Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 17/05/13

Decent weather and what appeared to be a larger than average Friday crowd was the reward for the bookies that turned out for the Scope and SIA Charity Raceday. Getting to the racecourse was harder from some than others. Full marks to Paul Metcalfe, the fourth generation bookmaker that bets under the name of Jack Bevan (a name that has been seen on racecourse betting rings since 1897). He broke his ankle just a few weeks ago but is already back and betting albeit with the aid of a wheelchair. Of course his fellow layers were full of admiration for his gallant refusal to shy out of work. They showed this admiration by christening him ‘Angel’ after the name of the firm that provided his conveyance proudly displayed on the back of his chair. Sick of that moniker he seemed quite relieved when offered the alternative of ‘Ironside’, though only those over a certain age got that one.

The result of the first race wouldn’t have eased his various discomforts. The favourite, Championship, managed to win despite drifting from 15/8 to 5/2. Worst still one layer was reported to have run into a top-priced £5500-£2000. Even worse than that, the main gamble of the race, Man Amongst Men supported from 33/1 into 14/1, was second, only thwarted in the shadow of the post. The second race result was even worse still. Winsili was backed from 5/2 into 2/1 favourite and fair hosed in. The 14/1 winner of the 5/1 the field handicap third race at least stopped the jolly-winning rot.

Armaloft Alex went down to the paddock prior to the fourth. He came back with a spring in his step and quite bullishly announced that the odds-on favourite Oriel didn’t look too special and he certainly wouldn’t be backing her. It was a surprise then to see that at least one firm appeared to be supporting the filly. I rubbed my hands in anticipation of a paragraph belittling my mate’s lack of prowess as a paddock judge when the jolly won by half the track. I should have had more faith, Armaloft was right, Oriel was a big disappointment, at least for her backers, only managing third. One rails bookie appeared to have made a stand against her financially and was soon packing up to go home.

Ninjago was well-backed in the next including a couple of two grand and grand bets. He was another that could only manage third place. That was another rails firm upping sticks and heading home. They were not alone. right down at the other end of the ring another layer was off, they had been offered a £1000 bet all down there, decided to take and stand it and copped the lot. They too were thanking their lucky stars and making a break for it. The winner Zanetto looked to have landed a bit of a touch from around 5/1 into 10/3 but nothing lumpy was reported on course. Prairie Ranger appeared to  landed another nibble, 9/2 into 3/1 in the next but in doing so beat the favourite so not all bad for the bookies.

As is often the case you could see the thinner crowd and feel the apathy by the seventh race. It didn’t help that it was a hard-looking handicap. You could almost hear the bookies snapping  metaphorical  elastic bands around their winnings too. Nobody was going to stick their neck out in a couple of races where field money was going to probably be minimal. Just as well as a second favourite and a favourite obliged for those jolly-backers who had any money left to play with.

Bookies West End Racing from Southampton stuck it out until the end and couldn’t report having done any good on the last two. They did have some good news though. Lewis Brown who stands for his long-standing family firm told me that he is taking part in a run around Fontwell Park to raise money in memory of his Uncle Matt who recently passed away suddenly aged just 45. Anyone who would like to sponsor Lewis can read more about his effort by following this link justgiving.com/westendracing 

It’s back to Newbury tomorrow for their nine-race card. Proper job.

The show must go on for Jack Bevan and Co.

The show must go on for Jack Bevan and Co.

(c) Simon Nott


One response to this post.

  1. A most enjoyable report as always, Simon. Many thanks.
    I always look forward to reading your excellent and lighthearted little essays.


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