Salisbury – Ladies’ Evening 12/07/14

The sun was shining when the ladies started arriving in their finery for Salisbury’s Ladies’ Evening. It was both credit to the way the accuracy of the short-term forecast is taken as read, and also slightly ominous that plastic macs were being handed out on arrival too. Also a nice touch by the racecourse looking after their patrons in such a thoughtful way.

Not so some of the bookmakers I’m told. It seems that the Salisbury management have decided not to allow early-bird bookies drive their cars onto the racecourse to unload their not inconsiderable amount of gear. The driving in concession is of course much preferable to having to drag it in from the car park. The reason for this seemingly Draconian measure was not clear because I was getting it in Chinese whispers from various parties. However it does appear that a racecourse far too far north for my remit recently had a little clamp down. This was brought on because of certain firms that it’s alleged were in the habit of arriving way before security with a car rammed not only with kit but as many bodies as is possible to squeeze into it, discharge the cargo then exit later with only the smiling driver returning to pay. Naturally this sort of hoodwinkery is frowned up so is  being rightfully stamped on, it seems country-wide. Not great for the vast majority of bookies who’d not dream of flimping in. ‘All that bother just to save £12’ spat one. Quite.

There had been some excitement that a couple of pitches had been made available up by the paddock for the first time. That excitement was tempered somewhat when it was discovered that the pitches were nearer the car park and pre-parade ring than where hoped. Still, Jim Clarke  decided to give it a whirl, he did look a little lonely prior to racing but assured me that fellow local bookie Andrew ‘Monkey’ Wrench was to join him shortly. I had no time to check after racing to see how they got on, but if they bet there again you can be sure it was OK, especially of they say it wasn’t.

Is anybody there......?

Is anybody there……?

The crowd did look huge with plenty of ladies looking stunning. Down on the rail and in Tatts business looked brisk. It’s doubtful any of the layers expected the bets to be anything other than ‘small but brisk’ and the wouldn’t have been disappointed. ‘I don’t stand them any more’ confided one prominent bookmaker, you got the impression that for tonight at least not many were going to, rather bet to figures and hope a result would get them the wages.

They got a result of sorts in the four-runner opener when 5/1 outsider Feeling Easy landed the spoils. They were only a neck and a short-head away from a 20/1 cracker in the next too but sadly for the books Lady Phill was that distance behind the 10/3 winner Vallarta. As previously mentioned, the ladies were stunning at least one bookmakers on the rails was impressed, poor fellow. The well-known chap from Devon was literally salivating, sadly for him the attraction wasn’t reciprocated by those young enough to be his grand daughters. Going 3/1 about an 11/4 shot might have helped, but of course that would have really been a step too far.

Unfortunately  for the fashion-concious by the third race  the racecourse’s foresight of handing out waterproofs had proved prudent. If the rain tipping down wasn’t bad enough, the result of the race wouldn’t  normally have been any good for the ring, with 4/9 shot Misterioso winning with ease. Every cloud had a silver lining however, given the size of the crowd, that sort of client not really wanting to get involved at odds-on no doubt some books had a good winning race.

The sun soon came out again, though most people seemed happy to keep their see-through gratis macs on. The bookies also appeared keen to just get on with the next race and keep their brollies up. The Betting Ring Manager wasn’t having that though and fought his way through the crowds exercising his authority telling all the take them down.  Needless to say he wasn’t flavour of the month when the heavens opened again just as the betting was busiest. Hiking won the race backed from 11/4 into 9/4, all small money on course though and the jolly back in third no real harm done.

'Pay Pay'

‘Pay Pay’

There was some serious punting action in the fifth. Cosette was backed from 8/1 into 11/2. The ring does tend to sit up and take notice when one of Henry Candy’s is backed. Indeed had the great man actually been seen to have a bet in the past it was’t uncommon for certain members of the rails to desert their posts to get on themselves. He wasn’t spotted but the guard was up. There were actually a couple of biggish bets seen for both market-leaders Jelly Fish and Sunny Future. The crowd were treated to an excellent finish with Cosette and Jelly Fish battling it out. Most observers in my vicinity, myself included, thought that the Candy gamble had been landed. The photo proved we,  and the gamble, had been a short head wrong behind the 3/1 winner Jelly Fish. ‘All the women backed that one’ bemoaned one layer as he looked over a large queue of a lot of women.

The popular choice with the ladies  in the penultimate was Pink Diamond, that won too, at 4/1 which meant a lot more payouts though they possibly didn’t amount to huge actual losses with 9/4f Assoluta back in third.

Some of the press contingent made the trek to the  Weighing Room steps to witness the ‘Best Dressed’ competition between races. One of their number was back sooner than expected quite disappointed. ‘Far too classy, not an orange tan or tattoo in sight’ he moaned. Well you can’t please everyone all of the time, and as they say, you can take the boy out of Essex…….

The concluding race of the evening saw a move for Running Deer bet from 5/1 in 7/2. The gamble did lead for a bit but not long enough to give her supporters a real thrill. The race went to Tearless, the 9/4 favourite concluding what on paper looked like a very bad night for the books. In reality you got the feeling that it had been an enjoyable ‘overs’ evening for most, not heroics and that the last winner’s name was quite apt.

How was it in the car park Jim?

(c) Simon Nott




My  (Award Nominated but sadly unplaced) 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.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: