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Gambling on horse races – for the mugs

I’ll only be mildly interested in Racing NSW’s inquiry into the Waterhouse clan – Singleton spat.  Racing isn’t the sport of kings. Its a business that seeks to fleece the pockets of working people who should know better.  Apart from the profit margin that accrues to the bookies there are information rents that accrue to those in the know.  Gai Waterhouse trains many leading horses and knows, as well as anyone, their condition.  She would have much better information about the status of a horse than the hundreds of thousands of mug punters that bet each week on the horses.  Gai’s son is a bookie who receives huge bets on the horses and, according to his own statements, places bets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars on single races.   it is quite clear to me that there is no credible basis at all for believing that Gai Waterhouse would ever discuss with her son the condition of the horses she trains.  This would be unethical.

But ad men, brothel owners, ex jockeys and rugby league stars assert that information was, in fact, transferred.  These pillars of modern Australian society will have their chance to present their viewpoints before this inquiry.  It would be a sad day if this thriving industry which does so much to increase our GDP suffered as a consequence of patently outrageous claims.  The gambling suicides, the destroyed families and the hopeless illusions of creating wealth that are held by thousands of punters are a small price to pay for respecting consumer sovereignty.  Neither will the media chiefs be enthusiastic about cutting gambling advertising during sporting events – this advertising provides crucial information to Australian consumers and helps them expand their consumption sets to include the purchase of excitment and adrenalin rushes.

I am confident that the scrupulous standards of the Australian racing industry will be rigorously enforced by this inquiry. My mates “Ian”, “Lance” and “Peter” will head off to their local pub-cum-TAB agency next week confident that when they place their bets they will be experiencing no informational disadvantages whatsoever.  For them its a chance for the “little bloke” to make a few bob and it provides the basis for ongoing conversations that go beyond footie scores. Amid the strench of stale beer smells and congested urinals they will participate, once again, in what they see as the joyful sport of kings.

Update: I liked this piece in The Age“punting on the horses is for losers – unless you have inside knowledge”. The nice point made about the Singleton-Waterhouse spat is that this concerns whether the trainer told her bookie son about Singleton horse being a bad bet or not.  Singleton knew it was a bad bet and so did all the insiders here.  The mug punters of course did not.  Who gives a crap about them anyway?

7 comments to Gambling on horse races – for the mugs

  • Jim Rose

    HC, one of the reasons people I have known buy horses is so they can trade inside information with other owners on the health of horses, whether they were rested for long enough etc., and whether the horse is running over the right distance given its strenghts.

  • hc

    Sounds plausible to me. Of course the rats who make up this business are incredibly dishonest and often stupid so the market in information may not be straightforward.

  • Uncle Milton

    Harry, you are much too hard on these people. They are colourful characters with bold personalities.

  • Jim Rose


    There actually is nothing illegal about a trainer telling a bookmaker that Radish is off his oats and is highly unlikely to win…

    Anywhere else, that would be blatant insider trading for which people now go to jail, but not when it’s the gee-gees lurk. In the stables, such insider knowledge is just par for the turf.

  • Sir Henry Casingbroke

    I am afraid, Uncle Milton, Kate McClymont beat you to the punch:

    Two of the boldest personalities in Australian racing, trainer Gai Waterhouse and her former ”most valued” client John Singleton, slugged it out from each end of a boardroom table at a NSW Racing stewards’ inquiry on Monday.
    Read more:

  • You made it Harry.

    no lead in the saddlebags here

  • And what was somewhat funny was that Andrew Johns was worried about saying bad things about Tom Waterhouse. Why? Because Channel 9 employs Johns, but also gets lots of advertising revenue from Waterhouse. Johns was worried that his income from Channel 9 might be endangered if he said things that upset Waterhouse.

    Incidentally, why aren’t the veterinary records of all racehorses published on the internet so that the mug punters could see that More Joyous was being treated for several problems?

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