A fairly nondescript meeting on the Flat at Ayr might not be the sort of location where horse racing records are normally broken.
But today’s action at the Scottish venue has treaded new ground for The Tote, who have revealed that the £558,000 Placepot jackpot is the largest that the firm has ever given away.
The pot sat just shy of £130,000 at the start of the day, but punters have been clambering at the chance to enjoy their own slice of history – causing the total dividend to swell by more than 400% before the off at 13:25.
The previous record dividend was set at Cheltenham back in December 2015, where the pot stood at £91,000. The Win Pool at Ayr dwarfed that after reaching £138,000, with Jamie Benson – the head of fantasy racing at the firm – describing the kitty as a ‘once in a blue moon punting event.’
Building and Building
By the time the field met for the day’s opener, more than half-a-million had been accumulated in the Placepot dividend.
But a number of punters were left unhappy by the outcome of the fillies’ handicap, with only 38% of players still left in the mix after 8/1 and 11/1 outsiders placed.
There were better results in race two with 178,000 units still in the game, and Bolt Action – the 7/4 favourite – placed in race three to keep 60% of punters in the hunt at the halfway stage.
The well-backed Gale Force Maya kept the dream alive for more than 98,000 units after race four, but race five would prove catastrophic – even with four placers in the 25-horse field, only 26% of units remained after a chaotic race saw 20/1 and 40/1 outsiders (the latter picked by zero Placepot players) hit the frame.
And so the scene was set for the final race of the Tote fixture list, with 25,671 units still live and, at the time, a dividend of £23.87 for each. This was a tough race to call with a 5/1 favourite and the rest of the 13-runner field priced between 6/1 and 20/1….a bit of a stinker for Placepot punters, by all accounts.
Flylikeaneagle, backed on 19% of the remaining tickets, won followed by the aptly-named Ayr Poet (9%) and Zumaaty, who was the selection of just 1% of remaining players. In the end, 7,452 players remained, and they picked up a dividend of £74.90 per unit for their troubles.
Flylikeaneagle wins very cosily in the Rems Group ‘Justin Forbes’ Handicap, nosing ahead close home under a cool ride from the in-form Kevin Stott for trainer @lucindavrussell 👏 pic.twitter.com/Vejah3n51Z
— Ayr Racecourse (@ayrracecourse) September 16, 2022
What Is the Tote Placepot?
Most people are familiar with traditional fixed odds betting – that’s how you bet on the Grand National and other big races with the bookmakers.
But The Tote, a betting organisation that has been around since the 1920s, when it was owned by the UK government, does things slightly differently.
This is a pool betting enterprise, where all of the money wagered goes into a central pot. Punters can buy as many unit stakes as they like, and their payout – should they have an excellent day of predictions – will be their stake multiplied by the dividend.
So, if you had five units in the Placepot kitty at Ayr today, you’d have walked away with £374.50, as one example.
The Tote offers a number of different options that are along these lines. The Placepot requires you to pick horses in each of the six races nominated, and if you have one place in each then you will win your share of the fund. It sounds easy, but in truth it rarely is.
The Quadpot is another game where you have to pick placed horses, but this only applies to four races on the card – typically the third through to the sixth.
The Scoop6 has two pools – one for punters who pick all six winners, and a separate place kitty, while the Tote’s Jackpot is as simple (ha!) as picking the winner of all six chosen races.
It’s worth mentioning the World Pool too. For 17 selected meetings each season, The Tote joins forces with the Hong Kong Jockey Club and other pool betting providers around the world to create a mammoth prize fund – the 2022 Ebor Festival, for example, saw a whopping £93 million wagered into the pot.
Typically, fixed odds betting is the more lucrative option, but for big money meetings there’s no doubt that The Tote’s options can yield rather handsome results for punters.