I was talking to a bloke from Tabcorp this morning and he was telling me a story about the strangest thing that he’s ever seen in 10 years of following the markets and odds on harness racing in his role as a fixed offs trader, and gee it’s an interesting tale, particularly when you match it up with the video replay of the particular event that still to this day he talks about with a sense of amazement.
The event in question was a plunge on the trots, a real big one too, and it seems to have sneaked under everyone’s radar except his, and now mine and in a minute or two yours too.
Let me tell you all about it.
It was Saturday the 13th of June 2015, the night of the Clip Clop Kevin and Kay Seymour sponsored Seymour Rising Stars Championship C1 final, although to be brutally honest there wasn’t a single star to be seen in that particular $20 000 race. This wee tale of treachery’s not about that race though, it is about Race 8, the Southern Queensland Plumbing Conditioned Q1 Pace.
The stars of this show are my old school anti-mate Dead ‘Ned/Jed’ Shannon, his stable trainer and driver ‘Dazzling’ Daryl Graham, the currently suspended race cheat and second string Shannon stable driver Adam Sanderson, and the bloke who just on keeps on popping up on the fringes of every single hot race we ever find, none other than Queensland’s leading trainer/driver Grant Dixon.
Dixon’s driving the favorite in the race in question, a $1.40 shot drawn the 1 barrier named Supreme Mach, which is now retired but at the time was owned by guess who? Yep, Clip Clop.
The horse drawn on his back is the second favorite Broadway Playboy, a $4.50 shot trained and driven by Dazzling Daryl and owned by the Melbourne-based McLean family who made (and continue to make) their fortune from bathrooms and shower screens.
Jed/Ned Shannon owns the $10.80 pop Major Sam. It’s drawn the three and is trained by Dazzling Daryl and driven by the proven race cheat Sanderson, and it’s the lead actor in this play, although all three horses are of strong interest to fans of the crime movie genre as they are all in it up to their necks and beyond.
The only other horse of interest is the one drawn the 7 How Will I Know who’s a $33 dollar outsider driven by veteran trainer/driver Peter Greig. This one’s definitely not in what is without doubt the fix, as events will show, but becomes an unwitting player late in the straight when it scoots up the sprint lane, or tries to anyway.
Now to the casual observer there’s absolutely nothing happening in the betting on this race. Supreme Mach has stifled the market and a scan across all the corporate bookies using the records from Dynamic Odds shows that there has been no real money for any horse to beat the favorite and it looks like your average race late on a Saturday night at the Creek with nothing in the betting pools.
Or it does until you look at the fixed odds market on the NSW TAB, because something is happening there alright, something so very strange that it led the market-framing bloke I was talking to this morning to describe it as the oddest thing he has ever seen in a decade in the game.
In the space of seconds Major Sam is smashed in the betting on the NSW TAB and firms from $21 into $4.80 in that operator’s fixed odds market. It then automatically firms in all the other corporate’s markets too, but there’s no money for it there, the computer programs are just auto set to detect market movements across the spectrum and so the others are simply following the NSW money in.
That NSW money is enormous. In the modern age horses simply do not firm from 20’s into 15/4 my bloke tells me, never ever no matter how much money is placed on them because the NSW TAB has fixed odds traders who will spot the cash coming in and hold up approval of the bets while he or she tightens the odds and firms the price of the horse in with each bet they approve.
Unless a sharpie beats them to the punch and plays them at their own game that is.
A sharpie who knows corporate bookmaking operations and procedures like the back of his fat, hairy, speckled freckled hand.
A sharpie who knows that there’s a way to get around the usual procedures.
A sharpie who knows that late on a Saturday night after a busy day’s punting the traders are tired and watching the clock waiting to go home, and are thus likely to be a bit slower to react when a well-organised sting hits his company like an 8 wheeled semi-trailer traveling at 160km an hour.
A sharpie who knows that a fixed price wager of $1000 or less on a race will go through without challenge, and that the trader will only adjust the bet after it’s on.
A sharpie who knows that if the bet is a multi placed for example as a double into a $1.01 shot in a basketball or footy game then he can $2000 on without challenge from the trader.
A sharpie who has worked out that if he has a team of agents working for him who synchronise their watches and hit TAB’s all over NSW all at once at precisely the same time with thousand dollar single fixed price bets or two thousand dollar multi bets placed in cash they will all get on before the trader notices, and the TAB will be caught with their pants down and be left wide open and exposed.
The sharpies names was Dean Ned/Jed Shannon, at the time the CEO of rival operator Ladbrokes, and what I have described above is exactly what he and his team of nondescript blokes and women sitting quietly in pubs and clubs across NSW did at exactly 8.29pm that seemingly ordinary Saturday evening when as one they suddenly rose from their bar stools, walked over to the TAB terminal, checked their watches and then all at the same time went BANG! and threw their pre-marked tickets on the $21 shot Major Sam.
It was sting for the ages, up there with some of the great plunges of years of yore. My bloke reckons that to make the market move like it did it one fell swoop they must have thrown at least $20 grand on Major Sam, which means at odds of $21 they were set to win $400 grand, more cash than had been invested across all of the pools in all of the races held at Albion Park on the wintery Saturday night.
No one outside of Tabcorp even noticed.
The Albion Park stewards had no idea, and still don’t, not until now anyway. If they had known about the massive plunge it’s London to a Brick on that things would have turned out very, very different for the actors in the play, as you will all soon see.
All Major Sam had to now was win.
But he was a 20-1 shot up against a 5-2 on favorite drawn the pole, with a 7-2 second favorite drawn on its back.
How the hell was it going to win the race?
Watch and learn sportsfans, watch and learn.
To be continued ………….
Dean Shannon aged 14, back in the days when he was still called Dean Air