AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT BETTING BLOG: Cheltenham Festival Thursday

Hope springs eternal every new day of the Festival, for punters and bookmakers alike.

Today was no different, the firm had a hearty meal last night which went some way to banishing memories of ‘Black Wednesday’. Forgetting the office bet which made the headlines and just considering the on-course business, Flynn told me that over the two pitches, Star Sports were losing just over £100,000 so far.

Some mountain to climb, but the punters would be thinking the game had gotten easy and would hopefully be trying to spin up their winnings today. Of course, the Gambling Gods need to play ball too, but as I said, hope springs eternal and this is the Cheltenham Festival with the two busiest days to come.

1:30 – Turners Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m 4f

The first race was a little slow considering Mighty Potter was one of the meeting’s bankers at 8/11. Lofty on the rails said that the biggest bet they’d taken was €500 on the jolly, that was bigger than the largest on the Tatts pitch, but bets were OK, plenty of £100 and £200 wagers. Ben’s call was ‘Easy Peasy just back the favourite’.

A familiar face came to the joint, Gearoid (better known as Icy) had flown in especially for the day, even after getting handed his arse by Daryl Carter in the Star Sports tipping competition yesterday.

Lofty called me back over, they had laid a couple of grand bets and a grand straight forecast for the front two. The bets were adding up despite it raining again. By the off, there was a proper Cheltenham buzz about the place. There was a £1600 – £2200 laid on the rails as they lined up, both pitches found the forecast betting offered to be popular. At the off, both pitches had the favourite losing around £5000 each.

Stage Star winning at 15/2 for Paul Nicholls and Owners Group 044 was an excellent start to the day. Punters that had thought it was easy were brought back down to earth with a financial bump while the bookmakers got a much-needed cash injection. The firm got around £14,000 back on course.

Anyone that has ridiculed micro share owners groups should think again, imagine being part of Group 044 and picking up the prize on the podium at the Cheltenham Festival today. Fantastic never to be forgotten stuff for them.

2:10 – Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m

Next up and David Pipe’s Thanksforthehelp was 10/3 market leader for the first handicap of the day. Bets were small for the competitive looking heat, the biggest bet across both pitches was £2000 – £600 the favourite.

Good Time Jonny winning at 9/1 was a fair result given the fairly light field money, the book copped just under £2000 over both pitches.


2:50 – Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m 4½f

Next up and more potential for big bets with Shishkin opening at 10/11. Pretty much the first bet on the Tatts pitch was £800 so it augured well for the race. It wasn’t long before even money was being called, bets across both pitches included an even £9000, £2500, £2000, plus plenty of grand and monkey bets.

At the off, the jolly was losing about £26,000 over both pitches. Despite running a gallant race Shishkin was no match for the 13/2 winner Envoi Allen, the book copped another nice five figure sum.

3:30 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m

There was a real buzz about the next, Flynn, Lofty and Charlie laid a bet of £50,000 – £12,500 each way Blazing Khal early. Flooring Porter was also popular, including a bet of £6000 – £780 from a bookmaker, Star were 7/1, he asked for 15/2 and got them, then asked for fractions! What a game.

He got the bet with a free bollocking from Ben. The rails also laid £10,000 – £1500 the same horse, late on they were hit for £35,000 – £10,000 and another £35,000 – £10,000 Blazing Khal, then £5500 – £2000 Teahupoo. It was some betting heat. At the off, the bogie lost over £70,000.

Well, what can you say? It turned. 33/1 winner Sire Du Berlais was a phenomenal result.

4:10 – Magners Plate Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m 4½f

The firm on course was back in front on the week which was a dream turnaround. Ben took his leave and left the teams to it. Betting on the race before the penultimate was the slowest of the day, but Seddon winning at 20/1 was another good copping race on both pitches to money that would be considered excellent on a Saturday.

There was a fly in the ointment for Star as a firm. A punter in one of their betting shops bet £5000 each-way the winner at 25/1. Well done to them.

4:50 – Jack de Bromhead Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 1f

The penultimate was all about the favourite Luccia, there were no real lumps, the biggest bet on both pitches was £1400 – £800 but there were a few decent amounts. As is often the case, six races in punters seem to retreat to the bars, the drizzle setting in didn’t help the punter fatigue though and at the off the bets added up to good, if not excellent, field money over both pitches.

At first glance, the 16/1 winner You Wear It Well was a cracking result but when the result was tapped into the book, it had been well backed in bits and bobs. There was a £1500 profit on the race but not the whack the firm would have hoped for. Still, they were in a good position, in front on the day and out on the week with a competitive handicap to finish up.


5:30 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Sponsored By The JRL Group) (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5YO plus) 3m 2f

It was a tough getting out stakes ( am I even allowed to call it that any more? ) for the punters but they were a stoic bunch. Dare I say plenty needed to get out on the day so bets were spread around plenty of the bigger priced horses, Stumptown was 7/2 favourite but they weren’t rocking the joint trying to get on. Both pitches had the favourite a good winner at the off, not by design of course.

Usually, the firm would be cheering 10/1 shot Angels Dawn to beat the jolly, but not this time, Flynn and Steve’s teams both ran into the winner which lost a couple of grand. Not a great end to the day, but good luck to those punters who found the winner and ‘got out’ responsibly.

The Star Sports on course team know how that feels having done so themselves today, cue Mission Impossible music, now all they have to do is kick on tomorrow for the big one, the grand finale… Gold Cup day.


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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