Have you wondered why Australian betting agencies love to use the #Pikeinthelast hashtag on their social media accounts? It is because level-stakes punters are going broke backing William Pike to win the final race of meetings.

Pike is a brilliant bloke – his ego is smaller than his saddle – and an even better jockey, one of the best ever to hail from Western Australia, and there have been some truly great Sandgropers, including JJ Miller, Frank Treen and Damien Oliver. I know from personal experience how easy it is to deal with Pike on a professional basis, and there is little he would not do to promote thoroughbred racing. For example, Pike and his partner, Jessica Valas, honoured their commitment to me to accompany Perfect Reflection in the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Queen’s Baton Relay on Perth Cup Day even though I would have understood if they had decided to make the best of The Wizard’s post-Kingston Town Classic Day suspension and gone on a rare family holiday.

But Australian wagering companies are exaggerating Pike’s prowess in the last to the extent it is now one of the country’s greatest betting myths. Pike’s Red Roses Stakes victory aboard Written Beauty at Flemington on Oaks Day was his first win in a meeting finale since he and Perfect Jewel combined to upset the odds at a starting price of 14.00 in the Cockram Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday 29 August.

This season, Pike has ridden three last-race winners from his 26 starts in meeting finales for a -31.54 per cent return on investment to level stakes. This year, Pike has ridden 16 last-race winners from his 91 starts in meeting finales for a -35.44% ROI to level stakes. Backing Pike to win the final race of meetings is considerably worse for your financial health than backing him to win every race in which he competes, but #Pikeinthelast clouds that fact.

Why is it increasingly folly to back Pike in the last? Well, race schedulers who have skin in the fixed odds wagering game – I was one of them for five years – are programming meeting finales in which they think Pike’s equine partner is one of the best lays on the card. This season’s/year’s results speak for themselves, and they should be sobering statistics for punters who are drunk on the Pike Kool-Aid.

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