I doubt anyone expected an 8-race card at Wincanton today but that’s what we got. That’s not all we got either, a deluge was the double up. Bookies huddled under their mushes for most of the betting on the opening Tom Perrett 60th Birthday Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. Six went to post but it was basically a match for betting purposes. Some of the layers cowering from the elements possible got startled into life when punters came wading (almost literally) in for Alan King’s Awesome Rosie with a couple of grands and monkeys struck at evens and another grand at 4/5 before easing again slightly to 10/11 at the off. There was no noticeable lumpy support for the other market leader even money Via Volupta. Those books that took the chunks and decided to take a heads or tails spin kept the money when the latter just got the better of the former after an extended tussle.
There was a morning word from Roger at Westcountry Racing for Emma Lavelle’s Fortunate George in the Jim Morgan & Ronnie Stevens Memorial Handicap Hurdle. For those having struggled to get on at 11/2 in the morning it must have surprising and a little disconcerting that the gelding opened around 7/1 on course. That was soon whittled down to 6/1 at the off renewing confidence, the support proved justified by four lengths at the line to the chorus of ‘Go on Daryl [Jacob] from a large contingent of the Members’ Stand. David Pipe’s 5/2 jolly Batavir was back in third.
The enticingly offered ApolloBet Cashback If You Finish 2nd Handicap Chase saw seven go to post but was a competitive betting heat which culminated in Sidbury Hill and Ballinvarrig battling it out for favouritism with the latter winning that tussle going off at 11/4. That despite a bet of three monkeys (£500) for the former. Those on the jolly had their hearts broken by a nose on the line when 9/2 Native Robin won by a pixel. I asked one Tattersalls book which one he wanted to win, his answer was ‘neither’. Every time I ask….
The going had changed to soft after another deluge before the ApolloBet Best Odds Guaranteed Handicap Hurdle but then the weather turned as betting got under way with the rain easing. The punters came out of the woodwork, OK bars, betting Sandford Castle from 9/2 into 10/3 whilst another punter felt strongly enough about the chances of Rafafie to invest £400 at the top price of 11/4. Well, when I say investment, while that’s strictly speaking true though it wasn’t a good one. The bookies’ fortunes changed with the weather, Tim Vaughan’s 20/1 winner Dadsintrouble a fantastic result for the layers who started to perk up somewhat.
I noticed bookmaker Richard Pittard stood chatting to the Pickwick-Bevan firm enjoying a pint rather than betting on his rails pitch. I asked as to why he was boozing and not betting. Before he had time to answer, chip off the old block son Dan piped up ‘Because he’s a lazy bar-steward’ or words to that effect. His dad was probably ruing bringing him as well as not betting now that the crowd had well and truly come out from where they’d been hiding. 7/2 shot Saint Raph won the next, the ApolloBet Masters Golf Handicap Chase with 7/4 jolly Oliver’s Hill out of the frame.
There was a gamble landed but not to lumpy bets when Double Bank obliged in the ApolloBet Fair Play Money Back Open Hunters’ Chase (For the John Dufosee Memorial Trophy) after being backed from 4/1 into 5/2. There was also support for Best Boy Barney at 13/8 into 11/8 favourite so the books probably didn’t come to too much hard.
The market was volatile for the first division of the ApolloBet Casino & Games ‘Newcomers’ Standard Open NH Flat Race with money for several horses. Those that follow the money in such situations would still had a job to know which one to go for. One that would definitely have not been on the ‘back’ list was Paul Nicholls’ Touch Kick which drifted alarmingly to 8/1. The market got it totally wrong, the Nicholls’ beast won the race making that 100 season winners for the yard thwarting a gamble on runner up G For Ginger supported from 16/1 into 12/1 in the process.
I’m reliably informed that despite rumours to the contrary the runner-up wasn’t named after a firm of AWOL bookies from Yeovil.
By the second division some of the bookmakers and what seemed like coach-loads of racegoers had legged it, all that was missing from the betting ring for most of the run-up to it was punters, and tumbleweed. Money the books did take on 11/4 into 15/8 favourite I’m A Game Changer they kept when it ran out, luckily unscathed. Not much of it though because Paul Nicholls’ Winningtry, provided the yard with their 101st winner of the season before they’d even celebrated their 100th.
‘It’s not been bad considering the weather’, was one fourth-generation bookmaker’s summing up or was that playing down of the day’s business. He spoke as he looked on as his faithful but ageing workman packed up the gear. He suddenly looked awfully concerned and shouted ‘Careful Ian, you have gone the colour of someone who shouts ‘money without work!’
Bookies eh? Full of banter, when they are winning,
(c) Simon Nott
I have have just published Vol 1 of what I hope will be an annual ‘Simon Nott’s Betting Tales’. This covers the 2013 season in the betting ring. All the blogs I wrote in that period brought together in an e-book for about the cost of a pint of Guinness at the Cheltenham Festival. It is on Kindle only but can be read on pretty much any device if you download their free reader. If you were an avid reader of my blogs (if you were, thank you) in 2013 you will have read them all. However if you only dipped in or missed them altogether I think you might enjoy them in this format. Here’s to link to buy
My book Skint Mob is still available on Kindle and various other e-book formats and also in paperback via Amazon or direct from me on this page. £9.99 plus postage. Many thanks for reading this, and my blogs.