TAB's new betting option guarantees $1m jackpot

BARRY LICHTER
Last updated 05:01 22/12/2013

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Punters have been waiting a long time for a life-changing bet type but the TAB will finally deliver when it launches the Triple Trio in four weeks with a guaranteed $1 million pot.

The Wellington Racing Club's January 18 and 25 premier days will mark the start of the hugely popular Hong Kong bet, and spell the death knell of the Saturday Pick6.

The bet, which challenges punters to select the first three horses home in any order in three consecutive races, can jackpot to massive amounts, a HK$48 million pot being won in gambling-mad Hong Kong last year.

And, while the pools won't grow as high here, TAB officials are still hoping to see collects in the millions, with only one roughie needed to torpedo most tickets.

Only 21 Pick6 pools have reached $1 million since the six-race jackpot began in 1989 but TAB racing manager Michael Dore is hoping the Triple Trio will prove popular enough that $1 million pots can be guaranteed every Saturday.

"We have a pool of money set aside so we can guarantee the initial ones, on Telegraph Handicap day and Wellington Cup day, and hopefully they'll keep rolling with partial jackpots," Dore said.

While Pick6 punters have not been able to win concession dividends for years, 15 per cent of the Triple Trio pot each week will be paid out to those who correctly pick the first three home in the first two legs.

Punters will be able to take full units or percentage bets down to as little as 5 per cent, Dore believing ma-and-pa punters will relish a chance to win big with little outlay.

For example, boxing five runners in each leg for a 5 per cent unit would cost only $50, a reasonable spend with $50,000 in the offing.

By taking one or two bankers in a leg, the cost can also be trimmed, and Dore believes this will be a popular tactic, with statistics showing 60 per cent of favourites run in the money at the gallops.

The TAB will provide calculation charts so punters won't be bamboozled by the cost of their combinations.

But for those who prefer to take a lucky dip, as in Lotto, and let the computer do the work, TT easybets will be available.

Punters just have to tick a couple of boxes selecting $20, $16 and $8 options for full units to "win the lot" or choose 10 per cent units for values of $25, $10 and $5 where far more combinations can be covered.

The TT races will be the last three on the day's premier card, and pre-selling will start on Thursdays, with the TAB hoping to attract workers who are closer to TABs on Thursdays and Fridays.

Dore said it was logical to can the Saturday Pick6 which had pools already being cannibalised by quaddies and struggling to get to high levels.

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"Clearly punters feel a lot more confident tackling a quaddie rather then Pick6, especially with some pools having reached $50,000 to $100,000." Dore said.

"And we can't have the two pools (Pick6 and Triple Trio) fighting each other."

Dore said the success of the Triple Trio would rest with the dream of winning a million dollars.

It didn't matter much what the bet type was, it was the $1 million drawcard that would attract novice punters.

In Hong Kong huge betting syndicates chase the Triple Trio pots every week, and some of the celebrated payouts include HK$47,872 for a basic $10 unit in 2012 and HK$36 million in 2005.

In 2001, a massive HK$118 million dividend at Happy Valley went unclaimed when the ticket-holder did not claim the pot within 60 days.

Dore said it had been hoped Kiwi punters would be able to bet into Hong Kong's huge win, place and quinella pools through commingling this month but legal "ping pong" continued between Tabcorp and Hong Kong.

Further down the track, in 18 months to two years, the goal was to bet into Hong Kong's Triple Trio pools.

A succession of TAB chiefs over the past three decades have promised a new long-odds bets type, but apart from a brief flirtation with the "superfecta" in 1994, which evolved into the now defunct SixPack, they have failed to deliver.

In 1995 an opportunity to run with a Lotto-style game called Race-O, backed and promoted by champion trainer Dave O'Sullivan, leading breeder Sir Patrick Hogan and owner Berri Schroeder, met continual brick walls and was eventually vetoed for good in 1998.

- Sunday Star Times

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