Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 19/11/15


This is now an archive – my blogs are posted at www.simonnott.co.uk

The weather was pretty miserable up at Wincanton but the regulars are a hardy bunch and a very respectable crowd dressed accordingly and turned up for the seven-race card. There was excitement in the press room, not only was the coffee machine working but ‘Leglock’ Luke Harvey had some news , and some news it was too. A horse that had been named after him, Leglock Luke, had been sold at Cheltenham for £100,000. Not only that but to legendary and lucky owner Terry Warner to be trained by local favourite trainer Colin Tizzard. Luke was over the moon but then erred caution on getting too excited appearing a little worried about the weight now his shoulders. He confided ‘I had a horse named after me before, ‘The Underachiever’, the bloody thing lived up to its name!’

Rain doesn't stop the punting

Rain doesn’t stop the punting

Let’s hope this one goes on to win at Cheltenham. Some readers may be wondering why someone with a great job, marvellous smile and loved by all like Luke was linked to a creature with such a moniker. It’s because of this encounter with racing’s greatest man. See below.

Ha ha never gets boring, and talking of racing’s greatest man, word of a Barney Curley style multiple gamble was afoot. Apparently four horses from Miss Sheena West’s yard had been backed at big prices in multiples ‘all over the country’. The bookmakers’ PR machine had got into full swing telling of telephone number liabilities and how the industry was quaking. One on course layer had been told that the last bet one off-course firm had laid was a £50 Lucky 15 with each of the previously doubled-figured priced beasts at less than 2/1. I expect they’d send a car out every morning to pick whoever that was and give him a lift to their shop. The Racing Post’s Andrew King scoffed the way only he can and said there was no chance of the bet being landed. He’s not a man who gets splinters in his arse that’s for sure.  Regardless of people’s opinions the gamble was going to make the afternoon interesting. The first two legs were here and the last two at Lingfield so they’d get all the real action if the first two won but still, the anticipation was there.

Money without work

Money without work

The going was Heavy – Soft in Places so a real test and also a little bit perilous for punting, or so you’d think. The opening race saw Distracted backed from 10/3 into 11/4 and oblige by five lengths. One bookie ‘on the end for value’ laid a nasty £2200-£800 the winner which started his day off badly.

Not much fun working out how much you have done in this weather.

Not much fun working out how much you have done in this weather.

Next up was the much anticipated first leg of the gamble. Fintan was opened up at 3/1 on course. That would have looked very skinny had the circumstances been different but the on-course layers were taking no chances. Very prudent as it turned out as the money came for it forcing the books to submit under the weight of money. It was generally 9/4 at the off. Eyebrows were raised in some quarters when small off-course money also came into play, the general thinking was that they’d have waited to see the first leg won before getting involved. Easy to say if you aren’t the ones sitting on ‘millions’ of pounds in liabilities that’s for sure.

They’d have been right though, Fintan was pulled up three out after being well-beaten long before that. The race went to Duke’s Affair the 11/2 ‘third in’ beating 6/5 jolly Very Intense by a length and thwarting a couple of decent bets in the process.

The first leg of the gamble biting the dust was a bit deflating for those of us hoping to see some drama unfold. Still, at the morning prices if Landscape could win in the next, the Hague Print Management Handicap Hurdle, there was still a Trixie to be salvaged. The money came in for it, a steady torrent rather than lumps but enough to shorten 13/2 into a general 9/2 though if you shopped around you could have got slightly bigger on the extremities. If you had, your ticket would have been worth just as much after the race, bugger all. Landscape finished stone last beaten 105 and a bit lengths. The favourite Miles To Memphis was also beaten despite being backed from 11/4 £1100-£400 5/2 £1000-£400 into 2/1. It wasn’t a total bookie bonanza though as Paul Nicholls’ San Benedeto won the race, an eased up 7/2.

There was a winning favourite and drama in the fourth when Andrew Thornton managed to get 4/5 jolly Alder Mairi home in first place despite a broken stirrup leather. Armaloft Alex went to greet the winning combination after the race and commented to Thornton that he’d not noticed any difference in his normal style of finish. Armaloft the smiling joker was tickled to report the tender jockey’s reply was ‘unrepeatable’. He needs another 17 to reach his target 1000 good luck to Andrew, let’s hope he gets them and that his nether regions soon recover. Biggest bet I heard about on course was a mere even carpet (£300) though I’m sure that punter appreciated the heroics.

Jack was totally gutted when he got the news Ffos Las had been abandoned tomorow

Jack was totally gutted when he got the news Ffos Las had been abandoned tomorrow

With word filtering through that the other duo in the ‘nationwide gamble’ were soundly beaten over at Lingfield the buzz had just fizzled out, a real anti-climax. The was a bit of punting action in the penultimate Lenny Roberts Memorial Trophy Novices’ Hurdle when Whataknight attracted support £2100-£600 and £1400-£400 but that stayed with the layers too. Sadly for them the race went to 7/4 favourite Final Nudge, one punter bagging a £700-£400.

Despite all the excitement, mood at the meeting was seriously tempered by the news that veteran bookie Kenny Wager had passed away aged 84. Mind you, once over the initial shock and sadness everyone had a ‘Kenny’ story. I got a good few from Andy Smith of Festival Racing, all very funny and affectionate but far too rude for a family blog. Kenny was a real character and a much-loved part of the on-course bookmaking community, he’ll be greatly missed.

As bookie Peter Houghton tweeted referencing Kenny’s favourite saying the past 30 years I’ve known him, ‘The game really is gone.’ RIP Kenny.

(c) Simon Nott

I also write an exclusive ‘Tales’ for Racing Ahead Magazine each month, please support the magazine that supports me.

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 25/10/15 Southern Spinal Injuries Trust Charity Day


This is now an archive. My regular blogs can be found at www.simonnott.co.uk

I also write an exclusive ‘Tales’ for Racing Ahead Magazine each month, please support the magazine that supports me.

Today’s meeting was in aid of the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, blessed with glorious weather and bumper crowd for the seven-race card. Racegoers were greeted by a Samba band including gyrating singers. I would have got a photo but couldn’t really get past ‘Leglock’ Luke Harvey who as always was not missing the opportunity to admire some fine fillies.

Racing kicked off with the Wincanton Handicap Hurdle and the opportunity for the books to take on a short one in the shape of Barton Antix and take it on they did. There were bets of an even £2000, a monkey three times and an even ‘rouf’ (£400), some surprise then to see it go off at 11/10. There was support for other horses including MCCabe Creek backed from 13/2 into 11/2. Those punters that decided to wade in on the jolly were soon right in it when it was no match for Panis Angelicus who was 3/4 length too good at the line for Tim Vaughan under Alan Johns. Punters who listened to the pre-race interviews would have heard the gelding given a positive mention to Luke Harvey and if they’d taken heed and followed up with readies rewarded to the tune of 13/2.

Wincanton's Rail takes the strain.

Wincanton’s Rail takes the strain.

There was an even shorter one in the next, the  Montague Inn Novices’ Hurdle when Present Man was backed from 4/5 into 8/11 helped along by a brace of grand bets and couple of monkeys. It wasn’t money for the jolly that had one bookmaker go all gibbon but a monkey on Alottarain at 16/1, there was another early £500 bet seen for Theatre Goer at 9/1 which probably helped its price tumble into 7/1. The back row bookmaker that laid the £8000-£500 I’m told stood his ground but did watch the race from between his fingers. He wasn’t made to suffer for too long as the mare hadn’t read the script and was pulled up. That layer may well have been rewarded for his pluck but the entire ring were when Chris Down’s Max Forte ran away with the race at 25/1. I didn’t hear of a shilling for the gelding, which is unusual when such a shrewd yard have a winner. Happy days all round in the betting ring.

By the third, the Quilter Cheviot Supporting Spinal Cord Injuries Handicap Chase (For the Desert Orchid Silver Cup) it became apparent that the majority of the ‘monkey’ bets flying around were coming from one fella; ‘Never see the man before’ said Jim from Leicester. It didn’t stop him having a bet of £5500-£500 on Dont Do Mondays. While that layer was hopping about the punters were filling in his brethren on the jolly, Paul Nicholls’ Cowards Close attracted lumpy support at 7/4 including at least one grand bet. Those that trusted their money to the favourite did it wrong again when it was pulled up before two-out. Up at the business end Forgotten Gold landed a quiet 7/1 into 11/2 touch from another well-backed, Handy Andy 8/1 into 13/2. The books were happy with that though.

I had my first ever bet on a racecourse with Ricky, £5 at 5/2 Sweet Mandy at Cheltenham Mackeson Day 1983. She fell and I lost my fiver, I reckon Ricky still has it.

I had my first ever bet on a racecourse with Ricky, £5 at 5/2 Sweet Mandy at Cheltenham Mackeson Day 1983. She fell and I lost my fiver, I reckon Ricky still has it.

The market got it totally wrong in the Welcome To Street Football Club Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. Sonny The One was backed from 3/1 into 9/4 while Squire Trelawney took a walk from 5/2 to 7/2. One book that went 4/1 was hit with £500 at the price, apparently it wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’ though, he’d had his on Breaking The Bank at 7/1 and Vinnie The Fish at 4/1, or at least so I’m told. As alluded to when starting the paragraph the Squire won the race by a length from Sonny The One, who wasn’t the one on the day. The winner did have to survive a Stewards’ Inquiry before keeping the race but the ‘bing-bong’ doesn’t put the fear of God into winning punters any more.

There were emotional scenes in the Winners’ Enclosure after Paul Nicholls’ Marracudja won the Dominic Baker Memorial ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle. Dominic was son of Nicholls’ head lad Clifford and died tragically aged just 21. The winner was sent off the 6/4 second favourite but beat 10/11 Wade Harper by eight lengths under Sam Twiston-Davis.

There hadn’t been a winning jolly all afternoon but that was about to change in the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust Supporters Juvenile Hurdle when Paul Nicholls sent out another winner when Romain De Senam made short work of his opponents. The victory was hardly a surprise as the 2/9 starting price would suggest. There was value to be had though, one punter secured a bet of £200-£500 and another £400-£1400. In case you are wondering, it wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’, he had it on Woofie at 9/1, he didn’t beat the SP of 10/1 but did manage to beat one home, the 100/1 shot Ventura Castle. At this point I have to say, and was given full permission to do so, Tall Boy Watson laid that bet so is now in full redemption after bluffing that bet at Exeter a few meetings ago.

I'm still in Jim's black book after a mistake I made when on the floor for him about 10 years ago. That's why he's blanking me.

I’m still in Jim’s black book after a mistake I made when on the floor for him about 10 years ago. That’s why he’s blanking me.

The concluding race, The Bruton Handicap Hurdle saw a bit of a stick-on the David Pipe trained Impulsive American backed from 7/4 into 11/8. One punter got a £3500-£2000, others £1750-£1000 and £700-£400, they certainly got the value. Mind you, David’s grandfather Dave Pipe, a very successful and much-respected bookmaker used to say ‘You can’t eat value’. Especially when they get collared under the nose of the judge you can’t. The one that did him close home was Polstar for trainer Harry Whittington under a stylish ride from 7lb claimer Paul O’Brien at 7/1, one book laid 8/1 to the tune of £2400-£300.

The dust has settled and all the monkeys are in various hods - only lent?

The dust has settled and all the monkeys are in various hods – only lent?

It wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’ though, he’d had it on Dry Ol’Party at 8/1 which went off at 6/1 and finished fourth. Let’s hope his bad day hasn’t put him off. ‘Come to think of it I do think I recognise the man’ mused Ian  from the firm formerly know as Jack Bevan (est 1897) rather belatedly. Rumour has it Ian was there at Torquay Races the first day they bet so it could be anyone. All memory-racking aside at the end of play the identity of the punter is still a mystery and so it shall remain of course, but should he return,  watch this space. 

(C) Simon Nott

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

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Simon Nott Interviewed By Channel 4 Racing 17/10/15


This is now an archive – read my regular blogs at www.simonnott@yahoo.co.uk

I was honoured to be interviewed by Channel 4 Racing at Ascot on Saturday 17th of October. There’s no official footage but this was recorded from the TV by my niece, so for anyone that missed it. NB I’d like to point out it’s true what they say, TV makes you look older, shorter and fatter…… honest!

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 16/10/15


This is now an archive, my regular blogs can be found at www.simonnott.co.uk

I also write an exclusive ‘Tales’ for Racing Ahead Magazine each month, please support the magazine that supports me.

It seems everyone missed Wincanton Races during the summer; the bookies  turned out in their droves, the rail was  full and the front line in Tatts almost full too. They did right to all turn up  because the racecourse was heaving with a huge crowd.

The first race of the day, Bruton Novices’ Handicap Hurdle only featured four runners. The Cider Maker was a warm order at even money to get punters off to a flying start to the season. There were plenty of bets but only one that might be described as ‘of note’ that I heard of and that was an even £400. Let’s hope the punter has plenty more where that came from because it stayed with the bookie, as did the majority of punters’ money when East Hill sprang a 20/1 surprise for the Tizzard yard. The bookies allowed themselves a roar for that one which had some of them crowing into their computer screens.

Fill the hod...

It’s funny what you overhear on racecourses. After the din of the cheering bookies I heard a rather loud London accented voice over my left shoulder. I’d guess it was his first visit to the Somerset track, he had a weird observation; ‘Everyone here has a stick’ he barked, sneering slightly at the sea of tweed, admittedly some of it propped up with walking aids made of wood. Also it is true that the demographic on a week day is leaning to the grey but hardly a negative. He didn’t add to his statement but I was already half hoping it was his £400 dropped in the opener!

Who ever it was dropped the ‘rouf’ they didn’t attempt to chase it up with similar stakes in the next, The Wincanton Handicap Chase. Once again only four went to post, this time Polisky was sent off jolly at 7/4 and once again the Tizzard yard came to ruin the favourite-backers party, this time with Gentleman John though at 4/1 hardly the bookies’ bonanza of the opener.

Regular readers might have read in my previous Exeter Blog that a lilly-livered bookie turned down a monkey bet on a 7/2 chance. Of course I didn’t mention any names. One bookmaker marched up to me and glaring down asked; ‘Who was this ‘lilly-livered’ bookie you wrote about in your blog then?’ I replied that I didn’t know, I just knew of the event, to which amazingly he looked a little miffed then burst into a smile and declared ‘It was me!’. Once again I won’t name him but he showed no shame. Tall Boy,  what’s on?  That’ all I have to say!

The third heat on the six-race card was the  Horsington Handicap Hurdle. It went to Regulation the 9/4 jolly and brought smiles back to the faces of those who kept faith with the market leaders. It won in some style too, I ducked out of the ring sharpish before any tales of woe started on the front row.

The rails they bet....

The race before the penultimate, the Shepton Mallet Novices’ Handicap Chase saw Philip Hobbs’ He’s A Bully sent off the 5/4. We were informed over the public address that should the gelding win it would provide Richard Johnson his 100th winner of the season. That may well have encouraged some of the money that piled on, including a bet of £1100-£800. The bookmaker that laid it had an opinion, ‘This one won’t win, it won’t go past’ he said with some conviction as he tucked the readies in a safe place.

He’s A Bully won by nine lengths thus providing Richard, or apparently ‘Dickie’ to his ‘mates’ calling him home, with his century. The bookie did his money, but I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to be on the winner at short odds next time out in similar company, the others lost their races in my humble opinion.

Spot the walking sticks?

There was all sorts of drama before the penultimate. Now it’s not that unusual for a loose horse to cause a bit of mayhem prior to a race, but it is when it’s a faller from the previous. Emma Lavelle’s Well Rewarded had parted company with his jockey and remained elusive in attempts to catch it since. Post time loomed and still the gelding was having the time of its life making his would be captors look more like the Keystone Cops than horsemen. Such was the guile of the beast that post time for the 4.45 came and went. It was not until the genius idea for Demographic, a runner in the next and the fugitive’s stable-mate, to be brought to where Well Rewarded had been corralled that he was captured, and with some ease too.

Racecourse commentator Richard Hoiles suggested that we might have seen a future Grand National winner in Well Rewarded, I assume as such was his stamina and resilience,  prices please bookies. In the meantime betting had been quite lively. Most of the money had piled onto Barton Antix including a £1200-£1000 a brace of £500-£400’s and £600-£400’s and a £780-£600, that’s 13/10 to save you trying to work it out. Now there’s not many people that have backed a winner at that price on a UK racecourse, but that punter did. The Castle Cary Handicap Hurdle went to the jolly and had the bookies now well on the back foot.

The minute you realise another bogey has gone in and the 'Blue Light Safety System' has let you down.

Much to the racecourse’s credit the Redlynch Maiden Hurdle only went off 5 minutes late. Fourth Act was the hot favourite at an SP of 4/6 to give the Tizzards a treble with bets of £1600-£2200 and a couple of £400-£600 struck. It won, the Tizzards got their treble and the bookies ended up on the wrong side of the afternoon.

The layer that owned up to being the one that turned down the monkey bet at Exeter collared me after the race and was keen to point out that he’d laid a £400-£500 the winner. He had surely redeemed himself?

Well you’d like to think so until his neighbour piped up, ‘Yes but I laid the other half of the man’s bet!’

(c) Simon Nott

I’m off to Ascot for Champions Day tomorrow. Look out for my Tales in the next issue of Racing Ahead Magazine

If you are watching the racing on Channel 4, keep your eyes peeled as there’s a good chance I’m going to be interviewed about these blogs and the betting ring, a couple of minutes at most I’d imagine so don’t blink!

Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 20/10/15


This is now an archive. My regular blogs can be found at www.simonnott.co.uk

I also write an exclusive ‘Tales’ for Racing Ahead Magazine each month, please support the magazine that supports me.

On the face of it the card at Exeter didn’t look all that great, six races which included a favourite forecast at prohibitive odds-on, a bumper and a match to conclude. It seemed some bookies were put off turning up but the crowd appeared to be a very healthy size, maybe the good weather brought them to the top of Haldon Hill.

I was in someone’s bad books before racing. Richard ‘Tall Boy’ Watson shouted across the ring and called me a ‘troublemaker’. I know, I was horrified too, that’s a bit of an insult to make to a champion of the betting ring but that’s what he called me. He then came up and handed me a bit of card with the legend ‘Lilly Livered’ written on it with a marker pen and asked if I’d like it back. Well I had to tell him in all honesty that I had no idea where it had come from and that it certainly wasn’t mine. He said it had just come from his joint, someone had stuck it there. It seems that the mention I made in my previous blogs about a bookmaker less than keen to take a £500 bet had got around and that my thinly disguised description of him meant it was now common knowledge his liver was lilly. In fairness to me he seemed quite happy that I name him in the last blog. At least my character was redeemed to a certain extent in that he eventually believed it wasn’t me.

With that he started to circumnavigate the betting ring casting an accusing eye over his bookmaking brethren. It was only after pretty much all and sundry had been the focus of his his glare that Steve Copplestone owned up to the crime. Not much news in that you may think, well Steve is Tall Boy’s right-hand-man. Just goes to show you never know from whence the knife might come. Anyway I’m sure all readers will be pleased to know that is the end of the ‘Lilly Livered’ trilogy. If you want the kudos and bravado of being bluffed a lumpy one, you know where to go!

It wasn't me Gov.

It wasn’t me Gov.

Lumpy ones were in evidence in the opening  Racing UK Profits Returned To Racing Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Hurdle. Paul Nicholls’ The Eaglehaslanded was lumped on by an odds-on backer. Exeter bookies absorbed the onslaught of cash, including a couple of bets of £3000 and another brace of grands. Despite those bets the jolly’s price drifted from 4/9 to 4/7 when money came in for David Pipe’s For ‘N’ Against’ supported from 9/4 into 2/1 but to lesser amounts. It did seem as if the odds-on punter was going to leave it behind when the favourite was headed three out. The books wouldn’t have had time to start counting their winnings because The Eaglehaslanded rallied and as commentator, the ever excellent  Richard Hoiles so descriptively put it, started ‘Nostrilling’ ahead on the run in, the nostril having become a neck at the line.

The Ilfracombe Food Service Handicap Hurdle was a more competitive affair betting-wise with both Drifter and Prince Of Poets backed to 11/4, the later saw a bet of £3000-£1000 struck. There was also money for Only Gorgeous 11/1 into 8/1. Those backers can consider themselves unlucky because Kevin Bishop’s Cruise In Style got up in the shadow of the post under a terrific ride from James Best to thwart their bets. At 16/1 the winner was a right result for the bookies who allowed themselves a cheer.

Don't look at the camera, don't look at the camera....

Don’t look at the camera, don’t look at the camera….

Only four went to post for the Racing UK Anywhere Novices’ Hurdle with Paul Nicholls’ Abidjan the 2/13 favourite having been backed from 1/6. A couple of punters had £600 on to win £100 and trousered their money without work with the minimum of worry easing down at the finish.

The seven-runner race before the penultimate Betfred Mobile Handicap Chase was another lively betting heat, with Caulfields Venture backed from 13/2 into 5/1 and Dursey Sound from 7/2 into 11/4. Someone also had a monkey on David Pipe’s Border Breaker at 10/3. Dursey Sound’s backers had the shock of their lives when their fancy nearly came down at the first, Richard Johnson did well to stay on board but the gelding never really recovered eventually finishing fifth. The monkey punter left it with the bookie, I assume not Tall Boy, as his fancy never really got into the race. It was Caulfields Venture’s backers that proved to be the shrewd cookies when Emma Lavelle’s charge won a shade cosily from 8/1 shot Danandy.

When I see a camera i give it Zoolander!

When I see a camera I give it ‘Zoolander!’

Every now and again something happens in racing that nobody present has seen before, and so it was in the Racing UK Day Pass Just 10 ‘Junior’ Standard Open NH Flat Race. Castle Cavalier got rid of 7lb claimer Ciaran Gethings in the paddock and in doing so injured him so there was no way he could ride (let’s hope he’s not too badly hurt). With the rest of the field down at the start it was announced that Gavin Sheehan would take over as a late jockey change. The gelding had to be re-saddled then Sheehan weighed out before joining the others and taking part in the race. Now I say nobody present had seen it before but I’m more than happy to be told if it has occurred elsewhere in recent years.

In the meantime there had been a whisper that Harry Fry thought a lot of his 4/1 shot Water Willow but all the money was for William Knight’s Russian Approval backed from a (very) early 9/2 into 2/1. That money stayed with the bookies when jockey Richard Johnson seemed unable to get the horse into the race. That was mainly because Dennis O’Regan took the initiative with 5/1 shot Golden Gate Bridge making all and winning by a couple of lengths for trainer Mark Pitman. Water Willow had come with a dangerous looking challenge only for it to be repelled inside the final furlong. Armaloft Alex was on the runner up though not present, his text message rued the luck that Mark Pitman should chose today to have his first winner since Monsignor in the early naughties and deprive him, indeed, that’s the way the mop flops but those that kept faith in the Pitman yard were rewarded at 5/1.

Exeter they bet

Exeter they bet

Sponsors Betfred must have been a bit gutted that only two went to post for their Best Mate Beginners Steeple Chase and the £5000+ prize money. Some of the bookies didn’t appear too keen either and a few firms, I assume having copped their whack already, upped sticks and left before the match took place. As soon as the betting opened on course, at around 5/6 Chase The Wind and evens Dragon’s Den a punter waded in to a front row layer and asked for an even £6000. At the off the jolly had hardened to 8/13 with Dragon’s Den at 5/4. The punter was right and the market wrong, Dragon’s Den won as it liked though hopefully the bookie kept his nerve and hedged advantageously.

Well I would say that, I champion the bookies, all of them, even lilly-livered ones – come racing and do betting battle with them, eyeball to eyeball much more fun that tapping on a computer.

(c) Simon Nott

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

Fancy a free bet with Victor Chandler and you don’t already have an account? Click here >There is such a thing as a free bet!

Tales From The Betting Ring – Salisbury 30/09/15


Eight races in glorious sunshine but a deceptively cold wind kicked off with the Francis Clark British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes where betting revolved around three runners, two of which came in for some support. Stargazer attracted a couple of decent bets on the rails, £4000-£2000 and £1875-£1000 while a chap was seen lumping on Past Master. Some books kept tight-lipped about what they laid but others stood for £2750-£1000 and £2500-£1000 while one hapless layer in Tatts got sorted out with a £900-£300. I say sorted out because the gamble was landed on the latter in some style with Stargazer nearly three lengths back in second. In other words the bookies had no chance.

Proudly keeping Brian's name alive, who in turn proudly kept his dad's name alive.

Proudly keeping Brian Edward’s business alive, who in turn proudly kept his dad’s name alive.

There was a tiny whisper for the unlikely looking 100/1 shot Love In The Dark in the Wilkins Kennedy British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes (Div 1). The news was greeted with some laughter in the Press Room, one wag saying that the filly would be more suited to 2 miles over hurdles. Some bookies on course appeared to agree with the brave few offering 150/1 near the off. Anyone who followed the tip lost their money but any bookmaker who laid the top prices each-way would have had a twitch or two Love In The Dark ran very decent race, a place not out of the question two furlongs out.

Up at the business end of the betting, the market got it totally wrong when Mootaharer was backed from 7/2 into 5/2 including a bet of £2500-£1000 while Royal Reserve drifted from 7/4 to 9/4 despite a bet of £3000-£1500 struck on the rails before winning by a length. Bookmaker Andrew Wrench gleefully reported that much-maligned and now often redundant floorman of aging years had backed the winner, but taken 13/8. Poor Mossy was in earshot too, sometimes these bookies can be so cruel, especially after doing their money.  Not so bad as for the William Dampier pub in Yeovil, apparently when Mossy goes racing the boozer seriously consider laying off staff. Allegedly.

A winning smile from Mossy though Andrew Wrench copped a 'def un' when asked if his bet stuck at 13/8 was 'BOG'!

A winning smile from Mossy though Andrew Wrench copped a ‘def un’ when asked if his bet stuck at 13/8 the 9/4 winner was ‘BOG’!

The second division of the maiden saw a stronger favourite in River Echo backed from 2/1 into 7/4 including bets of £800-£400 and £3500-£2000 though it was White Shaheen that got the ring all a jitter supported from 20/1 into 9/1. That would have been even worse for the exchange layers that I’m reliably informed laid as big as 59/1 but it was all academic in the end as it never troubled the judge. As is turned out all the aforementioned layers copped because 4/1 (from 5/1) Tafteesh won the race with the jolly back in fourth. One bookie did lay a bet of £4000-£50 each-way Topology which I assumed he stuffed in his back pocket for dinner on the way home.

The end of the ‘first half’ was the Bathwick Tyres Andover Claiming Stakes in which Derulo was backed from 7/2 into 11/4 and won easily. It would have been another nasty result for the ring but there was a dearth of notable bets after the previous hearty betting action. One bookmaker called me over and told me that ‘One of the grand punters backed the winner in the course betting shop’. I’m sure that went down well with Betfred, not so much the bookies though he’s probably excused, after all he backed the winner and Fred’s pockets are deeper.

On the end for value.

On the end for value.

Part two’s opener was the Weatherbys Hamilton Handicap which featured nine runners. Raw Impulse was returned the 5/2 favourite with Think Ahead snapping at its heels in the market at 3/1. Unsurprisingly betting revolved around the two, one Tatts layer went 7/2 Think Ahead ‘because the man’s a regular punter’ and got filled in, two other Tatts books laid £1500-£500 then had to watch it win. It wasn’t all bad news though, one rails book laid a £5000-£2000 Raw Impulse so kept that. Another rails layer called out that he had been slaughtered and was losing 6-0. His clerk pointed out that there had only been 5 races to which he replied ‘It feels like six’. His neighbour wasn’t so charitable and spat out through the side of his mouth that you are pretty certain to be ‘slaughtered’ if you go 3/1 just because the machine is 3.1/1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the value these days is not at home on your computer but on course, come racing, no commission and (almost) exchange prices.

Pitch One on the Rails will lay you.

Pitch One on the Rails will lay you.

It didn’t get any better for the bookies in the race before the penultimate, the Bathwick Tyres Conditions Stakes. The 5/2 favourite Projection won the race under Ryan Moore. It wasn’t all one way traffic in the betting though, Tabarrak was backed from 7/2 into 3/1 and finished second. There had also been money for Elronao with a punter having a monkey with two books simultaneously at 10/3 but left it behind, with both of them. ‘I had that race by the bollocks’ declared a beaming Armaloft Alex, ‘I backed them both so put both arms up, and also had the forecast.’ Luckily for the rails books the bigger punters ‘Left us out’ with nothing of note reported for the winner. Bo Brown is one to stick his neck out when he doesn’t fancy one and admitted; ‘I stood the rag for £7000 and still lost on the race, that’s not clever!’

Armaloft celebrates his 'by the bollocks' race in nonchalant fashion.

Armaloft celebrates his ‘by the bollocks’ race in nonchalant fashion.

The penultimate Vanarama Challenge Handicap was a competitive 14-runner affair and went to Little Palaver. The winner was backed from 7/1 into 6/1 but not to lumpy money. There were a couple of chunks reported in the ring including a £4000-£500 Extrasolar and £5250-£1500 Memories Galore but the general consensus was business had dropped off markedly, the eight-race factor.

On the penultimate.

On the penultimate.

That eighth race was the flip-started  Bathwick Tyres Bournemouth Handicap. Rails bookie Joe Oliver moaned that he was losing so much that if the last favourite won he wouldn’t be able to pay. His clerk ‘Q’ Cumber (geddit?) rolled his eyes and probably thought what I said, ‘Oh well you’ll just have to sell one of your houses’. Joe gave that pained look. Probably not as pained as when Fitzwilly the 11/4 jolly won the race I’d imagine, I couldn’t bring myself to go and check. Although he was exaggerating you’d not want to have been a bookie trying to earn a crust this afternoon, plenty of money fielded but plenty more in addition given back.

Poor bookies!

(c) Simon Nott

A sad footnote to the day’s action. We were greeted with terrible news on our arrival at Salisbury today. The recently retired and much loved and respected SP validator of several decades Jim Dimmock has died. Thoughts go out to his family and many friends on the racecourse he will be sadly missed. R.I.P Jim. 

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

 

 

 

Dubai Duty Free International Friday- Newbury 18/09/15


Several of my Westcountry bookie mates were missing from Newbury with Newton Abbott racing today too. The ring wasn’t exactly thin though with the rails spilling down past the gap. The crowd wasn’t thin either, it looked like a great turnout for a Friday and the eight-race card.

The opening Al Basti Equiworld EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes saw some lively betting, one firm on the rails laid a £5000-£100 each-way Sweet Dream Lady which stayed with him as she could only beat one home. At the business end of the market there were decent bets for Fighting Temeraire including a £2500-£1000 and Operative, backed from 2/1 into 13/8 but they too stayed with the bookmakers. It wasn’t all good news though, a couple of firms ran into 5/1 winner Christchurch at 11/2 including a bet of £2000-£360, for new readers or racecourse novices, that bet was with the ‘fractions’. If you don’t know about them but want to bag the on-course value you should read this Always ask for fractions.

Same pitch, meeting after meeting.

Same pitch, meeting after meeting.

The second race, the Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Handicap was the sort of heat where you have to feel sorry for the bookies. The forecast favourite Satellite was weak in the market drifting from 11/8 to 2/1 before settling at 15/8, Keep In Line was the one they wanted against him backed from 9/2 into 7/2 including four monkeys and a £1600-£400. There was a neck between them at the post with the latter getting the money but the rest were a huge 17 lengths away, in short the bookies had no chance, but at least they got the jolly beaten. Of course they had to get it in the book to cop first.

A Friday at the races better than a day in the office, shop, factory, country estate....

A Friday at the races better than a day in the office, shop, factory, country estate….

The Dubai Duty Free Handicap only attracted four runners to compete for its £25,000 prize money. The only one the punters wanted to be on was  Memorial Day. Some backers got on at 6/5 and even money but there were still takers at the starting price of 8/11. At the line it was 5/2 winner Fractal that was too good for the short-one. You might think that the books would have been over the moon. Well of course the ones that just wanted to get the jolly in the book and hope to get it beaten were, especially the ones that got it in at the wrong price. Others were less than pleased. One firm on the rails was disgusted by his fellow bookies generosity; ‘Look at the best prices the heroes bet to’ he spat; ‘we bet well over-broke’. Another tool in your on-course armoury is knowing when the bookies are betting badly, which is goodly for punters. It’s not often a bookmaker let’s us in on their trade secrets but Ben Keith of Star Sports has done just that in a recent blog. Check it out here, but not until you have finished reading this of course. Ben’s Blog – Percentages

The bookies got another odds-on shot beaten in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Conditions Stakes. There had been a few quid about for Special Season ensuring it went off at 8/13 but it proved no match for Stormy Antarctic the 9/2 second-in. One firm on the rails who likes to advertise ‘money without work’ had obviously taken a chance the jolly because he was roaring home somebody named ‘George’, ‘Aye Aye George’ ‘Good Lad George’ and all the rest of it, arm aloft in triumph. I’m assuming they are related given the familiarity to Mr Baker who rode it to victory. One of Bo Brown’s punters wasn’t as chuffed with the ride Pat Cosgrave gave the favourite, he even took the time to come back to Bo’s joint and tell him so, ‘He rode like a wally’ was his politer than you might expect comment. No so polite was his comment that followed about what he’d like to do to him, but we won’t go there and Bo still had his money.

'Uh huh huh, well it's one for the money....'

‘Uh huh huh, well it’s one for the money….’

Weirdly there were no shouts with triumphant arm aloft from the bookies  of ‘Aye Aye Frankie’ and ‘Good Lad Frankie’ when Frankie Dettori won the Dubai Duty Free Cup on 5/2 favourite Hathal. There were plenty from the punters though, not so weirdly.

Betting had only just got underway for the five-runner Dubai Duty Free Full Of Surprises EBF Stallions Fillies’ Conditions Stakes when a lady approached a front row Tattersalls layer and asked for a fiver on each of the runners. The bookmaker smiled and agreed to lay the requested wagers. He waited until the lady was out of earshot before he confided to me that it was the second time she had done it. The rumours that they later offered to send a car around to pick her up and bring her to the races tomorrow proved unfounded. I imagine the look on her face when she came to draw her fiver and some shrapnel after 8/11 favourite Nathra won the race deterred them from anything so mercenary.

‘Which one is Frankie on?’ was the question on several lips when betting commenced for the penultimate Al Basti Equiworld Handicap (Div 1). He was on Bnedel backed from 11/4 into 9/4 despite having an unpronounceable name, they probably just asked for number 7. Despite the money for Frankie’s mount there was a right old stick on Credit Swap from 20/1 into 8/1. The latter beat the former but sadly for their backers they finished seventh and eighth respectively.  Kastini the 11/4 second-in won the race with some ease so no good for the books, at least that vindicated the decision of a couple prominent rails firms to take early baths before the race.

You can still be on, the lucky lucky last.

You can still be on, the lucky lucky last.

The lucky last was the 6pm. ‘Too late for this crowd’ lamented Rocky on the rails. It did seem that business had dwindled somewhat but there were still bets about including a £3000-£1000 Berland which went off as 2/1 market-leader. There was another too. ‘I’ve laid three-and-a-half monkeys Star System’ volunteered one rails layer, who went on ‘The guy never backs a loser’ he gazed into his computer screen and uttered the fate-tempting words, ‘it’s OK though this one is already 20/1 on the machine in running’.

A minute or so later the guy still hadn’t backed a loser, in fact he’d backed the easiest winner of the afternoon. ‘I can’t believe it’ bemoaned the bookmaker. One has to assume he hadn’t availed himself of the 20/1 in running. As he was packing up all glum-faced the presentation came on over the loud-speakers. Huge congratulations to the winning owner who had flown all the way in from Kentucky USA especially to see his horse run.

Wouldn’t it be nice if they gave that sort of information out before the race.

(c) Simon Nott

My  book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring/dp/0992755409/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A21IPGCYKI6061

Fancy a free bet with Victor Chandler and you don’t already have an account? Click here >There is such a thing as a free bet!

 

 

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