It was disappointing to see all the negativity on twitter last night over the well-spoken trio of young men interviewed on ITV racing yesterday. It was sad and a bit shocking to be honest to see the animosity towards them just because they were deemed ‘posh’. Those three had no more say in being born to their backgrounds than those proudly working class who appeared to resent them. One thing is fairly certain, you won’t be seeing this trio of lads on the front cover of the Sun whacking each other with plastic chairs at a summer meeting any time soon. I quite liked that the guys sported their tweed and individual hairstyles in jaunty fashion. I wore my best tweed suit to cover my ink and cap the dodgy barnet in solidarity for those fine fellows.

There was a bit of a niggle from our very own Lofty last night. As we slurped our post-race beers he mentioned that apart from one photo, yesterday’s blog was devoid of any mention of Ricky, Oli and the man himself down on the bottom rail. He went on to add that they had in fact won money for the firm while the glory pitch in Tatts lost bundles. I told Lofty that if he sent me any info from the bottom rail after each race I’d include it, he replied that indeed he would. Watch this space.

12:30 – JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Registered As The Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (3YO only) 2m ½f

The big day attracted a big crowd of enthusiastic punters keen to get stuck in. The top rail laid several nice if not massive bets. Ben Hicks, and Tony on the front of the joint were keeping Inlike Flynn and Kyle busy tapping the bets in. You may wonder where Ben the boss was, well so were we, he was expected but a definite non-runner by the time they set off for the first. After brisk business the book had Magistrato, the jolly, the four-figure loser with Rocky Man a taker. Knight Salute winning at 9/2 was a decent result and got the day off to a good start. Over in the Star Sports office Rory told me that the favourite getting beaten had saved a £100,000 multiple payout as well as flooring bets of £3000 – £2000, £1300 – £800 and £8750 – £5000. A handy all round result for the firm to kick off the day. Lofty on the Lower Rail? I didn’t hear a dickie bird from out humpy hero.

1:05 – Jewson Tool Hire Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus) 3m 1f

While betting on the first a punter came in to enquire Strictlyadancer, he was quoted 7/2 and promptly pulled up £2500 to have on. He was accommodated. Once betting on the race got underway good and proper that price was soon history. The Christian Williams horse was the only one the punters wanted, went off 9/4 favourite and won. Rory in the office had even worse news, telling me ‘Strictlyadancer was the worst result for us, we had a double running on which cost us £75,000 and few singles of around £200-£500 to top it up, Two Taffs attracted a bet of £5400 – £300 each-way which stayed in the hod but was a drop in the ocean.

Word reached Inlike Fynn that Ben was no longer coming, in other words, ‘at ease troops’, I wore my best clobber and all. Lofty neglected to furnish me with any info from the Lower Rail so sadly I’m unable to big up that team’s heroic bookmaking endeavours.

1:40 – From The Horse’s Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m

Just four went to post for the next but there was only money for Dan Skelton’s favourite Third Time Lucki, Inlike laid a bet of £2000 – £4500 and £160 – £400 on the pitch. Rory in the office told me that they’d laid bets of £2000 – £5000 and £4000 – £10,000 over there. The odds were landed easily, there might have been more of a race had Captain Tom Cat not come down at the last closing on a tired favourite but I don’t expect many would say that he’d have caught the winner anyway. Lofty? No, not a squeak.

Next up, the big one….

2:15 – Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 4f

Paddy Power, the sponsors of feature race got their money’s worth in what was an action-packed renewal. Last year’s winner Coole Cody was going well in a ding-dong battle with the eventual 9/1 winner Midnight Shadow when falling at the second-last. The winner then made a Horlicks of the last himself, Ryan Mania did well to stay on board and was then running out of fuel alarmingly up the hill but held on bravely from the fast finishing 11/2 favourite Protektorat.

Talking exclusively to me after the race Paddy Power’s PR guru Paul Binfield told me ‘I’d have liked to have seen Coole Cody win, I was sat next to Evan Williams at the October Meeting here and he told me that he couldn’t believe that he, a Welsh sheep farmer, was here winning good races at Cheltenham, it would have been nice to see him win another big prize’ Paul went on to add, ‘It was a shame Coole Cody came down but Midnight Shadow has won at Cheltenham before in another Paddy Power sponsored race and did it well today and I’d like to congratulate the Sue and Harvey Smith team on their win’.

Betting on the pitch was very busy but relatively light, hardly surprising in such a competitive heat. The biggest bet of the race was £400 on Simply The Betts at 18/1 though the favourite was losing £4000 and the bogie in the book. The winner copped £2000, ‘The fightback begins’ grinned Inlike Flynn. Over at the Star Sports office Rory told me that hey had laid Zanza to the tune of £1000 each-way and £750 each-way at 11/1, Protektorat £500 each-way at 7/1 and £1000 each-way at 8/1 Spiritofthegames a monkey each-way at 25/1 Deyran de Carjac £100 each-way at 40/1 and 50/1.

The feature of the feature race was Lofty redeeming himself with an eloquent and informative message, so good I’ll just cut and paste it, ‘Mega busy feature race. £20k difference the first two, obviously our way!’ Thanks Lofty.

2:50 – Paddy Power Games Handicap Hurdle (Listed) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m

Sadly, Inlike’s fightback lasted until Sporting John won the next, the 9/2 winner was the second worst in the book taking out over £800. The office fared better, Rory told me that they had laid Ballymillsy, ten grand at 10/3 and also took a grand out of Proschema at SP.

Meanwhile, Lofty was getting the hang of this reporting lark, sadly this message didn’t make good reading. ‘And after the trumpet, we did it all back on Sporting John.’ Still, with two races to go and a punting crowd in front of them, there was a chance to get back into the game.

3:25 – Paddy Power Feel Like A Favourite Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3YO plus) 2m 5f

Star Sports also have a betting shop on course, up in the Sovereign Lounge, they reported laying a bet of £9000 – £3000 over Unexpected Party in the penultimate. Dan Skelton’s charge was a loser for a monkey in the on-course book and the subject of a £3300 – £1100 bet in the office. They had also laid a bet of £2000 – £400 each-way Mackelduff which was the bogie for £2700 in the Tatts book. Lofty? Nope, nothing. I suppose two races isn’t bad.

3:55 – Stirrups Restaurant And Cocktail Bar Evesham Mares’ Open NH Flat Race (Listed) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m ½f

The concluding 15-runner bumper looked the sort of race where a result might pop up in favour of the bookmakers. It didn’t, Bonttay the 2/1 favourite won under a triumphant air-punching Paddy Brennan. The combination were spearheading a stable 1-2 for the Fergal O’Brien yard, there were rightly ecstatic celebrations from the trainer who knows how to celebrate, he gets a lot of practice these day!

The book didn’t suffer as bad as you might imagine having laid a bet of £500 each-way the unplaced Mayhem Mya. The office appeared to get away with it too, the biggest bet they laid was a monkey each-way Fire Lake at 20/1. As for Lofty down on the bottom rails, your guess is as good as mine….

We’re back tomorrow with a mountain to climb.


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