Tales From The Betting Ring – Newbury 24/10/14


Friday’s 8-race card kicked off with a maiden, never easy to pick the winner of. Unless of course that is you know that one of the runners is a ‘group horse’. That was the word from a racegoer who got the nod from someone who said he knows someone in the Mick Channon yard. It did look for much of the way as if the elongated chain of tips had got it right. Mobsta was going very well. Sadly for his backers 8/1 into 7/1 if the colt is indeed a group horse it ran into better one in Mujassam also nibbled in the market from around 12/1 into 8/1. Feature of the betting other than those two was the weakness of the favourite eased from around 4/5 to Evens. It ran no sort of race and was reported afterwards that a vet found it lame, maybe some layers just got lucky.

Bookie Simon James was bemoaning the demise of his iphone, killed, or rather drowned, in action at Exeter on Tuesday. He’s tried it all, including bowls of rice and an evening in an airing cupboard. Still that phone is deceased, any ideas on resurrection please submit to his joint on the rails tomorrow. The second race, also a maiden went to the 11/4 jolly Firmament, there had been money for Director, 6/1 into 4/1 but didn’t feature in the shake-up.

Spoiled for choice.

Spoiled for choice.

That gamble may have gone astray but the money for Milky Way in the second division was spot on. The support from 13/2 into 4/1 proved very clever, it took the race by the scruff of the neck at half way and was still a length in front at the line.

Vegas Rebel was the well-backed 6/4 jolly in the Sir Gerald Whent Memorial Nursery Handicap Stakes. It was going well enough in the race but for the commentator to call it so enthusiastically you could have been forgiven for thinking it had already won, maybe he was on. Much to the joy of the bookies it hadn’t won and was a neck down at the line behind 10/1 Mick Channon-trained Billyoaks. I don’t know where the jungle drums were for that one, but they didn’t seem to beat in the ring.

At half time the afternoon looked to be shaping up well for the bookies. Of course they are never going to admit winning. 16/1 shot Polar Eyes in the fifth added to their good fortune. ‘I expect I’ll field more in the first two races at Hall Green tonight’ was the Pete Houghton’s dismissal. ‘Terrible’ added another, that was all topped up with ‘Who the f**k are you, the tax man?’ when I asked how a normally genial layer was doing, charming.

Is 6/1 bigger than 7/1?

Is 6/1 bigger than 7/1?

Ian on the Martyn of Leicester joint was having problems of his own. ‘I forgot my clothes’ he sighed. Luckily, and obviously not the ones he was wearing but the clobber for the next two days and nights, still in a bag at home with two nights and day’s work before heading there. My comment that he should dip the smash and buy a couple of new shirts, socks and undies was frowned upon by his boss. It’s a miracle he heard me because he was only just returning from a circumnavigation of the ring doing the ‘How much did you get?’ boogie. It’s a traditional dance done by bookies after a ‘result’. They wander, wondering  if they got their whack and picked the right pitch, have a look out for them, they are often in formation.

The next went to 10/1 Ice Slice, ‘OK it’s a 10/1 shot in a 4/1 the field race’ was one firm’s answer to was it a winning race. (The answer is yes by the way). It’s amazing watching punters sometimes, one went into a rails book and had, and actually asked for ‘£600 – £100 Ocean Boulevard’. Not a bad bet I hear you cry, well I was thinking that he should have asked for the fractions, ( don’t know your fractions, see here  http://wp.me/p1dLbd-4x ) when I noticed that right next door the same horse was 7/1. The bookie with the 7/1 hawking looked at me and looked at the prices shaking his head. There is still value in looking around for prices, don’t lose before you start. For people that don’t like hearing of bookies getting it right all afternoon, fear not, the jolly won the race, Court Room backed from 5/2 into 2/1 including a couple of fair bets. ‘I laid a £50 – £20’ shouted one. He nodded to a grinning veteran floorman/bagman/bookie. I asked if he’d paid on. With that the chap doing the paying out and his oppo both burst out laughing, ‘Paid on?! Of course he didn’t, and not only that he was first to collect!’ Some things never change.

The last race went to 12/1 shot Jezza beating the 5/2 favourite. Before anyone could tell me that ‘everyone had gone home so they didn’t take any money’ I legged it.

Nothing worse than a bleating bookie.

(c) Simon Nott

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