Tales From The Betting Ring – Ascot 19/12/14

What can you say about about the Ascot betting ring when the wind is slicing straight through it? It’s pretty nippy that’s what. Of course, the other side of the stands were positively balmy in comparison. Sad then for the books that usually bet out that side their pitches weren’t in use today. The opening Two Circles ‘National Hunt’ Maiden Hurdle saw money in flurries for several runners, Buckthorn Timmy 4/1 into 7/2, Bally Beaufort 14/1 into 9/1 and Desilvano 7/2 into 3/1. Hardly surprising then that the jolly Champagne Present drifted from a shade of odds-on to 5/4 despite support. The market got it right though, the bookies got the favourite beaten but at the expense of the aforementioned filling all the paying places with Desilvano winning the race.

As I have said it was perishing in Tattersalls and on the rail. That may have explained why the bookmakers’ penchant, albeit modest,  for Christmas jumpers had continued. As many layers as possible was the order of the day for the layers so you had to request a flash to get a glimpse.

"Ho Ho Ho, but you're still not getting on at 'Fiar Price'.

“Ho Ho Ho, but you’re still not getting on at ‘Fiar Price’.

The Champagne Bollinger Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase only attracted five-runners but it was a very buoyant punting race with all the field attracting some decent bets. Dance Floor King won the race at 10/3 including a bet of £3000 – £900. It wouldn’t have been a great race for anyone but there would have been an opportunity for some good books nobody having to stick their necks out. The trio that jumped off for the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (10k Field Size Bonus) (Registered as The Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2) were all well-backed too. It looked as if Emerging Talent was going to make a race of it against  even money market-leader L’ami Serge but we were robbed that tussle when it fell two out. Favourite backers copped and the some of the bookies looked a bit miffed about it.

I'm saying nothing.

I’m saying nothing.

Of the five that went to post for the, deep breath, here we go, Mitie Novices’ Chase (10k Field Size Bonus Race) (Registered As The Noel Novices’ Chase) (Grade 2), the market suggested that it was between Ptit Zig (7/4 into 6/4) and Josses Hill (6/5 into 10/11). The betting got it right but the wrong way around, Ptit Zig won the race with some ease landing a couple of £1400 – £800 bets but leaving plenty more bet on the jolly in the bookies’ hods.

You're all on.

You’re all on.

There was some banter between heats. One of the more familiar faces betting on the rails is a legendary ex-bookie turned punter. In his heyday he’d have not blinked at a bet the sum of all those mentioned here so far and add a naught. These days his business appears to be modest in comparison but perfectly aimed. One rails layer called out asking to his luck. The trademark non-committal shrug he received in reply drew the rather cutting response, ‘Oh well not to worry, you are looking well, after all, at your age health is wealth!’ Mind you, put the two together and there wouldn’t be a lot in it in the age stakes!

The rails they bet.

The rails they bet.

If the familiar face was a trip down Memory Lane for some, the combination of AP McCoy riding well-backed (5/2 jolly Batavir) for a trainer named Pipe, making all and winning unchallenged led others down Skint Row. ‘Just like the old days’ coo’d a misty-eyed punter. Indeed, if you were on, or at the receiving end, the same just different.

Getting Out Stakes

Getting Out Stakes

The ‘lucky last’ The Ascot Underwriting Championship Standard Open NH Flat Race (Listed) saw AP McCoy on Yanworth and Ruby Walsh on Rio Treasure sent off 2/1 and 3/1 respectively. No doubt by punters hoping to ensure the bookies going out on their Christmas between meeting parties did so after digging deep into the hod.

Luckily for people like me who enjoying hearing that the bookmakers got a few quid, another top jockey came to their rescue with 16/1 cracker Supasundae landing the spoils. That would hopefully mean the floormen got treated to a steak and cheery banter rather than a fish supper and tales of impending doom.

Sadly I’m not joining them. This is the last blog before the festivities for me, so seasons greetings and thanks for reading.

Merry Christmas!

(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. Here’s one from the Racing Post on 03/12/14 and Independent On Sunday 21/12/14

Independent On Sunday 21 December 2014

Independent On Sunday 21 December 2014


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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