SIMON NOTT: Betting & Racing at Exeter

Star Sports Sponsored Day: Exeter

Star Sports sponsored the whole of this Sunday card, seven races with plenty of runners. With half an hour before the first race there was a definite buzz on course. The demographic very much on the young side with I’m guessing a good cache from Exeter University plus advance tickets available for just a fiver helping immensely. Peter Houghton and ‘Bob’ on the rails reporting that they were in overdrive checking ID’s in early skirmishes for the opener.

1:10 Handicap Hurdle

Betting was reported very lively in what looked to be a very competitive race to kick things off betting around 9/2 each of three. It didn’t start well for the layers. ‘They’ all wanted to be on Colin Tizzard’s Copperhead, which was backed from 6/1 on-course briefly into favouritism before easing to 5/1 at the off. ‘The best-backed horse of the race by far, despite not starting jolly’. That a given, it wasn’t a pleasant start for the layers watching it win in some style under Harry Cobden on its handicap debut.

1:45 Maiden Hurdle

Once again the bookmakers reported a lively betting market, best backed horse of the race was Golden Promise 7/2 into 11/4, Chambard was steady at 7/2 with the one they didn’t want, surprisingly given we were on it, Haldon Hill. The best-backed horse did its best to get into the race but a promising looking run came to nothing. The market proved that it didn’t really know anything because Haldon Hill almost rewarded punters who were on at BOG but after a fair old tussle on the run-in Venetia Williams’ ‘steady at 7/2’ Chambard got the spoils.

2:20 Call Star Sports On 08000 521 321 Handicap Hurdle

One flustered looking bookie, who wished to remain anonymous was thrilled that so many ‘young’ people made up the bumper crowd today, but then added though ‘when all they want is a pound on, I start to wish they had lectures on a Sunday!’.

It was a heart-warming sight to see quite so many young people enjoying their day at the races. This blog certainly isn’t in the business of encouraging students to get in too deep, but come on the future of racing generation, these bookies have to eat, dig into that student loan a bit more when punting will you!

Talking of bookies having to eat, the best-backed horse of the morning market was Phillip Dando’s Ifandabut supported from 25/1 into 9/1 and highlighted on this site as one of the top movers on Sunday in our Starters Orders update (see right). The gelding’s backers still hadn’t finished, topping up their support forcing a further capitulation into 7/1 at the off by on-course layers.

The form book will show that an almighty gamble was landed under a very cool ride from Mitchell Bastyan. The name of the owners in the blog was intriguing, ‘The Gambling Cousins’. When it came to presenting the prize on behalf of the firm I was expecting a brace of hardened punters with pockets bulging with readies. You can imagine my surprise then when a quintet of lovely ladies of mature years came to collect. I asked if they were the ‘Gambling Cousins’ and it was confirmed that they were, one of them explaining they called themselves that because buying a horse is a gamble.

I told them that their winner had been the subject of an almighty touch, they were all genuinely shocked, ‘I don’t bet in case it’s temping fate’ said one ‘I only had a £2 place’ added another. Now I know the Tote can be weak but that can’t have been it. The trainer Mr Dando couldn’t explain it either telling the racecourse over the PA that he hadn’t backed it either. It’s a mystery who had it spark bang off then, but someone did!

2:50 Read Davy Russell’s Exclusive Blog Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

The bookmakers holding untold piles of £1 coins tendered by students hoped to keep some of them by getting odds-on Printing Dollars beaten but they never really had a hope. The 4/5 shot made all to win pretty much unchallenged for the Warren Greatrex yard under ‘super-sub’ Richard Johnson who replaced Sam Waley-Cohen who was reportedly on the sick list.

3:25 Read Adam Kirby’s Exclusive Blog Novices’ Chase

The race before the penultimate was an eventful heat, as they were setting of it was announced that Samuel Jackson was running minus a front-left shoe. Before his backers had chance to ponder if their bets on the 5/1 shot would be adversely affected 11/8 favourite Yalltari came down at the first.

The rest of the race went without incident, approaching the second-last it looked as if Charlie Longsdon’s Just Your Type, which had been backed from 16/1 into 5/1 and gone six lengths clear was set to land the second gamble of the day but came crashing down at that obstacle. This left King Of Realms in front only to be collared over and after the last by 5/1 poke Samuel Jackson minus his front-left shoe!

In new regulations, coming into effect in a month or so, the gelding wouldn’t have been able to run sans shoe. The winner was evidently not affected so it begs the question why the new rule in the first place? Can anyone enlighten with the thinking behind it?

4:00 Watch The #BettingPeople Videos Handicap Chase

I was chuffed to bits that one of the Star Sports sponsored races was named after the #BettingPeople interviews that I’m part of. I doubt that the bookmakers were as cock-a-hoop at the result of the race though. Dr Richard Newland’s Urbanist had been backed from 7/2 into 9/4 on-course and won like a good thing under Sam Twiston-Davies. A group of Exeter University lads were presented with the prize on behalf of the owner which must have topped off a great day for them especially if they had a bit on at the top price.

4:30 First For Industry Jobs visit Standard Open NH Flat Race

Betting on the concluding bumper was pretty competitive with Saint De Reve the 3/1 market leader but it was Warren Greatrex’ Young Lieutenant that was the one they wanted to be on backed from 11/2 into 4/1. Turning for home you’d have had a job to pick one from about eight runners as the winner. Sadly for the bookies at the business end it was Richard Johnson on Young Lieutenant that got the money for the punters and doubles for both Greatrex and the champ.

There wasn’t a lot to cheer about as the bookies packed up in the gloom but there’s always next time.

Simon Nott


skintmobSimon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring