AK BETS – National Hunt is ramping up

Thursday 1st December 2022

Flat turns to Jumps

Do you prefer the Flat or Jumps? It’s the sort of question that reminds me of the Ed Byrne joke about a certain part of the female anatomy being compared to Pepsi or Coke – the punchline being we may state a preference but we’ll take whatever is on tap!

The transfer from one to the other – be it Jumps to Flat or Flat to Jumps – is usually welcome after 6 months solid but I think my preference is Jumps racing, both as a punter and a bookmaker.

Flat racing in the summer when the sun is out is a joy. But it’s becoming more and more 60-90 second races followed by a 35min wait for the next one and that’s a huge turnoff. In this age of instant gratification we need to be finding ways of reducing the standard 30min gaps not increasing them.

I prefer the jumps as a punter. There’s more nuance and reading between the lines even at the top level than there is on the flat and that suits me. As a bookmaker I prefer it as well mainly because I’ve 5mins to go to the toilet between races instead of 60 seconds!


From an AK Bets on-course perspective I wanted to give a big shout-out to Navan which is one of the tracks we really like attending.

On Sunday 13th November they hosted a cracking card to get the National Hunt juices flowing which included the always intriguing Lismullen Hurdle.

Bob Olinger v Zanahiyr v Flooring Porter v Ashdale Bob promised to be a belter and so it proved. With my bookmaker hat on Home By The Lee winning @ 28/1 SP (bigger on-course obviously!) topped it off also.

Then last Sunday (27th November) the track hosted their Troytown meeting. We touched lucky in the draw and got a Corporate pitch on our own in addition to our two pitches in the ring.

I cannot stress how much tracks should be utilising on-course bookmakers on their big days to service corporate clients.

The bookies love it.

The clients love it.

Everybody wins.

There isn’t anyone under the age of 80 who wants to bet solely on the Tote in these areas. Stick an on-course bookie into your Corporate area and we add to the experience ten-fold. Your corporate client wants to return the following year. The big Festival tracks like Galway, Listowel etc should take note.

On the flipside on-course bookies should be beating down the doors of racetracks explaining the benefits of this potential relationship. It’s a two-way street. Short-term thinking usually involves Seniority protection and getting as big a piece of the existing pie as each individual can. I’d prefer more long-term thinking to increase the size of the pie for everyone.


On the subject of tracks doing things right it’s only fair to give props to Dundalk. The track reportedly handed out 10,000 free tickets for their Friday 18th November fixture and got 3,500 through the door – a colossal increase on their usual numbers.

The track was absolutely rocking. The bars were packed. The betting ring was heaving. As a comparison our betting turnover was up nearly 300% on our average Friday numbers. All the attendees we spoke to had a great time and couldn’t believe the buzz in the place.

The lost revenue in not charging your 10-20 Euro to get in was more than offset by increased drink, food and craic consumption. And what’s more everyone a lot more likely to return in future because the experience was so positive.

I understand tracks not wanting to devalue their product and someone smarter than me can delve deeper into the elasticity of demand with this type of offer but this fixture worked and should be another string to the bow of tracks looking to increase attendances.


So much to look forward to. Fairyhouse over two days this weekend features Minella Crooner, Fan De Blues, Facile Vega and more on Saturday. There’s even more decent horses than you can shake a stick at on Sunday and this all results in another mouth-watering weekend for Irish racing.

We’re also looking forward to a trip to Tramore on the 6th followed by more meetings at Punchestown, Navan and Dundalk.

Then it’s Xmas @ Leopardstown. Our first year working the Festival.



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