Culinary delights started the evening at Salisbury, a work-mate of mine treated us all to an ice cream, not just any old ice cream but a diet-buster of monumental proportions. There’s a variety of flavours to chose from, they fill them right down to the bottom of the cone and are proper tasty. Find them for sale down by the paddock, highly recommended and absolutely not paying me to say so.
Further to the poor chap pictured in the last blog finding out that he has to wear a topper and tails while fielding money at Royal Ascot. He visited a well-known gentleman’s outfitters to hire his clobber and was pole-axed by a quote of a rouf for the week. ‘A rouf?!’ he exclaimed in disbelief, and exclamation echoed by his boss. Now being a bookmaker of the highest quality his boss knows value when he sees it so ultimately parting with a bottle to buy the garb required seemed a much better option. It’s not known from where he purchased it but I’m told charity shops in areas where wealthy Gentlemen of the Turf live are a veritable treasure-trove of upmarket threads. I’ll let you know how it fits at Royal Ascot. It was nice and hot tonight to he’s getting nicely acclimatised to the heat.
Tonight’s meeting was the ‘Spire FM Does The 80’s’ theme. The radio station have been promoting the meeting daily since February. It certainly shows what can be done with some promotional effort, the racecourse was heaving.
Business was brisk for the opening Irish Stallion Farms Bathwick Tyres EBF Novice Stakes with Richard Hannon’s Repton the warm 4/5 into 4/6 favourite. The punter that managed to get a monkey on at the top price won £400 without too much ado. As you’d expect with the holiday crowd business was brisk and mainly modest but of course the bookies weren’t complaining, a bag full of novice money is better than a couple lumps of live stuff.
Next up was the Bathwick Tyres Andover Handicap which looked a little more competitive Richard Hughes’ One Big Surprise hovering around the 2/1 mark for the 14-runner heat. One punter waded in with a bet of £1200-£600 then probably wished he hadn’t. The race turned out to be much more competitive than expected with 12/1 Laura Young trained Gilmer winning from fellow 12/1 shot Mad Endeavour. One big surprise was that the favourite was nowhere, much to the bookmakers’ delight.
There was talk of the Greyhound Derby between races. Several of us that follow Ben’s Blog on the Star Sports’ Website have an interest in Cloran Paddy tipped up by Ben when around 50/1 and now an 8/1 chance so fingers were firmly clossed that he’d qualify in the semi-final tonight run when I’d be well on my way back to Witheridge.
Third race here was the Bathwick Tyres Salisbury Maiden Stakes where Andrew Balding’s Dark Shot was the uneasy 2/1 to 9/4 jolly. The market got that right, just, the favourite was beaten three-quarters of a length into second by the equally uneasy Charles Hills’ trained Gunmetal 11/4 to 7/2. The money had all been for Richard Hannon’s The Invisible Dog 9/2 into 11/4 which was a big let-down for his backers finishing a well out of the money sixth.
I’ve probably said it before but the 1m6f start is a rare treat for racegoers getting up close and personal to a flip start. As was the Bathwick Tyres Handicap in which David Pipe’s Starchitect was favourite to win opening at 6/4 but drifted to 15/8 at the off. Now I’m sure the wider betting public couldn’t hear ageing sage of the Press Room Andrew King declare the jolly was a ‘certainty’, the drift was more likely in reaction to Rideonastar supported from 4/1 into 5/2. The cheer that went up from the follicly-challenged form guru told the story, Starchitect first the rest nowhere.
Maybe unsurprisingly there were no opinions touted for the tricky looking penultimate Bathwick Tyres Bournemouth Handicap in which 13 went to the start opening at 7/2 the field. By the time they passed the winning post Andrew Balding’s (the trainer’s name not a comment on AK’s dome) The Graduate had been backed into 11/4 before winning, one bookmaker falling into into a nasty £2000-£600 on the way down.
With one race to go some of the bookies possibly found themselves on the back foot though there wouldn’t have been a lot in it, tidy betting usually the order on ‘public’ nights like this. The concluding Bathwick Tyres Ferndown Classified Stakes only featured seven runners and looked wide open, hardly the ideal ‘getting out stakes’ for punters or layers. That said the backer that had the £1950-£300 each-way the 6/1 winner Panko would have been highly delighted. Hang on though, possibly not, he backed it each-way and you know what punters are like. The bookies would have been generally dancing, and they were in the right place, over to you with the 80’s tunes Spire FM, meanwhile I had a date with the A303.
Next stop Epsom.
- *STOP PRESS* Cloran Paddy qualified for the Greyhound Derby finishing third in his heat – Aye Aye!
(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.