Fancy5 humanely destroyed by 66/1 Weetentherty

RIP the Racing Post’s Fancy5 competition. It seemed a good idea on the face of it and the Post should be congratulated for continued innovation.

A month ago I wrote that I thought the competition would not survive long due to the absolute necessity of needing high priced winners to be in the hunt.

I checked today at the end of afternoon racing and I think the leader at that point had chosen two winners  at 33/1 and 16/1 – he or she must have already ordered the champagne. It now looks as though that entry might not have finished in the top 50 due to the number of people who picked Weetentherty the winner of the 7.00 at Hamilton at 66/1 (14s in RP betting forecast).

That ‘teatime’ leader will not be playing next week – I doubt the bitter pill of today will be even halfway down by then.

Racing Post editor Bruce Millington hinted yesterday on Twitter that Fancy5 has yet to make the paper any money – partnership arrangements won’t have helped in the ‘profits’ split.  I suspect Bruce is reacting now in the same way as the fella whose image you see at the top of this post.

£40k bets laid: do newspapers owe their readers a duty of care?

The headline story on RacingPost.com, as I write, reports a £40,000 bet laid by Coral on So You Think for Saturday’s Coral-Eclipse. There are several readers’ comments below the story suggesting the announcement of the bet is a PR stunt.  One said:

I don’t buy this 40 grand bet nonsense either. They knocked me back for a 20 quid bet on the golf yesterday

Racing Post editor Bruce Millington, in a Twitter  exchange with James Knight, Coral odds-compiler,  said that reports of such bets ‘wind up’ many Racing Post readers who’ve had their accounts ‘restricted’. James Knight suggested to Mr Millington that, as editor, he had the option not to publish such stories. Perhaps that is what the Racing Post should consider doing. Or maybe they should ask bookmakers’ PR reps the question I just asked James Knight – ‘was that £40,000 bet from a ‘profitable (for you) punter?’

Mr Knight, said:

I can’t comment on individual accounts, but this is a Group 1 race and a strong market, so we would be willing to take decent sized bets.

The reality, as most Racing Post readers will know, is that bookmakers do not take £40,000 bets from punters who damage their profits – nor should they.  They have a responsibility to shareholders no different from any other business.  Punters who cry ‘there are no real bookmakers anymore’ are as delusional as many others in racing. By ‘real bookmakers’ they actually mean fellow gamblers who are willing to take a risk based on personal judgement rather than in the interests of objective balancing of a book.

I have no sympathy for punters bewailing their ‘can’t get on’ lot. Were they running a bookmaking business, they’d do exactly the same and ‘restrict’ punters with a ‘winning profile’.

What does stick in the craw is the unquenchable appetite of sports editors for big fat cash figures – they make great headlines.  At least Racing Post readers, in general, have a chance of seeing through the PR. Punters relying on The Sun, The Mirror, (far and away the most popular purchases of the betting shop punter, who, in turn, is far and away the biggest contributor to the Levy) are, arguably, more likely to be misled.

If you hear of a Rolls-driving, multiple-home-owning, cuban-cigar-smoking, Krug-drinker who makes his living from betting and wants to have £40,000 on a horse, it is highly valuable information.  If the tip you have is that a man with all of the above ‘attributes’ who does NOT make his living from betting but is frequently the guest of major bookmakers at high-value sporting events (they might as well stamp the invitations MUG PUNTER), the information is much less valuable.

Bookmakers are free to take and refuse bets as they like. Sports Editors are entitled to ask the PR men if such bets have been laid to punters who contribute regularly to that bookmaker’s profits and, depending on the (inevitable) answer, decide whether or not to publish.

2 winners at 50s and 10s yet Fancy5 winner just holds on:early results could scupper this new competition

Five selections – two winners at 50/1 and 10/1 earned £4,000 for this week’s winner of the Racing Post‘s new Fancy5 competition.  The idea is to pick 5 horses and come top of the table based on a notional £1 stake on each (£1 deducted for a loser). Simon Williams, this week’s winner might have been expected to have cruised home, but he won by just £3.50.

Last week’s victor had two winners – 17/2 and 16/1.

Andy Brown won the inaugural comp with a winner at 20/1 and another at 16s.  Before entering in week 2 he said,

“It’s a thinking man’s game. The beauty of the competition is that you can react to what is happening, both during racing and around you on the leaderboard.

“My tactic will again be to try to find two or three winners in that 10-1 to 16-1 bracket.”

My initial assumptions on the Fancy5 were that it would hold considerable appeal for many Saturday punters willing to stake £2.50 in the hope of stringing together three or four at around 9/2 or 5/1. Early results suggest you really cannot consider anything below 10/1 and I think that will be a challenge too far in the minds of many.

Still, credit to the Post for offering something new; I’d be interested in seeing turnover figures so far and how the graph looks as the weeks pass.  Perhaps regular tweeter, RP editor Bruce Millington will enlighten us though I suspect we will get a ‘commercially sensitive’ quote!