AUTHOR: Star Sports Content


Today’s team on the rails at Cheltenham consisted of age and experience rather than rugged good looks and charisma. Fear not though ladies, the one member of this rover boy’s trio that falls into that category ‘Inlike’ Flynn was on duty to flash a smile when needed.

The two gallant chaps front of house on Star’s pitch have worked 108 years in the betting industry between them. Both an alarmingly spritely 74 years young, ‘Ricky’ started in the game at 19 and was the first on-course bookmaker to take my money, a fiver on the faller Sweet Mandy at this very course back in 1983. Tony was a grown man with the key of the door, aged 21, when he started taking bets, though has never trousered any of mine which is handy. What a team, despite the faint wiff of Werthers Originals to get to work on this glorious day at the races.

12:05 – British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO to 6YO) 2m 1f

The betting on the opener was interesting. The jolly, Hartur D’Oudairies was very weak in the betting, drifting from an opening 6/5 to 7/4 at the off in places. Whilst the betting couldn’t be described as heavy on course what money there was came in for Jamie Snowden’s charge Datsalrightgeno backed from 8/1 into 6/1.

Over in the Star Sports office Ed Dark painted a very different picture, all the money was for Colin Tizzard’s JPR One, bets included £10,000 – £4000, £9000 – £3000 and £13,750 – £5000. Racegoers were treated to a cracking finish between both the aforementioned. A head-bobbing finish went the way of Datsalrightgeno by a neck under Gavin Sheehan.

The runner-up would have been a bad start for the office, despite the drift out to the 9/2. ‘Big sweat’ was the word from Ed. Inlike confessed that they hadn’t laid the winner on course ‘more by luck than judgement’ so enjoyed a nice cop in the book. A good start all round.

12:40 – Tiggys Trust Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 3) (4YO plus) 3m 1½f

Turn Cheltenham Yellow for Tiggy


Next up, very early in the betting a punter came to the pitch wielding a grand in readies and had it on Paul Nicholls’ Barbados Bucks at 9/2. His fancy then started to drift, eventually settling at 6/1. The one the punters wanted on course was Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Undersupervison, there were no lumps but decent enough bets to make it a loser in the rails book along with the obvious bogie.

It appears that neither the backer of the latter or indeed the grand punter had taken the advice of pro-gambler Neil Channing. He put up the eventual winner, Lucinda Russell’s Corach Rambler to anyone that watched his ’12 Days of Channing’ video, it was ‘top of the head’ 9/4 at the time but started 2/1 favourite.

Several of Star’s punters did back the venerable sage’s advice, bets included £2000 – £1000 and £900 – £400 in the office in addition to a plethora of smaller winning wagers. If you want to follow the advice of Neil you can do so free daily, CLICK HERE

All bets had to survive a very late steward’s enquiry, but the placing remained unaltered.

1:15 – Catesby Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3YO plus) 2m 1f

Ricky and Tony needed their century plus years of experience in the third heat, there were plenty of bets to keep them busy and Inlike under the cosh. When the dust settled, they had a fair book. The jolly, Broomfield Burg. was in its place a bogie but not quite the worst in the book, Robinshill held that accolade but was even then only losing £1300 in a small staking book.

Coming to the last it looked as if Nico de Boinville only had to push the button on the favourite to go past the leader Lively Citizen. The cry, ‘It’s a bridle horse’ went up, that may have been a little unfair but the public’s choice appeared either unable or unwilling to go through with his challenge, Lively Citizen battled on bravely to win by half a length. The winner copped a generous round of drinks in the book. There was good and bad news from Ed in the Star Sports office, they had laid a bet of £5000 – £2000 the runner-up, aye aye, and a £5500 – £1000 each-way the winner. Bugger.

1:50 – CF Roberts Electrical & Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 2m 4½f

The fourth race appeared too hard for the punters; the business was very light which resulted in a book that Inlike described as ‘messy’ with five losers dotted around the market. Sadly, 12/1 winner Vienna Court was one of them. Poor old Ricky cheered it home then looked quite perplexed when he, sniffing a bonus, peered into the book to see how much the firm had won and copped an eyeful of red.

Things were much more fortuitous over at Hove in the Star Sports office. Ed Dark, point to point regular and greyhound trainer as well as top man and Star Sports trader told me, ‘We laid Rose of Arcadia £11,000 – £4000 early topped up with a £20,000 – £5000 and £17,500 – £5000 Timeless Beauty, it was a good result for us’.

2:25 – Betfair Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m 2f

There’s something special about watching a magnificent grey storm unchallenged up the Cheltenham Hill. That’s what we were treated to when 7/1 chance Commodore bolted up by 15 lengths. 11/4 unplaced favourite Enrilo and 5/1 runner-up Mister Fogpatches had been the bogies in the book which looked a lot tidier than the previous race, business had picked up. The winner copped four figures, a little more than you’d expect at the price, ‘The Guv’nor fancied the winner’ hollered an enthusiastic Ricky, possibly seeing that bonus back on the horizon.

Inlike wore the satisfied grin of a successful man and modestly explained ‘That’s the third winner of the day I’ve backed’. Let’s hope he doesn’t get his accounts closed. Ed over at Hove told me that it had been a quiet race in the office, they had taken a monkey out of Hurricane Harvey but also run into £250 each-way the winner.

3:00 – Glenfarclas Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5YO plus) 3m 6f

The Cross Country race has been often maligned but on this occasion it resulted in the finish of the day. After three miles and six furlongs, just a nose separated the, collared on the line, 14/1 chance Potters Corner and last stride 4/1 winner Diesel D’Allier.

As the eventual winner crept closer and closer up the hill, little mumbles of ‘Come on Harry’ got louder and louder. Inlike Flynn had just added to his tally of winners, luckily that translated into a good win for the book too. The jolly Back On The Lash had been the only loser in the ledger for a couple of grand. Had the jolly won it would have tee’d up nicely a story I heard about a firm who tallied up 37 pints of Guinness between them on a Friday night, but that pickled story will keep for another day.

3:35 – Citipost Handicap Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 2) (4YO plus) 3m

Business was light in the last, a couple of modest bets made outsiders Shannon Bridge and Ask Dillon losers in the book. Sporting John was also red in the book for £250. I don’t think many would mind that the team were cheering on the jolly for Inlike.

Sadly, it was not to be for our intrepid punting hero. Apart from coming with a brief run between the last two Sporting John never really looked like winning, eventually finishing fourth. The plus side was that 9/1 winner Kansas City Chief was a modest cop in the book. I didn’t go back down to the pitch, I told Flynn that only mugs cash out, let’s hope he ignored me…..

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