AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT BETTING BLOG: Sandown Park, Saturday

Good old Spain. We left Sandown yesterday having had a losing day only for the Spanish team to beat Germany in the football and with the final whistle the on-course arm of Star Sports finished Friday copping £27,000, writes SIMON NOTT.

That left the enhanced team of Tony and Lofty joined by Kieran in a good position to crack on with some confidence today.

The weather didn’t look ideal, it was windy and wet as the bookmakers set up for the day’s business, ‘It’s more like Tingle Creek day that the Coral Eclipse’ was one layer’s observation. He had a point, but the forecast was optimistic of summer making an appearance of some sort during the afternoon. The bookies were certainly out in force on what is one of the premier days here none appearing to have been put off by the prospect of rain, Armaloft Alex was working on the front row today, having had a drenching at Newton Abbot yesterday he was hoping not to get the double up. The people selling the beer and cider behind the back line were clad in plastic and I didn’t envy their job today, but if the sun did come out it might ensure some punters made it down to the bookies betting in the back row.

1:15 – Coral Play ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Handicap (Class 3) (3YO only) 7f

The sun had come out by the time betting got underway in the first and the guys promptly laid a bet of £15,000 – £8000 Spanish Blaze. That’s the way to kick start a day.

The crowd came out with the sun, bets were flowing in, mostly small bets but bets none the less though they were not as ‘puntery’ as yesterday. There were £3000 worth of bets from the floor though, on top of the single £8000 Punt which of course made the jolly the absolute bogie.

They were off and I watched the race with Lofty, he feared the worse, then roared the loudest when 11/2 chance Swindon stayed on to beat the once dangerous looking Spanish Blaze. At first the big man somewhat sheepishly cheered ‘Aye Aye, go on Swindon’ almost as if he was cheating on his beloved Portsmouth in doing so, but then let rip once victory was assured. Don’t worry, it’s OK to cheer for Swindon when it’s not football Lofty. The book copped £10,000 which was a very good start.

1:50 – Coral Charge (Group 3) (Registered As The Sprint Stakes) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 5f

Next up and a chunky bet early to get the book rolling, this time £20,000 – £5000 Desperate Hero. The book took another £3000 on top of the big bet in small denominations from the floor, it looked as if the pattern for the afternoon was set unless some other big money made its way down into the ring. There were lots of £10 and £5 bets being offered, they kept the team busy but weren’t going to add up to the sort of figures needed to get any sort of balance. A £2400 – £300 bet on Purosangue was struck as the horses were going down and qualified as a big bet today to gets a mention. There was rain one side of the course and sun on the other, the bookies were bathed in it as the field were loaded into the stalls.

It wasn’t raining, it was pouring in the ring after the race. That’s not a euphemism for the bookies doing their money though. The crowd were sent running for cover from a fierce little thunder shower just as 9/2 chance Makarova won the race. The winner sprouted wings to sprint clear shortly after Lofty declared the long time leading favourite and loser for £18,000 had won. It’s good to know he works both ways. Makarova had been 7/1 on course early and well backed to small money on course but still copped just shy of £6000 in the book.

One thing punters who like to have it on should know, the Sandown rail is very strong, there’s plenty of choice for the big backers. Anyone who likes to complain they get knocked back to pennies on line, get off your keyboard and come racing, you won’t scare any of the layers here.

Shrewdie retired bookie Martin Johnstone and family came to the joint to say hello, he was enjoying his day at the races, poaching rather than game keeping these days. It’s always a pleasure to see him, but he’s still digging his heels in, too camera shy for a #BettingPeople interview. Come on Martin, your public awaits.

2:25 – Coral Challenge (Handicap) (Class 2) (3YO plus) 1m

Next up and bigger punters kept their powder dry, there was plenty of very small business, including forecast betting but there was no sign of any shoulders opening in this race. As the horses were being loaded into the stalls the hod held just over £2000 with the biggest bet on the race £100. At the off there were three losers in the book, Cicero’s Gift, Perotto, and Classic.

Cicero’s Gift won the race retuning 11/2 ‘the worst in the book’ bawled Lofty, reporting that they’d done £1000 on the heat but added with a sort of smile that the firm were still £14,000 up on the day.

3:00 – Coral Distaff (Fillies’ Listed) (Class 1) (3YO only) 1m

Next up, despite the quality of the race the big punters and bag men appeared not to be coming out to play. The smaller punters did though, Lofty reported that there were plenty of £100 bets which helped the field money climb to over £3000 by the time the horses went to post. Despite the money being, as Lofty put it, ‘all public’ the jolly Regal Jubilee was still losing over what they’d taken at the off.

However, the spectre of a massive queue of small stakes payouts didn’t materialise as the jolly disappointed. Only one Star Sports customer had any faith in the 25/1 winner Spiritual, betting a tenner at the price. The book copped around £3250, the bigger plus was that with hardly any payouts, Tony, Lofty and Kieran could crack on with the next and feature race.

3:35 – Coral-Eclipse (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 1m 2f

Derby winner City Of Troy opened at 2/7, so to appeal to smaller backers or those that don’t like to try and buy money Star Sports offered betting without the favourite, which was popular. The tipsters all agreed that the jolly was a good thing and looked the obvious lump on for larger backers who we already knew were in attendance. Of course, the game is to get the hotpots in the book so the hope was the team would catch a punter.

They caught a few quite early too, £5000 at 2/7 twice, £1000 at the price and £400 – £1400 trade all laid to punters off the floor, not the usual suspects either.

Lofty clipped the jolly into 1/4, the next bet in was £1000 – £4000 and then £250 – £1000.

Well, the 1/4 favourite City Of Troy won by a length but despite never really looking like getting beaten, his supporters would have had a thrill. As professional punter Johnny Lights told Andy Henderson one day as he was leaning into one that had obviously won watching on the TV, ‘a race looks different when you’ve had a lump on son! The book lost £4500 but not exactly in cold blood.

4:12 – Coral Racing Club Handicap (Class 4) (3YO only) 1m 2f

Going into the penultimate Lofty informed us that despite the setback of the hotpot winning the firm were still £13,500 up on the day. The bigger punters were conspicuous by their absence, the lack of them would ensure that Star Sports would show an on-course profit over the two days, on the other hand the guys were here to field as much possible. Lofty’s chirp of ‘It’s died a death’ didn’t augur well for blog illuminating business over the last two heats.

Sadly, Lofty’s gloomy summing up was proven right here. The team struggled to take £1500, the crowd were in good spirits singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ for no apparent reason apart from that they could and that they were having a great time that never felt so good, but they weren’t betting. The big fella declared he’d made a good old fashioned Silver Ring book, up the front two, small. Lofty should have launched into ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ after the race because the Blake bolted in bolted in at 3/1, was the bogie but the book only blew £300.

4:47 – Coral Daily Rewards Shaker Handicap (Class 2) (3YO plus) 1m 2f

The rain started again during betting on the lucky last, I felt a bit guilty nipping under cover as the team battled on in the wet, they took the mush down when the sun came out.

I didn’t feel guilty for long though, the sun came out again before too much damping down could be done. I returned to the sun drenched pitch as the horses were going down, Lofty, knowledgeable on the cliches I habitually roll out said ‘We’ll be snapping the elastic bands around it tonight Simon’. That’s not to say betting had been poor, they’d taken over £2000 but taken it very small, Lofty had also had a lean up, Balmacara was winning a nice few quid.

As the horses got the the start, the PA and soon after the crowd launched into a truncated but rousing rendition of ‘Football’s Coming Home’ but there was still a horse race to settle yet. As the horses loaded the book held £3000 with the front two losing a grand a piece. Persica won the race, one of the bogies, the book lost £900. But hark, hear that, it’s the elastic bands snapping around £12,000. Aye Aye a winning two days.

I heard before racing that the much loved ex racecourse bookie and tictac man Rocky Roberto has been quite poorly recently. I’m sure everyone who knows him will join me in wishing him well.

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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