TALES FROM RING

Si­mon Nott spends a cou­ple of days among the bookies at As­cot and New­ton Ab­bot

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Si­mon Nott spends in­ter­est­ing days at As­cot and New­ton Ab­bot

AS­COT 09/09/17

There had been some fun and games in the bet­ting ring on Fri­day and such was the mirth one hap­less char­ac­ter was still get­ting some stick on Satur­day. Reg­u­lar read­ers of this col­umn would have no doubt heard of Jack Bevan and Co (est 1897) and their long-stand­ing right hand man Ian,oth­er­wise known as‘Ivor Big­gun’ on special oc­ca­sions, that is un­til the Fun Po­lice on-course de­cided that the name was rather mis­lead­ing.

Ian was the butt of some rib­bing today, and with good rea­son.Most men that work for book­mak­ers take pride that they can spot a forgery when they are handed one and that they could even do so blind­folded given that the pa­per is of­ten the give­away.Hav­ing said that I have to ad­mit that when I was flog­ging the ini­tial run of my book Skint Mob on course I man­aged to land my­self with a moody score; to make things worse the book was only a ten­ner so the crafty so and so got a ten­ner change as well as a free book.In my de­fence,on that oc­ca­sion even the lady in the bank didn’t spot it as I proudly handed over my lit­er­ary earn­ings, it was the ma­chine they put the money through these days that copped it. The worst part of that tale is, I only sold the books to bookies!

In Ian’s de­fence he didn’t have the ma­chine, but nei­ther did he have any ex­cuse or sym­pa­thy, not only was the moody score he was of­fered and ac­cepted not even the same shade as a real one it had ‘FAKE’ writ­ten in marker pen right across the whole thing.When it was sug­gested that Ian got it as part of his wages the look on boss Paul’s face was ‘Wages?’

Once racing got un­der­way our an­ti­hero was get­ting stuck into the Fes­ti­val of Food andWineWeek­end pun­ters the best he could try­ing to make amends. He should re­ally know that the bet­ting ring is far less for­giv­ing for such un­pro­fes­sion­al­ism. Bet­ting on the opener, a neigh­bour­ing book­maker came up to him for a bet which he called, then looked aghast as two lit­tle more than pho­to­copied scores were lobbed into the hod ac­com­pa­nied by a great deal of laugh­ter.Poor Ian – any­one with any snide notes, don’t bother,he won’t be fall­ing for it again,well at least not when they have‘FAKE’writ­ten across the flip­ping things.

There was pos­si­bly a red race in the com­men­tary box in the open­ing Sodexo Bri­tish EBF Novice Stakes when the caller, who I won’t name, pretty much called the Jamie Spencer rid­den Court Of Jus­tice the win­ner only for Fa­j­jaj to get back up un­der the judge’s nose un­der Josephine Gordon. There must have been some curs­ing around the coun­try as cups were snatched from lips, the run­ner-up had been backed from 9/2 into 2/1 favourite, quite a gam­ble on a Satur­day.The win­ner though only 3/1 was weak on course so not bad for the lay­ers.

I made the mis­take of go­ing back to a still slightly sen­si­tive Bevan joint to sug­gest that their luck had turned, then I spot­ted a two pence piece on the floor and reached down to pick it up and chuck it in with the smash.‘Noooooo,’shouted Paul,a hor­ri­fied look on his face, adding ‘Leave it there, it’s bad luck to pick it up,we haven’t touched it all week­end’.Need­less to say I dropped it rather quickly and saun­tered else­where.

Things didn’t go the way of the bookies in the sec­ond heat, the Lavazza Fil­lies' Novice Stakes.I don’t sup­pose me pick­ing up tup­pence could re­ally have been the rea­son Jamie Spencer made amends of sorts by rid­ing 4/7 favourite Soliloquy to vic­tory in the Lavazza Fil­lies’ Novice Stakes. He only won by half a length but that was enough to put the lay­ers on the back foot, but with six races to go there was still plenty of time for them to make a come­back.

10/1 shot Re­mark­able win­ning the Cu­nard Hand­i­cap beat­ing the 6/1 favourite into sec­ond might look OK but the win­ner was one of the bet­ter fan­cied in the race. It was a sim­i­lar story when 6/1 Ama­bilis made mince­meat of the 11/4 jolly Havre De Paix in the Ritz Club EBF

‘Breed­ers Series’ Fil­lies' Hand­i­cap, close but no cigar,the lay­ers were look­ing for a de­cent re­sult to get them in front es­pe­cially as busi­ness in the last cou­ple of races of an eight race card is no­to­ri­ously poor. They didn’t have to wait long, Duke Of Bronte’s 16/1 suc­cess in the Ap­ple­tiser Stakes (Her­itage Hand­i­cap) was a wel­come win­ning race for the books. Of course, book­mak­ers be­ing book­mak­ers, they bet 9/2 the field so it wasn’t as great a re­sult as it might look.

There was a bit of un­ex­pected ex­cite­ment prior to the Sodexo Bri­tish EBF Novice Stakes though it was me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal rather than equine. The sky turned black then As­cot was shud­der­ing un­der crashes of thun­der and flashes of light­ning. Those flashes were a lit­tle too close for com­fort, so much so that racing was de­layed while the stalls were re­moved for fear of con­duct­ing the next flash. Pun­ters that braved the rain and elec­tric­ity pretty much backed Dream War­rior to the ex­cep­tion of most else,Star Sports re­port­ing tak­ing a sod­den even mon­key on the back row, al­beit the busi­ness end.

The stalls safely away from the equine stars,brave men those stalls han­dlers,the race was started by flag.The cheers went up from the um­brella-clutch­ing bookies told the story, the jolly was beaten. If you lis­tened hard enough you might have heard a royal roar go up from Wind­sor Cas­tle too as the Queen’s 7/1 shot Elec­tor won the race. A few hardly souls stepped out into the rain to see if there was a regal fist in the air in the Royal Box,wrong meet­ing sadly, but oth­er­wise it surely would have been.

Jor­don Sport was sent off the 11/4 favourite in the Chapel Down Hand­i­cap, but it was 6/1 Ice Lord that proved vic­to­ri­ous. Credit must be given to jockey Hol­lie Doyle who de­spite be­ing ham­pered at the start and de­tached early still manged to win go­ing away over the 6f.Still not a great re­sult for the bookies but at least the favourite didn’t win.

Hol­lie was the toast of her back­ers again in the con­clud­ing Su­per­stars Hand­i­cap when she pi­loted 9/2 shot Pet­tochside to vic­tory over the min­i­mum trip. She was third-in so pos­si­bly a small win­ner for the books, sadly the storm would have af­fected the field money a bit but it was the Queen’s horse win­ning the sixth than en­sured most lay­ers would have been go­ing home damp,but in front.

NEW­TON AB­BOT 11/09/17

It was glo­ri­ous down at New­ton Ab­bot, an ideal way to spend a Mon­day. I was down there bright and early as I had the plea­sure of in­ter­view­ing one of the nicest men in racing, com­men­ta­tor Richard Hoiles be­fore racing.It was the sec­ond ex­cel­lent day I’d had at the race­course,the pre­vi­ous week I’d spent the day with Clerk of the Course Ja­son Loose­more see­ing what goes on be­hind the scenes. When you ap­pre­ci­ate that the course is be­ing walked at 5.45am and rails po­si­tioned be­fore a hearty breakfast for an evening meet­ing,it’s not just a job it’s also a labour of love.

The day didn’t start as early or as well for the lay­ers. Coole Cody was backed from 11/8 into 10/11 be­fore trot­ting up un­der

Harry Cob­den in the opener. With only just the six races on the card any­one that got in too deep was go­ing to have to get stuck in to get it back. I made sure not to pick up any coins when check­ing that Ian hadn’t taken any more moody money – he hadn’t.Luck­ily for the books that did their dough in the first the crowd was an ex­cel­lent one. John Hen­wood and Son on the rails seemed happy with the busi­ness but, of course, not the re­sult.

At first glance Jeremy Scott’s Moorlands Jack win­ning the Visit atther­aces.com Hand­i­cap Chase at 6/1 was a fair re­sult but then the sto­ries started to fil­ter through that ev­ery shrewd player on the track was on from odds of around 10/1 down, not so good, but of course get­ting the 7/2 favourite al­ways eases that sort of blow. Brodie Hampson pro­vided the book­mak­ers with the un­ques­tion­able re­sult in theVisit atther­aces.com Hand­i­cap Chase when she part­nered Mighty Leader to a sur­prise 14/1 win in the eight horse race.“She was backed from 16/1,” protested one book­maker – as he counted his win­nings I might add.

The ring got an­other favourite beaten in the Racing Part­ner­ship TRP Con­di­tional Jock­eys' Hand­i­cap Chase when 15/8 into 11/8 Kapri­corne couldn’t jus­tify the sup­port be­hind 3/1 win­ner Abbey­grey. That was vic­tory for the Evan Wil­liams & Mitchell Bastyan com­bi­na­tion,also possi- bly a small win­ner for the lay­ers too.

It was like Ground­hog Day, or rather race in the penul­ti­mate New­ton Ab­bot Race­course On Face­book Sell­ing Hur­dle when the same com­bi­na­tion scored at the same price on Bonobo. Quadriller had been sent off the 8/11 jolly and fin­ished stone last,the bookies al­lowed them­selves a smile. They weren’t so happy af­ter the con­clud­ing SIS Novices' Hand­i­cap Hur­dle when Pengo’s Boy landed a nice lit­tle 10/3 into 5/2 touch. Don’t feel too sorry for the book­mak­ers though, 7/4 favourite Hongkong Ad­ven­ture had been backed from 2/1 so it wasn’t all one way traf­fic.

NEW­TON AB­BOT 22/09/17

Here’s a tale of woe, I was on my way to New­ton Ab­bot for an­other day out at my favourite course when just as I was over­tak­ing out in the over­tak­ing lane my en­gine and car were sud­denly en­gulfed with a plume of black smoke.Luck­ily I was able to make my way safely across to the hard shoul­der without too much ado and sat in the bushes await­ing the AA. It was par­tic­u­larly gut­ting be­cause I’d been tipped two horses, Matt’s Legacy in the Devon­dale Elec­tri­cal Con­di­tional Jock­eys' Hand­i­cap Hur­dle and Azure Fly in the At The Races Sky 415 Hand­i­cap Chase.

I texted my mate Ar­maloft Alex the info and he replied that he had a leg in the Nick Wil­liams (the ge­nius of Ge­orge Nymp­ton) trained Caber­net D’alene in the for­mer race but ‘Don’t think we’ll be much com­pe­ti­tion’.

By the time I was even­tu­ally res­cued and my car di­ag­nosed with a blown head gas­ket at best I was keen to see if ei­ther of the tips had eased my im­pend­ing fi­nan­cial em­bar­rass­ment. The first one fin­ished last while Caber­net D’alene won at 16/1 un­der Lizzie Kelly. Of course I texted Ar­maloft to con­grat­u­late him, and he al­most apolo­get­i­cally replied, ‘To­tally un­ex­pected, Nick said to me ‘I think I’ve brought the wrong horse!’ Let’s hope not. To end on a per­sonal plus note, Azure Fly won backed from 9/4 into 13/8, my mod­est punt may not pay for the car re­pairs but we’re back in the game!

just as I was over­tak­ing my en­gine and car were sud­denly en­gulfed with a plume of black smoke

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.