Enable is rock solid at +300 with BetOnline to win an historic third Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on October 4, but the horse will not have a prep race at the York Ebor meeting this year.
Ante-post betting can be fraught with danger or can pay dividends when a horse prominent in the betting is withdrawn. Online bookmakers were not offering Non-Runner No Bet (NRNB) on the Yorkshire Oaks and Juddmonte International, so backers of Enable lost out.
Conversely, any bets on Love and Ghaiyyath in those two races with Enable still quoted are now excellent wagers at the current odds. Enable had been about +150 for each race, and that price represented around 40% of those markets.
When UK betting sites realised that Enable would not run at York, they had to readjust the markets in those two races to account for that 40%. The obvious move was to cut the odds for other horses prominent in the betting, and that mainly meant Love and Ghaiyyath.
There are always winners and losers when a horse is withdrawn before the day of a race. Any ante-post bets placed on Enable are losers, while those placed on Love and Ghaiyyath are settled at the odds of the time of the bets.
Bookmakers often throw NRNB into the mix for major races. The concession is most common for the championship races and then all events at the Cheltenham Festival. The offer appears during February ahead of Cheltenham, which takes place in the middle of March.
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The thinking behind the promotion is to encourage ante-post betting, but the downside for the bookmakers is the loss of a big part of the margin. Turnover on the Yorkshire Oaks and Juddmonte International does not justify refunding bets on a non-runner.
Enable ran in the Yorkshire Oaks in 2017 and 2019, winning both races. She won the Arc in 2017 but was second last year. The prep race for the Arc this time will be the September Stakes, which is a Group 3 race on the All Weather track at Kempton.
That race and the potential targets at York are like chalk and cheese. Love and Ghaiyyath are proven at the highest level and either race would be truly run and a demanding assignment for Enable. A potential upside is the six-week gap before the Arc.
The change of plan has not affected Enable’s position in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe betting market. However, online bookmakers have responded by cutting Love and Ghaiyyath to win their respective races at York. Enable will be long odds-on to win the September Stakes, but there is currently no ante-post betting.
Connections are singing from the same hymn sheet in explaining why Enable will bypass York. The reasoning is that the timing of the September Stakes fits in with the process of trying to become the first horse to win three Arcs.
The other potential explanation is that Enable is avoiding a hard day at York in Group 1 races. The horse is now six and could need the easier route to racing immortality. The end game is a third Arc, so the Yorkshire Oaks or Juddmonte International have been sacrificed.
That’s good news for ante-post backers of Love and Ghaiyyath, as long as they are not withdrawn. At the moment it’s unclear whether punters who backed Enable at +300 for the 2020 Arc are sitting pretty with some value in the bet.