After yesterday’s miracle winning on a day where six jollies obliged, members of the firm that...
AK Bets - Leopardstown Savills Day 28th December
What a difference a day makes. Glorious winter sunshine greeted me as I arrived at Leopardstown for my second day with AK Bets. I did fear I’d worn too much clobber as I walked to the course, but the guys assured me I hadn’t, it was deceptively fresh but thankfully dry and forecast to stay that way. AK Bets had worked all day in the cold and wet for nothing yesterday so the hope was to get nicely in front today. The teams were as yesterday with just one substitution, AK senior who had returned home had been replaced by Irish betting ring stalwart Desmond, a chap who it's always a pleasure to be around. It also was nice to get my regular but always appreciated ‘Welcome to Dublin’ greeting from top Irish layer and all round good guy Ray Mulvaney before racing, it’s always comforting to hear despite the friendly atmosphere in Irish betting rings.
The opening Savills Maiden Hurdle boasted a short priced favourite in Jade De Grugy, was hovering around even money when the market opened but drifted ominously. Despite my weather app predicting a dry day, with 10 minutes to go we experienced what Des described as a ‘sun shower’, it didn’t last long but did result in a rainbow in the betting ring. Worryingly, if you believe in pots of gold it was rooted in the stands not the bookies’ hods. At the off the jolly was a 6/4 chance with the ring betting to hardly any margin, the AK book had the second-in Butcher Hollow losing just shy of €5000 as they set off. After what the commentator called ‘a long committee meeting’ between the battling front two in the betting it soon became apparent the market had got it wrong. Jade De Grugy asserted between the last two and went on the win by 15 lengths from Butcher Hollow. The winner returned 5/4 which was very skinny compared to the 6/4 hawking on course, come racing. After the place money on the 3/1 runner-up had been taken into account from the shrewdie accountant each-way bets the book copped €2500 which was a pleasing start.
Next up and the big field Irish Daily Star Handicap Hurdle where they bet 4/1 the field. Brian Gault of ‘Gault Stats’ and Irish betting ring fame came over to say hello, look out for his work nearer to Cheltenham. He's helping you find winners and raising money for worthy causes in the process, a top man. Back to today's sport, this race looked too hard for the punters for much of the betting, but they came in late. Bets of €2000 - €400, €1000 - €200 and €750 - €150 for West Away made it the bogie losing €4500 in the win book while Music Of Tara was steadily supported also losing a monkey at the off. The roar that went up for Music Of Tara which came with rattling run after the last to win by two lengths made it sound like everyone on the track had backed her. She certainly wasn’t a hit with the bookmakers though, returning the 7/2 favourite making it two jollies in a row. The place money over the winner, mostly laid at 4/1 bumped the losses on the race up to €600. One of the winning punters, a very nice chap who introduced himself as Keith said he bet with AK because he read the blog this morning. Thanks Keith, just try not to back too many winners please....
Only five runners went to post for the third race on the card, The Ballymaloe Relish Rising Stars Beginners Chase. Fact To File opened the 8/11 favourite and was backed into 4/6 but big money wasn't forthcoming. AK set his attention on the other end of the market and went a ring-topping 300/1 about Finnfaraway. Those odds proved very popular with punters hoping for a big win, or miracle, whichever way you look at it. The gelding was clipped into 250/1 after it hit the losing €10,000 mark in AK's book. It wasn’t just the rag backers getting stuck in, there were eventually bets of €1400 and €400 for the jolly at the price and €7000 - €1000 Zanahir. In the face of that action the 300/1 was back on offer being taken and the bogie for €17,500 with Zanahir also losing €5200 at the off. It was announced that the last fence had been omitted due to low sun. Finnfaraway got a massive roar from the crowd as he passed the post, though sadly for his backers it was to cheer him on his distance fifth, worth €525, behind the easy winner and 4/6 favourite Fact To File. The winner copped a grand in the book which reflected the opposition to it rather than an intentional lean-up.
Next up was the six runner Jack de Bromhead Christmas Hurdle for which Irish Point was installed the even money favourite. There was a surge of punters to the joint, as many of them were ladies I thought at first it might be Dave O’Reilly’s Gogglebox fans, of which he has many, but no, it was when AK went ‘eyes’ 5/2 the second in Home By The Lee. The price wasn't just for the fastest to the joint, he laid the horse to lose over €3000 at the price and then just kept going. Dave looked over and pronounced ‘AK has firmly taken a stance against Home By The Lee' which was by now showing losing just under €10,000 in red. Approaching post time some punters got involved backing Asterion Forlonge steadily supported with plenty of €100 and €50 bets, so much so that despite the deluge of money for Home By The Lee after AK gave it the stripe, it was also a loser for over €1000 at the off. I was sent off for coffees during the race, by the time I got back the even money favourite Irish Point had trounced the field. That made it four favourites from four but the book had copped just over €6000, though blog reader Keith still managed to back the winner with the firm. Keith's bet aside, was it tempting fate to say things were going AK’s way for the day?
The betting for the fifth heat, The Savills Steeplechase worth €175,000 opened with Gerri Colombe the marginal 7/4 favourite. Considering it was the feature race of the day the betting started a bit slow. During the lull, a very nice chap named Paul came up to say hello and tell us that he liked AK's social media. That was just after Des regaled Dave and I with the benefits of being a bus pass holder, something to look forward to Des but not just yet eh. Chattering over, the bets started to come in late and fast as the favourites flip-flopped. The punters preferred market rival Galopin Des Champs to original jolly Gerri Colombe and would not be denied, betting him down to 6/4. At the off the new market leader was losing €5265 in the win book with everything else copping. Bugger, I'd spoken too soon with my previous comment about it all going well. Galopin Des Champs won impressively. ‘A sight for sore eyes’ exclaimed the commentator, not down in the betting ring it wasn’t Jerry. The winning streak of AK 'going for' the winners ended with a four-figure thud which was a setback but not enough of one to slow the momentum despite being the fifth winning jolly of the day. AK said that the result had been especially annoying as it wasn't by design to have it such a bad loser but the winner had been the best-backed horse of the race so let the punters make his book.
Between races, 'Colonel Braxton' on twitter came over to say hello and introduce me to his companions. He’d been having it off but luckily in the betting shop not with AK. In the betting ring punters were straight back in to get stuck into the penultimate Pertemps Handicap Hurdle where the ring priced it 9/2 the field. During the betting, where super tech expert Dave Tyrrell beavered around fixing computers, another punter, Niall came to say hello, he was telling me how strong the Irish bookies were, and that they still hedge in the ring. He’s certainly right on both counts from what I’d seen today. I imagine there were some strong layers with smouldering fingers going into this. Bets included a bookmaker backing MC Muldoon, €3000 - €330 as if to illustrate the fact. AK Bets Twitter follower Jimmy Kelly came up to say hello to Gogglebox Dave, he remembered him from his betting shop days, fondly it seems. Business was steady with punters backing a wide range of horses but they were having difficulty separating Foxy Jacks and West Is Awake at the head of the market. By the time a heavy shower sent potential customers scattering for cover they’d settled on Foxy Jacks, a loser for almost €4000 in the win book with Lucky Zebo also red for just under half that. Racegoers were treated to not only a soaking but a rousing finish in which 5/1 chance Gaoth Chuil beat 18/1 Farouk D’Alene a neck. The winner was actually a better result for the AK Bets book than the runner up, copping €1600 and importantly for the ring the run of winning favourites was halted, albeit a little late.
Going into the last AK Bets were €5500 in front. The concluding five runner Midland Legal Solicitors Flat Race had an odds-on shot heading the market, no not Willie’s, but Gordon’s Platter Merchant which opened 8/13. Willie’s Sounds Victorious was 2/1 second in. The betting on the race was seriously buggered by the persistent heavy rain though, many punters just didn't fancy getting soaked so stayed under cover. AK did take a bet €1350 - €600 Sounds Victorious and was happy to do so just before it went 5/2. Patter Merchant hardened to 1/2 though not backed to serious money which meant Willie’s was the loser in the book for just under €2000 as they set off. Timing was perfection as the entire bank of the firms computers packed up as the starter's flag went down. Patter Merchant won by a neck from Sounds Victorious, the sixth favourite from seven races. The book won €700 topping up what had been a good day considering the carnage you’d expect. After losing small the first two, AK Bets enjoyed their first winning day of the meeting. Some people’s swings are other’s roundabouts. We’re back tomorrow. I'll tell you what though, that rainbow knew!
Thanks for reading.
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