Someone Has To Pay – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Firstly, I’d like to wish everyone a prosperous and above all healthy new year. Let’s hope all of our spreadsheets show that we’ve finally joined the 95% of people on Twitter who win betting…

The trouble with everyone winning of course is that in the UK it’s the betting industry that largely funds the sport of horse racing that we all love. One of the biggest issues that punters have, all expect the 5% that lose of course is that they struggle to get their bets on. Rightly or wrongly bookmakers aren’t keen to keep laying bets to someone that rinses them week in week out.

In my experience, most professional punters who get closed down just shrug their shoulders and accept that it’s part of the game for a winner and find another way to get their bets on. Some don’t, they take to social media and scream the place down that the bookmaker in question won’t take more than pennies, some even take to websites like Trust Pilot to write a bad review just to drive their point home.

These punters tend to be the type that like to take the risk out of betting and love an arb. Now, before we go on, I’ll just point out that one of the first blogs I wrote for Star Sports was on the subject of arbitrage and that I personally didn’t see what difference it makes what the punter did with their winnings, buy records or hedge their bets. I still don’t, but the bookmakers don’t like it. The punters are trying to get something for nothing though, so I suppose are a certain mindset and replicate that in other aspects of their lives.

Social media being what it is I’ve seen the same person posting the same thing about a couple of the bookmakers I’ve been employed that have limited his account. Rather than accept that they don’t want his business he pops up on a regular basis, never changing the record. It did tickle me that one the victims of his ire dug out a newspaper article which appeared to show that this same chap had done a bit of bird for dealing in and utilising illegal decoders used for getting paid for sporting channels on satellite TV for free. He appears to want much more than just betting profits for nothing. It’s a funny old game. Even funnier he’s still popping up slating the bookmakers, shameless!

When it comes to racing though, most of us are getting our entertainment for free, aren’t we? Somebody has to pay for those horses that we bet on, and it’s not the majority of us.

It’s just a testament to what a fantastic sport horseracing is that so many people are quite happy to toss money into the almost certain bottomless pit that is ownership of racehorses. Most people that can afford racehorses, can only take a punt on a cheap one and hope that they hit the jackpot. Some trainers are good at spotting bargains, so the dream is still very real but it’s a longshot just to own a horse that ever wins let alone pays its way.

One trainer that can spot a bargain is ex Grand National winning jockey Nigel Hawke who famously bought Tiger Roll for £10,000. Nigel been in the headlines again recently after the heroics of The Imposter who since the 24th of November 2022 has won nine handicaps, beaten only once into second place. You’d have though that the gelding’s owners would be quids in, wouldn’t you. But those nine races combined have returned before expenses prize money of £48,754, what chance does the owner of a horse that manages to win one or two modest races a season have?

Luckily for us punters, the people in the position to be able to own racehorses continue to do so. I was at Exeter on New Year’s Day, it was packed, despite the weather the best Haldon Hill could throw at the punters and testing conditions for the horses.

There were seven races, not of which offered prize money of over £5900 to the winner which attracted 69 runners total prize money to the winners £31,488 but the racecourse was heaving, the bars and restaurants full the betting ring buzzing and the atmosphere fantastic. It’s a short price there were plenty of first-time racegoers there that had a magnificent day and will be back, just what local racing is all about.

Meanwhile up at the first ever ‘Premier’ meeting at Cheltenham the two richest races of the day worth £57,218 and £39,865 to their winners attracted six and four runners respectively. That’s not a one off occurrence, we see it week in week out. Surely a few quid off those two races, trickled down to the prize money at roots of racing at Exeter wouldn’t have made a difference to the prestige of the races at Cheltenham? That extra couple of grand a race prize money in the lower grade races long term could be the deciding factor or owners deciding to stay in the game for another season or spend the money on a nice car instead.

The people that support the racing at the lower levels are the ones that are shouldering the burden of the entire industry. Premierisation is going to further starve them, how about instead nurturing rather that starving the grass roots and watch the industry grow. If the people better qualified than me are right and Premierisation is the way forward, brilliant, we’re all winners. Racing can soon top up the top meeting’s prize money as much they wish from the fruits of their success, the huge TV audience and massive crowds that’ll be rolling in and not pickpocket the ones already paying for our entertainment.


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring




Author: Eugene Morris