Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder Why I Bother..

After maybe a solid three weeks away from racing I come back to seriously poor liquidity yesterday and today. I took six screen shots (at the bottom of post) during the 5-30 at Beverley, place market, its in order of when they were taken and theres money to lay on no more than four horses in any of them, from start to finish of the race.

Now, I know this doesnt represent the in running markets on a whole, far from it actually, but it isnt an isolated incident either. The same problem usually occurs on Irish racing, low grade national hunt racing, mainly midweek racing on both codes.

So, whats the problems for the racing markets?

1) The premium charge. Its an absolute fact there was more money in the markets before it was introduced. And its knocked back some of the sharks.

2) The delay in pictures. Its finally in the last year dawned on some people that theyre SO far behind off ATR its unworkable to win 'fairly' day-to-day. I've given up on ATR ages ago, I'm sure most have too, or least dont leave money up to be hoovered up. RUK is OK-ish, but its a pay-per-month channel so you wont get the casual viewer on a day off from work.

3) Its painfully boring for the general public. Monday - Friday racing just doesnt cut it, no one cares outside the racing circle who wins some handicap on a Tuesday afternoon in Brighton or Yarmouth. Even people who love racing, its hard to get "up for it" on the low grade stuff day after day.

4) Its too hard to understand for the general public. Trying to work out who'll win the grand national is one thing, but at least theres bits and pieces of form to work off. Midweek you'll have claimers where you'll find no horse has ever won a race, you'll have handicaps where the first five in the betting have form figures reading 926764, 989083 or 3-30484. Its hard for professionals never mind the "normals."

Theres a few other smaller (IMO) factors, (money etc) but those are the basics really from a getting new customers point of view, especially points 3 and 4. Shite racing, delayed pictures, boring, too hard to understand, is it any wonder "racing for change" are trying to work out how to bring people into the sport. Because as it is, its plainly has very little to offer.

So, how do you fix it? I dont know. It breaks my heart to see race courses put on these music concerts after racing, half price drink days etc etc, because those people arent there to see the horses, they couldnt give a monkeys, they wont be back after JLS or Jedward finish the gig. It fills the place for one night, but then I head to an average meeting at a smaller track, its half empty and the only people there are over 60, trainers, owners, bookies and jockeys, no one my age is there (unless I go with mates), so what happens when they all kick the bucket?

You cant have Cheltenham every week, you cant have Sea The Stars running every weekend. People always turn up for the good stuff. But theres just SO much low grade stuff these days its unreal. Then again, how do you fix that, less meetings? The bookies want more meetings though, the BHA agree because it means more levy for them. What do you do?

Coming back to in running, Betfair said in the live chat just this evening "There are now so many people utilising what they think are faster picture service providers that the playing field for in-running betters is probably more level than it has ever been. With reference to concerns about liquidity there is no evidence to suggest any decline in the popularity of in running betting." If you look at the markets, it doesnt exactly back that up does it.

Betfair arent innocent at all in any of this, the delay in suspending the market on ATR is nothing short of a farce. They can open in running 6secs before the stalls open on ATR but they dont suspend 6secs before they cross the line. I'm smart enough to cop on to that myself, but I'm sure newbies could still be betting AFTER the race has actually finished.

Its a shame because football, cricket, sports like that are all seemly booming. Blocks of over €200,000 in running on nigh on every game on TV, one million plus matched at a single price (1.14 or 1.15 or whatever). Whys that? Probably because its a "fair" market with no delays and proper suspending.

The most annoying thing is, ATR could speed up pictures IF they wanted too (the delay is imposed on purpose - as shown with their ATR Extra), Betfair introduced the premium charge, and the BHA put on more and more low grade meetings answering the bookies calls. None of that HAD to happen. One word though, greed, greedy ATR want people to buy SIS, greedy Betfair want more commission and money, greedy bookies want more money, greedy BHA want more levy and money. A few years and there'll soon be none left. Then what happens?


  1. Hey Stephen,

    1. Betfair will never admit their greed or they are at fault.
    2. There is far too much crap racing in the UK & Ireland.
    3. We finally have a summer this year and bigger punters/traders probably waited until after the World Cup, Wimbledon & the July meeting at Newmarket to take their time off.

    The BHA complain that bookies don't pay them enough levy, then they go out of their way to give them ridiculous amounts of unnecessary racing which leads to poor prizemoney. There is nothing wrong with having the odd blank day, nor is there anything wrong with telling people with horses rated 55 and below they have no place on a racecourse.

  2. Agree entirely.

    I honestly think that horse racing will be nearly dead before they change anything.

  3. There was 3.2m GBP matched on a very low grade 1st round tennis match yesterday. That's the sort of sum you'd usually see for a biggish widely televised final. This was only really available via Betfair and Bet365 feeds. The money is moving elsewhere.

  4. Yes but its not like the whole world has gone skint all of a sudden, its just horse racing thats suffering, its something wrong with horse racing rather than the other sports attracting it away. Cricket, tennis, football were all massive to begin with anyway.

    Those sports/markets have done nothing to drive people away (bar the odd dodgy match that cant be helped of course).

  5. In many of the UK markets pre off there are still significant 6 figures traded for the most part, sometimes 7 figures

    The problem may simply be that horse racing is a short term market in the first place, unless a punter has fast pictures and a software system to enable one click betting, why would they want to bet in running horse racing as opposed to a tennis/football match ?

  6. Ya theres nothing wrong with pre-off alright, but it doesnt really pick up until 10 minutes to the off, a lot of traders buzzing around too.

    I agree though, other sports are much "fairer" for the normal punter in running, but theres a few things that could be done to bring horse racing up to speed and at least give punters the fairest opportunity to win.

    I honestly dont mind being behind at home (on RUK), ONCE theres money in the market, but there isnt, so obviously plenty have given up, or have been forced to give up.