Premature Celebration Syndrome.


Exeter 07/03/06

Simon Nott

The low cloud that briefly threatened the card at Exeter had lifted and the sun even came out from time to time. The favourite for the first race, In Accord, had been heavily backed from odds against to odds-on. The bookies were on the back foot and feared the worst for most of the race but as the leaders approached the last hurdle it was 8/1 shot El Hombre Del Rio who was in front, he jumped it well and landed as full of running as was possible in the heavy conditions. Bookmaker Bevan did a bit of a spin, peered into his computer and looked up to see the favourite still in second and going nowhere with the leader still a length or so up in the shadow of the post. An arm went up and the cry of ‘Aye Aye’ reverberated around the ring, it’s not certain if that had anything to do with it, but as soon as the last ‘e’ left his lips, the leader faltered at the same time as the ‘jolly’ found top gear and thus himself a neck in front at the line.

Premature celebration syndrome is common in the racing game, if ever there was an affliction that tempted fate and opened one self up to post-race ridicule and embarrassment it is the aforementioned, punters do it all the time, so do bookies but the worst sufferers are those who do it at home in front of the computer, betting at longs odds-on in running.

As soon as Bookie Bevan shouted his celebratory shout it was taken by all the punters who had backed the favourite as a personal jibe, albeit a friendly one, against them, now the tables had been turned and were they ever going to milk it. You have to give the red faced bookmaker his due, for every note he paid out there was a punter having a go at him, once again in a friendly manner, but a go none the less, comments of  ‘Thought, you’d kept my money, didn’t you?’ ‘Shouted a bit soon eh?’ ‘How much did you win on the race?’ were greeted with a smile though gritted teeth and a nod, as soon as the punters were paid out they waited for the prices to go up for the next race.

The favourite-backers were still glowing after their near escape from financial calamity and a few of those holding money won from Bevan stood in a little gaggle in front of his pitch. ‘Come on then, let’s be having your prices’ shouted one gentleman, in response the bookmaker’s face shone a slight shade of red, but this time not though embarrassment. He is the proud owner of a new fangled electrical board so when the prices went up they cast a cheery red glow into his cheeks, giving him a jolly aura. The light wasn’t really strong enough to bathe the punters in the same glow, reflected by their response to the odds-on price his board displayed about the hot 2/5 favourite ‘Heros Collonges’. ‘Here, those aren’t very good prices’ shouted the same wag, not content with barracking on just the price of the favourite, Bookie Bevan smiled and retorted in a fairly loud voice ‘No they aren’t, and that’s why I live in a bigger house than you!’ The punters laughed and waded in to the favourite anyway, while Bookie Bevan was quite happy to accommodate them, financially at least.

As the horses passed the post, not just before the favourite was beaten, but as it was, (he wasn’t making that mistake again), an arm was raised and an ‘Aye Aye’ was called from a pitch bathed in red light, by the time the scenario had been repeated a further five times that afternoon, there was also a bag of money bathed in red light too.

That’ll teach them to mock the afflicted.

(c) Simon Nott

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