Bookies in line with Hong Kong market - almost
One by-product of a more global racing scene is how much smarter the ante-post markets on the Hong Kong internationals have become over time as everyone has apparently learned more about everyone else.
Mistakes are still made by the, predominantly English, bookies operating on the four features at Sha Tin this Sunday, but not of the magnitude that so many so fondly recall in past years.
Those bookies' disrespect for horses of any kind but the British and Europeans saw them offer a remarkable 20-1 about the Australian Hong Kong Sprint winner Falvelon in 2000, but the subsequent annual invasion by short-course Aussies at Royal Ascot has made sure that won't ever happen again.
Then it became the Hong Kong horses in the Sprint that were not respected - despite the fact they won every year for the next decade after Falvelon was done.
The high point of that seemed to be in 2009 when 4-1-Sacred Kingdom was given on the day of the race when every man and his dog knew he would be short here, and in the lead-up you could have had 66-1 either of the 10-1 chances which filled the placings, One World and Joy And Fun.
To some extent it has had to do with them using international ratings as a formguide - fraught with danger - and also it has been to do with retailing, say, British horses to British punters at odds a fraction of the price they should be. Even last year, for example, there was plenty of 6-1 available about Bated Breath in the Sprint with UK bookies when he was always going to run at huge odds here, but they knew punters in Britain would want to back their representatives.
Yes, his 100-1 price in Hong Kong was wrong, just not as wrong as 6-1 from the bookies.
This year's markets suggest that scenario is slowly disappearing. The market order published this week for Sunday's big races seems reasonable, in most cases, and even many of the prices themselves look close to the mark - though if you're European and fancy one of your milers, get on a flight to back them here as it might be worth your while.
Possibly the task of making a market has been made easier by the few foreign Sprint visitors and the Vase being almost totally France versus Britain.
Of course, we have turned fifty shades of blue and green holding our collective bated breath waiting for fixed odds postings for these four races from the Jockey Club itself - an idea once floated but which seems to have missed its chance for the reasons above.