Tales From The Betting Ring – Glorious Goodwood Wednesday


There were quite a few new faces in the press room, you do wonder where they come from sometimes. One particular very pretty face was turning a few more heads than your average new hack would. It was quite humorous to watch certain members of the press stumble and trip as their eyes were averted from where they were going to the lady in red. ‘It makes a change from the miserable grizzled blokes we normally get in here’ commented one very observant bookie’s rep.

You have to feel for the bookies at times, even the very well-heeled. One rails layer had taken a chunk each-way on Beyond Conceit in the opener. Once headed he looked cooked and sure to be swallowed by the field, except it still pugged on for fourth landing the place part of the bet. Worse still for two rails books were separate bets of £10,000- £1200 the winner, that is 8/1 with the fractions, come racing for value you won’t get on the Internet.

Geoff Banks was very vocal before the Gordon Stakes, yes I know, it’s hardly news that he gets vocal, but he was telling the world that he was sticking it up the jolly because it was sure it would not stay. Well he got the money all right, but not because he was right, rather than not stay Excess Knowledge would have surely won had the race been five yards further. One wag said that they would remind Geoff that the horse doesn’t stay Im 4f when it wins at Cheltenham in a year or so.

Geoff hid behind his photogenic staff after his 'won't stay' comment!

Geoff hid behind his photogenic staff after his ‘won’t stay’ comment!

The big-hitters came out of the woodwork to lump on Dawn Approach but they had their fingers badly burned when the jolly was blown away by Tornado. That result kept some of the bookies happy for a bit. Not for long though. Toormore was well-backed too in the next and this time the readies went to the punters including a £7000-£4000 and £6500-£4000, cue bookmaker misery again. I bumped into gamekeepers turned sometimes poachers John Henwood senior and junior in front of the rails. They had started well but were licking their financial wounds after some nasty reversals but seemed undaunted with plenty of the meeting ahead of them.

Rocky looks the punters in the eye.

Rocky looks the punters in the eye.

The nightmare continued for the bookies in the maiden-fillies’ stakes, all the clever money was on Valonia in the shape of several four-figure bets. One again the hot money was spot on.

Poor old Paul Gold trading as Pickwick had been having a torrid time in Tatts, not only were the results badly going against him he had been having all sorts of problems with his computer. The tales of woe continued all the way up the line, it was almost unbearable to hear such punter-inflicted cruelty to bookmakers. Then I got to the ever-cheerful Dave Hazell betting with his lovely wife Jane. ‘I’m winning eleven grand’ he beamed, ‘No not really I’m not, I’m losing of course’ he added through and even bigger grin, ‘It’s only money and I’m still enjoying it and will still be out for a nice meal tonight’. And with that they got to work fielding in the next.

Jane and Dave keep smiling, it's only money.

Jane and Dave keep smiling, it’s only money.

It was a bit of a shock to see two legendary professional in-running punters working a pitch in Tatts. Rumour was liquidity was massively down in Internet land because of it though of course those rumours could be unfounded. They wouldn’t have done a lot of good when Ribbons won the penultimate at 4/1. Richard Hughes getting the 5/1 favourite Magic City home in the last would have been the final straw for most of the ring who had well and truly done their cobblers on the day. Big Jim was still smiling though but was in the minority.

Would you like a flake in that cornet love?

Would you like a flake in that cornet love?

Cheer up though bookies, it’s Ladies Day tomorrow, win or lose it’s going to be sunny and as Dave Hazell says,’It’s only money’!

(C) Simon Nott

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