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Betfair: backing drifters proves more profitable.

Byline: DAVID ASHFORTH

BACKING horses who drift in the market is more profitable than backing those whose odds shorten, according to Betfair.

The betting exchange's claim represents the latest ingredient in Betfair's attempt to counteract allegations that exchanges pose a threat to racing's integrity, with non-triers allegedly being laid on the exchanges, where their price drifts before the horse involved loses.

On the basis of an analysis of six months' data, from the second half of 2004, Betfair said: ``The evidence of nearly 2,000 races and 20,000 horses shows that more money would have been made backing drifters than back-ing horses that shortened.'' Defining a `drifter' as a horse whose price moved out by more than 20 per cent during the final five minutes before the official start time of each race, and a `shortener' as a horse for whom the reverse was true, Betfair claimed: ``The analysis from every runner in 1,864 races over the summer and autumn of 2004 shows categorically that punters who bet on horses that drift in the betting in the final five minutes do better than those who bet on horses that shorten in the market.''

A pounds 1 level-stake bet immediately before the start of each race produced a loss of pounds 345 on shorteners but a profit of pounds 570 from backing drifters.

A Betfair statement added: ``These results completely contradict the stat-ed view of those who use anecdotal evidence to project the idea that the biggest drifters in the betting market are `prepared to lose', and thus represent bad value bets for punters.

``Detractors of exchanges are keen to highlight horses that drift and lose but conveniently forget those that drift and win. This analysis serves as a timely reminder that there are many reasons why horses drift in the market.

``It proves that the view that a drift in price indicates some form of skulduggery is a lazy and incorrect one.

``Drifting horses do not drift on the basis of either nefarious activity or inside information; they drift because market forces dictate the price and, as financial markets show, market forces can get it wrong.''
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Mar 4, 2005
Words:358
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