TALES FROM RING
Simon Nott spends some rainy days at ‘Glorious’ Goodwood
Simon Nott spends a soggy few days at ‘Glorious’ Goodwood
The weather was kind for the start of the opening day of Glorious Goodwood. The usual friendly bookie banter bubbled about the ring, as it always does at big meetings, hope springing eternal. There are always a lot of ‘old’ faces that come out of retirement to populate multiple pitches.
The ring like a result to start the week off nicely in the opener.They got one, in 12/1 winner Dark Red, but then...Stewards’ Enquiry.The runner-up Fabricate was still a good cop should it get the race, and that looked likely judging by the Exchange betting. The worst thing was business on the next was being affected. And still we waited.The Queen’s 20/1 Fabricate got the race in the enquiry at around 2.10pm which left 15 minutes to pay out and bet on the next.
Business was brisk once betting got underway proper with minutes to go to the Qatar Vintage Stakes. The ring was solid 7/4 Expert Eye and it hosed in but wasn’t backed heavily.
Betting was steady but small in the Qatar Lennox and the sun shone down on the ring in more ways than one after Breton Rock sprang a 50/1 shock.
The layers were buoyant after two tremendous results so possibly more bull- ish in getting Big Orange into their books than they might have been in the Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes. Despite being forecast to go off evens,11/8 was hawking shortly after betting opened.There was no expected stampede though.As they started loading the drift had reached 7/4 with some books but they were soon trimmed. Stradivarius winning the race was a tremendous turn up for the ring.
There was strange betting in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing EBF Maiden Stakes. First Algam was all the rage then bounced near the off. Tribal Quest had been weak but then shortened but it was all irrelevant when 100/1 shot Thechil-
dren’strust won the race to virtual silence. What a result for the books, well most of them, some went 250/1 and you don’t need to take much at that price to do your money. Nasty.
The second day will go down in bookmaking lore as the worst day ever known at the meeting,torrential rain that didn’t let up all day.The opening Matchbook Exchange Goodwood Handicap Stakes was a great spectacle with a flip start in front of the stands for anyone mad enough to brave it but as a betting heat it was a washout.
The Better Odds With Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Stakes was a hard 5/1 the field race,add to that the consistent rain and what we had was a recipe for another pitiful, betting heat. The 9/1 winner Londinium wasn’t much reward for working in the deluge, the saving grace was that the rain was warm.
Here Comes When winning the Qatar Stakes at 20/1 should have been one of the results of the meeting, but the shine was taken off the race when Churchill was withdrawn. Star Sports reported taking £5,000 in sodden readies on Ribchester at 1/2 but the majority of the books would have been lucky to have taken a cash bet on him at all such were the conditions.
The rain was being whipped up by the wind doing its best to dampen inflated spirits as we got to work on the Markel Insurance Maiden Fillies’Stakes.The punters that did brave the weather certainly weren’t sticking their necks out far from under their umbrellas. You could hardly blame them.
12/1 winner Threading would usually have been a great result but if you can’t take it you can’t win it. The racecourse were public spiritedly warning people that they might experience problems leaving the car parks. That didn’t bode well for us with three races to go and so it proved with the almost unworkable conditions pretty much negating the day as far as business went.
Music to everyone’s ears was the fact there was no mention of rain in the day’s forecast. Business on the opening Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Stakes was brisk at least compared to the previous day but the winner Good Omen was wellbacked at 8/1 and in hindsight was a bad omen.
The feature of the day for most was Winter in the Qatar Nassau Stakes. There was plenty of 11/10 available in the ring early doors but that was soon snapped up. Ben Keith of Star Sports was desperate to get the jolly in but evidently at the right price. He was stood on the rail screaming ‘evens’ to the punters with a phone firmly stuck to his ear. The sun came out just as Winter passed the post the clear winner. Though he didn’t take anything bigger than grand bets on his rails pitch Ben admitted his office had ‘done plenty’.
Then things went from bad to worse in the Telegraph Nursery Handicap Stakes when the likely good result Cheeky Rascal was collared under the judge’s nose by jolly Billesdon Brook.It could have been a lot worse, though, and was for some. Intrepid Exchange players trying to scoop up the in-running money on the jolly laid at 999/1 when she looked beaten and hemmed in on the rail.There was another short one for the ring to get in the book in theVictoria Racing Club EBF British Stallion Studs Maiden Fillies’ Stakes, Roulette, bet from 5/4 into into even money as they loaded into the stalls,then led from start to finish which was a body blow and really a turning point in the fortunes of the bookmakers.
At long last‘Glorious’Goodwood lived up to its name as the sun shone. Sadly the damage had already been done as far as 20 plus non-runners were concerned but the day’s racing still look fiercely competitive.
The opening Betfred Glorious Stakes was a busy betting heat but 7-4f Poet’sWord winning wasn’t a great start.It was more of the same in the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.The opening show of 2/1 Beat The Bank was soon smashed into 7/4 and duly obliged.There was a positive aspect to the day after the bad result,I got the chance to say hello to amazing young fund-raider ‘Jockey’ Jack Lander and his dad when they went to the Star Sports pitch on the rail
Things looked to be getting exciting when Ryan Moore won the Betfred Mile on 6/1 shot Master The World completing a treble.The ring braced itself for a deluge of money for his next mount Washington DC. Moore’s rides were well-touted in the morning so hedging money could flood into the course to shorten up this next one.
The appearance of a chap with a phone stuck to his ear calling bets into the rail alerted us that the expected trade money had arrived but it was small. It looked as if the off course firms were hedging on the exchanges instead,a bad development for the ring. By the off Washington DC had shortened to 4/1 but could manage only fifth behind 9/2 winner Battaash. Moore didn’t have a ride in the next, the Betfred Mobile Nursery Handicap Stakes, and although the buzz had subsided there was still money about and the 11/2 winner Red Roman wasn’t a great result for the ring.
Moore was riding Asking in the L’Ormarins Queen Plate Oak Tree Stakes but at around 9/1 the anticipation wasn’t there for the filly. Money was steady again and some firms made the decision to go down the book with jolly Al Jazi at 9/4.Bad move. Al Jazi first, the rest nowhere.
The final day started with beautiful sunshine which lulled pretty much everyone into a false sense of meteorological secu- rity.The books were ready for the punters but not the mini hurricane that blew through half an hour before the first. At least two bookmaker’s umbrellas came second to the weather.
The opening Qatar Steward’s Sprint Handicap Stakes looked fiendishly hard hence the very open betting. That given, you couldn’t blame Ben Keith at Star Sports for getting to work laying the favourite Scorching Heat.The firm took plenty at 5/1 before having to clip the colt into 9/2 then watched it bolt up. Keith confided that it added another four-figure loss to Friday’s five-figure disaster.
The Qatar Summer Handicap Stakes was a similar heat,the 11/1 winner Soldier In Action wouldn’t have been a great result.
Only five went to post for the Qatar Gordon Stakes, 6/4 favourite Crystal Ocean winning was another nasty result
The Qatar Stewards Cup was a manic punting heat,the backers really wanted to have a go.Lancelot Du Lac winning at 25/1 was just the sort of result the betting ring were looking for despite Frankie Dettori being on board.
In the Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes turnover was reported as pitiful but at least the massive black cloud that had been threatening the betting ring gave it the swerve.Rogue was the best-backed horse in the race 7/1 into 9/2. He had been tipped up in the morning by a bookmaker to anyone who would listen. If anyone did they did their money but so did most of the ring when Dee Ex Bee won the race 5/2 joint favourite.
Business had gone by the sixth, the Qatar Handicap Stakes. The punters appeared to have lost interest and the bookies thrown in the towel. The winner, 7/2 shot Battered, wasn’t favourite but still no good for most.
The lucky last was the 17 runner Qatar Apprentice Handicap Stakes.The punters did make the most of their final opportunity of the meeting to have it on.They didn’t want 25/1 Storm King which stole the race from a poorly judged ride on runner-up 5/2 jolly Born To Be Alive. At last a decent result,it was a nice way to end the meeting even though it was a losing one.Still Goodwood may be hard to win at but it’s still a lovely meeting to visit, but those bookies paying huge expenses can’t live on glorious scenery alone.
The books were ready for the punters but not the mini hurricane that blew through half an hour before the first