Tales From The Betting Ring – Devon National Day Exeter 24/02/17

The sun bathed down on the Haldon faithful that turned up in their droves for the popular Devon National Meeting. One Chester based bookmaker made a few people do a double take, ‘I was blown in by Hurricane Doris’ his topical reply to quizzical ‘What on Earth are you doing here?’ looks as he encouraged people to bet with the ‘Tash’.


Armaloft Alex was hobbling about in the ring prior to racing. If the looks when Pinno pitched up were quizzical, they were nothing compared to those cast Alex’s way when he announced he was feeling a little lame after running 18 miles at the weekend, yes in one go. According to our hero, who it has to be said is carrying some condition, he only meant to run the more modest three or so miles from Sandbanks to Bournemouth Pier but felt so good that he ‘just kept going’, then confessed to having a nasty shock when he realised exactly how far he’d travelled and that he’d have to run back too.  ‘I should come on for the outing’ was his parting quip.

At which….

Jessica Smith, daughter of course bookmaker Andy piped up ‘That’s nothing’ and went on to explain that her little sister Olivia is running nine marathons in just 10 days, that’s Bristol to Punchestown to raise money for the Injured Jockeys Fund. That’s some feat for anyone to attempt. Those wishing to donate please follow these links

For people in the UK https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Olivia-Smith1993 

And in Eire https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/oliviasrun17

The opening race of the day  the Mobile Casino At 188Bet Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle was a bit of a non-event for most punters with Little Miss Poet appearing to have little more to do that take the scenic route back to the weighing room to collect the prize money hence her price of 1-10 (though 1-7 was available in places early on). There was a shock in store for anyone that decided to buy money at the prohibitive odds available. 4/1 second in the betting Cascaye had other ideas and sprang a real shock turning over the favourite fair and square. I asked around the ring if anyone had lumped on, ‘Thank goodness for the machine’ was one reply.

The bookies started the day off well and got more when Graceful Legend sprang a 9/1 turn up for the betting ring beating another jolly into runner-up spot when half a length too good for 11/4 chance Shaama Grise.

I had a chat on the phone between heats to Star Sports boss Ben Keith who confirmed me as booked to work on-course for his firm for the Cheltenham Festival, Royal Ascot & Glorious Goodwood and that’s for starters. As well as working on the joint my job is to tweet direct from the joint, liabilities, big bets, that’s all the news direct from the biggest cash betting events on the planet. Watch this space, anyway on with today’s action. 

Any pessimist or should I say realistic punter knows that a good and indeed bad run will always come to an end eventually. So it did for the bookies when Terry Warner and David Sewell’s 11/8 joint favourite Label Des Obeaux ran away with the Andrew West Memorial Chase. The winner was hammered in the ring having opened around the 7/4 mark. One layer blowing out smoking fingers grumbled that they only wanted the winner and couldn’t take a shilling out of the original market leader Wild West Wind which opened at evens.

As you would expect business was very brisk for the feature the Higos Insurance Services Devon National Handicap Chase with the punters getting stuck in. Virtually the only cheers after 20/1 winner Kingswell Theatre won by a neck from 10/1 Millicent Silver was from down in the ring. That was a little surprising as the winner had been a double carpet 33/1 shot when betting opened so had been supported. As the majority of people, myself included, were doing the age old second look in the paper to see ‘how did that win?’ Armaloft Alex came bounding (sorry sort of limping) over and enlightened us ‘It’s Micheal Scudamore’s 33rd birthday!’ And so it was, even mentioned at the top of the Racing Post birthdays, how come we all missed that until after the race? At least Alex is a form horse, telling us after the event. Happy birthday from the bookies Michael.

Any Drama was sent off the 2/7 jolly before winning  the Acca Insurance At 188Bet “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle. Racing Post chief Westcountry scribe Andrew King told all and sundry that backing the gelding was like finding money in the street, that sage-like advice was prior to the race too and he was right, the gelding won easily. I wasn’t in his vicinity before the first so don’t know this was the second time he’d said it today. Talking of the first, I had a little scan of twitter between races (follow me @SimonNott) and saw that racing’s number one Twitter Hero @racingblogger was getting some stick over this bet he posted.

Blogger, Blogger, Blogger, I’m loving your enthusiasm and the way you are going for your goal of global racing celebrity but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you’ll go skint doing bets like that. You do get some marks back for getting the 1/6 a 1/10 shot but please leave those short ones alone, we all want to see you win!

The penultimate was a competitive betting heat and saw money for The Artful Cobbler backed from 12/1 into 11/2 but it was Zero Grand that got the money. That’s the £3219 win fund and a few quid from the bookies too having been nibbled at from 14/1 into 10/1. Paddock Presenter Emily Jones interviewed connections after the race and was told that the horse had only cost £1000 to buy, now there’s a bit of value, so it’s not just in the betting ring. Aye Aye!

(c) Simon Nott

I have written a book entitled Skint Mob, available in paperback on this site or e-book click this link. 

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