How to Play the Tote Ten to Follow Competition
You may have missed the announcements recently that a new team has taken over the UK tote. They have a progressive outlook and some exciting plans in train for the near future; but their first foray is the revival of a much missed old favourite, the Ten to Follow competition.
The idea is simple: you pick ten horses which score points based on various things, such as the class of race they win and their winning tote dividend. Further details on that are below.
There are prizes down to 100th place in the main game, and there is also a free to play game with a £10,000 first prize. Whoop!
As well as that, I'm given to understand that the tote guys are working super hard to get league functionality up and running before the competition starts this weekend. Assuming that happens, there will also be prizes for the winners of the geegeez league. I will of course keep you updated on progress there.
For now though, here's everything you need to know...
Ten to Follow: What is it?
The Ten to Follow (TTF) was a fondly-remembered paper-based competition run for many years as a joint venture between (the old) tote and Racing Post. It disbanded maybe ten years ago, and was sorely missed, not least by me (even though I never got that close to the top of the leaderboard).
With technology moving forward apace in the interim, the competition has returned and is now a digital game, making entry and administration much easier.
The aim of TTF is to score as many points as you can from your 'stable' of ten horses. Points are scored for winning - and in some cases, running well in - races from this Saturday 30th November through to Saturday April 25th 2020 (bet365 day at Sandown, the official season end). All National Hunt races run in UK and Ireland count for scoring purposes; races run in France or elsewhere overseas do not count, nor do flat races or point to points.
The competition is open only to residents of UK and Northern Ireland this year (admin restrictions, sigh).
What can I win?
There are a number of prizes, the headlines for which are as follows.
The main game, which costs £5 per entry, has a guaranteed minimum first prize of £175,000. One hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds. Nice. There is a further £75,000 minimum guaranteed to be shared between 2nd and 100th places, with the 10th place finisher guaranteed at least £1,500.
As well as the main game, there is a free to enter version. Here, there are four monthly £1,000 prizes as well as a main prize of £10,000 to the winner. Pretty good for free entry!
And, as well as the prizes sponsored by tote, if the league functionality is up and running, we'll have a geegeez league and that will have some awesome prizes too. I'm planning to offer the winner of the free geegeez league, a year's free access to Geegeez Gold; and the winner of the main game geegeez league, a lifetime Gold membership. This, again, assumes that it will be possible to differentiate between the two in the not-yet-available league setup. Watch this space.
UPDATE - LEAGUES NOW AVAILABLE. HERE'S HOW TO JOIN THE GEEGEEZ SUPER LEAGUE
Whilst logged into your account, go to https://tote.co.uk/ten-to-follow/play/leagues/join-league and enter the PIN 000026. [If the link doesn't work, go to the menu top left and click the 'LEAGUES' option]
Then choose your best stable - NB it looks like you may only enter one stable into the league, so good luck!
Geegeez Super League prizes will be as above, as well as those on offer from the competition itself.
How to enter
Entry is straightforward. You first need to register an account at tote.co.uk. NB: This is the new setup, it is NOT the same as totesport, with whom you may already have an account.
Once you've registered your account, click the Ten to Follow link and create your stable.
Unlike Fantasy Football, there are no values associated with horses, so you can pick the very top horses without fear of over-spending. And there are no concerns of financial impropriety as with the likes of Supreme Racing and Phoenix Thoroughbreds, the brazened toads. I'll share my stable in a second.
This video shows you how to register and choose a stable. There is no sound, which will be a pleasant discovery for many of you who have heard my 'dulcet tones' before!
Remember Jim Davidson and John Virgo on Big Break back in the day? Jim would say, "The object of the game is", and John would say, in his deadpan monotone, "pot as many balls as you can".
This is largely the Fantasy Racing equivalent: score as many points as you can, which can be loosely translated as win as many races - ideally big races, and at big prices - as you can.
Here are the specifics:
A Grade 1 is worth 25 points
A Grade 2 is worth 20 points
A Grade 3 is worth 15 points
Any Listed race is worth 12 points
Any other race is worth 10 points
As well as those general point rules, there are 25 bonus races, starting with the Hennessy (Ladbrokes Trophy) this week and finishing with the bet365 Gold Cup on the last day of the season, with most of the Championship races at Cheltenham and Aintree in between.
These bonus races score an extra 25 points if your horse wins and 12 points if it finishes second.
Finally, you have a notional £1 e/w tote bet staked on all runners and that dividend is added to your score.
So, for example, if you'd had Clan Des Obeaux in your team last season, his King George win would have netted you the following points:
Grade 1 win = 25 points
Bonus race win = 25 points
£1 tote win = 14.1 points
£1 tote place = 3.8 points
Total = 67.9 points
The management summary is, try to pick horses capable of winning the biggest races in the season; and try to unearth one or two that have a chance at a bigger price. (These will be selected by less people and are likely to pay a bigger tote dividend if you're right)
Boring stuff you need to know
A couple of key points I need to share, because you need to know:
- The full rules can be found here
- This competition is open to UK and Northern Ireland residents aged 18+ only
- geegeez.co.uk is a promotional partner of tote Ten to Follow
- This competition will be a lot of fun, and in my view you should at least enter the free game if you're eligible
- Er, that's it
My 'A' Team, and some tactics
I've entered a couple of teams already, and they adhere to the following tactical principles.
- I wanted coverage across a good number of the Championship events at Cheltenham
- I wanted to take a few chances away from the most obvious (i.e. ante post favourites) in those races
- I wanted hurdlers and chasers with greater depth in the latter group
Here's my squad:
Obviously, picking the same ten as me will mean that the very best you can hope for is to share your prize with me (and maybe others).
[As an aside, can you image the devastation up and down the country if, one day, the winning lottery numbers are 1-2-3-4-5-6 ? 10,000 winners who get precisely what they deserve, about a 'bag of sand' each!]
Given my somewhat underwhelming history in the competition, I would not advise such a play, but it's a free country and all that..!
I think I've covered everything, but if not, do leave a comment below and I'll get you an answer prontissimo.
All that remains is for you to get registered and get your stable in before midday on Saturday, when entries close.
Good luck, and I hope you finished second (assuming I win!) 😉