After a tardy start weather-wise the bookie’s mushes went from being umbrellas to parasols and back again before settling on parasols. The first three races were sponsored by Bathwick Tyres, with the opener going the way of the punters when Hellofahaste justified favouritism and it’s name. You wouldn’t have wanted to take any price a couple of furlongs out so much so that in-running punters were still willing to take huge odds-on the runner-up Mr Hobbs inside the last one before the jolly quickened through the gears then to win the race. The smell of burning fingers lingered all around isolated corners of the course where such folk lurk. Of course there are always layers as well as backers so someone copped from the hasty-fingered ones.
Then it went the way of the bookies odds-on Ehtiraas was collared close home by 14/1 Open ‘N Shut in division one of the maiden. In doing so it took with it some lumps bet on and any chance of a day in the sun at Royal Ascot, entry fees burned to boot. 11/1 Mamillius won the second division. Favourite-backers knew their fate as soon as the stalls opened when 11/4 into 15/8 missed the break and did well to finish fifth. The bookies had reason to get the beers in when 25/1 Entertaining Ben won the Sharp’s Doom Bar Handicap, David Elsworth’s 6/4 jolly Justice Lady could only manage third making that three excellent results in a row for the ring.
Now you might think the the bookies would be happy with three of the four races going their way. Of course some of them were but a character I have mentioned before, ‘Tall Boy’ Watson was as morose as ever. As he basked in glorious sunshine I commented that even he must be happy. He then went into a long drawn out drone for an inordinate amount of time about how we was at Worcester at the weekend where 11,000 people turned up, business was phenomenal and ‘They all went in’ – by that he means the short ones winning the races. ‘He really is a miserable sod’ chipped in Steve, his sidekick.
It wasn’t all smiles on the rails either but for entirely different reasons. Simon, the boss of the Simon James Organisation was in a bit of a stew. He’s been trying to shed a few pounds so has embarked on the trendy at the moment 5-2 diet. Armaloft Alex had noticed him scuttling to the Gents with unusual regularity so suggested that his new dietary regime might be to blame. I asked after his diet and if his bladder was giving him gyp, he smiled uneasily as he counted his winnings. ‘It’s more the other end’ chipped in Jenny his clerk and did so with a beaming smile. Oh dear that really isn’t predicament you’d wish anyone to be in on a racecourse. I should point out she is partner to ‘lucky’ Bob who was chastised for cheering home the eventual second in the opener on Oaks Day (see last racing blog). It appears revenge is sweet and comes in the form of flasks of lukewarm cabbage soup. Don’t worry Si, it’s eat what you want day tomorrow, maybe steak and chips with your winnings.
Maybe not though, White Poppy was backed from 11/4 into 2/1 in the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Margadale Fillies’ Handicap and sauntered home. Weirdly that result seemed to cheer ‘Tall Boy’ up. I was going to ask him how he felt after Blenheim Warrior backed from 11/10 into 10/11 scrambled home by a head to give Richard Hughes his first Salisbury winner as a trainer in the following, the race before the penultmate. He’d gone, legged it, pulled stumps. ‘Went for the jolly and called it a day’ was the word. With that Simon James hurried past heading for the Gents with a determined look on his face. This time his suffering was enhanced not just by lack of sympathy from his ‘loyal’ staff but by a crescendo of cheers from his fellow bookmakers. What a bunch of rotters they are…….
……. Not quite all though, Armaloft nipped to the toilets after 16/1 shot R Bar Open won the penultimate. On entering he passed a perspiring and perplexed looking Simon James exiting, now on double-figure trips. Even in his own suffering he advised Alex, ‘I’d avoid Trap 4 if I were you!’
What a gentleman!
(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.