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Wincanton - Family Raceday Season Finale. 21/04/24


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It was a family fun day to conclude the season at Wincanton, the course were blessed with beautiful weather and the families turned up in their droves. People were queuing up to get in way before the gates officially opened, well done everyone at Wincanton, great effort. I anticipated tales of £2 bets down in the ring and was contemplating not writing a blog at all, but no. Yes, there were plenty of small punters having their fun bets, but some serious punters here too. In the opening McCreery Military Forces Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle there was a bet of an even £300 a couple of times Paul Nicholls' easy winner Paddy De Pole. Sticking with this race briefly, the eyecatcher was the well-backed Tea And Chats which was detached for most of the race only running on after the last for his military rider, one for the notebooks. I had the pleasure of meeting Tom, the son of pro-punter and boss of Optimum Racing's Andrew Lowrie between races, he seems a lovely chap just like his dad, and maybe as he'd come to the races on his own, a chip off the old block, great to see. 

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                                                                                                         There was no betting on this heat!

Next up and there was plenty of confidence in the ring for Paul Nicholls' Irish Hill, in the Stay & Spa At The Eastbury Handicap Hurdle, bets included £450 - £300, £750 - £500 x 2 and £1500 - £1000. The Nicholls yard obliged again, but not with the horse the big punters were on. Stable second-string Sabrina sprang a 16/1 surprise under Freddie Gingell beating the favourite into second place. When I say surprise, it wasn't a total surprise to everyone, my long time friend and shrewdie Andrew Mount tipped the winner in his daily tipping column for GG, he doesn't guess either, you can read his reasoning HERE Nice work Mounty. I did take notice of Andrew, but only did a combination four-timer the five Nicholls horses, not as a single, greedy boy. Eagled-eyed readers will see that Mounty's second selection of the day in the column won up at Stratford too, Aye Aye Andrew.

It was Paul Nicholls at the head of the market again in the first division of the Royal Bath And West Show Maiden Hurdle where Beny Nahar road was backed into 6/4 favourite, though not on the back of my each-way multiple. Bets on course included £875 - £500 twice and £1500 - £1000. However, the Nicholls jolly didn't attracted the biggest bet of the race, that was £12,500 - £5000 Mirabad and proved prophetic, the Newland-Insole runner got the better of the jolly in an after the last tussle under an excellent ride from Charlie Hammond returning 3/1. One rails firm also reported a bet of £3000 - £1000 the winner, so a nasty result for some of the ring. 

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The second division of the race saw Paul Nicholls' Golden Move sent off 11/10 favourite. There had been one big backer at 6/5 risking £600 down in the ring but nothing else of note but the punters were getting stuck in with their smaller stakes. There were nine horses that went to post but only eight took part, The Northernlights was withdrawn at the start. A late withdrawal isn't what a bookmaker wants on a family fun day. Explaining what a 10p 'Rule 4' means to every novice punter who backed the winner and is expecting what it says on their ticket is no fun. In this case, those were backers of David Pipe's 7/2 winner Manuelito which won quite nicely under Jack Tudor from I'm Ravenous with the 11/10 favourite Golden Move back in third. One rails bookmaker reported £120 each-way bet on 100/1 chance Gouazec which may or may not prove to be a tip a return to form in the near future though he finished sixth today.

Next up and no Paul Nicholls runner in the Newt Handicap Chase but no shortage of money down in the ring. The biggest bets I heard of were £6000 - £3000 and £1000 - £500 Tom George's Inflexible with a further £2100 - £600 bet on Earth King. The three grand and monkey punters knew. Inflexible flew home under a confident ride from Sean Bowen, he fairly booted the winner into the last before going on to win by five lengths, quite a sight when you are down near the action. 

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The five-runner penultimate the Dot Tolson Memorial Handicap Chase had the fewest runners of the day but looked trappy which might have been the reason the punters didn't open their shoulders. There was a bet of £750 - £400 Gorcombe Moonshine and a £300 - £200 Gower Prince which was about it. Gorcombe Moonshine fell at the first, both horse and jockey Harry Kimber OK,  which left Gower Prince to win unchallenged. The lucky last The Season Close Open National Hunt Flat Race featured a hotpot in Sam Thomas' Celtic Dino which opened 4/7 to win the race under Sam Twiston-Davies. There didn't appear to be any interest in backing the jolly odds on, though one punter did have £7000 - £500 Steel Dancer, he could have had £7000 - £490 had he asked for fractions, which he didn't, always ask for fractions, he could have saved himself a tenner. The race went to Celtic Dino as expected but only just from Paul Nicholls' Jackpot Des Bordes and the bookies got away with it. That concluded Wincanton's 2023/24 season. I'll be back in the autumn, thanks for reading. 

Simon Nott 

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