SIMON NOTT: Reports from the Star Sports pitches at Glorious Goodwood on day one. It was a day for Panamas, Pimms and a few Peculiar winners!
Glorious Goodwood Day 1
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he weather was kind for the start of the opening day of Glorious Goodwood. The usual friendly bookie banter bubbling about the ring, as it always does at big meetings, hope springing eternal. There are always a lot of ‘old’ faces that come out of retirement to populate multiple pitches. Star Sports work two pitches for the week. Kyle in Tatts with Lofty and Ben on the Rail with Michelle. Tuesday is traditionally the quietest day with the first race quietest of them all.
Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Stakes
Ben was pleasantly surprised at the business in the opening race, Kyle was less complimentary. Both pitches fielded enough to make the two market leaders bad losers in the race. The office reported UAE Prince a loser for over £30k. We needed a result badly to kick the week off nicely. We got one, in 12/1 winner Dark Red, but then ‘Bing Bong’ Stewards’ Enquiry. The runner-up Fabricate was still a good winner should it get the race, and that looked likely judging by the Exchange betting. Ex-point to point steward Armaloft Alex feared the worst for the winner. The worst thing was business on the next was being affected. And still we waited.
Armaloft knew! The Queen’s 20/1 Fabricate got the race in the enquiry at around 2.10pm which left 15 minutes to pay out and bet on the next.
Qatar Vintage Stakes
Business was brisk once betting got underway proper with minutes to go. The ring was solid 7/4 Expert Eye and a punter came in and asked for a grand at 2/1, there’s no harm in asking but he didn’t get accommodated. Office called to say they’d laid Seahenge lumpy each way.
Expert Eye hosed in but wasn’t backed heavily with us, Seahenge out of the frame made the race a good winner for the firm.
Qatar Lennox Stakes
Betting was steady but small but we did lay a £5,000 – £800 (that’s 6/1 with fractions) Dream Castle. The news from the office was £14,000 each way Spirit Of Valor laid at 7/1. The sun was beating down on Ben who was regretting retracting the roof of his convertible en route thus waving goodbye to his brand new panama.
Don’t start a Crowdfunder for a replacement just yet. He could afford to purchase a share in a small millinery after Breton Rock sprang a 50/1 shock to skin most books.
Qatar Goodwood Cup Stakes
The books were buoyant after two tremendous results so possibly more bullish in getting Big Orange into their books than they might have been. Despite being forecast to go off evens, 11/8 was hawking shortly after betting opened. There was no expected stampede though, in fact a gentle breeze caresses through the rails into the ring, just rustling the readies already in the hods but with little sign of any lumps for the jolly adding to them.
As they started loading the drift had reached 7/4 with some books but they were soon trimmed. The office called so say they’d laid £14,000 each way US Army Ranger at 9/1. There was also money for Stradivarius on the off, they laid a £8,000 – £1,000 on the Tatts pitch proving they weren’t fiddling (editor: yes, I saw what you did here 🙁. We did take a £1,200 bet at 13/8 the jolly in the hole, but that was the biggest.
Kyle on the Tatts pitch may not have been fiddling but was playing the smallest violin in the world after Stradivarius won the race. It turns out that Star’s PR guru Luke Tarr had given the winner on his preview interview on BBC Radio Sussex. Let’s hope the £1,000 punter hadn’t heard and backed it because of him!
Who says you should never take a tip from a bookie? Luke on BBC Radio Sussex this morning:
But of course US Army Ranger not being sighted was a saving grace for the firm overall. So still bouncing into the next.
Irish Thoroughbred Marketing EBF Maiden Stakes
There was strange betting, firstly Algam was all the rage then bounced near the off. Tribal Quest had been weak but then shortened after Kyle’s pitch laid a £4,000 – £2,000 we just took a monkey out of him at that price.
Well what can you say?
Aye Aye! That’s what when 100/1 shot Thechildren’strust won the race to virtual silence. There were shouts of ‘Pay Pay’ in some quarters which meant they’d enjoyed a skinner. It was only a matter of time before someone uttered the words ‘we could do with these results on Saturday’ though!
Geoff Banks was in high spirits wandering the rail assumedly also having enjoyed a skinner. He said a punter had asked if the previous result had been an upset ‘No, it didn’t upset me’ he chortled in his best Scottish brogue. It’s too early to be counting it after just five races into the five days. Ben was soon back on the stool getting to work on the penultimate.
New & Lingwood Handicap Stakes
As often happens when there’s a shock result, the rags were all the rage in the race where we bet 4/1 the field for most of it. Stakes were generally small but the book wasn’t pretty with a good half dozen horses sticking out badly red. The punters had been having a job picking the winners all afternoon so the strategy to keep letting them make the decisions seemed a prudent one.
They might have backed a lot of rags but they didn’t find the winner El Astronaute, the double carpet 33/1 winner, at least not with us. The punters looked crestfallen and it was evens each of two if many would drag themselves back to the ring for a final crack at us in the last.
Smarter Bets With Matchbook Betting Exchange Fillies’ Handicap Stakes
Walking around the ring prior to the last there were some tales of woe from books who’d laid some of the big priced winners. Some good friends of mine had run into an £8,000-£200 the last winner. A bit less surprisingly one firm that went 200/1 Thechildren’strust were obliged to a few quid that added up.
As expected the last was a tepid affair betting-wise another 4/1 the field affair. You could hardly blame the punters for treading cautiously and bookmakers wanting to snap the elastic bands around the winnings.
There were a couple of rouf £400 bets on late on Ghadaayer which ensured she went off our worst. We got her beaten but by Shenanigans – also small loser. But we weren’t complaining it had been a good day on the rails and in the office – Kyle in Tatts however not so good. That aside, generally it’s been a good start to Goodwood but with a long way to go there’s no crowing yet from this firm. See you all tomorrow, let’s hope the weather forecast is wrong and Noah can have a lie-in!
Simon Nott is author of Skint Mob!: Tales from the Betting Ring