Ever the optimist, I always check the maximum amount that a bookmaker is prepared to pay out in advance of placing my bets. The larger high-street firms usually have a limit of a million pounds, sometimes less – which strikes me as being a bit stingy. So it is rare to have a shot at a £4 million pay-out, which is the projected pot for this week’s totepool Scoop 6 bet.
The Tote offers a different style of betting from traditional bookmakers. It based on a pool system, similar to the sweepstake that you might have organised at work a few weeks ago for the Grand National. Everyone puts their pound (or pounds) into the pot and then the individuals who have been lucky enough to select the winner get to scoop the pool. In the case of the Tote, which is now owned by Betfred Bookmakers, a percentage of the pool is removed for administrative fees, promotions and bookmaker’s profits, prior to the winning dividend being calculated.
The Scoop 6 was devised by the Tote’s marketing whizz-kids with the aim of to rivalling the National Lottery on Saturdays. The objective is to find the winners of the six races designated for the bet each week, usually a mix of the six most difficult races to solve and the highest profile televised races scheduled from any of the tracks racing on Saturday. As well as winning a chare of the win-pool, any successful punters will also have the chance to win the bonus-pot the following Saturday – by identifying the winner of the most fiendish race of the day.
If no one is successful, both the win-pool and the bonus-pot will roll over from week to week – which is exactly what has been happening throughout the Spring. The win-pool this weekend is expected to reach £2.2 million, while the bonus-pot will reach £1.8 million. The minimum stake is £2, part of which is put into a place-pool – so there is also a consolation payment for anyone who identifies a placed horse in each of the six nominated races.
It is quite possible that the combined odds of the winning horses will be less than 4,000,000-1, so in addition to the novelty of targeting a massive pay-out, the Scoop 6 will offer serious value to professional punters this week too – and they are bound to swell the pool with yet more money.
Just in case you're interested, I think the winning six horses are: Saint Jerome (2.05 Sandown), Kenny Powers (2.20 Haydock), El Viento (2.50 Ripon), Sound Advice (3.25 Haydock), Chocala (3.30 Ripon), Rose of the Moon (3.50 Sandown).
I also think that Menorah will finally pick up a race in the Oaksey Chase at Sandown, Sire De Grugy will be a popular victor in the Celebration Chase and I might have a saver on Burton Port in the race that most racing fans still call the Whitbread Gold Cup.