Tales From The Betting Ring. Newbury 13/06/13

You only have to look at the results from Newbury’s eight-race card to see that the bookies had it spark bang off today. In fact there are probably a couple moving their tools from the boot of their two-year-old Mercedes into a brand spanking new one they bought with readies from a showroom they happened to pass on the way home. Only two favourites won, and one of them came second, the rest of the winners included 33/1, 20/1, 16/1 and 14/1. The layers could have hardly written in better results themselves.

Add to that, in the very first race it seemed that everyone on the track knew that Toast Of The Town was a certainty. One punter knew it so much that he had £4000 on to win £5000. The bookie that took it even shared it around with his mates in Tatts. He was a bit hasty though, he could have earned out of his hedging had he waited as weirdly it drifted despite bundles going on. Then of course it got beaten. Aye aye for the layers. The next race went to a 14/1 shot, OK Frankie Dettori was on it but still, another result.

The trouble was the crowd did look a bit on the thin side. There were a couple of sizeable punters in the ring but they were it. To make a book you need volume of money on several horses. ‘I don’t know why I am even here’ bemoaned one Tatts bookie. He was there on his own too, talk about skeleton staff. ‘I can’t even take a bet’ his neighbour added. Put this scenario into the mix and you soon realised that every ‘result’ that went in was giving the ring the rub down.

photo (19)

There were lighter moments amongst the doom and gloom that prevailed in some quarters. One punter had a score on the winner of the 6th at 9/2. It won, at 5/1. You might imagine that the chap might have been a bit miffed to have cost himself a tenner. Not a bit of it. Much to the amazement of those around him, not least the bookie who laid the bet, the erstwhile fellow removed his shirt did a couple of laps of the bookies, swinging his T-shirt above his head as he went. On is return he topped off his celebration but getting down and doing press-ups. ‘He looked a bit knackered by then to be fair’ observed the still incredulous bookie.

To show just how poor business was one of the biggest rails layers in the south had legged it by the penultimate. That race went to 14/1 shot Pivotal Silence who just held off the 5/1 jolly by a nose. A delighted rails bookmaker came running up and breathlessly told me that a well-spoken lady had enquired about the price of the horse earlier. He had offered her 16/1, she took that price and then had a whole fist-full of other tenner bets for other named, but unseen, companions. The bookie took the hint and had all that and some back at 20/1, well you have top make a profit. ‘And have had a right touch’, words he managed to get out just before, ‘Ding Dong – Steward’s enquiry’.

These days you wouldn’t normally worry too much. But on this occasion, the winner was long odds-against keeping the race. Our bookie mate that oh so briefly copped the lot looked like a condemned man. He didn’t have to suffer for too long though. The exchanges were right and places were reversed without too much time deliberating. Character building for both the bookie and his lady customer, let’s not forget her.

‘They’ve always run out of money by the last if there are eight races’ piped up Natalie on the rails. She could well be correct, hardly a bet appeared to be struck  before the final kick in the bookies metaphorical goolies. A 20/1 winner, but a skinner when you haven’t taken two bob is hardly a result. Oh well it’s the weekend to come, don’t worry chaps that car dealer will still have the new Mercedes in the window.

(C) Simon Nott.


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