Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 01/01/13


Judging by the bleary eyes and slightly jaded look about a few of the Exeter regulars it can be assumed their first gamble of the season was a losing one. Persistent rain in the area on the 31st had lulled some into a false sense of ‘It’s bound to be off’ security when it came to the just one more beer welcoming in 2013. There were three that come to mind ‘Armaloft’ Alex and Q Cumber being the favourites for most hungover award though an ex-jockey who must remain nameless wasn’t far behind in third. I can be smug having learned my lesson the hard way over the years having suffered terribly from that self-inflicted punt.

Exeter had done very well to save the meeting and were rewarded with an excellent crowd. It was a decent enough size even the bookies with pitches down by the Denman bar gathered some staff and turned up to bet. The ruggedly handsome features of Balertwine Barry were a welcome sight. He has been largely on the missing list of late after his long-term boss sold most of his pitches. He didn’t need his trademark waterproofs for most of the meeting though, which was handy.

Armaloft, already behind in the ‘not being on’ stakes, got the double up with a very unfortunate faux pas. He was chatting to one of the few remaining on-course pro-punters when an announcement was made that a driver of a certain vehicle has left his keys in his car. ‘What sort of prat would do that’ enquired the jocular habitual premature celebrator. ‘Umm, that’ll be me’ was the sheepish answer from the usually sharp chap as he scurried off to rectify his mistake.

Despite the brisk business there did seem to be less than new year cheer in the ring. On a couple of occasions a good half dozen books decided to bet 1/6 of the odds a place when traditionally they should have been 1/5. One front-row layer was so aggrieved by the actions of his ring-mates that he posted a notice on his electronic board informing punters that the place terms should be 1/5 so if they were being offered 1/6 the were being ‘ripped off’. On some occasions you can’t blame the bookies for going for the skinny terms but on a bank holiday when the favourite was hovering around evens it did appear slightly cynical. They are entirely within their rights to do it though so ‘ripped off’ may have been a tad strong.

There is one firm one the Westcountry circuit that are mustard on National Hunt form, and they are excited. When they get excited it is worth taking note. They specialise in speed figures and are convinced that they have found one for the World Hurdle at Cheltenham. Reve De Sivola. Nick William’s (the genius of George Nympton) charge not only won the Long Walk Hurdle in impressive style but did so in a time that convinces them he would have made Big Buck’s pull out all the stops had he lined-up. That is good enough for me. Every bet I have between now and Cheltenham is going to include a small double on Reve for the race. Hopefully building into a nice little punt come March.

I race on average 4 days a week, so watch this space for more tales from the betting jungle.

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