What Is A Distances Bet?
A Distances spread bet is a prediction on the total winning margins (distance between first and second placed horses) of each race at the meeting. Points are awarded a s 1 point per length won by. For distances of less than ½ a length the following apply: a short-head = 0.1 lengths, a head = 0.2 lengths and a neck = 0.3 lengths. The maximum winning distance for a flat race is 12 lengths.
If you feel there will be wide winning margins at a particular meeting, you would bet high (Buy) on the Distances market. Where as if you think the races will be competitive with close finishes, you would bet low (Sell).
Example Of How It Works
To illustrate this bet we'll take a look at the racecard at the York Ebor meeting:
There were 7 races on the card, ranging from 7 to 20 runners. Before the start of racing Sporting Index priced the Distances market up with a spread of 10.2 - 11.2.
If you felt Sporting Index had priced the spread too high for the meeting you would Sell the market at the lower figure of 10.2 quoted in their spread. If you felt their spread was too low, you would Buy at the higher figure of 11.2.
Your stake will depend upon your personal circumstances and how much you like to risk. The important thing to remember is the amount you stake is not the amount you stand to win or lose on the race. The stake entered is the amount per point. E.g. If you were to Buy £50 at 11.2 and the total finished at 12 you would win £40, £50 x 0.8 (12 - 11.2). However if the total finished at 10 you would lose £10, £50 x 0.2 (10.2 - 10).
The Distances market remains active throughout the race meeting. Sporting Index update the spread after each of the races, adjusting it up or down depending upon how big the distances have been in the earlier races. This is a great aspect of spread betting in that it enables you to take a profit, if the spread moves in your favour, or cut your loses, if the spread moves against you.
The winning distance in the first race was a head, which equates to 0.2 lengths, giving 0.2 points for the Distances total after one race.
A good start if you chose to sell on the market, with Sporting Index reducing their spread to 9.3 -10.1.
The second race was won by a distance of ¾ length, adding 0.75 points to the Distances total of 0.95 after two races.
Another good result if you chose to sell on the market, with Sporting Index reducing their spread further to 8.4 - 9.2.
The third race was also won by a ¾ length, adding another 0.75 points to the Distances total of 1.7 after three races.
More good news if you chose to sell on the market and a good opportunity to lock in a profit. Sporting Index dropped their spread down to 7.6 - 8.3. If you'd initially sold on the market at 10.2 you could now buy back at 8.3. A stake of £50 a point would have given a profit of £95, £50 x 1.9 (10.2 - 8.3). However if you'd brought on the original spread at 11.2, you'd now have to sell at 7.6 to cancel the bet, which with a stake of £50, would have incurred a loss of £130, £50 x 2.6 (10.2 - 7.6). Of course you don't have to close your bet out and with 4 races still to run there's still time to turn things around.
The odds on favourite comfortably won the fourth race, by a distance of 4 lengths, adding 4 more points to Distances total of 5.7 after four races.
Much better news if you'd brought on the initial spread, with Sporting Index moving their spread back up to 9.1 - 9.7.
Another comfortable win for the favourite in the fifth race, this time by 2 lengths, added 2 more points to the Distances total of 7.7 after five races.
More good news for those who'd brought on the initial spread, the new range quoted by Sporting Index was nearly back up to their initial spread at 10 - 10.5.
The winning distance in the sixth race was 2½ lengths, adding 2.5 more points to the Distances total of 10.2 after six races..
Sporting Index increased their range to 11.2 - 11.5, which meant that if you'd brought on the original spread at 11.2 you could have now sold at the same figure to cancel out your bet with no loss. This would have been great news considering the potential position 3 races earlier.
The final race at the meeting was won by a neck, which equated to 0.3 points on the final Distances total of 10.5 points.
The initial spread set by Sporting Index was spot on, with the total of 10.5 falling in the middle of their range of 10.2 - 11.2.
Given the total was in the middle of their range, there was no winnings to be had from buying or selling on their initial spread, but by the same token, losses were kept to a minimum.
If you'd sold low you could have taken a good profit after the first three races, but to a £50 stake would have ended up with a £15 loss, £50 x 0.3 (10.5 - 10.2).
If you had bet high, you would have been a little worried early on, when the spread dropped, but could have broken even if you'd closed out the bet before the last race. If you'd stuck it out until the end you'd have ended up with a loss of £35, £50 x 0.7 (11.2 - 10.5).
As you can see from the above example, fortunes can change quickly with spread betting, but one bet can give you an interest in all the races at a meeting and there's opportunity to take a profit or cut your losses as you go.
Sports spread betting is high risk. You can lose more than your original stake.
Only bet if you understand the risks and can afford to lose.