Big bets on Harness

By Michael Guerin

A maiden that battled into third at Alexandra Park anded one of the biggest bets in New Zealand racing history on Friday night.

And it was followed up minutes later by another $100,000 bet on a three-year-old trotter at Addington as the TAB bookies came under attack from a very enthusiastic punter.

The punter placed a $100,000 place bet at fixed odds of $1.40 on Sky Art in race five at The Park and collected after the second favourite led and clung to third by a head, seeing a profit of $40,000.

The bet would almost certainly be the largest single bet on one horse in New Zealand harness racing history, with the only similar amount in recent years being on Auckland Reactor at $1.10 when he won the free-for-all on New Zealand Cup day.

But it was matched minutes later by the same punter having $100,000 a place on Zsa Zara, which finished second at $1.50 fixed in the trot at Addington. 

Bets of $100,000 in any of the three race codes in New Zealand are extremely rare but harness racing has seen significantly more $10,000 to $20,000 bets in the last two years as big punters are attracted to warm favourites.

“We have had some big bets coming through this week, particularly on harness racing, but these two are by far he biggest,” said TAB bookmaker Richard Wilson.