Singapore & Co need the big fish like Hong Kong
The concept of the home pool is being badly stretched out of shape now with international simulcasting and Hong Kong's coverage of Singapore's big meeting revealed something of the future of commingling.
In a land far away and long ago, the home betting pools were always considered the most important - whether it was punters looking for a lead to the winner or stewards investigating what took place in a race. Yet in the era of cross-border betting, none of that remains true. The other theory comes into play - that what takes place in the bigger pool is the more important action, and on Singapore's big day, Hong Kong's $121 million in simulcast holdings on six races were not far short of double the holdings in the home pools.
Likewise, in early April, the Jockey Club's holdings for six races on Sydney's Golden Slipper day were significantly higher than totalisator turnover in the home pools. That gets tricky for punters looking for a guide as fluctuations in the Hong Kong pool - where players are not as au fait with the Singapore or Sydney form - may be just a correction to bring them more into line with home pool prices, but it might also be the place to stage a betting coup.
Perhaps Slipper day is a different kettle of fish, given that all the races covered were Group races (though history shows they have not been immune to manipulations and speculations), but there were bread and butter events at Kranji where the money to be won in pools in Hong Kong dwarfed that available from legal domestic avenues.
Both instances also highlight there may be commingling without Hong Kong, but the global concept will ultimately owe its level of success to the participation of the likes of Hong Kong or Japan, where betting pools have some real clout.