Royal Ascot 2014 – Friday

On such a beautiful morning and with all the doom and gloom that was engulfing Tatts I decided to take a wander to the Silver Ring and see how they were getting on down there. And it was great to find that they were doing very well. Well in spirits that is, most of them that I spoke to admitted to doing their money too, but at least the surroundings were picturesque.

It was so 'no good' Kenny Wager had resorted to wearing his daps to the races.

It was so ‘no good’ Kenny Wager had resorted to wearing his daps to the races.

Kenny Wager was doing ‘No good’. The reason, he claimed, was that all those people sitting down enjoying the sunshine and picnics did just that, all day, and didn’t have a bet. They may not have been too keen to bet with the veteran Bristol bookie though,he had trainers on, and everyone knows not to bet with a bookie who wears trainers.

They are enjoying the racing but they don't have a bet, at least according to Kenny.

They are enjoying the racing but they don’t have a bet, at least according to Kenny.

I was glad I went down to see him though, his clerk Martin is mustard as a salesman. I always have a few Skint Mobs with me but hate actually pestering people in person to buy one. Martin sold two for me just like that. Mind you one was on tick and I haven’t seen the readies yet. Purely by coincidence Geordie Gainford helping out on the Allan Lock joint next door overheard Martin’s sale’s pitch and that I’d done a brief time in the Army. It turned out that we had actually been at the same camp in 1989, how about that then. OK you are probably not interested at all, but it was a million so it made me decide it could be my day and to have a crack at the Jackpot. Martin was so good he even got these girls to pose with the book.

The 'must read' book for every racing fan!

The ‘must read’ book for every racing fan!

They didn’t buy it though…………..

Lucy Hazell had been featured on the Morning Line earlier in the week, she was betting alongside her Mum Jane and were enjoying the week. I expressed my concern that maybe it hadn’t been the best of weeks though. They looked at each other and didn’t really want to comment. You get the impression that maybe they weren’t behind at all, but that’s just a guess. It did look very busy as well as attractive around their pitch though.

Jane and Lucy Hazell, keeping tight-lipped about the business down in the Silver Ring.

Jane and Lucy Hazell, keeping tight-lipped about the business down in the Silver Ring, that’s not product placement at all by the way.

There was one face that was all smiles. Anyone who knows Jim Clarke will know that statement is pretty rare as it is, but he really was beaming. Why? Today was his first day out that’s why. Once again plugging Skint Mob, anyone who has read it will know Jim and I had a terrible Ladies’ Day a few years back. I have only just been removed from the top of his black book, only just. Apart from when I worked for him, Jim is generally prefixed ‘Lucky’. He felt like he’d backed a winner already by ducking the first three days, and compared to those at Tatts I suppose he was right.

On the way back up there to the scene of financial carnage I noticed that Martyn ‘Money without Work’ of Leicester and his team had retired to the lawn. Still in Tatts but well away from thick stuff, or at least you’d hope so. ‘There are no real skinny ones today so he decided that it there was no point being up there’ his staff informed me. Martyn was nowhere to be seen but his staff were enjoying dealing with their smaller-staking punters.

One at a time ladies, you'll all be on.

One at a time ladies, you’ll all be on.

I could tell I was getting back near the shadow of the stands when I spoke to Richard Pittard who was ‘Doing his cobblers’ and needed to get £4000 back before even breaking even including the expenses. Even he was apparently happy ‘doing them’ while his wife did her best to field enough money to get some of that lot back.

Come on gents, you're all on.

Come on gents, you’re all on.

Glyn Jones had moved again in the hope of finding a lucky spot and some results. Bypassing Tatts I thought I’d better check on the Queen’s Hat saga. Those of you that are sick of it and just interested in the racing will be pleased to know it’s over. The lady (not gent as I was misinformed) had not been sighted. She had been sighted on the big screen the day before though, interviewed about her job making dresses for ladies that are a bit royal. Allegedly. Asked how the book was Dave Spice said that ‘Yellow was worst’, he didn’t have a loser though, normal service had been resumed.

His right-hand man Paul ‘Hoops’ was looking very dapper in a pair of morning dress strides. They weren’t his. Apparently he’d been sat on a chair in the Montjeur bar and the blasted thing collapsed. Not only did he hit the deck as a result but his trousers were ripped to the point of indecency, ever been in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Luckily for him, Ascot came to the rescue and loaned him the strides he was wearing. You don’t get that service everywhere do you?!

Proper Job.

Proper Job.

The Royal Enclosure looked busier that it had been earlier in the week with the punters queuing up to get on which augured well for the firms on the rails. One well-known racing personality made a tongue in cheek comment that got those in eavesdropping range chuckling.  ‘Isn’t it lovely the way all the uncles in the Royal Enclosure bring their nieces along’. I hadn’t noticed, but now she came to mention it……. no picture to go with that one!

The Albany Stakes saw a lively if not lumpy market with Patience Alexander and Sexy Legs going off 9/2 market leaders. When 14/1 shot Cursory Glance won the race the bookies almost had to do a double-take. It was a sort of a result for them, the winner had been 20/1 in places but it would do. One lady backed it ‘They tipped it in the Telegraph’ she informed the grinning bookie.

That was the Jackpot blown in the first race, not my day after all.

The band actually played before the 'result' but the relief for the ring really didn't warrant another number.

The band actually played before the ‘result’ but the relief for the ring really did warrant another number.

The Wolferton Handicap Stakes had a hot favourite in the Queen’s Sniper sent off at 2/1. There were plenty of bets for it too including an £8000-£4000 and several other four-figure wagers. All cameras were pointed up at Royal Box, but rather than capturing the Monarch with her fist raised triumphantly in the air,  it was the bookies. Yes the 9/1 winner Contributer had been backed from 14/1 but beating the Queen’s horse into second was another result, the worm could well be turning.

Adelaide was hammered into 6/5 after being available to plenty at 6/4, the books keen to take the jolly on but at the price. The punters piled in, one even managed to get a £13000-£8000 while latecomers got similar bets on at 11/8. There were tales of monster bets struck in offices too. Eagle Top’s 12/1 victory over the favourite was a real cracker. ‘I’m getting chunks of yesterday’s back today’ was Ben Keith of Star Sports verdict after the race.  Not just him either, the Ascot bookies were back and could really sense that it was the day to get to work.

The Coronation Stakes was just the race to have a go with Lightening Thunder and My Titania fighting it out for pole position in the market. The big-hitting punters were getting stuck into both of them with a flip-flopping betting pattern. Some of the lumps at around 7/2 and the odd bit of 4/1 were each-way. Rizeena was supported from 13/2 into 11/2 and was backed to the tune of £5000-£700 (that’s 7/1 with the fractions,somebody poked their head above the parapet and even stood for the bits – come racing) and an £11,000 – £2000. Her victory meant the front two were beaten, not just beaten but out of the frame copping the ‘clever’ each-way money too.

No time to catch their breath the books dived straight into The Queen’s Vase, Marzocco was the hot favourite (what card was Martyn of Leicester looking at by the way?). Undeterred by the day’s reversals the lumpy backers went in big again. More tales of monster bets accommodated off course and no chicken feed bets on course either. The early 7/4 ended up at 11/8 and Marzocco ended up third. The winner Hartnell was the second favourite at 7/2 and did attract a fist full of grand bets but nothing compared to the jolly. Another result.

After the race Ben Keith of Star Sports was understandably in high spirits telling me, ‘I started the day minus £400,000, but am now back level, it’s been the best Royal Ascot day ever’. Now that’s a comeback by anyone’s standards.

The sound of elastic bands snapping shut around the winnings could be (probably) heard all around the ring. Tidy books the order for the 28-runner Buckingham Palace Stakes for most I’d imagine. Not for all though, Russian Realm was sent off at 5/1 favourite, one rails book laid a £25,000 – £5000. The day hadn’t finished giving for bookies, Louis The Pious topped a magnificent comeback day for the betting ring with a 33/1 victory. The layers were over the moon, they’d got it back after being put through the ringer for the first three days but eventually getting the results they had been hanging in there for. Blessed relief actually.

He’s always been a lucky sod that Jim Clarke.

(c) Simon Nott

That’s the last blog from Royal Ascot, I’ll be heading straight back home to Devon tomorrow night for a well-earned cider. Thanks for reading and sharing this week, it’s much appreciated.

My  (Award Nominated) 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.


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