Tales From The Betting Ring – Kempton 02/10/14

It was hard to believe it’s October, sunshine and warm temperatures belied that everything should be autumnal. The clement weather appeared to have brought the punters and bookies out too with a good show from each side of the fence. The Download The BetVictor App Now Handicap Stakes looked to be a tough heat for both to open hostilities. It’s always a pleasure to see Polydamos’ connections at the races, ever happy, enthusiastic and keen to say hello. They were quietly hopefully  about the gelding’s chances, especially as it had the visor back on and top jockey Silvestre De Sousa on board. There was also a bit of ‘clever’ money about for Rezwaan at around the 6/1 mark forcing the on-course price to shorten to 4/1. One outsider that was nibbled was Barrahri 16/1 into 12/1. None of the aforementioned troubled the judge, and to be fair the skill of the judge wasn’t really needed because the eventual winner Speedy Writer won by an easy two lengths. The winner was 11/2 from 6/1 so hardly a great start for the books unless they had laid on the aforementioned three.

Race two was a cracker of a finish with the 3/1 jolly Dutch Portrait  just getting short-headed out of it by 4/1 Dark Wave, so not a lot in it for the bookies. Apart from the one that laid the £6250 – £250 each-way SeeBeeDee that is, they copped the monkey the gamble not sighted by the business end of the race.

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There was a gamble attempt in the BetVictor.com Handicap Stakes, Silverheels had been as big as 8/1 with the sponsors in the morning then attracted a bet of five monkeys on course. There was also some some support from a lively source for Life And Times backed from 5/1 into 7/2. Silverheels looked to flounder for a stride or two when asked, when the gelding eventually found another gear it was too late. Lunar Deity had already nicked the race so the grey had to settle for second. The winner was a bookie-friendly 12/1 but had been bigger so must have been quietly fancied in some quarters despite on the face of it poor form figures.

Sue, the owner of Polydamos was a little disappointed by his performance but isn’t one to be gloomy. Mind you she was a little miffed that their jockey put the run down to the horse being ‘a bit old’. ‘A bit old’ she questioned, it’s only five, that’s not old’ then after a pause added that maybe they’d give their pride and joy ‘a little holiday’.

The way the evening was shaping up it appeared BetVictor had chosen the right night to get stuck in with their sponsorship. The Steward was backed from 15/8 into 13/8 in the fourth, including a bet of £700-£400. Commentator John Hunt did give the bookies some hope with his comments during the race that the jolly didn’t look to be going all that well. He was right too but it was still probably a little too close for comfort for the books that took him on finishing runner-up. There would have been few complaints about the winner, 16/1 Ogbourne Downs though, at least not from the bookies.

Maybe I spoke too soon about BetVictor being happy to sponsor much of the meeting because the next went to the 11/8 favourite Little Palaver. It wasn’t as straight forward as it sounds though because in the on-course market the only one they wanted to be on was Grenade backed from 3/1 into 2/1 including a couple of £900-£400 bets. Whatever  the inspiration behind the punt it wasn’t that inspired at all the gamble never looked like being landed and no doubt softened the blow for losses on the easy to back market leader.  Just after the race one racegoer pointed out what could have caused the plunge on Grenade, WilliamHillRacing @WilliamHillRacing had tweeted ‘GRENADE is the big choice from our KP, can he find a winner… time is ticking! #Kempton’. Could that explain it?

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They were at it again in the next when part of their tweet read, ‘ICANDI at 6/1 is the pick from KP to take on the fav. #Kempton’ the next thing you know is Icandi has been backed from 6/1 into 4/1, could the William Hill tweets have been latched on to by the punters looking for leads at Kempton? Quite possibly but if they were they came unstuck because Sparbrook won the race at 16/1, Barn Dance Christmas Parties At Kempton sponsored the race but it was still a festive result for the bookmakers.

Best finish of the night came in the penultimate with 5/1 Reaffirmed getting the better of 11/10 favourite Varsovian. The William Hill twitter account didn’t have a KP selection, there were no stick-ons so make of that as you will, KP or not KP?

Just to throw the KP conundrum in further confusion William Hill then tweeted ‘KP is back on the phone live from #Kempton! ‘He can’t lose’ having picking the winner in the last race. Fingers crossed he does it again!’ He must have switched from twitter to the William Hill Radio, hence no market move on course, what did he tip in the last? Was it 2/1 winner Peace Accord?

If it was they’ll be having words with him I’m sure, bookies tipping winners? Whatever next!

(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. 

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