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Dublin Racing Festival Day 2 Leopardstown 05/02/23 AK Bets


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If the conversation from a group of lads on the free bus from the Luas to the racecourse was anything to go by, there were a few hangovers about to be tortured today. Apparently a couple of well weighted Bloody Marys before embarking back on the Guinness is the way to go. Those days are gone for me! There were eight races today, one more than yesterday and eagerly anticipated if the crowd that stretched across the road and down towards the bus was an indication. People were running in once the gates opened, to where is anyone’s guess but a big crowd soon amassed in front of the live Luck On Sunday stage.

The weather looked set fine for the day which was handy. The team was unchanged from yesterday the two Daves and Graham with AK making the book and yours truly taking bets and writing about them. I had some nice chats prior to racing, and a tip from Tony Calvin, ‘Evacuate your bowels before racing’ which was good advice and uncomfortably uncanny as a valued blog reader told me he enjoys them and read last night’s this morning, sat on the toilet! Thanks for reading wherever you choose to do it. I also saw Bobby and the Fitzdares crew, who are always charming gents and of course would never talk ablutions. Another familiar face, Star Sport's own political betting guru William Kedjanyi, Guinness is each hand, way to go Will. 

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Anyway, enough of all that, there’s the small matter of eight races to get through. The opening Irish Stallion Farms EBF Paddy Mullins Mares Handicap Hurdle was a cracking one for the first betting heat. Plenty of runners and 5/2 the field with Risk Belle heading the market. The firm were betting on the race for a good hour, the crowd looked bigger. Business was brisk and steady. The book was holding just over €6000 at the off with a traditional ‘Up the front two book’. AK had been laying doubles on various races on the day which were popular, the biggest bet a monkey. Ballybawn Belter winning at 22/1 was a cracking result winning €2200 but payment to the winning punters was held up due to a stewards enquiry. It was called very quickly before anyone was paid. Given the winner was an outsider it didn’t mess up betting on the next too much.

The next being the Ladbroke Novice Steeplechase where Mighty Potter was opened at 11/10. AK also offered ‘Betting Without’ in tandem to the straight market. A punter came up to the joint and said he wouldn’t get in the blog unless he had a ‘stupid bet’ then had €50 on 16/1 chance Kilcruit. You’re in the blog Dan. Business was very busy, it took a while but thankfully there was no change in the result after the enquiry. Both markets proved very popular, bets on the jolly included €2000 and €1500. The combined hold on the race was €15,000. Mighty Potter was the absolute bogie losing over €7500. It wasn’t a nice watch seeing the jolly bolt up. I’m pretty sure the pain will be exacerbated with a crowing video of a racing celebrity drawing over the winner. The blow was ever so slightly eased with a €1000 cop in the without market.

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Blue Lord looked a certainty in the Ladbrokes Dublin Steeplechase and was priced accordingly at 1/5. Understandably business slowed a bit despite the betting without option being available. At least it gave time for Dave to pay the huge queue waiting to draw over the winner. The race was a bit of a non-event compared to the previous races with no lumps forthcoming for the odds on. The loser in the book was Gentleman De Mee with the favourite a small winner. The form book will relate for ever more that Gentleman De Mee won the race. The firm lost, but not fortunes, but lost none the less.

It went from one extreme to the other with the Bulmers Leopardstown Handicap where they bet 6/1 the field with Maskada and Indiana Breeze heading the market. What can I say, the punters piled in with some decent bets. One from a nice chap from a group of ten over here from Nottingham who like AK’s tweets. The book took €7000 in tidy bets but the favourite which by this time was Maskada at 5/1 losing pretty much what it the hod held. There was no big plan but AK was happy to stand the jolly at the price in what looked a competitive heat. And so it proved, Maskada didn’t give her backers too much hope in a race won by 10/1 chance The Goffer. The winner had been a popular choice, the biggest bet was €100 at 12/1 but plenty of smaller bets that added up to take half the book. Still a good winner.

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The Chanelle Pharma Irish Champion Hurdle was arguably the race everyone was waiting for. Judging by the money the punters wanted to see Honeysuckle return to winning ways. The hard nosed market had other ideas with State Man a shade of odds-on with Honeysuckle a bottle. There were plenty of monkeys forthcoming for her. It seemed that everyone wanted to be part of the anticipated roof off roar should she win. The 2/1 was slashed into 7/4 bets included £800 and £500 at the price. Still they wanted to be on, as they were going down with 11/8 on the board a punter waded in with £5000 for Honeysuckle. At the off AK was 6/5 State Man and 5/4 Honeysuckle which now lost €15,000 with €22,000 in the hod. As my old bookie boss Jack Lynn used to say with books like that,  ‘you need a ring of steel’

AK appears to have one.

The roof didn’t come off, the fairytale wasn’t realised. State Man, the 6/5 favourite won impressively. The hard nosed market got it right, Honeysuckle finished a gallant but well beaten runner-up. Did the hearts of the punters rule their heads? That’s the passion of racing. Honeysuckle pictured below courtesy of Andy Smith.

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There was a subdued feeling when betting got underway for the Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle. It didn’t stop the punters getting involved again though. Facile Vega was the bottle-on jolly but the first bet of note was €4200 - €700 High Definition. He was also popular in the without market too. He was also the bogie at the off, there wasn’t a fortune for the odds-on. That was a bit of shame as the ring got a right old turn up when Il Etait Temps sprang a big surprise winning at 14/1. The book still copped €8000. High Definition was going well when unseating so it could have been a fortunate winning race for the book.

The betting for penultimate The Festina Lente Charity Liffey Handicap Hurdle opened with Gaelic Warrior at even money. There were plenty of takers including €600 and €500 but a monkey at 9/1 Common Practice stood out. AK was going to take me to the airport straight after the last  but it had been so busy suggested I got a taxi, I ‘nipped’ to the gents in preparation and spent most of the time hoping the taxi queue wouldn’t be as long. By the time I got back they were just setting off. The bogie was Gaelic Warrior, the only loser for €4500 in a book that held just over €11,000. The wheels came off in style as the favourite bolted up and Dave faced a monumental payout queue.

The lucky last, The Coolmore NH Sires Santiago Irish EBF Mares I.N.H Flat Race was a lopsided affair the highlights of which were AK laid €900 fractions 11/2 Marie Philippe in last, he did have Fun Fun Fun a €5000 winner on the off but someone had €1200 at 'top of the head' 9/4 as they jumped to put a dent in it. It was fittingly Fun Fun Fun, Willie's the winner of the bumper, a winner in the book and the cream on what had been a fantastic meeting, not only for AK Bets, business 25% up today from yesterday but as a sporting event. Book your tickets early for next year because it's 1.01 to be a sell-out. As I type it's a slightly longer price I make my flight, wish me luck! No Taxis, the top man Dave O'Reilly to the rescue, thanks Dave.

It's been an absolute pleasure to be in Ireland again. Here's to the next time. 

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Simon Nott