After continuing his streak of summer successes at Sandown this weekend, Frankie Dettori has forced UK bookmakers to rethink their strategy on Dettori-accumulators, resulting in a number of bookmakers deciding to limit punters’ stakes on the champion jockey or insist on some legs be settled on SP only.
Speaking on Luck on Sunday, Ladbrokes Coral PR Director Simon Clare defended the decision of the bookmaker to use Starting Price (SP) on Dettori accumulators for the final two rides at Sandown on Saturday.
Clare explained: “We’ve always been aware of when jockeys attract lots of these types of bets, or when people just back them through the cards. A couple of years ago Ryan Moore rode the first few winners on Lincoln Day, and he just missed out on the Lincoln, which would have been a very costly day.
“In recent months, Frankie Dettori seems to have taken on a life of his own. Come that Thursday when he rode the first four winners, all betting firms were staring at substantial potential losses.
“We haven’t released figures, but the level of exposure that one jockey was posing bookmakers was so unique that nearly all bookmakers had to decide what they were going to do in the future. We cannot be in a position where we can lose that much in one day.”
The decision to implement such measures follows on from Dettori’s success at this year’s Royal Ascot. Following the four successive wins, it was reported that the jockey was close to costing betting operators dearly, with the potential payout estimated to have been hundreds of millions of pounds.
With the possibility of substantial liabilities on Coral-Eclipse day, the operator implemented the SP measures only on Dettori’s final two rides in a bid to adequately hedge against its position if needed.
Clare added: “Here’s an example just to make it very clear. Frankie Dettori’s six-timer yesterday was priced at 25,000-1. You only have to take £4,000 worth of stakes for that to have £100m in payouts. Think of those figures.
“In most situations where we take accumulators, whether it’s football or horses, the risk is mitigated because everyone is having a different variety of selections. Frankie Dettori, on the biggest of days, everyone is placing exactly the same accumulator for Dettori to win.”
Clare pointed out that the company has a responsibility to shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders such as the sport of horseracing which gets funding through the levy and media rights. He said to manage the liabilities. The company has choices to make.
He touched upon the strategies take on the Friday of Royal Ascot, where SkyBet and bet365 restricted customers to just having trebles on Dettori rides, which Clare said was ‘totally understandable’ as the firms wouldn’t have had enough time to work out the best approach to dealing with potential Dettori bet liabilities. The other route some firms took was to limit the multiple bet stake to tiny amounts.
He added: “The best way would have been to make the last three legs SP only so that in the event that Dettori had ridden four winners, we would at least be able to manage and control and influence the money that we might have to pay out on that particular eventuality.”