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5/1/2001 edition

Tote Punters Miss Out

At Flemington racetrack on New Year's Day there was a massive winning plunge on Iglesia, trained by Russell Cameron at the track, in the Group 3 Standish Handicap, a race run down the Flemington straight over 1200 metres.

Iglesia on the tote was showing $15.00. The Melbourne bookmakers opened the betting with Iglesia at $11.00. They thought they were safe.

For those of you who haven't seen the way the Melbourne bookmakers operate, they generally check the prices of horses on the tote then set their opening prices with just about everything shorter. If no money comes for a horse it is eased out, often to a better price than on the tote. 

Iglesia had been set for the race. So often, when that happens those punters with the big money, in on the plunge, see the opening bookmaker prices, their eyes light up and they jump straight in. It happened again.

We wouldn't be surprised if better odds than $11.00 would have been available had they bided their time. The plunge was big. Iglesia was backed right into $3.50 favourite and won easily, also setting a new track record. At around $11.00 Iglesia was excellent value in what looked like a pretty open race. At $15.00 on the tote it was even better.

Only problem was tote punters who had a dabble at $15.00 expecting decent value ended up getting just $4.30 on SuperTab. The tote didn't lose around $600,000 on the race like it is claimed bookmakers lost. That may even be understating the amount. 

It should be obvious from this example why you cannot follow the money on the tote.

A punter who put $100 on Iglesia with the bookmakers at $11.00 has made $1000 profit. That punter can have another 10 similar losing bets and be square. The tote punter who put $100 on Iglesia by comparison won just $330. As soon as that tote punter has another four similar losing bets that punter is showing a loss of $70. Give that tote punter  another 10 similar losing bets and unlike the punter with the bookmaker who is square that tote punter has a loss of $670. 

To win at the punt you need:
1. Strong selections over the long term.
2. To regularly obtain the best prices or very close to the best prices available.

"Tote firmers" are often not good selections and you can be guaranteed that you are regularly not getting the best prices available about those horses. Particularly on Saturdays for popular horses racing in melbourne and Sydney.

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