Tales From The Betting Ring – Epsom 17/07/14 Beach Boys

The Beach Boys were booked to perform after racing and judging by the crowd they were a much better draw than the previous week’s act Peter Andre. ‘Better than Status Quo at Sandown last night too’ according to Peter Houghton betting down near the stage. ‘They might have been rocking all over the World, but they weren’t at Sandown’. Similar unhappiness at recent crowds was evident from another bookmaker who collared me before racing to ‘Make sure I say how terrible it’s been’. I did reply that I like to try and keep positive, the positive here being that tonight was much better.

Better that is unless you were trying to take lumpy bets, there weren’t many of them spoken of on the rails. Having said that there were a couple of £300 and £400 bets on the jolly Sagesse at 3/1 in the opening ‘Ladies’ Derby’. She eventually went off at 9/4 but had to settle for third place behind Nave who pounced  under Megan Nicholls to deny Echo Brava (backed from 6/1 into 4/1) close home.

'Did someone just ask for a bet bigger than a tenner?'

‘Did someone just ask for a bet bigger than a tenner?’


Peter Houghton had taken three times as much in today’s opener than yesterday’s at Sandown where I’d also been rocking elsewhere in the world. ‘I did take eight fivers one early on, but it was all small after that’ was Dave Bindon’s not quite so upbeat response.  Aqua Ardens was backed from 3/1 into 9/4 before winning the next but did beat the 5/4f Conry so not all bad.

The ring got a result in the Irish Stallion Farms Maiden, Silver Ranger was sent off 5/6f after an £1100 – £1000 and a couple of even monkeys. The second-in Red Rubles also saw a bit of support so most of the ring were over the moon when 10/1 shot Faithful Creek won the race. I say most, ‘I laid a £3000 – £210’ reported Martyn of Leicester pleading to the sky as if to ask the Almighty why him with a look that would bring a grown man to tears. Probably not the man that had the bet though, (that’s 14/1 with the fractions, come racing – for details on how to bag fractions from your friendly on-course bookie, click here http://wp.me/p1dLbd-4x ) who our poor beleaguered hero ‘Had never seen before in my life’.

Bob Stock does his best to block out the cries from two joints up.

Bob Stock does his best to block out the cries from two joints up.

Another place other than the betting ring where you can obtain ‘Money without work’ on course is the little tent housing cash machines between stands. I’m not referring to the steady stream of people queuing all evening to get access to their own hard-earned, but the people running them. £2.75 to make a withdrawal. ‘How much?!’ exclaimed one customer only after a score of his own money before adding ‘If I drew a monkey I’d still feel robbed’, then got his score out.

In case you are wondering, yes it was still broad daylight!

In case you are wondering, yes it was still broad daylight!


Not needing the cash machines just yet but not having a good day was the professional punter that often appears to be talking into his paper. ‘I’m doing my money’ he confided to me, not the paper. ‘They must be having it off in the ring then?’ I ventured. Never one to give the bookmakers any sort of credit, he quickly dispelled that idea. ‘What?!’ he scoffed with a very slightly evil grin before adding, ‘You mean Betfair have, that’s who that lot would have given all my bets straight back to!’ That seemed to make his losing (only lent of  course) evening more palatable at least that’s the impression I got as he chuckled his way back to the rails for another pop.

Jacob Cats attracted some decent support in the Ashtead Handicap backed from 3/1 into 9/4. If you are rooting for our pro-punting man you’d have to hope it wasn’t his money because it stayed with the bookies, or whoever they might have hedged it with. Compton Bird was the 10/1 winner having been easy to back opening at 7/1. Everyone in the ring seemed happy with that, even Martyn who was no longer looking quite so traumatised.

The books got the jolly beaten in the penultimate and then had to decide what to do in the last. Comanchero opened around 4/7, there were some takers at that price and ended up bottle-on (1/2). His backers would never have really felt comfortable and soon knew their fate with the market-leader never getting in a blow in fourth topping off what looked like a great day on paper for the books.

Good. Good. Good. Good Vibrations

Good. Good. Good. Good Vibrations

There seemed to be good vibrations all around the ring as the firms packed their kit up in the glorious late evening sunshine.

Yes I know, it’s a terrible pun, but you can be sure the Beach Boys sounded a lot better after a winning evening…….

(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.



2 responses to this post.

  1. This is just a quick note to say how much i enjoy all your pictures plus your racing blogs.


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