I usually start my betting reports with little stories from meetings I have attended in the past. Sadly, I have never been to Doncaster so have no tales to tell. I’m guessing it was a little far for any of the Westcountry bookmakers I worked for to travel and it wasn’t on my Turf TV radar either. So, this is a betting report from the Star Sports trading room.
1:15 – Vertem Nursery (Str) (Class 2) (2YO only) 1m
Only four went to post for the first heat. The betting suggested that the race was going to be fought out between Fall Of Rome, sent off at 5/4 jolly and La Pulga the 6/4 second-in. Hollie Doyle on Desert Angel had other ideas though beating the pair of them priced at 15/2 and outsider of the field. I was eagerly anticipating hearing about the ‘up the front two’ book that the guys in the office had just copped on. Sadly, JB at the coal face reported that business had been very light to start. The biggest bets laid were £450 – £300, and £300 – £200 twice Fall Of Rome. Still it wasn’t a losing race.
1:45 – Portland Handicap (Class 2) (3YO plus) 5½f
Next up and a very tricky handicap got the punters reaching deeper into their pockets. JB told me that they had seen bets of £10,500 – £1500 Whenthedealinsdone, a monkey each-way the 7/1 runner-up Boundless Power, £6000 – £500 each-way Mr Wagyu and £3000 – £500 each-way and £11,000 – £200 each-way the winner and 11/2 favourite Hurricane Ivor. The jolly got the money for the punters despite lugging top weight and having not got their whack in the opener put the firm behind. Business was still relatively light but that is to be expected in this type of heat.
2:20 – Champagne Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2YO only) 7f
All eyes were on Frankie Dettori on the Queen’s Derby hope Reach For The Moon. He was 4/7 favourite to beat his three rivals, just the sort of race the office brace themselves for a call requesting a monster bet. There were a couple of four-figure bets including £600 – £1050 and £1200 – £2100 for the jolly but nothing like the colossal bets Star Sports are famed for taking. Maybe the lack of lumps reflected reservations about the horse which was fairly easy to back eventually returning 8/13f when finishing a head behind 5/1 chance Bayside Boy. I expressed surprise to JB that the punters appeared to be keeping their powder dry. He told me that they were ‘about today’ but so far Doncaster’s card didn’t appear to be appealing to them as a betting medium.
Star’s PIPPED offer kicked in on the odds-on jolly as it was a neck or less in an ITV race. You take with one hand and give it back with the other sometimes ….
3:00 – Cazoo Park Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 7f
5/2 chance Glorious Journey won the next after attracting a bet of £5500 – £2000 which was the biggest of the race. Other bets of note included a grand at ‘top of the head’ 9/4 Danyah which finished last and a monkey each-way the 33/1 fourth of sixth Oh This Is Us. Still no monster bets to report from the office though and not much damage done either, but you have to take it to win it.
3:35 – Cazoo St Leger Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3YO only) 1m 6½f
We should of course all be careful what we wish for. As a racing bloke who loves going racing, writing a report from an office not much bigger than a coffin – I was hoping for a monster bet to justify my existence, often under scrutiny. That big bet was conspicuous by its absence and they were off. The plus side of that was I could sit back and enjoy Hurricane Lane’s impressive victory in the concluding Classic of the 2021 season. At least the firm didn’t suffer financially when the 8/11 favourite bolted up. Then the ‘ping’ went. It was JB in the office with the bets, a £7000, £2000 and £2000 wagers over the winner, and the incredibly nasty sting in the tail, a whopping one £200,000 – £250,000.
4:05 – Hippo Pro 3 Handicap (Class 2) (3YO plus) 1m 4f
The punting in penultimate just added to the agony the firm already suffered in the St Leger. Title was sent off the 11/10 favourite after attracting office bets of £22,000 – £16,000 and £13,750 – £10,000, that’s both at 11/8 if you’re reaching for you abacus, then justified that confidence eased down and in doing so topped up the deficit on the day. Yes, easing down in a flat race, that really is giving the bookies that stood it the rub down.
Regular readers of my variously descriptively prefixed betting reports over the years will have heard me mention on numerous occasions ‘Lofty’ the genial giant of the betting ring. If you are mystified as to why the grumpy one gets a mention at this point, no he wasn’t a dollar in the pound share in today’s book, but he likes a Purebred Arabian race when betting on course.
There was a big one taking place at Doncaster, the UK Arabian Derby no less, hence the hour gap between the penultimate and last thoroughbred races. Lofty has a theory about such races, the rags can’t win. Not probably can’t but still often do on a daily basis in regular races, but can’t win. With this in mind, he gets to work laying the rags. Were he at Sunny Donny right now he’d be annoying all those around him betting well by giving the outsiders the absolute stripe. It’s always paid off, he’s like a dog with two dicks after each time he cops the lot. Of course, you can proudly strut around several times before a 50/1 poke pops up.
Amazingly, Lofty had a Saturday off to watch Rick Astley at Leafy Lingfield. ATR cameras captured someone that appeared very much like him wedged between a gaggle of women of a certain age at the front of the stage shortly before the first. Let’s hope his bladder holds out, he’s of a certain age too you know.
Had Lofty been at Doncaster rather than drooling over 80’s heartthrobs at Lingfield he’d have copped again, the odds on favourite Abbes won the race, all that rag money would have been safely in the bag.
5:10 – Vermantia Handicap (Str) (Class 2) (3YO plus) 1m
Layers at Doncaster not betting on the Arabian Derby had an hour to compose themselves after the body blow and the follow-up jabs of the last two races. Cruelly, the coup-de-grace was not so mercifully landed in the last in the very last stride. The 11/8 favourite Royal Fleet broke the bookmaker’s hearts when getting up from 12/1 chance Scottish Summit in the shadow of the post. That’s a very nasty feeling for the guys in the office, even if it’s not your money when you’ve laid a bet of £40,625 – £25,000 the winner. The blow was slightly lessened by a losing wager of £21,000 – £7000 third-placed Raadobarg, but only slightly.
So that was that for the last classic meeting of the season. The punters came out on top again. The only ray of sunshine, more people seem to read these reports when the bookies have done their orchestras, you vindictive lot, but thanks anyway.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
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