Ascot Goes Decimal

A piece of racing history will be made at today's Ascot fixture when decimal odds, rather than fractions, will be used for the first time.

Ascot’s Aldermore Conditions Stakes will earn a small place in racing history by becoming the first race in which decimal odds are used by course bookmakers.

Five bookmakers are breaking with tradition in offering the new service in a one-day trial instigated by Racing For Change.

One of the bookmakers, Geoff Banks, a layer on the rails for 20 years admitted to being a little sceptical but said " We must be prepared to give things like this a try and I’m happy to be a guinea pig.

" It will be interesting what my core customers think of it but I’m not convinced this will be any easier for racegoers to understand."

Colourful rails bookmaker Barry Dennis is not a fan of the trial stating " Why have change, tradition is fantastic."

Ascot’s chief executive Charles Barnett is upbeat and happy that his course has been chosen for the experiment.

" I believe it is a grave mistake, and annoying, when people dismiss initiatives such as this without a second thought and not allowing a proper trial," he said.

" If in the long term it is considered that decimal odds are no advantage to racegoers, then ditch it, but at least we’ll have given it a try."

Racing For Change are keen for the experiment to stay low-key and have no date planned for a second trial.

It is unlikely that decimal odds will have any impact on the racecourse experience, but the publicity generated can only be good for the industry.

The first race on Ascot’s card was won by hot favourite Zebedee at odds of 2/7. Sorry that should be 0.28571428.