AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


It’s a good eight years since I was last at Sandown and December 1985 was my first when John Francome trained his first winner That’s Your Lot, writes SIMON NOTT.

It has not changed much since either visit. I love any excuse to come racing so I was chuffed when Star Sports bought a pitch on the rail. Today’s team were Tony and Lofty betting number five on what’s a very strong rail.

1:55 – Style Awards On Ladies Day Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap (Class 5) (4YO plus) 1m

Today was Ladies’ Day, which enjoyed a good turnout, there was a good buzz about the place for a Friday. The biggest bet on the card as the horses went to post was £700 – £200 Cervetto in a market that Lofty couldn’t fault and described as steady.

That was topped late on by a bet of £150 each-way on Sirius White at 14/1. Dylan Cunha’s Cervetto justified favouritism and won nicely, the each-way bet was unplaced so the book was saved a bit on them but still did a bottle. The winner returned 10/3 jolly.

2:30 – Dragon Stakes (Listed) (Class 1) (2YO only) 5f

Next up and Aesterius opened the 6/4 favourite for this class 1 listed event. There were plenty of bets, many of a decent size without being notable, ideal business unless you are hoping to gee things up a bit with a blog.

There was a bag man lurking but not betting, but at least there was a chance of one to write about. Business was pretty good though, a fact endorsed by the fact Lofty let a lady bet £2.50 on each race with her card, not a grumble to be heard.

At the off there was £1400 in the hod taken well. The jolly won, the book lost £100, the first first two favourites had scooted in and the book was only losing £200, a result.

3:05 – Davies Group Handicap (Class 2) (3YO plus) 5f

Things changed bet size wise in the next, Lofty and Tony took a bet of £7500 – £4000 Dream Composer. There were a few faces about, my great mate Andrew Mount came to say hello as did Simon Banks. The other visitor was less welcome, rain. There was a scrummage on the rail to put coats on a mushes up. Business continued to be steady, the book fielded a further £1100 on top of the big bet. At the off there was only one loser in the book, the jolly for about £6000.

If the lads were sweating before the race, they weren’t during it. Dream Conposer was never going ultimately beating just one home. Tees Spirit won the race, there had been public money for the winner, 6/1 into 5/1 on course ‘the best backed horse in the race’ was Lofty’s observation, but the book still copped £3500.

3:40 – Tattersalls 40,000 EBF Novice Stakes (GBB Race) (Class 2) (2YO only) 7f

Next up and steady betting but with no lumps, the biggest bet in a just shy of £2000 book was £200 on the favourite Anno Domini. Once again bets were steady but nothing to write about.

Mind you, there was big money about so I’ll write about that instead, a punter had £10,000 on the favourite with another book on the rail, come on Lofty and Tony, call them in. As it turned out, it just was well the charismatic duo didn’t smile the punter into them, the jolly won, the book ‘only’ lost £650, it could have been a lot worse.

4:15 – Davies Insurance Solutions Gala Stakes (Listed) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 1m 2f

Simon Banks came up again and asked me to mention that one of the pleasures of coming racing today was drawing his winnings. No, Mr Banks hadn’t backed one of the short ones here but none other than the winner of the Greyhound Derby 25/1 ante-post.

He was quite rightly as proud as a dog with two dicks but when I suggested he spin up his winnings today his ardour was somewhat cooled! It seems the same went for the rest of the punters too, just the six went to post but bets were in £50’s rather than £500’s but business still wasn’t bad.

Lofty mentioned that the forecast betting had been popular with the smaller punters who appeared happy to have a higher risk guess-up with their smaller stakes.

Al Mubhir won the race at 9/2, the book copped a rouf. Rumour circulated later that a bag man had been after 9/2 the winner when it wasn’t really there early, then didn’t pile in, at least not near Star Sports on the rail, when it was freely available. If that was true then that was another potential day-ruining wager fortuitously avoided.

4:50 – Coral Marathon (Listed) (Registered As The Esher Stakes) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m

Next up and action, first up a bag man had a bet of £4200 – £300 Miss Cynthia then another had a walloping £16,000 – £2000 Run For Oscar, a horse trained by a yard who know the time of day. Then it started to rain again, big drops but at least they were warm.

Betting on the race hotted up again despite the precipitation, a bet of £3000 – £2000 from the floor and £1500 – £1500 bookmaker’s hedging Trueshan nudged the jolly into the red alongside the Byrnes horse.

Betting was strange, Run For Oscar took a walk on the machine and ran according. Sadly, also running in line with the betting was Trueshan which won unchallenged and lost £2800 in the book. ‘Knocked it all out’ bemoaned Lofty, elaborating,’we’re only a carpet in front now’.

5:25 – Book Music Nights At Sandown Park Handicap (Class 4) (3YO plus) 1m 6f

Bagmen were lurking before the last, but when they pounced it wasn’t for the tricky looking handicap, but a £40,000 double, Germany to qualify in the football and City Of Troy priced at 10/11 and 4/11 respectively. Card cleared and they were on.

Just when it looked as if betting on the last was going to be as damp as the weather, the double whammy, bets of £24,000 – £8000 Love Safari and £21,000 – £7000 Cock And Bull. That’s what you call right up the front two.

As you can imagine, that was the book and an old fashion result would be very handy if the Gambling Gods were feeling benevolent.

Cock And Bull missed the break and lost several lengths at the start then Love Safari played his hand early and was soon beaten. Just when it looked as if it had all gone the way of Star Sports Cock And Bull came down the outside with a sustained run to win by a head.

It looked to most observers as if he’d caused all sorts of trouble during that run, not money talking honest, the bookmakers held up payment waiting for the inevitable bing bong.

It came but took a while, being the favourite the winner had queues of punters waiting to collect on the lucky last. Still, it gave the Friday night traffic time to dissipate and the DJ time to dust off his records.

The steward’s deliberated for about 10 minutes then gave their decision, the result stood. The book blew £13,000.

Still, there’s still the double to run and we’re back tomorrow.

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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