Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 19/12/13

You should never take the climate at the top of Haldon Hill, where Exeter Racecourse sits, for granted. I arrived in glorious winter sunshine with hardly a cloud in the sky, within half and hour it was already black and raining. Of course the Exeter faithful are a hardy bunch and will generally turn up what ever the weather.  Usually a competitive seven-race card would be enough to draw them but there was an extra attraction today in the shape of Big Buck’s having a spin around prior to racing. Plenty of people got there to early to get an eyeful of the magnificent horse put through its paces.

The bookies were fewer in number than in recent weeks but those that had turned up appeared eager to get pitched up in plenty of time. Probably to get finished before Big Buck’s had his spin as they are sportsmen all. They did get a good soaking nice and early too though. No need to worry, there was soon a rainbow to reassure us that Noah need not be bothered. The worrying bit for the punters was that the end of the rainbow looked to be landing right in George Edwards’ hod. Now depending on if you are a glass half full or empty sort of person that could mean it’s where the pot of gold lay or where yours was going to end up. ‘Where it’s going to end up’ was John behind the joint’s answer, of course.

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ends with George Edwards?

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ends with George Edwards?

Luke Harvey informed me that he had enjoyed what indeed looked like very enjoyable visit to the Pipe yard that morning. I was lucky enough to get a sneak gander at some of the footage he took there and it was pretty spectacular. I enquired if Mr Pipe had imparted any information on a likely winner? That question was greeted with a quizzical look from Luke that I probably deserved and said it all. Of he course didn’t. ‘And I didn’t ask for any either’ was all that he had to actually put into words.  Oh shallow me.

Live info or not it the punters latched on to a Pipe hotpot in the first. Centaisa was sent off the 6/5f but could only manage runner-up spot behind 13/2 shot Blue Buttons. That was a great result for the bookies and had John down at the Edwards joint nodding in an ‘I told you so’ sort of manner. I don’t know if readers are aware, but I have written a book, it’s called ‘Skint Mob’ and details can be found here http://wp.me/p1dLbd-br Anyway, the bookies have been keen purchasers and readers. One had said he’d be buying another copy for his son as part of his Christmas present to him and that he’d like to me to sign it at the last Exeter meeting before the big day. That meeting was today. I wandered over to his joint with a brand spanking new book. He looked a little uneasy and shifted from foot to foot before admitting he’d like me to sign the one he’d already purchased. I’d missed a sale but not to worry. A little later on a friend of mine came over with the book that the layer who shall remain nameless would like signing to his son. We all know the description ‘well thumbed’, this matched that but add extremely, as well as dog-eared and decorated with a tea cup stain on the inner cover. It’s hard to believe he’s gong to wrap that up, but not hard to guess how he got, and more importantly kept, his millions!

You had to feel for Jack Bevan (est 1897) in the next, he had to look on as the technical mob tried to fix his computer while his neighbours did all the business. It must have been galling to see the 6/4f beaten by a 12/1 shot having missed out fielding money on most of the race. John at the Edwards joint was happy, but not that happy. ‘I’d have got more if the third had won’ he bemoaned. Yes you have to feel for him too don’t you.

It was absolutely tipping it down for the start of the four-runner third event. Maybe that would explain why 4/9f Bury Parade didn’t fancy running about in it and refused to budge when the starter let the tapes up. One punter had bet a £400-£700, you hate to think how they felt either, I couldn’t bear to ask John, I could see the smirk from the other side of the ring.

Nobody likes it when people get smug, so it was very nice to see what looked like a tidy touch landed in the next when Midnight Lira was backed from 6/1 into 7/2 then justify the support. Proper job. Luke Harvey congratulated connections on the mare winning in ‘difficult conditions’. Difficult Luke? That might have been the understatement of the year, it was more like deluge, gale-forced atrocious.

Come on your cowardly punters, it's only drizzle.

Come on your cowardly punters, it’s only drizzle.

There was almost another gamble landed in the race before the penultimate. Sadly for his backers Ray Diamond supported from 6/1 into 9/2 was collared close home by Ballinvarrig who was sent off at 5/1. By the sixth race one bookmaking firm had decided that enough was enough so packed up and headed for home. That was quite surprising given the usually excellent pitch they vacated. In days gone by a game of ‘Pickfords’ would have ensued with firms moving all their gear into their move-up picks. There was none of that this afternoon nobody wanted the hassle of that when it was still chucking it down.

It’s obviously a big day when you have a runner. I’d image people like to dress for the occasion but one lady appeared to not be familiar with winter at Exeter Races. She walked into the parade ring looking resplendent if a little cold and wet then discovered that not being waterproof was the least of her worries. Her elegant heels sank right up to the buffers in the saturated grass. Ooops sorry for noticing that ma’am. Back in the ring there was only one that the punters wanted to be on, Tagrita was backed from 13/8 into 11/8f. The bookie that legged it got it right as the jolly won as it liked. Not so smiley down at the Edwards pitch I’d imagine though it was too foul to go gloating, sorry of course I mean checking.

Only one of the duo of rails firms remained by the last. A last that was run bathed in sunshine, you’d couldn’t make it up, 3.50 in the afternoon and the brightest it had been since racing kicked off. Kings Apollo was backed from 9/4 into 13/8f but was not in the frame behind the aptly named 7/1 shot Cash Injection. You’d think it would be OK for the ring but there was a fair cheer from the punters as the gelding won the race. Maybe a few layers got their books ruined? Either way, win or lose on the day it was a glorious sight to see the horses unsaddled in the late winter evening sunshine. There was so much steam pouring from them it looked like an equine sauna out there; if only my phone would do it justice.

Proper job,

Proper job,

So that’s if for me racing-wise until Wincanton. This weekend is all about rock n roll taking time out with my ‘other’ life going to a few gigs with my mates The Long Tall Texans. So here’s wishing everyone who takes the time to read these blogs a very merry Christmas, not too merry though, it’s a big day on Boxing Day

(C) Simon Nott

If you enjoy these blogs, please take time to vote for me in the UK BLOG AWARDS thank you!




2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave Tyler on December 19, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    Happy Christmas to you too. The book is a great read. if there’s any justice you will sell out.


  2. Many thanks for your kind words, I’m glad you enjoy the blog and the book. Taking the time to say so is much appreciated. All the best.


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