AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

#BettingPeople: Behind The Scenes 2022, part 1 with Simon Nott

2022 has been another excellent year for my personal interviews which make up the bulk of the team effort that is #BettingPeople, they all have a little tale to tell. Here’s my behind-the-scenes romp through the 35 interviews that I conducted.

First up, Gearoid Norris, aka ‘Icy’ on twitter who made the trip to the Mayfair office from Ireland to take part in the first interview of the year. He’ll hate me for saying it, but what a nice chap. Interview conducted, we walked across Hyde Park to the Swan Pub and sat down for a couple of pints. My days of daytime drinking are pretty much consigned to the Derby Awards so I called on the Star Sports tag drinking team of Will Kedjanyi to take up the slack as I headed back to Devon, unknown to me at the time a winner tipped by the great man, Icy that is, not the other one.

#BettingPeople: GEAROID NORRIS

Neil Phillips, the wine tipster arranged to meet at Cheltenham Racecourse enabled by the ever-helpful Meg who allowed us to use the stunning Panoramic Restaurant. Our talk on wine and racing veering into punk rock with the racecourse the backdrop which made for an eclectic and fun interview, I even left with a nice bottle of bubbly. Proper job, thanks Neil.

#BettingPeople: NEIL PHILLIPS

My next trip to a secret location in London was to meet betting industry betting expert Matt Trenhaile who left me both in awe of his knowledge and ruing how little I know about anything. He said he’d like me to show him around the betting ring one day, I hope he calls me up.


I’ve known Martin ‘Lofty’ Chapman’ for years but it was excellent to talk to him in his own place in Oxfordshire and listen to his rich history in the game. We did drive past a rather nice eatery that he and his wife use, sadly it was closed. Oh well.


Next up and I talked to journalist and author Neil Clark in about his newest book sat at the racecourse book stall while its owner ‘Bad Baronet’ Rupert Mackeson listened on. Neil talked with a passion about the Champion Jump Jockeys since the War which he’s written about so eloquently in his book.

#BettingPeople Special Interview NEIL CLARK

It’s always a pleasure to visit Newmarket, not least as it always results in a night out with ‘The Punter’ Martin Raymond. It was double the fun as my interviewee was bloodstock agent Jamie Piggott who talked enthusiastically about his life and current career. Son of the late great Lester, Jamie joined us afterwards for a few pints and a curry. A great night was had by all, slightly regretted when I got up to catch the early train back to the Shire.

#BettingPeople: JAMIE PIGGOTT

Daryl Carter has been making waves with his tipping in his GG column and beyond, I talked to him at his home in Portsmouth and got to know the man behind the columns which was nice.

#BettingPeople: DARYL CARTER

I was back to Cheltenham shortly after, this time to talk to Racing Post rising star James Stevens who has opinions and doesn’t mind sharing them which always makes for a good interview as indeed this one was.

#BettingPeople: JAMES STEVENS

I was nervous as hell getting off the plane in Gibraltar, why? Because I was being met by none other than Victor Chandler and his wife Caroline. They whisked me straight to a very nice restaurant where I was very conscious I was sitting opposite VC himself. I have to admit I was too nervous I’d spill my food, spill my wine or worst still, say something stupid to really enjoy it. That despite them doing their best to put me at ease. I stayed as a guest at Victor’s ranch where we chatted and shared a bottle of red and I was made to feel really at ease. We did the interview the next morning. It was a memorable trip and a real honour.


That afternoon Victor dropped me back to Gib where I met the wonderful fella that is Charlie McCann and interviewed him in a bar as the rain poured outside. The pouring continued in the bar afterwards where we were joined by his wife and some luminaries of the Rock’s betting industry. I was looking forward to some sunshine, but it rained orange rain for the three days I was there but didn’t dampen my enjoyment.

#BettingPeople: CHARLIE McCANN

Matt Gibson was next, another really clever and likeable chap not to mention ex-squaddie and prison warder, this one was at the Mayfair shop but we didn’t go to the pub after. Matt runs courses to teach people how to win, has great success and is a very likeable chap.

#BettingPeople: MATT GIBSON

I pointed my car to Bristol for the next interview, with none other than racecourse bookie, owner and punter Andy Smith. Andy was excellent and gave a fun and really honest interview which went down very well.

#BettingPeople: ANDY SMITH

It was the other side of the fence that I leapt next. This time at a secret location to meet possibly one of the most successful professional punters that this country has ever seen, Patrick Veitch. It had taken a while for the time to be right for Patrick so was very pleased when he agreed to do it. This was another that I was very nervous about, but Patrick was an absolute gentleman whose company I very much enjoyed.

#BettingPeople: PATRICK VEITCH

Jamie Hart’s office in London’s theatreland was the next venue where we talked about the role of the resurgent Tote in racing, Jamie was a gent to chat to and ducked nothing, despite me having a little pop about lookalike bookie joints.

#BettingPeople: JAMIE HART

Lydia Hislop was my next interviewee, I’d been trying to get her to agree to record one for a while, when she agreed, I was more nervous than Victor and Patrick combined. I’d confessed as much to a mutual friend beforehand, my fear was that my porous knowledge of the finer points of racing would be exposed when talking to such a knowledgeable lady. I needn’t have worried, my interviewee cycled to the Mayfair office and was an absolute pleasure to talk to. She told me afterwards that our mutual mate had marked her card I was nervous, I think she took it easy on me.

#BettingPeople: LYDIA HISLOP

I was back to Mayfair shortly afterwards to speak to professional punter Luke Paton who gave an excellent interview on the finer points of professional punting, especially golf. He was another of a series of really likeable clever punters who paid a visit to Star Sports Mayfair, luckily to talk to me and not tuck it up.

#BettingPeople: LUKE PATON

I was up Ascot way to talk to pro-tipster Simon Holden next, we did the interview in his garden-based office. It was a fun one too, we were going for a pub lunch then his poor wife slipped and hurt her ankle so of course plans were abandoned. I’m still looking forward to the lunch but I’m pleased to report his wife made a full recovery.

#BettingPeople: SIMON HOLDEN

The staff at Star Sports Mayfair were thinking about reserving a seat for me when yet another of my interviews was recorded there. This time it was Canadian based Pete Ling of the Smart Betting Club who explained to us how it is possible to win backing tipster selections, you just have to be selective. He returned the offer getting me on his podcast just before Christmas.

#BettingPeople: PETER LING

My interview with bookmaker James Lovell of Welsh firm DragonBet was fittingly conducted at Chepstow racecourse, James was a real gentleman and without a doubt a man going places.

#BettingPeople: JAMES LOVELL

Before the interview, yes once again in the shadow of the Dorchester, I had never met Tom Brownlee and had no idea what he looked like. I wasn’t expecting the flamboyant but casually dressed young man that bounced in to Star Sports Mayfair. Any bookie underestimating Tom by his attire would soon learn the error of their ways, he’s one sharp man. His interview was fascinating to conduct and proved to be a big hit.

#BettingPeople: TOM BROWNLEE

It was back to the racecourse, my favourite environment when I talked to veteran bookmaker Chris Hudson. This was at York, where I’d never been before. We sat in an empty bar to start, it rapidly filled as we spoke but just about managed talk louder than the punters.

#BettingPeople: CHRIS HUDSON

I took the Eurostar to Belgium to chat to another racecourse and off-course bookie Dieter Vanlerberghe. I took in a day at Ostend Racecourse as a bonus, joined by cameraman Kellvin and Professional Punter Andrew Lowrie. We enjoyed an excellent couple days despite our trip home going less well. Our train from Ostend to the Eurostar broke down making us a late for our connection and the refusal of Border Control staff to let us on the train, despite it being 40 minutes on the platform before it left. That left us grumpy and eight hours to explore Brussels and resist turning it into a pub crawl.


To be continued…
Simon Nott



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