The Sunday of the Paddy Power three days is often considered to likely be the quietest of the three days. With that in mind Kyle was dispensed with and Lofty and team had relocated to bet number two on the top rail. Lofty was at pains to defend his relative lack of communication yesterday but moving into a position sandwiched between the Hughes and Hooper firms, both triers of the highest order, might have been a bit of an extreme remedy. It was easy to just have a peek into his computer to see how the book was looking though – so at least I won’t have to have a guess up on how they were doing.

1:10 – Novices’ Chase (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5YO plus) 3m ½f

In the opener at the off the rails book was looking quite light but still showed Does He Know losing £1500, Flynn on pitch three in Tattersalls was a grand worse the same horse. The bogie had been backed from 11/4 into 2/1 so being red in both books was hardly surprising. It was also the only loser. There had been late money for Streets Of Doyen late on too, 12/1 into 9/1. Two of the book’s winners fell while the late money for the outsider never looked like winning.

Luckily, the book copped when Threeunderthrufive battled on to deny the persistent challenge of the favourite to secure an 11/4 victory for Paul Nicholls under Adrian Heskin. Rory in the Star Sports office reported fairly light business.Luckily they also copped too having laid Streets of Doyen £2500 at 12/1 and £2250 – £1000 Does He Know. At this point my wife messaged to say my outfit didn’t look quite as bright this morning so I removed my pullover to tone it down a bit. Tony Calvin and Lofty on twitter had both called me an Opal Fruit. Cheeky young scamps, I felt a bit wounded but if my wife agreed then they had a point an evasive action had to be taken.

1:45 – Jewson Click And Collect Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 3m 3½f

Between races I got chatting to Lynn Garritty who writes racecourse blogs from predominantly the northern circuit. Sadly, she said there wasn’t a lot to write about today, business was light but she was still smiling. Her blogs are a great insight to the lives of professional bookmakers and well worth you checking out.

I wasn’t exactly joint-rocking up at the Star pitches either. Flynn had two losers, Yala Enki for £800 and Empire De Maulde for £600. Lofty had two for a grand, Yala Enki and the flip-flopping late favourite The Mighty Don. Between them they didn’t appear to have a lot of chance. ‘It’s OK’ perked up Lofty, ‘Go The Other One will win and we’ll get the lot’. He didn’t, Bryony Frost did on Paul Nicholls’ Yala Enki, the combined on-course bogie. Luckily, the office fared better, Rory told me that they’d laid £12,500 – £5000 Empire De Maulde £1000 – £400 twice The Mighty Don but did fall into a £3000 – £1000 Yala Enki.

‘But Lofty, between us we don’t have a winner in the book’ ‘Don’t worry about that Inlike, just fill the hod’

2:20 – Shloer Chase (Registered As The Cheltenham Chase) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m

A roar went up prior to the third race. It appears that a gallant young man proposed on one knee to his now future wife in front of the rails bookies. Sadly, Ricky’s steam powered phone doesn’t take photos but thankfully ITV captured it:

Meanwhile, all the punters that didn’t have to splash out on sparklers for their intended wanted to back was Put The Kettle On. ‘If this wins, we’ll have a queue back to the parade ring’ quipped Flynn rather artistically. Lofty reported the same, but through slightly misty eyes having gone a gooey over the romantic interlude. Rory in the office told me that they had laid Put The Kettle On to the tune of £5625 -£3000, £1200 – £600 a couple of times and a monkey at 2/1 plus a £5000 – £1000 Politologue.

Luckily for the book, Put The Kettle on ran out of steam early enough for the team to enjoy the race finish. Nube Negra was a good winner for both the rails and Tatts pitch, the lack of a queue of winning punters snaking back to the parade ring was also most welcome.

2:55 – Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m ½f

The race before the penultimate was the opposite to the rest of the card, a 19-runner impossible to solve looking handicap. Both pitches saw plenty of very modest business. At the off, Lofty and Flynn had seven losers a piece. Rory in the office gave me their bets, bigger stakes but the same result, several losers with the field running for you. They included Glory and Fortune £22,00 – £2000 each-way, Botox Has £14,000 – £1000each-way and £28,000 – £2000, No Ordinary Joe £24,000 – £3000, £2750 -£500, Tritonic £20,000 – £2000 Jesse Evans £16,500 – £3000 and 12 monkeys Adagio.

The 11/1 winner, the Skelton’s West Cork was a loser in both racecourse books. ‘The first four home were all losers’ reported Lofty, just a little bit too cheerily. Fynn’s book was better, his copped more on the places than he did on the winner.

3:30 – Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle (Registered As The Sharp Novices’ Hurdle) (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m ½f

‘You won’t beat our price boys, you’ll wear your shoes out looking’

Only three lined up for the penultimate. Tony and Ben Hicks on the joint had been there all weekend so I thought I’d relive my younger days and ‘give them a hand’ on the joint. I had some fun for the few minutes I was up there, wheeled out some old cliches and revived an Ian Metcalfe RIP call, ‘You won’t beat it boys, you’ll wear your shoes out looking’. Did I increase the firm’s takings on the race or improve on the performance of Tone and Ben? No, but enjoyed my little stint at playing the big bookie on pitch 3 at Cheltenham. I didn’t bring any luck either, the 4/6 favourite I Like To Move It won the race and the book did a monkey. The office fared much worse, the bigger punters appeared to see the winner as a banker, bets included, £10,000, £1400. £1800 and £1000 but luckily all at 4/7.

4:00 – High Sheriff Of Gloucestershire Open NH Flat Race (Listed) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m ½f

The lucky last was a lively betting heat. The one that kept drifting was the favourite Aucunrisque despite Lofty seeing a monkey bet at 9/4 on the rail, Chris Gordon’s charge went off at 5/2 though was available at 11/4 in the ring. The shortener was Fergal O’Brien’s Royal Mogul which halved in price from 8/1 into 4/1 while Paul Nicholls’ Timeforatune was also well-backed into 3/1.

Like I said a good betting race. Between the books, all three mentioned were losers. Punters that stayed for the last were treated to an excellent race which ultimately went to Timeforatune, a taker in Fynn’s book and the bogie in Lofty’s. Ed Dark, having just enjoyed his first winner as a greyhound trainer, well done Ed, told me that there had been only one loser in the book.

The winner, having laid £15,000 – £5000 and £3000 – £1000 the winner. It wasn’t a great end to the weekend, but where would you rather be than racing at Cheltenham?

I’ll be toning down the clobber next time, that’s going teach Notty for getting dressed in the dark.

We’re back here in December, thanks for reading


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