Weblog: Betting Shop Manager of the Year
Investec Derby betting fever has yet to take off
Investec Derby weekend is almost upon us, and Derby Fever should be striking us all right about now if it hasn't already, right?
So I thought anyway, but I have to be honest and say the mood in my Scotbet shop is quite downbeat about the whole event. Camelot's magic has failed to capture the imagination of the Selkirk punting public for the time being.
That's not to say that people aren't talking about Saturday's showcase race, it's just what they are saying isn't very conducive to people putting their hand in their wallet and having a punt on it.
Granted, we will have a remarkably short price favourite. I have been reading that places are offering up to 20/1 that Camelot goes off at odds against, but even that doesn't sound appealing as we see the field whittle down, right now we have only a dozen left in and five of those are Aidan O'Brien's.
That has been another bone of contention up to now, but you can't fault him for having so many entered. It obviously means that punters who back trainers when choosing their selections, rather than looking at the merits of the individual horses, will have a time on their hands, but as we have seen with Homecoming Queen in the Qipco 1,000 Guineas, things don't always go to plan so the insurance policy that Mr O'Brien is working with may well pay dividends again.
I'll leave it to O'Brien's supporters however as which to back, but I would urge caution. Not encouraging for those who have had a punt ante-post - we could be looking at the smallest Derby field in over a century.
It would be such a shame for a horse like Camelot to go for and succeed in the quest for the Triple Crown only to have it devalued in some quarters due to the alleged lack of quality and quantity in the Derby field. It is often said you can only beat what is put in front of you, and in fairness to the others Saturday's race has yet to unfold.
Bonfire is our biggest ante-post loser in Selkirk right now anyway, so it's probably important to remember at this stage there is no such thing as a racing certainty. The only real feel good story to have gripped the punters in our shop is the fact that Hayley Turner will become only the second female to ride in the Derby.
I along with many others have been following her column in the Racing Post and it has been an excellent read. It also highlights just how hard she works and it is fantastic for her to be taking the ride on Cavaleiro.
Hayley is quick to point out other female jockeys who are testing their male counterparts to the full and this can only be good for the image of racing. It shows how much Hayley's career is blossoming that in this Olympic year she pipped both Jessica Ennis and Rebecca Adlington to the Sportswoman of the Year award at the Glamour Awards. No mean feat when you consider the quality of competition.
Friday's Epsom cracker, the Investec Oaks, seems a much more competitive affair and that is born out in the slips taken so far with Maybe looking to justify favouritism ahead of a star-studded line up. Both The Fugue and Vow had our punters celebrating in the last couple of weeks and I know Kissed is also fancied to make a big impression so perhaps when the big day arrives there will be a far more positive feeling about the racing than there is right now.
From the flatness of one Derby to the elation of another and once again the William Hill Greyhound Derby did not disappoint. What an occasion it looked on TV and congratulations to owner Mark Currell and Champion Trainer-elect Mark Wallis in getting Blonde Snapper all the way through what is the most gruelling race in sport.
A stunning bounty of £125,000 was collected and incredibly during racing it was announced that next year’s winner would collect a cool £150k, which is double the 2011 amount. Fingers crossed for greyhound racing in the Capital that Paschal Taggart's ambitious plans for Wimbledon are realised and we see many more exciting Derbies there in the future.
Watching brought back memories of the jubilation I witnessed when I presented Barrie Draper with the Racing Post Juvenile Trophy. That was an amazing evening and if Mr Taggart can do for British greyhound racing what he has done for Irish then The 'Don will be a place fitting to host such an amazing event.
So traditionally a big week lies ahead, and with the Edinburgh Cup at newly crowned Racecourse of the year Musselburgh this Saturday there is lots to look forward to, even if that anticipation hasn't quite set the heather on fire just yet.
Have a great week folks.
**Independent managers wishing to follow in the footsteps of myself and 2010 winner Michael Demetriou, of Choicebet, Herne Bay, have until Friday June 8 (extended one week) to get their entries in for 2012's Racing Post/SIS Manager of the Year.