Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 22/10/13


Exeter had been given some excellent pre-race publicity thanks to it being the 19th anniversary of A.P. McCoy’s first ever UK winner, ridden at Haldon. TV crews proliferated the course and AP opened a bar named in his honour before the action started. The majority of racegoers at Exeter were celebrating the champ’s magnificent achievements since that first winner, but not all.

‘I remember going all the way to Leicester to back a horse named Tort,’ recalled one less than misty-eyed punter before adding, ‘He was clear and certain to win, all the jockey had to do was pop the last but he went for a big one and he fell off, I said then that 5lb claimer AP McCoy would never make a jockey!’  He seemed quite happy to relate that story and admit his judgement had been slightly off. For the sake of the punter’s blushes I won’t mention his name but regular readers may guess his identity if I suggest his celebratory arm may have been slightly early on that occasion as it has been many times since.

Come on you cowardly punters it's only a spot of rain.

Come on you cowardly punters it’s only a spot of rain.

While exceptional careers were being celebrated some were just kicking off, Chester Williams, son of Mr and Mrs Genius of George Nympton, was having his first ride under rules in the amateur riders’ opener. The yard’s faithful appeared to have turned out in force to support him, my bookie mates had his mount Un Ami top in their ratings too so hopes were high. Sadly for Chester and supporters his début only got to far as the third hurdle but I’m sure he’ll back for another crack in no time.  Masters Hill was backed from 7/4 into 5/4 and won easily putting the bookies on the back foot from the start.

AP McCoy was in action in the second race, a beginners’ chase. He was riding Rendl Beach the 11/2 outsider of three co-owned by Paul Duffy of Diamond Harry and Reve de Sivola fame. Any thoughts of McCoy’s day starting with a winner were dashed when the partnership came to grief at the second which was a shame for owners and jockey alike.

The heavens opened in torrential fashion prior to the third. Had the Philip Hobbs trained Horizontal Speed been named Horizontal Rain instead it would have been the perfect moniker for the moment. The punters latched on anyway and sent him off the evens favourite and were justified by 3/4 length in doing so. The rain eased briefly, just in time for loveable MC Luke Harvey to venture into the Winners’ Enclosure to announce the winner, then it tipped down again, in spades. Most racegoers literally ran for cover, not our Luke, he stood there, as if to attention while the rain pummelled him.  While I watched from a dry vantage point an elderly lady next to me appeared quite concerned that ‘The poor boy should get himself an umbrella’. Yes Luke you should, it’s gong to be a long season!

Don't push you're all on.

Don’t push you’re all on.

The poor bookies had been getting a financial hammering as well as a soaking so were highly delighted when 10/1 shot Red Riverman came to their aid in the next. While I was down in the ring Lewis and Bo Brown were bemoaning that their recently acquired big-staking punter was missing again but had been reported having it on at places they don’t bet. Having it on and leaving it behind too, the duo were a bit gutted that their man had been lining other bookies  hods with money he’d won from them. Thank goodness for small mercies though, had he been there he could well have backed 7/2 jolly Ray Diamond in the next.  A lot of other people did and they all copped so that could have been nasty.

Meanwhile AP’s day wasn’t getting any better beating only one home on easy to back 11/1 shot Surf And Turf.

Special Account was a bit of a tickle winning the penultimate supported from from an early 11/2 into 4/1. One punter was in early and got a carpet on at the top price before it tumbled, come racing. There had been a bit of money for AP’s mount O’Callaghan Strand but he could only manage third. Not the best day of an anniversary, but who celebrates a 19th anyway?

AP didn’t have a ride in the bumper, it went to 9/1 shot Modus which would have pleased most of the bookies. The winner had been a bit bigger early in the market so no doubt there would have been a soggy tale of woe from at least one layer in the ring.

Which was probably why I didn’t venture down there!

(C) Simon Nott

My brand new book entitled ‘Skint Mob! – Tales From The Betting Ring’ will be available in November, watch this space.

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