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Chepstow - Betting Ring Report 07/10/22


Billed as the start of the 'Big Welsh Racing Weekend', today's Friday opener is what many consider to be the start of the jump season proper. The other great thing of course, it was on. I'd been looking forward to yesterday's Exeter start to the season and was gutted to see that abandoned due to the going being so hard, Wincanton has joined that list. Pray for rain all of you with an in to the Weather Gods. The rest of are still in the hands of the equally fickle Gambling variety and were hoping for the best today. Armaloft Alex had got here early, he was sporting damp, but comfortably expensive shoes, and had been walking the course don't be encouraged by the mention of moisture though, he reported that the going was 'plenty hard enough.' There were plenty of bookmakers in the ring and on the rails today too, maybe too many depending on what end of the line they were able to bet. One thing I do know, the old school way of pricing up was 10 minutes before the off time. The rest of the hour and a half before racing was spent eating sandwiches washed down with a swift half or two. That was a lot more fun than in looked standing in the drizzle taking a bet every five minutes for an hour and half as some of the bookies did today.

That first race was the Tom Malone Bloodstock Novices' Chase. Before the action got underway, I bumped into some of David Pipe's enthusiastic owners that make up part of the Blue Ball Syndicate. They didn't have a runner but were here as guests of the race sponsor, bloodstock agent, Tom. Tom is a good egg having sponsored the race for the last four years but has so far dodged my interview requests, come on Tom, don't be shy. Just the three lined up for the for his race, 'The Master Trainer' Chris Gordon saddled Press Your Luck which went off the 4/5 favourite and duly ran his two rivals ragged winning nicely. The gelding's owners were ecstatic which was lovely to see. The bookies didn't come to as much harm as you might expect as business had been generally light. The biggest bets I heard of were a carpet at 4/5 the winner, £2250 - £1000 Flash Collonges and a £900 - £200 Art Approval, though Dragon Bet did report a bet of £4000 at 'tips-on' on-line.  Incidentally, the best prices done in the ring were, 5/1, 11/4 and Evens, come racing. 

It appeared Armaloft's going description was fairly accurate, there were a further three non-runners declared shortly after the first had been run and won. Those included Cloth Cap in the next heat, the Professor Caroline Tisdall Supports Heroic Jumpers Veterans' Handicap Chase. Jonjo O'Neil's gelding was 11/4 in the ring at the time which resulted in a 25p on-course rule 4. That would have knocked the £900 - £200 laid over the winner Michael Scudamore's 5/2 favourite Some Chaos a bit. But even after the £225 deduction paid £675 - £200 as opposed the the 5/2 SP.  The winner looked value for it though, having bolted up by 21 lengths under Ben Poste. That wouldn't have been a great result for bookies in what was a much busier betting, one firm laid a monkey at 11/4 the winner, another £3250 - £500 Golden Quest and another £3500 - £1000 second-placed Forgot To Ask. Unibet's Brett had reported the runner-up the best-backed horse in the morning, so a bullet dodged, but by quite a large margin, by some. 

Unibet sponsored the third heat, the Unibet Persian War Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) which was reduced to six runners from the original nine. There was a bit of a touch landed in the ring. A punter, maybe a team, went around the ring backing Fergal O'Brien's, Paddy Brennan ridden Accidental Rebel. They spread it around a bit, monkeys, down, all each way. It added up to a nice few quid. From three out the place part of the bet at least looked to be landed but the punters got the lot when Paddy Brennan got an extra gear out of his mount to get the better of Paul Nicholls Outlaw Peter after the last to win by a length and a half. The ring had suffered a bloody nose at the hand of the punters but judging by the 10/1 SP the off-course mob had been left out of the punt, which no doubt pleased the sponsors. Others bets in the ring included £3000 - £2000 Presentandcounting and £650 - £400 which of course stayed with the books, handy for those that laid them.

Next up, the Chepstow Plant International Novices' Hurdle saw nine runners go to post but the betting was between Jonjo O'Neill's Collectors Item and Paul Nicholls' Hugos New Horse. There was spirited betting in the ring between the two, I was told bets of £500 - £400, £625 - £500 and £600 - £500 about the former and £600 - £400 the latter. The bookie who laid that one said he'd already done 9/4 so had asked the punter where he'd been. Sustained money for Paul Nicholls charge saw the market leaders flip-flop on some boards. Another bet of interest was £6600 - £100 Prince Ali, the bookie that laid it had most of it back just in case. His frontman was right in hindsight, he should have stuck it in his back pocket. The short ones fought out the finish, with Collectors Item, which eventually returned 11/8 favourite and won by just under three lengths from his market rival.

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The antepenultimate the Bloomfields Horseboxes EBF Mares' 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle saw the betting ring get a soaking. In hindsight it probably saved them from doing too much when The Master Trainer, Chris Gordon and Jockey Tom Cannon landed doubles when charge and mount Presenting A Queen justified being sent off 6/4 favourite. She battled on well to deny Christian Williams' Sister Sophie a 50/1 shock. Mind you, some of the ring would have been telling me that they didn't get their whack due to the rain, small mercies. Congratulations to both on their doubles. I have had the pleasure of interviewing trainer and jockey, those videos can be found here. 

See The Sea was a late withdrawal from the Weatherbys Handicap Hurdle which left five to go to post. The rain had stopped and blue sky emerged, as did the punters. There was early support for Jonjo O'Neil's Holly, I was told bets of £2500 - £1000 and £1000 - £400 had been struck. With that in mind it was surprising to see the JP horse drift. Swampy on the Sid Hooper joint told me that there had been a market move for Jane Williams' Monsieur Lecoq which halved in price. The only other bet of any note i heard was £450 - £300 Paul Nicholls' Sonigino. The latter was returned the 6/4 favourite and obliged. It was starting to seem a little easy for the punters. I heard one apparently well refreshed sage telling his group that it they stick to backing favourites, they'll end up winning in the long run. That could be a new system we've all overlooked. If you want to give his advice ago can I please draw your attention to the Goodwin link at the bottom of the page. 

The concluding Dragon TV & Film Studios Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Chase was a quiet betting race. There had been an early bet of £650 - £400 for Christian Williams' charge Powerful Position the biggest I heard. Tim Vaughan's Galop Du Bosc absolutely romped home by 20 lengths under Charlie Price adding to his tally of three consecutive point to point wins. The winner returned 15/8 second in from Powerful Position. 

I'm back in Wales on Sunday for my first ever visit to Ffos Las and am looking forward to that. 

Thanks for reading.

Simon Nott

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