Tote – don’t back the French with us

Abtaal - don't back on the Tote

In a rare display of consideration for punter the Tote yesterday advised punters not to back the French trained runners for the 1000 and 2000 Guineas races with them. This is because people betting in France can bet into the Tote pool, which then reduces the returns in comparison with odds based bookmakers.

The results from two years ago illustrate the impact those French bets can have. Makfi’s 2000 Guineas winning price was 33/1, but he paid only £12.80 for a £1Tote bet. Whilst the difference was less marked for Special Duty in the fillies Classic, with returns of 9/2 and £3.5, that was largely because she was a well fancied horse.

George Primarolo, speaking for the Totepool operation said they wanted to “make no bones about it” that the French trained horses were likely to be overbet on the Tote and so return a lower dividend. He said, “British punters who want to back horses like Abtaal and Mashoora would be better off taking SP or a price in the ring.”

It would be possible to stop the peculiar arrangement that operates for France that allows people there to bet into Tote pools in Group 1 races in Britain, and, bizarrely, the first five races on a Windsor Monday evening card!, but that won’t happen in a business that is seeking to expand its international operation.

Primarolo suggested there was a silver lining for punters when he said, “Well backed French horses mean the prices of other horses in the Guineas could be more attractive. It could be the case that Camelot returns a better price on the Tote than SP, for example.”

True enough, but there won’t be a deal of difference for a hot pot favourite like Camelot. And in any case, if Camelot does win, the French will be able to lay claim to having the winner. Camelot’s first appearance in literature was in Chretien de Troyes’12th century French romance poem, Lancelot, Knight of the Cart.

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