Today was Taunton’s last meeting of the current season and also Ladies’ Day. I was chuffed to be asked to work for my old mates Jack Bevan & Co (Est 1897) as it’s always been a privilege and great fun to boot working for Torquay’s finest. I was even more chuffed and and a little surprised to discover that I was to represent the firm in the parade ring and Winners Enclosure, proper job but not the usual remit. The firm had sponsored the 2.55 and I was to pick the best turned out horse, present the winning owner with their trophy and draw the ticket for the best ladies’ hat. Paul, boss and fourth generation bookie of the Torquay firm, had pulled up a monkey for the finest millinery, who says bookies are just commission agents these days?
The idea was to try and win enough money to cover the day’s expenses for the firm. There were seven races to do it in from a good pitch in front of what was hopefully a good crowd so should have been too much of an ask.
Well that was the plan anyway. Sadly for the Jack Bevan firm it was not to be. It wasn’t a case of terrible results, it just wasn’t their day. Always keen to offer a service the firm offered forecasts every race and caught a punter who must have been in league with the Gambling Gods. Richard Woollacott’s Prince Mahler winning the opener at 4/1 shouldn’t have been too bad a result. That is until you notice that it’s owned by the Taunton Racecourse Owners Club, so every other punter on the track was on. Add to that the forecast punter and his mate got the ball rolling in that direction predicting the winner and correctly anticipating a determined ride from Chester Williams to get Zephyr home in second for father Nick.
The yard went one better in the Porter Dodson Solicitors & Advisors Maiden Hurdle when Sean Bowen won with some ease on 11/10 jolly Cabernet D’alene. Where was Lizzie Kelly? She missed a winner there. With Pleasure finished second, another correct forecast to top it up.
As aforementioned it was quite an honour to be involved picking the best turned out for the Jack Bevan – The Bookmaker Est 1897 Mares’ Handicap Hurdle, that £50 (also donated by Jack Bevan & Co) went to Kaspian Tern. It would have been handy of the 5/1 shot had bagged the race too and not 6/4 joint-jolly, Nick Mitchell’s A Montmartre who won by the proverbial half the track and was the worst in the book. The bonus was I was out of ear-shot of the gnashing teeth on the pitch but down with the winners presenting happy connections with their prize and lady number 5 with £500 for best hat, all smiles my end.
The Dave Criddle Travel Handicap Hurdle went to the 6/4 jolly Beau Du Brizais chased home by the second-in. Forecast man copped once more to make things even worse, plus he was playing it up. Nick Mitchell struck again in the Somerset County Sports James Hildreth Testimonial Handicap Chase with 6/1 winner Get Ready Freddie. That must have been OK for the book right? Wrong, get it ready Ian on the stool more like, the winner took the book.
Harry Fry’s Cockney Wren won the UB40 Here In Concert 11th June Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race, it was 4/6 favourite and another loser. The only glimmer of sunshine was that lucky forecast fella came unstuck when 25/1 Jaunty Soria finished second . The betting for the last was pretty feeble, one chap came up with a list of bets, his party wanted to be on three of the four runner leaving out No Buts. 3/1 shot No Buts won beating the 13/8 favourite William Money into second, the rot had stopped. The trouble is the next race at Taunton isn’t until November.
One regular old boy punter came up to the joint and said that he wouldn’t be going racing until Taunton started up again, he didn’t like the flat. Then with a twinkle in his eye he said, ‘You can have a bit of excitement over the summer, you’ll have to wait until November to find out if I’m still alive!’ On that cheery note I got a flyer, as I left I couldn’t be sure but could have sworn someone on the Bevan pitch was looking to see if he owed anything!
It may have been all doom and gloom on course but I got home to an Aye Aye from my old mate and genuine tipster Roger Bush at WestCountry Racing who tipped up a 10/1 into 7/1 winner over in Ireland, at least I know Jack Bevan and Co (Est 1897) wouldn’t have laid that one.
(c) Simon Nott
Today’s bit of very enjoyable freelancing for Jack Bevan was also my swansong. I’m delighted to say that from May I shall be working for Star Sports full time helping out with their social media and website content as well as working on course at the bigger meetings, The Derby, Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood all to come. I’ll still be writing my blogs but they will be posted on their website http://www.starsportsbet.co.uk/ though I’ll still be linking to them from here too. You can also find my betting ring tales in Racing Ahead magazine now on issue 151, my first appeared in issue #2. Click on the link for more information Brand New Issue