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Kyle Johnston is an oddsmaker at Hollywoodbets.
He gave some insight in to where the money had been for this year’s Hollywoodbets Durban July at the gallops this morning.
He explained beforehand that the greatest risk for a bookmaker is the opening price list.
The opening odds are are based on the opinions of the bookmakers’ oddsmakers.
However, after that the odds changes are simply dictated to by supply and demand. 
He said, “Linebacker has seen a bit of money from about 10/1 in ante-post market and currently second favourite at 11/2 after cracking a good draw. Sparkling Water has received a lot of early interest. She is probably the one we have laid most of at this stage, also from around 10/1 or 12/1 into a current 6/1 at this stage. Of the outsiders, Zapatillas, after he won the WSB Guineas, shortened a bit but has drifted out slightly and is currently 16/1. Those are the only ones with real strong support. Obviously Safe Passage, after he won the  Daily News so easily, became the new favourite but there hasn’t been too much money for him in the last week or so. He’s quite easy at 7/2. So that’s the only pressure for the July currently. There might be some changes after the gallops this morning.”
There did not seem to be any significant betting moves after the gallops. 
Kyle continued, “On the card in general, in the Golden Horseshoe there was a lot of money for Grinkov in the ante-post market. I don’t know if the guys knew that Thunderstruck wasn’t going to be running after winning the Gold Medallion. Grinkov has come right in from 10/1 and is 28/10 at the moment. I personally feel he is a little bit short at 28/10 and I think he may start closer to 4/1 on the day. I see Glen Kotzen has a few in the race who look to have live chances, so I think he will ease a bit there.” 
He continued, “We opened up our betting yesterday for the entire card. There hasn’t been too much money at this stage.”
Maharani was a difficult one for Hollywoodbets to price up in the ante-post market, because she was entered in three races. However, once she was declared in the Zulu Kingdom Explorer Golden Slipper she shortened into even money.
Kyle said, “Her lively challenger Green Pepper stayed in the race, so that looks to be a bit of a match race there.”
Airways Law will be out to prove a point in the July consolation race, the Grade 3 Vodacom 2200, having been left out of the July top 18.
Kyle said, “He is 3/1. It is his toughest test to date and I am sure the public will let us know soon whether he is the wrong price, but no real support at this stage.”
He has subsequently shortened in marginally to 28/10.
The bookmakers do sometimes get it wrong and punters are then given an edge.
Kyle admitted, “We got Desert Miracle a bit wrong last year. I think we opened her up around 4/1 and she started 9/10.”
She won like a 1/10 shot, sauntering in by 7,90 lengths.
He added, “But those type of things happen everyday though. It is up to the public where the money comes. Money talks and that’s how it goes.”
He revealed, “It is not a free for all though. We have limits on our book, we want to know what we are laying, and different clients have different limits.”
However, he said they do attempt to accommodate, within reason, clients who phone through asking for a bet bigger than their limit.
There are a number of special bets for the July and Kyle explained some of the odds were based on percentages and others involved opinion and some guesswork.
He said, “For example in the north vs south bet (Cape trainers vs Highveld trainers) each horse already has a price assigned to them, so if we add those all up and a percentage is thrown out which then equates to a new price for the special two horse race bet. However, betting on something like the winning distance in the July there are no set odds to work with, it’s just us deciding what we feel the odds should be.”
The oddsmakers looked at past July winning distances as a guide.
Kyle continued, “You would have to think half-a-length to a length would be the favourite for the winning distance, I don’t know when anything lost by two lengths or more. Obviously a dead-heat also comes into play.”
There have been two dead-heats in the race’s 125 renewals to date, in 1967 with Sea Cottage and Jollify and 2008 with Pocket Power and Dancer’s Daughter.
Hollywoodbets have priced up the dead-heat this year at 25/1.
Only five winners in the last 30 renewals have put daylight between themselves and the field. 
Therefore, the winning distance 0,01 to 0,5 lengths is 15/10 favourite and 0,51 to 1 lengths is 2/1 second favourite.  
Picture credit: Hollywoodbets oddsmaker Kyle Johnston took part in the July draw ceremony on Tuesday on behalf of the Johan Janse van Vuuren yard (Candiese Lenferna).