I took nearly four hours to get to Sandown from Witheridge but only the M25 onwards caused the delay, surprise surprise. Still not a bad journey when you have plenty of decent music on the i-pod. ‘It’s the Brigadier Gerard tonight’ chastised one lady colleague on hearing my tale of ring-road woe. I smiled inwardly at her touching faith that Sandown’s big night may have been the cause of the traffic problems. Having said that, there was a very decent crowd with plenty of money flying about during the evening so all good.
There wasn’t so much in the way of lumpy bets in the opening Marbank Construction Handicap (Jockey Club Grassroots Flat Middle Distance Series Qualifier). Apart from that is an £1800-£400 the winner top-weight and 9/2 jolly Inniscastle Lad which got one Tattersalls bookie’s night’s work off to a terrible start and the rest not a lot better.
Shed no tears though dear readers who might feel a tinge of pity for the poor bookies, they got it all back and some in the BetVictor Million Pound Goal National Stakes (Listed). The money poured in for Richard Hannon’s 13/8 jolly Mehmas there was a £1300-£800 sighted plus half a dozen lesser bundles changing hands. The punters also got stuck into Mark Johnston’s 15/8 from 5/2 second-in Chupalla including a whopping £5000-£2000. Those bets stayed with the bookies Ryan Moore came to rescue with 9/2 third-in Global Applause, not a huge result but a real cop for those that ‘went up the front two’.
FOR THOSE INTERESTED IN THE SPONSOR’S MILLION POUND GOAL PLEASE CLICK BELOW
So that was the bookies back in the game but things really went their way in the BetVictor Henry II Stakes (Group 3). The simple reason being that punters would not be denied Willie Mullins’ Max Dynamite. There was one decent bet noted at 10/11, well that didn’t last long, neither did the 4/5 though long enough for a bet of £800-£1000 then it was all rates down with punters chasing it all the way. One of the last bets struck was a couple of grand at 8/13. Maybe punters still think it’s Cheltenham, well it wasn’t, the jolly only managed third of the four behind 11/2 winner Pallasator. Maybe also remembering Cheltenham a number of bookies gave favourite-backers the real full-throated rub-down with louder than usual ‘Aye Ayes’ when it became obvious the short one was winning nothing.
Not put off by doing their money wholesale those favourite-backers opened their shoulders again and appeared to try and punt their way out of the trouble in the feature BetVictor Brigadier Gerard Stakes (Group 3). Roger Varian’s Intilaaq was plunged on. There were cumulatively fortunes wagered at 6/4 and 11/8 in three and four-figure bets let alone all the more modest sums ensuring the colt went off at 5/4. Maybe all the readies weighed him down beating only one home. It was Ryan Moore in the money again on Time Test the 3/1 second-favourite, not a great result for the books but better than the jolly even for those that laid monkeys and roufs (£400) at 10/3 and 3/1. They’d settle for the second-in getting them a round of drinks. Layers were saved again in the penultimate Heron Stakes (Listed) when 11/4 Zonderland rewarded the punter who had £1200 on at 3/1 with a couple of length win over 7/1 Atlantic Sun. Forge had been backed from 15/8 into 11/8 but had to settle for third.
Punters who were in it neck-deep had a sporting chance to get their losses back in the 14-runner MET Traders Handicap. Those that managed to find 12/1 winner Chevallier might have performed the great escape but it was really another right-result for the books. None of the would have come to any harm in what was an excellent winning evening. I didn’t hear any moaning, but I’m not that great from a distance.
Onward to Salisbury Saturday evening, just the A303 back to Devon to negotiate first.
(c) Simon Nott
My paperback ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ covers 20 years working with on-course bookmakers has had some nice reviews and even got nominated for a Sports Book award. It’s now back in stock available from me on this site or Amazon – Skint Mob also available on Kindle and various eBooks including Kobo and Nook.