Simon Nott was at Sandown on Wednesday evening and brings us his latest Tales from the Betting Ring in what was a tough one for the bookies.
The heatwave continued at Sandown blessed with a glorious evening for racing. There were six races on the card followed by a performance by Wet Wet Wet. The bookies are still not convinced that music evenings do any good for their business. It’s hard to tell if the extra amount of people at the course make up for the regular punters apparently put off by the higher cost of entry due to the extra fee to cover the non-racing entertainment. ‘Come and see me after the fifth’ was Brian from BG Racing’s offer.
Given the 6.05 start of the race it was hardly surprising that the crowd seemed a bit thin early on. ‘Nip round and open the gates’ shouted a seemingly quite down-beat Geoff Banks. As he spoke the train was delivering more racegoers who could be seen snaking across the course. Some novices were already getting into the spirit of things though. ‘What’s your minimum bet?’ asked one lady punter. That was ominous for the evening. Ian standing on the rail for the Martyn Of Leicester firm told her he’d take a quid each-way if she had the right money. Happy with that she called in her bet then handed over a score. Change was given with a smile of gritted teeth.
My old boss Jack Lynn used to call that ‘the full treatment’.
The ring may well not have been awash with high-staking punters but they did get a result. 14/1 Hallingham got the layers off to a good start. What a start it could have been. My oft-mentioned workmate, a connection with the in-form Johnny Portman yard was with us this evening. All eyes turned to him, he hadn’t mentioned that the beast was fancied, which it surely was having won by over two lengths. ‘Oh I didn’t bother talking to him, I’ll go and see him now’ was the word from surely the worst stable mole in the world ever.
The ring got a result in the second too, well sort of, it was a weird betting heat. Early on there had been a few bob about for Alketios including a few grand bets at around the 6/4 mark. Despite the money the jolly ended up at 15/8. Ogbourne Downs had been backed from 8/1 into 5/1 and got home by a short-head from Jack Of Diamonds who had been 7/1 before hardening at 11/2. The ominous drift of the favourite was prophetic trailing in last.
The bookies knew their fate a long way out in the next. ‘I’ve laid a monkey the winner’ was Martyn’s verdict two out. He should bet in running because he was right, 11/8 market-leader Darshini won as it liked. Provenance won the next, the 11/4 second-in. It had taken a walk in the market 9/4 out to 3/1 before a late flurry of cash saw it contract again. That may or may not have been down to the commentator mentioning that Glynn Jones was a stand-out price, needless to say it wasn’t there for long. Mention must go that the winner got up on the line from Mezel foiling a mini-punt from 16/1 into 12/1 though I’m sure the ring would have settled for that.
Things were starting to look a bit shaky for the bookies again. Paddy Campbell wasn’t too happy with the business down at the stage end. The bets were all a bit small for the way he likes to play. My quip that at least he’d get a good view of the band didn’t appear to go down well. Some times it’s easy to forget that people’s livelihoods are at stake at these meetings.
The next market leader got beaten, though only by the second favourite, so it was Meetings Man from Gambol. As promised Brian from BG Racing gave me the low-down. ‘I have taken a total of 88 bets, and fielded £1400, mind you, a monkey of that was a back-bet from another bookie’
Sadly I imagine his night got worse when 7/4f Perfect Muse won the last. That was probably the final nail in the financial coffin for most of the ring. It’s only half time however, all back tomorrow for another crack.
(C) Simon Nott
For more on Simon Nott’s Tales From The Betting Ring – visit his blog