Racing: Now’s the time to place your cups double bets

By Chris Riordan

Doubles bookies always promote their dire liabilities, neglecting to mention the stream of lost bets that line their coffers. They, and we, queue up each year in the battle- them for a consistent earn and us, not just for the riches, but the bragging rights that accompany a long-range plonk.

A certain mystique has always surrounded the big doubles plunges.

The attempt to shoot Phar Lap and, forty years ago, the sensational nobbling of raging Cup fav Big Philou are amongst many scandals legend attributes to over-committed bookmakers.

Like tales from Damon Runyon, these “goes” fascinate racing enthusiasts and are regularly retold…occasionally with the same plotline!

Pat Bartley, in The Age this week, wrote of the infamous and fearless Mabel Read.

“In 1966, when the doubles sheets came out for the Caulfield and Melbourne cups that year, Read was determined to back Galilee to win both races and contacted Albert Smith, a huge bookmaker at the time, and lodged her substantial wager.

After Galilee was successful in the Caulfield Cup, Smith contacted Read the day after the race and said he was looking to bet back on Galilee to win the Melbourne Cup because of his huge exposure through Read’s double.

”Mabel, I was wondering if you can bet me 8- or 10-1 Galilee to win the Melbourne Cup because of your huge investment,” he said.

Read asked Smith what price he was currently quoting Galilee to win the Melbourne Cup and he said 5-1. She replied: ”Well, Albert, give me another $10,000 on him.””

These days the panic is usually an Aiden O’Brien Irish St Leger winner or another “raider” — and haven’t bookies sent their kids through Grammar thanks to them?!

In the past, though, the old smokeys used to come from the Shaky Isles.

My Dad recently recounted the invasion by Even Stevens (“the year The Dip won the Metrop”) who “must have run dead for a year to get that weight”. For decades afterwards, and with good cause, suspicious looks greeted unlikely noms from over “the ditch”.

I’m keen to have some flutters now. It is important to be up-to-date with Cups nominations and then to find the right time to speculate.

For example — and it may be a poor one — the Memsie Stakes weights this week include Sea Battle, who’s also included for Group 1 glory in October. If you thought it really promising and noted how Kavanagh’s stock look ready to burst, perhaps NOW is the time to look up Betfair’s Ante-Post for the Caulfield Cup?


  1. Of course, serious old-timers would scoff at showing up the form for the Cups yet…weights for Caulfield are declared next Wednesday!

  2. Mark Freeman says

    Yes Crio it’s a strike while you can proposition if there’s one you like for the cups – nothing worse than waiting for it to run first up, it puts in a blinder, the doubs books slash it in half and ýou’ve lost your advantage. You’re then faced with having to take the mugs odds, or leaving off completely, which can turn into a real world of pain when it sails home in the cup.

    Of course, getting on and then seeing it blow on the charts after a first-up shocker is unpleasant, but not nearly as bad. Nonetheless I’ve gotten on a few and can now sit back and watch them build towards/fall over before the cups and Plate.

  3. Get on RIOS now for Caulfield Cup before tomorrow’s run ($151 Sportingbet).

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