Tales From The Betting Ring – Epsom 27/08/13


It was great to be back on the turf again after an equally excellent 10 days living my ‘other’ life rocking and rolling with some great bands at Beautiful Days and Reading festivals. Having the privilege to hang out with Australian legends The Living End http://thelivingend.com.au/ is always pretty special so smiles all around from me after an rip-roaring break from racing.

Absence certainly does make the heart grow fonder, it was nice to be back. Epsom was blessed with a glorious day and very healthy crowd. The fields were small but provided some excellent action. There were plenty of bookies to take on the mainly holiday crowd. None of the layers were made to jump at any stage in the opener with the biggest bets reported from most, even on the rails were tenners and scores.

Epsom they bet....

Epsom they bet….

If the bookies thought that they were in for a fiddling day some of them were given a shock in the next. Picture Dealer was smashed to pieces with several monkey and grand bets at 5/4 then someone waded in with a £6000-£5000 on the rails, so hardly surprising he went off at Evens. Sadly for those that had invested so much faith and readies in the jolly there never really looked as if there was going to be a happy ending for that gamble. Unless you were a bookie of course, those that stuck their chests out and took the punters on were highly delighted with the poor run.

Regular readers of this blog may remember the tale of bookie Bob Stock who managed to field a farthing in amongst a fist full of shrapnel a while back. He called me over today bemoaning the fact that he ‘had been sorted out’ again today. He can take some solace in the fact that even though he sort of had, the commemorative disk he took to be a £2 coin of the realm may well be worth more than that, at least more than that farthing.

The punting went back to being small after the wayward plunge in the second, the fun was just up from the ring at the Turf TV booth. They used to work up in the wind-tunnel that is the second-floor balcony but have now been housed in a shiny new home on Terra-firma which they say is a lot better. Sadly to the uninitiated in the holiday crowd, and there were plenty, the booth, despite being adorned with a brace of stickers emblazoned ‘Turf Tv’, it looked just like an information kiosk.

How much are your cornets?

How much are your cornets?

That might not sound like too much of a problem, but to the people inside trying to work, the initial amusement turned to frustration. The blonde lady that was working within was to say the very least a little bit exasperated. She is usually known as being petite and quiet keeping herself to herself with very little to say and what she does utter is usually in hushed tones. Four enquiries about cash machines (good news for the bookies, or OK maybe the bar), several about race-cards, countless for toilet directions, one for an ice-cream and a final straw of the whereabouts of the Owners and Trainers enclosure by a very polite gentleman one observer described as being dressed ‘like a lumberjack’ put paid to that. It was probably lucky that the lumberjack was the last because I fear that there could have been a mini-explosion from within. A suggestion that ‘Cash Machine’ would be favourite at the next meeting was greeted with a glare that would wither the bravest of men.

Back down in the ring they were having it spark off. It wasn’t until the last that a favourite was even placed, and that only in third behind a 20/1 shot. It’s doubtful Bob Stock had to resort to trying to fob anyone off with that ‘£2’ coin, at least not today.

(C) Simon Nott

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