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Exeter - Betting Ring Report 25/03/24



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Anyone that turned up at Exeter today can be defined as a real racing enthusiast, the forecast for Haldon Hill was for wind and rain and most people would have woken up to rain rattling their windows. There were evidently plenty of people who did arise, take a looks at the rain and not think that today was an ideal day to go racing. That number included racegoers and bookmakers with several hitherto rarely miss firms giving today the swerve. Although there were plenty missing there was a new face betting in the ring today, well not exactly new face as Tim Kerswell is a well-known figure on course having been Dave Phillips' right-hand-man for several years, but new bookmaker. Tim has taken over Dave's pitches at Exeter and Newton Abbot betting under his own name. It was probably a good day for Tim to start his on-course bookmaking career as he'd be unlikely to encounter a quieter day very often going forward. If you see Tim on course, go and have a bet with him and a chat if he's not under the cosh, he's a lovely chap and deserves to do well. Talking of lovely chaps, I was talking to today's racecourse commentator Steven Powell prior to racing, he was only making his second visit to Exeter and had driven five hours to get here, that's dedication on a Monday. 


image1 (91)                                                                                           New bookie Tim Kerswell (left) and workman Rob.


Of course, the fact that several bookmakers on the missing list it gave those that turned up at least a chance to get a wage on the day. Sadly though, there were no bets of note in the opening Hall Down Hill Novices' Handicap Chase. I'm told one punter did have £100 each-way Samtara which finished fourth behind Jeremy Scott's 10/3 favourite Joe Cotton which won by 22 lengths under Lorcan Williams. The fact I've mentioned it shows how light it was. Chris Honour's Time To Bite and Nigel Hawke's Watchoutitscookie filled the places, the latter running an excellent race on chase debut. Next up and the Exeter Novices' Selling Hurdle and a ridden out win for Olly Murphy's Foxey under Lewis Stones, there was one forlorn looking bookmaker on the line that made up the front row. That was the man that laid £900 - £400 the winner before it collapsed in the betting, ultimately returning 11/8 favourite. The rest of the ring appeared quite pleased not to have laid what appeared to be the only decent bet on course for the winner. There was very little of notable cash interest in the third heat, the Dr Hennis 1833 Novices' Handicap Hurdle, but racegoers were treated to an excellent race. Jane Williams' 11/1 chance Jupiter Allen ridden by David Noonan got the better of an extended tussle with the 5/2 favourite Mahland which was held by half a length at the line. 

There were a few monkey's bet in The City Of Exeter Handicap Hurdle, placed at 4/6, 4/7 and 1/2 on the Jennie Candlish trained Classic Maestro. Much to the indignation of the bookmaker next door, the last bet was placed at bottle-on when he was 8/15. I'm guessing the punter couldn't work it out so went for the easy arithmetic, it's amazing how often that happens. The odds-on punters drew but certainly got their money's worth, the favourite's jockey Luke Scott had to earn his corn fending off the attentions of Bryony Frost aboard Pirates' Tale but eventually took command running on well after the last. The winner returned 4/7 but the bottle-on punter would have still been happy to draw his carpet. The penultimate Kenn Handicap Steeple Chase was reduced to five runners after two defections. The race went to Jeremy Scott's 7/4 chance Bampton Star which got the better of 6/4 favourite Gingerbred after a protracted slog through the increasingly testing conditions providing Jeremy Scott and Lorcan Williams a double on the day. The biggest bets I was told in the race were £200 bets. Paul Metcalfe betting as Jack Bevan (est 1897) told me he'd laid £200 over each horse in the race, an no not from the same punter. 

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The lucky last, the Totnes And Bridgetown Races Company Ltd Open Hunters' Chase featured four runners, one of whom was last meeting's gambled on distance winner Yippee Ki Yay. It appeared that punters that had it spark off last time were keen to play it up. Nicky Sheppard's geld had been 5/2 this morning but was jostling for favouritism in the ring, 6/4 each of two with Olly Murphy's The Wolf as they set off. The cold and the rain rejuvenated for the last ensured that betting was very light with the racecourse bookmakers, none of whom had a bet for me. Ultimately, neither of the short ones got the money, the £2677 first prize went to the Sam Loxton's 8/1 chance Drop Flight which won nicely under Ben Sutton from 11/8 SP favourite Yippee Ki Yay which couldn't get back into the race after a mistake out in the country. That would have been a decent result for the layers and hopefully they enjoyed a last winning race and winning day for their troubles, though it was no certainty they would have won. Well, not the liveliest day at the races ever but still better than a day in any office, anywhere. 

As a footnote, spare a thought for RDT technician Jamie who is being taken out in Taunton by two female colleagues tonight. I'm told they can both party with the best of them, even on a Monday. Good luck that man, especially on a work night.   

I'm a non-runner at Taunton tomorrow but will be back at Wincanton on Wednesday reporting on this site.

Simon Nott

Anyone who doesn't have an account with the bookmakers below, I wholehearted endorse giving them a spin as they are independents who will give you a spin. Trumpet blowers or people that like an arb, they are maybe not for you.