Coral lead on distances in lifeless Queen Anne market

Frankel is now as short as 1/8 for the Queen Anne Stakes, the opening race of this year’s Royal Ascot meeting. Even Paddy Power’s best price of 1/4 is hardly one that will have punters emptying their wallets to bet on him. As a result, Coral are coming up with a range of novelty bets to try and generate some serious betting action on the race. Other bookmakers will quickly follow suit.

The two markets Coral are promoting both relate to winning distances. In the Queen Anne itself, they cannot entertain any horse getting within three lengths of Frankel, and have offered no odds accordingly. That’s hardly surprising, given that the closest any of the five other horses in the line up to have raced against him (Bullet Train, Excelebration, Side Glance, Strong Suit and Windsor Palace) is two and a quarter lengths. That was at Ascot last year, when Excelebration finished third in the St James Palace Stakes, since when Frankel has had four and five length victories over Excelebration.

Coral spokesman David Stevens said that they simply couldn’t see Frankel being beaten. “We’ve always been huge fans of Frankel and have never looked to take him on. We can’t see anything other than win number 11, with Excelebration once again most likely to chase him home. We’re betting on the winning distance as an alternative to the race odds.

Coral have built an incremental market rather than framing specific distance bands, with the price increasing with the winning distance. They go:

3 lengths or more – 1/2
5 lengths or more – Evens
7 lengths or more – 7/2
10 lengths or more – 10/1

There is an alternative distance market. Which horse will win by the greater distance, Frankel or Black Caviar? Newspapers report that Coral are offering 4/9 about Frankel winning by the wider margin, Black Caviar at 9/4 and a tie at 8/1.

I’ll restrict my betting on this heat to the Daily Telegraph Qipco Champions League competition, where you can be sure I won’t be selecting Frankel.