Sports betting

Weekend Review: Four Irish horse races break £1m Betfair barrier as punters search far and wide for sports

Esports, Rugby League and Australian football attracted punters interest as sporting calendar continues to be disrupted

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to decimate sports and sports betting across the globe, bettors and bookies are still battling it out in the remaining streamlined market.

Irish horseracing has continued to run, albeit behind closed doors, and has seen a massive uptake in interest from UK punters.

ITV sealed a deal to broadcast five races from Thurles on 21 March and saw on average 434,000 viewers tune into the action with a peak of 544,000.

Betdaq’s Mark Harkin told EGR Intel that punters flocked to Irish horseracing over the weekend.

He said: “While the majority of sport isn’t going on at the moment, Irish racing goes on and there were some big winners over the weekend with us at Betdaq.”

Harkin went on to note that there were still big winners and big losers across Betdaq.

He continued: “Tony The Gent’s win at Dundalk saw one customer win £5,900 from a £4,649 stake, while another won just over £3k having staked £1,274 on The Very Man at Downpatrick.


“It was an expensive few days for others including one who lost over £4k laying Well Joey to win at Thurles at odds of 26.14.”


Betfair spokesperson Barry Orr told the Racing Post that there was healthy interest in the action at Thurles, with four races breaking the £1m barrier.


He said: “The numbers show people are engaged with racing and want that distraction.


“It was the only show in town and being on ITV is a massive help. It was light relief and offered a thread of normality and something for people to look forward to.”


Ladbrokes Coral’s Simon Clare also told the Racing Post that Irish horseracing is “providing an oasis” for punters at this time.


He continued: “The value of Irish racing each day this week cannot be underestimated either. Even without the terrestrial coverage, the popularity of bet and watch enabled all our customers to watch the Irish action.


“Irish racing is proving an oasis in the desert for racing fans and punters.”

Kindred Group’s Ali Gill told EGR Intel that even with the absence of the Premier League, football still garnered the most interest over the weekend.

The Australian A-League has continued to be played behind closed doors and Gill said that bettors latched on to the action Down Under.

He said: “The Sydney derby between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC in Australia was our biggest event of the weekend. The 1-1 draw in the game left us with a nice margin.”


Gil added: “Aussie rules and Rugby League were other sports that got some prominent action over the weekend.”


Interestingly, as traditional sports continue to fall victim to postponement, Gil explained how esports was gaining a lot of interest.


“Perhaps the first time ever an esports event just snuck into the top 10 of our weekend events. Natus Vincere – forZe in the Blast Pro Series Moscow, an event that has now gone online, left us close enough to even with all markets considered,” he noted.

Elsewhere, Betfred’s Peter Spencer explained to EGR Intel how punters are moving away from sports betting.

He said: “People are just moving to virtual racing and online lotto and bingo.”

Betfred’s Owen McMahon also told EGR Intel about one of the stories of the weekend coming out of Irish horseracing.

He said: “On Sunday, at Downpatrick, we saw the Gordon Elliott-trained Ballyadam show exactly why he was purchased for a whopping £330,000.

“He absolutely hacked up by a whopping 18 lengths, leading to jockey Jamie Codd saying the five-year-old might just be the best horse he’s ever ridden.”

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