BETTING ODDITIES: New race times are cuckoo land

BETTING ODDITIES: In his latest weekly blog, DAVID STEWART takes a sideways look at some of the stories making the news in the betting world and beyond.


For slightly more mature readers, remember Dragonfly winning the 3 o’clock at Exeter at 14-1 ?

It was Basil Fawlty’s bet which he went to great lengths to keep secret from Sybil.

Future TV scripts maybe updated to ‘Dragonfly in the 3.07 at Exeter’. Doesn’t quite roll off the tongue so easily does it?

Sorry, but I’m not a fan of the non-standard arbitrary times which are set to become commonplace after a trial in February.

I get the idea of course, just like a railway timetable they are trying to ‘regulate the service’ but if such ugly times are needed is that not systematic of there being too much racing. We REALLY can’t schedule races at the traditional five minute intervals?

I don’t think it makes for a great on course experience either.

It probably shouldn’t annoy me as much as it does and I know a lot are in favour or nonplussed but there is something very sanitised and clinical about the new timings which treat races as ‘products’ rather than events.

I fear the start of a utopian racing world where every race starts at 2 minute 43 second intervals, is over 7.51 furlongs and has 12.6 runners because that is deemed the most profitable configuration based on some wretched algorithm.

It’s both Fawlty and Faulty.

Non standard times only required on railway timetables


I couldn’t readily think of many companies who benefit in a pandemic.

(1) Mask manufacturers
(2) Perspex suppliers
(3) The company that produce giant over-sized flags at empty football stadiums
(4) er, that’s it

But news today that tech stock is heading north as more people work from home and upgrade their kit.

Staggering related news that Apple is now worth more than the entire FTSE-100 companies combined.

You can buy ALL the 100 FTSE companies for £1.5 trillion but Apple alone would now set you back $2 trillion.

I hate even reminding you of this story, as it is uber-schadenfreude, but in 1976 Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for, GULP, $800.


The National Lottery just don’t seem to get the mathematics of betting.

If you bet £2 and get £2 back you’ve backed a non runner
If you bet £2 and get £5 back you’ve won £3

But not, it seems, in the mythical world of Camelot.

Proudly announcing this week that players may receive £5 for matching two numbers Camelot’s Neil Brocklehurst proudly exclaimed: “We know an unexpected extra fiver – which could be spent on a box of chocolates, a book or magazine, or to treat a friend to a coffee – can really put a smile on someone’s face.”

The “extra fiver prize” conveniently ignores that a Lotto ticket costs £2 in the first place. Make that a small latte, oh and two socially distanced straws please.


Have to admit I wasn’t expecting to enjoy the re-imagination of All Creatures Great And Small having been a huge fan of the original series which even led me to pursue two weeks work experience at a local vets in Darlington.

Remakes of classic TV programmes usually flop …… remember the ‘new’ Minder ?

But All Creatures Great And Small on Channel 5 was good – the scenery as good as I remember with a fresh take on the central characters.  But MOST importantly of all – the original theme tune has been retained and (I believe) Tricky Woo coming in a future episode.


Even horses with bad form have to be considered as bets in bad races.

I won’t bore you with any politics and there is no ramping as I have yet to have a bet but I firmly believe that Trump will win the coin-flip.

I think Trump’s a nutter but Biden just doesn’t convey the charisma or conviction of a winner.

Sometimes bets just come down to gut opinion and I think Trump be incumbent for another four years. Brace yourselves.

In a truly bonkers year, why wouldn’t 2020 deliver yet another truly bonkers story?


DAVID STEWART is a freelance digital betting producer and journalist. His CV includes: The Sun, The Sporting Life, Racing Post, At The Races, The Sportsman, lead feature writer for Sky’s Betview magazine and senior producer Timeform Radio.

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.