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Daytona trading report 2013

No ego-stroking screenshot this year but it was a good result again, winning just under £100. The continued coverage on Premier Sports in the UK is a concern - matched volume on Betfair of just under £4k makes it hard work to get a serious win out of it. Had lays matched on 22 of 26 selections, and my lays + the corresponding backs made up just under 30% of the matched volume. Heaviest risk I had at any stage was 70 or 80 quid I think, and only ever briefly as I kept laying others.

I don't have the time or concentration to trade for bigger stakes these days, and I didn't even get to see any of the race until the final 40-odd laps. But I'd offered prices during the week, kept putting them up during the race, with more than enough margin to cover me if anything happened. NASCAR racing, and particularly the restrictor plate racing of Daytona means that it's impossible to have an odds-on shot before the last couple of laps. Restrictor plates are a limitation on the top speed of the vehicles - 350+ km/h along the big straights and cars could take off with a bit of a bump. Highly dangerous and thus, they are limited in the top speeds they can reach. This means it's pack racing from start to finish, no stringing the field out like Brown's cows, plus the likelihood of accidents means any gaps where a few fall off the pace soon get closed. With six laps to go at the final restart, there were 25 cars on the lead lap.

And that's when it gets interesting. Teams desperately trying to do deals with other teams as they try to shunt drivers through the pack to the front. Initially they might start as two or three-car teams, but attrition usually leaves them needing help at the end. Danica Patrick sat third at the final restart but tapered off back to tenth - not sure if she missed out on a deal. I doubt that'd be a sexist thing if that were true, more likely the other teams had their usual relationships to rely on. Patrick looked to be going well on the back of Greg Biffle but I think once he'd pushed his man to the front, he eased off/lost the slipstream himself and that hindered Patrick. Jimmie Johnson drove the perfect race, stayed out of trouble, remained within touch the whole way, then made his move towards the end and managed to hold the lead when it mattered. Popular guy and the best of the current crop, but that's only the third time in the last six years a driver who would have started under 40/1 in a competitive Betfair market (not the extortionate high-juice Vegas markets) had taken the chequered flag. And that's why it's such a great event to trade...

Back to the laying strategy: spread the risk, add plenty of margin, and keep on laying. The more green you build on other runners, the more you should keep laying, just keep reducing the new risk amounts on those you have already laid (eg new line of lays with payout of £60, cut it in half for all those you've laid already, and reduce those prices to below what you laid last time). You'll lay the bigger names, just make sure you make the punter pay for it - keep cutting the price. Example, I think I laid Jeff Gordon, one of the biggest names in the sport at 14, then 12, then 9, all pre-race, and for no more than a few quid each time. If you are the one making the market, then you just have to offer small bets at a reasonably fair price, not a market at 105% risking £500 at a time. There are no big players in this market or if there are, it will be very hard to balance up their action, so why entertain it? If you're not forced to put up best price, then why do you have to? If you run the only shop in a village, you don't have to compete with Tesco 20 miles away... Especially in less popular motor racing events, fans of the sport don't tend to be wise punters (F1 and MotoGP have a big following in relative terms).

Keep adjusting prices during the race. If you didn't know the sport, then take note of the pre-race market, where they start on the grid, and then monitor race position. Shorten the price a little if their position has improved, wind it out a little if they've gone backwards. As there's no chance of an odds-on favourite, or even someone under 5/1 in the first 100 laps, you don't have to worry about being snipped if there's a big crash you haven't seen or haven't been able to react to in time. You might compare this to major tournaments in senior or women's golf (although Yani Tseng can go around a bit short at the LPGA majors these days).

Be patient, earn the rewards. Choose your markets wisely. On this one, you are very unlikely to be caught by shrewdies and there's very little competition for layers. This year there wasn't a mad two-lap dash to the finish (green-white-chequered, if there's a late incident, they'll always make them race for the last two laps rather than finish under a yellow flag) which in the past has seen a few guys matched odds-on, so the cherry on top wasn't there, but the book was healthy enough by that stage :). Type 'daytona' into the blog search facility down the right hand side if you want to see previous years' results or wisdom.

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