NEWTON ABBOT WEDNESDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from Newton Abbot’s meeting on Wednesday. There was plenty of drama in the ring BEFORE a bet was struck which our roving reporter has chosen to ‘gloss’ over.
There was a bit of a disaster in the betting ring at Newton Abbot, prior to any racing or betting taking place. One of the bookmakers appeared to have been doing, or was at least planning to do, some decorating when he wasn’t racing. He’ll need to go back to his favourite paint store for one more tin. That is to replace the one that fell out of his van and emptied onto the tarmac. I won’t name the bookie to spare his blushes, but he was quickly on the case contacting Clerk of the Course Jason Loosemore. Before you could say ‘6/4 painted’ or ‘That’s taken the gloss off the day’ as onlookers did, a team of racecourse employees were on the case. Half an hour later it was gone, lucky it was emulsion and not gloss.
2:10 Rewarding Ownership With The ROA Handicap Hurdle
The opening race was a big deal for Newton Abbot, it was screened on ITV Racing as part of their York coverage. The racecourse put the handicap hurdle worth £25,800 on first to fit into the schedule. All 13 went to post and racegoers and viewers at home were treated to an excellent finish with four battling it out after the last. 25/1 Tamarillo Grove won by a length for Sophie Leach under Connor Brace and no doubt had off-course bookmakers toasting the race being televised. The on-course layers were quite chuffed two.
2:45 Enjoy Exclusive Events With The ROA Handicap Chase
The second race went to Inaminna for Neil Mulholland under Tom Scudamore, winning at 4/1. The race was marred by favourite Ollie Vaar appearing to go lame two out.
3:20 ROA Members Enjoy Free Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase
The weather caught a few people out, bookies and punters alike. It looked sunny and indeed it was sunny but accompanied by a wind that appeared to emanate from the Baltic. Those that donned shorts and flip-flops were soon regretting it, especially those of the bookmaking fraternity who had to stay put. There were lovely scenes after the next to warm them up when Bryony Frost rode Quinto to victory for her father Jimmy. The win evidently meant the world, though the bookies were happy too. The winner returned 12/1 beating the 7/4 favourite Taaffes Castle in the process.
Getting the favourite beaten really pleased the bookies after a punter tried to take on most of the front-line single-handed having monkeys in readies on the jolly, with each layer as he passed them. Let’s hope real cash money being bet (and staying in the bookies hods of course) catches on again. Even the most miserable bookie on the track Richard Watson was smiling, sort of.
3:55 Racehorse Owners Association Supports Mental Health Week Novices’ Hurdle
The betting for the fourth heat revolved around Nicky Henderson’s even money shot Igor and Philip Hobbs’ 6/4 chance Dolphin Square. The market got it the wrong way around, the latter won under an excellent ride from jockey David Maxwell.
I was just saying happy birthday to bookie Dax Oliver, in person on facebook, as is the way these days of course, happy birthday Dax, 40 today, there’s the treble up, when this ‘memory’ popped up. I assume from this very meeting a decade ago. Why do you think I looked so suspect? The paunch or the braces that (I hasten to add) accentuated it?
4:25 ROA Owners Jackpot Handicap Hurdle
The race before the penultimate was reduced to 14 runners from 16 and featured a very short-priced favourite for the type of race. Fergal O’Brien’s charge Phoebus Lescribaa was sent off at 5/4 but got beaten by Susan Gardner’s 40/1 shot Lapford Lad under Conor Shoemark. That’s a real kick in the goolies for favourite backers but a cracking result for the betting ring who were quietly getting a few quid. Watson cracked and smiled again.
4:55 Totnes And Bridgetown Steeplechase Company Open Hunters’ Chase
The penultimate was another poorly supported Hunter Chase which has been the norm of late. Just three runners took on Paul Nicholls’ Southfield Vic which was sent off 4/7. The gelding justified those odds by winning without too much ado under Natalie Parker. The victory was fabulous for connections, but as a betting heat it was pretty much a non-event.
5:30 Benefits For ROA Members At roa.co.uk Intermediate Open NH Flat Race
Word on course was that Jonjo O’Neil’s Cary’s Commodity was the buzzer in the bumper. The market backed that up with a 2/1 into 13/8 move. There also appeared to be money for Nigel Twiston-Davies’ Perfect Percy 8/1 into 5/1. Closer scrutiny asking around bookmakers revealed that very little business had been done. ‘They only run the last race so the punters can beat the traffic’ and ‘Watching that paint being cleaned before racing was more interesting’ the two replies that come to mind. The truth is probably a bit of the ring were reluctant to give back what they’d won so weren’t really ‘having a go’.
If that was the case it was probably just as well as The Swagman winning at 7/2 was hardly a great result for the bookies but at least they got the jolly beaten into second. The bookmakers would settle for results like todays on a regular basis. Newton Abbot race again in a couple of weeks.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring