Friday, 17 April 2015

Grand National post-mortem

Just in case you thought I was talking through my pocket with my comments about the GN SP market, here's a lengthy more considered view from It's reproduced from a section of their website which is free to view. There are often interesting articles about the industry like this one so it's worth visiting their site:

"A look back at the Grand National 
AP McCoy's last Grand National, riding Shutthefrontdoor, with him promising to retire on the spot if he won was a major story surrounding last weekend's race. Expectations were for a flood of sentimental money from the general public, with talk in some quarters of the horse going off at 4-1 for the 39 runner race.
At lunchtime Shutthefrontdoor began to shorten from 9-1 and by 3.15pm, an hour before the race, prices shortened across the board, at one stage Hills, Coral, Ladbrokes and Betfred took their prices down to 6-1 whilst a) some firms held at 8-1 and b) the horse was weak on Betfair, backable at 10.0+
This was against a backdrop where the three of the firms mentioned above (on the day of the year where their potential acquisition of customers is greatest) only offered four places each-way in their shops compared to five places online. Maybe this tells us that new shop punters don't return, so there was no need to incentivise to attract them. 
In the hour before the Grand National the 6-1 didn't hold and by 3.45pm it was 8-1 across the board and Rocky Creek briefly went favourite. There was no sign of an avalanche of money depressing the price, though Coral did say in the evening after the race that Shutthefrontdoor was the biggest loser in their book
After 4pm, with the race approaching it was still 8/1. Unsurprisnigly with a parade and 39 runners the race was late off. In the final minute before the race prices fell two whole points to 6/1, whilst drifting to 14.5 on BF, which was you could get on the off. The collapse in the price occurred without any corresponding move out in the rest of the field such that the race book went off with an over-round of 165%
It is fair to say that the Grand National is never a great "value" betting race. Witness the over-rounds in recent years:
2008 147%
2009 146%
2010 155%
2011 155%
2012 152%
2013 148%.
165% represented the highest figure in any year as far back as 2003.
My understanding is that if the shops want to shorten a horse (hedging part of an exposure, say) then their course reps can do so in hard cash on the rails. Here, why not just press the blue button on betfair at double figures?
Ladbrokes said after a recent national that 40% of their shop punters took the starting price. In 2010 the method of calculating Starting prices was change. SPs were determined by SP agents taking a sample of bookmakers' prices, and taking the lowest price among the best third available "to good money" at the off. Now the SP is the lowest price among the top 50 per cent.
This year the very late move in the SP clearly went beyond hedging (which at a late stage would hedge only a fraction of exposures for the big firms anyway) and into something far more questionable. The punters most affected,  the once a year customers in the shops were
a) likely to be on Shutthefrontdoor
b) at some firms limited to four places anyway
c) least likely to realise that the SP fell two points in the last seconds before the race
d) in some cases still don't realise
e) and even some who do probably don't care
The SP system before the Grand National displayed the characteristics of a cartel price-fixing. It's not an open market as it should be and it is done to pay less winnings to punters. The SP system doesn't work as well as it once did because the on-course markets are now so weak.
To add insult to injury of a starting price system that here failed them, for those shop punters offered 4 places, Shutthefrontdoor finished 5th. At least we can't blame the bookmakers for that!"

Sent from my iPad 


Very disappointed with the SP outcome of the Grand National. Shutthefrontdoor was 8/1 ten minutes to the off-time. There then took place an unprecedented smashing up of the on-course market in which McCoy's mount was cut to 6/1. In fact the overall book was an unfair 165% and there is to be an investigation into this. 

Meanwhile I like the chances of No Fear in the 6f handicap at Dundalk. I took the 5/2 with PP and it was immediately cut to 9/4. Still the bigger price with Boyles and VC as I write:

18:35D 4pts win No Fear @ 5/2 Boylesports BOG

Pat Smullen made all the running last time and I expect him to try that again. The runner-up re-opposes on better terms but hopefully will be no better than second again!

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Saturday, 11 April 2015

GN Specials

I've not found a lot of value in the specials' markets. I think there could be between 15-19 finishers but that's pretty much what the market thinks too so I'm not going there. What about the winning horse's star sign? No, seriously you can't believe a bookmaker is betting on that!

What will the SP of Shutthefrontdoor be? The pundits are saying it will be around the 9/2 mark. I'm not so sure the gamble will be forthcoming to that extent - both WH and PP have been happy to lay 10/1 earlier this morning. It's currently trading at 8.6-8.8 on betfair. I've played small against the pundits' view as follows:

1pt SP of Shutthefrontdoor to be 7/1 to 15/2 @ 8/1 Coral
0.5pt SP of Shutthefrontdoor to be 8/1 to 9/1 @ 14/1 Coral

Obviously if AP wins the 13:30 race that won't help us! 

1.5pts staked. 

Good luck with whatever you've played and enjoy the race.

Sent from my iPad 

Friday, 10 April 2015

Grand National 2

We already have an interest in the well handicapped Rocky Creek at 10/1 who finished fifth last year carrying 11-05. I'm going to have another point on at the price. PF Nicholls is in tremendous form at this meeting. 

It used to be that it was prudent to select horses carrying less than 11-00. In recent years the handicap has been condensed which has meant the classier horses have a better chance of winning. In four of the last six years the winner has carried 11-00 or more. So the winner has a much better chance of coming from the first dozen or so in the handicap. My second selection, like Rocky Creek, carries 11-03. This is First Lieutenant who could start shorter than the current 25/1 with the popular Nina Carberry in the saddle. Nina was faultless over the big fences yesterday. 

Coral have extended their place betting this afternoon to five places so my bets are: 

16:15A 1pt win Rocky Creek @ 10/1 Betfred BOG
16:15A 1pt EW First Lieutenant 25/1 Coral BOG (1/4 odds 1,2,3,4,5) 

I'll be looking at the GN specials in the morning to see if there is any value there. 

Three points staked.

Sent from my iPad

Spelling mistake "French" amended 20:46


Horrible results at Chelmsford City yesterday. First selection backed from 4/1>2/1f. An ill-considered ride from Doyle IMO.  Dropped out and then ran extremely wide turning into the straight. As for my second choice - reared up in the stalls losing many lengths at the start and was never going to recover from that even for a place. 

One play at Leicester today:

13:30 1pt EW Baron Run @ 10/1 Betfred BOG 

Hopefully this one could end my barren run...

As for the Grand National, major firms are so far sticking to 1/4 odds first four. Remains to be seen if that changes over next 24 hours. I may have another bet today and will tell you what it is by 18:00 tonight if I do.

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Thursday, 9 April 2015

Chelmsford City

Two bets today at CC:

19:40C 1pt win International Name @ 4/1 Coral BOG

21:10C 1pt EW Bailey's Pursuit @ 8/1 William Hill BOG

Three points staked.

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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

One for my fatalist friend(s)

Ian McCulloch says it's the greatest song ever written. Not sure I'd go that far. However it's been a firm favourite over these last 30 years....

"The killing moon will come too soon" 

Up against your will 
Through the thick and thin 
He will wait until 
You give yourself to him"