AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT BETTING BLOG: Aintree Grand National Saturday

The first time I attended the Grand National was 1996 with Dave Phillips, he bet on the Embankment, he was told it was a bit hairy out there so asked if I knew a hard case that liked racing who’d come and work the bag. I did, he came with us and brought reinforcements, a bat! Luckily neither he nor his ‘mate’ were needed to spring into action. There were no hard cases needed today, but Lofty is a big lad, and best of all, it wasn’t raining.

I had a chat with Ray Mulvaney before racing. He was a top man to Inlike and I when Star first bet at the Curragh, a top man. He was asking after Ben, who so far and an hour before the first hadn’t been sighted. The team, Hannah, Lofty and Hannah had been tapping away for some time, doing their best to make a betting heat of the opener.

1:45 – EFT Systems Maghull Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m

Ben appeared with four minutes to go and jumped straight onto the joint. Just before racing blog reader and racecourse visitor of the highest order Lee came up to say hello. You never know where’s he’s going to turn up, a proper enthusiastic racing fan.

The firm bet the distance, forecast and straight betting but with 1/4 favourite Jonbon heading a four runner field there was very little of interest. Jonbon won as expected but the official 43 lengths distance was more than it looked like being as Calico was giving forlorn but persistent chase when coming down at the last. All markets combined lost a monkey over the 2/11 (off course at least) winner.

2:25 – Village Hotels Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m ½f

Next up and a hard handicap for punters to get stuck into. The crowd, huge, colourful and jovial were keen to get their cash out, business was brisk and mostly modest with plenty of ladies making their way to the books to bet. Ben was in enthusiastic mode which meant shouting price change after price change to a hotter by the bet under the collar Lofty. Just like when a kettle boils or a pressure cooker whistles, Lofty has a ‘that’s enough’ sound, in his case it’s ‘Tracker on’ and equilibrium was regained.

The only bet of note in a maelstrom of small bets was a £5500 – £1000 each-way West Balboa (that’s 100 – 18 with the fractions, always ask for them). The firm book will relate that West Balboa bolted in and returned 9/2, what it won’t tell you is that Star Sports lost £8000 on the race.

3:00 – Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

A novice hurdle not a handicap next but not much easier to solve, at least not on paper. The sun was out, the clobber coming off and the punters were piling in. One backer appeared to think he knew, but what do we know, at least to most people a spin up of £3375 from his winnings on Hermes Allen at 10/3 is a fair bet, certainly a decent one to lay. Ben and Lofty were working in harmony now it was busy, no time for any chit chat when your head is down filling the hod. At the off the bogie, no prizes guessing which one that was, a loser for just over £10,000.

The punter had a good run for his money but now it’s Ben’s not his. Hermes Allen was there about until Davy Russell kicked on 5/1 chance Irish Point over the last putting the race to bed. The book copped £2500 on a result which wouldn’t have been much of a winner for every bookmaker.

Between races there was a one minute clap in remembrance of the Hillsborough disaster and very well observed.

3:35 – JRL Group Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m ½f

Next up and another competitive race, just two horses attracted bets of note, they were £8000 – £2000 Home By The Lee and £5500 – £1000 Marie’s Rock. Marie’s Rock came into the race under a double handful and looked all over the winner, ‘She’s not certain to stay’ was Lofty’s cry and Lofty was right, or at least she didn’t stay as well as the easy winner 8/1 Sire Du Berlais who put the race to bed after the last, the book won £3700 in the process.

Just as an aside, considering that the National is sponsored by Randox Health, it was surprising that the ‘Know your limits’ advert in the race card was about not betting too much rather than drinking and smoking which appeared to be equally as popular as punting.

4:15 – William Hill Handicap Chase (Registered As The Freebooter Handicap Chase) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m 1f

The race before the National was another hectic betting race. Public money was on Shake Up ‘Arry, a punter bet a £5500 – £1000 Beauport while another had £300 Kinondo Kwetu at 12/1. ‘Just a carpet, nothing to shout about’ was Lofty’s comment. Blimey Lofty I remember when just a carpet at 12/1 would have had the pair of us running around the ring in sheer panic, in the olden days of course, not with this firm. At the off Beauport was losing £6000, Shakem Up ‘Arry £2500 and Kinondo Kwetu and monkey. 15/2 chance Midnight River won the race and copped £1700. Next up, the big one.

After yesterday’s series of photos I thought that during the hour long gap between the penultimate and the big race I’d post a photo. The bromance is back on, Lofty and Ben. ❤️

🏆 5:15 – Randox Grand National Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (7YO plus) 4m 2½f

Betting on the National is a steady grind, with no joints rocking but a steady flow of bets giving the extremely hard working Steve and Hannah little respite. As with the previous two days, Star Sports had given previous #BettingPeople interviewee, professional punter and all round good guy Brett Lloyd a free £50 charity bet. Today he chose the National to have a go, he had a pony each on Gaillard Du Mesnil and Corach Rambler.

Whilst as with the rest of the day, bets were fairly modest but punters did wade in with a few bets worth mentioning, £8000 – £500 Galvin, £4500 – £500 Delta Work, £7000 – £500 Le Milos, and £4500 – £500 Corach Rambler all laid on the pitch. Everyone was getting ready for the feature race and news came through that some people had managed to get onto the course which meant the horses were taken back to the pre-parade ring.

There was quite a heartwarming cheer when the word went around that locals had helped clear the protestors. Nice work people of Liverpool! So just ten minutes later than anticipated the horses made their way to the start. As they did, the worst losers in the book were Delta Work losing £10,000, Le Milos for £8000 and Galvin for £7000 plus a handful of small losers and takers.

Brett Lloyd knew! 8/1 jolly Corach Rambler won a dramatic race and copped a monkey in the book. The 20/1 runner-up Vanillier would have been a cracking result, not least because Lofty had backed it and needless to say had a lean up.

6:20 – Weatherbys Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

The concluding bumper wasn’t due off until 6.20 so the hope was that it wouldn’t be delayed too. Ben had pulled rank and headed home quite right too, while the staff were paying out plenty of bets while fielding money in the last, in other words it was all go. Not really for me, I’m just typing this as they slave away.

Well the bogie went odds on in running but Florida Dreams (18/1) was a cracking final result and an excellent cop in the book. Aye Aye to end.

We’re back next week Cheltenham.


Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.

Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle 



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