Tales From The Betting Ring – The Festival Ladies Day. 11/03/15

The morning after the day before.

There were some bleary eyes in the betting ring, not least in the Centaur. A certain young lady working for a bookmaker admitted that her night had ended at 5am and she’d started today by missing her lift and having to cadge one in a mini-bus with a gaggle of punters. Nice to see that the spirit of Cheltenham is alive and well and living in the North East!

For those that were upset by yesterday’s tales of those poor bookies doing their cobblers I have some good news. I wandered around the racecourse asking how yesterday had been in various areas for various layers and was met with some coy replies. When you get coy replies you know that it hadn’t been bad at all. At least not bad at all in the context of a terrible almost cataclysmic set of results. One bookie said he hadn’t lost but won 61p. I said I expect most of the ring would want to swap with him, but no. Glyn Jones done on the lower rail wore a smile that said he’d won. Bob Stock had got the exes plus some wages. Kevin Sharp was chirpy too. Up in Tatts Jack Bevan (est 1897) had bet ‘without’ all day so had it spark off. (I’ll be over to the Best Mate tomorrow O’Gorman and co!) Back over in the Centaur Geoff Banks had once again been lavishing his staff in the Champagne Bar and was happy enough to pose for photos. It seems that business had been good and the vast majority of bookies behaved like bookmakers, made books and came out on top. Sorry everyone who likes to think of them on the ropes.

Geoff Banks' team welcome their newest member Brandy to the Centaur.

Geoff Banks’ team welcome their newest member Brandy to the Centaur, (please note Geoff’s hand is visible).

The crowd was a record for the Wednesday since the festival became four days but down on yesterday. It was noticeably easier to get around but the punters were still lurking. The opening  Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As Baring Bingham Novices’ Hurdle) saw the novelty of a Mullins jolly being beaten when 7/2f Nichols Canyon could only manage third behind the Weld yard’s 9/2 winner Windsor Park. You might think that would have been a fair start, and it possibly was for most but not the courageous layer who laid the gelding £250,000 – £50,000. Now that’s what you call getting off on the wrong foot.

It got worse in the  RSA Chase (Grade 1 Novices’ Chase) when normal service was resumed for the Mullins yard when Don Poli stormed up the hill to justify being sent off the 13/8 market leader. It landed a £35,000 – £20,000 wager in the process, that was just one of many lumping winning bets. Once again the layers were on the back foot though David Pipe’s Kings Palace was well-backed including a £40,000-£10,000 plus plenty at each-way but out of the frame which may have eased the blow.


Harry Fry’s Actival was sent off 17/2 jolly in the Coral Cup (Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle) but had to settle for third behind Paul Nicholls’ 9/1 winner Aux Ptits Soins, the ring were so near but yet so far with 25/1 ‘result’ Zabana just a neck runner-up. There was a few quid about for several horses but no huge lumps that I heard of.

As you’d imagine betting really hotted up for the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) with Sprinter Sacre and Sire De Grugy slugging it out for market leader spot. The former was sent off at 9/4 after coming in for lumpy support including a £55,000 – £20,000. The latter went off at 5/2 after £11,000 and £10,000 – £4000 bets were struck. Sadly for both sets of punters neither made the frame. Victorious 9/2 shot Dodging Bullets provided Paul Nicholls with a quick double and an up the front two result for the books though there was decent money for the winner too.

It has to be said there was very little interest in the Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (Cross Country) with the betting ring comparatively deserted with hardly a bet of note to mention. The race went to 16/1 Rivage D’Or which was of course a great result for the ring but their field money would have been a fraction of the previous race.

That better not end up on the Internet. D'oh.

That better not end up on the Internet. D’oh.

Nor this one.

Nor this one.

We don't mind too much though.

We don’t mind too much though, (you might want to take those odds down though)

The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) was as competitive as ever but a well-respected tipping Westcountry tipping service had put up Paul Nicholls’ Bouvreuil as a bet weeks ago. His followers and those who had it on at the track must have thought they’d copped when it cruised into contention at the last. It’s pretty heartbreaking when a gamble is foiled by a stablemate but that’s how it panned out, Nicholls’ treble for the day provided by 25/1 apparent yard third string Qualando. That was two great results for the ring in a row, things were looking up again

It does pay not to crow in gambling, I don’t know why but things tend to bite you on backside, but more of that later. The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1 Standard Open NH Flat Race) was as usual a frantic betting heat. There were plenty of horses backed, Vigil saw a bet of £140,000 – £20,000 which was a standout bet there was plenty of money for others too. The feature of the race was the gamble on David Pipe’s Moon Racer who’d been 8/1 in the morning. The money flooded in on course too, including a £20,000 – £3200 (that’s 6/1 with the fractions, don’t know what they are? see here http://tinyurl.com/p37ow5m ) and several grand bets. As the field set of the the jolly was slowly away. ‘That’s handy’ was one rails layer’s smiling response as he went back to his pitch to see how much he was going to win from the beast throwing the race away at the start.

I couldn’t spot him as Moon Racer powered up the hill to land the gamble in style, should have known that when the Pipes go for a touch there’s enough in hand for all eventualities. That was day two ending badly for the layers but if the majority got away with Tuesday with today’s results you’d imagine it was steak and not tripe for supper tonight.

(C) Simon Nott

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