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By David Fowler | Tuesday, December 18, 2018

David Fowler is the principal thoroughbred caller for Radio TAB. David, who is a keen form student and punter, has enjoyed a lifetime involvement in the racing media. His personal blog, ‘My Call’, appears exclusively on HRO.

How often do we pinpoint the market fluctuations as the reason our horse got beaten?

“Not fancied.” “They knew.” “The winner firmed.”

We’ve all been guilty of it at one time or another.

But is the market set necessarily correct all the time?

To put it another way, are the fluctuations sometimes reflecting a correction in the market.

Let’s use Saturday metropolitan meetings as the guinea pig for today’s musings.

First markets are normally available mid Wednesday afternoon and early shoppers will spot “mistakes.”

I use the word carefully because the “mistake” is only in the eye of the beholder.

It’s also worth remembering you’re on the hiding to nothing when going up first with a set of prices.

Picking the eyes out of a set market is far easier then starting with a blank page.

The market will remain fairly static through Thursday and Friday but the betting picks up speed on Saturday, gathering momentum hour by hour.

Yet it’s the last 20 minutes of betting when the “official price” service kicks in state by state that paints the clearest picture.

We’ve discussed it here previously. All variants have been factored in and the fluctuations are well worth watching.

This is where the betting really counts.

To return to my earlier opinion, a horse can drift in price because maybe it was wrongly assessed in the first instance.

A case in point was Saturday’s Lough Neagh Stakes when Niccanova was the favourite ahead of Victorem.

I couldn’t believe it.

That market had corrected itself by late Saturday morning.

As a punter we’re always happy when the market agrees with us.

Whereas I nailed the Victorem scenario, I thought Bluebrook was also a good thing and was amazed when it drifted to a best fluctuation of $4 (starting price $3.9).

The market represents cause and effect. If Bluebrook’s price is too short and needs to be corrected, it also means some other runners’ odds are too long.

To underline this, Auerbach, New Horizons, Spirit And Fire and Tokoriki Lad all tightened in price in this race.

Fixed odds compared to the pari-mutuel tote now represents between 70 and 75 percent of the win turnover in any code.

You might doubt that figure. Don’t.

And the “official price” service is one of the greatest innovations to the gambling marketplace in recent times.

Price manipulation and assorted shenanigans that misled the bulk of punters are now a thing of the past.

Fixed odds and their associated fluctuations are a golden tool for the gambler nowadays.

But don’t always rush to think a price drifter is “on the nose”.

It may have been the wrong odds to begin with.

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David Fowler
David Fowler
Happy connections after Ad Valorum had taken out the Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben on Saturday
Happy connections after Ad Valorum had taken out the Lough Neagh Stakes at Doomben on Saturday
Dale Smith's winning salute …
Dale Smith's winning salute …
Smith with the spoils of victory

Photos: Graham Potter
Smith with the spoils of victory

Photos: Graham Potter
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