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Ascot – 18/12/21

Long Walk Hurdle day has been memorable for me due to that legend of a horse Reve De Sivola which won the race in consecutive years 2012, 2013 and 2014 for the Genius of George Nympton, trainer Nick Williams. My good friend Andrew Mount, owned a leg in Reve with Paul Duffy so I piggybacked on the glory they enjoyed with the horse. Happy Days.

Julian and the Goodwin team were here yesterday where business was described as modest. There looked to be a very good crown in attendance today so hopes were high of better to come. A punter making the bookies jump early in the betting Imphal at 13/2 for the opening Foundation Developments Novices’ Handicap Hurdle. This chap has been spotted by some as a shrewdie this year so not everyone was keen to accommodate his not immodest bets before the market had truly settled. If the warning bells had been ringing they were eclipsed by the move for Gordon Elliot’s change Ardhill. The 7/1 in the morning might have looked skinny as the gelding had finished a modest 12th of 15 last time out at Downpatrick in August, but that proved justified. The layers were right to have been cautious, 6/1, 5/1 and 9/2 was gobbled up before winning ‘half the track’ returning 4/1 favourite. The punter that backed Imphal may have caught a tarter, Gary Moore’s inmate finished runner-up despite being nearly brought down at the first so did amazingly well in the circumstances but it’s doubtful he’d have beaten the winner in any circumstance.

On the betting front it wasn’t bad news for Goodwin, Ross clerking for boss Julian at the top rail told me that they’d chased the price of the winner down then ended up mostly missing it. Likewise Telf in the Goodwin office said, ‘It’s been quiet as this race isn’t on terrestrial TV, the favourite is a cracking result. Gaulois and Father John have come in for some late money, the Gary Moore horse Imphal is very popular also. Reasonable spread of takings, anything 12/1 and over or Ardhill and we’re off to a flyer.’ Off to a flyer it was then, just as well that the shrewdies that knew to expect some improvement from the winner missed Goodwin out.

Ho Ho Ho!

Next up, the Howden Graduation Chase. There are some things in racing that happen a lot. It is, and always has been, frowned upon to back the bogie when working for a firm. Clerks and workmen in general love to back a short one, so there’s the conundrum. Easily solved by Ross working the master computer behind Julian today. If you fancy the jolly and further more have invested your money in a wager, simply go for it in the book. When Venetia Williams’ charge L’Homme Presse, the well-backed 6/5 favourite made it two out of two favourites on the card Ross’ arm went up with an ‘Aye Aye’. Of course, I was horrified, until I looked into the book and saw that it won a monkey. That old trick. Telf had good news too, every man of a certain age’s hope, Pencilfulloflead had been the worst in the Goodwin office, so far so good, win.


Next up and the Howden Handicap Chase, the bogie on course was 7/2 co-favourite Knight in Dubai which attracted a steady flow of bets, the next worse was one of the other co-favs, the JP McManus owned Jonjo O’Neil trained Palmer’s Hill which duly won by 9 lengths. The other co-fav Guy finished sixth after a series of errors running on the inside which put paid to his chances. What the winner lost probably didn’t amount to Julian’s staff drinks bill last night so not too much damage done on the day. Over in the Goodwin office Telf told me, ‘Palmer’s Hill was a small loser, Guy was the tipping line horse, Diego du Charmil would’ve been lovely’. Yes it would have been.

John on the bottom rail.

The feature Howden Long Walk Hurdle was a tremendous race which again went to owner JP McManus with the Nicky Henderson trained Champ. The winner was a 4/1 chance, Ross cheered it home from the 5/2 jolly Thyme Hill and third placed absolute bogie Paisley Park. Ross was having a good day, the winner the second leg of a winning double. It was a small cop in the book too, funnily enough. There was unexpected cheer from Telf in the Goodwin office too, he told me ‘We did not want Thyme Hill there, Champ was lovely result, happy office’.

The momentum stood a good chance of being kept up in the penultimate Howden Silver Cup Handicap Chase where they bet 4/1 and better the field. The bogie in the book on course was Cloth Cap, the one that punters latched on to, quite possibly because it was probably what the majority were wearing. The absolute ran very well for a long way but dropped off from the vanguard. Turning for home the lads on the pitches were able to sit back and relax. Everything else was a winner in the book. Evan Williams’ 7/1 winner Annsam wasn’t a huge cop but a cop none the less. It was looking good until Telf in the office, so far the bearer of good news this afternoon, got in touch. He told me ‘ Cloth cap is the worst result in the book, also Belami Des Pictons and Annsam are terrible results, anything else we are really rocking and rolling’. It was all going so well until the last name he clobbered us with. Oh well, the blues it is then.

Oh well, the concluding Betfair Exchange Trophy looked a decent ‘getting out stakes’ to get stuck into. Poor old Ross was freezing up on the top rail as he tapped in the bets. There were plenty to tap in too, the punters apparently keen to have one last tilt at the ring. With just a minute or so to go before they set off the book had two horses losing a grand, Onemorefortheroad and Samarrive whilst snapping at their heels in the bogie stakes was Tritonic losing £700. I spent most of the betting build up watching over Ross’s shoulder. The ‘Green Up’ figure was a rouf, ‘We don’t do that Si, where’s the fun?’ beamed Julian from beyond the hood of his branded Goodwin parka.

As Tritonic and Onemorefortheroad jumped the last together, the race between them, the ‘Green Up’ button might have seemed a little more attractive. It was an exiting finish but it wasn’t fun to watch if the best way is lose £700. Of course, this blog always looks on the bright side, as Tritonic passed the post the 7/1 winner it was £300 better than the runner-up. Aye Aye. Telf came on, he couldn’t help, No Ordinary Joe was the big loser in the office but the winner was no good either. It was a lopsided end to the day, swings and roundabouts and all that but another day spent in the betting ring which is lucky, win or lose.

Thanks for reading in 2021, here’s to a prolific 2022. Merry Christmas one and all. If you’ve not already done so, please check out my sponsor’s Goodwin Racing Telephone Betting | Goodwin Racing Bookmakers

Simon Nott