The 2021-22 Australasian thoroughbred season may be remembered for returning racing fans to the track and familiar names like trainers Chris Waller, Ciaron Maher and jockeys William Pike and James McDonald to the top.

In between the heroic wins, the bruising losses and photo finishes, there were unbelievable stories to tell from the Betfair betting exchange. We break down the wildest moments from the 2021-22 season, including the worst beats and longest priced winners.

The In-Play Betting Highlights of 2021-22

The betting doesn’t stop when the race gets going. Live (“In-Play”) betting on races is where Betfair punters can wager on how a race will end during the running of the race itself. Quick decisions must be made, as any race can throw up a tornado of scenarios that can affect the odds in a split second.

We saw some incredible results unfold due to In-Play betting on Betfair during the 2021-22 racing season. From winners who were dismissed at odds of more than $500.00 during the run, to the most horrific losses, where punters bet en masse at the rock bottom price of $1.01 In-Play.

These were some of the highlights (and lowlights) of the season

1. Colette (Empire Rose Stakes – Group 1 – Flemington – 30 October 2021)

The ATC Oaks and Golden Eagle winner was in great form. She’d won her previous start in the Tristarc Stakes at Caulfield two weeks prior. But it took a masterstroke of a ride from jockey Damien Oliver to overcome treacherous traffic and claim her second Group 1 on Flemington’s famous Derby Day.

The winner was sent off at pre-race odds of $14.84 on the Betfair SP. But In-Play punters stood Colette little chance on the home turn, with her maximum price taken at a staggering $350.00.

2. Private Eye (Show County Quality – Group 3 – Randwick – 21 August 2021)

The 2021 Epsom Handicap winner kicked off his Spring campaign in devastating fashion here. Private Eye couldn’t respond to jockey Jay Ford’s urgings with 300m to go. The leader, Embracer, had sailed past Splintex and was full of running. But Jay Ford quickly asserted his dominance from there.

It spooked more than a few In-Play punters, with the $12.03 chance on the Betfair SP being bet at over $200.00+ and reaching the dizzying heights of $890.00.

3. Toomuchtobear (Precise Air Handicap – BM88 – Randwick – 22 January 2022)

Imagine the pooling of cold sweat from punters who had backed the short-priced favourite earlier this year. The win of Toomuchtobear even had race caller Darren Flindell lost for words. He’d clearly – mentally – had turned the narrative to Desert Icon and Kaapfever, fighting out the finish.

In-Play punters fully agreed with him. Toomuchtobear, who started at $1.93 on the Betfair SP, was allowed to drift out beyond $200.00, with maximum odds taken at $650.00. The rest, they say, is history.

4. Douceur (VRC Oaks – Group 1 – Flemington – 4 November 2021)

It’s time we talked about this season’s punting bad beats. And we’re once again putting Damien Oliver and Godolphin in the spotlight! Well, sort of. Because the story is more than about the horse that Willowy vanquished in the Oaks last year: Douceur.

The Patrick Payne-trained filly was given a modest chance of winning, going around at the Betfair SP odds of $29.25. All that changed as the field entered the straight. Douceur took the lead, and was repelling the challenge of Willowy, winding her In-Play odds in to the impossibly short $1.01.

But Douceur got the staggers late and was over-run by Willowy with 50 metres to go. This put nearly $900.00 of back bet volume on Douceur – at Black Caviar odds – in lay bettor’s hands.

5. Holbien (Easter Cup – Group 3 – Caulfield – 16 April 2022)

The changing nature of a live race – and how In-Play betting odds reflect this – could be exemplified by the earth-shattering loss suffered by Holbien in the Easter Cup.

A $16.22 chance on the Betfair SP, Holbien sauntered to a four-length lead midway through the 2000 metre contest. But his margin was whittled away to nothing with 600 metres to go. Had jockey Michael Poy just made a tactical blunder before the home turn?

Not so! He was roused up and looked to have dusted off his main rival in Milford with 100 metres left. But in a desperate stride-for-stride finish, it was Milford who claimed the spoils in a photo.

Just over $900.00 of back bet volume was lashed on Holbien at the infamous $1.01.

6. Gentleman Roy & Kutsanya (Caulfield & Belmont – 12 January 2022)

If you were keen to back an In-Play certainty, then this day was clearly marked for peril.

First, there was Gentleman Roy at Caulfield. A $1.77 Betfair SP favourite, Gentleman Roy was cruising on a two-length lead under hands-and-heels riding with 200m to go. From there he gave nothing. Savannah Cloud swamped him. And punters dropped over $7,000.00 of In-Play back bets at $1.01.

Next there was Kutsanya. The three-start maiden was going around as a $2.94 favourite on the Betfair SP at Belmont. He was gently nursed to the front by jockey Chris Parnham, holding a safe lead to the winning post. But in a true blink-and-you-miss-it moment, his margin – and victory – were lost.

And with that went over $9,000.00 of In-Play back bets taken at the horrifying $1.01.

We couldn’t name all the big In-Play moments, but honourable mentions must go to

Honey Pot (Betfair SP of $2.97) winning a two-year-old handicap at Eagle Farm on July 16 2022 with maximum odds taken In-Play of – you read this right – $1000.00.

Mr Mosaic (Betfair SP of $3.62) rising off the canvas to win a Benchmark 88 handicap at Rosehill on 4 December 2021 with maximum odds taken In-Play of $660.00.

Tycoon Thunder (Betfair SP of $3.75) catching the race caller off guard by winning the Ewan Bracelet at Ewan on 24 September 21. His In-Play odds peaked at a stratospheric $1000.00.

Barney’s Blaze (Betfair SP of $11.19) sprinting hard to tackle Joseylin, but still lose at Flemington on 21 January 2022. Over $3,000.00 of In-Play back bets at $1.01 were cruelled by that photo.

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The Betfair SP Longshot Highlights of 2021-22

In horse racing, “one-hundred-to-one” has a familiar ring to it. It’s the rank outsider. The miserable longshot. The impossible to back. But odds of $100.00 on the Betfair exchange merely scrapes the surface of value. It’s a misconception. And to prove it, here are some of the most eye-watering, jaw-dropping, longshot winners on the Betfair SP from the 2021-22 Australasian racing season

1. Asterix (Ellerslie – 5 March 2022) pulled off one of the great upsets in New Zealand Derby history, denying the hot favourite La Crique in the Group 1 at Betfair SP odds of $156.33.

2. I’m Eugene (Belmont – 15 June 2022) finished last in four of his previous five starts. But he scored on this day at tremendous Betfair SP odds of $348.29.

3. Perfect War (Swan Hill – 27 September 2021) trainer Rod Symons had to be questioned by stewards for his mare’s improved performance on this day. Her Betfair SP odds? $380.00.

4. Strictly Cash (Northam – 14 July 2022) lost his first four races by a combined margin of 50 lengths. Then he flipped the script and won. Punters lucked out, with his Betfair SP odds topping a cool $501.07.

The Betfair In-Play Trading All-Stars of 2021-22

In-Play betting can be a blessing or a curse. Punters are trading on a race as it unfolds in real time. Bets moving fast on the exchange – with every stride. It can lead to panicky changes in the market, where multiple runners are bet – and matched – at very short odds.

Some races featured more than five runners trading at In-Play back bet odds of less than $2.00. These are just some of the most volatile In-Play races we saw during the 2021-22 season

1. Doomben – Benchmark 80 Handicap – 30 October 2021

A miserly six-horse field became a melting pot of differing In-Play traders in the home straight. With 200m to go, it was telling that none of the five contenders looked willing to snatch victory. In fact, all six runners traded below $2.00, with a back bet volume of just over $8,000.00 total.

2. Eagle Farm – Class 2 Handicap – 29 June 2022

Drop a tissue over six – or perhaps seven – horses from this midweek race. Then press play and pause the replay after each second. You would struggle to pick a winner until the very last stride, when Painted Black lengthened just enough to grab the win in a photo.

This race for sheer survival meant six runners traded below $2.00. But there’s an added sweetener to this In-Play trading story: none of those six included the winner!

3. Ascot – Benchmark 50+ Handicap – 22 December 2021

Let’s break this one down. Short and sharp. Pink Carats burned a path to lead and quickly edged clear on the home turn. Saasmit then took over passing the 200m. Full of running. He’s On Fire made a surging – if not decisive – move with 100m to go. But Katona was right there, looming large!

This resulted in the most tumultuous In-Play betting story of the season. Not only did multiple runners trade at short odds, but ultimately five runners traded below $1.50, with back bet volume hitting nearly $7,500.00 between the quintet.

4. Moonee Valley – Benchmark 78 Handicap – 4 March 2022

Punters of the short-priced Betfair SP favourite Smirnova could only look on in disgust as a terrific four-way finish played out in the 955m dash for glory at Moonee Valley under lights.

They still tipped over $4000.00 of In-Play back bets on Smirnova at less than $2.00. But the fight was on in the final strides, where five runners traded below $2.00.

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