Tales From The Betting Ring – Glorious Goodwood 2014 Friday

The day started with horror stories about the last race on Thursday explaining to half-cut and irate punters that there was a 20p reduction on their winnings over the winner Angelic Upstart. The favourite having been withdrawn at the start. Not everyone was so sympathetic and one quipped that the money they’d get from ‘sleepers’, similarly refreshed punters who backed the jolly not realising it had been withdrawn, would easily compensate. It’s heartbreaking to hear such aspersions cast against honest bookmakers.

Geoff Bank's fan club can't get past Mick to get to their unusually bashful man.

Geoff Bank’s fan club can’t get past Mick to get to their unusually bashful man.

Today didn’t begin well for those plying their trade in the ring either. Pether’s Moon was backed from 11/8 into 11/10 in The Coutts Glorious Stakes and obliged albeit after making heavy work of it. There weren’t fortunes on the rails as there have been for others in the week but still enough to make the layers wince. The crowd appeared to be huge though so the rule of thumb is usually if the books can take enough money on a lot of horses they won’t come to too much harm.

Heaving in Tatts.

Heaving in Tatts.

They had another one to get in the book in the Bonham Thoroughbred Stakes, and get it in they did. Shifting Power was solidly backed at 6/4 but after brief wobble into 11/8 the ring stood firm and took it on including a £6000-£4000. Those with balls of steel got their rewards. They also had the added bonus of being able to enjoy the last furlong with the favourite already beaten. Wannabe Yours won the race at 7/1 with a late rattle after Hors De Combat looked the likely winner having been backed from 11/2 into 9/2. ‘The second would have got us plenty’ bemoaned Lofty at Star Sports which shows you never can tell. One book on the rails reported laying a carpet each-way the winner at 8/1 which was possibly enough to take the shine off his race.

Big Jim and team win 'Best Turned Out Bookie' for the umpteenth time.

Big Jim and team win ‘Best Turned Out Bookie’ for the umpteenth time.


The Betfred Mile was as competitive as ever and went down to a bobbing finish at the line. After the photo had been studied the judge deemed that 12/1 Red Avenger had pipped well-backed 6/1 shot Heavy Metal in the last stride. Another pleasing result for the most of the bookies though the winner had been 16/1 in the morning so doubtful that is was a skinner for many. If you like reading about bookies winning you’d best hope that they got their whack because The Betfred King George Stakes was a disaster. Take Cover was backed to 15/2 into 6/1 prior to victory with 5/1 Extortionist and 9/2 jolly Moviesta filling the places.

The pitches on the grass attract a certain type of punter.

Do you think she’ll take a pound?


Down on the grass, where it had been reported to actually be greener yesterday, things weren’t quite so clever. Jamie McNab admitted it had been very quiet today and couldn’t really see a reason why. With that he was interrupted by a lady holing aloft a shiny pound coin and wielding the phrase that is never music to any bookies’ ears ‘Last of the big spenders’.

Yes madam I will take a pound.......

Yes madam I will take a pound…….

Business was noticeably quieter everywhere betting on the fifth, The Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Nursery.  There were a few biggish bets but none on the winner Son Of Africa who had opened at 5/1 but weakened in the market to 7/1 by off time.

No funny caption but my attempt at being arty!

No funny caption but my attempt at being arty!

Just when it looked as if the day was petering out punting-wise the L’Ormarins Queens Plate Stakes came alive with several horses being backed, notably a £7000-£4000 the steady favourite Muteela. That money stayed with the bookies when J Wonder came with a late run to foil the jolly. The winner had been 5/1 out to 7/1 so you’d think it was a good result. Not for everyone though, one firm on the rails fell into a £6000-£1000. ‘Oh dear I’ll wipe away a tear’ was Reg on the Roy Christie joint’s response to the news. I’m not saying who the firm was that laid it but you can guess it wasn’t Reg’s. Meanwhile his perky sidekick Adrian was doing his best to charm the ladies. Maybe he should work harder on his act because whatever it is he said to her the response ‘You are so not funny’ was probably not the one he was after!

The last race really was a light betting heat. ‘We’ve put the handcuffs on’ admitted Lofty. The race went to 10/1 shot Tall Ships. ‘Yes! I have tipped that up to everyone’ shouted our workmate Graham, the World’s worst racing stable mole.

Umm no Graham not quite everyone, thanks for that.

(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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