Tales From The Betting Ring – Sandown 30/05/13


The Brigadier Gerard Evening at Sandown was pretty much a warm up for the forthcoming two days at Epsom and The Derby for many in the ring. The first race kicked off at 6.10 and the crowd looked pretty thin, though the the punters were still piling in as the runners were sent on their way. At first glance there seemed to be a significant move for Significant Move backed from 9/4 into 2/1. True there was a few quid on it for the rails but when I asked further down the line in Tatts, Suzie, wife and clerk of bookie Paddy Campbell nearly choked on her sandwich when I asked if they’d laid any decent bets in the race. Apparently bets had been thin on the ground, let-alone big ones. The sandwich looked OK though. The money that was taken on the jolly was kept by the layers when it finished nearer last than first.

Business picked up in the next as did the size of the crowd, there was plenty in lumps for the market-leader Steventon Star but once again it stayed with the layers. The move of the race price-wise was for the winner Rizeena supported from 3/1 into 9/4 though that largely appeared to have been the ring following the exchanges. The bookies  brightened up a bit after  the next when Gloomy Sunday  sprang a 20/1 surprise. Well, most of the them did. One bookmaker who likes to shout ‘Money Without Work’ looked very crestfallen and lamented  that he’d had to ‘Back it back on the machine to make it a small winner.’ Trust me to ask what seemed like to only firm not to get a few quid on the race.

The feature and most valuable race of the day only attracted five runners. One bookie down on the bottom end of the rail was enjoying himself having a right old moan. The sun came out, for a few seconds, then ducked straight back behind the clouds again, he had a moan about that. He then had a bit of a moan about how few runners there were in the race. ‘The more prize money they give the few runner there are he grumbled to nobody in particular. Further up the line other layers were getting stuck in with plenty of chunky bets flying about for all but the rag. A lot of it was for the favourite, that was handy for those that filled their hods as it could only finish second,  but not so good for the books that ran into the winner. That hadn’t been hard to to do having been punted from 4/1 into 3/1.  Suzie had just finished her apple in time to report that race had been much better for bets. ‘Money without work’ was buoyant too, reporting he ‘Hadn’t stood for it’.

It was getting a bit dark by the penultimate. Cue miserable bookie down at the bottom of the rail to comment the horses would need headlights for the last race. Meanwhile it was all going on elsewhere in the ring, all over it in fact. The buzz was that there was a guy with a small suitcase full of readies going up the rail and along Tatts having untold bundles of cash on the favourite Montiridge. The weird thing was that the further he went along the bigger the price was getting. Of course, this gave the layers hope that they might cop the lot. Sadly for them, this mystery punter knew more than the machine and was soon back to collect after his fancy hosed in, despite drifting from around evens to 13/8. Maybe the ‘Plastic Bag’ man of yesteryear has been reincarnated, just slightly more upmarket with his choice of  luggage.

Spa’s Dancer attracted plenty of money in the last backed from 5/2 into 2/1. It managed to find its way home in front despite the deepening gloom and the lack of headlights. The last two jollies of the day doing the business took the shine off the day for the books so probably wasn’t the best time for a group of lads, one in particular, to start taking the mickey out of a well-known boards bookie. ‘You’re drunk son’ was his curt reply, he was probably right too, but so was the kid, he did have a big queue to pay out. Still I’m sure he has plenty left for Epsom.

Cash is King on-course.

Cash is King on-course.

(c) Simon Nott

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