Aintree Festival: ON COURSE
DAY 3 – Saturday 8 April
SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on day three of the Aintree Festival with a race by race analysis of the highs and lows of the day including The Grand National.
GRAND NATIONAL DAY: WHAT THE RING SAYS
BEN’S THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
PAUL GOLD OF PICKWICK
TONY FROM DAN DALY
RICH OF RICH RACING
DEBS OF DAVE SPICE
BARRY ‘THE TASH’ OF PINNO
DIANE FROM GW SPORTS
1:45 Gaskells Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
It was totally glorious weather as betting got underway in the opener. More like Royal Ascot than Aintree! Sadly betting was very light. We still had three four-figure losers in the book, two of them for more than we took. Luckily the 11/1 winner Fountain’s Windfall wasn’t one of them, and we got away with it.
2:25 Betway Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Business was steady but once again modest in the Betway Mersey. We had 3/1 Finian’s Oscar and outsider Cultivator losing us. The favourite won cosily which cost us pretty much what we got on the first. Back to square one.
We were giving away Star Sports baseball hats to our punters. A young lady came to the pitch holding some smart shoes and asked ‘If we did flip flops too?’ Now there’s a thought for Royal Ascot.
3:00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
The caps were more popular with the punters than Charbel who was almost impossible to lay despite chasing it out to half-arm 6/4. We had it winning in the course book at the off. The office laid £10,000 the jolly to even things up though which was just as well. 4/1 winner San Benedeto was a small cash loser which was frustrating for the on-course team.
3:40 Betway Handicap Chase (Listed)
The Betway came alive, Potters Legend was backed from 8/1 into 9/2 with us, mostly each-way. One off course firm came in for I Just Know at 8/1 and those two were our worst, 10/1 winner Sizing Codelco was an excellent result despite us being 12/1 at the off but Potters Legend scraping into 4th was a nasty fly in the win money ointment.
4:20 Ryanair Stayers Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1)
Betting was steady but small again on-course but the office laid a £50,000 – £20,000 Yanworth and £16,000 – £2,000 each way Ballyoptic.
Yanworth winning was a disaster but with the Grand National to come we had plenty of chance to get out and make it a winning day. The trouble was the punters were either very ‘refreshed’ by 5pm or potless. Pretty much everyone wanted £2.50 each way on while they spilt their champagne into their handbags looking for their lost lists. We laid some hedge money on some rags which meant a ‘result’ for the rest of the ring could cost us plenty.
5:15 Randox Health Grand National (Grade 3 Handicap Chase)
On the whole business on the National was very disappointing, maybe the sun went against us in the end.
In hindsight maybe it didn’t. You’d think that everyone knows an ‘Arthur’ but luckily not the people that bet with us. The 14/1 winner One For Arthur was a £700 winner in the book even taking away the bad places. It’s fair to say we got away with it in the big one.
6:15 Pinsent Masons Handicap Hurdle (Conditional Jockeys And Amateur Riders)
The punters did muster up the energy to get stuck into the last. We had a couple of losers at the off with So Celebre the worst in the book for a couple of grand.
The winner Chesterfield was a taker in the book. No damage done and a satisfactory end to an excellent three days. What wasn’t was the drunk bloke and his mates insisting he’d lost a winning ticket.
Next stop Epsom for the Oaks and Derby !!
RACING BLOGGER DESCENDS ON THE STAR PITCH
KYLE’S THOUGHTS AFETR RACING
DAY 2 – Friday 7 April
SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on day two of the Aintree Festival with a race by race analysis of the highs and lows of the day.
BEN’S THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
JOHN FROM JOHN WHITE
LYNN FROM CORAL
1:40 Alder Hey Children’s Charity Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
The opening race wasn’t ideal at around 8/1 the field. Business was steady but small. Even less ideal was that the winner Rather Be at 10/1 was worst in the book. The office called in the morning, they’d laid a £40,000 – £20,000 River Wylde in the next, so no time for wound licking off to work we went.
2:20 Crabbie’s Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Betting got going very quickly in the Crabbies. The office had laid a £40,000 – £20,000 River Wylde in the morning. Ben started off by getting stuck into Mount Mews at 9/4 and laid a bet of £5,000 cash which we had losing five figures. There had been money for The Unit which looked our chance, then as the office called, they laid that one £2,500 each way at 9/1. We needed a real result or we’d be on the serious back foot…. and we got it with 16/1 Pingshou.
2:50 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
After a brisk start the money dried up in the Mildmay with Might Bite very hard to lay off the floor. We managed to lay a £400 – £600 in the hole to make the jolly a loser in what was a poor betting heat after starting so promisingly. We considered losing a monkey when Might Bite won the race a bit of a get out of jail free result. It could have been a whole lot worse. It was just fortunate that the cash punters generally didn’t want to be on.
3:25 JLT Melling Chase (Grade 1)
The JLT Melling was a whole lot more competitive and by this time the sun was beating down. Betting 7/2 the field the object was the just fill the hod. Business was steady but you couldn’t say the joint was rocking. The ladies appeared to prefer a retreat to their champagne buckets rather than bother Ben and Kyle with bets, how could they resist? We had three losers at the off, Fox Norton the worst. The writing was on the wall a long way out which meant a long payout queue.
4:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (National Course)
The Topham captured the punters’ imagination despite being 8/1 the field. The bets were a steady flow of modest money. The office laid Gowanauthat £40,000 -£1,000 eachway and £33,000 -£1000 each way Imjoeking. Nobody backed 50/1 winner Ultragold , a skinner in the book. Aye Aye! We’ll be hoping for a turn-up like that in the Grand National tomorrow.
4:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
The office had laid a £50,000 to £20,000 The World’s End this morning in the Doom Bar Sefton. It was virtually friendless for a while drifting out to 7/2 but firmed up again near the off. The office called to say they’d laid £2,000 each way West Approach, their book was more interesting than ours. The World’s End was a small winner for us on course but a disaster back in the office.
5:15 Weatherbys Private Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The lucky last looked a heat that night take off and so it proved with the punters keen to get involved. We let them come at us and it turned out to be the busiest betting race of the day. Lalor winning at 33/1 was a dream result for us. A virtual skinner in the book so hardly anyone to pay. Bring on the Grand National – this time tomorrow!
KYLE’S THOUGHTS AFTER RACING
DAY 1 – Thursday 6 April
BEN’S THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
1:45 Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
The punters didn’t really steam into in for the first at our pitch on the rails as they started to find their feet. We did lay a £3,000 accumulator on the first five jollies in the office so 5/1 winner Flying Angel was a very decent start for us.
2:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
We bet without the favourite, there didn’t seem to be much strength in depth – people prepared to bet Defi Du Seuil at long odds-on. Divin Bere second was a winner in the book.
Not laying a massive lump on Defi Du Seuil then watching it win for the book was like dodging a bullet. With that in mind, it was time to get to work getting Cue Card and Empire Of Dirt in the book for the Betway Bowl. Ben and Kyle were ready.
2:50 Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)
Empire Of Dirt was weak in the market so Ben chased it all the way out to 7/2. Liabilities were very modest compared to Cheltenham but still four thick figures. What a fantastic race Lizzie Kelly winning on Tea For Two for Nick and Jane Williams though only a modest winner in the book. Lizzie Kelly was very popular with the punters. Tremendous roar from the bookies ‘Come On Lizzie’! Amazing scenes.
3:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
We bet on three markets in the Betway Aintree Hurdle, straight, without and forecast. It was hard to lay Buveur D’Air, so much so he was a small winner in the book. We dodged another winner when the 4/9 shot hosed in. It doesn’t bear thinking about what we’d have been losing if our monster Cheltenham backer was having a pop.
We dodged another ‘potential bad loser’
4:05 Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (National Course)
Ben did his level best to get On The Fringe in the book in the Foxhunters’. One of the first on the rails to go 7/4 he was desperately trying to spot a plastic bag carrying huntsman to have it on. Stakes were steady but modest, an enthusiastic but not really punting crowd. Then the phone went office laid £2,000 each way Poole Master at big prices to make things interesting. At the off the jolly is a taker in the book, not for want of trying. We’ve had a handful of rags losing four figures too. It was in the lap of the Gambling Gods.
They weren’t smiling on us, the winner Dineur was the worst in the book for over £3,000. Not being able to get the favourite cost us dearly this time.
The Racing Blogger (TWITTER @racingblogger) came to visit the pitch after the race. Did he back the favourite? Not with Star Sports he didn’t – come on Blogger open an account!
4:40 Betway Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
The Betway Red Rum was too hard for the punters, bets were modest from even the bravest backers. At the off we had three losing four figures then the 8/1 winner Double W’s took the book which was very frustrating.
5:15 Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The Bumper failed to ignite the punters, as they set off we had seven losers the worst for over £5000. Anyone who watched the Aintree Preview feed last night would have been on the winner Dame Rose, 25/1 last night, returned 14/1 we ducked it! Aye Aye. See you all tomorrow.
KYLE’S THOUGHTS AFTER RACING