Tales From The Betting Ring – Sandown Park 17/09/14

There wasn’t a bad crowd for the low-key mid-week last flat meeting of the season at Sandown Park. Only the magnificent five pitched up to bet on the rails though, probably the fewest I’d seen at the course, though the line was fairly long in Tatts. Some of the books there were looking longingly at what to them looked the greener grass which is often the way. If it was or not depended on who you asked which is always the way.

Five against the field on the rails.

Five against the field on the rails.


14 runners lined up for the opener, betting was fairly light apart from a couple of monkey each-way bets on Rocket Rob at 5/1. It must have been a blow to the books that laid them to see the 5/2 jolly well-beaten only to see Rocket Rob finish like its namesake to claim third close home. Only Ten Per Cent  won the race a 9/1 shot having been 11/1 early. Peter O’Toole, a trooper if ever there was one, was tapping away near the wrong end of the line offering all sorts of bets to tempt in his punters. I mentioned that one of them looked like it could be his football pools entry, that comment was greeted with a gritted-toothed smile, which probably served me right.

Peter O'Toole goes for 24 points?

Peter O’Toole goes for 24 points?

Between races Bill from the Victor Chandler firm came up to me and told me he thought he owed me an apology. I was quite confused because he’s a nice chap and had never given me cause to think anything of the sort.  It turned out that he had kindly bought a copy of my book (have I mentioned my book?!) ‘Skint Mob to read on holiday. I won’t go into to much detail so’s not to bore the half dozen or so of you that may have read it or spoil it for those who might buy it. But, there is a story there where I march up to a bookie on the rails at Windsor, proud as punch to be able to quote account 3301 and ask for a score each way Tyrnippy at 9/2. I will add that this was in the late 1980’s and I was on a score a day wages. Anyway, it turns out Bill was that bookie, apology not needed but accepted none the less, thanks Bill.

The second race came to life with plenty of money flying around including a couple of biggish bets. Sadly for the bookies it was pretty much all for one horse. That horse was The Queen’s Dartmouth and it duly obliged.  I expect she was delighted, not so the bookie up at the wrong end of Tatts that laid an uncharacteristically large £1100-£400 the 5/2 winner. He said I could mention it without giving his name in case his wife reads this, let’s just call him ‘Little Woods’.

Only four fought it out for the third but there was a lively market on the race with good money for the two market-leaders Latharnach from 10/11 into 4/6 and Time Test who attracted some decent bets despite drifting. One punter really ruffled the feathers of one rails firm wading in with a £25,000 – £1000 Quality Song the outsider of four. You have to hope for his sake that punter hadn’t listened to an old sage in the betting shop tapping his nose and repeating an old adage about outsiders of four.

Or was that three? The jolly won easily while the old adage proved very fallible trailing in last.

Talking of sage-like advice; there did seem to be a few office type groups in evidence today. They were getting involved with the betting though which was good to see. It was quite funny eavesdropping though. Each group appeared to have a self-appointed expert loudly dolling out advice to his companions, most of it dubious luckily falling on deaf ears. Sometimes it’s not hard to see where the idea for David Brent came from.

The serious punters and at least one trade firm  were involved in smashing into Producer in the listed feature, 11/4 into 5/2 to a nice few quid. That money went astray by a length behind Tenor which was 10/3 in 5/2 but to small public rather than large  professional support.

Waiting until they can see the colour of their money.

Waiting until they can see the colour of their money.

The fifth race saw a bet of £4500 – £1000 Ramshackle and a slew of cash for Perfect Persuasion including a trio of grand bets at 15/8 but neither filly could make the frame behind 13/2 Ajig which was a great result for the books. At least for those that took on the front two. There was another tilt in the penultimate when Sharma’s Crown was allowed to drift from 6/4 to 15/8 despite some chunky bets at 7/4. The books that stood against the filly were rewarded for their rings of steel by getting her beaten. It was by no means all smiles though because the winner Raise Your Gaze was backed from 4/1 into 7/2 including a bet of £1600 – £400.

The sun sets on Sandown's flat season.

The sun sets on Sandown’s flat season.

By the lucky last, not only of the meeting but Sandown’s flat season, thoughts appeared to be already on the jumps season starting here on November 8th. Those that did get involved were rewarded when 13/2 shot Norab won the race with the 3/1 jolly Lovelocks tailed off so last blood to the bookies.

It’s Gentleman’s Day on November the 8th, surely they forgot to insert ‘Of The Turf’ didn’t they?!

(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



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