The Red Devils, parachute team not Manchester United, landed on the course ten minutes prior to the opening race of the day. Up to that point business had been modest, the paras didn’t look to be that interested in having a bet, Manchester United players might have been a better option for the betting ring.
BEN BEFORE RACING
1:45 Big Buck’s Celebration Manifesto Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
A rousing chorus of ‘Land Of Hope And Glory’ followed and appeared to spur the punters into action, betting picking up a little. At the off we had the jolly Cyrname in its place as loser in a small book. The office hadn’t reported any lumps either so we eased into the meeting.
2:20 Doom Bar Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
Business stayed light and the hotline from the office was distinctly cold reporting betting on the second heat. Matt Chapman and Brian Gleeson stood in front of the pitch and told those at home about the gamble on Apple’s Shakira but we had a task on our hands trying to squeeze the pips out of the punters. That is apart from the £30,000 – £15,000 We Have A Dream, so now we were rolling.
Needless to say that late bet landed was an unwelcome body blow. On the plus side it looked like things might be hotting up, which was handy with Might Bite opening at a shade of odds-on for the next.
2:50 Betway Bowl Chase (Grade 1)
It wasn’t long before the cry went up down the line ‘Here Evens’ a few firms followed suit including us, it stayed there as long as it took to fill the others in then collective heads popped back down below the evens parapet and 5/6 it was.
Might Bite was not a good result. Two bad results in a row doesn’t instil a bookmaker with confidence. That given it was not ideal that we faced another short one in the shape of Supasundae in the next. The worst was feared with punters holding bookies’ money and chests puffed out. A reversal in fortunes was now required.
Maybe sensing it wasn’t going well Brian Gleeson and the cameras appeared but there was no grilling, meanwhile the even money Supasundae held firm.
3:25 Betway Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1)
Then it is seemed everyone decided at the same that they needed to get it in the book, 11/10, 6/5 and very briefly 5/4 was available to on course punters.
That looked a very bad decision two out but L’Ami Serge under Daryl Jacob came to our rescue, a few quid was got back. Thankful for small mercies the staff that had been looking forward to their meal out but had already sniffed a fish supper could relax again.
ANDREW’S AFTERNOON UPDATE
4:05 Randox Health Foxhunters’ Open Hunters’ Chase (National Course)
Relaxation was a commodity you’d imagine was spread thinly in the weighing room as the amateur jockeys prepared for the Foxhunters.
Betting opened with Grand Vision and Banaslow vying for favouritism at 4/1 and 9/2 respectively.
It’s been written before and it’ll be written again, the next three races would be ones where you fill the hod the best you can then hope the figures and results look after you.
Banaslow was the drifter of the two but proved the fastest horse in the race winning well at 11/2. The weakness was a bonus as despite returning second favourite was a small winner in the book.
4:40 Zut Media Red Rum Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
It was a similar story letting the punters make the book in the penultimate but this time 10/1 winner Bentelimar was a cracking result for the book.
5:15 Goffs Nickel Coin Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
The concluding bumper saw Getaway Katie Mai open at 5/2. Things were ticking along nicely then suddenly off the floor we laid a cash punter £1,000 ew 66/1 chance Kuragina, no panic, no panic!
In normal circumstances Getaway Katie Mai winning, having been backed into 15/8 favourite would have been a disaster. But not today, luckily Kuragina ran as its price – not the bet – suggested so Lofty could stop searching for the cheque book (nobody carries much cash these days) with a furlong to go. Ben? Oh he’d already legged it on his way back to our hotel with a parting shot of ‘Let’s hope it doesn’t win’!
DAY 1 tick
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring