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SIMON NOTT: Betting & Racing at Taunton

TAUNTON TUESDAY: Our roving reporter SIMON NOTT headed to Taunton on Tuesday and he wasn’t alone – it was a packed ‘half-term’ crowd in Somerset. Plenty of faces around too, how did the action between punters and bookies pan out?

An excellent ‘half-term’ crowd turned out for Taunton races, don’t listen to the doom merchants, mid-week racing is far from dead. There were plenty of runners making up the seven-race card too, so everyone should have been happy.

As usual there were plenty of ‘faces’ around, mostly lurking around ‘pro-punters corner’ by the rail next to the pre-parade ring. It was quite strange to hear Steve ‘Rucker’ Noyce commenting on a very well-dressed lady’s red and white striped coat in less than favourable terms inferring a resemblance to ice cream sellers. For those unaware why such comments would raise an eyebrow, a cursory glance at his #BettingPeople interview should enlighten you. CLICK HERE

I had a chat with Bo Brown prior to the first, Bo’s current #BettingPeople interview had been the talk of the betting ring. He introduced me to his man Peter who was fielding the money on the joint, he’s the one that should have gone to Specsavers, see Bo’s video for further explanation. CLICK HERE

2:10 Racing To School Riders Programme Selling Handicap Hurdle

The opening race was a tricky one for punters, a very competitive selling handicap hurdle with lots of ‘ifs and buts’ for anyone delving into the form book to find the winner. Following the market in such races is often considered the better option for those compelled to bet. The significant money for the race was for the Michael Blake yard’s Iniesta 7/1 into 6/1. Following that in would have left punters with burnt fingers, unless they were on each-way because it found one too good in Roger Teal’s 7/1 winner Stonemadforspeed under Daryl Jacob, the winner had been easy to back easing from 11/2.

2:40 Aspen Waite Complete Business Growth Service Novices’ Hurdle

The second race on the card didn’t look as tricky with Jane Williams’ Montestrel and Paul Nicholls’ Scaramanga heading the market at 2/1 and 6/4 respectively. Coming into the straight the Williams charge was beaten but all looked to be going to plan for jolly backers. The Nicholls horse was going well with just David Pipe’s debutant Airton to best. Of course, anything trained by David Pipe is going to be respected but having gone of at 20/1 most backers would have assumed the gelding wasn’t fancied. Fancied or not it was a neck too good for the jolly at the line. The Pipe yard doing the betting ring a favour at Taunton, who’d have ever thought it ?

A highly respected veteran member of the Press Room alluded to David being rather surprised at his charge’s victory but was no doubt glad to have ended a run of over 400 days without a winner at Taunton. There was a Racing Welfare ‘Volunteer Chaplain’ in attendance throughout the day, though I hasten to add there was no suggestion of divine intervention in the victory.

3:10 British EBF Mares’ ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle

Mind you, the results went the way of the bookmakers again in the next when 9/1 shot Organdi landed the spoils. I bumped into a highly delighted racecourse regular who breathlessly told me that he’d fancied the first three home and backed them in combination forecasts and tricasts all to £1.50 stakes. He was waiting for the dividends to be declared then realised that it hadn’t been a tricast race so his bet was a £3 forecast instead. He’d have been even more gutted when he realised the Trifecta paid £1050.90 but I didn’t hang around to see his suffering. For understandable reasons our hero didn’t wish to be named and his punting ineptness publicised.

3:45 Royal Bath & West Of England Society Chase

It all went horribly wrong for the bookmakers in the next. One was telling me how he couldn’t work out how Jeremy Scott’s Orchardstown Cross was so short. It was 9/4 at the time. After it bolted in at 6/4 he was heard to lament ‘The two previous races hadn’t been ‘Taunton’ results, but the most last one 100% certainly bloody had been!’ Nasty.

4:15 Greene King Handicap Hurdle

The worm continued to turn against the bookmakers in the feature race when Paul Nicholls’ well-backed all morning 3/1 favourite Capitaine won from 25/1 result Sternrubin.  Capitaine provided the Ditcheat based trainer with his 3,000th career winner. The race was marred by the horrible looking falls of Misterson and Nube Negra and Flying Tiger at the second last which took the shine off the race for all.

4:50 Roy Dunn Memorial Handicap Chase

As always, the show must go on. There were still plenty of punters in the ring for the penultimate. Most of them wanted to be on Danboru which was steady at the 2/1 mark but shrank to 15/8 at the off. Those that followed the crowd did so to the poor house this time. Instead of the jolly old favourite landing the spoils it was Colin Tizzard’s 8/1 shot Tikkapick under Harry Cobden that got the money beating the market-leader into second and providing its pilot with a double on the day. Down in the ring local owner without a runner today Kit James had just had a touch but was feeling the cold and was off for a cup of tea to warm up.
He wasn’t a bad judge either, as the books got to work on the concluding 17-runner handicap the temperature had taken a real tumble.

5:20 Free Tickets Available For 11th March Mares’ Handicap Hurdle

Sadly for the bookies, things didn’t really warm up much down in the ring. Jo on the Ivor Perry joint said that the money had been for Suzy Smith’s Sisania 7/1 into 11/2 and Harry Fry’s Goodnightsweetheart 9/2 into 7/2 but almost all on the exchanges not on course. Next door at Jack Bevan (est 1897) they had posted a photo of long-standing employee of the firm (estimated 1940) holding a tray of eggs (see below). One punter appeared to be either wanting to buy or back them, I wasn’t sure which. The race itself was run in twilight conditions and resulted in a desperate finish and a photo. The dimpsy conditions didn’t hinder the judge fairly quickly calling 7/2 favourite Goodnightsweetheart the short-head winner. The jolly won under late jockey replacement Kieron Edgar from 16/1 bookies result Lamh Ar Lamh. Certainly not the nightcap the bookies were after.

Course commentator Ian Bartlett was seen possibly beating the course record out of the track to his car before the result was called and probably almost out of the county before the Racing Welfare Chaplain presented the winner’s trophy and thus solving the last riddle of the day!

What price your eggs?

Simon Nott

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