Welcome to Live View – Take the tour to learn more
Start Tour
There is currently 1 person viewing this thread.
04 Jan 17 09:54
Date Joined: 20 Jul 02
| Topic/replies: 44,032 | Blogger: sparrow's blog
Bookmaker hits out over rule 4 'sharp practice'

BY JON LEES 9:31AM 4 JAN 2017

A PROMINENT racecourse bookmaker has described the shortening of the odds of horses who appear likely to become non-runners - and therefore cause a rule 4 deduction from winning bets - as a "sharp practice" that is occurring too often.

Andy Smith, of Festival Racing, claimed it was well known for bookmakers to cut the odds of potential non-runners as it was confirmed Cockney Wren, the horse who was listed in the betting when already ruled out of the last race at Cheltenham on Sunday, was cut to 14-1 before the off. That price ensured a deduction of 5p in the pound would be charged.

Cockney Wren was priced up in the market for the 3.40 race despite having been declared a non-runner before the previous race. The information was announced on the course but not picked up in the betting ring or passed on to the off-course market until the race had started.

The non-runner was posted on the Racing Post's raceday live service at 2.57, but was not available on the BHA's racing administration website owing to a technical issue.

****, the exchange into which course bookmakers hedge, confirmed the horse had drifted to 26.32 at the off. But in the betting show relayed to shops Cockney Wren shortened to 14-1 (from 16) at 15.39.08s, after easing to 16-1 (from 14) at 15.38.46s.

Smith, who has pitches across the West Country, including at Cheltenham, was not in the ring on Sunday but said: "I'm very strongly against some of the sharp practice with rule 4s - it's getting out of hand.

"It's a known practice of some on-course bookmakers. I've been approached a few times to shorten a horse who is playing up or running loose and looks like it's not going to run.

"A horse can be 10-1 and you see bookies shorten it up to 9-1 late when it's loose to get a bigger deduction - it's probably 16-1 on the exchanges. On £1,000 they are saving themselves £50 if it's a 5p deduction.

"The people who are going to save the most are the off-course firms, but I've never known an off-course firm ever to want to shorten in this way. It's very hard to stop, but I'd never go along with it. I'd be more a rebel in wanting to play ball."

No rule 4 is applied on horses priced above 14-1 and the Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) said it had flagged up the issue of policing betting markets with the Gambling Commission.

In a statement, the HBF said: "The Starting Price Regulatory Commission has made it clear they see their job as reporting starting prices and not in ensuring the wider integrity of the betting market. This vacuum presents an opportunity that the unscrupulous could seek to exploit and so it is left to the likes of Racing Post and HBF to highlight legitimate concerns without having the authority to improve matters.

"HBF is currently engaged with the Gambling Commission in an attempt to make that body aware of just how unsatisfactory this situation is. Without proper vigilance, incidents like the one at Cheltenham are liable to happen without any body or individual being tasked with ensuring all was above board."

BHA spokesman Robin Mounsey said: "We have identified what caused the technical issue with the Racing Admin website on New Year's Day. This has been rectified to ensure that the system failure, which has never occurred before, will not be repeated in the future so that news of non-runners is made widely available as quickly as possible."
Pause Switch to Standard View Rule 4 Deductions and the Bookmakers.
Show More
Report Magic__Daps January 4, 2017 10:00 AM GMT
Nice of Mounsey to say that the "system failure" will not be repeated in the future, yet not a word about the shortening of horse to gain the rule 4. Is every person who works at the BHA a complete waste of space?
Report KurtCobain. January 4, 2017 11:52 AM GMT
They need to address E/W betting too. We need to start having a reserve horse in these 16 running handicaps. You could actually offer odds on which horse will be the none runner.
Report xmoneyx January 4, 2017 12:12 PM GMT
chelt 235

New Year's Day

rule 4


Report djptr January 4, 2017 12:17 PM GMT
Should be "an opportunity that the unscrupulous can and do seek to exploit"

Report Big Boss January 4, 2017 12:28 PM GMT
and whilst we are here, the shortening up of drifting favs near the off on the gaff tracks
Report Ramruma January 4, 2017 1:47 PM GMT
They need to address E/W betting too. We need to start having a reserve horse in these 16 running handicaps.

Reserves are a pita imo.
Report Ramruma January 4, 2017 1:49 PM GMT
Interesting points (imo) in the OP are:

1) it is the on-course books that are the problem, not the big off-course chains

2) it is no-one's job to worry about the integrity of the SP system
Report xmoneyx January 4, 2017 1:50 PM GMT
an 8
Report foxy January 4, 2017 2:28 PM GMT

Not all on course books are a problem there are plenty who would not want or try something like this and plenty who would not even bother taking a 5p reduction.
Report geoff m January 4, 2017 2:32 PM GMT
the corruption in this game never ceases to amaze.
Report ribero1 January 4, 2017 3:00 PM GMT
Happy to be corrected if I;m wrong but hasn't Andy Smith just about sold up on course?Certainly sold his good pitches at Cheltenham and Newbury.
As for the on course books being the problem utter nonsense imo,there are plenty of idiots when they see a horse bolt before the start they follow the drift out on here and often double its proper odds before the inevitable withdrawal therefore jeopardising any deduction they may be entitled to.
Secondly rule 4 is massively in favour of the punter in most cases.
Report xmoneyx January 4, 2017 3:41 PM GMT
Report sickoflayinwinners January 4, 2017 3:58 PM GMT
ribero , no point trying to explain that r4 favours punters as they just don't understand
Report mincer11 January 4, 2017 4:01 PM GMT
Andy Smith talks a lot of tosh if you ask me.
Report screaming from beneaththewaves January 4, 2017 4:08 PM GMT
Rule 4 is probably the biggest advantage a punter has over bookmakers. For that reason it's always better to keep quiet when these kinds of controversies arise, just in case some busybody sees it as an opportunity to take a look at the whole business of Rule 4.

Back in the happy days before Betfair, when I used to go racing, Andy Smith was as much a punter as a bookmaker, so I can see why he'd be pee'd off with this sort of thing.
Report unbiased January 4, 2017 4:22 PM GMT
ribero,I would like to point out to you that the shortening of likely withdrawn horses has been going on for many years,as you only too well know.It has gone unchecked,and as highlighted by another poster,nobody seems to want responsibility.
  From your many posts on here you come across as a  decent bookmaker,so why defend the con merchants,and their sharp practices.It is yet another nail in the coffin,and decent bookmakers should tell their members to "toe the line",not only with this farcical practice,but with other things,like crazy e.w. terms,that ruin the ring for you,and other decent layers.
Report ribero1 January 4, 2017 5:13 PM GMT
Exactly Screaming.
Report adge January 4, 2017 5:31 PM GMT
the problem , unbiased , is that we do not choose the bookmakers who are responsible for betting shows or starting prices and can have no say in the tricks that they may or may not get up to. there are the vast majority who offer bigger prices which hold up in the betting ring ..
as regards andy smith [ who was not present on the course ], he is selling up and getting out so a clear mischief maker
Report REGIT January 4, 2017 5:51 PM GMT
Bet next to andy smith in family enclosure at epsom,second year.couldnt stop himself from bragging how good it was.
Report Big Boss January 4, 2017 5:55 PM GMT
bookmakers do lose out big time on Rule 4's so I can fully understand why they would want to claw a bit back, however underhand the method behind it
Report REGIT January 4, 2017 6:01 PM GMT
Waiting to bet ,a family of four approached and asked "what do we do"
My shoulders slumped as my wife patiently explained.stake and number etc.
£2.50 ew 2
£2.50 ew 4
£5 ew 6
And £25ew the 7 for me please.

I then heard my wife say "have your numbers ready to save queing twice when you drawing"she then looked at me,winked and said "im getting the hang of this"

I was still laughing ten minutes later.
Report sickoflayinwinners January 4, 2017 9:53 PM GMT
2.5 ew , 2.50 ew  5 ew and 25 ew, give the guy a diary.Laugh
Report sparrow January 5, 2017 9:32 AM GMT
Regulator's concern
over 'sharp practice'


THE Gambling Commission has expressed concern over allegations that some bookmakers shorten horses to cause or increase a rule 4 deduction and has called for those with evidence of wrongdoing to come forward.

The news comes in the aftermath of Cheltenham on Sunday, when Cockney Wren, who was listed in the betting when already declared a non-runner, was cut to 14-1 before the off, ensuring a deduction of 5p in the pound would be charged. 

On-course bookmaker Andy Smith of Festival Racing said he had been approached a number of times to shorten up horses who appeared unlikely to run, describing it as "sharp practice".

Gambling Commission executive director Tim Miller said: "If there is clear evidence that operators have deliberately shortened odds to invoke rule 4 and consequently reduce payouts, we'd be extremely concerned as it would be contrary to the statutory obligation to ensure gambling is fair. We'd encourage anyone with clear evidence of this to share it with us.

"The industry needs to remember that its long-term viability is built on customers having trust that they're being treated fairly. Anything that is, or could be perceived as, unfair risks damaging the reputation of the industry as a whole."

The Horseracing Bettors Forum (HBF) has said it had contacted the industry regulator about its concerns about the wider integrity of the betting market.

Miller added: "We've engaged recently with the HBF on the issue of rule 4s and other concerns they have relating to betting markets - we believe it is essential that we and the industry listen to groups set up to represent the interests of consumers."
Report beatherder12 January 5, 2017 10:09 AM GMT
On certain days I absolute dread hearing of a withdrawn horse I for one don't didn't anything if I'm 16+ a horse and the price as been announced 14/1 and is a 5p deduction.But two days spring to mind in my experience where I felt we were very lucky to get off the track unscathed once at Chester where a 15p in the pound was called and the lack of information over the tannoys resulted in arguments galore for everybody and another at Redcar where a short price Fav was withdrawn at the start resulting in two of us trying to explain to about 20 lads about 35p in the pound deduction
Report sparrow January 5, 2017 10:17 AM GMT
I was at Beverley one Saturday and had waited ages in a queue to be paid out for an each way bet, unfortunately a horse had been withdrawn and when I finally got paid out the bookmaker told me I was the only one not to query the amount paid.
Report foxy January 5, 2017 10:27 AM GMT
Well let's see if anybody has clear evidence then as the gc request.
Report factmachine January 5, 2017 10:30 AM GMT
Report foxy January 5, 2017 10:38 AM GMT
Factmachine as I am sure you are aware when a horse gets loose or plays up almost ever bookmaker chases the price out as per exchange instructions nobody shortens them  as I say lets see the evidence the gc have requested.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 10:41 AM GMT
Maybe the GC should focus on who is forcing them out on here to minimise the % reduction?
Report factmachine January 5, 2017 10:42 AM GMT
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 10:44 AM GMT
anyway, a warm welcome back to Lord Facts, you have been sorely missed  . . . .
Report factmachine January 5, 2017 10:46 AM GMT
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 10:48 AM GMT
Beatherder,spot on,absolutely dread them,always said the tracks should help us more by putting it up on the big screen for 5 minutes or so instead of 1 feeble announcement.
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 10:50 AM GMT
Yes good luck Fact with your recuperation,i discovered betfair when I was laid up!
Report foxy January 5, 2017 10:53 AM GMT
Ribero I thought Doncaster was very good with the r4 last week but yes in general shocking from the race courses Chester in particular.
Report factmachine January 5, 2017 10:54 AM GMT
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 11:05 AM GMT
Theres been many shockers foxy but one of the worst was many moons ago when Ponty used to get a terrific holiday crowd on the bank holiday Friday night whe a 4/5 shot got withdrawn at the start for the last maiden (Palace Moon) and there was 60p in the pound off,fortunately i'd had a bit of a lean up to the winner,think it returned 14s and i'd only gone 12s,it was absolute chaos for despite the punters seeing we are paying the money back bigtime to the favourite backers most still didn't understand and I always remember a woman drawing her vastly reduced 12 score the winner,she will have gone home feeling absolutely robbed.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 11:10 AM GMT
I paid somebody out a few weeks ago and they had backed the winner & the w/d horse. They had a big hoot about the R4 but then didn't say a word when they handed the ticket over for the NR Laugh

I should have tried to take the R4 off the NR just for spite
Report foxy January 5, 2017 11:14 AM GMT
Was any off you at York for the magnet cup when the favourite got slung and it was a dead heat 2nd ?
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 11:25 AM GMT
Not sure about that one but I recall being there in 1992 when the aptly named Mr Confusion got slung out. It was complete chaos with all the drunken yobs demanding payment. No double result concessions in those days and I can recall being asked to spot any punters that had been paid out and to get it back from them

It subsequently got re-instated after an appeal at Portman Square so nearly 25 years later & the BHA still can't get the decisions right Laugh
Report foxy January 5, 2017 11:42 AM GMT
It was earlier than that Cecil and cumani horses were involved plus a previous winner of the race I think it began with c
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 11:51 AM GMT
Chaumiere foxy.
Report foxy January 5, 2017 11:58 AM GMT
That's the one ribero I sometimes forget inthe know is a newbie.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 12:26 PM GMT
Lol, yes I was still striking a red pen through losing betting slips in the smokey betting shops of the Valleys thenLaugh
Report foxy January 5, 2017 12:49 PM GMT
Any problems anticipated at WetherbyEnter tomorrow
Report foxy January 5, 2017 1:18 PM GMT
Just checked the form book it was 1987 knockando won trained by Luca cumani but was placed 3rd behind Henry Cecil's wolsey and guy hardwoods brave dancer who finished dead heated,the front 3 in the betting if you think explaining the r4 can be tricky can you imagine explaining that outcome to the magnet cup crowd.

Chaumiere had won the two previous runnings ribero I had it in my head it was involved in this race.

Mr confusion was 1992
Report wildmanfromborneo January 5, 2017 1:51 PM GMT
Andy Smith is right to highlight what is undoubtedly sharp practice.

However from my point of view I would be saying nothing about Rule 4 as it massively favours the punter.
It has its anomalies,the deductions at the higher level are against the punter but when a short priced horse gets withdrawn the advantages huge.

Its one thing that Betfair has taught us as their deductions are savage.
Report sparrow January 5, 2017 2:01 PM GMT
Betfair are protecting the layers who after all are operating in a near 100% market.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 2:04 PM GMT
No problems anticipated at Wetherby with a chilly night but no frost followed by a wet day

Pretty mundane card and only one printer roll will be needed

It could be that the bookmaker attendance will be higher than that of Joe Public Shocked
Report onthejim January 5, 2017 2:09 PM GMT
My first Magnet Cup bookmaking was Fine Sun in 1980, but i don't remember being there for the disqualification you refer to Pete, (am sure I would have recalled it),  think must have gone to Chester.  Re R4 messages at Donny, we always bring it to the managements attention at the pre flat season get together and I think they have took it on board and are certainly one of the best in that respect, (York being probably the worst!) CJ.
Report mmmalushka January 5, 2017 2:21 PM GMT
Three cheers for Andy Smith.
All you bookies saying it does,nt happen how many of you refused to deduct the rule4 on Sunday?
Report wildmanfromborneo January 5, 2017 2:24 PM GMT
Sparrow Betfair are protecting their layers because they are running out of them.
Report foxy January 5, 2017 2:26 PM GMT
Some good winners around the time of fine sun onthejim town and country ,bedtime and buzzards bay who went on to win the qe11 at Ascot at 50/1
Report foxy January 5, 2017 2:28 PM GMT
Intheknow there is no such thing as mundane jump racing some is just better than others.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 2:32 PM GMT
As you know I'm a big fan of the Northern & Scottish NH scene but a 7 race card containing

Juvenile Maiden Hurdle
Maiden Hurdle
Am Riders H'cap chase
plus 2 divisions of a Bumper

is as bad as it gets
Report foxy January 5, 2017 2:38 PM GMT
Still a million miles better than this nonsense today
Report sparrow January 5, 2017 2:39 PM GMT
wildmanfromborneo    05 Jan 17 14:24 
Sparrow Betfair are protecting their layers because they are running out of them.

The markets are good deal healthier on here midweek than on the course.
Report adge January 5, 2017 2:46 PM GMT
the part of this that interests me is by who and how this racing post front page story came about.
especially as andy smith spent the afternoon sat at home on his backside
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 3:01 PM GMT
Hi Foxy, I think Chaumiere won a race at York when Carson dropped his hands on Cherry Hill?
Re Wetherby should just about make it imo if the forecast is right although not sure they'd have raced today,giving it a miss myself,Adge has obviously delayed his 2nd winter break to make an appearance.
Report foxy January 5, 2017 3:02 PM GMT
The racing post fannies around big issues as they all enjoy the gravy train so much race course bookmakers are off no use to them so they a nice easy target I can not be arsed answering mmmluskas question but my guess adge is you don't impose a 5p deduction.
Report ribero1 January 5, 2017 3:07 PM GMT
He will have been there Adge,has a share in Lil Rockerfeller.
Report onthejim January 5, 2017 3:50 PM GMT
When the bleeding hearts get the equivalent of the reduction factors on here, I assume they will all be happy!
Report sparrow January 5, 2017 3:52 PM GMT
onthejim    05 Jan 17 15:50 
When the bleeding hearts get the equivalent of the reduction factors on here, I assume they will all be happy!

They might be in a 101% market.
Report mmmalushka January 5, 2017 4:15 PM GMT
Yes the non runner deductions on here are perfectly fair on a 100% book. I wonder what kind of percentge books a Cheltenham courtyard bookie would open with on say a 12 runner h/cap?
Report adge January 5, 2017 5:03 PM GMT
I fly to san Francisco tomorrow ribero1.
put me down as an absentee
Report The Headmaster January 5, 2017 5:49 PM GMT
No bookmaker ever mentions the tickets that are never reclaimed on late nons/withdrawn horses.  So are we to assume all stakes are always reclaimed?

I'm struggling with that proposal, particularly in the sort of circumstances that prevailed at Cheltenham
Report foxy January 5, 2017 6:48 PM GMT
very few punters headmaster ever mention why they never brought there winnings back after a changed result,or in the recent lingfield case the wrong result.
Report intheknow January 5, 2017 6:59 PM GMT
Yes, there a few missing in action after that technical disqualification at Catterick recently as well
Report Sportsadvisor January 5, 2017 9:17 PM GMT
Did any course bookmakers take Millington of Racing Post to task for such irresponsible posting as to make claim regulator was looking into so called sharp practices. Nothing less than libelous
Post Your Reply
<CTRL+Enter> to submit
Please login to post a reply.


Instance ID: 13539