Do you remember the old days betting on course? Long, long before the betting exchanges transformed the landscape of how we backed the jolly. Bookmakers reluctantly made to change how they plied their trade. Tic tac men and women, their secret hand signals relaying the prices for any given horse, made redundant by a different form of code detailed on the screen of a laptop.
A pair of white gloves covered in the blood of technological advancement. The same hand is more informed by an iPhone and app.
How times change.
I remember walking around the betting ring at Great Yarmouth. I must have been in my late teens or early twenties. The bookmakers used to price up a field of two-year-old debutantes in a painfully slow fashion. In those days, to an extent, they made the market. Some brave souls would literally take a stand - daring to chalk up the odds. It was a marvel to witness and added a buzz to the ring that is lacking in this modern era.
If Honest Joe (Turf Accountant) made a mistake, you could get 10/1 on a beast that should have been half those odds. Sure, it didn't happen too often but those were the days when the betting market literally formed before your eyes.
With the introduction of the betting exchanges, the market starts taking shape the evening before. When bookmakers detail the betting on course, they simply use the exchanges as their point of reference. How could they go against such a mighty machine? They simply have no option to follow its lead.
Another aspect of betting that seems to have changed over the years is the good old betting odds. It looks like some have disappeared. The classic 100/6, (16.6666/1) once a common sight, now as rare as a spotted flycatcher. The death of many iconic betting odds buried like dodos. If I knew where the headstone lay, I would leave a handful of forget me not flowers.
Which betting odds have you noticed missing?
In many ways, it doesn't seem to matter. But the history of our racing game is in the state of fluxation. Where will it lead? We have no idea. In these days of technology, we are susceptible to advancement, trend, or fashion. Change may add to our enjoyment but sometimes kick what we know right in the balls.
I feel lucky to remember the old and the new.
Jason Coote has founded many horse racing website and known gambler.