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AK Bets - Leopardstown Matheson Day 29th December


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After yesterday’s miracle winning on a day where six jollies obliged, members of the firm that could make it were treated to a very nice Indian meal in at the Anada in Dundrum, Dublin last night. It was the best I’ve ever had and all done and dusted by 10pm.  At this point I have to give a mention to the amazing atmosphere at the hotel I was staying at. Party central. Blimey, it appeared most of the people staying there had been to the races and they sure know how to enjoy themselves. Both nights, there was singing and dancing in the hotel bar where there wasn’t a seat to be had. Mind you, any thoughts of a Guinness nightcap last night were soon put to bed when I had to dodge a chap bopping around a broom stick only to see the bar about five deep. What an atmosphere but there was no catching up with that lot, so a professional early night it was.

The weather app, which has to be said put us away the latter part of yesterday, forecast a day of winter sun. Last night the team thought about donning the summer orange shorts. It obviously didn’t seem like such a good idea this morning, skinny jeans were the order of the day instead. Young men can only get away with such garments for a while chaps, enjoy it while you can.
The team were unchanged from yesterday but elder statesman of the ring Des swapped with Dave Tyrrell who moved to the top pitch. This was no doubt to save Dave’s trainers considering the amount of time he spent sprinting up and down Tattersalls to fix technical problems yesterday. Keen to make a festive impression despite not feeling well Dave O’Reilly was wearing his ‘Grinch’ clobber, he’s so un-Grinch like really, nobody was fooled.

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It was dry but cold when betting got underway for the opening Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Chase. The firm soon warmed up when a bet of €2500 - €500 Nephin Beg got the ball rolling. It was a false dawn though, that bet apart, business was a little slow. It wasn’t all bad news, the lull gave Gogglebox Dave O’Reilly time to have a chat with an avid fan, of which the chap was surely one, he even had a bet. It did seem a bit thinner crowd today, maybe the guests at my hotel were still nursing hangovers. Having said that, the field money was OK but nothing tearing compared to the busy previous three days. At the off there were three losers, Nephin Beg the bogie losing €2500, Sweet Will €1400 and Broken Ice €380 in the win book. The race went to 10/1 chance Galon De Vauzelle, which won by 6l, copping €2000 in the book, the places going the firm’s way which was a great start to the day.

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Ballyburn opened a prohibitive 3/10 favourite for the Maiden Hurdle. Punters were keen to get stuck in, but not on the favourite, but anything else, mostly each-way. AK Bets also offered a betting without the favourite market to give the punters more options. As the team were getting to work Des came up and told Dave T he was needed at the other pitch to get the printer working so he was off and running. It’s OK though, I’m told wear and tear on trendy white trainers is tax deductible. There was interest in the without market including hedge money from other bookmakers which added to the field money. As they set off Ballyburn was a winner for €1460 in the win book with everything else losing. Cleatus Poolaw and Coming Up Easy were both losers, for €305 and €125 respectively in the without market. The 2/9 favourite won unchallenged, so the book won. I don’t know about you but this bookmaking lark has changed since my day but AK had great value, see for yourself. The bogie without finished runner-up so the punters did get some back. Interestingly, at one point the tote was showing the place was paying €2.20 over the jolly, which would have been some fluke value. As it turned out the win divided was €1.10 as were the places for the first three home!

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Next up, the eight-runner Irish EBF Mares Hurdle where Risk Belle opened 9/4 favourite. In the meantime, poor old Gogglebox Dave had to take an early bath, ill. He hadn’t been at the firm curry last night, whatever he’d had as an alternative evidently hadn’t agreed with him. Get well soon Dave. Luckily for me there was no need to immediately hop on the stool to help out, I'd have been pretty ring rusty. Dave T was more than able to cope with the business on offer. At the off Tellmesomethinggirl and Hispanic Moon were the two losers in the book for €2500 and €1100. Out on the turf nothing got near the 5/2 second favourite Jetara at the business end of the race. The winner had been popular with the punters but still won €151 in the book making it three winning races from three.

Next up was the grade one Neville Hotels Novice Chase worth €100,000. There were just six runners but betting was tight between the first four in the market. Corbetts Cross was the first one to attract a decent bet €2500 - €1000 laid off the floor. ‘So much for the weather forecast’ shouted Dave T as the rain started to fall. If the weather app was a betting tipster it would be bottom of the naps table for sure. The last thing the business needed was precipitation but betting picked up again as the horses went to post, there was a flurry of several €100 bets as the rain subsided but nothing to match the initial grand bet. At the off Corbetts Cross, now 7/4 was losing €2600, Flooring Porter €1500 and 300/1 Tullyhogue Fort just short of €10,000. Well, what can you say, 4/1 chance Grangeclare West winning as it liked was a cracking result copping €3000. ‘It was just the way it fell to be honest, but it went well’ was AK’s modest reaction to the race.

The race before the penultimate, the €150,000 Matheson Hurdle only attracted four runners and looked a match between State Man and Impaire Et Passe which opened 4/7 and 7/4 respectively 16/1 bar the two,. At least one punter thought he knew the winner and bet €2154 - €3500 State Man, pouncing when AK stuck his neck out and went 8/13. He did well to get it in the book as others soon followed but were staring out at a relatively empty betting ring. The betting was slow but steady, the punters eventually chipped away at the jolly making it a 4/7 chance again at the off with the second-in 2/1 in several places. As the flag went down the favourite was a loser for €1341 along with 28/1 chance Fils D’Oudairies bad for €1114. This time the punters knew best, State Man won and AK did his money.


The Timeless Sash Windows Irish EBF Novice Handicap Hurdle was another heat that looked like a match on paper despite the nine runners. Linden Arden opened 6/4 with Waterford Whispers 5/2, 10/1 bar the two. AK went 11/4 the second-in and an accountant stepped in with a carpet, £300, each-way at the price. Meanwhile the jolly hardened to 5/4 through weight of money rather than lumps. The bigger money was once again for Waterford Whispers, the firm took a monkey at 11/4. Without warning the jolly had tumbled into ‘tips-on’ 10/11 in no time and still attracted a €2000 bet at the price. As the punter walked away AK went even money (cheeky) of which another punter availed himself to €1000 worth, and they were off with Linden Arden losing €850 and Waterford Whispers €150 with the rest good winners in a very good value book. Champagne Admiral winning at 12/1 was a cracking result winning €2850, the second-in was runner up copping the accountants a bit back.

Going into the concluding Plusvital Flat Race the firm €8600 up I asked AK if he was snapping the elastic band around the winnings. Not a bit of it, ‘It’s all turnover to me’ he grinned as the team got to work on the race. The first bet in the book was €2000 - €280 each way The Passing Wife. AK sent me off to hedge that back but then asked me to carry on backing it, we eventually had €1000 - €140 each-way five times around the ring. It was quite a blast from the past backing horses back with fellow bookmakers, with Jack Lynn’s voice echoing around my head from beyond the grave, each bet was confirmed before the off. The book was a messy one with the hedge business and the favourite winning but none of the liabilities were enough to ruin the day. Sadly, Jalon D’oudaries the bogie for €1500 won the race and The Passing Wife was out of the frame, a losing race to end and take the shine off the day, but nowhere near enough to ruin a good winning meeting.

As always, it was a pleasure and a privilege to work in an Irish betting ring again. I’ll be back for the Dublin Racing Festival in February. Until then, thanks for reading and especially taking the time to come up and say hello on course. 

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Simon Nott

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