False gamble dupes Dundalk punters
The plight of on-course bookmakers is well-known, but the desperation of some was emphasised by the betting in the first race last night at Dundalk.
A gamble of sorts had developed on Wednesday night on six runners trained by Johnny Levins, but it appeared to have been initiated by little money. An angry Levins rubbished it yesterday, saying those envisaging the stable to have six winners were living in "cloud cuckoo land".
However, it appears some had latched onto the horses that had been cut drastically in price, perhaps envisaging something of a repeat of the Charles Byrnes coup in Roscommon in September, when three of his horses all won, having been backed at long odds.
However, the betting exchanges reflect reality with far greater accuracy than bookmakers' prices do, and the first Levins-trained runner, Palavicini Run, was friendless in the wagering before the off, drifting out to 13/2.
Incredibly, the on-course layers - whose prices are transmitted to betting shops in Ireland and Britain - cut the horse's odds from 2/1 into 7/4 and sent her off 6/4. She finished a poor third.
Bookmakers' representative Francis Hyland, who does not bet at Dundalk, said: "There is a different market on-course than off-course, they are not integrated. When you have distinct markets, you get marked variations."
Punters on social media castigated the Dundalk layers, some of them clearly intent on Palavicini Run being returned a short price. Levins slated the high street firms last night, saying that they were "fleecing problem gamblers and bringing down the name of the sport" with actions such as those which saw his horses contract so markedly in price so quickly.
Elsewhere, classy filly Alice Springs and Limato, with five Group Ones between them, lead a strong European team in the Breeders' Cup Mile. They bid to beat defending champion, Tepin. Aidan O'Brien has also said that what looks a highly ambitious Classic bid for Found is more likely than an attempt to repeat last year's win in the Turf. She has never raced on dirt before.