Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 22/09/14

Monday afternoon at Kempton anyone? It appeared the answer was yes, at least by weekday all-weather racing’s modest standards. The weather might have had something to do with it, shirt-sleeve order sunshine. There were eight races to get stuck into so no shortage of support from owners and trainers either, come to think of it they probably accounted for a substantial part of the crowd.

My mate and top-class judge Andrew Mount had put up the Charlie Appleby trained Bombardment in the last on his www.GG.com column so there was a bit of interest in the afternoon albeit late on.

There were definitely a few punters about the place with strong opinions with the two grand bets seen in the first event. One of them was successful on the Charlie Appleby trained, William Buick ridden and Godolphin owned favourite Game Show. The punter got on at 11/4 but the winner returned 5/2 jolly. Not a great start for the bookies but with another seven races to go it wasn’t the end of the world. The same trainer/jockey/owner combination sent out Strong Chemistry in the next, it went off at bottle-on (1/2) and won as expected. There didn’t appear to be a lot of interest on course for the short one though. Two out of two for Appleby though so looking good for my mate’s bet in the last.

I’m not sure quite how prolific multiples on jockeys and trainers are on Monday but it seemed that at least one off course firm was getting slightly jittery. There were several rouf (£400) bets on Mulzamm in the third, possibly because it was the same combination of connections. Whatever the reason the bets were inspired as the 11/10 favourite made it three from three, things were beginning to get interesting.

Most people seemed to be concentrating on William Buick’s chances of a hat-full of winners, maybe sensing a mini ‘Dettori-Day’ was on the cards. That interest didn’t result in a flood of money for his mount Politico though. Hearts, it appears weren’t ruling heads. There was still enough money flying about to get keep the bookies on their toes though. There were several grand and monkey bets on the jolly Mystic Jade, mostly at a shade of odds-against which ensured the filly started odds-on. The money looked likely to cause the bookies more misery, everywhere apart from the last stride that is when 11/2 shot Forest Maiden got up on the line. A cursory glance at the card revealed that the layers’ saviour  was ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, trained by none other than Charlie Appleby. Poor old William Buick’s chance of creating some racing history  sunk without a trace, his mount finishing stone last, still a treble so far’s not to be sniffed at.

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Maybe my assumption that the money earlier was for run-ups was probably wrong because the Appleby yard had two runners in the fifth Simple Elegance and Comedy Queen but nobody seemed duly concerned which was a surprise. The former was allowed to drift from 2/1 to 11/4 and the latter 11/1 to 12/1. No doubt the drift of the latter was a delightful sight to anyone who’d borrowed Mystic Meg’s crystal ball and gone for an Appleby accer including the second-string Comedy Queen because she duly obliged. The only runner the yard had left at the meeting was my mate Andy’s tip in the lucky last, Bombardment.

There appeared to be a lull before the widely anticipated storm in the next with betting quite light. Light that is apart from the solitary bookie that laid a £2800 – £800 Polybius that won as it liked despite dwelling at the start. Nasty.

There had been a very quiet whisper before the penultimate that the Balding yard were keen on their Royal Warranty, however you hear so many whispers you are better off ignoring them. The market seemed to back this up too with the filly easy to back drifting from 9/1 to 12/1. All the punting action in the race was at the top end of the market, quite a plunge in fact. Freemason was hammered in the ring, with a couple of lumpy four-figure bets hurled at the bookies before some trade interest to lesser amounts which would have accounted for the 11/8 contracting into 11/10. People have to remember that whatever the margins on paper if you gave only laid the jolly you have only bet to that percentage and it did seem that most firms would have very lopsided books. Given that backed horses tend to run very well at the track those that did clench their buttocks and hope for the best were in luck. It appeared the jolly was in some trouble from a fair way out and was virtually pulled-up to finish tailed off. The winner was 12/1 Royal Warranty, OK listen to racecourse whispers.

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You got the impression that had there not been the anticipated six-timer for the Appleby yard in the last a few of the books would have baled their winnings like hay and headed off home. Nobody moved though. Those punters that were sitting pretty with 5/1 about my mate’s tip must have been quite chirpy, after all, the yard had five winners and a top judge made this the bet of the day. The market moved with respect too, the 3/1 was clipped into 9/4 though not quite favourite, I shall resist the urge to say that there were salvos of bets for the colt, but there were.

Anyone who has been into racing for a while will be very familiar with that imponderable element of the form book, that law never actually written but commonly referred to as of that authored by Sod. The form book will relate that although leading Bombardment was the only runner from the Appleby yard that didn’t run up to expectations, beaten two out and finishing out of the frame.

Never mind, this blog is the champion of bookies. That fine band of men and women who brave the hardy Kempton betting ring come rain, shine or snow would have been no-doubt delighted with the result,  10/1 Killing Time a head in front of 2/1f Matravers.

Come racing, even on a Monday.

(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 


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