It's fair to say that it wasn't the most inviting weather to go racing in when I arrived at...
Exeter Races 'Samworth Brothers 25 Year Club Celebration Raceday' 14/11/22
Exeter on a Monday, rain to start, sunshine before the first, where would you rather be? Actually, can anyone remember when Exeter last raced on a Monday? I asked around the ring and nobody knew, not even the really old contingent. One person that will never forget Exeter racing on a Monday is Elizabeth Gale who rode her first ever winner on Philip Hobbs' charge Langley Hundred in the opening RGB Building Supplies Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle. She rode an excellent finish to get back up in the last stride to deny the 5/2 favourite Raddon Top. The winner returned 4/1. Getting a favourite beaten is rarely bad for the bookies but betting was described as very light down in the ring.
There was drama in the four-runner RGB Building Supplies Adier Rayner Novices' Chase and a reversal in fortunes for Philip Hobbs when his well-backed, 7/4 into 11/8 Camprond unseated Aidan Coleman at the first. The gelding then proceeded to continue the course causing some concern for the remaining jockeys in the early stages of the race. Paul Nicholls' Mcfabulous the even money favourite looked to have a race on his hands when joined by Dan Skelton's Unexpected Party at the second last. Any hopes of an upset were dashed when the jolly found more and eventually coasted to a nine-length win from the latter under Harry Cobden. 200/1 chance Marchant In Milan came home in his own time 73 lengths further back to pick up some decent place money. Down in the ring, it was still all quiet, an even 'bottle' £200, on the winner the biggest bet noted.
There was a quick-fire double for the Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden combo when Timeforatune won the third race on the card, the Samworth Novices' Hurdle. Backed from 5/6 on course into 4/6, the gelding won easily without looking exactly straightforward, wandering around a bit, albeit in splendid isolation. There had been nibbles in the ring for Hungry Hill, a couple bets of £2500 - £100 and Linda Blackford's Prince Rhinegold at 80/1. Neither troubled the judge, Western Central and Far Sight filled the places. On that race, one of the bookmakers pointed out to me that when Far Sight was available at 10/1 in the ring, the best price you could get on the exchanges was 11/10.
Tall Boy of the Tim Watson firm enjoyed his first winning race of the day when Midnight Glance won the Haynes Handicap Chase for Alan King under Tom Bellamy from 2/1 favourite Representing Bob. The winner was a decent result for most books, though they were still reporting very modest business, the winner had been backed at 8/1 with some firms. It appeared that the owner, Mr Harry Kerswell, who was in attendance, had plenty of mates with him who all had their few quid on.
I was lucky enough to watch the four-runner fifth race, the Ginsters Peppered Stake Novices' Limited Handicap Chase from the commentary box in the centre of the course, many thanks John Hunt. I must be the bock of the betting ring, it's the only race I wasn't in it that they enjoyed their best result so far. Dan Skelton's Hidden Heroics the 7/1 outsider of the field won under Harry Skelton by 23 lengths from Paul Nicholls' 6/4 favourite Mr Glass.
At last, my perambulation of the betting ring finally yielded a bet, £900 - £500 wagered on Fergal O'Brien's Lutinebella in the penultimate Pasty Past The Post Mares' Novices' Hurdle. The only other horse that had been notably backed, though only to small money, was Jane Williams' Lady Gwen. I was hoping the punters on the Williams' filly were right, the yard deserve a change of luck, sadly although she ran a good race, she had to settle for fifth behind Lutinebella which won under Paddy Brennan and returned the 11/8 joint favourite, the other market leader, Harry Fry's Fairy Gem, weak from 11/10 was fourth.
The drama of the day was reserved for the last race of the day, the Wadge's Wager Open NH Flat Race, there wasn't a whole lot going on in the betting ring, though one firm did lay bets of £2500 - £250 Emma Lavelle's Big Fish and £3000 - £250 Jamie Snowden's Jack Sprat. Harry Fry's Carrigmoorna Rowan was sent off even money favourite but not to any lumps. The race developed into a battle between David Pipe's 16/1 chance Micronormous and Big Fish returned 17/2. The combatants got very close together before Micronormous got a neck up at the line. The Stewards didn't take long calling an enquiry, the machine made the winner around 1/6 to keep the race, so no sure thing in the bigger scheme of thses type of events. Betting was suspended on the result of the enquiry, no offers the first past the post and nothing to lay Big Fish for what seemed like a couple of minutes before the announcement that the placings remained unaltered. How do they know? It's a mystery.
The footnote goes to Paul Gold's mush, this is it above with Archie Metcalfe, it really does need a clean doesn't it all mouldy and horrible, let's hope they get it sorted by Ascot at the weekend, shocking stuff from a premier team! I won't be there, someone please check they've cleaned it.
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