Tales From The Betting Ring – Ascot 01/05/13

It was free to get in to the first day of Ascot’s flat season. Plenty of punters took advantage as did quite a few of the betting ring fraternity whose ranks were more numerous than you’d expect for a weekday. It seemed that the plan to get some fresh interest in racing with  free entry had worked with plenty of novice punters about, as well as seasoned ‘bargain hunters’ that you only see out of their comfort zone on exchange days.

The climate at Ascot since they built the new stand is a real case of extremes. The paddock side of the racecourse was basking in sun while much of the ring side shivered in what could have been winter. Bali out the front the Baltic out the back was one observation. The sun that does make it over the stands bathes a few feet  and those feet were rammed sardine-like with people desperate for some sun on their backs.

There did seem to be extremes in the ring too. There were grumbles from Tatts that the business was as you’d expect from a crowd of novices, small. ‘Look at my computer, every bet is a fiver’ bemoaned one layer. There were enough punters in queues to imagine those fivers would have added up mind. This was after the outsider of five had won the second though so maybe it was the thought of what might have been had he been able to go up the front two. Which brings me to extremes, there were some lumps on the rails to keep the books based there on their toes with £3000 and £4000 bets mentioned through the course of the afternoon.

One thing about hanging around in the ring is you get to eavesdrop what people are saying, as well as spot some of the bets going in. One conversation I overheard should worry bookies plying their trade. The vocal would-be punter stood back from the rails and spoke to his mate, something along the lines of, ‘On-course bookies are dead, you might as well just bet on the Internet, they are all exactly the same prices, there is no point looking for a bit of value because there is none there. They are always moaning that they don’t take any money but none of them are prepared to offer a bit back’. It’s by no means the first time that I have heard that sort of thing. Though sadly fairly true there is some value to be had. I saw several negotiations going on with a punter haggling with a layer for a better price. You’ll have to be a valued regular, don’t try it when you are betting two quid and people are queuing to get on around you mind, you might well get short-shrift. The other bit of value that most layers will offer you if you ask them is a ‘fractions’ bet. Learn your fractions, for example 12/1 is 100/8, ask for a bet to fractions and you’ll probably get it. I’ll write a blog on fractions if people are interested. I apologise in advance to bookies – come racing for value.

The finale was am 18-runner handicap, let’s put it this way, this was a race where you did have to shop around and look for value, at least each-way. One plus side to those that miss the hunting around the ring for the best prices with the added bounty of terms on the menu. The next meeting at Ascot is the ‘Race, Rattle and Roll’ meeting, right up me be-bop street – proper job.

photo (4)

(C) Simon Nott


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Martin Carroll on October 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Did you do your blog on fractions ? If where can I check it out ? Many thanks Martin


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