Finish on lure just the beginning

FIRST impressions of the finish-on-lure trial at Geelong are that fields are more inclined to spread out, at least after the first bun rush out of the boxes. No doubt the wide and high lure is a help in that respect.

Of course, this is a factor not easily measured by statistics but it must be considered along with any differences in injury rates and failing to chase offences. Numbers for both these improved significantly in previous trials in Adelaide and Brisbane.

At the same time, do not forget the contribution made by the shape of this or any other track. Since the art of track design has never been formally studied it is always hard to tell which feature causes what outcome. However, I have several times mentioned an obvious problem at Geelong. The latter part of the turn and the run into the straight proper has always been too flat, causing many dogs to run wide. It appears that the grader (following the GRV curator’s manual) reduces the banking angle too soon. Even the stewards’ reports constantly mention dogs running wide in the straight.

I wonder if comparisons with a velodrome in action might illustrate the point better. That would be the extreme, of course, but somewhere between that and a dead flat surface lies the ideal compromise. In greyhound races that point of the turn is where runners are altering their angle of attack as well as their speed so any abrupt change of banking would have an exaggerated effect on where they run. There is also the variable that maintaining speed on a turn is something certain dogs manage better than others. Other examples of suspect home turns are available at Maitland, Bulli, Goulburn, The Gardens and Sale.

Of course, this is just one strand of the track design question. But it does illustrate how the relevant factors are all inter-connected. We have got to cover this subject more thoroughly in a future article.

Don’t try this at home

Feeling some pain and frustration myself, I checked out the betting for the five main meetings last week. That involved 54 races over a variety of distances. Of those, 11 jumped away with an odds-on favourite. Here is how each of them fared.

Wednesday, WPK

Huckleberry $1.70 – Won

Thursday, BGC

Simpatico $1.90 – Won

Thursday, SPK

Aston Cyrus $1.90 – LOST

Dewana Result $1.90 – LOST

Dyna Yemen $1.70 – LOST

Saturday, WPK

Time for Money $1.50 – Won

Zipping Maggie $1.70 – LOST

Paua to Roar $$1.50 – Won

Saturday, MEA

Shanlyn Lucy $1.80 – LOST

Weston East $1.70 – LOST

Moreira $1.60 – LOST

That adds up to four wins from eleven races. An even dollar on each of them returned 61% of your outlay, so you lost 39% of your bank. This is not unusual. Every check I have ever done shows much the same result. In effect, gamblers are losing money before they start. Unless they are extremely selective, they have no chance of making a profit.

So why is this happening? Well, several factors contribute to tote variability.

  • Investments are made before prices have settled down
  • Investments are made at a reasonable price but that price declines soon after
  • Some gamblers are happy with any old price – the “better than bank interest” philosophy
  • Their mate or their favourite tipster tells them to get on – regardless
  • Small pools are susceptible to fluctuations from medium to large bets
  • Mystery bet packages favour the short priced runner

Some of these hassles would ease if betting pools were nationalised and therefore much larger, which is up to state governments to initiate. But even more benefits would accrue were investors to simply study the markets more closely – and particularly the reliability of the runner they want to back. For example, too often a runner is backed strongly on the basis of a last start win yet – statistically – only 1 in 7 dogs win two races in succession, which is hardly odds-on territory. Many more, including in the above examples, involve a move to a riskier box or are in races with volatile bend starts. Other dogs are just risky beginners and therefore demand an extra margin for that characteristic.

Overall, there has to be a suspicion that gamblers (rather than punters) have long since stopped assessing a runner’s real chances and are simply looking at how much cash they might win (as occurs on a poker machine). This has been prompted by the evolution away from old time bookmaker’s prices to the cash amount on the tote board. People may be assuming that $3.00 on the tote is nothing more than a $2.00 profit rather than realising that a price of 2/1 involves an assumption that the runner will lose twice and win once in every three attempts. There is a philosophical difference.

Whatever, better education will always pay off.

Mystery surrounding Sweet It Is

In the shock of the year Sweet It Is has been pinged for a cocaine derivative from a swab taken after a fairly average run at The Meadows on 8 August (in 42.74). Two weeks later it broke the Wentworth Park record by running 41.52 and a week later again it ran a slow 43.02 back at The Meadows. In other words, the presence of the alleged drug did not accord with its race performances

All of which followed a record-breaking win at Auckland which revealed caffeine in its system. Final results of that swab have not been published so far as we can find out. (The NZ website is not very informative).

The bitch has always had an up and down career in terms of race times, which is partly why we have always recommended punters should never take odds-on about it (see above item).

Nevertheless, two apparently positive swabs pose serious questions.

Quote of the week

From Air New Zealand CEO, Christopher Luxon, in The Australian, September 1.

“You’ve always got to have the courage to disrupt yourself rather than be disrupted.”

Get $400 in free bet bonuses upon sign-up with Crownbet.

Past Discussion

  1. Hi Bruce,
    Last week I visited my brother who has just bought a drone for his photography business.
    We went to the local park and took my ex-racer along for some exercise. He was practising flying his drone when the dog, who is quite layed back, went bananas.
    We decided to experiment. I held my dog whilst my brother hovered the drone about 20 foot away. I let him off and he chased that thing for 300 metres.its just a bit of plastic, but I’ve never seen the dog so intent on chasing.
    Anyway, its food for thought when considering lures. Could be a spectacle at the track if tested.

  2. Hi Bruce,

    Last week I visited my brother who has just bought a drone for his photography business.

    We went to the local park and took my ex-racer along for some exercise. He was practising flying his drone when the dog, who is quite layed back, went bananas.

    We decided to experiment. I held my dog whilst my brother hovered the drone about 20 foot away. I let him off and he chased that thing for 300 metres.its just a bit of plastic, but I’ve never seen the dog so intent on chasing.

    Anyway, its food for thought when considering lures. Could be a spectacle at the track if tested.

  3. Finish On Lure is a big step backwards for animal welfare. In New Zealand they have discontinued showing the dogs savaging the lure, because its a bad view in terms of public relations. Lets face it, industry bodies are far more frightened by perception than reality. However the nuts and bolts of injuries at the lure are very real, and there is a very real number of dogs that come to grief and end up facing injury stand downs at the lure. That Australia is heading down this path makes no sense – unless- all you care about is the punter entertainment and animal welfare doesn’t even matter.

    FOL is a bad idea. We’re crunching the numbers on injuries in New Zealand and these serious incidences are starting to pile up.

  4. Bruce fractions make up a big percentage of odds on favourites dividends being disadvantaged by the round down provisions in most cases. When the NSW Treasury published the fraction returns to consolidated revenue they equalled between 1 and 2 per cent of the total turnover (additional to the commission rate). the percentage of the fraction varied depending on the minimum bet and the extent of exotics. On a per race basis the wager on the place tote equals a division of three dividends with rounding down the fractions probable on all three dividends. Obviously the rounding down on odds on chances sees much more of a fraction deduction than on the longer price successful wagers. The exception are the winning tickets on animals in the shorter than 25 to 1 bracket who are paid out at a rounded up dividend for dividends assessed under $1.05 (paid $1.04). if the dividend works out at 10.5 and less than $1.10 then the normal fraction deal applies and you get paid at $1.05. The real dividend say for odds on chance under 25/1 on might be 90 cents in the dollar if the full commission was calculated along normal lines.
    Professional punters could take advantage of this situation if the pools were large enough and the opportunities came up.
    My knowledge is not totally up to date but the top professional punters were investing large sums on the TAB early to take advantage of concessions and they were working to small percentages.
    Here is the TAB commission take outs and the fractions to make the point.
    Also TAB’s generally have come to a realisation that there is an optimum point of commission take out which maximises turnover, government tax and profit to clubs.

    The poker machine optimum is a take out rate of 9.11%.
    The rate in the NSW Tab has not been calculated to my knowledge.
    The British increased the Tax on greyhound totes from 7% to 17% after the War and reduced the turnover and the payment to Treasury. 5% was argued in the treasury papers which would have made the tote 12%. I don’t know how they dealt with fractions.
    The Big pro punter syndicate told me they could make about 1/4 of a percent on 14.5% if the got a rebate, which probably meant they could win on about 12 1/2 percent.
    Here is a cut and paste of the NSW TAB take outs. Notice the co-mingling rates on the exotics as well.

  5. Bruce fractions make up a big percentage of odds on favourites dividends being disadvantaged by the round down provisions in most cases. When the NSW Treasury published the fraction returns to consolidated revenue they equalled between 1 and 2 per cent of the total turnover (additional to the commission rate). the percentage of the fraction varied depending on the minimum bet and the extent of exotics. On a per race basis the wager on the place tote equals a division of three dividends with rounding down the fractions probable on all three dividends. Obviously the rounding down on odds on chances sees much more of a fraction deduction than on the longer price successful wagers. The exception are the winning tickets on animals in the shorter than 25 to 1 bracket who are paid out at a rounded up dividend for dividends assessed under .05 (paid .04). if the dividend works out at 10.5 and less than .10 then the normal fraction deal applies and you get paid at .05. The real dividend say for odds on chance under 25/1 on might be 90 cents in the dollar if the full commission was calculated along normal lines.

    Professional punters could take advantage of this situation if the pools were large enough and the opportunities came up.

    My knowledge is not totally up to date but the top professional punters were investing large sums on the TAB early to take advantage of concessions and they were working to small percentages.

    Here is the TAB commission take outs and the fractions to make the point.

    Also TAB’s generally have come to a realisation that there is an optimum point of commission take out which maximises turnover, government tax and profit to clubs.

    The poker machine optimum is a take out rate of 9.11%.

    The rate in the NSW Tab has not been calculated to my knowledge.

    The British increased the Tax on greyhound totes from 7% to 17% after the War and reduced the turnover and the payment to Treasury. 5% was argued in the treasury papers which would have made the tote 12%. I don’t know how they dealt with fractions.

    The Big pro punter syndicate told me they could make about 1/4 of a percent on 14.5% if the got a rebate, which probably meant they could win on about 12 1/2 percent.

    Here is a cut and paste of the NSW TAB take outs. Notice the co-mingling rates on the exotics as well.

    http://tab.custhelp.com/ci/fattach/get/16104/0/filename/NSW+Totalizator+Betting+Rules+-+29+November+2013.pdf

  6. Dezzey Congratulations you have come up with the first change in real lure technology in the last 100 years. The track rails could be made out of something like airbags under your scheme as well and “track railings” could be shifted with ease to various locations if necessary.

  7. Dezzey Congratulations you have come up with the first change in real lure technology in the last 100 years. The track rails could be made out of something like airbags under your scheme as well and “track railings” could be shifted with ease to various locations if necessary.