Sat in my office editing, as the rain poured down yesterday just 20 miles as the crow flies from Exeter I didn’t expect racing to be on. It’s lucky I have no meteorological aspirations or have any compunction to bet on it as it certainly was and I was lucky enough to be able to attend. Aye Aye.
A full house of paying customers would have been disappointed had my miserable prediction been correct. In normal years, the course would have been busting at the seams with workmates holding Christmas parties. But still, four bookmakers were doing business in the ring with punters to service so any semblance of normality in 2020 is welcome.
12:35 – Subscribe to Racing TV On YouTube Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (GBB Race)
The opening heat looked hard work for the 13 runners, the race eventually going to Pure Bliss which was sent off at 9/4, trained by Harry Fry and ridden by Sean Bowen. After the race, Harry said that the winner was a lovely filly and that it was nice to see her win under a penalty. He added that the winning jockey’s confidence was sky high. The trainer has been in his new yard now for six months, and happy to report that his charges are healthy and well. The winner had appeared a bit weak in the market with Coquelicot back in third sent off the 7/4 favourite. I was hoping it had been a good start back in the Star Sports office but a reported bet of £8250 – £3000 the winner had put paid to that notion.
1:05 – Get Daily Tips At racingtv.com Maiden Hurdle (GBB Race) (Class 4) (4YO plus)
The business end of the next was a right old ding-dong between 3/1 chance Dock Road and 15/8 Karl Philippe. The former got the better of the latter by a hard-fought head with the 13/8 jolly Red Lion Lad back in third. The winner, trained by Ben Pauling and ridden by Jonjo O’Neil Jr, battled well on ground that the jockey described as heavy and a bit dead, adding that his mount went through it fine but didn’t know if the horse would improve on better going as today was the first time he’d ridden it. Once I again I anticipated a good result in the office, it wasn’t, that despite a bet of £11,250 – £6000 the runner-up.
1:35 – EBF Mares’ Novices’ Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus)
Momella provided Harry Fry and Sean Bowen with a double, winning by 12l in an incident-packed race where the 5/4 favourite Vienna Court parted company with jockey Jordan Nailor after the first. An unlucky unseating the result of what Richard Hoiles described as a ‘coming together’ with Running d’Or. Momella went on to win by 12 lengths. Talking after the race her jockey said that the winner was a tough mare who needed getting her confidence back, adding that she’d jumped well and was always going to be running on in what he described as proper soft going. As for the betting, I’ll quote the relieved office who sent me the message; ‘Finally a good result at Exeter – all the money was for the ominously named Deja Vue, three bets totalling £8000 at 9/4’. That’s handy, it was starting to sound like Christmas was cancelled in Star Sports.
2:05 – BoscaSports Transforming Retail Betting Display Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) (3YO plus)
3/1 chance Trans Express made it four from the last four renewals when winning by a couple of lengths from Buckhorn George. The 10-year-old gelding made all to win under Lucy Gardner for her mother Susan, staying on tenaciously to repel all challengers. Speaking to The Racing Post’s James Stevens after the race, Lucy said that last year the meeting was abandoned before the race and that she was sitting in the weighing room thinking ‘Noooo’, she’d fancied the horse’s chances in the testing conditions even more than this year, after all, he’s another year older. News from the office was staying upbeat too. Despite some early money for the winner, the serious bets had all been for the David Pipe’s Brinkley including £5000 at 5/4 and a grand at ‘up the arm’ 11/8.
2:40 – Visit racingtv.com Handicap Chase (Class 3) (4YO plus)
It was a father and son affair continuing the family theme in the race before the penultimate when Jonjo O’Neill Jr bagged his double on the day when riding a winner for his dad Jonjo Senior. Cobolobo returned 12/1 and recorded 3 ¼ victory. Bets in the office included £10,000 – £5000 Innisfree Lad and £6000 – £1500 each-way Go Whatever, both of which stayed in the metaphorical hod. Meanwhile, the blue skies that had welcomed racegoers to Haldon Hill had been replaced by consistent rain, it was OK though, not horizontal yet, then you know it’s bad.
3:15 – Join Racing TV Now Handicap Chase (Class 5) (4YO plus)
There were some lovely sporting scenes after the last. Kayley Woollacott’s charge Clondaw’s Answer had just got the better of the Bowen team’s Lermoos Legend by a nose. As the winning jockey Michael Nolan was preparing for a post-race interview Peter Bowne passed by, to whom he called ‘Sorry’. ‘No, you’re not’ came the reply followed by a ‘Good luck to you lad’. Lovely stuff. ‘You don’t get that on the flat’ was one observation. The winning pilot admitted that he landed a bit deep jumping the last, but ran on well. He added that neither he nor Sean on the runner-up had any idea who had won it saying that it was the gelding had all sorts of problems and that this was his first run since taking a heavy fall at Ffos Las a month ago. So, all credit to the trainer and her team. The winner returned at 12/1. Ed Dark in the office reported that, and these are the words bookies love to hear, ‘The winner was a complete skinner’, bets that bit the dust were £18,000 – £2000 each-way Tanrudy, £7500 – £1500 Blue Monday and £6000 – £1000 Tudors Treasure which justifies another ‘Aye Aye’.
3:50 – Like Racing TV On Facebook Now Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 5) (3YO plus)
Between races I called Paul Metcalfe of the Pickwick-Bevan firm who were betting out in Tattersalls. He told me that business had been ‘very very good’ and that they were winning before hanging up with bets being called in the background ringing in my ears.
It’s always good to wheel out the old Devonshire colloquialism ‘dimpsy’ to describe a winter last race at Exeter. Not the ideal ‘getting out’ race for punters who were doing their money. Amateur jockeys in a big field on heavy going.
That is unless of course that you latched onto Amzac Magic and backed it into 4/1 favourite. Jack Barber’s charge ridden by Tristan Durrell kicked on at the bottom bend and went on to win nicely. I feared the worst from the office but no, it was happy days, Ed Dark told me they had two bogies Flou Artsistique bets including £3600 – £800, £2250 – £500, £1350 – £300 and Dorana £2750 – £500 so the winner was a winner. I won’t do another ‘Aye Aye’ that’s akin to a rub-down and it is the festive season.
Merry Christmas and thanks for reading in 2020.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of:
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