Tales From The Betting Ring – Hennessy Heritage Festival (Friday)

The layers may not look gloomy....

The layers may not look gloomy….

You’d expect the bookies to be quite chirpy and chipper with an excellent 7-race card to look forward to on a crisp and dry Friday morning. But not so, there were rumblings in the ring. Word had got around that apparently one of the day’s sponsors had been given special dispensation to pitch up and take bets in the bar. Yes in the nice, cosy and packed bar, with no competition. This very desirable trading position was seen as very unfair by the majority of the rails layers. Grumbling over, the head of the  diplomatic corps (Geoff Banks) was sent into action. I’m told he returned unscathed with a promise from the upper-echelons of racecourse management that it won’t be happening again. That was music to the shivering layers out in the wind. Probably not so much for the bookie in the bar contemplating an orderly queue of what appeared to be 30 or more people clutching folding money for a good part of the afternoon.

Coveting your one-time neighbour’s pitch over it was time to try and win back yesterday’s from the punters for the bookmakers. That plan didn’t go too well in the first when Calipto, one of the joint favourites won the race at a well-backed 5/2. Highway Code won the next at 5/1, not a result by any means but at least not the jolly. There was plenty of punting interest in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle, with 21 runners a lot of that was each-way but fairly modest but very steady. One punter got the shock of his life when Rocky’s team trading as Kelross called him back. He had given them a tenner too much and they wanted to return it. Hardly the stereotypical image of racecourse bookies’ behaviour but actually very common-place with on-course layers. Let’s hope the punter bet with them all afternoon.

You had to feel for the ring, after two out right up until the shadow of the post it looked as if they were going to get a 33/1 result in the shape of Pateese. The eventual winner was Mickie who took it out of at least one rails operator  who fell into a £2000-£200 each-way, hardly a massive bet but would make a dent in any book.

On the rails they bet.

On the rails they bet.

Talking of books, mine, one very kind gentleman bought a copy of ‘Skint Mob! – Tales From The Betting Ring’* from me earlier. He had skimmed through and spotted a picture of Jack Lynn so had a bet with the firm. ‘On the winner, a tenner each-way at 10/1′ he shouted in my general direction. Roy Lynn grinned at me through gritted teeth from behind the joint, nodding his head in thanks.

Brewers Fuller’s sponsored the next race. Their benevolence is obviously not in doubt but one lady punter did assume it extended just a little further than their remit. They had apparently issued green vouchers, that looked vaguely like money, well they were green anyway. That was all wonderful for the recipients, especially if they like beer, because that’s what they could be exchanged for. Not a bet with Rocky, as one lady found out when she tried to have a wager. She was told politely of course, today that firm were exceptionally saintly. To exacerbate matters the jolly Wonderful Charm won the race at a well-backed 8/11. Cantlow won the next,  it wasn’t favourite but was ridden by AP McCoy and backed from 15/2 into 6/1 so popular with the public.

Carole’s Spirit won the penultimate, yet another favourite, this time 11/8 from 7/4. Lynn on Sam Harris’ joint did not look happy. Although obviously concerned about her boss’ wealth it was me she really had the hump with. Apparently some people who’d read my previous blog had correlated my mention of her followed by the old ‘Fat lady singing’ chestnut with a slur on her figure. Nothing could be further from the truth, so I won’t mention the fat lady again. It is the main course tomorrow though, bring on the Hennessy.

No, this is not the fat lady and nor does she burst into song at any point.

No, this is not the fat lady and nor does she burst into song at any point.

(C) Simon Nott

*My new (and first) book ‘Skint Mob! – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is out now. It covers people and events in the betting ring from the 1980′s where hopefully some colour has been captured. It is a royal sized paperback. Full details can be found here.


Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW


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