Saturday, 30 April 2016

Business insurance based on sporting results

Last year during the Rugby World Cup, a few people with little understanding of modern business practices were surprised to learn that nations such as Australia had 'bet' on their success by way of sports insurance firms. This is very common in professional sport with virtually every athlete having some type of performance bonus in their contract. Win a tournament, break into the top 10, qualify for the Champions League etc. - sometimes they are personal bonuses, other times they are major windfalls for the club. Imagine how much Chelsea money will 'lose', or more correctly, not receive, from not qualifying for Europe this season. Accountants run businesses these days, and they hate volatility. Just look at bookmakers moaning about results. The actual bookmakers understand this is part and parcel of the betting industry, but the bean counters and shareholders despise them.

This not only affects players and clubs, but sponsors and businesses linked to the sport. Danny Willett's sponsors would have received great exposure out of his recent Masters win, but it's highly likely they had to stump up a big wad of cash to the player as well, as part of a performance-loaded contract. One contract bonus deal which did hit the headlines was Lance Armstrong vs. SCA Promotions. Armstrong's contract was loaded with bonuses if he won the Tour de France, and his team had to insure the bonuses, as per his contract. The insurance firm refused to pay out, citing evidence that Armstrong had doped. Armstrong took SCA to court and won, the first time around. Once Armstrong was exposed for being a serial cheat by USADA, SCA returned fire and got their money back. They are several of these sports insurance firms around, but unless you are involved in the trade, it's unlikely you'd have heard of them. You will have heard of Wimbledon having rain insurance during The Championships, and retailers such as Curry's paying bonuses to customers depending on the success of England at the World Cup. These are sports insurance deals; it's nothing new but it is starting to have wider ramifications in the business community.

Imagine you own a pub this summer and most of your business is during live sport, particularly football. How much do you think your revenue would differ for the month of the tournament between England making the final and England bombing out in the group stage? It'd be a massive variance and you'd have already committed to the overheads - TV and sound upgrades, decorations, promotions etc., before considering the staff costs, which you might be able to minimise.

Siepe Sports allows businesses to insure their event-based trade against poor performance, and thus loss of revenue, by paying a premium.

From Inapub magazine, April edition, p46.



Don't be caught out by circumstances you can't control, insure your business against poor England sporting performances and keep your accountant happy!

For information, the founder of Siepe Sports is a close friend of the author and no sponsorship benefits have been received in return for this post

Friday, 1 April 2016

Florida Derby preview

The Kentucky Derby is just over a month away so it's warming up quickly for America's biggest race. One of the key lead-up races is the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, and taking on the preview is regular contributor and US racing aficionado, Jon da Silva, @creamontop.

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Florida Derby
Grade 1, 1m 1/16 (~1700m)
US$1,000,000
1848 local 2348 BST


Free Brisnet form sheet

This race is set up like two champions v eight of what Mike Tyson would call Tomato [Tom-may-toe] Cans - the eight to be called "The Cans" henceforth. This is D-Day for Mohayman facing an opponent who will likely stand up to him in 'Drug' O'Neil's Breeders Cup Juvenile winner Nyquist. Tyson of course folded the first time someone threw back and gave up and bit ears when faced by superior talent. Will Mohayman spit the bit? Mohayman will likely go very short for the Kentucky Derby if he wins.

Don't think this is a two horse race? Well here are Friday's UK prices and remember these are with EW 1,2,3 curtailing the odds of The Cans.

Mohaymen (8/11), Nyquist (13/8), Fellowship (16), Takeittotheedge (20), Majesto (33), Sawyers Mickey (66), Chovanes (100), Fashionable Freddy (100), Isofass (100), Copingaway (200)

Kentucky Derby odds show how big this Grade 1 trial is Mohaymen (5), Nyquist (12), Danzing Candy (16), Mor Spirit (16), Cupid (25), Destin (25), Gun Runner (25), Zulu (28), Exaggerator (33), Lani (33), Mo Tom (33), Shagaf (33),

Brisnet and Timeform differ on pace. I had expected something like Brisnet Nyquist E/P8 Mohayman E/P4 i.e. Nyquist is early speed and faster than Mohayman. The three Cans drawn inside have no speed/toe. Nyquist is in 4 and according to Timeform will have the lead with a Can on his outside and Mohayman rating in third. The four Cans outside Nyquist all show as E5 or E6 Brisnet and Mohayman is an E/P7 (can lead or press) drawn 9. So could be some traffic for Mohayman. Even with Brisnet it's easy to see Nyquist grab rail and the best trip. This can also seem an advantage at Gulfstream - I am agnostic on Golden Highways myself i.e. tracks set up so whoever leads almost always wins.

Nyquist also has the most solid form coming in as one would I guess expect from the top 2 year old. The rub is it's at a mile and 1/16 not a mile and an 1/8. Not sure a Euro punter would care that much but the Septics do. Nyquist does not have to lead and was eighth at the first call in Breeders Cup Juvenile and sixth at the second call.

The most interesting Can and one Timeform US have running second in the pacemap is the once raced Takeittotheedge trained by Dale Romans whose epic, and now denied, rant on US racing and begging Hong Kong for a job last week is worth looking up.

Should A Can open a can of worms and win expect mayhem in the Kentucky Derby betting markets.

Conclusion

I've been less impressed by Mohayman than most *** VI Alert ***. His Beyer/Timeform US numbers are the same/similar to Nyquist. Nyquist also ships from the other coast. Nonetheless Nyquist has shipped and won before and is the more proven and chance he gets the run of the race and is more than 11/8 puts me in his camp.

1st Nyquist
2nd Mohayman
3rd Takeittotheedge
4th A Can

Bet - Nyquist at 11/8 or more

Doncaster preview

Sydney's big day of racing is no longer Golden Slipper day, it's the opening day of The Championships, featuring the Derby, the Sires Produce, the TJ Smith and the Doncaster for a combined $8.5 million, which was supposed to draw quality thoroughbreds from across the globe. But how many have they managed to bring to Sydney this year I hear you say? Sweet FA. Actually, one came from Japan and will go home without having a run. So basically they're spending $4m more than required to get exactly the same horses. Still, it all looks great on your ego-trip press releases doesn't it Mr V'Landys?

The Doncaster Handicap is one of those great races which traditionally pits the WFA stars against the rising handicappers who might just get their chance with a decent spread of the weights. But will any of them get a chance today against the freak that is Winx? A rare return to previewing from me, a great race in store so I had to give it a crack...

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Star Doncaster Mile
AUD3,000,000
Group 1, 1600m
1710 local, 0710 BST


Kermadec - star of last autumn who perhaps didn't live up to the hype in the spring. Two runs back this time in have been strong, being beaten only a length and a half by Winx in the George Ryder suggests he is near his top, although he did have the softer run. Meets the star mare 1.5kg better for that run, and won this race last year, carrying 51kg and drawn 16. Right in this and Waller has been making a habit of sweeping the placings in Sydney features of late.

Turn Me Loose - largely written off on the basis of his George Ryder failure. It didn't look great but his Victorian wins in the Seymour Cup, Crystal Mile, Emirates Stakes and Futurity weren't flukes - he is right up to this class. One theory for the Ryder flop was the pace he set. Normally he likes to bowl along in front, but in the small, elite field, Opie Bosson elected to take hold and 'save' energy for a sprint at the top of the straight which he didn't have. If you've ever listened to Vince Accardi or Ralph Horowitz discussing race shape, the 'sit-sprint' tactic is mostly a myth for leaders, most of them like to bowl along and keep on going. Holding them back just sets it up for the opposition. Bigger field, better tempo, a better chance to get all the horses in behind off the bit and struggling on the turn. Chance at big odds.

Winx - superstar mare with eight pickets in the fence, and beating the boys in most of them. She just wins so effortlessly it reminds me of Treve at her peak. Such a high cruising speed. Incredible that she touched even money last start at set weights. Can you find any negative for her? She will be the shortest-priced Doncaster favourite in a long, long time and this is a race which doesn't mind the odd bolter. Waller has set her to back up next week in the Queen Elizabeth, something she hasn't done before. I'd rather have taken even money last week than here, but she looks incredibly hard to beat.

Stratum Star - decent handicap/G2 horse from Melbourne, ideally suited at 1400-1600m. Drawn for the perfect run (providing the rail isn't off) but needs more than 1.5kg from Winx to get close here.

Bow Creek - money muncher. Will buy more BMWs for bookmakers than for punters. Always slowly away, then tries to weave through traffic and always looks unlucky. Can't have him.

First Seal - right up there with the next best of the mares. Did a bit of work last time in the Ryder but was entitled to finish closer. Had beaten Winx four times in a row before that. Meets her 3.5kg better for that and should get a cosy run from the inside gate. Blinkers first time and won't be disappointed if the track stays soft.

Volkstok'n'barrell - star Kiwi 4yo who has apparently put on plenty of muscle since the spring. Victorious in his last two starts at WFA and now drops 6.5kg at a distance at which he has a 75% win rate. Corey Brown has flown in from Singapore for the ride, don't rule him out.

Good Project - won the weakest G1 mile race in Australia in the spring (the Railway Stakes) off the minimum weight with a ridiculously easy run in the front. Is 2kg above the limit here, and while that's a drop of 5.5kg from last run when stumbled at the start and pulled up lame, it's still a huge ask to be competitive here. Minor placings at best.

Ecuador - ran second to Winx in the Epsom, but hasn't run a place in four runs since. Drawn wide but likes to go forward. Big chance of being stuck wide without cover. No hope.

Happy Clapper - won the Villiers here in December in a field of 20. Two runs since have been in G1s preparing for this. Meets Winx 8kg better for being beaten five lengths, about as far behind as he was at the 600. But Winx had plenty up her sleeve and this gelded son of Teofilo was flat out. Brendan Avdulla obviously rates him highly, shedding 5kg to ride this light. Weight relief from last run obviously helps but class is the concern.

Azkadellia - star Victorian mare who just doesn't know how to run a bad race. Just beaten by Peeping in the Coolmore Classic, will be better suited to the wide open spaces of Randwick. Gets the services of 'Group 1' Glen Boss down on the limit. Right in this.

He Or She - won the Blamey at Flemington with a perfectly set-up race (suicidal pace). Query as to whether he's up to G1, but has a 50% strike rate, is weighted on the limit and did get within 2.5l of Turn Me Loose in the Emirates Stakes (meets him 3kg better here). Not for me but will have supporters.

Rudy - fourth in last year's Doncaster, winner of the Villiers Handicap here in 2014 and has the gun Queensland jockey Tegan Harrison aboard for her first ride at Randwick. Needs it very wet to be any chance.

Aomen - typical Anthony Cummings horse placed miles out of his depth.

Vergara - slightly better chance than her stablemate listed just above, as recognised by the market - 150/1 rather than 250/1!

ANALYSIS
The mighty mare just wins doesn't she? I've heard some say this is the best Doncaster they've seen - I don't see how it can earn that mantle. You've got one superstar and a bare handful of others who should genuinely run at WFA. The mare is bulletproof, I struggle to see a scenario where she doesn't win, although that doesn't equate to the price being something to unload on, particularly on a drying track. I'd need to see it playing fair before I'd be taking evens, if it was on offer.

Expect a big improvement from Turn Me Loose when he's allowed to roll along in front.

Winx
Turn Me Loose
Azkadellia
Volkstok'n'Barrell

BET
Turn Me Loose 1x5 (five times more on the place)