TAB will do away with couplings in Pick 6 bets on South African races from Monday 9 September in a move that is set to boost payouts and re-energise the bet.
“It’s a bold, and in some quarters, controversial step, but after much debate and consultation with a cross section of punters over several months, we believe it’s the right move,” said Phumelela’s Sports Betting Executive Vee Moodley. “Unavoidably, the Pick 6 has gone a bit stale over the years and the combination of couplings, fractional betting and, in more recent times, the first-timer rule has also diminished the bet’s appeal in terms of delivering mega payouts,” added Moodley.
“Removing couplings should refresh the Pick 6. It will be harder to win and the resultant bigger payouts should reignite interest in the bet, as happened with the Jackpot when the couplings and first-timer rules were dropped.”
Several top horseplayers have welcomed the impending removal of the couplings rule from the Pick 6. Champion punter Alvin Pillay thinks it’s a brilliant idea. “It’s time for punters who study hard to be rewarded when they find the ‘wrong one’ in a coupling.”
Leading owner and top TAB customer Greg Blank said he wished the couplings rule had been dropped sooner. “This will separate the men from the boys,” he commented.
Form expert Darryl Maree is also in favour. “It’s clear for all to see that the Jackpot has been rejuvenated by not applying couplings. I’m expecting a similarly positive effect on the Pick 6 once the new rule is in effect.”
While the bracketing of horses trained by the same trainer in the Pick 6 is falling away, TAB will retain the first-timer rule for the time being. Into the future, however, it is intended to drop this rule as well, which will bring the Pick 6 into line with international rules and enable overseas totes to commingle into TAB Pick 6 pools on South African racing.