Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 09/05/13


It was all a bit confusing arriving at windswept and rainy Wincanton for their penultimate meeting of the season. It had definitely been May at Exeter on Tuesday but it did seem Wincanton had rewound to one of the nastier days of February. The bookies were up against it from the start setting up their gear. Most decided against taking on the wind and preferred to risk their computers getting wet rather than getting airborne. That wasn’t a bad decision when you consider the bin-liners handed out by the racecourse for rubbish were blown up like demonic air-bags all along the rails. The clash with Newton Abbot and Goodwood wouldn’t have helped the numbers of bookies in attendance in any case but they were thinner on the ground than expected. No doubt some deciding to sit at home and relight the fire. Those that did brave the elements got their reward in the opener with a 20/1 winner, but most reported business being terrible, so although a skinner for many the result was hardly a bonanza.

News on the rails from Festival Racing, Andy Smith’s daughter Jessica  reported that the weather conditions for his charity bike ride were worse than THAT Paddy Power Sunday at Cheltenham a few years back. He was cold and wet but determined and looking forward to the rest and relative comfort of the ferry crossing. For those that don’t know about his ride please check my last blog here. http://wp.me/p1dLbd-4E 

The second race of the day featured a very short-priced favourite that opened at 1/6. Captain Kelly looked a certainty, certainly to one intrepid punter who braved the wind and rain to invest £300 at odds of 2/11. He never had a moment’s worry but it wasn’t the best bet in the world as the jolly touched 4/11 for a second or two on the rails before sauntering home at 1/4.

A couple of real enthusiasts made their appearance just before the third. One of them, no less than ‘Armaloft’ Alex was talking of a speed-camera busting time from Newton Abbot. That’s just ‘allegedly’ for any policemen that may be reading. It has to be hoped that he didn’t pick up any speeding tickets because he had been hurtling up the A303 in order to see a horse he has a leg in, Addiction, run only to discover it had been a late withdrawal. All was not lost.  Although he managed to keep his arm down he may still have been tempting fate when he shouted ‘Call the police, it looks like I have backed a winner’ to nobody in particular when Hadden Frost scooted in on Bold Perk completing an across the card treble.

Things didn’t improve for the ring when the next two jollies went in and the weather got worse. You also had to feel for the hardy souls that traipsed into the parade ring in their sodden fancy dress to be judged for the prize of a couple of annual members badges. Chris Down’s Nothing Is For Ever won the last, the 7/2 joint favourite, followed home by the other one. Most of the bookies were already dismantling their kit before they looking up to see that they had done their money again.

As the Grease tribute band kicked off down in the bar the course announcer reminded racegoers that next Tuesday is Ladies Day and that he could guarantee better weather. That was a lofty promise. True it would be hard to imagine worse weather in the middle of May, however, unless he has friends in very very high places you have to hope he’s not related to Armaloft tempting fate like that!

photo (8) photo (9)

(c) Simon Nott

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