Signs Of The Times

Monday night at dogs was about as average as it gets, except for one peculiarity.

Six graded races readily separated themselves from six uninteresting maidens, although not for the main body of gamblers. Their cash falls without discrimination – ability and form are not important. Win pools battled to climb past $10k in NSW, a bit more in Victoria.

The oddity appeared in race 6 where the Win pools came out at $8,385 and $12,259 respectively. Those were average numbers but the First Four pools were quite different; a very high $3,344 in NSW but only an average $2,615 in Victoria. That is, one was normal and one was not. One or more punters decided to jump in heavily on the NSW tote. Whoever it was and why they did that is a mystery, of course. But they lost badly. The NSW dividend was $2,758 while in Victoria it jackpotted. So perhaps one lucky investor got home over the two states, probably by boxing the winner with three others. It is possible but doubtful that any of the heavy hitters succeeded. Money down the drain there.

The wonder is why it happened at all. It was a pretty ordinary field on a pretty ordinary night. Previously, the winner of this race had been battling to break 26 seconds for the 450m and it was not a good beginner, although its last run showed some improvement. Anyway, it started at 20/1 and so most punters would have gone away muttering to themselves.

Yet this sort of thing is happening regularly but erratically at any old meeting. Odd folk are hopping in to selected First Four pools with relatively big money. There seems no rhyme or reason to the races they pick, but good luck to them anyway.

What it does suggest is that those few real punters left have given up on more conventional bets, particularly for a Win, and are desperately seeking something which offers value for money. Given small pools, and the fact that you will not see much more than half of it anyway, the prospect of value is in the great unknown.

Now that is gouging more commission out of Quinella and Exacta bets (increased to 17.5% and 20% resp.), that will become a more difficult target.

Mind you, if you add up all the betting pools in play around the country, that Shepparton race would have produced well over $30,000 in the TAB Win pool alone. Putting all those together is well worth considering.

There is a catch, though. Half of those Shepparton races were won by bolters. Exotics were similarly affected by bolters in the placings in those and other races. And much the same thing occurred at the next night. And so on. There is a limit to how far that sort of trend can continue before punters realise the mathematics do not work out any more and depart for greener fields. Crook dogs eventually attract crook punters.

That's what happens when you program too many races for too few dogs. The bottom of the barrel tends to get very muddy. So now, it's over to the people in charge of the barrel.


First prize for the world's greatest hype has been annexed by our friends at GRV. The announcement about the Nationals was headed “Miata well drawn”.

It got box 6.

If they keep saying that often enough, even Miata might believe it.


We are indebted to Qld Magazine for this quote from trainer after a trial run before : “The boxes at Hobart are off the track a bit. He went straight for the first 50 metres and then headed over to the rail. You could see him warming up as he went. It was great to watch.”

The beauty of that point is that it is quite normal for Hobart runners to go straight after they jump. Crashing left and right is the exception there. It is probably the main reason that it ranks as Australia's best track. If only they could do that everywhere else.

So why don't they? I wonder if anyone has bothered to measure up the track in some detail to learn the secret. If not, they should.

On the other side of the coin, what a pity Tasmanian authorities are so stingy with . With extra information it could become a major betting venue. Without it – no chance.

Tasmanian racing is run by a government department. Nuff said.


At a time when prominent Rugby League writer (and former headmaster and coach) Roy worries that the ARL might appoint a non-football person to the vacant CEO's job, the rest of the world is moving on apace.

It's stranger than fiction but revealing anyway. The top job in soccer has gone to discarded ARL boss David Gallop, who replaces former AFL type Ben Buckley, who replaced former Rugby Union chief John O'Neill, who has now gone back to Rugby Union. Will Buckley return to run AFL? Will the AFL's Gillon McLachlan take over at the ARL? Are there any good soccer managers around? That could have been discussed in London recently where Gallop and Andrew Demetriou were both on holidays. Ah well, who knows, but it is more exciting than the Academy Awards, isn't it?

It is instructive to think back. Using Rugby League as an example, former Manly, NSW and Australian player and administrator, Ken Arthurson, passionate about the heritage of the game, failed his business judgment course some years ago and got into a fight with Rupert Murdoch. That caused the Super League brawl which almost destroyed the code. Then George Piggins, equally passionate and a long-time South Sydney Rabbitohs player and leader, was presiding over the demise of a once successful club until Peter Holmes a Court and Russel Crowe arrived to bail them out, but George was not impressed. Today, the Rabbitohs have never done better but George is still sulking. The funny thing is that George actually does very well in his private business ventures. It's just at football that he has blinkers on. Apparently, going down with the ship has a psychological attraction for some.

Knowing the game is good. So is being a canny businessman. And some objectivity and independence is vital. You need it all, Roy.

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