Playing the 5th place....

Last Updated: 10.10.2018

Wednesday, 10th October 2018

Playing the 5th place….

It’s going to be a busier week than I first anticipated....

We’ve got the Cesarewitch on Saturday at Newmarket. We got going early with the spadework for that. If you missed yesterday’s piece, you can catch up here....

And, also on Saturday, we’ve got the Sprint Trophy Handicap at York – a race we always have a crack at....

But I’m also inclined to take a shot at the Old Rowley Cup Handicap on Friday at Newmarket – depending on how the race cuts up at the final declaration stage. If I do take aim at that race, the selection will be with you in tomorrow’s edition of this column....

And, on Sunday afternoon at Navan, there’s the Irish Cesarewitch. I think we’ll have a go at that one too....

So, a few bets coming up for us over the next few days. Hopefully, we can put one into the back of the net....

  • The extra place....

Long-term reader PL got in touch on Monday to let me know he’d backed Capri each-way for Sunday’s Arc with Skybet – which meant he got a return for the 5th-placed finish....

If you follow these things, you will have noticed that a lot of the bookmakers have altered their Enhanced Place terms over the last 12-months or so....

Instead of paying 1/4 1-2-3-4-5, some bookies are paying just 1/5 the odds when offering the 5th place – and retaining 1/4 odds only for punters who want to play 1-2-3-4....

Other bookies are offering the 5th place at 1/4 the odds – but at a reduced price to the one you get when backing a horse to place 1-2-3-4....

In other words, with either scenario, you can have the 5th place. But the return is stripped down compared to what it once was....

If you want a better chance of drawing a return in a big-field race, you must sacrifice points one way or another to get it....

  • Not for me....

I wholeheartedly resent backing the 5th place at 1/5 the odds. Or at a reduced price....

Ten, five or even three years ago, the bookmakers were happy enough to offer 1/4 1-2-3-4-5 as a matter of course. And one or two still do – if not on all the races they once did....

It represented a nice cherry for the punter. It offered backers a fighting chance of drawing a return in the big-field handicaps – the most difficult races on the programme....

But things have changed. The bookies have acted to claw the advantage back. And the trend towards reduced odds or reduced place terms for 5th place punters has hardened....

As I say, I resent it. And I’m not one for taking the reduced odds or the diminished terms for the 5th place. The only power we have – both as consumers and as punters – is how and where we choose to spend our money....

To accept the new terms is to give those new terms legitimacy and I can’t bring myself to do it. It irks me, but I’d rather get full odds and a quarter those odds on the first 4 than accept something lesser to have the 5th place going for me....

But that’s just me. And I accept that I’m a bloody-minded so-and-so....

  • The wrong move as it turns out....

And I must highlight that my stance hasn’t been the right one over the last few months....

The ATC selections have produced more than their fair share of placed finishers in big races that triggered the Enhanced (albeit reduced) Place terms offered by some of the firms. Capri in Sunday’s Arc was just the latest example....

Over the last few weeks there have been plenty of other instances....

Spring Loaded  placed 5th in the Great St Wilfrid at Ripon....

Original Choice placed 5th in the Clipper Logistics at York....

Cliffs of Capri placed 5th in the Cunard at Ascot....

Abel Handy placed 6th in the Portland at Doncaster....

Perfect Pasture placed 6th in the Ayr Gold Cup....

Each way backers who sought out a suitable enhanced place deal that suited them banked returns on all those horses. Not a fortune, but money that keeps the meter ticking over from week to week....

These were losing races for me and the way I played. But for some punters on the ATC file these returns served to produce a neutral result – or small but handy-enough profits....

  • Ultimately, it’s your call....

I won’t be changing the way I play. If I can get 1/4 1-2-3-4-5 when I want to bet each-way, then I will certainly do so. But I won’t be playing the reduced terms for the 5th place. It just goes against the grain for me....

In any case, Enhanced Place terms are rarely available when I put my own money down – usually a good 24-hours ahead of the race taking place. My concern is centred entirely on getting the best win price. The place part of a bet is a secondary consideration for me....

But again, that’s just me. And we don’t call ALL the shots here at ATC. We recognize that everybody is different, and everybody has their own way of walking when it comes to betting these big handicaps we target....

As far as we’re concerned, it is a case of each to his own. At ATC we consider it our job to do the analysis and to find selections at prices that underestimate how competitive individual horses will turn out to be on the day....

We don’t consider it our job to tell you how much to put down or exactly how to bet or who to bet with or when to do it....

We reckon you can work out how best to bet the selections in line with your own objectives, your own temperament and the prices and terms available when you come to put your money down....

And we know that there are plenty of ATC readers who back ALL our big-priced selections each-way – at all kinds of different terms and at all points ahead of the race. And I say good luck to them....

Today, I merely wish to make the point that whilst the bookmakers are getting greedier and their place terms skinnier, playing the 5th place about ATC selections hasn’t been an entirely fruitless exercise for those punters who like to play that way and are happy to except a deal that I wouldn’t be entirely happy with myself....

It’s just a little food for thought. Something to think about. You might want to consider it as an option. Or not. Down to you....

  • The last word….

That’s all from me for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow.

Until then. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd