Getting the “best price” used to be simple with on-course bookies. Take top fluc before the market goes up, and relax until they jump.
Of course, things are a little different now.
With the vast majority of betting done with corporate bookmakers, markets go up (and start moving) mid-week, well before the on-course prices that determine official fluctuations begin.
What is “top fluc” exactly?
Top Fluc is based on the official prices that are maintained for all metro racing around Australia.
Prior to September 2016, all states used the Australian Price Network (APN) for official prices. The APN monitors prices in the betting ring on course, taking an opening price (thirty minutes before the race), recording fluctuations, and finally the starting price when the race jumps.
Generally the official price is recorded at the third-highest price in the ring; when three bookmakers get to a certain price, it becomes the official price. Fluctuations up and down, and finally the starting price followed that model.
In September, Racing Victoria broke from the other states and changed their pricing mechanism to use the ‘Victorian Official Price’ (VOP), which follows prices displayed by corporate bookmakers, rather those in the ring. The VOP uses the fifth-highest price available from a pool of ten corporate bookmakers.
As one big punter recently put it “they put the foxes in charge of the hen-house”.
All other states remain with the APN model using on-course prices.
Below are the winners from last Saturday’s Flemington meeting, along with the official top fluc prices:
We’ve also shown the best available price for each winner: this is the highest price that was available over the last thirty minutes of betting from Bet365, Betting Club, CrownBet, Luxbet, Sportsbet, TAB, TopSport or UBET.
As you can see, there was only one race (race 4, Divine Mr Artie) where the top fluc price actually represented the best price available.
Now here’s the same data, but for the Rosehill meeting instead:
Despite the different model used (APN versus VOP), there was often a higher price available in Sydney, too. There were however two races – 1 and 5 – where the top fluc was comfortably higher than anything the bookies offered. This is due to the APN model using on-course prices rather than corporate prices.
And of course, the whole thing is skewed by the long-shot winner in the final race, Isorich. $41 was the offiical top fluc, but $51 and even $61 was available with corporate bookies!
So what have we learnt?
- Top Fluc rarely matches the highest price available across corporate bookmakers
- Top Fluc outside of Victoria (under the old APN model) is generally a better price: it only requires three on-course bookies to hit a price-point to become official, whereas the VOP requires the higher hurdle of five corporates
- The higher the price, the bigger the flucs! Race 9 at Rosehill is a good example: if you’re on a roughie, shop around!