Tales From The Betting Ring – ‘Bathwick Tyres Devon Day’ 23/11/14

It was Bathwick Tyres Devon Day at Exeter and the course had evidently pulled out all the stops to ensure it was a roaring success, and so it was. I’m told at least 4000 advance tickers had been sold, you could tell, the place was buzzing from early on. As far as betting goes it was also obvious from the outset that it was going to be a busy hard-working day for the bookies. Lots of novice punters having small bets, it suits some and not others but that’s the nature of a day like today. Hopefully some of those novice racegoers will have loved their day on Haldon Hill enough to make them new fans of the turf.

There was some excitement from the crowd, because of, and no doubt swelled by the fact that there were two additional races prior to the 7-race card. Firstly the first ever running of an event limited to Dartnoor Hill Ponies and then the eagerly anticipated return of the Exeter Racecourse Clydesdale Stakes. My old mates, bookmakers Jack Beven and Co (Est 1897) had offered to take bets on the two races and donate any winnings to The Devon Air Ambulance. Other bookmakers equally graciously agreed not to take bets on the races so two two Bevan pitches could field as much money as possible. The crowd were informed of this an encouraged to have a flutter.

You can all be on!

You can all be on!

They didn’t need asking twice. Queues ‘Not seen since an Easter Monday 40 years ago’ according to ex-bookie Ivor Perry, were formed in an orderly manner. Ivor’s son-in-law Jo volunteered to tap the bets into Bevan’s computer so that Paul and Ian could field as much money as possible, punters proceeded to have it on

It appeared they had an inkling which ones to have it on too. The best pair backed in the pony race finished first and second to rapturous applause. The winning combination Oakleat Jester and Rachael Watson were interviewed by ‘Leglock’ Luke Harvey for the benefit of racegoers post-race then under the spotlight of a TV crew.

Smile for the camera

Smile for the camera

It was a similar story in the Clydesdale Stakes when market-leader Tom Parker rewarded his many supporters at around the 5/4 mark. Luckily for Devon Air Ambulance Jack Bevan and Co (Est 1897) used their four generations of bookmaking experience betting to a margin befitting a charity event to show a profit on both races raising a total of £1410 for that excellent cause.

The Clydesdales parade

The Clydesdales parade

It was some sacrifice too because the volume of small stakes payouts meant that they could hardly get to work on the first race proper. They might have dodged a bullet there as a reward for their charitable ways because the 9/4f Bredon Hill Lad won the race. It wasn’t as cut and dried as that though, the bookmakers must have thought they all copped on the race, the favourite looked cooked. So cooked that I’m told it was matched to a fiver at 999/1 on the exchanges but rallied under Lucy Gardner close up to get up and pip 8/1 Legion d’Honneur near the post.

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 rest of the meeting was a busy but small staking day which went the way of the bookmakers with just one other favourite the 8/11 Pull The Chord winning.

They celebrate slightly differently on 'Devon Day'

They celebrate slightly differently on ‘Devon Day’

‘It’s been a good day’ was best-turned-out bookie Jane Hazell’s summing up from their rare appearance on the rails. ‘Not bad’ was Richard ‘Tall Boy’ Watson’s verdict, which meant it was better than that.  More telling was side-kick Steve not coming up with a rude comment about Tall Boy. Hopefully a great day was had by all and a large proportion of the very large and enthusiastic crowd will be back racing very soon. This blog has been brought to you by a attitude of charitable donations and welcoming new blood. Fear not, usual dog eat dog service will resume shortly!

(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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One response to this post.

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