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Not Fair Game.



I have been working with the Devon and Cornwall Point to Point Live Streaming team for a couple of years now. I've been reporting on the betting, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The latest meeting, at the time of writing this short blog was held at Upcott Cross on Sunday May 8th. There was drama in the last race. It appeared that 5/2 second-in Eric The Third had run the legs off his three rivals, including 4/6 favourite and runner-up Imogen's Thunder and bolted up. To the chagrin of his backers and no doubt the bookmakers, there was an objection by the clerk of the scales, the winner had lost its weight cloth so was disqualified. It could have been worse for the bookies had they not spotted that something had fallen from the first past the post, they held up payment until the official weighed in. 

Not being quite so streetwise some of the punters that backed the favourite had thrown away their tickets. When they learned of the amended result, there were favourite backers so keen to retrieve their discarded slips that they were seen and photographed rummaging in bins looking for them. There's no problem with that of course, it's much easier for a bookmaker to pay a winner if they produce their ticket. One punter who couldn't find his was a point to point regular, we'll call him Harvey, because that's his name. He's well known to the bookmakers, so when he approached the bookie who laid his £40 - £60 bet and told him that he'd lost his ticket, he was paid no problem because the bookmaker knew he'd had that bet. Harvey went off with his £100 and the bookie went home, a bit poorer. 


'Rummagers' - Photo removed at the request of one of the people in it. 

Photo Rita Heard

A little while later, a person went to bookmaker who was still on his pitch,  wielding a betting slip. By all accounts he was very nice and polite and explained to the bookmaker that the lady that had the bet had been busy with horses. He added that he'd come to collect for her but the bookmaker she'd bet with had gone home. Of course, all the point to point bookmakers know each other well so the bookie had no qualms in paying the £100 that the ticket was worth on behalf of the bookie that laid it happy that he'd be reimbursed when he saw him next.

Next, was at Newton Abbot the following Wednesday. It wasn't quite that easy though. When the bookie went to claim his £100 back armed with the ticket he'd honoured, he was shocked to find that, it was the very same ticket that Harvey had lost and been paid over. Needless to say the original bookie wasn't going to pay it again, so the benevolent bookie was £100 out of pocket. The person that had claimed off him must have found or been given Harvey's lost ticket and claimed it as his own. You can assume he knew the game too because he didn't go to the bookmaker who had laid it fearing he'd be found out.  I expect that there are a few people having a right old laugh and thinking how cunning the person who claimed the ticket was. It's not really clever or cunning is it, it's not playing the game at all. 

The point to point betting ring is the final bastion of traditional bookmaking, it's all based on honestly, that honesty really should work both ways. Bookmakers aren't fair game, just because they are bookmakers. Let's hope the guy who cashed the ticket does the right thing and doesn't forever hide from the bookies! 

 Simon Nott

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