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Harness racing draws punters' interest

SPONSORS William Hill were delighted with the interest shown by both phone and shop punters in the first qualifying heat in their harness-racing series at Wolverhampton on Friday night.

Irishraider Crown Manhattan caused an upset when he got the better of The Big Guy by three-quarters of a length, while the 5-4 favourite Kikikolt could manage only third place, a further length behind.

William Hill director of racing and PR David Hood said: “We were delighted with the turnover. It exceeded all expectations and there was a good spread of small business on the phones and in the shops, right through to some chunky bets, including one of £6,000-£4,000 on the favourite.”

The first three, as well as fourth-placed LN Billy The Kid, qualify for the £25,000 final on September 26, and Hood believes that the level of interest shown on Friday bodes well for the future.

He added: “There is a healthy appetite for it. It's the first exposure harness racing has properly had – the Kempton race was just an exhibition – and I think there will be more of it.”

Betfair were also happy with turnover. Spokesman Tony Calvin said: “Business was pretty good. Whenever there's a short-priced favourite, there's always good two-way trade, and that led to £157,963 being matched on the race, of which just shy of £122,000 revolved around the favourite.

“However, obviously, traded volume is not an accurate barometer of interest, or an indicatorof monies at risk in the market. But 846 different accounts played in the market and that's encouraging.

“The 12-1 winner, Crown Manhattan, was matched as high as 38 on Betfair and never went lower than 14 at any stage pre-race, so his backers got the value.”


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