The pick of the prices in the Portland....

Last Updated: 09.09.2016

9th September 2016

Good afternoon, friends,

In today’s ATC Extra bulletin….

  • Bookies – not what it says on the tin….
  • We should take a lead from the Australians….
  • Additional bets at Doncaster tomorrow….
  • The pick of the prices in the Portland….

Bookies – not what it says on the tin….

We’re shooting at the prices in the Portland this weekend. It’s a big handicap over the extended 5f trip up at Doncaster.

Rain is forecast tomorrow morning and I expect the going to be on the soft side of good by the time the stalls open.

We’ll get to my selections for the race in a moment. First a few words on one of my favourite subjects – bookmakers….

Perhaps the most common complaint about bookmakers these days is that they act like a bunch of bean counters.

Gone are the days when the behemoths of the betting ring would lay massive bets without so much as blinking – happy to oppose backers and oblige them to whatever stake they wanted on.

Those characters are gone. And the sport is surely poorer for it. Betting turnover on racing is certainly down as punters head to sports, poker and casino alternatives.

These days being a bookie is all about sitting in an air-conditioned office in a lilac tie and polishing your calculator. These days it is not much more than an accounting exercise.

It’s certainly not about laying bets. It’s about protecting the margin. If laying a bet means potentially damaging the margin, the bookie won’t do it. The margin takes priority over the business of striking bets.

Fair enough. It’s a business. A business exists to make money. I get it. But what sticks in my craw is that the bookies go out there advertising their wares as though they lay bets in the same spirit as the bookmakers did in years gone by – taking on all comers, come what may.

But they don’t. And they aren’t up-front about it. In no advertisement will you ever see or hear a bookmaker honestly state that punters who win will immediately have their stakes restricted or even have their betting accounts closed-down completely.

But we all know that’s what happens – pretty much across the board….

Go on any forum where they talk about betting and bookmakers and you will soon read stories about punters having a couple of winning bets and subsequently having their stakes restricted – even when they’ve only been playing to fivers and tenners….

We should take a lead from the Australians….

I talk regularly to a couple of punters over in Australia. And it seems things are changing over there….

In the state of New South Wales they’ve implemented a rule whereby bookies who want to take bets on races have to guarantee to accept bets from any customer to lose a minimum liability of AUS$1,000 at country tracks and AUS$2,000 at city tracks.

The bookies shouted and screamed and stamped their feet. But they had to comply if they wanted to strike racing bets. Nobody in New South Wales is limited to stakes of £3.65 or 47p in the way British punters are with certain firms.

The state of Victoria is in the process of implementing similar rules. It’s something the regulators should think about imposing over here.

To be fair to Coral they do guarantee to accept racing bets to liabilities of £500 on all races (from 11.00 am), £2,000 on high quality races, and £5,000 on C4 races (from 9.00 am). But this only in their shops….

New kid on the block, Black Type Bet, has entered the market specifically attacking this particular area – pledging not to close accounts and to lay customers to a guaranteed minimum liability of £500 on horses and £1,000 on sports.

But, in the current climate, Black Type Bet is out on its own and its pledges probably succeed only in putting it at a commercial disadvantage – one that might well see them quickly change their stance or go out of business completely as the shrewd punters all head in that one direction to pick them off.

Turnover on race betting is falling. Some would suggest the decline is terminal. If that trend is going to be reversed, punters need to be encouraged in the belief that they can get on to decent stakes and that winning won’t be penalized.

One way of generating that encouragement is to provide a level playing field where ALL operators have to stand specific liabilities and desist from closing winning punters down.

The bookies need to be forced out of their bean-counting mentality and into genuine competition with one another and the market. The one-way gravy train needs derailing and putting back on a track that suits a more rounded set of interests.

Additional bets at Doncaster tomorrow….

Over on my paid Against the Crowd service this afternoon I’ve targeted two additional races on tomorrow’s card at Doncaster….

  • I’ve sought out the value bet in the last classic of the 2016 season – the St Leger….
  • And I’ve backed on I expect to improve at a fair price in the Park Stakes….

If you’re looking for a couple more bets for tomorrow afternoon you can access those picks free of charge right now by taking a FREE test-drive of my Against the Crowd service….

Get the extra bets on tomorrow’s Doncaster card….


The pick of the prices in the Portland….

RED PIKE has been running well this term without managing to win – but he’s got plenty in his favour tomorrow afternoon and is worth supporting at the general 16s.

Last time at Goodwood in the Stewards’ Cup he was 8th of 27 – but he was only a couple of lengths off the winner and he was in and around horses rated better. He might have been closer had he not been slightly hampered in the final furlong.

For some reason the handicapper dropped him a pound. It’s only a pound but it can’t do any harm and the horse likes a bit of cut – which he will get tomorrow. He’s got form on the track too.

The other one I like at the prices is SOIE D’LEAU who runs out of Kristin Stubbs’s in-form yard and can be backed at 16s.

The 4yo will be reappearing just 7 days after winning at Haydock on soft ground – a career best by some degree on my figures. I’m not concerned about the sharp turnaround. The horses has a track record of backing up good runs when reappearing quickly.

He’s only gone up 4lb for that Haydock win, he’s progressive and I expect him to go on again. Stubbs reckons the extended 5f trip will suit the horse perfectly and that augurs well.

The ATC Extra bet recap….

Remember, we don’t have to be betting in hundreds to make the game worthwhile or fun. A spend of a few quid is plenty to be going on with….

  • RED PIKE @ 16s (Generally)
  • SOIE D’LEAU @ 16s (Generally) 

Note: The bookies are up with standard place terms of 1/4 1-2-3-4. If you fancy holding fire and waiting for an enhanced place deal, I’m pretty sure some of the bookies will oblige. Your call.


That’s all from me this week. Enjoy your weekend.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd Extra