Club can learn crucial lesson from Beadman affair

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am

Last week's Darren Beadman affair in the Jockey Challenge betting shows again just what a different area the Jockey Club has taken itself into by dipping into fixed-odds betting on racing.

Soccer betting was a different animal - yes, it is also fixed odds and can be influenced to a small or great extent by the composition of teams, for example. A star player left out at late notice can make a difference but he is still a single player in a team.

In dealing with groups of rides for each jockey, the Challenge is a somewhat easier scenario than dealing with them one by one, race by race at fixed odds, but Hong Kong's racing customers are fairly demanding. They wouldn't react well to many things which are ingrained in fixed-odds betting, especially ante-post betting, in other places where rules have been established over many decades.

Tote betting makes adjustments based purely on demand and supply when horses or jockeys drop out of races.

You only had to see the easing odds of Beadman's scheduled mounts later in the day on January 1 to see the market had marked them down for his absence.

The club made a face-saving gesture to refund certain bets on Beadman (pictured), which it did not have to make under the rules, but was saved a greater embarrassment by Weichong Marwing not having required the points he picked up on Beadman mounts to win the Challenge.

In so many ways, the Jockey Challenge has been a blessing for the club which hopes one day to bet fixed odds on some of its Group One feature events, because it is throwing forward so many different and unforeseen scenarios.

And if the club is to get fixed-odds betting on individual events right in the future, the learning curve is a significant one.