The first time I visited Newmarket was in December 1987. I was on leave from the Army, went to the December sales then the next day visited the Horseracing Museum which was located in the High Street. I also remember being impressed that the Newmarket Wimpey had pictures of horses hanging in it !!

It was 21 years before I visited again. Despite working for bookmakers from 1989 none of them ventured as far as HQ. It wasn’t really in my area for TurfTV either, but a member of staff who had a horse to feed often cried off the drive to Newmarket so it was I who made the journey up to the home of horse racing. Journey aside I always enjoyed my trips. For the first couple of years, I stayed at Dullingham at a B&B called The Firs right across the road from The Boot pub which was very lively on a Friday. I particularly remember spending one evening with a group of people that included a top trainer. He was only having a half, 19 halves later he tipped us up a two-year-old that duly won the next day.

My staying at Dullingham tradition ended when I spilt a full and very large glass of red wine onto the white cotton sofa in my room. I wasn’t barred by the owners who were lovely people but just felt so mortified I never returned. My dwelling of choice after that was The Rutland Arms (pictured below). It was mostly affordable and full of character, I often wondered if the room I was in was the one where William Hill shuffled off this mortal coil, nobody appeared to know what room it was he turned his toes up in. However, I was rather glad to learn in Graham Sharpe’s book, it was a suite, I never stayed in a suite.

I’m not there today but am getting all the bets from Ed Dark and JB in the Star Sports office. They already had some action to report in the morning. Yesterday they laid a lumpy double, the first leg was Inspiral which did the business in style, the winnings of which was all going on to Native Trail in the Dewhurst today, the punter standing to win £80,000 if he cops. Native Trail was also the subject of £20,000 at SP in one of Star’s London shops this morning. Here’s a full list of Star’s shops.

1:10 – Dubai Nursery (Class 2) (2YO only) 7f

The guys and gals in the office wouldn’t have even finished the sandwiches before the opening nursery kicked off at 1.10. Luckily for those still chewing their lunch it was a fairly low-key affair prior to what promised to be a lively afternoon in the trading room. Ed Dark reported that the only bet of note was £6000 – £1500 each-way American Star which finished last. One punter did find the winner Point Lynas to the tune of £100 each-way at 10/1 which only dented a modest winning race to kick off proceedings.

1:45 – Godolphin Flying Start Zetland Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2YO only) 1m 2f

The punters appeared to be keeping their powder dry in the next too. The biggest bet laid in the office was £4500 – £1000 over Bluegrass which drifted out to 6/1 and finished fourth. Ed told me that the winner, and gamble landed 5/2 winner Goldspur was well laid in the morning including a monkey each-way at each-way prices but were they relatively unscathed in the live betting only laying a £600-£200 on the show but it was enough to make it a small loser. Brian Gleeson interviewed the Sid Hooper firm on the TV, they’d laid a bet of £16,000 – £20,000 Native Trail in the Dewhurst. It did seem as if the money-buyers out there were determined to get their last Newmarket payday of the season. The excitement was starting to build, it was great to see the on-course bookies on the TV too, long may it continue.

2:20 – Emirates Autumn Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2YO only) 1m

When an odds-on shot bolts up, a ‘naperoony’ according to ‘The Punter’ previous #BettingPeople interviewee, professional gambler and man about Newmarket Town Martin Raymond as Coroebus did, you fear the worst when the message from the office comes through. But no, no telephone number bets, no monsters on the winner, just a monkey at 4/5 and a £2000 win double with, yep you guessed it, Native Trail. Surely the money continuing to pile on his back would slow him down? At least we didn’t have much longer to wait.

2:55 – Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) (Class 1) (2YO only) 7f

They knew! What a game it is being a punter. Native Trail won impressively despite drifting to 5/6. That drift not great when the £20,000 in the London shop was at SP. The double running on from yesterday copped £80,000. OK, like I did, anyone watching the race might have thought the jolly was beaten for a few strides at the furlong pole, his backers got their money’s worth of excitement but would only briefly have been edging off their seats before he quickened away. As a well known on-course bookie would say, ‘Money without work.’ At least it was today. JB had taken over from Ed in the office. Considering some the bets that Star Sports have laid during the season, they got away with it. The biggest wager struck in the office was £8,000 – £10,000, poor old Sid Hooper at the track would have needed half his team to count out the £36,000 on course. Let’s hope they packed plenty of elastic bands.

3:35 – Together For Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3YO plus) 2m 2f

The Cesarewitch is always a popular if not particularly lumpy betting heat. They guys and gals in the office were kept busy with plenty of fair-sized wagers including for £4250 – £500, £1700 – £200 each-way x2 £27000 – £3000 Calling In The Wind, £2000 -£500 each-way, £8000 – £2000 each-way MC Muldoon, £11,000 – £500 each-way Platform Nineteen and £6800 – £800 each-way the 8/1 winner Buzz. JB told me that the winner was the second-worst result in a race where there was never really a hope of a ‘result’ from a long way out.

4:10 – Dubai British EBF Boadicea Stakes (Fillies’ And Mares’ Listed) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 6f

The modestly sized bets theme of the day continued in the penultimate. There were still some decent wagers though, including £9000 – £2000 each-way Chocoya £3000 – £500 each-way & £4250 – £500 Bimble and £1000 – £100 and £1200 – £100 the winner She Do. Getting Chocoya which returned 4/1 favourite out of the frame in fourth was very handy.

4:45 – Darley Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 1m 1f

With a Group race to bring the afternoon’s action on the turf to a close there was always a chance that the office would see some decent business. JB had good news after Mostahdaf won the lucky last. That was surprising as it was only 3/1 chance. They’d laid bets of £22,000 – £1000 each-way and £4500 – £250 each-way Tyson Fury and had been unable to get the winner in the hod. The summing up of the last read ‘Good result there, we couldn’t lay the winner’. So, an Aye Aye to conclude Saturday’s racing at Newmarket. However, there was still time for the day to end badly, John added, ‘We’re also not wanting him (Tyson Fury) to win later’. Please bear that in mind if watching tonight, think of Ben’s next dinner.

We’re back on course next, Ascot for Champion’s Day.


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