The mystery of the biggest plonk on the dogs in ages appears to have been solved, thanks to some super sleuthing by TAB racing manager Michael Dore.
Punters, commentators and even the trainer of Homebush Edith couldn't believe it when suddenly her price plummeted from $27 to win to only $4 just before the running of Friday night's Dash For Cash at Whanganui.
Champion trainer John McInerney said his son John alerted him to the plunge, declaring "something was going on", given none of them backed the greyhound, who had been only battling away, winning just once in her previous 18 starts.
TAB bookies, who also noticed the price plummet, wondered if the bet had been placed by mistake, and watched the tote expecting it to be cancelled as a "bad sale." But Homebush Edith jumped 1-8 in the betting - win favourite but rank outsider in the place pool - and, incredibly, led throughout to get home by a head.
Bookie Steve Richardson suspected the bet might have been meant for hot favourite Smolda, who was at $1.80 in the next race at the Auckland trots in 15 minutes, with the same tote number three.
But yesterday, as Dore examined betting figures on the races, he discovered a much more plausible explanation.
Turnover figures showed the bet was not placed in New Zealand - just $220 of the $6099 invested on the race here was on Homebush Edith. But A$6255 of the A$25,589 wagered on the race in the co-mingled pool in Australia was on the winner. McInerney, who trains for many Australian owners, said he had not tipped Homebush Edith to anyone - he races the dog himself.
No, the answer lies in a race at the Gold Coast trots, which was programmed for exactly the same time as the Whanganui race.
The winner of that, Lucky Voodoo, the red-hot favourite who won and paid $2.10, was also TAB number three.
The lucky punter's stray bet saw him collect a $4.20 win dividend off Homebush Edith instead.
That's the theory anyway.
- Sunday Star Times