Profitables drifters

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According to Betfair, backing horses that drift in the market is more profitable than backing those whose odds shorten.

In the latest attempt to counteract allegations that betting exchanges pose a threat to racing\’s integrity, Betfair analyzed six months of data concluding: “The analysis from every runner in 1,864 races over the summer and autumn of 2004 shows categorically that punters who bet on horses that drift in the betting in the final five minutes do better than those who bet on horses that shorten in the market.”

A “drifter” is a horse whose price moves out by more than 20 per cent during the final five minutes before the official start time of the race, and a “shortener” is a horse for whom the reverse is true.

“These results, using a large volume of data, completely contradict the stated view of those who use anecdotal evidence to project the idea that the biggest drifters in the betting market are prepared to lose.”

“Detractors of exchanges are keen to highlight horses that drift and lose but conveniently forget those that drift and win. This analysis serves as a timely reminder that there are many reasons why horses drift in the market. It proves beyond doubt that the view that a drift in price indicates some form of skulduggery is not only a lazy and incorrect assumption, but a potentially expensive one.”

“The reality is that drifting horses do not drift on the basis of either nefarious activity or inside information; they drift because market forces dictate the price and, as financial markets show, market forces can get it wrong as often as they get it right.”