My exclusive ‘Tales’ from Glorious Goodwood can be read in the latest issue of Racing Ahead Magazine please support the magazine that supports me.
Day three of the Bank Holiday Meeting at Goodwood, some good weather as well an excellent crowd and some of the most stylish racegoers you’ll see anywhere. The vintage-clothing inclined certainly make the effort at this meeting. The type of crowd also screamed Bank Holiday, which means lots of small bets for bookies with the larger punters often on the missing list, at least that’s the theory – read on!
Talking of punters, I have been lucky enough to have my card marked occasionally for the greyhounds at Wimbledon. My mate Malcolm puts the form-study hours in and has a great strike-rate of bets, I sometimes get these tips as a text. These bets are usually on a Saturday but I haven’t had one for a while. I spotted Malcolm from across the ring so made a beeline for him and inquired after his health, after all he’d been on the missing list as far as texting bets went. As it turned out he’d been fine, and he had to admit that he’d meant to text me his fancy last night but forgot.
There’s no need to tell you if it won or lost, of course it won, as they always do when someone forgets to tell you but bumps into you after. Oh well, I was pleased for Malcolm who I promised I’d remind to text me in future, here’s your reminder Malcolm. Let’s hope my independent bookie of choice Geoff Banks doesn’t read this after I’ve spilled the beans on my Wimbledon secret weapon, though I’m sure I’ll still be on.
Anyway, back to the horse racing. The first event, The Nyetimber Maiden Auction Stakes featured an odds-on favourite. Those are never easy for the betting ring to get into their books with this sort of crowd though they do have the option of laying the short-ones on the exchanges these days. That’s handy because the old rule always was, don’t get stuck into the others until you have the jolly in the book. The jolly in this case was Skeaping backed on course from 8/11 including a £400-£550 into 8/15 though three-figure bets could be counted on one hand. The only other bet of note, and this one only scraped in, Thanksfortellingme £2400 – £300 on the rails. If the bet is described as scraping in to the ‘noted’ bracket the gelding did too, by a short-head from the rallying favourite to win the race. Not great for the book that laid the winning wager but the rest of them got the first market-leader of the day beaten.
The second race was the Chichester City Selling Stakes and featured another short one. Solstalla opened even money in places, one punter got an even grand before the price dipped into odds-on where there were still takers with a couple more bets of £1000-£1100 seen on the rails. That was before the second-in 4/1 shot Western Playboy started playing silly buggers, unshipped his jockey and took off riderless. The wayward gelding was collared but swiftly withdrawn leaving the bookies with a red-hot favourite and a 20p Rule 4 to explain to their punters. The jolly won as it liked at a new market price of 2/5 which was pretty skinny compared to the payout minus the deduction endured by the books that laid the top prices. Nasty.
The books got their recompense in the following Harwoods Group Handicap when 6/4 favourite Peterhof was no match for 9/1 winner Royal Toast beaten by over a length after a tardy start. Some layers did report getting the jolly in the book but had to go 7/4 to do so, were filled in accordingly but kept the money.
The Goodwood Amateur Rider Challenge Handicap (In Memory Of The Late Gay Kindersley) was a wide open betting heat with Unison the 9/2 favourite of the 12 that went to post. The money was generally slow but steady, that is until one punter scared the life out of a trio of boomakers lulled into a false sense of security. He waded into Dark Amber to the tune of £2200-£200 each way bump, bump, bump, apparently wary that he wouldn’t have got the lot on in one hit. He probably would have though, no doubt all that trio would have rather he’d left them out when the gamble was landed by a neck, 9/1 at the off. OK for some not so good for the three amigos.
Three defections made the Doom Bar Supreme Stakes (Group 3) just a five-runner affair but saw some competitive punting. Here Comes When was backed from 15/8 into 13/8 including some decent bets, Wannabe Yours and So Beloved also attracted three-figure bets at 4/1 and 10/3. The latter won the race supported into 5/2 at the off from the favourite. The winning distance was a fairly obvious looking head but a photo was called followed by a rather theatrical delay between starting to give and actually giving the actual result, the announcer had fun with that one. Another comical moment was the look on bookie Barry Dennis’ face when punters started presenting him with ‘winning’ tickets even before the result was given. I told you the result looked obvious.
The penultimate 888sport Fillies’ Handicap went to Bateel backed from 4/1 into 7/2 but not to lumps. She beat 3/1 favourite Princessofthestars quite easily into second though she wasn’t backed to lumps either, in fact there were few lumps to be seen at all.
The Rock N Roll band out by the parade ring had started to tear into ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’ as betting got going for the Butlins Bank Holiday Handicap finale. Six went to post and it all appeared to point to a quiet race as punters drifted off to enjoy the early evening sunshine and entertainment. A quick pre-race chat to a couple of bookmakers left me in no doubt that at least those two had won over the three days and were more than happy with the business. Contrary to common belief, smallish and steady is better business than sporadic and lumpy.
Then out he came, a punter with punting on his mind. Beau Mistral was his fancy and he was going to have it on. Bish, £5000-£1000, bash, another £5000-£1000 and bosh, another £5000-£1000. That’s quite a trio of bets, but he wasn’t done, he topped it up with a monkey at 5/1, who knows, maybe a bet for the Mrs.
Beau Mistral went off at 9/2 and had every chance at the furlong pole. At the line it was stone cold last. I actually saw one of the bookies that took a grand bet do a little jig on the way back to his joint. That was the three day meeting topped off quite nicely by the looks of it. Happy Days for some, I’m sure the punter will be back.
Hopefully to Epsom tomorrow, that’s where I’ll be and there will be tales.
(c) Simon Nott
On a sad note, I’m told that ex-bookie and author of a much-loved weekly racing newsletter Rich Lee is very poorly in hospital. Hopes, prayers and positive thoughts his way please, it’s too early for a ‘time out’ Rich.
My book ‘Skint Mob – Tales From The Betting Ring’ is a book about the bookies, punters and other wonderful characters I have met in my time on racecourses. There have been some nice reviews.
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