A Crazy Night At Cranbourne

Wednesday’s Cranbourne Cup heats featured the failure of two hotpots, one of which (Phenomenal) managed to get into the final by running second (assuming an injury to Banjo Boy will put him in). Xylia Allen ran fifth and missed out altogether.

The times were generally poor, as were the pools in NSW, which ranged from under $3k to $10K – terrible for a feature race with many top racers involved. Perhaps the punters were all at the cricket?

But the major reason for the erratic results was that awful first turn. Rarely can dogs hang on to a steady course so those running off wipe out the chances of others. Let’s hope the upcoming refurbishment program fixes it, although no details have been published yet.

Consequently, only one market favourite out of six succeeded (Innocent Til). The Watchdog scored zero while my own picks got just a single winner up. Anyone doing better is a miracle worker.

Every winner was either a clear first or second into the corner, leaving others to battle the interference behind. This is pretty normal for the track.

Not only were the results erratic but so were the dividends, which were all over the shop.

 

Dividends – Cranbourne Cup Heats (Best Price in Bold)

Winner

NSW Div

Vic Div

Fixed Odds (Tabcorp)

Bookkeeper

$2.20

$2.80

$2.20

Fancy Amigo

$9.50

$11.90

$8.50

Keybow

$4.90

$5.20

$5.50

Banjo Boy

$2.70

$3.00

$2.60

Innocent Til

$2.60

$2.60

$2.70

Jordan Allen

$15.40

$13.50

$16.00

 

I have warned readers earlier about the heavy deductions built in to Fixed Odds prices and they were evident here. However, note that these are the final dividends, and some of these changed significantly en route to the jump, usually for the worse. Either way, it is impossible to predict whether punters will be better off with the normal tote, or taking a risk with Fixed Odds. Some dividends were affected by heavier betting on a non-winning favourite.

In Keybow’s race, for example, Phenomenal started at $2.00 in Victoria but at $1.80 on Fixed Odds. Xylia Allen, which ran fifth in Banjo Boy’s race, was $1.60 and $1.50 respectively. (As it happens, I thought Phenomenal’s price was reasonable but not Xylia Allen’s, which customarily finds trouble in competitive races. Both had middle boxes here. Of her last fifteen races, Xylia Allen has won 5, so work out the odds for yourself).

In short, Tabcorp is having a lend of us by trading off price certainty against the probability of a lower dividend. This time they would have needed a wheelbarrow to take all their winnings to the bank. It’s a far cry from the days when genuine bookies stood up, offered value and backed their own judgement against all comers.

Note also that NSW prices were generally worse than in Victoria, perhaps reflecting that state’s much longer history of ClubTab and PubTab operations, and therefore the penchant of gamblers to overbet on favoured runners.

However, the main reason for bringing up this subject again is to demonstrate how critical it is to offer patrons a track which has some integrity. Neither gamblers or punters will get any joy from seeing their selections smashed at the start of a race. And they are then less likely to come back, which is not good for the industry. What greyhound racing is doing is akin to the times when cricket wickets were left uncovered and the winner was usually the side that picked the toss of a coin.

It’s a simple objective. Build better tracks.