AINTREE FESTIVAL FRIDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on day two of the Aintree Festival. It wasn’t the best start on Thursday – weather or results wise. There was also the inevitable sting in the tail which we are getting used to. How would day two fare. New dawn, New day and all that.
The firm enjoyed a fish supper, let shoes dry on the radiators overnight and were ready to roll into a forecast dry Ladies Day. Ben had made the effort in his Gresham Blake clobber, Lofty cheered up a bit and the punters reappeared from the bars. Things were looking rosy going into day two. It wasn’t just the racing conundrum that was confusing punters. Just what was Dave Nevison wearing on his ankles? A young lady ventured to ask and he confided they were weights and he’s ‘in training’. For what? Nobody knows, watch this space.
1:45 Merseyrail Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3)
The opener was a hard race to kick off with. Feature of the race was the weakness of forecast favourite Tedham which drifted from 7/2 to 13/2 in places at the off.
The worst loser in the book Canardier which had been steadily backed. There were no lumps to report so gently eased into the day.
Three Musketeers winning at 8/1 was a fair start for the book. The bogie at an each-way price in third took some of the shine off the race but a cop in the book in the first is always welcome.
2:20 Betway Top Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
The sun actually came out for the much easier looking next heat. The punters did too but they appeared to be keeping their powder dry. Bets were extremely modest so the field money was disappointing. At the off Itchy Feet was the bogie.
Winning at 7/2 Felix Desjy was a better winner in the book than it was probably entitled to be so a welcome boost to the day.
2:50 Betway Mildmay Novices’ Chase (Grade 1)
Business was still light for the next. Ben had high hopes of getting Topofthegame bet add a shade of odds-on but lumps were not forthcoming. Ben was kept busy by beautiful ladies in their finery and ITV’s Brian Gleason near the off but not big bets.
Lostintranslation winning at 3/1 was bittersweet, it was a profitable race but not really one where we got our whack having not been able to properly get the jolly in the hod.
3:25 JLT Chase (Registered As The Melling Chase) (Grade 1)
Not wishing to be unduly negative but business was proving to be disappointing. The level of bets and stake sizes both down. Despite a decent betting heat on paper Lofty reported an ‘upside-down’ book. The poor business and lack of big-staking punters saved us while the firms around did their money when 2/1 favourite Min won impressively by 20 lengths.
4:05 Randox Health Topham Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (National Course)
Betting was brisk for the Topham, mostly modest stakes but a punter did come in for £9000-£1000 Ballyhill. Yes, I know, why on Earth didn’t he ask for the fractions. If you don’t know about fractions you should read this CLICK HERE
There was only the one loser in the book after that bet so Cadmium winning at 8/1 was another nice cop.
4:40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1)
Ben was still here for the penultimate but it wasn’t a great betting heat. At the off Emitom was the biggest loser for four figures with a couple of ‘takers’ smattering the book.
The office had been quiet but Ben got a late call to say them had the jolly Champ losing a six-figure lump.
It had all been going so well. Champ was a small winner in the book but the office just did their orchestras. In the bigger picture that was a disaster.
5:15 Weatherbys Racing Bank Standard Open NH Flat Race (Grade 2)
There’s no time for despondency in this game. Lofty jumped up on the stool for the lucky last and called the punters in.
‘It’s busy, it’s come alive’ boomed Lofty as the punters piled in, he added a cheeky ‘I think Ben scares them all off’ between bets.
Maybe the punters just fancied one last tilt at the ring, but let’s not steal Lofty’s thunder.
They certainly appeared to, a punter marched in for a bet of £4500 – £2000 McFabulous, a lady with a bottle, £200 not Moët, plus several other three-figure wagers. They were indeed having it on in what proved to be the best betting heat of the day. All that was needed now, a result.
McFabulous winning was a result, but not the type we needed. The 2/1 favourite wore down Thebannerkingrebel which at 14/1 would have got the book plenty. Hearts broken in the ‘lucky’ last two days in a row. We’re back tomorrow for the big one.
All eyes of course will be on our brand ambassador DAVY RUSSELL in the Grand National on Tiger Roll. Check out his thoughts in his exclusive blog. CLICK HERE
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring