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Wincanton - 'Jenningsbet - Kingwell Hurdle Day' 17th Feb 2024


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I missed Exeter's hugely successful student meeting on Sunday but got the full experience today. It was a brilliant atmosphere, the 'corral' that was provided for them was empty, the student contingent were keen to get involved. Betting, cheering the horses home, twice in some cases not realising they had to go around again, to joy or dismay depending where their fancy was going past the post the first time. A lot of them never seemed to cotton on for several races, double the fun for them.

The bookmakers reported being kept busy by the lively youngsters, many of whom were betting on their cards. The bookie's job was made a lot easier as those over 18 were issued age verified wristbands. It's a shame all courses don't do the same, it would surely be a lot easier for bar staff as well as the bookies and the Tote. No chance of a moody 17 year old punter being sent in for entrapment either. There were some punters about the ring too though, bets in the opening JenningsBet Devizes 'National Hunt' Maiden Hurdle included £727 - £1000 and £364 - £500 twice over Paul Nicholls' Onethreefivenotout. That's 8/11 for those that can't work it out, the favourite won under Daryl Jacob and returned 8/15, come racing.

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The feature race, the Jennings Bet Kingwell Hurdle was run second on the card, if you think that's daft I'm told it was a reprieve having been first muted as the opener due to new premierisation rules, the spell checker doesn't even recognise the word, it's that new. Anyway, a pro-punter told me this morning that he was on Nemean Lion at 4/1. That would have looked good as the 6/5 favourite won nicely from Colonel Mustard for Kerry Lee under Richard Patrick. One bookmaker ran into a carpet at 5/4, happy to lay it, not so chuffed to pay it. 

Next up the JenningsBet Christchurch Handicap Chase and a bit of fun down in the ring. A lady came up to the joint of a bookmaker who'd rather remain nameless wielding £40 and asked for 'a bit bigger' the 10/11 about Anthony Honeyball's Hatos. 'Oh go on you can have evens' the chivalrous bookie replied. With that, her genial gentleman companion chipped in with a 'Can I have that too please?' No sooner had the bookmaker replied in the affirmative he had £5000 plonked in his hand. It can't have been much fun for the layer watching the 4/6 jolly win by four lengths. But if you are writing a betting ring blog it's a tremendous story to hear. A quick mention must go too bookmaker Mike Smale who 24 hours or so ago was sunning himself in Mauritius, he hopped off the plane, grabbed his kit and was pretty much straight in his car here. I wondered how he felt after three winning jollies but thought it best not to ask. 

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There were no such punting heroics in the JenningsBet Chippenham Handicap Chase where Seamus Mullins' 7/2 winner Sheldon at least wasn't favourite, that was 5/2 King's Threshhold back in second. It wasn't great news for the bookies though as I'm told Sheldon is a character in student favourite TV program, The Big Bang Theory so was very popular to £2.50 each-way bets on cards. There was apparently a right old touch landed when River's Corner sprang a 6/1 surprise in the JenningsBet Newbury Novices' Handicap Hurdle. I say 6/1 surprise, most people I was stood with were surprised at the SP as the gelding had been a 18/1 shot this morning. There hadn't been any money to speak of on course for the winner so the bookies here got away with it, but a clobbering was hopefully dished out to the big firms on-line and in the betting shops, well done trainer Syd Hosie and jockey Harry Atkins, plot landed, a good old fashioned step up in trip touch. The JenningsBet Basingstoke Handicap Chase went to Joe Tizzard's 15/2 chance No Hubs No Hoobs under Daryl Jacob. It was a good result for the bookies though business in the ring had remained modest but plentiful so the conclusion of which I was out of the door, you should see how busy and muddy that car park looked....


Next weekend I'm lucky enough to have three days racing in a row, Exeter and my hospitality gig on Friday where I'll possibly write a blog too. Then I have a double-header booked with Star Sports, I'll be with them at Kempton on Saturday and then at their inaugural meeting betting from their new pitch at Fontwell on Sunday. The firm sponsor the card so will be looking to take on as many punters as possible to recoup the expenses. If you are going to either meeting find them in Tattersalls and me lurking around nearby.  I'll be writing a blog for their website. Oh, and don't miss next week's Star Sports #BettingPeople interview with pro-punter Dean Valentine, he's spitting feathers. 

I've also been booked for 12 days work in Irish betting rings with AK Bets which I'm looking forward to, starting with the Irish Grand National in April. 

Simon Nott 


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