Cheltenham Betting Ring 2011


Tales From The Cheltenham Betting Ring 2011.

The betting rings of Cheltenham’s festival early on the opening Tuesday are one of my favourite places to be all racing year. Many of the bookmaking fraternity have had to curtail their activities on course since the arrival of the betting exchanges and their subsequent courtship, seduction, then near destruction of the on-course market the UK, but they don’t miss the festival. Some firms try to stand out from the crowd, be it with matching jackets, multi-coloured boards, free bets, enhanced place terms or just free sweets. Most are there early and many up and betting on the entire day’s racing a good two hours or so before the first gets underway, and maybe even three hours in the case of one hard-working Irish rails firm.

It’s not just the layers that come out of the woodwork but other characters that appear to go to ground for much of the year, a few ex-bookies were in evidence renewing old acquaintances. One or two of them gave away hints of their non-racing whereabouts, not vocally but with their pallor. Pale and pasty suggesting hours sat in a darkened room pitting their wits against other players on the exchanges utilising the source of their on-course downfall to try and rise from the financial ashes. The sunburned and well-fed who had been seemingly enjoying the fruits of getting out of the game just before it started to go horribly wrong. Punters who used to be regular faces but are now conspicuous by their absence can’t resist the lure of Cheltenham and the rare treat of a ring where a requested fair-sized bet isn’t accepted only after the bookmaker has done the ‘Betdaq Twist’ to ensure he can earn out of it. Hope springs eternal in all quarters, life-changing Yankees are only placed after checking the layer’s maximum liabilities. You only have to be right once and you wouldn’t want your winnings trimmed when all four outsiders went in after all.

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Those were the opening few paragraphs to my Cheltenham Betting Ring report the rest of which can be found in the latest issue 78 April 2011 of Racing Ahead magazine. From all good newsagents or http://www.racingahead.net

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