Tales From The Betting Ring – Salisbury 04/09/2014

There were some bemused faces in the ring before the first. The new bookies’ nightmare, their systems were failing and they couldn’t access the betting exchanges. The bemused faces weren’t so much concerned with how to fix the problem, the technical guys were hard at work on that. No, somebody had mentioned getting a field book out. That really did cause some frowning, did anyone still have one in their car boot? If they did was there anyone who could remember how to use it? Did they still make pencils?!

Not everyone was fallen-crested though. Ian on the Jack Bevan (est 1897) joint was feeling quite chuffed with himself. He’d got 30 points on BBC Radio 2’s ‘Pop Master’ quiz in the car on the way up. Never one to give too much praise lest the staff get ahead of themselves, boss Paul piped up that 30 out of a possible 32 wasn’t actually that good. ‘If only I’d said Shakatak instead of Manhattan Transfer’ bemoaned Ian.

The 'Post Master' only got 30/32, but his hat was a bargain apparently.

Sad times as the ‘Pop Master’ only got 30/32, but all was not lost, his hat was a bargain apparently.

Luckily for the ring normal service was resumed by the time betting on the first got under way in earnest. As it turned out it wouldn’t have been a bad ‘new clerk with a pencil and book learning’ race with only the three runners. ‘I laid an £8-£13’ quipped one bookie with some irony, ‘Bobby Bullshit (whatever poor soul that moniker has been bestowed upon) had a tenner on the rag, but he hasn’t paid yet’ was the cruel jibe from another.  Quite understandable that the bookie on the grass ‘nearly fell off the stool’ when a £1200 cash bet on Tom Mark at 4/6 was thrust into his hands.  He didn’t get to hold it for long though, the jolly won as it liked.

That kicked off the five two year old races in a row. 13 lined up for the next. It was won by 8/1 shot Rosalie Bonheur, ‘I backed it’ beamed a lady bookmaker whom I used to work for. ‘And I laid her it’ squealed the layer two doors up. Richard ‘Tall Boy’ Watson, the gift that keeps giving (and getting a nearer and nearer to being ‘misery’ not ‘tall boy’!). There were very few cheers from the punters or frowns from the bookies after the third when 66/1 shot Jelly Monger surely skinned most books in the next There were humorous scenes before the race when a well connected farmer when in for a bet and the chaps on the stool either side leant in for a listen. Regardless if they heard or not it wouldn’t have helped them, he’s shrewd but not that shrewd.

Bird's eye view, they bet....

Bird’s eye view, they bet….


The ‘result’ did spark off some mirth, the dapper fellow on the Dave Spice joint was having a gentle dig at the ‘Pop Master’ and his head wear. ‘My hat cost £62 and his was 60p from a charity shop’ he shouted before adding ‘That’s why mine looks better’. Let’s just say the jury is out on that one Kev.


'I can't lay you top price Sir I got chiselled £60 for this hat'

‘I can’t lay you top price Sir I got chiselled £60 for this hat’

Betting did come alive a bit in the next with the two short ones 5/2 shot Black Cherry and 11/8 jolly Fadhayyil coming in for some three and four figure support. There was also money for Luv U backed from 25/1 into 10/1 helped along at the shorter prices by some usually shrewd bookie support. Maybe this time the heart ruled the head, that romantically named punt only beat one home while the jolly and second-in finished one-two in that order so the books had to give some back straight way. They got the jolly beaten in the last 2yo race but only by  well-backed, to modest sums 4/1 shot New Providence.

Best turned out award goes to the Kelross firm.

Best turned out kit award goes to the Kelross firm.

By the penultimate things appeared to have gotten quite quiet. So quiet that the firm on pitch number one were treating themselves to ice creams. ‘Dad bought those out of the smash so they probably cost a pony’ was the jocular comment from young scamp Andrew Williams of the G&T firm. There were a couple of bets about though, including a brace of £400 bets on the winner Rawaki. Dave Spice, betting on the Barry Holmes joint (I know, confusing isn’t it) laid a £600 – £100 each way, yes in a four horse race, come racing, the runner-up Aussie Reigns. Happy to lay it, not so chuffed to be paying, especially as the winning punter was first out of the traps to draw his readies.

Not exactly fighting to get on so time for an ice cream for GT Williams.

Not exactly fighting to get on so time for an ice cream for GT Williams.

A number of firms had called it a day and packed up before the last, ‘8 races is too many for them any day’ was one comment. He looked to be right. There was one bet of sort of note £320 at at 9/2 Lady Sylvia, it won. ‘How do they know?’ was the bookie that laid it’s lament. How indeed.

(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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One response to this post.

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    You have some great content on your website I have already added a link to you at My Bet Plan

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    Website URL: http://mybetplan.blogspot.co.uk/
    Link text: My Bet Plan

    Regards, Paul and Nath


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