dear, bookies
I would like to clarify that both then and now, I don’t think that this was the horserace betting crime of the century, but I stand by my view, most especially in terms of the aesthetics. It is not a good look to have two odds-on shots in any race, especially if there is another runner adding further unfavourable margin - albeit on this occasion the only other runner was a 100-1 chance.
The overall margin on the race was 108% and a couple of bookmakers reasonably pointed out that figured compared equally to the same margins that a Premier League football match might be traded to.
But I will never feel that such a margin is in any way generous and if I back a football team to win, there is no second-place outcome - the price of the draw or the other team winning aren't important. Horserace results usually display the odds of more than one horse and I feel strongly that when a punter sees two odds-on shots in the same race, they will immediately feel short changed.
I also pointed out that in every single race at Cheltenham on Friday the SP was returned at less that 2% a runner. The response from bookmakers was that Cheltenham is particularly competitive, so returns are tighter. This, for me, immediately flags up the attraction of betting on good horse racing rather than football!
Racing should promote its attraction as a betting product whenever it can. Obviously one way of doing this would be to not have three-runner races on a Saturday afternoon, and another might be having a Tote that had a take-out based on a competitive percentage per runner rather than a fixed take-out that makes dividends on small-field races unattractive.
Anyway, back to the main business of finding winners and as I couldn't find much to excite on the Fakenham card, I had a good look at the Fibresand action at Southwell.Bring home the Jumps with a free one month trial of Racing TV. Watch over 65 live meetings from Britain and Ireland on unlimited devices. Hurry, only 3,000 trials available. Click here to get yours now!
This mare might have found herself in a more competitive race than expected last time out and possibly ran better than her fourth place could have suggested. Indeed, there could be confirmation of that form in the first division of this heat, but even if Dark Side Prince does nothing for the form, Bluella is fancied to win this.
She looks certain to get the lead here, drawn in stall three. On her penultimate start, Ben Curtis dropped his whip at a crucial point and she was narrowly beaten, but it signalled that she has returned in form after a break. Her only win came making all over course and distance and I feel we will know after the first furlong whether she will go in again.
This looks between two fillies who won on the same card last time. Cesifire is respected, but Lexi The One came good on this surface in style last week and can follow up over course and distance.
The Richard Fahey-trained three-year-old had been struggling against a high-looking mark for quite a while and had taken a while to drop down the weights, due to running well in much higher-grade handicaps on a few occasions. Even with the 6lb penalty, she looks well treated if it is the Fibresand that has helped her show her best.
Despite having so far disappointed on all three occasions he has raced beyond five furlongs, he has definitely looked as though this trip would suit on several occasions. Hopefully now the time is right to try again.
He certainly showed he could handle the surface last time staying on and battling well despite being intimidated when making his challenge on his Fibresand debut. His penalty only brings him back up to a mark that he has done well from in the past and if he handles going around the bend here I am sure he will be finishing strongly and can follow up.
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