The strange tale of Colonel Gazimes


Here is one of my favourites, I had half forgotten it but it is true, the bookmaker in question is sadly no longer with us. He was very proud of being a third generation bookie and the heritage that went with it. This is in tribute to him. Please feel free to comment. There are loads more where this came from, let me know if you’d be interested in reading them. Thanks. Si

Newton Abbot

28/05/02

Considering the results, Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy on target with hotshot favourite Golden Alpha in the first and Ron Hodges with 7/4f favourite in the next the local Newton Abbot bookies were in fine fettle on Tuesday. The crowds were nowhere near the size of Saturday but still respectable and it seemed there was one special man in their number. A mysterious man, a very shrewd, feared by the layers rarely seen ex military gent who apparently only appears on quiet punting days, the Colonel.

The third race was a typical example of this stealthy man’s shadowy punting power. Epsilo de la Ronce was the short priced favourite in the hunter, many of the books fancied getting him beaten but the punters were slow in coming forward to back him.

The ring was relatively calm until the alarm went up in the shape of  a bellow from one of the prominent front row bookies ‘Yes you’ve got that’. he hollered ‘£1250-£1000, down to Colonel Gazimes’, the ring was suddenly in a fluster, floormen were scampering around the ring and prices were shortening in a flash. The bookmaker who laid ‘the Colonel’ was good enough to accommodate the punters who had been waiting in front of his joint before slashing the odds after laying the big bet. Those who had been waiting for bigger prices were happy to take the 5/4 before it disappeared, especially after such an astute man had placed such a large bet.

The Colonel was wrong in that race, but his bet finished second behind Justin Mac at 7/1. The favourite went off at evens.

The Colonel was not in evidence in the next though those hardy odds-on punters were but had their fingers seriously burnt when 30/100f Old Marsh could only finish third behind the Pipe duo of winner Epicure and Delaware, the bookies were the only winners though as Gerry Supple rode the winner at 14/1 with stable jockey AP McCoy on the supposedly better fancied second. Pipe on a double.

McCoy quickly made up for his lapse by providing Ron Hodges with a double too On Morstock at 3/1f in the Handicap Chase.

The betting on the second hunter chase of the day was a bit slow, or at least was until the Colonel made his second appearance, at least some claimed to have seen him, this time he had a ‘monkey’ on a middle pin, the same bookmaker called the bet loud enough for it to have been heard in Torquay, ‘Ye Colonel Gazimes four monkeys you have got!’, once again the odds tumbled and punters rushed to get on after standing back waiting for bigger prices. Not all those wanting a bet were following the astute old gentleman though, Blazing Miracle was quietly nibbled in the ring from 14/1 into 10/1. Brown Chieftan was sent off at 2/1f but was pulled up after 4 out. The finish looked to be between Bomba Charger and O So Bossy but Richard Woollacott came from a long way back on the gamble to foil the pair of them in the shadow of the post.

The last race looked a tricky one, Lakefield Leader and Granny Rich were sent off the 4/1 joint favourites in a field of only eight. Being the last race there was some spirited betting. I kept an eye out for the Colonel, I was interested to see how this venerable old gent looked but he was nowhere to be seen, no doubt enjoying a cognac with one of his trainer friends. Kippanour won the slog through the mud under Roddy Greene at 11/2.

Curiosity got the better of me on the way to the car park. I happened to pass the bookmaker who had laid the Colonel his large bets over the heads of the cash punters. I enquired into the identity of ‘Gazimes’, the layer stopped, mopped his brow and looked at me with a twinkle in his eye. ‘Ahh Colonel Gazimes, well I’m not too sure, he has appeared during quiet betting heats ever since my Grandfather’s day’, he grinned and went on, ‘It’s funny he always seems to get the punters interested after he’s had his punt!’ With a wink he was on his way smiling from ear to ear.

© Simon Nott

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Colin Phillips on December 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Who was that masked man?

    Colin

    Reply

  2. Posted by mick nestor on December 24, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Like this Simon, as many have always suspected there are phantom punters to help bookies bulge the sathcel . Happy to read more.

    Reply

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