Royal Ascot 2014 – Wednesday

The bookmakers seemed quite stoic as they set up in the morning sunshine on day two of Royal Ascot. Some were understandably so because it seems some of the bolt holes  spread all over the racecourse they now bet in are actually very good. So good in fact that despite the bookie-bashing results of Tuesday they had a good day. Others were just encouraged by the business despite  doing their cobblers. Bo Brown, betting as West End down at the bottom end of Tatts was still quite cheerful happy with the day’s takings despite giving more back than he actually took.

Sign referring to the bookies?

Sign referring to the bookies?


Glyn Jones was further down on the grass but had still made the effort to wear the tails, despite being the opposite end of the racecourse from where it was compulsory. He’d lost too but was still upbeat and in the spirit of the week raring to go.

Glynn Jones putting on the style to attract the ladies.

Glyn Jones putting on the style to attract the ladies.

Jennifer, last seen in the South working on the now AWOL Geoff Banks joint was working with the Jack Adams team. They had a bad day and needed to cop several grand to get their money back and cover the expenses before there’d be a sniff of profit. She was still quite optimistic though and was looking forward to unleashing an all-girl team for Ladies’ Day. I had noticed that Star Sports had taken a second-row pitch though Lofty strongly denied they were taking up defensive positions.

Undaunted by getting clobbered on the Queen’s hat market yesterday Dave Spice and Jack Bevan (Est 1897) were once again betting on the colour of the Monarch’s millinery. It’s true they were betting to a margin Dick Turpin would have been proud of, and indeed the chap on the Bevan joint looked as if he could be related. There were plenty of takers though so it seemed worth their while getting to work early.

Stand and Deliver!

Stand and Deliver!


When her Majesty arrived just after 2pm there appeared to be some ambiguity on the colour. It looked silver but due to the hat band that impression changed depending on what position it was in. I text Jack Bevan (Est 1897) and asked him what colour it was. He replied that he didn’t care it was a skinner.

Yep, no doubt about it, the Queen's hat is silver......

Yep, no doubt about it, the Queen’s hat is silver……

That was all right then, and just as well because 9/2jf Mustajeeb won the Jersey Stakes from the other 9/2 shot giving the bookies no hope of a great start but rather the day started where yesterday left off, badly.


During betting for the Queen Mary Stakes a familiar face was spotted, our workmate, the co-owner of duel Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood winner  Annecdote. He had somehow managed to dodge the security and was wandering about quite conspicuously in the Royal Enclosure in his everyday clobber. Looking for value maybe? The Sheikh of Slough has a reputation of looking for value, dodging the cost of a topper and tails was probably already result enough. Possibly just as well because Pricewise had tipped their filly for the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes so the value was long gone.

No shortage of punters.

No shortage of punters.


The betting for the Queen Mary Stakes revolved mainly around   Anthem Alexander sent off at 9/4 and Tiggy Wiggy backed from 5/1 into 7/2 on course. They weren’t the only ones backed though, one bookmaker was rumoured to have laid a £25,000 – £250 each way Coto. The bookies’ hearts were broken once again as the market-leaders finished first and second  in price order.  Small consolation was that Coto finished mid-division.

The Prince Of Wales’s Stakes had eight runners and an odds-on favourite in Treve. Despite being Royal Ascot some bookmakers decided to bet win only. One intrepid layer on the rails bucked the trend and bet 1/4 the odds a place. I’m told he initially went 9/1 about eventually winner The Fugue which went off at 11/2. Quite how they felt to get the favourite beaten but filled-in on the winner is anyone’s guess. The rest of the ring appeared to breathe a collective sigh of relief to get the jolly chinned. Now it was time to kick on in the Duke Of Cambridge.

Barry Johnson betting on the number one pitch in Tatts appeared to be one of them. He has been offering a debit card betting service for some time but only really attracted small interest. That all changed when somebody walloped him with a £27000 – £5000 Sky Lantern. Integral was sent off the 9/4 favourite despite being a few decent bets at 2/1. Annecdote was 16/1 after being 25/1 over night before Pricewise stuck his pin in her. Barry Johnson copped the five grand but sadly normal service was resumed to the despair of ring when Integral made it yet another winning favourite. Sadly for the Sheikh of Slough their filly didn’t sparkle on the day.

Belgian Bill was all the rage for the Royal Hunt Cup backed from 16/1 into 8/1,  Abseil was a well-backed 7/2 favourite while Ayaar attacked a bet of £20,000 – £1000. Much to the joy of most books  Field Of Dream was the 20/1 winner, it had been a pony in places but was blessed relief but with such a competitive race you can be sure nobody would he been even at the edge of the woods letalone out of them.

The lucky last was the 24-runner Sandringham Handicap Stakes, one punter had the last pound line of the Jackpot on Psychometry looking at around £71,000 if he prevailed. Ryan Moore putting up a pound over-weight can’t have been encouraging and nor could the 15/2 to 9/1 drift. Sadly for that Jackpot punter those omens were correct but the filly did manage 7th. Coral Mist attracted a £25000- £1000 each way but finished last.  Another big-hitter took advantage of Barry Johnson’s card machine, this time to the tune of a £44,000 – £8000 on Muteela. Some observers say that he jolly would have been beaten by 14/1 Queen Catrine given one more stride. Sadly a short-head photo decision proved the market leader had held on enough for Barry Johnson to reach for his card machine. At least it’s not as bad as having to get the readies ready, but it still was surely nasty.

Well you wouldn't expect smiles getting paying £44,000 but at least it's not readies.

Well you wouldn’t expect smiles paying £44,000 but at least it’s not readies.

‘I can’t bloody believe it’ bemoaned Dave Spice as I passed on the way out enquiring into the Queen’s hat market, ‘It was silver, surely it was silver, it was originally called silver, then they changed it to green. They backed green from 4/1 into 1/2, I’m beginning to think there’s a mole in the palace’. Paul Metcalfe betting as Jack Beven (Est 1897) dismissed this idea, ‘Probably didn’t take a lot of shortening’ was his dismissive quip. There weren’t many quipping though, another bad day at the office for the racecourse bookies.

Still it’s Ladies’ Day tomorrow.

(c) Simon Nott

My book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews. 

Skint Mob! Tales From The Betting Ring. OUT NOW


If you’d like one you can buy a signed copy  direct  from me via paypal here

It’s also available on Amazon and on Kindle.


One response to this post.

  1. Visiting the staff toilets on the way out of the track (known by my team as the “urinals of doom”) can be quite a depressing experience and in the last two days, the urinals have certainly lived up to their name. There was no chirping from the bookies as they relieved themselves before sitting in the inevitable traffic queues on the M25! But you gotta be in it to win it so bring on the next 3 days. Those well backed fancied runners can’t keep winning can they? ! Surely not? ??!


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