AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT: Clear As Mud

It’s a week when there’s been some controversy on various topics in the racing world. Firstly though, what’s happening with the BritBet, RDT amalgamation taking over from AGT running the betting rings? Absolutely nothing, at least that how it appears which is a bit strange considering the AGT contract runs out on August 31st and with them the Betting Ring Managers and all the backroom staff that organise all things betting ring with them. How about an announcement and a bit of clarity?

There was great news for the tote and the World Pool where The 2022 Cazoo Derby set a record for the highest ever turnover on a World Pool race at over £6,000,000. There has been some talk about seeding and lack of transparency on social media regarding the new tote operation since. I recently interviewed Jamie Hart of the tote who explained a lot of this and has been interacting on social media to try and explain questions further.

He really does seem a great guy, but one thing he did sort of dodge in the interview, blaming BritBet, see above, was the proliferation of ‘lookalike bookmaker’s pitches’ around racecourses. You can tell by the way Jamie interacts with people on Twitter and his enthusiasm in the #BettingPeople interview, that he’s put his heart and soul into the resurgent tote operation. They obviously have big plans and are making them a reality, the link-up with World Pool a great example.

It seems such a shame when he and his team have a product that they are promoting so well the way they are marketed on course. If it was me, I’d be pushing for tote outlets with branding that stands out like beacons and scream, ‘Here’s the new tote, we are offering racegoers a great deal, come and bet with us’. Instead, having people one observer described ‘dressed like ‘Peaky Blinders’ manning pitches that to novice punters look like genuine racecourse bookies, appears quite tawdry. Rather than promote the tote, they rather grubbily say in all but words, ‘OK we can’t really compete with the on-course bookies that we’re trying to compete with, but make us look like them and shoe us into the best positions we might fool a few people into betting with us’. Not a good look at all, Jamie and team deserve better.

I don’t need to go into the fireworks at Epsom at all. People much better than me have all had their say. I must admit, I wasn’t the first to instinctively duck when they went off at the top of the stands prior to the Derby. Poor old Pete Smith on Sid Hooper’s joint next to Star Sports was almost under the firm’s computer, ‘And I’m used to the rougher parts of Bristol’ he commented on his exit from shelter!

Most recently, there has been some real indignation that 360 odd chaps attended the 90th Annual Derby do at the Savoy where females weren’t invited. Those that went included what the Racing Post described as ‘Dignitaries’ and alluded to some of their own number being there too. Unsurprisingly, there was a backlash to the story, especially as racing has been actively encouraging diversity and inclusivity. The event for men only was described as ‘Damaging To Racing’ and an ‘Embarrassing Anachronism’.

My mum is 82 in a couple of weeks. She’s not really a racing person but does like watching the big meetings on the TV and especially enjoys the fashion segments. For one of her landmark birthdays, I bought her and my Stepdad tickets for Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. I really wanted to make her dream come true and buy them both tickets for the Royal Enclosure. It wasn’t possible, I couldn’t just buy them even though I could pull up the readies. A new applicant needs to be sponsored by two eligible members and I wasn’t that well connected. So, my mum, a church going, retired primary school teacher wasn’t in the shuffle to be allowed in the Royal Enclosure, not deemed worthy due to lack of connections in high places.

She still wouldn’t be, it’s still the same rules. I’m not suggesting that they should let just anyone into Royal Enclosure, that mystique is a big part of the meeting. However, if people are going to get on their high horses about elitist, non-inclusive, outdated anachronisms they need to do some with all of them. I’m guessing there will be little of the same outrage about the event commencing 14th June.



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