As of today’s race meeting at Arlington in Port Elizabeth, the Pick Six will no longer include couplings, a move that will hopefully translate to an increase in the size of payouts for players of the exotic bet.
The Pick Six is the third of a tripod of exotic bets that includes the Place Accumulator and Jackpot and requires the selection of the winner of their respective races in six of the stipulated legs.
By dissolving the coupling rule, which meant that if a stable had more than one runner in a race only one of their representatives required selection but any of the stable’s runners could win for a bet to stay alive, the national tote, TAB, has made the reward higher but at a much higher cost it seems.
But to be fair, the rule does seem set to reward dedicated form studiers, who will now have their work cut out for them to find the possible lurkers in a field, and while the size of the outlay will go up, even when playing a percentage perm, many relish the change because the reward will be worth the risk.
On the other hand, it could lose the interest of the smaller punters who cannot afford to play bigger permutations but that’s a scenario that Robert Garner, general manager of publishing and betting promotion for Phumelela, doesn’t foresee. “This change presents a challenge to both the big and small punters. Both face identical scenario and it basically means that people will have to be more astute with their selections. It’s just going to force people to think more and test their skill and judgement,” he said yesterday.
Garner said the bet needed a change and the thinking is that the Pick Six will be akin to horseracing’s version of a lottery, albeit a more calculated version given that there are form lines that guide punters.
“Turnovers were stagnant and it wasn’t really meeting its objectives,” Garner said. “Horseracing does need a lottery type bet. The reality is that down the years, stable couplings and fractional betting blunted the bets aim and made it somewhat easier to catch.”
“The change will make it more difficult to win but the payouts will be substantially bigger and it will re-energise the bet.”