Betting into an ante-post market is a guessing game on any average day. There are so many twists and turns in the road to the big race. But it also holds potentially serious possibilities for the opportunist.
South Africa’s leading bookmakers Hollywood raised eyebrows in certain quarters when setting the pace and opening the 2019 Vodacom Durban July betting earlier this week.
Africa’s greatest horseracing event will be run in 149 days time at Greyville for a stake of R4,25 million. Traditionally, the ante-post market would have opened at entry stage in April.
“We did the same in 2018 after all the speculation following the Sun Met. We are catering to the market and, if nothing else, it creates interest and the bonus of advance hype for the big race. Nobody is forced to take an early bet. But there are some who may believe we have erred and want to take advantage of the perceived value,” said Hollywood’s Head Of Horseracing Betting, Patrick Bradley.
He pointed out that many people don’t like tying cash up for extended periods anyway.
“But maybe it is worthwhile recalling that Do It Again – who won the July last year – had only run second in the Cape Derby when he was originally priced up at double digit odds for the July at this time last year.”
Bradley said that the current list of around 50 possible participants would be trimmed as and when information came to hand that indicated a horse was definitely a non-runner. There could also be horses not on the boards that could play themselves into contention and be added in.
He said that in the case of 2018 July winner and Sun Met runner-up Do It Again, the stable has already indicated he may not run.
“It’s in the balance. They may run – they may not. But remember that those that genuinely believe he won’t run may find good value elsewhere. So it’s swings and roundabouts,”he added.
Bradley used the recent Sun Met withdrawal of Buffalo Bill Cody as a case where one’s man meat was another man’s poison.
“Buffalo Bill Cody was scratched a few days before the Queen’s Plate. Those who backed him in the Met ante-post lost out, but conversely, the backers of Rainbow Bridge enjoyed a ‘bonus’ as it were on their odds if they backed their choice while the De Kock runner was still in.”
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