Bookmaker Creativity Abounds Ahead of Winx’s Final Race

The barriers have been assigned and the final field size is nine for Saturday’s Group 1 ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.

If we were bookies, thankfully not, we would offer ludicrously short odds on the other eight alongside the $1.06 we see for Winx. Our hopes would be to lure some punters into backing something else, for one, and for two, in the event of some catastrophe that results in Winx not winning; the resultant dividends would not threaten our profits.

In the case of the first, luring the unsuspecting, perhaps by quoting He’s Eminent ($18) or Happy Clapper and Hartnell (both $21) at around $6, it would be money in the bag.

For the second scenario, if any of those three were somehow to pull off the improbable, paying out $600 beats the dickens out $1800 or $2100 that any of the above three would earn at their quoted prices.

Ladbrokes is paying homage to Winx by adding some markets that are beyond the usual. They were offering $2.50 for Winx to win the race, provided that the Houston Rockets James Harden scores more than 33 points in an upcoming game with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

That is true creativity, such as we will be very interested to see what they draw up next.

The NBA game is mostly a dead rubber. Both teams are qualified for finals. If those finals started today, these two teams would go against one another, but for a regular season game, there is little incentive for Houston to give Harden a heavy workload. Houston could conceivably move up from the third to the second seed, but it hardly matters, other than that their first finals opponent would be San Antonio rather than Houston.

Oklahoma cannot improve its position except to possibly catch Utah, but the Jazz would have to lose its final two games, with the Thunder winning its final two to gain a tie.

It will be Houston’s final regular season game and there is little incentive to risk Harden with the playoffs large on the horizon.