Tales From The Betting Ring – Exeter 14/01/14

It was great to be back on the turf for the first time in 2014. Kempton did get the show back on the road for me with their all-weather meeting last week but there’s nothing quite like a home Devon meeting. It was an unexpected one too, a late additional fixture though given plenty of publicity the morning of racing on the the local BBC TV breakfast news. It was a bit of a surprise then to find fairly limited facilities open for those racegoers that did turn up. The course had it right though as there was a modest crowd. The bookies also appeared to anticipate correctly too as their numbers were quite diminished compared to what you’d usually expect.

The racecourse didn’t lack in support from owners and trainers though. The card featured seven competitive races with the first going to 8/1 shot Umberto D’olivate getting the bookies off on the right foot. As long as they took some money that is, one claimed to have had a ‘skinner’ for £40 which did not auger well for the rest of the meeting.

Exeter isn’t the warmest of places in the winter, even today when the afternoon started with the sun showing its face. Most people up on the hill, punters and bookies alike, were wrapped up akin to Scott of the Antarctic. I say most because Charlie Brown,18 year old bookie son of bookie dad Bo who trades as West End was stood up in his shirt sleeves. Not only that but also sporting a broken hand, ‘That’s what you get playing 5-aside against great big blokes’ said dad Bo with a less than totally sympathetic smile. Charlie showed off his football wound and then confided he had thermals on underneath the shirt sleeves. That probably means that the pained look on his face 10 minutes later was down to Strollawaynow in the next having been backed from 13/8 into 11/10 and not the perishing wind.

Spot the one with anti-freeze for blood!

Spot the one with anti-freeze for blood!

The punters may well have been a bit thin on the ground but one of the off-course firms stepped into to keep the ring on their toes in the next. They waded into Sky Watch ensuring it went off the 6/4 but got it wrong. Get ready for a phrase you rarely hear, AP McCoy and David Pipe came to the rescue. Yes it’s true, 7/1 shot Knight Of Noir won the race with the two 3/1 joint second favourites filling the minor places and the jolly fourth so was a possible a good result for those bookies who took on the big boys.

All of a sudden there appeared to be plenty of cash for Roseneath at around 3/1 that got the ring jumping in the ring next too. Nobody was quite sure where the lumps came from but they stayed in the hods. Not for long though because the runaway 3/1 winner Barton Gift was also a popular choice with the punters.

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/

There was another McCoy mount toast of the ring in the maiden hurdle, this time for not winning. Allow Dallow was backed from 4/6 into 4/7 but was pulled up. Sadly for the bookies the winner was 5/1 shot Royal Player but getting an odds-on shot beaten is bookie-friendly whatever the winner. As the race was being run I walked past a layer’s computer, now I wasn’t looking, honest but their screen-saver did catch my eye, it read ‘You’re nosey and you know it’. Well that told me.

At least one firm had upped sticks and left by the running of the sixth, they were right to do so too because Pineau De Re was backed from 7/2 into 11/4f and won easily. The off-course mob were back in action in the last, this time they wanted to be on Catcher Star at around 11/4 ensuring it went off at 5/2. Once again they left it behind. Not as much as some people that like to sit in front of computers and bet on the races rather than going racing (yes I know, weird) did I imagine. 6/1 shot Cash Injection looked to have simply hosed up and it was all over bar the shouting. That is until 11/2 poke Admiral Blake finished like its life depended on it to snatch victory in the shadow of the post, which if you bet in running at home must have been very nasty indeed. Come racing instead!

As the bookies packed up none could have been happier to do so than Charlie Brown, he’d stuck out Haldon Hill in January all afternoon in shirt sleeves. He looked a slight shade of blue, if I were a betting man I’d wager he’ll wear a jacket next time.

(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

Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring


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