It’s a strange old time in the betting ring, and no mistake.
Since my last missive, I’ve been out with MT (Racing, the books I work for) probably four or five times, and things, well, they just ain’t what they used to be.
Take the rail at Newmarket, where, as part of the Roy Christie organisation, they have the number 1 pick. That’s the number 1 pick on the July Course, a prime pick. Good business, right? Well, not really. Not the two days we were there in late June.
Admittedly, the England/Scotland game on the Friday night wouldn’t have helped our cause any, nor a dreadful weather forecast (which thankfully, didn’t come to pass) but nevertheless, when you barely scrape three figures for total bets at the end of the night, that’s not good.
We stayed over in Cambridge, hopeful that Saturday would be better (not before watching someone at the “unlimited” breakfast order 10 sausages and 15 bacon – how much processed pork can one man eat, I ask you?) and it was, but not a lot better.
No big bets, no lumps, results not great, and a very mediocre weekend.
And on the other hand, Stratford in the ring.
Again, an England game (this time their final group game) but better weather. You’d not expect a lot for a midweek evening fixture, especially with other distractions for people but surprise surprise, business is decent, with plenty of tenners and scores to make the book, and one punter having around £120 a race on three or four different horses each race. More than workable, and we’d have had a cracking night but for Calum Gilhooley (my nap of the night) getting thrown out by the clerk of the scales.
Sadly, his weight cloth went flying within sight of the finish line, and it was a slam dunk he’d get chucked out.
We went to Stratford again last week and once again, it was very solid business.
Summer is the time to make hay, with the sun bringing the crowds out, and with people being cooped up for the majority of the last twelve months, attractions like racing are doing good business again.
It will be interesting to see, once restrictions are lifted again mid-July, how that is going to change things. I suspect, on some courses, not actually that much but for the bigger tracks, it’ll make a huge difference. Goodwood, for example, must be delighted the announcement has come in the nick of time for the Qatar Festival.
Just need the weather to stay dry, now…
Anyway, back to the last few weeks, and by far the best place to be, despite a slightly comical one-way system around the ring, was Chester. You might recall we went there at the end of May, and business was pretty poor, but the results saved us, so we went there not expecting a lot to have changed.
In terms of numbers, it was slightly better, due to the course changing the layout slightly and moving the punters between the ring books and rails books rather than sticking them in front of the Dee Stand, which was simply too far away for us. However, we unexpectedly bumped into a few lumps on the day, none of which copped.
A monkey each-way on Glamorous Anna in the sprint goes west, and then one bloke comes with a grand on the Dascombe runner in the maiden that follows. That never really looks like winning after being taken on for the lead, and not getting the favoured rail, and it’s 2-0 to us.
Time for a Tunnocks wafer and a cup of tea, things are going that well.
Anything with the word Gabrial in it at Chester is going to get well backed, and the knowledgeable Saturday Chester crowd get stuck into Gabrial The One in the next.
They cop the place part, but sadly he gets going too late for the win, and it’s another small winning race.
“This bloke has a got a bag with him. I bet it’s full of money,” says the boss as a bloke approaches and he does indeed have a money bag around his middle. Imagine our disappointment when all he pulls out is a phone, but that disappointment turns to joy as he does indeed, in one swoop, pull a right wadge out on his second delve into the bag.
“A thousand Speedo Boy,” he asks for, and for 95% of the contest he looks like copping, as Speedo Boy merrily jogs along on the front, controlling the fractions. But Call My Bluff has other ideas, and after getting level, outbattles him for a neck victory.
Things are going our way, and there are now promises of ice-creams on the way home.
And that’s without the lively last.
We take a £400 win and £300 each-way Recon Mission, both of which stay in the satchel, 66 fifties each-way Moonraker, a £300 win Dark Shot and a couple of £200 bets Sir Maximillian.
Where are all these punters coming from?
Remarkably, Spoof, who is almost unbacked with us despite only being a 7-2 poke, gets up and caps off a monumental day.
Business good and results unbelievable.
It’s only the start of the summer. It can’t last, can it?