Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 31/03/14

There were a few people about the place (as they might say in Witheridge) at Kempton, well when you consider it was a Monday afternoon there were. An imaginative writer could have written a decent novel about any amount of them (‘any amount’ being another Devon phrase, but more Rackenford). There were builders in their work gear, retired people,  young chaps that looked like they were on their way to a hip hop gig, couples and even families, in other words a good varied crowd.

Punters enjoy and excellent view of the action at Kempton.

Punters enjoy and excellent view of the action at Kempton.

There were plenty of seasoned racegoers in their number, paddock watchers at that. ‘The favourite looks very green and ‘colty” reported one. He can’t have been the only one assuming that such was for the weakness of Arab Spring in the betting. He still went off at odds on, 4/6 but had been much shorter. Green and ‘colty’ he may have been but he was still too good for his opponents. ‘I won on the odds-on shot’ was the phrase you rarely hear from one of the bookies who added ‘I just couldn’t get him in’. Cathedral won the next despite dwelling at the start going off at 7/2 under an inspired ride from Oisin Murphy. I don’t tip horses in this blog but do have to mention that the fourth home Balmoral Castle should run a bit better next time out. The gelding yielded the outer to nobody most of the way round and was not exactly thrashed to within an inch of its life in the final furlong. It would have been a bad thing if he had of course and wouldn’t have troubled the winner, but just an observation made by people better at it than me.

The fourth race saw what looked like an almighty overnight gamble landed when 5/4f  Biotic won by a couple of lengths. It had been 3/1 on course but I’m told was around double figures to those that can get on when the midnight oil burns. Great fun if you follow the money or have an ear to the yard, not so good if you’re a form book beaver I’d imagine. Or a bookie on course, of course.

Things got worse for those bookies  when Dutiful Son won the next. ‘He’s a stupid price, far too short’ one chap confidently told me when it was around 4/5. It seems that there were plenty of punters who were holding folding money that didn’t agree because the jolly ended up going off at 1/2 and looked  great value for that the way it won. It seemed ‘they’ knew more than our mate who didn’t fancy the 4/5. ‘Plenty of cash punters here today’ was one book’s explanation.

Castilo Del Diablo won the penultimate at 6/1. The result was given after a three-way photo and greeted with virtual silence from the crowd. The runner-up was a 14/1 shot so I doubt there would have been much of a cheer had he won either. The favourite was back in third which provided some respite for the bookies. There was a rousing finish in the last, the 2/1 market-leader Si Senor got the race after some spirited ‘jockey with a whip-happy action’ impressions from one chap stood down on the rail, but only by a neck. I assume he was on the winner, he deserved to be after such an accomplished display. Not all the bookies laid it though, ‘No big money for it here, which is just as well’ joked one.

Another told me he’d see me tomorrow, but added that he didn’t think it would be quite so busy as today. ‘It was lively’ was his summing up on a day where it looked as if the bookies definitely don’t enjoy Mondays, at least not this one.

(C) Simon Nott

I have written a book called ‘Skint Mob’ it is about bookies, punters and racecourse regulars and has been quite well-received. Here’s a review from the Racing Post on Sunday 23rd March.

Review from the Racing Post 23/03/14

Review from the Racing Post 23/03/14

It’s available here on Amazon – Kindle and Paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0992755409/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_s7Ymtb0Y2BE



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