SIMON NOTT Tales from the Cheltenham betting ring

first_imgSimon Nott is author of Skint Mob!: Tales from the Betting RingCLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS Cheltenham November Meeting | Friday[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat a glorious day to be in the betting ring. Star Sports bet in the number three pitch in the front row of Tattersalls and had a (not so) secret weapon up their sleeves to get the punters in. Marcella McCoy had been drafted into the team. She’s a successful racecourse Bookmaker in her own right in Ireland but this was the first time she’d bet at Cheltenham.The opening Markel Insurance Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase certainly eased her in. Betting at around 5/1 the field there was unlikely to be a monster bet and there wasn’t but we did manage to lay a £10,000 – £100 each-way Angus Milan early on.The field money wasn’t massive but we kept most of it when David Pipe’s What A Moment scored at 11/1. The punters left us out when they could have filled us in so very happy with that resultThe Fairlight Books Novices’ Handicap Hurdle was another tricky looking heat and one you’d excuse the punters for standing back from.They certainly didn’t stand back from backing the favourite Magic Dancer which was cut from 4/1 into 7/2 then into 10/3 at the off. There was still 7/2 to be had though if you looked around.As they set off we had two losers in the book, Magic Dancer and Counter Shy both for four chunky figures. The result, the jolly first the rest nowhere ensured we were already on the back foot on the day.Despite only nine going to post for the BetVictor Handicap Steeple Chase it was another competitive betting race with Exitas hovering around 3/1 at the top of the market. There was some lighthearted banter on the joint when ITV Racing’s Matt Chapman came to ask Ben for fashion advice, at least I think it was the topic, I was too busy to earwig!Then the punting got going… Kapstadt deposed Exitas briefly as favourite when money came in including a £1,500 bet with us at 7/2 but at the off Exitas had won that particular battle going off at a carpet 3/1. Where it really mattered though, in the race, neither of the market leaders were a match for 13/2 winner Doitforthevillage, who also did it for the betting village. Aye Aye.In our video interview (above) prior to racing John McCririck declared to anyone that watched that Finian’s Oscar ‘would not win’. At first it was hard to get the jolly in the book, then we laid an even grand. The trouble was a punter that had bet £40 just before took the £1,000 ticket and disappeared into the crowd. The Betting Ring Manager was informed and betting continued. Just as the starter was about to let them go a ‘face’ was spotted heading for the pitch. Ben braced himself for a monster bet on the jolly then the man threw a curveball and asked for £100,000 – £25,000 Movewiththetimes. He was accommodated of course.Jumping the last it looked like the firm were about to kiss £100k goodbye. Then it happened, the curse of McCririck’s wisdom worked its magic, Finian’s Oscar found turbo boost and shot clear to win going away at 10/11. Then we just waited for the punter with the £1,000 ticket to come up and say he’d been given the wrong bet and claim £80. No of course he didn’t, he tried to claim to £2000. Yes we’re proud to be the Gentleman’s Bookmaker but it doesn’t mean that everyone that bets with us is one. He walked away with £80, had he been honest it would have been £100!There was very little of interest from the punters in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase. Suddenly there was a great deal of interest when a punter had £12,500 on Auvergnat at 2/1 just as the starter’s flag was dropping.The 14/1 winner Kingswell Theatre was a cracking result for all the betting ring but had we not laid the last bet it would have been meagre pickings. But we did, so it was a cracking result.The concluding Ballymore Novices Hurdle set to go off at 3.35pm was an early bath after the opening day.The one the punters wanted to be on to pay for their post-racing pint and expenses was Calett Mad – backed from a morning 9/2 into an at the off 15/8 with us, for a four figure bad result. The jolly was beaten at the turn for home, we were able to enjoy what was a cracking finish with 9/2 winner On The Blindside doing nicely to end a winning day.last_img

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