Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 11/04/14


The flat was back at Newbury and the spring weather certainly came out to greet it. There were plenty of runners too for the 8-race card. The bookmakers seemed hopeful that the sunshine would bring a few people out and that the early season action would provide a turn-up or two in their favour. It looked as if they got that right when John Gosden’s yard provided at 10/1 winner in the shape of Kasb. There had been solid support for David Elsworth’s Justice Good from around 5/1 into 9/4 but he never really looked to be in the shake up.

Excellent weather for a royal visit.

Excellent weather for a royal visit.

There seemed to be a decent crowd for a Friday, not many of them found the 20/1 second winner Bob’s World though which was another result for the ring. The shine was taken off the race for one bookie when Arty Campbell took third place having laid a monkey each-way at 11/1. For anyone who doesn’t know the origins of the term ‘monkey’ for £500 (and neither did I until I saw this) a young Dean Valentine explains it in the archive 10 minute video clip here http://wp.me/p1dLbd-gB

There were other grumbles from the ring too. One long-established bookie was bemoaning the fact that he priced up the 14-runner handicap to 110% only to find that he’d been topped on five of the runners by the layer next door. What’s bad for the bookie is good for the punter, come racing!

If a 20/1 winner of a tight margin race was bad news Western Hymn must have been very nasty indeed having been sent off a well-backed 11/8 shot winning impressively completing a double for the Gosden yard. Make that a treble and even nastier with Muwaary’s 2/1 win in the following heat.

There had been a noticeable police presence on the racecourse today. It didn’t really look like a crowd who were about to kick off at any minute. The four sturdy looking fellows in suits and talking into little radios with ear-pieces marching purposefully from a lift added to the intrigue. In hindsight the press room was full to bursting for a Friday too. It took a while to twig, but a high-profile owner was attending the course today.

Her Majesty The Queen looked resplendent in burgundy as she mingled with other owners in the parade ring prior to the sixth race to inspect her filly  Enliven prior to the race. The buzz went around that ‘She’s here’. Given that you’d have thought the filly must have a chance you’d thing that some bookies took a bit of a chance chalking up 14/1 early. They had no doubt an eye open for a footman hurtling into the ring with the royal punting money, sadly none were forthcoming. Somebody took the hint though as there was some late support. All concerned would have had a thrill as the the royal filly did show prominently for a while before finished a respectable seventh. The eventual winner was Evita Peron the 4/1 joint market-leader, no good for the bookies.

There was no such support for the Queen’s other runner Fiery Sunset sent off at 28/1. She finished two places better in fifth. Bright Approach was the 11/4 winner completing a four-timer for the Gosden yard. She had been bigger so not a lot of cop for the bookies but at least had the jolly beaten into second. The yard had Criteria running in the last which unsurprisingly came in for some support going off at 9/2. It didn’t win but finished third behind another 9/2 shot Inchila which had been 6/1 finishing off a lovely royal day at the races  in the sunshine. The weather of course being a consolation for the bookies that lost, probably.

(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_s7Ymtb0Y2

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