SIMON NOTT: Chester Day Three betting report
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was a shame the glorious weather didn’t last until Friday but Chester was still a fabulous racecourse to be at. Walking from the car park I bumped into a bookmaker who pointed out the row of Chester Bet pitches (see below) that looked just like regular bookmakers’ joints. There had been a few grumbles from the Tattersalls books about them all week.
Talking of Chester Bet, one of their operators was taking bets near a bar that had a DJ as entertainment. The story goes that a refreshed punter meandered up to his booth and asked if he could play some 50 cent!
That story raised a few smiles, there were plenty more down in the ring after 12/1 Sound Advice won the opening Crabbie’s Earl Grosvenor Handicap especially as it beat the 13/8 favourite El Hayem into second, a great start for the layers.
The radiance in the ring lasted only as long as the Homeserve Dee Stakes and time it took the 4/5 shot Cliffs Of Moher to win it. Back to square one for those books that stuck it up the favourite.
The sun was trying to break through as they set off for the Sustainable Group (UK) Ltd Handicap. It didn’t actually make it but it didn’t matter to the bookies.
Copper Knight’s 7/1 win was all the shine the layers needed. Baz the Tash was tapping away on his own at his pitch, paying and and deftly batting away requests from girls clutching bottles of beer for one pound bets. He did manage a wink and shouted over the heads of the gaggle ‘I’m hoping the clerk gets paid double today’ Dave Brewer was all smiles too ‘You know it’s best to come for a chat after a result and not a jolly winning’ was his quite accurate observation before adding ‘It’s loads busier than yesterday but it’s a competitive market here, the punters aren’t stupid you have to go top price. Not like over there….’ He motioned to the four Chester Bet ‘pitches’ that appeared to have punters making orderly queues to bet with them, you can see why it grinds.
Between races twitter was all a flutter, the Racing Blogger was tweeting from our Mayfair Office apparently determined to ensure he won so much Ben would have to forsake five star dinners for McDonalds. Fearsome as his reputation as a punter is, the Blogger was given a VIP welcome when he arrived, sportsmen as the staff there are.
Meanwhile, back at Chester the sun was finally out. The Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes was an excellent betting heat with all eyes, if not bets, on easy to back 2/1 jolly US Army Ranger. They still were on him as he flashed past the post. His fast diminishing lead proved diminished – losing by a short head to rapid finisher Western Hymn. Frankie Dettori rode the 7/2 winner so still ensured the books had plenty to pay out, just not as much as it might have been.
Dettori rode a quick fire double when booting 11/8 favourite Gymnaste home in the TMT Group Maiden Stakes. To be fair the layers knew their fate a long way out. The last two races would decide the day for them.
Betting for the penultimate LDF Conditions Stakes centred around Judicial and Double Up. The trouble was the only one in the actual race was the winner 6/4 favourite Judicial the rest nowhere. And it all started so well for the ring too, now the game was almost up for those that stand the short ones.
One bookmaker was ruing laying a punter £1,600 – £800 the winner after he begged it up from 15/8. The backer had his rightful gloat as him came to draw £2,400. A short time later the same bookie braced himself as the punter came back for a bet in the DW Sports Apprentice Handicap Stakes. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a tenner so scruffy it looked like it had been in the wash and had it on I know not which. As he wandered off grinning from ear to ear the bookie called after him ‘No chance of getting it back then’ the smile burst into a laugh. The rascal.
I’m guessing he wasn’t on the winner 14/1 shot St Mary’s which beat 9/4 favourite Warp Factor home. The old adage was it’s tempting fate to call your horse speedy or zippy, I’m also guessing ‘Warp’ is the cardinal sin but then you’d have to be a Sci-Fi buff to know. So that was it, the end of a terrific three days racing at Chester – had the bookies won? They were too busy paying out and packing up to risk asking but probably, just. See you at Epsom where Star Sports bet on the rails.