AUTHOR: davidstewart


We were on course bright and early for Wednesday’s betting bonanza. I’m going to start with a couple of bits of news I missed yesterday. I heard last night that a rails bookmakers laid a winning £,2500 reverse forecast in the first. The story was that the lady punter actually asked for £5,000 reverse but was halved. The plot thickened when Georgia Toffolo posted the betting slip on Twitter. I’ll get the facts if I can.

Just to clarify, that wasn’t the Star Sports rails pitch but another layer happy to lay lumps, come racing. Flynn had a surprise, but not such a costly one when a racegoer came to draw a winning bet from the 2020 Festival! It appeared to have been neatly folded away for when the punter next came racing, £45 returns over Discorama in the 2.50 on March 10th 2020 duly squared up.

Great effort from a punter to cash this in two years later…

Behind us, on the Jack Bevan and Co (established 1897) joint where fifth-generation Archie Metcalfe was enjoying his first Cheltenham Festival. His dad, Paul, told me young Archie blotted his copybook somewhat by committing the cardinal sin of betting the favourite and bogie in the penultimate yesterday, to the tune of £100 too, after ‘an Irishman told him it would win’. Brazil getting up to win a short head would have been a chastening lesson of the turf learned for the budding bookie.

Incidentally, the Bevan firm had an infamous partner back in the early 1940s, none other than Billy Kimber. I’m sure he’d have bollocked him too!

📈 Toby Rose from Star Spreads: “As with yesterday, the favourite buyers are back, in a big way, and who can blame them? It’s hard to see Sir Gerhard and Shishkin beaten today; any other winning favourite on top of those two would see us chasing the punters again.

“Our buyers of the 2-3 distances for the entire Festival yesterday got off to a good start too.

“Today’s wish is simple, Fav’s beaten, and minimal distance between 2nd and 3rd.”

Luckily, the pitches were up before the rain started, but once it did it was relentless. Early business was badly affected as people preferred to stay dry so away from the bookies out in Tatts getting a drenching.

The weather didn’t dampen the spirits at the Star Sports pitch…

While there was little happening, I got the definitive lowdown from John, boss of the Sid Hooper firm, regarding that forecast. He had no idea his team on the bottom rail had laid the bet until after the race. They’d tried to call him but couldn’t get a signal. He was puzzled as to why the £30,000 he thought he’d lost was showing as more like £70,000. To the point of blaming his computer software and calling RDT over before they spotted the £2,500 reverse forecast. Not a great start to his day. But enough of the past, as a famous man once said ‘Let’s get gambling!’ on today’s racing.

1:30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 5f

Ben was desperate to get the jolly Sir Gerhard in the on-course book. 5/6 was hawking for a while, but the biggest bet he took was a grand at the price. At the off, the 8/11 favourite was losing £3,000 but not for the want of trying it wasn’t any more. It was quite handy really given the way it won.

Sir Gerhard, ridden by Paul Townend, on their way to winning the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle…

They didn’t have the same problem in the office, Ed Dark reported laying ‘several’ bets of £10,000 on the jolly as well as £15,000 Stage Star in the ‘Without’ market. Dave Jolly really didn’t want the first favourite to win as it was the kick-off leg of so many multiples. Not a great start, but on-course, at least, it could have been worse.

It’s damp here…

2:10 – Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Broadway Novices’ Chase) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 3m ½f

Ed Dark reported that the office had laid £20,000 at 9/4 L’Homme Presse, and £5,000 & £9,000 each/way on Farouk D’alene at 5/1.

Very damp indeed…

📈 Dave Jolly added: “Since the withdrawal of Bravemansgame, the money’s all been for L’Homme Presse, we have for six figures with Ahoy Senor who is only slightly better – Capodamno has been friendless with us, let’s hope the market is wrong”

News came through from the office of a monster bet.

Laid in the office, one bet to win a cool half a million in the Queen Mother. That was just before L’Homme Presse won after a superb round of jumping. That win, a 9/4 favourite, cost the office plenty but was a winner for a grand in the racecourse book.

📈 Toby Rose of Star Spreads popped up from nowhere to tell me: “Quite simply put; That is the worst possible start. Thankfully there are 19 more races for us to pull this back.”

2:50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO plus) 2m 5f

Ben of Star Sports was conspicuous by his absence during the betting of this fiendishly hard-looking heat. The troops got on with the betting, Hannah and Tony fielding the wet notes with wet hands wearing clammy clobber. The punters weren’t having lumps on but business was steady.

At the off, Saint Felicien and Gowel Road were the losers for £2,278 and £1,763 respectively whilst Camprond took the book.

Racegoers shelter from the rain…

Ed Dark reported bets of Ashdale Bob 10k e/w 20/1, Drop The Anchor 10k e/w 7/1, Gowel Road 10k e/w 13/2 and The Shunter 5k e/w 11/1 in the office.

📈 Dave Jolly reported: “Similar to yesterday, we’ve reached our first handicap well behind, great bet numbers but some big liabilities generated from far less turnover in this one.”

Commander Of Fleet winning at 50/1 was a very welcome result although the short head margin meant stakes refunded on the 18/1 runner-up Fastorslow under under Star’s extended PIPPED OFFER this week. The rain started to ease slightly prior to betting on the feature. Small mercies were happily received at this point.

3:30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m

Ben was back on the joint 15 minutes before the Queen Mother and asked Flynn what the race was called, two hours after laying a horse to lose half a million in it.

Star were betting with and without the favourite, both markets proving popular, though bets were less than plentiful due to the rain, which wasn’t.

Then the flurry started, plenty of decent bets, mostly for Shishkin. Ben was bombarding poor old Tony with bundles of notes to check before he had a chance to check the previous. It’s a tough old game on course, you know.

Shishkin pulling up and Chacun Pour Soir falling gave Energumene less of a task to land the half-million for the punter who risked £150,000 at 10/3. It wasn’t a pleasant sight watching Ben watch £500,000 go west. He took it stoically then understandably left the team to it.

Shishkin pulls up and Energumene wins…

📈 Possibly unaware of the financial disaster that had just befallen Star Sports Toby Rose’s message from Star Spreads was: “One for the good guys”

📈 Dave Jolly in Star’s office’s reaction was also stiff-upper-lipped, saying:
“We had plenty of multis knocked out on Shishkin, but it will still sting…”

4:10 – Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase) (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5YO plus) 3m 6f

Next up, the race where they go around and around and around just long enough to give the bookies time to go to the toilet and get back refreshed ready to pay out the backers of the winning favourite that just won. At least, that’s how I always remember it.

There was extra interest this year with the participation of Tiger Roll. It was going to be a slog, though, the going having been downgraded to heavy.

A punter got the ball rolling with a bet of a monkey each-way Easysland and 8/1.

It was the worse race so far for field money. The only other loser in the book was Tiger Roll for a carpet.

Ed Dark in the office had bigger bet news: Delta Work was all the rage – a loser for 6 figures including 2 bets of £5,000 at 3/1 but Tiger Roll has his supporters to with a £25,000 at 7/2.

The race was astonishing, at least the conclusion. Yes, they went around and around until the 5/2 favourite Delta Work won. He got up close home to collar the gallant Tiger Roll, leading to what I’m guessing will be the only time in Cheltenham Festival history that a winning favourite was wholeheartedly booed by the crowd.

Tiger Roll went down fighting – so much so that there was just three quarters of a length between the Gigginstown pair at the line which triggered – yes you’ve guessed it – another PIPPED payout. Star are refunding all stakes on horses that finish second this week and the refund list is growing. CLICK HERE

DAVY RUSSELL, Star’s brand ambassador reflected on the subsequent retirement of Tiger Roll – the horse he called: “My horse of a lifetime” CLICK HERE

📈 Toby at Star Spreads was booing, too: “Thought that was going to be a good cop. Unfortunately, Delta went off Fav. Poor result for us. And the 2-3 distance was a large 21.”

4:50 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5YO plus) 2m

Business picked up a bit for the penultimate while the rain continued to pour. Global Citizen returned 28/1 and was an absolute skinner for £3,000 in the book. Nobody to pay would have been music to Hannah and Tony’s ears; wet, cold but still smiling.

Runners and riders during the Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase…

Ed Dark in the office was happy – he reported that he had two big bogeys against the field in the shape of Editeur Du Gite and Andy Dufresne!

📈 Star Spreads Tony was chipper, too. He reported: “Decent result. One more to go, and it’s got a shorty in it.”

5:30 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO) 2m ½f

Ed Dark reporting going into the last that once it is again all about the favourite Facile Vega in a one-horse book. Numerous bets have been laid, including one bet of £25,000 and the final leg of quite a few multiples.

The announcement that the concluding bumper would be delayed by 10 minutes was a real rubdown for those soaked souls still taking bets in the ring. There was good business despite the atrocious conditions but that dried up – excuse the pun – the later things got. At the off, Flynn had Facile Vega the only loser apart from Seabank Bistro, in the red due to a bookie’s back bet, he asked for fractions, he said he’d read the blogs.

It was quite fitting that the jolly bolted up. No need to ask, it’s Willie’s in the bumper, wrapping up a miserable losing day with a bogie in the rain. Still, that’s the rainy day out of the way they tell me, it can’t be any worse tomorrow as far as losing goes, can it?

Meanwhile, time to turn the digs heating to full and get dried out.

We’re back tomorrow.

📈 Toby from Star Sports Spreads was upbeat with his final message, saying: “2-0 the punters, but it’s not over until the Martin Pipe”


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