There was a nice but not nice little story from Newbury’s betting ring on Sunday. The bookmakers have been encouraged to form a market on the Pure-bred Arabian races often held at the course. Many have been doing so, albeit pretty much betting blind, clueless as to the merits of each horse, so betting to a healthy margin. The race that preceded the main card at the weekend was fairly competitively priced.
The winner was about 6/1 from a horse around the 5/1 mark that had been nibbled. Some bookies did more business than others on the race. The bookie this tale relates to had done very little, just around 20 bets I’m told. With that few bets you do tend to remember punters and their bets. One gentleman came to the joint with a ticket that was immediately wrong to the bookmaker. £21 each-way at 6/1. £21 is an unusual sum (unless you are asking for fractions, and you should always ask for fractions, see here http://wp.me/p1dLbd-4x ) and the bookmaker knew that it hadn’t been the man’s bet. It was Sunday morning, maybe the clerk had thick finger syndrome and hit the 1 as well as the 2 when hitting the button, in fact he must have, the man had asked and paid for £2 each-way.
Regardless, the gentleman had invested £2 each way, not £21 so was only entitled to the returns to 6/1 that figure. Of course, he could argue he did have the £21 each-way on and that the bookmaker was trying to welsh on the bet. In the first instance that would cause a ruck disrupting business on the first race proper, ruin the firm’s reputation and ultimately risk his license, so in short, it doesn’t happen. The bookmaker quite calmly for one that was effectively being robbed told the man he would pay him what he had to come and no more.
The gentleman wasn’t having it. He was sticking to his guns, and wanted all of his ‘winnings’. When told that £21 each way was an unusual figure to invest he said that it was because he and his wife had clubbed their money, evidently totalling £42, and decided it have it on. The bookmaker, with no doubt in his mind that the man had not had the bet he claimed, was understandably not going to pay. He’d not only lose the winnings but also the extra stake money. By now getting quite red in the race and exasperated he told the gentleman once again he’d get 6/1 to £2 each-way and no more. The gentleman was still not having it, and stormed off to get his wife who would verify the story to bookmaker (who knew 100% he was telling lies) in front of the Betting Ring Manager (mercifully renamed from the previous chortle-inducing title of ‘Ring Inspector’) who would be 99.99% certain they were both telling lies.
The man went off to probably de-brief his wife and get gee’d up for a right old ruck with a bookie, who of course everyone knows they are crooks. The bookie took a sigh, after all he was having to deal with trouble he didn’t need. Then Karma stepped in.
‘Ding Dong’ – ‘Objection to the winner by the Clerk Of The Scales’.
The inevitable soon followed, the ‘winner’ had been disqualified and placed last.
The chap that had tried to claim an erroneously issued ticket had lost his money. Of course all those that had drawn over the winner, and given the delay that was most of them, formed an orderly queue to pay back their winnings. They intermingled with all those that had backed the new winner who were of course entitled to their winnings. No, of course they didn’t. Those that already drew, kept their winnings, those that were on the second came to draw, or someone who found their discarded ticket on the floor came to draw, closely followed by the original punter, so two claims on one bet. In short, a nightmare for the bookies. One was reported to have lost £800 paying out on both. If anyone has ever doubted the integrity of bookmakers, they should take a look at the outcome of races like these which are mercifully very rare these days.
(C) Simon Nott