Tales From The Betting Ring – Royal Ascot – Wednesday.


The day started not with tales from the betting ring but trying to leave it the previous night. Big Al, one of our mates on course, had a nightmare, he returned to the car park to find he had a flat. No worries, after all he is big and quite able to put a spare on. If he could find one, all that was where the spare should be was a can of foam that he found out was to squirt into punctured tyres. Works pretty well though apparently, he made it back to London and decided to drive back on it today. Who needs air?

Possibly the bloke on the station at Ascot on Tuesday night did. It seems that he was thankfully ‘refreshed’ rather than wanting to end it all when he decided to go running around on the track and have a full on scrap with a tree. The police eventually got him but not before all three platforms were packed with people waiting for delayed trains. Several would-be passengers  had ideas on how to deal with the guilty extremely drunk party, none of which would have been much good for his health.

There were no such problems getting to the races this morning so plenty of time to wander to the extremities. First point of call was right down at the sunshine end of Tatts where Peter O’Toole was betting on the grass. He’s one of the few bookies that still bet without a light board. But who needs one on a day like today. He was doing a nice trade, ‘small but sweet’ and even managed to get gifted a nice chilled glass of wine from a friendly customer.

Peter charms the ladies.

Peter charms the ladies.

I found a familiar face at the other end of the enclosure, Ivor Biggun, he had forsaken a decent pitch in the ring to bet with a handful of his brethren up by the old paddock. It was baking up there but were no complaints from his team or the others in the line from the previous day’s business. Ivor Biggun had a marketing plan to try and get one over on his neighbours. A free badge for the ladies who wagered with him. They had proven to be very popular indeed on the opening day and the cheekiest chap on the track was hoping for the same response today.

Did you get it on with Ivor Biggun?

Did you get it on with Ivor Biggun?

Back up at the big-money end of the ring, the rails, I spotted another blast from the bookmaking past. Steven Little was at first in the Royal Enclosure then wandered into Tatts and stood on an empty rails pitch just down from where the action was taking place. For a minute he looked as if he was missing the halcyon days when he’d take monster bets from all-comers.

If that thought did cross his mind he probably banished it again after 9/2f Gale Force Ten won the opener after looking cooked inside the final furlong. Some serious bets were snatched from the jaws of defeat in the process. Including one from the professional punter who likes to torment the layers. ‘I feel really sorry for that lot’ he said with conviction before gesturing to the crest-fallen line of bookies. That conviction maybe have been a little tongue in cheek judging by the laughing ‘They thought they got it beat’ sucker punch he followed up with.

Duntle won the next at 10/3, not the jolly but well-backed and no good for the bookies either.

With all the Irish winners you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was Cheltenham not Royal Ascot. You don’t usually get the New Zealand Cricket Team at Cheltenham though and their appearance made one Channel 4 racing presenter’s day. They were probably chuffed to meet a cricket fan too because virtually nobody else in my vicinity had a clue who they were. Mind you, that was probably something they didn’t mind too much either. Most eyes were on the betting for the Prince Of Wales Stakes. There was a real buzz about on the rails. Rumours, though they could have just been that, of colossal bets on Camelot as well as some real chunks for market-rival Al Kazeem. Mukhadram was only a neck away from providing a 14/1 dream result, sadly for the layers it was not to be as the latter got the money.

Armaloft Alex had bought a pitch over in the centre of the course. He sent me a text that read, ‘System failure, send more money’, that’s the last I heard of him. I’m guessing things got better, at least most had a skinner in the Royal Hunt Cup which provided a 33/1 life-line in the shape of Belgian Bill.

A colleague of mine owned a leg in a runner in the last. He didn’t tell us about Annecdote when it dotted up at Newbury, he didn’t dare dream it would win the Sandringham today, but she did. So it’s a fact, men nearing retirement age can muster up an Olympic standard sprint to the winner’s enclosure when it comes to greeting your horse after it’s just won at Royal Ascot. Dreams do still come true in the racing game and that’s why we love it.

(C) Simon Nott

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Great stuff ! A nice read. Thank you.

    Reply

  2. Thank you I am glad you enjoyed it.

    Reply

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