AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


It looked like we were all going to get a soaking before racing…

I managed to get a quick video with Inlike Flynn in the carpark between deluges. But, as luck would have it, the wet weather gear was feeling a bit too much by the time they went down to the start for the first bathing in sunshine. Aye Aye, we’re back at Cheltenham, it’s always a great feel to be here.

1:35 – Showcasing Sustainability Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3YO plus) 2m ½f

Sadly, the punters didn’t turn out in their droves. I’d be painting a false picture if I said that business in the first race was any more than mediocre. Star Sport’s take was bolstered by almost 50% by a chap that had a bottle each-way on both Castel Gandolfo and Lively Citizen which were both out of the frame. The other bogie in the book was Fergal O’Brien’s Elham Valley. It was luck as well as the sun that shone of Flynn, Lofty and Steve on the joint. Keiran Burke’s Soul Icon was sent off at 11/4 favourite and rewarded those that backed him with an emphatic win under Harry Kimber. Most books, just 17 in Tattersalls, would have done their money but Flynn and Co copped just over £600 on the race. A fortuitous start to the 2022-2023 season here.

2:10 – Novices’ Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4YO plus) 2m

Things warmed up a bit when Flynn laid £3400 – £1600 and £2000 – £1000 Ash Tree Meadow early doors in the betting for the second. That looked promising for a good betting heat, but was sadly a false dawn of four-figure wagers. The rest of the race saw nothing similar in size offered. Straw Fan Jack was popular with the smaller staking punters. Sheila Lewis’ gelding was supported from 9/2 into 5/2 without really denting Star’s one horse book too much. The cheer that went up from Inlike and Lofty when the gamble was landed maybe belied the reason the book had managed to duck the winner quite so well. Yes, they’d had a lean-up and copped in style, not only in the book but judging by the cheesy grins and chatty demeanour their personals too.

Betting next door on the rail, Barry ‘The Tash’ Pinnington, previous #BettingPeople interviewee and all round good guy called me to one side and said he had something for the blog. At this point, if he’s stitched me up, he’s a rascal. But, he told me that the winning trainer’s dad, Brain Davies, was at one point World champion sheep shearer. Now there’s one for the pub quiz teams.

2:45 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

The betting for the third race was conducted in what they call ‘proper rain’. The precipitation didn’t stop a punter from wading over to the joint and handing Flynn and Steve £800 to invest on Music Drive at 13/8. He was the only one to have a decent bet though, punters appeared happy to stay dry and look at their phones rather than venture down to the bookies.

Coming up the hill, it looked likely that 20/1 chance The Wounded Knee would spring a welcome surprise for the layers that did get some money in the hod. However, it was not to be, Michael Scudamore’s 7/2 chance Mofasa got up in the dying strides to collar the leader and land the spoils. ‘It was weak’ grinned Lofty, before adding, ‘The book copped £1200’.

Another unexpected surprise which went the way of the good guys.

3:20 – 888Sport Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

Next up and rain really did dampen the betting ring, but a punter did have £4500 – £2000 Pull Again Green. Similarly, to the previous race, the bet was in isolation to anything else in way of stake. It was the book against the one horse. Fortune once again favoured the brave.

Martin and Belinda Keighley’s Found On just galloped her four rivals into submission and jumped like a stag to eventually win unchallenged at an SP of 9/2 and copped the book £3000 in the process. Despite business being pretty modest it was shaping up to be a good day.

3:55 – Abu Dhabi Digital Exchange Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3YO plus) 2m 4f

Fellow betting ring scribe Chutney Dave summed it up, ‘The rain’s killed it’, and so it seemed. The rails book took just over £1000 in the race before the penultimate. The only talking point before the race was that a punter had £60 on a 66/1 shot and didn’t ask for the fractions.

The other talking point after the race was how easily John McConnell’s 10/1 Irish raider Seddon won under Ben Harvey. It was a great result for a book that only held three modest losing bets over the winner. Aye Aye.

4:30 – Andrew Malam Lifetime In Racing Award Winner Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 3m 1f

Just when you write a day off. Well, a punter, someone nobody on the pitch had seen before, had a bet of £25,000 – £5000 Powerful Position. That put the day in a different perspective, it could be all change. As per the rest of the meeting, there was nothing anything like that bet offered for the rest of the race. At the off, it was pretty much Star Sports against the punter and that bet.

The race developed into one of those classics after the last and up the hill dramas that we’ve witnessed many times. Luckily, for the book and the prospect of an extra pint on the firm tonight, it didn’t involve the bogie. Henry Daley’s Jimmy The Digger under Alice Stevens came with a rattle to overhaul the clear leader at the last Anightinlambourne. It didn’t make much difference to the book, which copped over £4500. With one race to go, it was shaping up to be an unexpectedly good day.

5:05 – Foundation Developments Ltd Maiden Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m ½f

Business in the last was quiet, no big bets to make anyone jump. At the off, Flynn was in the enviable position of having the jolly for a monkey safe in the knowledge that the firm was going to win £12,000 whatever happened. That jolly was Twinjets sent off at 10/11 and didn’t trouble the judge after being hampered when making its move. The race wasn’t pretty to watch with several horses coming down, luckily none appeared to be injured.

It’ll be a memorable race for the wrong reasons for several sets of connections. It’s fair to say that John McConnell will look on it fondly, his 4/1 chance Fennor Cross won the race under Simon Torrens and landed a double for the yard in the process.

Lofty had already left for Oxford Dogs but Inlike, Steve and I were already thinking for starters as well as an extra pint with our grub tonight. It’ll be busier tomorrow too. Aye Aye.


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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