I can't say I have placed an ante-post bet for a hell of a long time.
It was about twenty years back, a filly of Sir Michael Stoute's, probably before his knighthood! (He was made Knight Bachelor in 1998 for services to tourism in Barbados).
The same year I won a gonk from the traveling fair.
I'm almost embarrassed to talk about the horse. It will remain nameless because although she got to the 1991 1000 Guineas, backed to 9/1 (I think I got 20s) this daughter of Darshaan finished 7th, some seven lengths behind Shadayid, trained by John Dunlop, ridden by Willie Carson for Hamdan Al Maktoum.
The filly, I backed, was called Dartrey (see, I'm far too honest).
In truth, I was dazzled by her three-length victory on debut at two. She looked an ideal candidate to shine for (Sir) Stoute and Sheikh Mohammed. We live and learn.
For me, I don't feel confident anticipating a horse to win a race several months in advance. Obviously, an ante-post bet can be a few days to the race being run. But even before the final declarations, you are the mercy of someone's decision.
My brother, Tony, had much more luck with his ante-post bet when he backed Finsceal Beo to win the 1000 Guineas back in 2007. He bet about £500 at 7/2 or so because he was pretty sure Sander Camillo, trained by Jeremy Noseda, looked a weak link. It proved correct as she didn't get to the race and Finsceal Beo was seriously backed and won the 1000 Guineas priced 5/4f.
Anyway, that's me dusting down a couple of old betting slips from memory at least.
As you have probably gathered, I'm not keen on betting ante-post. The main reasons are common sense:
- Often betting on potential rather than proven form
- The fear of injury, regression or change of plans leading to a non-runner
- No idea of the going on the day
- Is there any good reason why the horse will be backed (they often drift out)
In this age of betting exchanges, at least gamblers have the option of bailing out or taking a few points profit if their horse is backed. In the days of betting with no opportunity to trade it really was a matter of do or die.
If there is any race I would bet ante-post it would be the English 1000 Guineas simply that there isn't likely to be too many surprises. However, you really are on a loser if an unraced three-year-old pops up as a major contender.
Do you bet ante-post and if so which races do you fancy your chance of winning?