Favourite backers take a big hit in the pocket

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 July, 2010, 12:00am

With more races than ever before, this season has also seen more horses race than ever, but most of our regular statistics remained pretty regular - unless you're a favourite backer.

The extra five meetings have meant quite a few more races and, to populate those races, the total of horse participants broke through 1,300 for the first time. More than 38 per cent have been able to take out at least one race - right on the long-term norm - confirming Hong Kong's standing as one of the better jurisdictions to race a horse and have some positive expectations.

Multiple winners in 2008-09 were a record high, with more than 39 per cent of the individual winners for the season winning at least once more, but that returned to a more normal 33.5 per cent this time around, headed, of course, by seven-time winner Entrapment.

But if par for the course was par for the course in some areas, short-odds punters will already know that part of the game was not normal.

Winners in the market, in other words less than $110, won their usual percentage of around 77 per cent of the races, but punters backing the actual outright favourite - the market's choice as the most likely winner - took a hit.

Not only was the average favourite at shorter odds in 2009-10 than in all but one season since the handover, but the percentage of winning favourites was one of the lower figures in that time, too - a turnaround on the past two seasons, when punters had been picking winners more accurately than ever.

The bottom line result was a towelling for outright favourite punters, who are losing around $26.68 out of every $100 flat bet on the outright favourite, with only the eight races at Happy Valley tonight left to influence the figures.

And after 2007-08 when odds-on punters nearly broke square - even profited if the rebate was in their equation - then almost broke square with the rebate last year, things were back to normal in that area, too. Flat bets on the 99 odds-on favourites for the season have lost backers around 19.5 per cent on their outlay, with 49 of them actually landing the prize.