Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 28/12/13

Proper job bird's eye view

Proper job bird’s eye view

Newbury was an absolute picture postcard first thing with the course bathed in glorious winter sunshine. A far cry from what we’d been used to and a welcome change of climate, for today at least. There had been fears that the meeting would suffer in attendance going head to head with Chepstow’s Welsh Grand National card. Those fears appeared to be unfounded though with a very decent crowd turning out despite the clash and fairly small fields.

The bookies looked happy to be there too. One firm was proudly displaying his ‘Christmas present’, a brand new headboard for Kelross which Rocky on the joint no doubt hoped would draw the punters in without having to go 6/4 about an 11/8 chance. There was a few bob about in the opener, from shrewd sources too one layer confided. That may well have been true but they can’t all win and the couple of grand on Cadoudoff at the top end of the 7/2 into 9/4 tilt was thwarted by easy to back Baradari who’d taken a walk from 9/4 to 11/4 in the market. Saroque won the next at 5/2, it had been 10/3 and attracted at least one bet of a grand to ruin a rails firm’s book though there had been a couple of carpet bets for Castle Conflict but was pulled up.

Santa loves at least one bookie.

Santa loves at least one bookie.

Betting had been described as ‘steady but small’ in the Betfred Mandarin chase, that is until quite late on. Howard’s Legacy had been easing in the market from around 9/2 out to 6/1 until one rails firm stuck their head above the parapet chalking up 13/2. The old adage was, never do such a thing or you’ll get picked off, and picked off they were to the tune of £6500 -£1000. I’m told the punter wanted double but had to settle for the rest in monkeys at 6/1 elsewhere. The layer kept his cash and head but would still have been a tad worried even approaching the last where a rick put paid to the gamble that had been hanging in there tenaciously. The aptly-named Financial Climate won the race at 4/1.

Ian, stalwart member of Jack Bevan’s staff has been seen munching on a weird looking rice snack from a Tupperware lunch-box for some weeks now. It’s a bit weird because up until recently anything remotely ‘foreign’ to eat would have been positively off the menu for this chap. So bad has been his aversion that ‘rice’ would have definitely  fallen into that exotic category.  ‘I’ve lost 12lb since I started eating  this’ he beamed. Paul behind the joint didn’t say much but you can bet your hat that he’s hoping this penchant for ‘foreign’ (but plain) continues for a stone or two more. The reason being this particular member of staff has a reputation for choosing the most expensive ‘English’ food on any menu when staying over on the firm. Maybe a wallet tremble when jumbo fillet steak is spotted on a usually reasonable hostelry’s specials board will be avoided in coming weeks.

There was serious payout  ducked by a couple of books when AP McCoy’s mount Captain Cutter won the next returned 8/1 after opening around the 5/1 mark.  In doing so he scuppered a brace of grand bets on the runner-up Timesremembered. I thought that would have been a decent result for all the books. At least until one excited punter beckoned to me with what looked like the offer of a drink. Being the consummate professional of course I declined. Our punting mate obviously wanted to celebrate so came over to me and thrust two betting slips into my hand. Sadly only to look at not as a belated Christmas gift. He’d had a carpet each-way on the winner at 8/1. His wife was all smiles too in a very fetching fur coat, but not a broad as our man who explained proud as punch how he got it cheap. He then went on to explain he likes it best when she wears it………. No we won’t go there this isn’t 50 shades of anything.

As a cool down interlude. If you are enjoying this blog, any chance you could take time out to vote for it in the UK  Blog Awards here? http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/blog-entries/tales-from-the-betting-ring/

Just as well for the light-hearted break because things got particularly nasty for the layers, the rails at least, in the next. There were, by today’s standards, untold bundles for Vukovar, some at 8/11 and the lumps at 4/6. Those bets, including one of £6000 never looked in any doubt at all with the plunge landed in bloodless fashion. The penultimate looked to be the lightest betting-wise largely due to the punters watching the Welsh National. There was a flurry of interest as they were off but winner Whisper was 13/8 jolly and no good to most of the ring of course.

There were two horses backed in the last. Stand To Reason and Wilde Blue Yonder who flip-flopped as market leader before the latter was sent off the ‘tips’ 11/10 favourite. One rails firm had laid Stand To Reason to a real chunk at 6/4. ‘We need it beaten’ they confided. There was nothing in it as the pair battled it out approaching the last, then the jolly came down, you had to feel for them.

On the plus side, Rocky (who hadn’t laid ‘that’ bet) was still cheerful enough to give me one of his excellent calendars to go with my two-diary booty on the day. Who says bookies are mean? No me that’s for sure. That’s it for this year, thanks for reading in 2013 and I’ll be back with tales from Exeter on January 1st next year, apocalyptic weather forecasts permitting of course.

Thanks Rocky!

Thanks Rocky!

(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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