Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 18/05/13

It appears that my humble blog is read in high places, at least high bookmaking places. I was collared by sharp-suited rails personality Geoff Banks just prior to racing. ‘I thought you said in your blog that everybody won yesterday’ he exclaimed, before adding ‘They all say they lost’ making a sweeping gesture along the rail but at nobody in particular. I replied in my defence that ‘they’ were probably playing down how much they all copped to make him feel better. Geoff had been at York where he admitted to ‘Doing his Niagaras’ but appeared to be relishing the prospect of getting some back from the large crowd that had gathered for Newbury’s nine-race card.

Over in the parade ring bookmaker Jane Hazell was giving some back presenting two cheques of £5000, one to The Injured Jockeys Fund and Meningitis UK raised by the West Of England Bookmakers Association which was a great effort and gratefully received in view of TV cameras.

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Back in the ring things did appear to be bustling, one big-hitting bewhiskered punter was lolloping  around apparently having it on and keeping some of the bigger layers on their toes. It was quite a sight to see the sudden sprint to his joint by one AWOL bookie when he saw this gentleman go into his team. Customer confidentiality is a big priority of course so I have no idea if he backed a winner or not but for most of the races today you would have needed to have been Mystic Meg’s luckier confidante to have done. The afternoon provided results the bookmaking industry dreams of, the sort that are often accompanied by the entwined aroma of burnt fingers and form books.  No favourites obliged, add to that five of the eight races were won by horses with double-figured SPs and you’ve got a ring full of beaming bookies.  Even the Arabian race slotted into the card between the 6th and 7th race went their way. The punters didn’t seem to notice the difference and were quite happy  betting ‘blind’ with equally clueless layers.  As a precaution most firms  were chalking up to a very healthy margin indeed but you could hardly blame them. The race was won by a 20/1 shot

Things did look to have been bad for one particular gent who was seem going from bin to bin having a rummage. It wasn’t clear what he was hoping to find but he seemed very determined. I haven’t spotted him before but was reliably informed that he is a racecourse regular who rarely passes a bin without a delve.

There was no need for the bookies to resort to such desperate measures. Their hardest job of the day must have been trying to keep all those readies stuffed into the hods and not feel too embarrassed by a set of results they could hardly have written in better themselves.

Some punters appeared to get some back in the last when the winner Annecdote was backed from 13/2 into 4/1. The  owner was named in the racecard as Tom Edwards and Partners. It turned out that one of the ‘partners’ is a workmate of mine who had been at Newmarket. He called me after the race so excited that he could hardly spit the words out. ‘Can you save me a racecard?’ I said that I would, then enquired as to what had happened to the phone call advising me to get involved with the punt. He said he didn’t have a penny on.

Hmmm they always say that don’t they, I’ll have to have word with that boy.

(c) Simon Nott


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