Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 16/01/14

I must admit that when I turned up at Wincanton with rain bucketing down and the going described as ‘Heavy with some standing water’ I feared I may have had a wasted journey. ‘Leave it to the experts pal’ was a response on to my tweet relating the going, good advice not that I could have had a hand in it if I’d wanted. The author of the tweet was correct though, those in charge at Wincanton obviously know their stuff because despite the inclement weather racing went ahead with not so much as an inspection.

Martyn of Leicester had two pitches at Wincanton, one on the rails and number one in Tatts. His staff were putting on brave faces after their long journey from the Midlands especially in the miserable weather. His man on the rails looked rather glum though appearances can be deceptive. For devilment I asked where the boss was; ‘He could be either in Hawaii or maybe Las Vegas’ he replied, looking gloomier than the weather. I replied that the game may not be ‘gone’ quite yet then and that it was all right for some. ‘I’d rather be here than there any day’ was Neil’s response as a rain-loaded dewdrop collected on the end of his nose. He still looked miserable but as long as he was happy. He might have cheered up after 8/1 shot Bob Tucker won the opener. Mind you he didn’t look to have taken much so I didn’t like to give him a further rubdown by asking.

I'd rather be here than Hawaii.

I’d rather be here than Hawaii.

By the second race the sun was out and someone even had a monkey on one, Denali Highway but it stayed with the bookie. 11/4f Bennys Mist  won the race so the ring generally did their money. I mentioned in a previous blog that bookie’s right-hand man Ian is on a diet. I have to admit his daily home made low-cal rice dish looks bland but he’s a determined man and has lost half a stone with another double that the target. Check it out, at least it saves the firm a bob or two not having to buy him racecourse food.



Talking of which, just as well because the firm he works for went up an opening show of 106% in the nine-runner next. All of you sat at home on your computers, come racing there’s still value. Let’s hope they took plenty after sticking their necks out because they got a result with 14/1 Flying Award. There was a classic moment while they were still betting on the race. Our old mate ‘Armaloft’ Alex came over for a chat, as he had done a bit earlier. The meeting from Ludlow was being shown on the big screen, as some familiar orange colours jumped the last seemingly home and hosed his arm went into the air accompanied by an ‘Ei Ei’ (that’sa how he says ‘Aye Aye’ weird I know). He turned his back to the screen in triumph as those of us in the vicinity were asking that if he had known Lizzy, as he affectionately called the jockey on board, was going to win on Shalimar Fromentro why hadn’t he mentioned it before? As our hero protested that he had told us (he hadn’t) and did a little jig with his arm in the air our protests stopped. They did so because over his shoulder we could see his ‘winner’ veering badly on the run-in and getting chinned on the line by 10/1 shot Rhum. It may sound unkind, but his expression was a picture before he stormed off without a word in the face of our cruel laughter . It did get a text later saying he’d booked in to have his premature celebration afflicted arm amputated. It was OK he backed a couple more winners that afternoon, yes told to us after they had won, and cheered up. It was a classical Alex moment enjoyed by all. Except Alex of course.

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/

Betting had been fairly light but came to life in the fifth with a nice few quid about for  Hansupfordetroit including a £4500-£1500. That gamble of sorts looked likely to be landed but 10/1 Bertie Boru had other ideas and ended up winning by couple of lengths rewarding  those books who stuck it up the short ones.

The rain's stopped let's punt!

The rain’s stopped let’s punt!

The rain was pouring down again by the time betting kicked off for the sixth. The race was sponsored, as was the whole card, by Higos Insurance Services Ltd and attracted eight runners.  The market revolved around two horses sent off at 4/6 and 6/4. Pickwick bookmakers bet on the straight race as well as what they described on their board as the ‘Donkey Derby’ (apologies now to any connections of the bigger-priced horses in the race) which was betting without the front two. Sadly for them and their imaginative, if cruelly named, market the weather was so bad they hardly took a bet on it. The jolly beat the second in with the rest led home by Billy My Boy. 4/9 Vieux Lion Rouge won the last but didn’t appear to do much damage to a ring that saw little large bet action on the race to end a soggy but enjoyable day.

(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. It’s on Amazon, eBay and Kindle or direct from me.

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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