Well done Barney – you're smarter than those who govern horseracing
Early Wednesday afternoon I dropped into Paddy Power's betting shop in Irishtown, south Dublin, on my way home (as you do). Domestic horse racing was on at Fairyhouse. I scanned the large display area for 'early' prices for all races. I was puzzled by two horses running on the all-weather card at Kempton.
The odds on Indus Valley in the 4.25 race and Low Key in the 6.25 race were absurd. They were at ridiculously prohibitive odds of 2/5 and 1/3 respectively – meaning they were almost certainties to win. When I checked my 'Racing Post' to find that one was forecast to be 25/1, I assumed there had to be an error.
I rechecked the form of this horse: in his last four runs he was tailed off; despite running in 26 races he only ever won once, back in September 2009; the handicapper had reduced his rating from 90 to 45, meaning he had dis-improved by 45 lengths of performance. Indus Valley was a no-hoper. The trainers of both horses were unknown to me: Des Donovan and John Butler, having only ever trained a handful of winners at Kempton over the past five years.