A Nature Strip win for the World Pool

The dominant win on Tuesday by the Chris Waller trained Nature Strip in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over 1000m at the Royal Ascot meeting was also reflected in the wagering by Australian’s on their champion sprinter with the World Pool on the Ascot meeting delivering a return for punters they would not normally have received for a Nature Strip masterclass back home in Australia.

NATURE STRIP winning the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in England.
NATURE STRIP winning the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot in England. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Not surprisingly Nature Strip accounted for some 60% of the S-TAB Win pool which would usually mean a payout of around $1.50 with that size of Win tote investment. However, due to the huge international liquidity created by the World Pool the return to punters normalises .

As a consequence Nature Strip  paid $3.25 on S-TAB and the World Pool, matching the fixed odds payout of $3.20 and international bookmakers paying between $3.30 and $3.25, with the ability for punters to wager what amounts they wanted to without being cut back by the wagering operator.

This does come with an important caveat for Australian punters outside of the ability to wager with S-TAB. 

NSW and Queensland punters, for example, are not in a position to receive the advantage of the World Pool payout levels with the NSW TAB and U-TAB pools not co-mingling into the World Pool. It is hoped that regulatory approval will allow the U-TAB pool to be integrated into the World Pool next season, however, in the meantime NSW and Queensland punters missed Nature Strip's world class wagering performance on the payout receiving $2.30 and $2.20 respectively.

The deep international liquidity, the turnover from the World Pool bet-types for the King's Stand Stakes Day on Tuesday was HK$295.6m, approximately A$51.8 million, has to be the greatest tool that racing on a world-wide basis has to combat the scourge of illegal and black market wagering, bookmakers and exchanges. All of those operations pay nothing to the industry to stage racing on a global basis.

The World Pool not only increases returns to racing jurisdictions who participate, it allows such depth to the pools that punters can not only place as much investment as they want, they know that investment will not materially shift the payout. Punters also have the vital ability to receive their payment without the blocked pathways prevalent with off-market and illegal operators. Horror stories are common place for punters wanting to retrieve their winnings from the black market.

In the meantime NSW punters in particular miss out and the NSW racing industry, remarkably, forgoes lost potential additional wagering revenue. The NSW racing industry needed to give the required approvals to bring the NSW TAB into World Pool well before this Royal Ascot meeting to seize the opportunity knowing that NSW's champion trainer was taking Nature Strip to the meeting. A lost strategic decision for both this meeting and all the future World Cup meetings.

After Nature Strip's victory, which surely sees him crowned the world's leading turf sprinter with the LONGINES World's Best Racehorse Rankings this year, the Hong Kong Jockey Club's CEO Winifred Engelbrecht-Bresges commented on the World Pool on the Royal Ascot meeting.

"The liquidity created by the global pool is remarkable, providing greater odds certainty and better value," he said.

Engelbrecht-Bresges made the point about punters who were able to participate on a global basis through pools that went into the World Pool and those who were not able to participate.

"Based on the Nature Strip example, it is clear the size of the World Pool, with customers taking betting from several different countries, nullifies parochialism to deliver a better return for all customers," he said.

The World Pool added two more bet types this year, Forecast and Treble to join Win, Place, Quinella, Quinella Place and Tierce. The base of this suite of bet types will also be assisting in driving increased pools as will the experience of punters who see their increased payouts and who consequently re-invest.

There are some 20 World Pool meeting a year now and it is understood that the Hong Kong Jockey Club is hoping to add an Australian meeting to the World Pool roster in the coming season. It can be assumed that this will be a Victorian meeting considering S-TAB co-mingles into the World Pool and a meeting during the Melbourne Cup Carnival week with its generally large carnival field sizes and massive stakes would be a glossal global attraction. The earn for Victoria would be correspondingly large as well.

Moving forward, after the blockbuster Royal Ascot week the next World Pool returns to Ascot for the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day on July 24th.

Last year the turnover for this meeting was HK$130.8m, approximately A$23m, and with the current wagering trend into the global pool there will be a likely turnover increase for 2022. Every racing administrator around the world not participating into the World Pool must surely be doing the sums working out what their jurisdiction is missing out on.

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