Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 20/08/14

While the majority of the  great and the good of flat racing were high-ending it up at York the evening racing show was kept on the road at Kempton Park. There was a hearty crowd too, enjoying a decent summer’s evening for the 7-race card. The course have booked rapper Dizzee Rascal to perform at the course on 6th September and were advertising the event in the title of the first race. It was a handicap but Mister Bob was backed from 11/8 into even money and got the punters off to a great start.

Kempton they rattle their two quids....

Kempton they rattle their two quids….

When I say ‘punters’ I mean small-staking ones. ‘There’s not a punter here really, they all want two quid on’ was one bookmaker’s summing up of the business after the opener. Possibly just as well when a backed (somewhere) favourite wins. In stark contrast the jolly for the second race, Spellbind was very weak in the market, drifting from 11/8 to 2/1 before being clipped into 15/8. She ran as the market had anticipated, badly. The winner was 9/4 second-in Aragosta so no good for the bookies either. ‘Still all two quids, several of them, but two quids’ was the report from them though.

I may have mentioned him before but it’s nights like tonight the books need a punter like ‘Noodles’ to keep them on their toes. Noodles used to be a very regular face at Kempton, especially in the winter when it was freezing cold and there was plenty of room to rattle around. He always used to sit in the same seat in the stands, even when he could have literally picked any of them. He’d sit up there like a sentinel looking down at the shivering bookies while they looked largely into space. When he did make his move the layers would get a bit jittery wondering who he’d go into. He’d usually have the same stake on, it would be in the hundreds not thousands, but often on big-priced horses, impossible to double guess. One evening a chap who used work from the stands on the phone to his mate at home betting in running sat in Noodle’s seat. He looked at me, and then at the deserted stand, incredulously when I told him he ‘somebody’s sitting there’ when he parked himself in Noodles’ seat between races one night. He moved, just in time for Noodles to appear with a box of his favourite race day snack, you don’t need me to enlighten you to what that was do you, and take ‘his’ seat. A creature of habit our Noodles it seemed.

No sign of Noodles in his favourite seat.

No sign of Noodles in his favourite seat.

I can’t remember the last time I saw Noodles, I hope he’s OK, ideally after having it spark off and relocating to somewhere hotter. The in-running guy has been AWOL for a while too, let’s hope he got his and retired too. The books got the odds-on Rock Kristal beaten in the third. Had the in-running guy been in the stands he would probably have done his money because the jolly did look like it was going to sweep past the eventual winner Endless Time. The winner was 2/1 second-in so once again no real joy for the bookies, especially as there was yet to be a punter of substance sighted.

Then one turned up, sort of. From my vantage point it looked as if this chap was having it on in lumps all along the rail. It actually transpired that he was spreading a fair bet thinly along the line, the biggest being £1500 – £250 each-way at 6/1. Those that did get the crumbs were no doubt pleased he turned up because the subject of the one-man gamble Weekendatbernies was unplaced. Especially as Si Senor the 7/4 from 2/1 favourite won easily.

Nearly time to put 50p in the meter for the lights

Nearly time to put 50p in the meter for the lights

The 5th race, sponsored by BetBright was a competitive looking handicap. One bookmaker took a £2000 – £250 each-way Ssafa at 8/1. It can’t have been a nice sight watching it win as it liked at a clipped in 7/1. ‘It wasn’t the same man’ the bookie confided through somewhat gritted teeth. It didn’t take long for the same layer to get the chance to get some back. It seemed the punter was going to be a sport and play up his winnings and had a grand on Fire Fighting at 5/2. That stayed in the hod, it looked as if luck was on the side of the layer, Fire Fighting finished 3rd having had a torrid time in running.

Somebody rummaged one up by the look of it.

Somebody rummaged one up by the look of it.

The biggest bet of the night came in the last. One punter, if it was the same man playing up again, nobody was telling had £1600 at 6/4 the eventual 11/8 favourite Souville. The market leader made a good attempt to make all in the race but salvation from the heavens in the shape of  7/1 Outer Space came to save the night. At least for that one bookie.

Where is Noodles?!

(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.


Available on Nook


Available on Kobo



One response to this post.

  1. Hi there

    I have recently launched a new blog, Premier League Betting Tips on http://premierleaguebettingtips.blogspot.com/

    Would you be interested in a link exchange?

    Best regards


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