Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 05/02/14


I pretty much aquaplaned my way up the A303 but the rain was just sporadic by the time I got to Kempton. The die-hard regular layers turned up as usual and had to tie in well against the wind which was howling around the racecourse. One of them didn’t do such a good job, his umbrella took off in a particularly violent gust, flew for a second or two, then came to rest near a (potential) punter. ‘Phew it was lucky that your mush didn’t hit that punter, he’d have been calling Claims Direct’ one of his neighbours commented. The brollyless-bookie had by this time retrieved his once airborne property and was struggling to secure it in the prevailing conditions. He looked exasperated enough with the task in hand but that look turned to utter disbelief on hearing that comment. ‘Lucky!?’ he shouted, then repeated it for good measure before turning to the deserted betting area in front of the rails then retorted, ‘I think what you mean is it would have been unlucky bordering on a bloody miracle had I hit a punter’.

He did appear to have a valid point, the place was hardly heaving.

Beware of the killer mushes.

Beware of the killer mushes.

Of course, if you have a runner even on a wet and windy Wednesday it’s your own personal Royal Ascot. The owner of Polydamos often has a chat to me and today was no exception. She was there with a rather vocal entourage all excited at the prospect of a winner. They really fancied their chances tonight and were going to have a few quid on. Once the race got under-way the cheers from their area of the stands were pretty raucous and reached fever-pitch as Polydamos and Addikt fought out the finish. By the jumping around and group hugging that was going on it was obvious that despite the judge calling for a photo the Polydamos camp evidently thought that they had won. No sooner had the duo passed the post they were charging down the stands stampede fashion to greet their winner. It looked to me that the other one had got up on the line but hoped I was wrong given the delirious scenes. One of the bookies was of the same impression ‘I think the other one got it’ he almost whispered. Within seconds of his prediction the judge put us out of our misery, Addikt had won by a short-head.

You had to feel for the connections of the runner-up, the third horse was almost three lengths back in third. The winner had been gambled on last week before being declared a non-runner then turned out again. It could well have been they had run into one of those horses that bounces back to form when the money is down so a tad unlucky. I needn’t have worried though, the Polydamos gang reappeared a bit later on in good spirits, the winning trainer had been gracious and generous at the bar in victory it seemed.

The rest of the evening resulted in an outsider of three winning,  some stupendous finishes and the last three jollies obliging. The business was described by one shivering bookie as ‘Very poor’ though, at least if you don’t take much you can’t do much either and it is Cheltenham just around the corner…..

Oh, by the way, does anyone know what has happened to ‘Noodles’? He used to sit in the same seat, under the ‘K’ of Kempton sign under windows of the Panoramic Restaurant. He’d often wear a Racing Post baseball hat. It’s just he’s not been seen for a while and was a regular so I’d like to know if he’s fine, even though it was hard to get more than two words out of him.

(c) Simon Nott

If you enjoy stories about bookmakers and punters I have written about which has been getting some nice reviews. For more information maybe have a look here and see if it might be up your street. http://wp.me/p1dLbd-9n

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW

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