Many punters like betting on the Tote, especially when it comes to big priced runners, but it pays to take note of the particular meeting in question as it can backfire big time.
Tote betting is pooled betting compared to Starting Price returns which are governed by bookmakers based on the amount of money traded on-course.
It's not guaranteed that Tote returns will beat SP odds, although at big meetings where the pooled betting is generally substantial, it often pays to go down the Tote road.
However, an example where it went wrong for those seeking to benefit on an unfancied runner, came at Warwick last week in the last race — a bumper.
It was won by 25-1 shot Jaques Vert which did not attract a penny in the ring, but which ended up beating the well-backed favourite Tetlami from Nicky Henderson's yard, three quarters of a length.
Tote punters were in for a shock though when it paid a mere £8.20 for the win, equivalent to only just over 7-1 SP and a paltry 1.80 for a place.
The reason for that was because most racegoers were on their way home and didn’t get involved while there was little punted directly into the pool from shop customers, thereby making it a small cake to be divided up.
If in a shop or event at a track, keep an eye on the Tote screens which tell you how much is being pooled before dipping in as there are occasions when it is obvious SP is going to prove more profitable.
Tote betting does pay, but it's important not to take it for granted.