The controversial decision of Racing Victoria stewards to award the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on Saturday to Araldo on protest has cost corporate bookmakers hundreds of thousands of dollars after they paid out on both Araldo and the relegated Sea Moon.
Highly-rated imported stayer Sea Moon caught Araldo and Gotta Take Care on the line to win the staying event in a photo finish but Glen Boss, on Araldo, lodged a protest alleging that his mount was impeded by Sea Moon who “laid all over him” in the final stages of the race.
Sea Moon’s jockey Brett Prebble argued that the Beat Hollow entire always had Araldo covered but Racing Victoria Chief Steward Terry Bailey ruled that Araldo had become unbalanced due to Sea Moon, which was enough to overturn the narrow margin.
“Where it gets interesting is five strides from the line and the stewards view is that (Araldo) gets off balance as a result of Sea Moon getting in,” Araldo said.
The decision was not only a major blow to the connections of Sea Moon but also to a number of corporate bookmakers, like Ladbrokes Australia, who paid out on both horses because of their Protest Payout promotion.
If a protest against the first horse to finish is upheld, Ladbrokes Australia pays out both the interim winner as well as the official winner – so punters who backed Sea Moon and Araldo were both paid out as if their horse won the race.
The result was particularly damaging to the bookmaker as both Sea Moon and Araldo were well backed in the lead-up to the race; with punters backing Araldo from $7 into $4.60.
Ladbrokes.com.au Bookmaker Operations Director Jason Scott said that the protest cost his company a sizable figure but saved punters all around Australia from some serious heartache.
“The protest payout was fantastic for punters who backed Sea Moon as they would have walked away with nothing if the promotion was not in place,” Scott said.
“It cost our book hundreds of thousands of dollars but we know that there isn’t a much worse feeling for punters than missing out on a winner because of an upheld protest.”
Ladbrokes offers protest payouts on all Australian thoroughbred and harness races.