BHA responds to criticism over Grand National starting price system

BHA responds to criticism over Grand National starting price system

Friday, April 17, 2015 Totally Gaming

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) governing body has launched a probe into the starting price system used at this year’s Grand National after various industry figures voiced their criticism over its effectiveness and fairness.

The 2015 edition of the showpiece event of the British racing calendar took place at Aintree last weekend and was won 25/1 shot Many Clouds.

Although outright favourite Shutthefrontdoor could only manage fifth place, saving the industry as much as £100m (€139.3m/$15m), the 165 per cent returned for the race’s 39 runners is the largest percentage in living memory.

Racecourse layer Geoff Banks cited the starting piece system as the reason for the large return percentage, claiming in a blog on his website that the system was broken and open to manipulation by major bookmakers.

“The SP system is deeply flawed at best,” Banks said. “Anything that is that cheap to manipulate can only be assumed to be rife with integrity concerns.

“Going back a decade the on-course market was very strong. There weren't the betting mediums we have today. Racetracks were extremely well attended.

“Today's special price mechanism was born out of such healthy markets, fairly representing the weight of money. That's not true now.”

In response to the criticism, BHA media manager Robin Mounsey told the Racing Post newspaper that the organisation has launched an investigation into the system used during the race. He stated that the BHA will now seek “constructive discussions with the appropriate bodies” to establish the best way forward.

Mounsey added: “It is important that betting on British racing is attractive, open and fair to ensure its enduring appeal. This is something we are acutely aware of at the BHA.

“The starting price system and associated betting shows from racecourses are key to fair and open betting, but also to betting operator profits. A proper balance is required so that fair value.”

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