The girls turned out in their finery for Exeter’s Ladies Night, Ladies and Gents as it turned out with prizes for both sexes judged on their attire. In a very sporting manner it did appear that one chap was trying to hedge his bets and enter both but I was too far away to be sure, still it is 2016 and I’m all for individuality.
The business in the opening Racing UK In Glorious HD Novices’ Hurdle was brisk with some decent bets for Vieux Lille backed from 5/4 into 11/10 with £750-£600, £1100-£1000 and £550-£500 at the prices. There was also money for All Kings supported from 10/1 into 7/1. If there were prizes for unlucky losers All Kings would hardly be able to get into Harry Fry’s horse box on the way home. The gelding gave away umpteen lengths at the start and still managed to finish second behind the jolly, a result that was no good at all for the layers.
The money was just described as ‘ticking over’ for most of the remainder of the meeting, the ladies presumably preferring to spend their money on clothes not betting on horses. They were getting their shrapnel out rather than notes but at least still having a bet. ‘I didn’t bring enough change’ bemoaned one layer which possibly meant I was wrong, they were getting their scores out for pound each-way bets, that was called ‘the full treatment’ back in my day. It’s doubtful it was their money that forced Motts Cross into 13/2 from 9/1 in the Many Happy Returns HM The Queen Handicap Hurdle but whoever’s it was knew the time of day, gamble landed.
Once again it was just steady business in the 9-runner Helen Tellam 50th Birthday Novices’ Handicap Chase won by Call The Detective. The winner landed another tickle this time from 11/1 into 17/2 beating prize money hungry Paul Nicholls’ Present Man a head into second. The result would have suited the bookies even though the winner was backed. It sounded as if everyone’s favourite Master of Ceremonies Luke Harvey was trying to cause chaos over in the parade ring when he invited the chaps to line up to be judged, ‘Just joint the line’ he suggested to those that hadn’t even registered, the fun-loving prankster.
The 17-runner Westerly BMW Exeter Handicap Hurdle went to 9/1 shot Fort Carson who thwarted those who went for David Pipe’s Perspicace and made it 7/1 jolly four lengths back in second. The Nicholls team’s tally for the season was topped up in the Wild Beer Co Maiden Hurdle when Black Corton justified support from 2/1 (£1000-£500 and £700-£400) into 6/4 beating stable-mate Whipcord also backed from 6/1 to 3/1 back in second, prize money of £1981 and £656 will all add up.
News that the singer known as Prince had died aged 57 reached those on course, who’d have known there would be such avid fans on the turf. One young lady who to my knowledge has never mentioned the pint-sized popster in the eight or so years I have known her was distraught. Terrible scenes, heartbreaking. Try as I might I couldn’t find even a tenuous link to the artist also known for a time as symbol in the penultimate Otter Brewery 25 Years Handicap Chase. Well maybe not a symbol but one racecourse regular who was actually AWOL got the double Timeform squiggle next to his name. Ginger John only earned the first one on Saturday for making himself a very late non-runner for Andrew ‘Trend Horses’ Mount’s stag do. Then he’s apparently tipped up the impressive winner Withy Mills without so much of a whisper to those he so badly let down missing the stag do. I say badly let down, had he turned up he may well have flaked before me thus relieving me of the unenviable title of first to retire ruined. Anyway, people that he did tell copped a nice few quid backing the 5/1 chance, well done them and the Bishop yard.
Prior to racing commentator Richard Hoiles was telling me that he didn’t think he’d ever called a race like the concluding Goffs Spring Sales P2P Bumper (Maiden NH Flat Race For Amateur Riders). Paul Nicholls had found one to fit it’s conditions though, Bill And Barn was sent off at ‘tips on’ 10/11 to nick another £2406 for the Champion Trainer pot. One punter did get a £600-500 on, come racing. He probably wished he hadn’t though, being as kind as possible let’s just say jockey William Biddick didn’t give the jolly the best of rides. He appeared to think he was on Pegasus reincarnate then found nothing when he pushed what he must have assumed was the ‘fly’ button from an almost impossible position. Fearless Fantasy won the race giving the bookies a 16/1 result and joint owner Lord Lipsey a lovely birthday present. Bill And Barn was a keeping on sixth just missing out on the £101 for fifth but ensuing the jockey would be entering Room 101 very shortly.
It’s a long time since I have seen hardened national hunt men leave a racecourse so shaken. Not that they had done their money but with anticipation of what was about to befall a hapless rider. ‘Nicholls had a look on him that could strip paint at 100 yards’ offered one racecourse character who wished to remain nameless in a quivering ‘thank God it’s not me’ sort of voice. Another just shook his head like a man leaving before the firing squad had been told to aim. You know how people like to exaggerate though….
Still, at least the bookies got some back and the ladies all had a good time.
(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.