Tales From The Betting Ring – winner.co.uk RACEDAY Wincanton 01/04/15 #Bettingtales

* Please note that my Tales From The Betting Ring from Kempton on Monday will appear exclusively in the next issue of RACING AHEAD MAGAZINE – available from all good newsagents in the UK and Eire, or on-line *

It’s unusual to get an eight race card at a jumps meeting but that’s what racegoers were treated to at Wincanton today for their http://www.winner.co.uk Raceday thanks to a split bumper.

The green light safety system is on.

The green light safety system is on.

The opening race was the Download The winner.co.uk App Now Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle which featured five runners with the betting focused largely on the front two in the betting. Alan King’s Spellbound was just favoured at 5/4 over Paul Nicholls’ 6/4 shot She’s Da One. Both attracted some lumpy bets with a £550-£400 noted for the former and a brace of £600-£400 wagers the later. The market got it right that it was between the front two but the wrong way around with the Nicholls mare proving nearly four lengths too good at the post.

The second heat was the Bet & Watch At winner.co.uk Handicap Hurdle which boasted nine runners but an odds-on favourite in the shape of Kim Bailey’s Jimmy The Jetplane  which was sent off the 4/5 favourite. Once again there were some decent bets noted including a £900-£1000. The bookmaker that went that price was sticking his head above the parapet and as so often happens got it shot off. The jolly duly won and the bookies were left digging deep for readies with another six races to go.

The BBC were there too, but they were only interested in the General Election, the rest of us were glad to escape it!

The BBC were there too, but they were only interested in the General Election, the rest of us were glad to escape it!

You might expect that a midweek jump meeting at the tail end of the season would be relatively quiet in the ring but its demise has been greatly exaggerated. The winner.co.uk Handicap Chase saw some lively exchanges, in cash real bets, most of which was for Paul Nicholls’ Vesperal Dream. Punters waded in with several three-figure sums at 5/4 including £1000-£800’s late on. Those punters got the money but would have need ‘rings of steel’. That’s a Jack Lynn saying most suited for races where the well-baked jolly scrambles home by a fast-diminishing short-head as was the case here. Close it might have been but once again the bookies were rummaging around for cash to pay out the lengthy queues of winners.

Busy as a Saturday?

Busy as a Saturday?

The most competitive race on the card punting-wise followed. The Horse Racing Loyalty Bonus At winner.co.uk Handicap Hurdle. Ten runners went to post and plenty were supported with tips flying around all over the place. Benbecula was backed from 7/2 into 3/1 market-leader but there was also money for Dainty Diva at 8/1 into 7/1 and Redwood Boy steady at 7/2. One bookmaker on the rails confided that it was ‘As busy as a Saturday’ adding that he ‘Didn’t know where the punters had appeared from’. I’m not sure if it was him that laid the £2000 – £250 each-way the winner After Eight Sivola but whoever it was they probably wished he’d left them out. The only plus side to laying the bet is that had the punter asked for £2000 – £240 each way he’d have got it and saved a score. Of course if they win it’s irrelevant. (Haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about? Head over here and learn about fractions and how to bet like a professional  https://simonnottracing.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/value-seeking-on-course-punters-ask-for-fractions/ )

The winner was trained by The Genius Of George Nympton Nick Williams, this blog’s favourite trainer. Sadly our old mate and stable mole ‘Armaloft Alex’ has been on the missing list for some time so yours truly didn’t get the nod. I was half expecting an after time ‘Ei Ei’ (weird I know that’s how Armaloft does a victorious ‘Aye Aye’) but didn’t get one. Well to to The Genius and hurry back where ever you are Alex!

On the rails they bet.

On the rails they bet.

The smallest field of the day was the dubious honour bestowed on the Download The winner.co.uk App Now Handicap Chase. Once again it was a good betting race with Days Ahead attracting a £1600-£400 and I’m In Charge a bet of three monkeys. The books that ran into those bets were lucky to do so as the promised deluge of rain that didn’t arrive was replaced by a couple of grand and several monkey bets for Jamie Snowden’s 11/10 shot Tea Caddy. Once again the money was well placed with the gamble landed by a length and a half but also once again Jack’s saying would have been apt. The race was still in the balance over the last after a muddling pace but was settled when the winner jumped better than the runner-up Days Ahead.

With only a hunter chase and the two bumpers to go the books faced an uphill task trying to get out on the day. The John Dufosee Memorial Open Hunters’ Chase was worth just £841 to the winner. That given there were a few grumbles that the almighty combination of Paul Nicholls and The Stewart Family had a runner, Merrion Square. Unsurprisingly given the connections and recent run in the Grand Military Cup the gelding was hot favourite and sent off 4/9f after being laid to a few quid at 1/2 beforehand. Approaching the last it looked as if yet another jolly was going to land the odds and really nail the ring’s day. Then disaster, Merrion Square appeared to refuse and jinked badly left. What followed was the most spectacular fall by a jockey you’re ever likely to see. Lewis Ferguson was catapulted into the air and over the fence in what looked like a terrible accident. Amazingly he was apparently unhurt, even more astonishing was the fact he ran back down the course and hurdled the course gate on his way back to the weighing room. They breed them hard these jockeys, amazing. With the fact he was unscathed in mind, here’s his fall. Brace yourselves.

While the crowd were still gasping at what they’d just seen, 4/1 shot Coombe Hill went on to win the race with a rather fortuitous winning race for the bookies. Well maybe all but one, imagine how it feels to get the short-one beaten only to have laid a £6000 – £1200 the winner, as one firm did. Nasty.


Not as nasty as the joint favourites winning the two divisions of the concluding Bet & Watch At winner.co.uk ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race’s at 9/4 and 11/4. It may have been a saving grace that the crowd had thinned markedly before those two heats. Small books might have ensured small losses but would have hardly been consolation. The layers were left ruing what might have been on a day when the money was there to be won but stayed with the punters.

I’d imagine that Lewis Ferguson on viewing his fall will be thanking his lucky stars just getting away with just a huge number of YouTube hits rather than a stay in hospital or worse.

(C) Simon Nott

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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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