Starting prices to be determined off course

The Starting Price Regulatory Commission has announced that the starting price will be determined using mainly off-course odds in future.

A move away from the traditional system had been considered for a number of years before it was forced upon the industry by Coronavirus, which meant racing has taken place almost exclusively behind closed doors and without on-course bookmakers since June 1.

Statistics show that the share of betting taken on-course had dropped to 1.4 per cent in the year end of March 2020 – and as mechanisms to form an SP based solely off-course have been in place since racing’s resumption, the case for using off-course prices is stronger than ever.

When bookmakers return to the track the on-course element is expected to make up around 10-12.5 per cent of the overall sample, which will require a new algorithm to make it compatible with the current off-course market.

This work will be carried out by PA, and it is expected to take around three months, which should coincide with the return to the track of punters and bookmakers – it is hoped.

Lord Donoghue, chairman of the SPRC, said: “The SPRC has considered this change long and hard.

“We are now confident that the modernised SP system better reflects the market as a whole. Punters can continue to have total confidence in the SP.”