The floorman was always the unofficial whipping boy of any bookie. Bob used to be a floorman, he now works front of house for Simon James on the rails at Epsom, he’s still the whipping boy. All he did was celebrate his boss’s good fortune in getting both the short ones beaten in the opening Investec Woodcote Stakes (Listed) with an ‘Aye Aye’ where 10/1 shot Danielsflyer got up to pip 5/2 joint-jolly Legendary Lunch at the line. You can’t really blame poor Bob, pretty much everyone else thought the same. Of course you can blame him if you are paying him, so Simon did after the judge announced that Bob was wrong, by a nose. One punter had a bet of £2000 at 10/3 the winner, that must have felt like free money when he drew.
Barry got to work on his front row pitch – too busy to smile for the camera, though I expect he was happy.
Oh and Bob kept his job and all was forgotten when Imshivalla made amends for the first race bookmakers’ disappointment when winning the Investec Wealth & Investment Handicap at 25/1. There were smiles almost all around the ring, I say almost because one firm on the rails ran into, or rather at the price reeled in a bet of, £10,000 – £300 each-way the winner. That’s 33/1 with the bits. Nasty.
Early betting was thrown into temporary disarray when Arod was a late withdrawal prior to the Diomed Stakes. Those that bet early had to suffer a 30p in the pound rule four from any winnings they had to come on eventual victor Tullius backed from 10/3 to 5/2 before winning a short-head. That wasn’t any good for the layers and neither was 11/2 Examiner winning the Investec Mile.
I was in the right place at the right time on the rails prior to the Investec Oaks. The books were busy, mainly paying out on the previous race but also fielding bets too. A chap wandered up to the rear of one firm and asked the young lady clerk if they could take a bet from that side. She replied that she could, then slightly flustered having ticket numbers and bets called to her in unison, added ‘if you are quick’. With that the chap pulled out five grand in readies which he wanted on Minding which was at the time generally even money. Now not wishing to be disrespectful to the punter, looking at him you’d have, as I imagine the clerk did, expected his maximum bet to be £2.50 each-way. It just shows you how looks can be misleading because he didn’t stop there, he went down the line repeating the cash bet at least a couple more times. We all know now that the race is history he copped only having to sweat trouble in running a long way out in the straight.
‘He just got another £10k from the betting shop’ was the report from another bookie who’d clocked him in the course shop. Nobody had ever seen the man before. Fair play to him, a chap dressed as a librarian out for a day’s rambling took the ring for a nice few quid, topped up the course shop then left not be be sighted again which I for one thought was excellent.
Shed no tears for the layers though. Business was apparently good, they took plenty on Haalick 7/4 into 13/8 in the Investec Surrey Stakes and kept the lot when 14/1 shot Smuggler’s Moon won the race. The concluding Investec Specialist Bank Handicap saw King’s Pavilion wear down well-backed Stamp Hill inside the final furlong to land the spoils at 10/1. The winner had been a bit bigger but it was a right-result for the layers who despite having some reversals should be in fine fettle to do battle tomorrow at the Derby meeting.
(c) Simon Nott.
My self-penned and hopefully humorous paperback ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ covers 20 years working with on-course bookmakers. It has had some nice reviews and even got nominated for a Sports Book award though was unplaced behind Brough Scott. It’s now back in stock available from me on this site, look to the right and up a bit, or Amazon – Skint Mob – Skint Mob also available on Kindle and various eBooks including Kobo and Nook.