PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 March, 1993, 12:00am

PUNTERS were robbed blind once again at Sha Tin on Sunday under the iniquitous substitution rule.

Anyone who backed newcomer Manor Lord in the third in race-to-race doubles was ripped off in one of the most scandalous betting rules in operation.

The substitution rule dictates that in the case of the late withdrawal of Manor Lord, the punter is immediately put on to the race favourite.

In other more exotic bets like the six-up, the double trio or double quinella this is understandable as each selection is only a small component of the whole and there is no viable alternative.

But in the race-to-race double it is a disgrace as this is a very specific bet where selections are targeted precisely because the favourite in one or both of the legs is perceived as bad value.

This was exactly the case on Sunday when the Hongkong maiden Electric Power, the favourite in Manor Lord's race, started at the totally ridiculous price of 8-5.

Those who have failed to change the system over the last 12 months should take immediate action.

They say there is not the manpower to change the software. Poppycock. When punters are being deprived of a fair bet in this manner, the manpower can and must be found.

Let's face it, manpower is being found to develop a place quinella bet that no one cares about and is likely to provide poor value returns.

There is an urgent need for that manpower to be diverted to developing the system which operates in New South Wales, Australia, which provides for a consolation dividend for cases like Manor Lord in race-to-race doubles.