Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 22/03/13


It was tipping it down when I left Devon and by all accounts blizzard-like up in the frozen north. Newbury’s weather was in something of a limbo. Wet without really pouring, very cold and just plain miserable. The bookies that did brave it made a sorry sight huddled under their umbrellas. It was definitely a day for the hardy and the hardcore on both sides of the punting fence. There was some sizeable punting going on though despite the outwardly desolate appearance of the ring. Maybe those money-buyers who lumped it on Pay The King at 2/5 wished they had stayed home in front of the fire when the 33/1 shock winner meant that they were paying the bookies.

One Tatts layer obviously got his and adopted the ‘cop it and hop it’ approach leaving after just the one race. It has to be said getting some envious looks from other bookies’ members of staff as they went. It was raining quite heavily on the run-up to the second race. One of the bigger punters looked like he really had to force himself from his seat in the stands down to the rails and back. He gave me a nod and wry smile on his return. I hoped it was worth it, he agreed. Judging by the look on his face and staying firmly in his seat after Frontier Spirit won we can guess that it wasn’t.

Race three saw another jolly beaten sinking three of four three-figure bets with it. Another firm were soon  packing up and heading off to somewhere warmer.  Not Paul Gold betting as Pickwick, he just gave me a distraught border-lining on despairing look when I asked if he’d laid the loser.

If the game was get the short one beaten then pack up, the three-horse race wasn’t the one to be doing it in. All those annoying betting shop punters who tap their noses knowingly pointing out that an outsider of three has just won wouldn’t have been doing it after jolly Bennys Mist made virtually all to amble home.

David Pipe’s Shotavodka attracted a four-figure bet at 7/2 in the next, it justified the support. By this point there was just a Hunter  Chase and Conditional Jockey’s race to bet on and the temperature plunging. More than enough reason for several more firms to go AWOL and the punters to lose interest all together. It was one of those days where you wonder if you really needed to be there.

One racegoer was loving it though, mind you he had spotted the number one at he furlong pole was upside-down and said that was the highlight of his day. That would be a bit unfair really, any day at the races has to beat most days elsewhere, just maybe not today….

7am inspection tomorrow.

Simon Nott

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