Almanac Horseracing: Punters duped at the Gold Coast

Tactician, a 4yo bay gelding from Toowoomba, was heavily backed to beat his rivals last Saturday at the Gold Coast.

The flood of money came after an impressive triumph at the Sunshine Coast two weeks prior, when the addition of winkers appeared to significantly improve the gelding’s performance.

After opening in the betting with what appeared to be value at $3.50, Tactician’s price tumbled under an avalanche of money, starting at $2.00. Increasingly confident punters were forgivably unaware of the enormous blunder that was about to be revealed.

Over the 1,400m distance, Tactician secured the box seat and looked to have every possible chance but failed to get going until the final 100 metres, finishing an unimpressive third.

Earlier in the day stewards had not notified any gear changes and punter’s rightfully expected that Tactician would race with winkers on, as he had done a fortnight ago when successfully putting paid to his opponents at the Sunshine Coast. The heavy interest in the betting market was predicated on the horse wearing winkers again. However, on close review of the race footage from last Saturday’s Gold Coast meeting, it is evident that Tactician raced without winkers. There was no mention of this in the official gear changes.

In several punters’ opinion the unannounced gear change significantly impacted the gelding’s chances. Many would not have bet so confidently had they know that Tactician was not wearing winkers.

Although a formal apology has not been given, Racing Queensland has acknowledged what happened and taken measures and disciplinary action to ensure this kind of incident is not repeated.

A Racing Queensland spokesperson provided the following statement in regard to the matter.

“Under rule AR 140B, the trainer failed to present the horse with the correct gear and as a result was fined $200. Stewards failed to identify the error and the horse subsequently raced without winkers.”

Meanwhile, the punters are left to lick their wounds. It is hard enough to win on the punt, and the punter deserves better than this from trainers, jockeys and stewards.

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