Tales From The Betting Ring – Wincanton 25/10/15 Southern Spinal Injuries Trust Charity Day


This is now an archive. My regular blogs can be found at www.simonnott.co.uk

I also write an exclusive ‘Tales’ for Racing Ahead Magazine each month, please support the magazine that supports me.

Today’s meeting was in aid of the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust, blessed with glorious weather and bumper crowd for the seven-race card. Racegoers were greeted by a Samba band including gyrating singers. I would have got a photo but couldn’t really get past ‘Leglock’ Luke Harvey who as always was not missing the opportunity to admire some fine fillies.

Racing kicked off with the Wincanton Handicap Hurdle and the opportunity for the books to take on a short one in the shape of Barton Antix and take it on they did. There were bets of an even £2000, a monkey three times and an even ‘rouf’ (£400), some surprise then to see it go off at 11/10. There was support for other horses including MCCabe Creek backed from 13/2 into 11/2. Those punters that decided to wade in on the jolly were soon right in it when it was no match for Panis Angelicus who was 3/4 length too good at the line for Tim Vaughan under Alan Johns. Punters who listened to the pre-race interviews would have heard the gelding given a positive mention to Luke Harvey and if they’d taken heed and followed up with readies rewarded to the tune of 13/2.

Wincanton's Rail takes the strain.

Wincanton’s Rail takes the strain.

There was an even shorter one in the next, the  Montague Inn Novices’ Hurdle when Present Man was backed from 4/5 into 8/11 helped along by a brace of grand bets and couple of monkeys. It wasn’t money for the jolly that had one bookmaker go all gibbon but a monkey on Alottarain at 16/1, there was another early £500 bet seen for Theatre Goer at 9/1 which probably helped its price tumble into 7/1. The back row bookmaker that laid the £8000-£500 I’m told stood his ground but did watch the race from between his fingers. He wasn’t made to suffer for too long as the mare hadn’t read the script and was pulled up. That layer may well have been rewarded for his pluck but the entire ring were when Chris Down’s Max Forte ran away with the race at 25/1. I didn’t hear of a shilling for the gelding, which is unusual when such a shrewd yard have a winner. Happy days all round in the betting ring.

By the third, the Quilter Cheviot Supporting Spinal Cord Injuries Handicap Chase (For the Desert Orchid Silver Cup) it became apparent that the majority of the ‘monkey’ bets flying around were coming from one fella; ‘Never see the man before’ said Jim from Leicester. It didn’t stop him having a bet of £5500-£500 on Dont Do Mondays. While that layer was hopping about the punters were filling in his brethren on the jolly, Paul Nicholls’ Cowards Close attracted lumpy support at 7/4 including at least one grand bet. Those that trusted their money to the favourite did it wrong again when it was pulled up before two-out. Up at the business end Forgotten Gold landed a quiet 7/1 into 11/2 touch from another well-backed, Handy Andy 8/1 into 13/2. The books were happy with that though.

I had my first ever bet on a racecourse with Ricky, £5 at 5/2 Sweet Mandy at Cheltenham Mackeson Day 1983. She fell and I lost my fiver, I reckon Ricky still has it.

I had my first ever bet on a racecourse with Ricky, £5 at 5/2 Sweet Mandy at Cheltenham Mackeson Day 1983. She fell and I lost my fiver, I reckon Ricky still has it.

The market got it totally wrong in the Welcome To Street Football Club Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. Sonny The One was backed from 3/1 into 9/4 while Squire Trelawney took a walk from 5/2 to 7/2. One book that went 4/1 was hit with £500 at the price, apparently it wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’ though, he’d had his on Breaking The Bank at 7/1 and Vinnie The Fish at 4/1, or at least so I’m told. As alluded to when starting the paragraph the Squire won the race by a length from Sonny The One, who wasn’t the one on the day. The winner did have to survive a Stewards’ Inquiry before keeping the race but the ‘bing-bong’ doesn’t put the fear of God into winning punters any more.

There were emotional scenes in the Winners’ Enclosure after Paul Nicholls’ Marracudja won the Dominic Baker Memorial ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle. Dominic was son of Nicholls’ head lad Clifford and died tragically aged just 21. The winner was sent off the 6/4 second favourite but beat 10/11 Wade Harper by eight lengths under Sam Twiston-Davis.

There hadn’t been a winning jolly all afternoon but that was about to change in the Southern Spinal Injuries Trust Supporters Juvenile Hurdle when Paul Nicholls sent out another winner when Romain De Senam made short work of his opponents. The victory was hardly a surprise as the 2/9 starting price would suggest. There was value to be had though, one punter secured a bet of £200-£500 and another £400-£1400. In case you are wondering, it wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’, he had it on Woofie at 9/1, he didn’t beat the SP of 10/1 but did manage to beat one home, the 100/1 shot Ventura Castle. At this point I have to say, and was given full permission to do so, Tall Boy Watson laid that bet so is now in full redemption after bluffing that bet at Exeter a few meetings ago.

I'm still in Jim's black book after a mistake I made when on the floor for him about 10 years ago. That's why he's blanking me.

I’m still in Jim’s black book after a mistake I made when on the floor for him about 10 years ago. That’s why he’s blanking me.

The concluding race, The Bruton Handicap Hurdle saw a bit of a stick-on the David Pipe trained Impulsive American backed from 7/4 into 11/8. One punter got a £3500-£2000, others £1750-£1000 and £700-£400, they certainly got the value. Mind you, David’s grandfather Dave Pipe, a very successful and much-respected bookmaker used to say ‘You can’t eat value’. Especially when they get collared under the nose of the judge you can’t. The one that did him close home was Polstar for trainer Harry Whittington under a stylish ride from 7lb claimer Paul O’Brien at 7/1, one book laid 8/1 to the tune of £2400-£300.

The dust has settled and all the monkeys are in various hods - only lent?

The dust has settled and all the monkeys are in various hods – only lent?

It wasn’t ‘Monkey Man’ though, he’d had it on Dry Ol’Party at 8/1 which went off at 6/1 and finished fourth. Let’s hope his bad day hasn’t put him off. ‘Come to think of it I do think I recognise the man’ mused Ian  from the firm formerly know as Jack Bevan (est 1897) rather belatedly. Rumour has it Ian was there at Torquay Races the first day they bet so it could be anyone. All memory-racking aside at the end of play the identity of the punter is still a mystery and so it shall remain of course, but should he return,  watch this space. 

(C) Simon Nott

My  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 

http://www.simonnott.co.uk/?page_id=315

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