Betfair Exchange: Spring Carnival Review

Plenty of great racing is still to come in 2020 but with Melbourne Cup Week behind us, we thought now would be a good time to share some key wagering insights and Exchange information from the Spring Carnival.

This will cover the larger Spring Carnival as a whole, along with some more information about how we’re improving our markets with our Exchange Health metric.

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Key YOY Exchange Stats

All growth stats below are YOY.

Manikato Stakes

23.19% growth in actives during the Manikato meeting
$9.3 million in turnover, 57.11% growth
$1.8 million on the Manikato Stakes Race, 6.53% growth

Cox Plate

24.44% growth in actives during the Cox Plate meeting
$16.6 million in turnover, 36.8% growth
$4.1 million on the Cox Plate Race, 53.6% growth

Derby Day

18.17% growth in actives during the Derby Day meeting
$18.7 million in turnover, 30.1% growth
$3.2 million on the Derby Race, 17.3% growth

Melbourne Cup

17.95% growth in actives during the Melbourne Cup meeting
$22.3 million in turnover, 4.51% growth
$8.9 million on the Melbourne Cup Race, 13.5% growth

Oaks Day

12.25% growth in actives during the Oaks meeting
$11.9 million in turnover, -17.5% growth*
$2.56 million on the Oaks Race, 2.8% growth

Mackinnon Stakes Day

26.1% growth in actives during the Stakes meeting
$15.1 million in turnover, 7.9% growth
$2.3 million on the Mackinnon Stakes Race, 14.7% growth

*A reason for the negative numbers YoY for the Oaks comes from a change in the fixture for Race 7. Last year’s meeting offered a Listed 3yo race which featured Russian Camelot ($2.65) up against Pancho ($2.90) which saw a lot of market interest. Two short-priced favourites in this race also had a significant effect on Volume.

Exchange Health

The Data Science team at Betfair has built a metric called Exchange Health, which quantifies the quality of liquidity in a given market.

The factors that go into building an Exchange Health score include:

Depth of prices in the market
The tightness of the overround in the market
How these vary across the lifespan of a market.

To make this concept easier to understand, the metric was also scaled to a range of 0 to 10. If a market is closer to a 10, a customer can get on for large amounts of money while still getting good odds for their selection. If the Exchange Health of a market is closer to 0, then a customer has to dig pretty deep into the Exchange to get matched at poor value for a bet.

The intuitive way of understanding this metric is a highly liquid market like the Melbourne Cup close to the start of the race could be a 10, whereas a Monday race at Wangaratta about 3 hours from the jump, could be a 5.

All other things equal, we expect liquidity to increase when customers have to pay less in pricing. But as an example, check out the following two graphs comparing the Caulfield Cups YoY and this years Caulfield Cup vs The Everest.

Using Exchange Health, we have been able to see that the liquidity for the biggest races across the Spring is improving and customers are able to bet much earlier. We hear loud and clear that customers feel like they can only have a bet late on the Exchange and we’re doing everything to change that. We want to make sure if customers want to bet early, they can.

Market Operations

We pride ourselves on the quick and accurate settlement of all our racing markets across the Spring Carnival. This couldn’t be more prevalent than on Stakes Day with the corporate bookmakers encountering serious delays and some races taking hours to settle for their customers.

Across the Spring Carnival, the average settlement time for all group races was 17 seconds.

Our market offering on the Exchange has expanded rapidly. From Memsie Stakes Day to Mackinnon Stakes Day, the team settled over 42,000 markets across all three racing codes, a significant 37% growth YoY.

A key area that contributes to that growth is our extra offering of H2H markets and the 4 To Be Placed markets (4TBP). We have offered 20 meetings with 4TBP compared to only 8 in 2019. Market support has been great for both and we’ll continue to offer these going forward.

We’re open for any market ideas around our racing markets going forward and we’d encourage you to send them our way via email or via Twitter. Our current market offering feels very balanced with plenty of options for customers while still making sure liquidity is available for all.

Betfair Price Advantage

The price advantage on the Betfair Exchange was clear over Spring. We saw that in spades across the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup Carnival, with our fixed odds advantage putting us head and shoulders above others in the industry.

Across all 18 races at Moonee Valley during the Cox Plate Carnival, we had:

  • 10.12% better odds than Sportsbet across all winners* and
  • 15.76% better odds than TAB across all winners.*

Across all 37 races at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, we had:

  • 11.27% better odds than Sportsbet across all winners* and
  • 9.95% better odds than TAB across all winners*

From a Group 1 perspective, the story is even more telling.

Across all eight Group 1 races at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival, we had:

  • 15.89% better odds than Sportsbet across all winners* and
  • 10.88% better odds than TAB across all winners*

* Based on Betfair price vs Sportsbet and TAB five mins before scheduled jump time. All odds net of Betfair commission. 


The Exchange remains the place to wager if you’re looking for top odds when Backing and Laying. Early liquidity is improving, more punters are diving in across our racing markets and Betfair will keep looking for ways to improve the betting experience for all customers.

We’re happy to keep sharing information like this going forward if customers and punters find it useful.

We have some exciting initiatives coming up in 2021 for Betfair customers across all three racing codes that we look forward to sharing soon.

With the strides we’ve made in all of the above over Spring and our commitment to improving the overall Exchange exchange experience, there’s never been a better time to transition your wagering to Betfair. Sick of slow settlement time or poor odds or limited bets? You won’t have that problem with us. We’re an Exchange for everyone.

Sharpen your betting edge with Betfair.

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