Here’s a bit of a weird one, but check it out the next time you are going to Goodwood. You never even hear a bird let alone see one on the avenue approaching the racecourse from Chichester. I have been looking and listening since it was first pointed out to me 21 years ago. Not a tweet, not a dickie-bird. It’s eerie but true.
Despite the mystery of the missing bird-life it’s always a joy to visit Goodwood. There was a lively betting followed by a desperate finish in the opening Spitfire Novice Auction Stakes. John Gallagher’s Quench Dolly was backed from 20/1 into 8/1 and prevailed by a pixel. Such was the tightness of the finish that punters were studying the photograph posted by the racecourse for the rest of the afternoon. There were also eyebrows raised when Nazik drifted alarmingly in the betting, 7/2 to almost double the price then capitulated without too much of a scrap at the business end of the race. Despite someone somewhere having it spark off on the winner the bookies didn’t appear to financially damaged by the victory, so one up to them.
The bookes copped again when 7/1 shot Arlecchino’s Leap won the Chateau La Gordonne Stakes. There had been a bit of money for Dutch Art Dealer 5/1 into 7/2 and a couple of monkey (£500) bets on Baltic Brave but neither were involved in the shake-up.
The bookies really got a thumping in the Goodwood Aero Club Fillies’ Stakes when by far the best backed horse of the day on course Persuasive hosed in under Frankie Dettori. Quick punters got on at 5/4 with a couple bets of £1000-£800 struck with more at 11/10 then a trio of even monkeys to top it off. It turned out to be live money which cost those layers that took it on dear. Only four went to post for the EBF Stallions Cocked Hat Stakes put the betting suggested it was a match and so it proved, but 13/8 Algometer beat the jolly Prize Money that went off at evens. 12/1 Ormito was just half a length in third running better than the betting suggested.
Tioga Pass was a welcome 12/1 winner for the ring in the EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap beating the 3/1 favourite She Is No Lady but bookmakers were moaning about the poor business so nobody got fortunes. There was an anxious wait for punters who backed the winning jolly in the penultimate Lewin Down Stakes. 11/4 shot Seeking Magic won the race but in doing so carried several horses with it. Punters waiting in line to be paid out got edgier as time when on. When the ‘bing bong’ went, there was an ominous almost dramatic pause before favourite-backers hearts were broken with the news that the winner had been placed third. That left 16/1 shot Go Far as the winner of the race and the bookies winners of most of what they had taken. Some found it hard to hide their delight, even allowing themselves a gloat. That ensured that those that did back the winner were paid out with almost odious smiles. Grr.
The bookmakers got more cash in the last when 7/1 Wiley Post won the Three Friday Nights Stakes easily beating 2/1 favourite Sir Theodore into second. Happy days for the layers, who despite their protestations of poor business would have got their ‘whack’ in the sunshine.
Aye Aye – if you’re a bookie, not so great otherwise.
(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.