Punters right on the money but value is disappearing fast

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 April, 2011, 12:00am


The value punter may not be dead but has a nasty injury and extraordinary results on Monday and in last week's Triple Trio jackpot again underscored why this has been the season to break his back.

Monday's results were the shortest-priced batch of winners in the past six years and we have no doubt a further search might reveal them as the lowest dividends for a day's racing in Hong Kong.

Eleven winners averaged a payout of about HK$33 for HK$10 each, with the day's 'roughie' Viva Freedom at HK$51 - not that club officials are too upset. For one thing, there is an argument (that we don't buy) that such results confirm the transparency of form, but we can see where the turnover gets a big kick along from such results via reinvestments and all-up plays.

Markets here have become extraordinarily good at finding the winners and ensuring they don't start at big prices.

The average price of a winner this season is sitting on HK$87 - more than HK$12 lower than last season's average and the first time that figure has ever dipped below HK$93. Take a collective bow, punters, as you are betting bigger and more accurately than ever but it is doubtful that Hong Kong any longer holds its place as the most attractive venue in the world for professional punters.

Between computer teams taking the cream out of longer-priced horses and illegal operatives betting back and smashing in-the-market runners with those late plunges, it has become a nervous wait even to discover what a winner will pay. Especially if there's any delay at the gates.

Meanwhile, the poor old TT continues the sharp downward spiral we have chronicled all season.

On Monday, the total of the fresh dividend pool dropped to an all-time low of just HK$1.6 million. Soon it will be competing with the First Four for exotic monies.

And last Wednesday's TT jackpot at Happy Valley showed that even the punters who once might have reaped big rewards from the TT are battling.

Yes, we know, a dividend of HK$3,760,588 hardly sounds like starvation for TT winners but it was another remarkable payout in a season of them.

It was around about a third of what it should have paid and most serious punters were expecting only a partial ticket to be victorious. After the first leg when the two best backed runners, Solar Wonder and Healthy Manner, provided an obviously popular double banker, the amount of tickets still alive was well on the way to double what would have been expected and that probably provides an insight into what has happened to the TT, even when a jackpot does build.

The falling fresh pools give a guide to a declining interest from the average punter, while the serious and professional types who join in when a jackpot builds are basically playing the same numbers and cannabalising each other, cutting out what value used to exist in the bet type.