Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 18/07/14

Glorious weather brought out the crowds and some questionable fashion from some of the bookmakers, who said the colour is disappearing from the betting ring!

Good fellows, Pauls, Metcalfe and Gold exhibit the varying elegant styles favoured by bookmakers.

Good fellows, Pauls, Metcalfe and Gold exhibit the varying elegant styles favoured by bookmakers.

There were 14 runners in the opening maiden but it looked a two-horse race on paper and sadly for the bookies so it proved on turf too. The two principles fought out the finish with them eventually passing the post in price order.  Nafaqa went off the 8/11 favourite after some small even money was snapped up by early birds, come racing. The runner-up Marshall Jennings went off at 3/1 but had seen money at shorter including on chiseller having a £550-£200 each-way.

The second race and second maiden of the day’s betting was thrown into confusion when current short-priced favourite Sulaalaat was withdrawn resulting in a 45p rule four and hastily reformed market. Praise has to go to commentator Richard Hoiles who made a special point of asking punter and bookmakers alike to take notice of the withdrawal which was a great help. Sadly there was still some confusion after the race when novice racegoers couldn’t work out why they had a large deduction taken from their winnings, exacerbated by the fact  Taaqah won the race, the eventual 5/2 second-favourite.  On the plus side, at least it wasn’t Saturday.

Glorious punting weather, the results? Not so good.

Glorious punting weather, the results? Not so good.

The woes for the bookies continued in the third, the favourite was beaten but Cay Dancer which went off at 11/4 had been 3/1 and one book was accommodated to the tune of a monkey at the price.  There was spirited betting in the next despite only the five runners. Limato opened at a shade of odds-on but then was allowed to drift to 11/8 despite a couple of decent bets at even money. The reason being Adaay was supported from 7/4 into 5/4 favouritism near the off. The original favourite proved much to good winning with some ease with the gamble of sorts back  in third.

One big-staking punter had been active in the ring all day and told me he was having it spark off. He’d heard through the grapevine  that Whitecrest was the business in the fifth and appeared to be putting his money where his mouth was at around the 7/2 mark. Other punters thought differently resulting in the favourite Flying Bear hardening from 2/1 into 7/4. Sadly for the bookies that took on the jolly, not to mention the punter whose roll came to an end the supporters of the latter proved to be right with yet another market leader denting the ring’s combined bank balance, Whitecrest was back in third.

It only got worse for the bookmakers when The Queen’s Border Legend won the penultimate having been backed from 10/3 into 11/4f. It was particularly galling for the layers because after looking home and hosed a furlong out the winner hung on by just a nose from the flying at the finish 7/1 shot  Ajman Bridge. ‘That made £2700 difference to me’ bemoaned one rouge-tinted bookie. It was no doubt the same story to differing amounts all around him. I can imagine there were more joyous scenes in Buckingham Palace if they had the TV on.

It's safe to say that at least one firm got the winner in. Come racing,

It’s safe to say that at least one firm got the winner in. Come racing,

There was no happy ending for the bookies when the well-backed 5/1 into 7/2 joint market leader Panther Patrol won the last. That rounded off a nasty day at the races for those hardly firms who turn up day in day out to do battle and keep the show on the road. On the bright side, judging by the pay-out queues there had been plenty of public money from a very decent crowd for a Friday and of course, winning at the game is a marathon not a sprint.

The game’s not gone, the vibrancy is still there, ignore the gloom merchants, come racing, bet in cash and take on those bookies!

(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.



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