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Exeter - Betting Ring Report - Virgin Bet Afternoon Racing. 12/02/23


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It was 'Student Day at Exeter this afternoon. The centre of the course usually redundant, looked and sounded more like a music festival than a racecourse before racing. I'm told that there were 1200 young people over there. As the horses paraded for the first there we people lined four or five deep on the rail over there waiting to watch the first. Great to see and some proof that busing the students in for an afternoon on the turf has the desired effect for a good number of those attending. There were five bookies out the, George Edwards sent both his pitches out there. Let's hope the numbers of people equated to betting business. It's probably just as well that the students had been catered for so well over the track because the crowd in Tattersalls was huge, some feat considering there popular was a point to point behind held at Buckfastleigh just down the road. 

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The first heat, the Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Charles II Novices' Chase with just wasn't ideal for novice punters but the betting ring was still busy. I've taken over from Daryl Carter, tipping in boxes here prior to racing. The bookies have agreed to give free £2 bets for the first race. I always pick the used ones up the first, loads were used today. The race was won by the 15/8  second-in Cap Du Mathan which would have disappointed backers of the jolly Lac De Constance, I'd imagine especially the punter that bet a £1000 - £2000. 'There I was , two quid, two quid, two quid, two grand' smiled the bookie who showed me the readies. Just out of devilment I suggested the bundles looked a bit light. I didn't hang about to see if he checked spun them! I spoke to Dave Hazell between races, he and his wife Jane were recent #BettingPeople interviewees of mine, Jane broke her arm after a fall at a point to point last weekend. Happily Dave tells me that she is on the mend, get well soon Jane. 

The betting ring was buzzing during betting for the Virgin Bet British Stallion Studs EBF 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle. Off To A Flyer was the odds on 4/7 favourite but there was opposition. A punter went down the line and bet £3500 - £2000, £3500 - £2000, £3500 - £2000 and £1750 - £1000 and £1100 at 13/8 on Nicky Henderson's charge The Carpenter. For much of the race it looked as if the favourite had his measure then after jumping the last a length down, the tradesman found another gear to power home. His victory landed a nice touch for one chap at least and gave members of Owners Group 086 a day to remember and a horse to look forward to. 


Jeremy Scott's Kissesforkatie opened 5/4 favourite for the Virgin Bet Best Odds Daily Mares' Chase (Listed) and was backed down to 11/10. There were a couple of decent bets down in the ring, but once again in opposition to the short one. Bets of £3150 - £700 and £2000- £500 were struck on Venetia Williams' charge Pink Legend. That was the inspired money and rewarded the intrepid punter when she just ran her opposition ragged to win from the jolly a well-beaten runner-up. 

With all the favourites on the day so far getting turned over favourite-backers might have been getting a bit twitchy, while at the same time some of the bookies had run into the winners with the sizeable bets landed. There was another short one in the Virgin Bet Daily Extra Places Novices' Hurdle (Listed), Nicky Henderson's Luccia sent off at 8/13. This time those that back the short ones got the money when she won with some ease. Mind you, the punters that bet £2000, £1000 three times and £1850 all at 4/7 got their money's worth in the excitement stakes when she clobbered the last without really looking like falling. Commentator Alex Fussey called 'Cheltenham here she comes' impressed by the winner, we look forward to seeing her there. 

Four races in and the students out in the middle of the course were still getting involved when races were happening. They were roaring the horses on the first circuit, very much like a bank holiday crowd tend to do. I'm told the bookmakers out there with them were taking lots of pound and debit card bets, hard work for them but worth the patience. They say that Exeter University students are often well-heeled, today could be the day that a prominent owner of the future fell in love with the game to the back-beat of a banging tunes DJ. 

Seven went to post for the race before the penultimate Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle. The money was now on a Nicky Henderson snowball, not like the good old days when the firms would get involved to shorten up their shop horses. I'm guessing that's done via the machine these days. Henderson's charge Walking On Air had been 11/4 this morning was sent off at 15/8 favourite. Punters on course had £1500 - £800 and two monkey bets at the price. Once again, the market move was justified and the decent bets landed, Walking On Air won nicely, completing the treble for Seven Barrows on what had become Henderson Sunday. 

Thanks to my good mate Andrew Mount I'd tipped my box guests Mister Malarky for the Virgin Bet Daily Price Boosts Veterans' Handicap Chase. He looked to have had the race won going two of three lengths clear after jumping the second last. He was still in front jumping the last then unable to repel the late challenge of the Philip Hobbs trained and JP McManus owned Musical Slave which got up to win a neck. That was winner 3001 for the trainer who was here. Down in the ring the winner was backed from 11/4 into 9/4, bets included £1100 - £400 and a couple of monkeys at 9/4 returning 2/1 favourite. 

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There had been a persistent tip all day for Tom Symonds' Navajo Indy in the Virgin Bet 'Newcomers' NH Flat Race a good a reason as any to have a bet in a race where none of the horses have seen a racecourse before. The market backed up the whispers, the 10/1 available in the morning was 11/2 by off time. On course the bigger money was for Paul Nicholls Banteer at 10/3 and 3/1 despite having been a 9/4 chance earlier in the day. Bets included £500 at 7/2 and £500 twice at 10/3. This time the money stayed in the bookmaker's hods. Navajo Indy ran well enough to finish third, Banteer similarly in second but neither were a match for the winner, Jeremy Scott's Diesel Line which won nicely under Rex Dingle at 5/1. The winner had been as big as 16/1 this morning, it seems like someone had it spark off, but off course. I expect the beleaguered on course bookmakers are happy about that. 

Have a thought for bookmaker Joe Oliver, he was down at Buckfastleigh while his son Dax and righthand man Q were here and ran into many of the noted bets. Joe called, he'd lost a monkey in the last at the point, another plot landed. Aye Aye the punters, not so much the bookies. Still, even being a losing ( on the day ) bookie is better than a proper job isn't it! Thanks for reading. 

Simon Nott

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