Sunday, Jul. 20, 2014

Layers Win The Day

Betting Exchange ArticlesWhat happened to Red Robbo the British Leyland shop steward? He’s on Betfair of course.

Its time for a trip down memory lane. In days gone by the racecourse rails bookmakers were made up of a colourful array of camel hair coated bookmakers who drove dark green Jaguars. They kept their smiles for their ‘lumpy punter’ client base and an indication of the results of their spoils were reported ever so simply by the Racing Post or Sporting life as “‘Jack’s Delight’ 11,000/10,000 three times, 6,000/4,000 twice and 5,000/5,000 three times’”. Those were the days when the rails bookmaker reigned supreme and he made a very nice living for his toils. Enter Andrew Black with Betfair and the party ended.

On the major Southern racecourses the rails constituted an eclectic group of men whose presence generated not only a formidable bookmaking authority in terms of business and racing expertise, but were also great characters. I am thinking John White, John Pegley and Stephen Little (fur coat and all) to name but a few. These were also the days of Johnny Mac the tic-tac.

One Hennessey Gold Cup day at Newbury in the reign of the above gentleman the ring was so packed and the market so fluid that it was quite literally standing room only in both the Tattersalls and members enclosure. Orange boxes were the order of the day for floor managers and bookmakers alike. You don’t need to be reminded that the Hennessey Gold Cup is an important occasion in the racing calendar and interest in its outcome has always been high. On this particular day, a bookmaker who I knew as ‘Red Robbo’ named after the famous left of centre shop steward at Leyland motors cars (I said I was going back a bit) did something out of the ordinary.

As the 1st and 2nd favourite came over the second last with the favourite one length in the lead the usual cry went up from the rails about the second favourite “I’ll Lay two to one……..” Now we always accuse bookies of not being very generous people, you know the one, like always offering odds about the photo finish candidate who was clearly second and not offering about the likely (well it wouldn’t be bookmaking otherwise would it ). Well this was again what was happening when the odds were shouted regarding the second placed horse and not the likely winner. Easy to complain but bookmakers are in business to make money and both you and I would do the same if we were in charge. However, I should have held my breath as I was about to witness what at the time was a near miracle.

As the two horses came over the last, the roaring of the crowd was almost deafening, but above it all as the favourite rose to take the fence, some now two lengths in the lead, l Red Robbo offered to lay odds about the favourite itself not the second placed horse, for an instant amidst the excitement a few sharp eyes looked at Robbo as if to say ‘You what!” and then he shouted the odds again. Within an instant he had layed the horse for  several thousand and within an instant on the Newbury run in the second favourite pegged back the favourite and won the race by a neck.

Where is today’s comparison?

When Barcelona took the lead against Chelsea last Tuesday in the Champions League second leg with only 15 minutes play still remaining, the price on Betfair dropped to 1.21 about Barcelona.

When I looked at all the layers on betfair who unlike their rails counterparts of days gone by, but very much like Red Robbo where all lined up ready for to lay Barcelona to win, I remembered that Hennessey Gold cup experience. And just as it was at Newbury when the favourite got beaten, Chelsea by virtue of a questionable penalty were able to level the score line in the dying seconds of the game and the layers held the day. As the layers cleaned up on that trade I wondered what ever happened to Red Robbo, who was obviously a man born before his time, well of course stupid he’s laying on Betfair.

In a later article I will analyse and discuss such short term laying opportunities and how we can profit from them.

If you would like to talk trading then drop me a line.

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