Racing: Saturday superbet launched by Tote

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The Independent Online
THE TOTE unveiled its long-awaited "Superbet" yesterday after having looked long and hard to come up with a product that will capture the imagination of the punting public. Whether they have succeeded will become clear on 24 July, the first day that the scoop6, offering a guaranteed pool of a quarter of a million pounds, is offered.

Despite having the support of the major bookmakers that offer a link- up to Tote pools through the Tote Direct service, the Tote chairman, Peter Jones, is realistic about the chances of the bet challenging the National Lottery.

"We are setting out our stall with scoop6 to be a regular, popular, interesting Saturday bet," Jones said. "It is not going to change the way British life goes on and it is not going to revolutionise the way racing is funded.

"Having said that, knowing the success of the current Jackpot and Placepot pools that we run, we do know from our background research, which has been extensive, that this, of all the kind of bets we could put together, is the one that will capture the imagination.

"Scoop6 will generate substantial pools and a regular supply of big winners. We are convinced from our research that the bet will create excitement in the betting shops and in homes around the country"

The bet will cover six televised races every Saturday and offer backers three chances to win for a minimum unit stake of pounds 2. The first leg will pay a win dividend, payable on selection of the winners of the six nominated TV races.

The second will be a place dividend, payable on the placed horses in the six races.

Finally, there will be a bonus dividend which will enable winners of the win dividend from the first leg to go forward to nominate the winner of a single bonus race the following week. If they pick the winner of that race they could win an additional six-figure sum live on television.

The competition will get underway on 24 July, the day of the King George and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. As well as the BBC's coverage of Ascot, televised racing takes place that day at Market Rasen and Newcastle on Channel Four.

It is expected that any winners of the first pool will be given the `pleasure' of trying to select the winner of Glorious Goodwood's Stewards' Cup for the bonus prize.

The first scoop6 races will be nominated by the Tote at noon the previous day. If any of the three pools are not won they will roll over to future Saturdays. The bet will replace the usual Saturday Jackpot at one meeting and will be available through all betting shops offering the Tote Direct service, at any racecourse, over the phone via Tote Credit and shortly over the internet via the Tote's service.

The field for tomorrow's Eclipse Stakes at Sandown was further diminished yesterday when Alborada was taken out out of the race.

The filly, who had been a 9-2 third favourite for the Group One contest over a mile and a quarter, has suffered a slight setback. She will now be aimed at the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood on 31 July, a race she won 12 months ago. Sir Mark Prescott, her trainer, said: "She has a cloudy scope. It's something that takes a few days to clear."

Godolphin kept punters guessing by saying no decision would be taken until today whether Daylami, ante-post favourite for the Eclipse, will in fact run tomorrow.

But Godolphin did confirm they were considering supplementing Fairy Queen, winner of the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot, for the Irish Oaks at the Curragh on Sunday week, at a cost of pounds 25,000. Simon Crisford, racing manager, said: "It's a race we would like to run her in and we are very happy with Fairy Queen. She has worked since Ascot and will work again next week."

Godolphin may have to look for a substitute jockey for Frankie Dettori, whose suspensions imposed last weekend by the Curragh stewards includes the date of the Oaks. But Dettori's appeal against the bans will be heard by the Irish Turf Club on Monday.