Things We Learned » Scoop 6 reality

Scoop 6 reality

So, you’re going to have a go at the Scoop 6 today? Of course you are. It would be rude not to. There is so much money in the pot already (hopefully not too much of it is yours), there is such a massive carryover, that there is too much value in the pot to leave behind.

And it isn’t just a case of leaving it to the big syndicates. Didn’t an Irish £2 player get down to the final leg last week, and didn’t the £8 player Joe McGuire have two horses running for him in the last race, and didn’t one of them trade at 1.01 in-running?

In theory – liquidity, timings and bank balance notwithstanding – Mr McGuire could have laid 69 grand to 6.9 million at that point and guaranteed himself a profit of just under 6.9 million, whatever the outcome. As a fellow punter, you have to feel for him, and the fact that both he and the Irish punter copped the £1,717 place fund is scant consolation. Still, it was nothing that 10 pints of lager and a curry couldn’t cure. (In fairness, there are not many things in life that 10 pints of lager and a curry can’t cure, at least temporarily.)

There are a couple of things that you should consider, however, before you plunge into Scoop 6 land today, under the assumption that it is the best-value bet anywhere in the world ever. Last week’s Scoop 6 pool was the largest in the history of the bet. Over £6.5 million was bet into the pool last Saturday, beating the previous best of £4.1 million, which brought the win fund up to almost £6.9 million and the bonus fund up to over £3.8 million.

Even so, the combined odds of last Saturday’s six Scoop 6 race winners was 5,735,204/1. So if you had placed a £2 accumulator (the unit bet of the Scoop 6) on all six winners, even at SP, you would have netted £11,470,408. That’s about 67% more than the amount you would have won had you won the Scoop 6 on your own, with no other winners.

It is even 7% more than the amount you would have won had you won the Scoop 6 on your own last week, and then had you gone on to pick the winner of the bonus race today – probably the Silver Bowl – on your own. And that is with the biggest Scoop 6 fund in the history of the bet. And that is on the assumption that you win it on your own.

The problem last week lay in the SPs of the winners. A 20/1 shot, two 16/1 shots, a 14/1 shot, and nothing under 6/1. Even six 12/1 winners would have made up to a 4,826,808/1 accumulator, which would also have made last week’s Scoop 6 (which would have paid odds of 3,437,171.5/1 to a single winner) a poor-value bet. Six 10/1 winners, by contrast, would have made it a 1,771,560/1 accumulator, which would have made the Scoop 6 a good value bet, provided, of course, you were the sole winner.

The difficulty is that you don’t know what the SPs of the winners are going to be, or how many winning tickets there are going to be (if any), so you don’t know if the bet is going to represent good value or not. But the only way that the bet is going to represent value is if the majority of the races are won by horses who are towards the head of the market.

Interestingly, if your intention is to have several big-priced winners in your Scoop 6 perm, then you are probably going to be better off doing an accumulator instead of investing in the Scoop 6. Of course, in that instance, you also have the added advantage of choosing your own races. But where is the fun in that?

Rail run

There seemed to be a distinct advantage to racing out in the centre of the track, away from the inside rail, in the home straight at Navan last Sunday, at least through the latter stages of the day.

In the opening race, the six-furlong maiden, the winner Sailors Swan stuck to the inside rail, and Dermot Weld’s colt was an impressive winner. He can probably be marked up at least a little on the bare performance, but perhaps the ground was fairly uniform early in the day, and perhaps he was helped by the fact that none of his rivals came too far off the inside rail.

It was a similar story in the six-furlong handicap, when Above The Law made just about all the running, flush against the far rail, and Christina Simpson kept him going all the way to the line to record her first winner. Same again in the five-furlong maiden, in which the Ger Lyons-trained Dandyleekie battled on well on the near side to get the better of the odds-on Araner.

It wasn’t until the fourth race, the five-furlong handicap, that a potential bias began to become apparent. Perhaps the bias was only developing or becoming progressively pronounced as the day developed, as the ground on the far side received more usage. Seanie looked a likely winner when he hit the front on the far side in the five-furlong handicap, but he was quickly challenged and passed by More Questions. Eddie Lynam’s horse ended up against the far rail, but he made his ground out in the centre of the track under Leigh Roche, and Seanie can probably be marked up at least a little, given that he raced against the far rail throughout.

Leading Light ran out an impressive winner of the Vintage Crop Stakes, but the performance that the evergreen Royal Diamond put up in finishing second may have been better than it looked, given that Johnny Murtagh’s horse stuck to the far side up the home straight.

In the one-mile-five-furlong maiden, John Constable finished well down the centre of the track to win nicely, but the John Oxx-trained Karezak probably did really well to get as close to the Ballydoyle horse as he did, belying odds of 20/1, given that he raced close to the far rail the whole way up the home straight, with the pair of them coming eight and a half lengths clear of their rivals. This was just Karezak’s third run, his first since being gelded, and he will be of interest wherever he runs next.

They raced down the centre of the track in the home straight in the last two races, although perhaps the ex-Godolphin filly Willowing could be marked up a little on her run to finish second in the 10-furlong handicap given that she finished well on the far side in her first-time hood and on just her second run for Brendan Duke.

Brothers in arms

It is rare that full-brothers win on the same card, but that was the case on Sunday with John Constable winning his maiden and Leading Light landing the Vintage Crop Stakes.

Both bred by Lynch-Bages Ltd, they are both sons of Montjeu out of the Gone West mare Dance Parade. Owned by Fahd Salman, Dance Parade was a prolific two-year-old for Paul Cole, winning her first three races, including the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot. She also won the Fred Darling Stakes on her debut at three before disappointing in Sleepytime’s 1000 Guineas and going to join Neil Drysdale in the States.

Given the speed that she showed as a juvenile – her three wins at two were over five furlongs – the vagaries of the science of thoroughbred breeding lie in the fact that she can produce such talented stayers, even allowing for the influence of Montjeu. Leading Light is a Queen’s Vase winner and a St Leger winner who is now favourite for the Ascot Gold Cup, while John Constable was winning his maiden over a mile and five furlongs.

In-running influence

James Willoughby on Racing UK made an interesting point before the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury last Saturday as the money came for Battalion and as Mount Athos drifted: that the pre-race market must be influenced at least in part these days by people who are pre-empting the in-running market.

It looked as though Battalion might enjoy an early uncontested lead in the race and that, therefore, the early in-running odds about him winning might contract through the early stages of the race. The fact that he was backed into 15/8 before the off may have been a function of intending in-running players locking into pre-race odds in the hope that they could trade out of it at shorter odds through the early stages of the race, thereby guaranteeing themselves a bet to nothing or a small profit on their stake.

Sure enough, Battalion did enjoy an easy lead and traded at a low of 2.22 in-running before fading. Those who kept the faith with Mount Athos – despite his pre-race drift in the face of support for Battalion – were handsomely rewarded by an SP of 7/2.

Guineas stats

Before you go putting a line through War Command for the Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas this afternoon because of the prospect of soft ground and/or because he finished only ninth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, there are two things to remember. Firstly, the ground was good to soft when the Ballydoyle colt won the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket last September, and secondly, Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last five renewals of the Irish 2000 Guineas with horses who finished unplaced at Newmarket.

© The Irish Field, 24th May 2014