Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 09/07/14


The travelling circus that is racing moved on to Kempton Park for what appeared to be an Irish themed night. Whatever promotion the course had done seemed to have worked with a very good crowd in attendance. Weirdly, a travelling circus that isn’t racing was also in attendance too, at least the big top was though it didn’t make a great window, the big screen to the rescue there.

Who's in front in the back straight?

Who’s in front in the back straight?

There was action in the ring, busy and small according to Rocky on the rails. Despite the apparent lack of lumpy on-course business Secret Success was clipped from 2/1 into 6/4 before winning the first quite easily. Lack of money that is apart from the last bookie on the line in Tatts, yes there were bookies in Tatts too, it was that busy. ‘I laid a £750 – £400, and not proud of it’ he confessed, just as the winning punter came to draw. ‘I’ll bet with you all night now’ the beaming fellow promised. That would have given the bookie hope, at least he wasn’t just there for the one good thing, if he was going to bet like that in every race he’d have a great chance of getting it back. Mind you, with some competitive races on the card and relatively small field money on offer, in the words of my old boss Jack Lynn, to take him on all night would take ‘A ring of steel’!

The second race was one of those tricky ones with betting generally around the 7/1 the field mark. That was until Dimitar was supported into 7/2f. Luckily for the books that did the top price he was out of the frame behind Aomen Rock. At 6/1 the winner wasn’t a result  either.

Did the punter come in to the bookie on the end? No he didn’t, which of course could have been just as well.

He didn’t come in for the third either, my idea of a topic for this blog had already hit the skids. Somebody did have a monkey on Gilbey’s Mate at 7/2. That stayed in the bag when Brown Eyed Honey did the ring a 12/1 favour.

photo 3

There was a familiar face wandering around the ring before the fourth. Bookie Peter O’Toole was sniffing around, maybe to back Abaq who was trading a shade of odds-on at the time? ‘No it’s a busmans’ holiday’ he replied before adding that he’d brought a young lady. ‘It’s OK, this young lady is my wife’ he chuckled. One of the bookies on the rail spotted him too and asked if he’d like a lump on the jolly. ‘If  it wins then you could get a light-board’ he joked. ‘Never’ replied the bookmaker, a well known light-board-phobic, before the wandering off grinning, no business done. The rails book then looked at me and joked ‘With a surname like O’Toole I expect he got in for nothing tonight then’ with a ‘that will explain it’ look. The rascal.

Can you spot Peter O'Toole?

Can you spot Peter O’Toole?

Had Peter gone in with a lump at the shade of odds-on as offered he could indeed have bought a light-board, or a hundredweight of marker pens. He could have done so with the satisfaction he got the value too. The jolly won like the ring hates to see jollies win, as it liked, at a well-backed 4/6.

‘He came back that bloody race’ grimaced the bookie on the end of the line as he dug deep into his hod. With a fist full of readies in his hand he went on, ‘He had a grand on the winner’. Oh dear, that was nasty, at what price? You had to be there but for a bookmaker that had supposedly  just done a few quid he had a bit of a twinkle in his eye.

‘£667 t0 £1000, bottom of the market’

Not the end of the world then.

(c) Simon Nott

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 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

It’s also available on Amazon and on Kindle.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Skint-Mob-Tales-Betting-Ring-ebook/dp/B00HUWR8RE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1403039085&sr=8-1-fkmr0

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