Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 31/01/14 ‘Jumpers’ Bumper’

The prospect of Friday off and getting stuff done was thwarted by Kempton’s decision to fill the gap between back to back racing from Wednesday to Monday (inclusive) with a ‘Jumpers’ Bumper’ card. It may not have been the best news for those with other plans but it seemed the idea went down very well with trainers. Their enthusiasm was manifested by a plethora of entries which ensured an eight rather than the planned six race card.

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Despite the huge support from trainers it appeared that the on-course bookies didn’t expect the betting public to be quite so enthralled. Only five of them turned up, bookies that is, there were more punters than that. The additional prospect of pretty nasty weather may well have made a few decide to give the meeting the swerve too. It wasn’t raining when the books priced up the first but tumble-weed wouldn’t have looked too out of place had it rolled by. It’s fair to say then that two layers were taken slightly by surprise when they were asked for a bet of £3500-£1000 each. ‘I was just stood here minding my own business’ said one of the surprised bookies. The subject of the bets, Southfield Vic led for some of the way but was way back where it mattered so the books kept the cash.

The crowd did pick up a bit by the next but betting business looked generally light. That is until a punter wandered up to one of the books and asked for a monkey each-way the 10/1 shot Black Cow. The layer obliged him then had to sweat as the horse ran very well indeed. Fortune favoured the brave this time, though not I suppose if you consider the chap that had the bet was brave too. Once again the bookie kept the cash, but only just,  Black Cow was just run out of it finishing fourth.

The ring. OK quintet of wet rails books, were by now aware that there was a few quid out there so were on their guard. There was still time for a bit of banter. ‘Look over there’ requested cold and wet Malcolm nodding into the stands. ‘They can stand anywhere they like but they are exclusive to that bit so they all stand together’ he pointed out. Once he’d highlighted it, the sight of the one group of presumably owners and trainers in the ‘Owners and Trainers’ section was quite funny to see. I suppose if you come as an owner you are quite entitled to enjoy your exclusive facilities. It did also make it appear that the vast majority of those in attendance were connections.

Spot the owners and trainers?

Spot the owners and trainers?

That made the cash coming in from the floor a little bit lively as one layer was soon to find out. While the market revolved around the 8/15 jolly one book was asked for £12,000 – £1000 Ellnando Queen, worse still, the stuff of nightmares when you have an odds-on shot, the punter wanted it each-way. Nasty, but the book took the bet. The price tumbled to 8/1 by the off.

The mare led for most of the race then came back to the field about to be swallowed up. The three members of the team that laid the bet watched the big screen with some relief hoping that they’d keep the place money too. That feeling turned to horror as another gear was found and the gamble was landed going away. That was going to take some getting back, but you’d like to hope the price tumble was a result of some hedging.

That helpless lonely feeling of watching the one you laid thick going away easily.

That helpless lonely feeling of watching the one you laid thick going away easily.

There was another punt later on in the fifth, monkey each-way bets were called in to separate books  and accepted on Barlow, one at 16/1 and the other at 14/1. The gelding was sent off at 11/1 but finished nearer last then first, so grands in the bag for the books. By the sixth race the weather was miserable, pouring with rain and freezing cold. ‘It looks quite nice on the big screen’ observed one punter, before adding that he was having a good day ‘Losing less than he was’. Music to the layers getting soaked I’m sure if they could hear him, which they couldn’t because he was in the nice warm bar between races, as was I.

Not drinking though because incidentally I have been raising money for Cancer Research by taking part in the ‘Dryathlon’ which is basically just not drinking for the whole of January. Today’s the last day, I was hoping to raise a grand, at last count it was just under £900 so if you could afford to drop as little as £2 into the pot that would be great, many thanks, here’s the link. http://www.justgiving.com/Simon-Nott-dryathlete Thank you, let’s hope none of us ever need to benefit from the proceeds.

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The more miserable the rain got the more the bookies and punters alike seemed to be hoping it would all end soon so they could pack up and go home. There was one more bet to make the books, well one book, jump. A punter waded in (almost literally) with an £8000 – £2000 Ranjaan in the penultimate. It got beaten, but only just, and by the jolly. The favourite looked like it might have won the last too, but it hadn’t, thwarted by the nose of a 16/1 shot. You’d have thought that might be the reason there were some smiles on the faces of the bookies. If I was a betting man, and I am,  my money would be on the thought of a warm car just shaded it too.

(C) Simon Nott

My book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring is all about bookies, punters and events in the ring from the late 1980s onwards, as told by me. Some people have said they really enjoyed it, which is nice. If you fancy taking a punt you might find it interesting too more details can be found here. http://wp.me/p1dLbd-9n


One response to this post.

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