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I wasn’t intending to write a blog from Kempton with three top-class days of jumping ahead of me at Newbury. For fear of repeating myself as I’ve said it before and will no doubt say it again, the Kempton betting ring can spring surprises. There was a very decent crowd in evidence, especially for a ‘Twilight’ meeting and the first couple of races and it was the second race that prompted this blog. At first glance there didn’t look to be anything exceptional about the 32Red On The App Store Handicap (Div 1) from any other held on the Kempton all-weather throughout the season. That was until a little posse of punters wandered virtually unnoticed up to the rails and then produced what can only be described as an unprecedented amount of cash, not only for a mid-week meeting but all but the biggest, at least for one horse.
The horse they were after was Tabla best-priced at 14/1. In they went, crash, at least three monkey each-way bets secured at that price. Bang, at least four monkey each-way bets at 12/1 and a humongous £12,000 – £1000 each-way. Wallop, as the price went into free-fall an £8000 – £1000 to top it all off. And that was just what the bookies present would admit to, some firms declined to mention what they’d laid but intimated it was plenty at similar prices.
Money for anything else was hardly in evidence so books were hideously lop-sided and readies were being hastily counted. Bets in cash would no doubt be expected to be paid in cash, the betting ring a no-kite zone. Yes there were hedging opportunities on ‘the machine’ but the winnings still had to be pulled up should the beast win. The punters involved were said to be ‘well-respected’ so that was a real possibility.
The bookies looking shell-shocked after the dust had settled
The race off, the ring, ring-watchers and no doubt the punters involved held their combined breath as the stalls opened and the 12 runners hit the ground running. Tabla was right there with them, for a bit, then three out she dropped away beaten only to trail in stone last. The bookmakers could hardly have dreamt they’d take money like it on a run of the mill eight-race Wednesday, not only take it but keep the lot. Happy days (evenings) for the line of bookies most of whom would be heading off to Newbury for the next three days, now trousering plenty of cash to bolster their confidence.
As for the gamble that went west, there must have been something amiss, Tabla definitely one for the notebook. The money could well be only lent, watch this space.
(C) Simon Nott
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