Tales From The Betting Ring – Ascot 03/10/14

There was a very respectable crowd for The Eighth Annual Camra Ascot Beer Festival meeting with a similar turn-out from the bookies to match. Things didn’t start too well for the latter when Charter justified its position as 9/2 market leader by winning the opening Veolia Handicap Stakes. One bookie’s day was particularly bad having run into a £4000 – £800 the winner.

Has anyone seen KP?

Has anyone seen KP?

Between races I had the absolute honour of being invited to join a group of Westcountry bookies for their Christmas shindig. ‘The last Cheltenham before Christmas’ I was told, venue to be arranged. Paul and Ian of the Jack Bevan (Est 1897) firm were the bringers of the glad tidings. They had smirks on their faces though, that meant something must be up. It was. They let me in on the other guests, the final one was the one they were so tickled over. The reason being, the last time we all got together the bookmaker in question got the right hump when I dared to suggest the Plymouth council estate he was brought up on wasn’t actually the roughest in the country. ‘Yes it was’ insisted as he stormed from our cosy gathering slamming the door behind him. I’m sure it will be fine, I’m just going to have to agree that it was rough and cross my fingers.

No, I'm not Ken.

No, I’m not Ken.

Had the bookie in question been in attendance he may well have entertained thoughts of upgrading his dwelling after Excellent Guest sprang a 33/1 surprise in the Faithdean Handicap Stakes. The race was competitive for punters though and with no short one to get stuck into so possibly no fortunes were won but was still a great result for the books.

Once again I had another message, this time a twitter challenge from Polly Rodgers who tweets for WilliamHillRacing and as herself to get a ‘selfie’ with their infamous ‘KP’ (see last night’s blog for further info http://wp.me/p1dLbd-lE ). Now I did try Polly, I searched high and low for Ken, but he was very elusive. Bets were elusive too, at least according to Geoff Banks betting on the rail, ‘I’m getting the keys on my computer changed’ he confided, then went on, ‘The £100’s, £50’s and £20’s into £1’s, 50p’s and 20p’s, I have taken 3000 bets which total £60 so far’. Hmm I’m no mathematician but something doesn’t add up. Safe to say Geoff was a little disappointed with the business. There were bets out there though, one book laid a £5600 – £800 Mr Win (which didn’t) and also a few four-figure bets Telmeyd, which was the 13/8 jolly and did.

Not only have I not seen Ken I've not seen a punter for a bit, having a pint I expect.

Not only have I not seen Ken I’ve not seen a punter for a bit, having a pint I expect.

There were only six runners in the Londonmetric Noel Murless Stakes but the betting market was lively. One layer on the rails took a £13,200 to £200 Statsminster while there we lumps for every other horse in the race including a nifty each-way on the 100/1 shot Koliakhova. Big Orange won the race at 10/3 by a short-head from 7/4 jolly Marzocco.

As a musical interlude, this band played German music, in leather shorts.

As a musical interlude, this band played German music, in leather shorts.

There weren’t huge bets reported for many horses in the Troy Asset Management Handicap Stakes but it doesn’t mean there weren’t any. One prominent rails layer was seen to jump off his stool and call in frantic hedge bets (that’s what bookies used to do before they had the exchanges, lay off liabilities with each other) for 9/2 shot Outback Traveller. This so shocked some firms in Tattersalls that they were seen performing group ‘Betfair Twist’ pirouettes checking on their computers that they had not been caught napping with the price. For what ever reason for the hedging, the bookie got it right. ‘It’s p***ed up’ shouted one observant bookmaker. He wasn’t wrong, it had, by seven lengths, some handicap.

The ring took the strain, but nobody clapped eyes on Ken.

The ring took the strain, but nobody clapped eyes on Ken.

The seven-runner last saw several horses backed. Quest For More won the race at 7/2 from 3/1f Firefighter. ‘It’s not been bad’ was the report from a man who usually likes a moan. That means it must have been quite good.

(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



2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave Tyler on October 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    This one’s worth 6 stars Simon.


  2. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, thanks for the nice comment.


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