Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 30/04/13


The first of two evening meetings to close the season at Exeter attracted a very decent crowd. Though there was one familiar face missing, bookie Paul Metcalfe who bets under the name of Jack Bevan. His right-hand man Ian was there with a brace of young ladies but no sign of the boss. It turned out that he’s laid up for some time after breaking his ankle. Ian said that he came back from doing his cobblers at a point to point (6 out of 7 jollies went in chipped another layer), marched into the kitchen and promptly slipped on the freshly mopped floor. He immediately felt that his ankle hurt a bit, but was quite taken back to see on further examination that his foot was pointing in the opposite direction to what it really should have been. Nasty. Let’s hope it heals in double-quick time, meanwhile Ian is holding the fort and will keep us all informed. It was also pointed out that as ruggedly  handsome as Paul may be, the girls are easier on the eye, so it’s not all bad for the punters.

Talking of which, there has been a change in the ring, well several to be honest, one bookie has changed his trading name to ‘Billy No Mates’. I’m told in reaction to a heated argument over several beers with fellow layers over place terms that have been well documented in these blogs. Billy no mates or not there was no evidence of anyone at all in the ring betting to anything other that traditional place terms today which is a right result for everyone especially the betting ring. Let’s hope that’s a corner turned.

50 years of going to Exeter races may have passed Badger by but that’s more than can be said for any stray note. He has long been the undisputed king of the ‘scoops’. For the uninitiated that is stray money floating around the betting ring dropped by clumsy punters. It is said that in his prime he could hear a note hit the floor from 20 paces. He told me he’d bagged his first scoop of the day before racing. He copped a score in the street so thought his luck must be in. It dawned on him that the strategy of  the evening was going to be keeping his eyes on the floor for further booty and not on the bookies the more traditional way of leaving the races better off than you went there. He kept it up too, all night as far as I could see, looking very determined.

As far as the racing went, not one favourite won. Maybe the Gambling Gods small reward for the Exeter bookies playing the game at long last? Probably not of course.

Ascot bound tomorrow.

Simon Nott

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