Where’s Jack? A cold day at Taunton Races.

Taunton 3rd March 2005

Taunton was perishing cold on Thursday, though that swelled the crowd somewhat, at least in the case of plenty of Tiverton builders who had opted for a day at the races instead of building. It was too cold for the cement said one with a sly grin, and who am I to argue.

The bookmakers are used to standing out in all sorts of conditions and have the clobber to go with almost anything that Mother Nature can chuck at them. It has to be said that most would win no prizes as best turned out as a result.

One that fell into that category was Ian who bets under the name of Jack Bevan, he was so wrapped up that even to his mates had a job to see who was under those warm, if rather out-dated wrappings. It certainly fooled one racegoer of advancing years, and it would seem diminishing eyesight. ‘Here, where’s Jack?’ he asked Ian with a quizzed look on his face. Ian is of course the public face of ‘Jack’, who, although the family has bet under that name since 1897, never actually existed.  Quick as a flash he replied, possibly employing a bit of wishful thinking at the same time, ‘Oh he’s home in front of the fire with a large brandy, he only ever sends me out on the cold days’ ‘Oh’ replied the old boy who gave a sympathetic look before taking off, grim faced.

Another bookmaker not so far away was holding a thousand pounds in ten-pound denomination notes, ‘Ruddy tenners’ he moaned ‘Take up so much flaming room in the hod’. With that he rammed them into a compartment well out of view and with any luck, harms way.

Paul Nicholls trained three of the afternoon’s winners which is never good for the bookmakers, but there was a worse result for them around the corner when Jabiru, Tiverton’s favourite racehorse, won the Hunter Chase. Tiverton trainer (and popular pub landlady) Mary Sanderson’s charge won in mighty impressive fashion by five lengths and was backed from 7/2 into 3/1 beforehand to do so. He could be called the winner a long way out and showed none of his previous inclination to jump out to the left, a trait that cost him a race here previously. A roar came from the stands from the posse of Tiverton’s favourite racehorse’s backers and skiving builders, many one and the same, as he passed the post, the silence in the ring at the end of the meeting was in stark comparison.

The bookmaker who complained about the amount of space the tenners took up was tight lipped as he left the track, it can be assumed that the days results had alleviated the problem somewhat.

(C) Simon Nott

I have written a book called ‘Skint Mob’ it is about bookies, punters and racecourse regulars and has been quite well-received. Here’s a review from the Racing Post on Sunday 23rd March.

Review from the Racing Post 23/03/14

Review from the Racing Post 23/03/14

It’s available here on Amazon – Kindle and Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0992755409/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_s7Ymtb0Y2BEBB



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