SIMON NOTT: Reports from the Star Sports pitches at Glorious Goodwood on day five. A game of two halves so far – how would the final day swing things?
Glorious Goodwood Day 5
THOUGHTS BEFORE RACING
The day started with glorious sunshine which lulled pretty much everyone into a false sense of meteorological security. The books were ready for the punters but not the mini hurricane that blew through half an hour before the first. At least two bookmaker’s umbrellas came second to the weather. Lofty was a prime example of shutting stable doors after horses have bolted! Still struggling with his protection as the sun burst through.
AND THEY’RE OFF…
The punters didn’t get it easy either, the opening Qatar Steward’s Sprint Handicap Stakes looked fiendishly hard hence the very open betting.
That given, you could not blame Ben for getting to work laying the favourite Scorching Heat. The firm took plenty at 5/1 before having to clip the colt into 9/2 before watching it bolt up – adding another four-figure loss to yesterday’s five-figure disaster.
The Qatar Summer Handicap Stakes was a similar heat so we took the same approach but business was slower. That’s unusual because after a favourite has won the punters often open their shoulders. Today’s appeared cautious, some to the extent of trying to back non-runners.
At the off we had five losers, the 11/1 winner Soldier In Action was the least of them. It was just unlucky the way the money came in other shorter-priced horses got us plenty, just bad luck but time was running out for us to make turn the week from Badwood to Goodwood.
In contrast to the first two races only five went to post for the Qatar Gordon Stakes, we expected the big punters to come out of the bars but minutes to go the biggest bet we’d laid was £200 at 6/4 Crystal Ocean but then steady money came in for Mount Moriah 4/1 into 7/2 so we had two losers for four figures each, those two. Needless to say Crystal Ocean winning was a disaster.
The Qatar Stewards Cup was so manic on the joint your scribe was drafted in to help shovel the money into the hods.
Lancelot Du Lac winning at 25/1 was just the sort of result we were looking for it was an excellent result despite despite Frankie Dettori on board.
The Qatar EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes was quiet by comparison but at least we could get to work quickly with fewer punters to pay. We’d got enough on the last winner for that flickering glimmer of a winning week to hang in there.
But it was waning, you have to take it to win it but turnover was pitiful but at least the massive black cloud that had been threatening the betting ring gave it the swerve.
Just when we were getting a little complacent a punter came in for a bottle (£200) each-way Capital Flight at 18/1 which gave the book a lopsided look in what had been the poorest betting heat of the day so far.
There was a hairy moment when the favourite looked reluctant to go into the stalls while Rogue was the best-backed horse in the race 7/1 into 9/2 but not with us. The latter had been tipped up in the morning by a bookmaker to anyone would listen. If anyone did they did their money but so did we when Dee Ex Bee won the race 5/2 joint favourite beating the other joint favourite home, so we had little hope. Luckily the bets for the other horses meant it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
Business had gone by the sixth, the Qatar Handicap Stakes. The punters appeared to have lost interest and the bookies thrown in the towel, we at least were beyond recall especially when the winner 7/2 shot Battered wasn’t even the favourite but was the worst in the book. Ben left quietly stage left vowing to be back next year to beat the Goodwood hoodoo while we remained to try and salvage some crumbs.
The lucky last was the 17 runner Qatar Apprentice Handicap Stakes, hardly ideal for either punting or bookie party to leave Goodwood on a winning note.
To be fair the punters did make the most of their final punting opportunity of the meeting. They came into us with steady bets but nothing lumpy but we did have a couple of bad losers in the book as I often say in these blogs the punters dictated our book.
They didn’t want 25/1 Storm King which stole the race from a poorly judged ride on runner-up gambled on 5/2 jolly Born To Be Alive. At last a decent result, it was a nice way to end the meeting even though it was a losing one. Tuesday seems a long time ago, we’ll back back next year, still smiling. Thanks for reading and don’t forget ‘Bet Star!’
Simon Nott is author of Skint Mob!: Tales from the Betting Ring