Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 08/01/14

January the 8th, it would have been Elvis’s 79th birthday today, so it was a soundtrack of his Sun recordings to keep me company up the A303 to Kempton, that’s all right!

It was nice to be back racing again for the first time this year after a few waterlogged abandonments ground my travels at least to a halt. It appeared that the bookies had missed racing too as there was a healthy looking rail for a Kempton evening meeting. It has to be said that punters looked a bit thin on the ground initially, so much so that one wag suggested the bookies would be lucky to have a punter each.

Don't push, you are all on.

Don’t push, you are all on.


Undeterred the layers were soon up and offering prices on the opener, even if there were very few racegoers there to examine the odds they had on offer. Punters did start to appear from the warmth of the bar and eating area prior to the first race, set to go off at 4.10. Not enough to keep all the bookies busy all the time though. ‘I’ve been stood here top price the front two for the last five minutes, and still nothing’ was the word from one man on the stool. You have to be careful at these meetings though. One firm were approached by a chap nobody on the team had seen before. He asked for 6/1 about Mr Red Clubs who was 11/2 in a couple of places 5/1 general. The bookie related that information to the punter and added 11/2 was the best he could to and that it was tight. You could have knocked our hero down with a feather when the punter pulled out a grand and asked for it at the price. The bet was struck, then stuck as the price tumbled into 9/2 in  no time. 

Luckily for the bookmaker who had to grow balls of steel and stand the bet, sadly for the punter the gamble never really looked like being landed with Mr Red Clubs down the field. If that bet was thought to be a hint that there were going to be some lumps flying about to make the night interesting that was dispelled, at least in the next, where ‘Not a Dickie Bird’ was the general response. 

And so it continued, there was a fair crowd milling around by the third race. The umbrellas had gone up but the ferocious weather that had been forecast didn’t materialise but neither did any other bet of substance. The bookies were probably just happy to take what they could and didn’t particularly want to be made to jump too often anyway. 

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/

I did spot a familiar face in the ring, my old bookie boss Ivor Perry who had a runner in the penultimate. Of course he wasn’t going to lie to me about the chances of Ivor’s Princess but he wasn’t giving anything away either . He hoped she’d go well and did have 20/1 winning form at the track. The fact he’d made the trip was good enough, had it been a NH meeting I wouldn’t have batted an eye-lid but an all-weather evening meeting, as the old sages would say, he’s not come here for nothing. 

It seemed a long wait until the 6.40, Dickie Birds were still unsighted on the rails after the opening chunk. Ivor was nowhere to be seen either and a slight drift to 12/1 gave little encouragement that Ivor’s Princess was any more than a hopeful runner despite the owner’s presence. Once the race was under way anyone who did follow the owner being there tip would have been a little disturbed to see the mare get a few cracks of Luke Morris’s whip a long way out. That anxiety and thoughts of settling for the place money would have given way to hopes of the win pot too as she picked up in the long home straight. She ultimately failed by fast-diminishing neck behind Welsh Sunrise, the only winning favourite of the night. All welcome results for the ring you’d imagine even with not a Dickie Bird in sight.

(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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