First up, in case you missed it…
An ‘over the shoulder’ look at ‘Hot Form’ , a recent example, and some horses to follow.
Bookmakers + Trainers + Jockeys
The following is a repeat of a reply i’ve just made in today’s members’ post – after the Altior debacle there’s been some discussion on bookmakers in general and their relationship with trainers/jockeys etc – and indeed a bit of politics.
I’ve just repeated it as is – i’ve some views you may agree with or disagree with, but i’d be interested in your views on the current state of play, and indeed what the solution is – or is this situation being overblown?
So, have a read, and post away if you’ve any strong views, or think i’m talking nonsense! 🙂
My reply to a thread in members’ post >>>
I don’t, and have never understood, some of the anti bookmaking brigade on this site – I mean by all means be anti corporate greed/big business in general, and plenty there to get stuck into inc bookies – but given the game we are playing and our engagement with racing, being anti bookmaker seems a bit strange to me. We would all have to look for something else to occupy ourselves with if we banned bookmakers, which Colin would probably do tomorrow if he could haha.
There would be no horse racing in UK/Ireland. End of.
There are clearly issues but I wouldn’t say governments introducing £2 casino limits etc is an indication of MPs being in their pockets – clearly more needs to be done with problem gambling and some of their practices are abhorrent with certain ‘high value’ individuals who may well have addictions/be ill/need help.
But that shouldn’t detract from the vast majority who bet responsibly. Humans have always had vices, and if it wasn’t gambling for some, it would be something else. Although there are clearly some big issues on gambling addiction that gvt and betting companies could be doing much more on.
It’s a big positive for those of us who enjoy racing for MPs to have a vested interest in the sport – especially with whats coming down the line in terms of the whip / animals rights agenda etc etc. The more MPs that understand the sport the better and bookmaking is big part of our game.
That’s one complex area of debate where some of us would just go around in circles on these pages. There’s valid opinions on all sides of that one and no ‘right’ answer.
Bookmakers and Trainer/jockey sponsorship is a ripe area for discussion on here, and indications are that it’s an issue that will be discussed more by the sport/powers that be.
Ralph Beckett’s article on RP makes plenty of sense – that idea of just ending all sponsorships so there isn’t even a question of integrity etc.
As an aside… IF one of the main concerns is ‘inside information’ and bookmakers profiting from it (which when it comes to these high profile trainers etc I think is generally bollocks – doesn’t make logical sense in my head and if anything would lead to more transparency) – lets say all these relationships ended. IF that inside information was the drive, are we really to believe that such links wouldn’t continue but just not publicly?? Trainers can back their own horses and many have accounts with X bookmakers, and that’s information bookmakers get – what do we think happened 20/30 years ago? It’s naive to think that bookmakers wouldn’t find out such info if they so wanted. I suspect to some degree that may have always happened, although I do think we can overestimate such things.
Now, I quite like all these trainer / jockey blogs, as something interesting to read and they are often informative – I think our enjoyment of the sport would be a lot less were such blogs to not exist.
The issue is how to manage them esp with sensitive information re running plans/injuries. Barry Orr and Betfair seem to have the right approach and want their colleagues to take a stronger stance/have rules in place…
The likes of Gordon Elliott, Paul Nicholls and Joseph O’Brien are Betfair ambassadors, and Orr said: “Last year we made a conscious decision not to break any news concerning injuries, or any market-sensitive information, from our ambassadors.
“The procedure we agreed with them is for the ambassador to inform Weatherbys, who send that information out, and then they make the information public themselves before they even get in contact with us. That system works very well for us and we don’t think it’s at all right for us to be breaking that news.
“We think the time is right for other bookmakers to re-evaluate how they approach this as the perception is increasingly negative. We are keen to engage with other bookmakers who have ambassadors to look at drawing up a code of conduct around this to make sure there are no grey areas about how the relationships work.”
– to me that seems sensible – and preferable to these blogs just not existing.
But maybe some on here think those muddy waters are too murky and would prefer less information, as delivered via those blogs, to be in the public domain. Without the sponsorship, why would the trainers etc bother – out of the goodness of their heart?? The sport is richer for these relationships I think, but there are clearly issues that need working through.
The Altior situation is clearly a complicated one, and needs exploring and the yard have form –
BUT – if the issue is people in the yard profiting from being ‘in the know’ – ie they knew he would be a NR, so they all piled into Top Notch – before the info was made clear – (i don’t think there was any liquidity on the exchanges for laying purposes – and if anyone in yard got caught doing that they’d be warned off) – well surely such behaviour has been going on forever?? I think the sport in this country is long past ‘just’ having a Tote system, which means we will always have bookies – and there will always be people privy in yards who are ‘in the know’ –
although saying that with such a high profile horse you’d think Hendo would keep the info to himself and the owner – maybe the owners associates dived into Top Notch. That sort of thing will always go on in some yards I think .
How the information in this case was made public does stink – what Barry Orr/Betfair do with their big boys seems to be the solution to that problem.
In the end, there is no perfect solution to any of these issues, and one side or the other isn’t good vs evil – but there would appear to be plenty that could be improved.
But i’m not in the camp that thinks ending all such relationships/blogs etc is some magic solution, esp when it comes to questions of integrity etc. But who knows.
Maybe i’m naive but I don’t think many jockeys who are sponsored will be ringing up their bookie contact on the day, informing them that they’re stopping one today! But maybe i’m wrong on that.
Anyway, just a few of my thoughts – plenty there to agree or disagree with no doubt! 🙂