Tales From The Betting Ring – Paddy Power Gold Cup Day – 15/11/14

Day two dawned unencumbered by a hangover despite a night out in Broadway. My companions and I were enjoying our first pint when none other than Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls strode into the pub. We neither asked nor were volunteered any tips for today’s racing, not really the done thing to pester a chap I suppose, but a marked card would have been handy.

Today was an anniversary for me, 31 years since I first stepped foot on a racecourse, this very one, back in 1983 when it was known as the Mackeson Gold Cup. Regular readers will be familiar with ‘Armaloft Alex’ and man of independent means, great connections but also inflicted with premature celebration syndrome. The arm goes up prematurely and the good thing you backed looking 1.01 in-running splutters to a halt. I’m still not over Maljimar at the festival, and that was years ago now. Anyway, our hero was working on the Martyn Of Leicester joint. He looked a bit sheepish about it too, ‘He asked me in a moment of weakness’ was his ambiguous explanation. Maybe Martyn had employed Armaloft as a secret weapon, with the instructions, ‘If the jolly looks like winning, stick your arm up’.

The secret weapon brushed up on his customer relations skills.

The secret weapon brushed up on his customer relations skills.


There was a heartwarming story that emerged from the rails prior to racing. A punter wandered up to one of the bookmakers and gave him £100. ‘You paid me too much last time’ was the honest backer’s answer when the layer quizzed him on the gift. You could have knocked next door down with a feather. Next door was Kevin Myles who had taken the brave decision to bet without the jolly all afternoon, his reasoning being there were plenty of punters and nobody else was doing it, which was a fair point.

They keep trying to tell me the game's gone. I'm not so sure. If only they all bought a 'Skint  Mob!'

They keep trying to tell me the game’s gone. I’m not so sure. If only they all bought a ‘Skint Mob!’

The opener was sponsored by  Mallard Pawnbrokers and Family Jewellers. To be fair it was an impossible looking handicap hurdle but you’d have to hope that nobody would be needing the first part of the business after it. 8/1 shot Chesterfield won the race which wouldn’t have been a lot of good for the ring but it was doubtful anyone would have stuck their neck out too much. The second heat was a different story, David Pipe’s King’s Palace was heavily backed from 6/4 into 11/8 and landed the spoils without too much ado including several chunks on the rails.

One of the joys of the big meetings, some old faces come out of retirement. John wasn't there but the team were in full flow.

One of the joys of the big meetings, some old faces come out of retirement. John wasn’t there but the team were in full flow.

As an interlude this blog has been entered into the UK Blog Awards if you could vote for me I’d be very grateful http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk/candidates/Tales-From-The-Betting-Ring-2/

The Murphy Group Handicap Steeple Chase really was a decent punting race with plenty of horses coming in for lumpy support including a £30,000 – £3000 The Package and several grand bets for The Druids Nephew. Paul Nicholls’ Sam Winner was popular with the public without attracting any real lumps. His backers would have been a bit concerned when it was outpaced in the country but then found its second wind and went on to win impressively under top weight. It’s a shame Paul didn’t give us the nod over his pint last night!

With the starters out of the way it was time for the main course, The Paddy Power Gold Cup. As you would expect the betting was very lively with plenty of horses coming in for good support. Oscar Whisky was backed from 8/1 into 6/1 including a £40,000 – £5000, and Buywise a £14,000 – £2000. There was also a move for Johns Spirit which had been laid small at 11/1 (£3300 – £300) before hardening to 8/1 at the off. His backers nearly got the money but were thwarted by Caid Du Berlais close home. The winner returned 10/1, trained by Paul Nicholls.

I shall reprise my previous comment, maybe Paul could have mentioned a small big race double might be in order over his pint last night! I’d better not mention the pub in case he’s back in there tonight celebrating and he wants to get to the bar.

Some people that probably won’t be are the several firms that laid 3rd placed Present View each-way, that number included a £10,000 – £1500 (that’s 13/2 with the fractions, comehttp://wp.me/p1dLbd-nu racing – don’t know your fractions? See here http://wp.me/p1dLbd-4x ) and Star Sports who Ben Keith informed me stood for a £60,000 – £10,000 each-way in their office. Of course he imparted that info with his trademark smile.

You can still be on.

You can still be on.

Quite often the crowds thin out a bit after the feature race but there was none of that today. Understandably people were keen to jump on the Nicholls bandwagon in the Ultima Business Solutions sponsored next. Vivaldi Collonges was smashed up in the ring from 6/1 into 4/1. One of the big off course firms helped out in that price destruction lobbing monkey bets around like they were confetti. In the meantime Big Easy was also being hammered the 5/1 early almost halving to 11/4 at the off.  Luckily for the books, neither of the plunges won, but David Pipe’s victory with  Katkeau wasn’t hardly money for old rope but did drift slightly in the face of support for the other two. The firm that laid the £6000 – £1500 would have had hedging options with the 9/2 SP.

The penultimate, a Triumph Hurdle Trial sponsored by JCB saw the market centre around the two market leaders Golden Doyen and Hargam with the punters shoveling it on. The former was steady around 13/8 while the latter 9/4 into 15/8. The market got it spot on with the bookies never looking to have any sort of hope in the race. Golden Doyen was headed by the second-in only to rally again close home to reward favourite backers including A £7000-£4000 and a £6500 – £4000. Poor old Kevin Myles didn’t seem to have enjoyed his afternoon betting without. ‘This is how good it is’ he called as he pulled down his joint.

We've paid the bill, the lights are on.

We’ve paid the bill, the lights are on.

By the time betting got underway for the delayed bumper finale it was getting pretty dark. It seemed that the biggest plunge of the day had been saved for when the bookies wouldn’t see it coming. Daring Carlotta was hammered from 9/4 into 6/4. The weight of money clearly gave one firm the jitters and saw them hedging heavily into the ring helping the collapse. One bookmaker caught my eye further down the rail. He’d put all his stuff back up again, Kevin Myles had decided to have one last crack and was filling the hod the best he could.

You can't keep a good man down.

You can’t keep a good man down.

The firms that took on the jolly kept the money, the gamble could manage only 3rd behind Harry Fry’s 4/1 winner Bitofapuzzle. There had been a nibble or two in the market including a £4000-£1000 but was no doubt a welcome enough result for those that took on the jittery firm. I didn’t like to ask Kevin how the winner was without the favourite but I’m pretty certain the 14/1 runner-up Montana Belle would have been better.

Day two was probably a dead-heat for the punters versus bookies, the fat lady sings tomorrow.

OK, it was the Crown and Trumpet, a great little pub.

(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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