Tales From The Betting Ring – Glorious Goodwood 2014 Wednesday


I’d dug out my Goodwood blazer for my favourite flat meeting of the year, with the addition of a brand new Panama, well M&S budget version anyway. I’d given it a spin at Salisbury on Saturday night just to make sure it fit properly and not too many people laughed. That didn’t help much, ‘Simon has been digging around in the dressing-up cupboard again’ scoffed Ian (of Leicester). Cruel jibes apart I think it’s all part of the fun of going racing.

The sudden realisation that the new hat was unlucky!

The sudden realisation that the new hat was unlucky!

It’s hard to separate racing from superstition, I thought I had heard most of them but then Tanya Stevenson hit me with another one when she warned me that it was unlucky to wear a new Panama to Goodwood. Bugger, I had no idea, I wonder if all the people buying the ones they flog at Goodwood regaled in their colours do either? Maybe an angle there for a pioneering bookie to hand out free betting vouchers to hapless hat buyers unwittingly dooming their day’s punting with their proud purchase. Hang on a minute, I wore it to Salisbury on Saturday so strictly speaking it wasn’t ‘new’ just fairly new, so I was all right. My only bet of the day was in the last put up by my mate Andrew Mount in his www.gg.com column ‘Track Bias Diary’ so had plenty of time to steel myself for the possible curse of the new hat.

It appeared Martyn had employed a secret card-marking weapon for the week.

It appeared Martyn had employed a secret card-marking weapon for the week.

 

I’m led to believe that the bookies had it spark off on Tuesday. They were certainly in high spirits as they limbered up for the opening Goodwood Stakes. They had a short one to get stuck into in Maid In Rio. Some stuck their heads above the parapet and went 6/4 when 11/8 was general and were accommodated with some chunks. It did seem that the sun had brought the punters out. Those punters may well have wished they’d stayed in the shade let alone stuck their chests out  when 33/1 shot Teak won the race the jolly unplaced.

Steve Ross managed to get his hat off before I could snap him. It can't have been new, no wonder bookies wear old hats.

Steve Ross managed to get his hat off before I could snap him. It can’t have been new, no wonder bookies wear old hats.

 

There was a lively market in the Gordon Stakes with much of the seven-runner card attracting support with Observational and Somewhat fighting it out for favouritism. It’s hard to stand out these days but Big Jim on the rails was having a go, not only dressed in a blazer that put mine to shame but also betting each-way the first three (at reduced win odds of course) and giving away sweets. He can’t have been eating them because he’s not so big any more having looked to have lost a huge amount of weight. The books got the front two beaten and out of the frame behind 9/2 Snow Sky. It probably wasn’t so good for Biggish Jim judging by the queue of punters he had after the race, assuming it wasn’t just for free sweets.

Was it the blazer, the sweets or three places each-way a seven horse race?

Was it the blazer, the sweets or three places each-way a seven horse race?

 

The Sussex Stakes was a feature of the day with Tornado going up against Kingman. There was support for the former but in the end Kingman proved to be far too good rewarding those punters that waded in with £15,000, £10,000 and all figures down bets at 2/5. Bolstered up by the winning favourite the punters waded in  to Highland Reel at around the even money mark. Early birds got 11/10. Favourite backers were soon counting their money again, the day suddenly looking as if it was turning the punters’ way with noted £1000+ bets in two figures.

Adrian no doubt looking forward to a post-race pint takes a breather on the rails.

Adrian no doubt looking forward to a post-race pint takes a breather on the rails.

The ring saw plenty of financial interest in Shahah in the Maiden Fillies’ Stakes forcing the bookies to retreat from their initial 2/1 into 7/4. There was also clever money each-way for Hundi at an early 5/1, no doubt the reason it went off at 4/1. The real clever money proved to be on Johnny Portman’s Royal Razalma nibbled from 12/1 into 10/1 before winning nicely. Another for the bookies though Hundi finished second so stakes returned to the each-way bandits.

Early skirmishes on the rails.

Early skirmishes on the rails.

The Fillies’ Handicap was a 5/1 the field betting race so not so many bets of volume but business looked brisk. Probably not brisk enough for the bookies when they did their sums after the race. 25/1 winner Magique was no doubt a great result for them.

You know you are getting old when the bookies start looking young!

You know you are getting old when the bookies start looking young!

The Turf Club Stakes finale was another competitive affair. My early morning bet on the advice of may mate Mounty at 7/1 was George Rooke, all was looking rosy for him, Ryan Moore booked and supported into 9/2 favourite. All good that is except for the curse of my new(ish) Panama hat. Surely superstitious nonsense couldn’t affect the outcome of a horse race with a master jockey and a great draw.

Once the race got under way it looked like it actually could be right after all, what was Ryan doing.  He’d got a plum draw then dropped the horse into a position that would require intervention by Moses  for a gap to open for him to win the race. Thank goodness I wore the hat at Salisbury, the curse must have been slightly lifted as George Rooke managed to slalom his way into third to save the place money. Related was drawn one and won the race having been backed from 7/1 into 6/1, obviously by people with really old hats.

I’m not taking any chances today, the Panama stays in the car!

(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 

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

Available on Nook

http://www.nook.com/gb/ebooks/skint-mob-tales-from-the-betting-ring-by-simon-nott/2940149802029

Available on Kobo

http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/Skint-Mob/577sO7waFEmz9tXv9posiQ

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