ASCOT – Saturday 30th October 2021

It’s an excellent feeling to be back at Ascot for jumping, for me the first time in five years. Today I was ’embedded’ with Goodwin Racing who had pitches on the top and bottom rails. Goodwin’s boss and owner Julian was on the bottom rail with Ross on the computer while John was up on the top rail. First up was the Ascot Underwriting Chase. It’s fair to say that business was very modest on both pitches.

Julian gets to work

There was a flurry of excitement on the lower rail when a punter appeared with monkeys and grands for Ben Pauling’s charge Whatsupwithyou at 6/1. He missed Julian out. Ultimately a shame because the money stayed with the bookmakers that did get obliged. At the business end, the race was between Paul Nicholls’ Solo and Gary Moore’s 3/1 favourite Nassalam the latter getting the nod by the judge winning by a nose. Punters who backed the winner had to sweat, surviving a steward’s enquiry before drawing. Not those that backed the winner in the Goodwin office, they pay the double result. Punters that were on the runner-up got up to £100 back as a free bet too, beaten less than half a length in a chase. Check out the Goodwin offers here Talking of which, Telf in the Goodwin office told me. ‘Decent takings first race,  Sam Barton was very popular and our worst result, Gary Moore’s and Anthony Honeyball’s are no good either. Punters are having a chase up as other results have gone our way for a change’. So, no good then.

Punters has found the on-course bookies to bet with by the time betting got underway for the Bateaux London Handicap Hurdle. There was some spirited but mostly modest punting on what looked a competitive heat. There was a few quid sploshing around for the jolly Boothill, Julian took a bet of £600 amongst others reported on the rail then a £400 wager on Jonjo O’Neil’s charge Soaring Glory. Those two bets over and above anything else made those two by far the worst in the book. Ross spotted the winner a long way out and called it, ‘Soaring Glory had bolted up’ which it duly did at 5/1, knocking the on-course book about in the process. Telf in the office had better news but kept it brief, those phones need answering. He told me, ‘Good takings on this one, Boot Hill was a popular favourite. There was some late money for Megan and Progressive was not a pretty sight.’ The winner was OK, so bookmaking swings and roundabouts on the Goodwin firm.

There was a tremendous finish to the Byrne Group Handicap Chase where 12/1 chance Amoola Gold came with a scintillating winning late run under Bridget Andrews from what looked like a booked for third at best position to collar Jane Williams’ Monsieur Lecoq on the line. I say tremendous, it wasn’t tremendous for Goodwin Racing who are funding today’s blog. The winner was second worst in the on-course book, One For Rosie was the absolute bogie after Julian laid a bet of £2000 – £400 off the floor. I must admit to backing the winner, put up yesterday by Andrew Lowrie of Optimum Racing, each-way at 6/1, he made it a 4/1 chance and it returned 12/1. Ross once again called the winner on the run-in. I committed the cardinal sin and ‘Aye Aye’d the bogie going in, Armaloft Alex style, then remembered Julian was stood right next to me. And I mean thee cardinal sin. To make matters even worse, Telf came through from the office to say that late money had made the winner their worst too. I might have to write another humble pie blog.

Luckily things went a bit better The Bateaux London Gold Cup Handicap Chase. Telf came through with his message quite early which read, ‘Bennys King, Johnbb and Vinndication all fancied by the punters in a very competitive heat, Larry is friendless and would be very welcome in this one.’ Larry obliging at 9/1 was a cracking result in the Goodwin Office and a fair result in the on-course book too, although Ross told me the shine had been taken off by not such favourable places. The winner was also a double on the card for Gary and Jamie Moore, doing the bookmakers a favour, which is a phrase you rarely hear!

The race before the penultimate, otherwise known as the Stella Artois Novices’ Hurdle was a funny old betting heat. Down on the rail Julian and Ross found it hard to lay Gary Moore’s charge Shallwehaveonemore, that despite being favourite and potentially the third leg in a treble for the yard and Jamie. Approaching the second last Ross called Kandoo Kid as the winner, but didn’t go through with his challenge as Gary Moore’s jolly started to assert. Just when the favourite backers felt it safe to give a little cheer who should come flying with a wet sail powered by a second wind? Paul Nicholls’ 11/1 chance Kandoo Kid under Lorcan Williams scooting past the jolly close home. Just when it looked as if Gary Moore was going to do the firm another unexpected favourite Julian and co had the cup snatched from their lips, the winner was worse in the book than the favourite by a nice few quid, but still mercifully, a winner. Bad news was to come from the office to compound matters. Telf told me, ‘Kandoo Kid wasn’t great as it was running up in a few multiples’ but added that the favourite would have been no good either. Time was running out to salvage the day with just two races to go.

None of the bookies exactly smiling, but with two to go there are still chances.

The penultimate, The Ascot Racecourse Supports Safer Gambling Conditional Jockeys’ Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, was the lightest betting heat of the day so far. That until John up on the top rail laid a bet of £700 at 9/2 Kerry Lee’s Not Sure. That wager was out of proportion with the family fun day money being tendered which resulted in the gelding being a loser for getting on four grand in the racecourse book. I was dreading Ross calling it the winner in-running given his successes today, sadly for the intrepid £700 punter their fancy could be called the first beaten in running a fair way out. Tom Lacey’s 12/1 charge Lossiemouth winning under talented Tom Doggrell was an excellent result, well to be honest anything but the bogie would have been a fair one. With the book now doing less than a grand on the day there was still a chance of leaving the course the ‘cop’ side of the ledger. Telf was the bearer of good news too, he told me ‘That was the smallest betting heat so far but My Bobby Dazzler was well supported and the winner was very welcome.’

The concluding Ascot Round Table Open NH Flat Race was a fairly busy betting heat. The bogie was Paul Nicholls’ Holetown Hero having been laid to a few chunks up on the top rail. ‘Anything but that one’ was Ross’ summing up as they set off. He got his wish and Jamie Moore got his treble, not for his dad, but riding for raiding German trainer Andreas Wohler on Estacas the 3/1 jolly. It was a lopsided turn up, probably not for the books, but the Goodwin book, the punters had left them out, so won enough on it to get out on the day making it a small winning one, before exes. Aye Aye.

Whoops too soon, Telf’s message was less upbeat, in fact not upbeat at all. Unsurprisingly as it was jolly, the winner was the worst in the book for the office. ‘Not a great end to the day’ his summing up. At least the firm managed to just win on course, now let’s just hope I’m forgiven cheering home a bogie!

Simon Nott

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