Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 19/03/13


The betting ring at Exeter was humming with tales of Cheltenham as bookies set up for business before racing. Which ever way you looked at it, today’s business was going to be somewhat less chunky and frenetic as it had been at the festival. The six-race, small-field card and forecast nasty weather didn’t really auger well for a big crowd so expectations were modest. My shrewd pals in the ring said their ratings put the short ones top in the first four races. My eyes must have lit up as it was quickly added that no bet was advised due to the modest ratings and general average class of the combatants.

As always their advice was heeded, and profited on, or rather not lost on. Their selection and jolly in the opener Lauberhorn was beaten into fourth place behind My Viking Bay. The winner was backed from 5/1 into 4/1  but not to any noted money. Between races I did spot an ex, but still very active in racing, bookie chatting to a very long-standing professional punter. I did sort of wish I could lip-read what the tweed clad ex-layer and huge-binocular wielding punter were chatting about. Of course it could have easily have been the cost of pasties so let the curiosity pass.

By the time the second race was run you had to admire the hardy folk that populate Exeter Racecourse on days like today. It was tipping it down, but that didn’t deter those keen to have a bet. Mostly the punters were fairly well wrapped up in country clobber to keep out the elements but at least one guy was wandering around in shirt sleeves, seemingly impervious to the icy rain. Maybe he was too preoccupied getting involved  on another stick-on. This time the gamble was on Colin Tizzard’s Buckhorn Tom, backed from 11/4 into 2/1 and landed, beating the favourite into second. One punter managed to get a £900-£300 the winner early, come racing for value.

The third race was a six-runner affair with two horses flip-flopping around the even money mark 16/1 the field. Considering their customers had braved hideous weather to attend the course and bet with them rather than sit at home in front of the TV or a nice warm betting shop the majority of the ring let them down. Only half a dozen layers bet to the traditional odds of 1/4 a place while the others went 1/5th. The market leaders finished first and second so the place money stayed in the hods, you’d hope those that played the game fielded the vast majority of it.

The rain let up a bit for the next four-runner event. Gemini Ahhs was sent off the bottle-on jolly supported by a couple of fairly chunky bets but the layers kept the readies. The Nick Williams trained, Jane Williams owned, and Lizzy Kelly (daughter of the owner) ridden Wayward Frolic made all to land a family victory at odds of 15/2. Anyone who read my Cheltenham blogs might remember that our mate and racecourse regular ‘Armaloft Alex’  escaped a slip of the finger financial disaster by the skin of his nose working for a bookie on day one. It wasn’t attributed to that incident but he was at the festival in an unemployed capacity after that. He is a well-known face connected with the Genius of George Nympton’s yard but it was a surprise to see him one of the first to welcome the triumphant horse and jockey back into the winners’ enclosure. Nothing too strange about that in itself but he was also carrying a bucket, has his rick meant he sought a new job as lad at the yard?  Watch this space!

Exeter 190313

(c) Simon Nott

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