AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

SIMON NOTT: Tales From The Ring Epsom Saturday

EPSOM SATURDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch at Epsom on Derby day. The weather was glorious but the firm needed a recovery after Oaks day.  Just like the rollercoasters on the in-field – what goes down must also come up – or that’s what we hoped. Would there be any swings in the trading accounts at the Downs on Derby day?

What a glorious day to host the World’s premier racing classic. The sun was out, spirits were high and the lumpy losses of yesterday were all but forgotten. Flynn and team tandem were up and betting early. There were some good bets taken before noon too, including £3100 – £930 Sir Dragonet in the Derby £2000- £800 Sextant (5.15). £13500 – £1500 each-way Beyond Equal (5.50).

The Red Devils perform during Derby Day of the Investec Derby Festival 2019 at Epsom Downs Racecourse. Photo credit should read: Barrington Coombs/The Jockey Club via PA Images

Wandering around soaking up the atmosphere before racing it was lovely to see one of racing’s true characters Sir Rupert Mackeson selling his books and prints. It looked for a minute as if the police had caught up with him at long last. Luckily Rupert is no longer Britain’s second most wanted man after Ronnie Biggs and was just passing pleasantries not being cuffed. He greeted me and said ‘You’ve just missed him’ ‘Who?’ I enquired, ‘Lester!’ was his reply. Gutted to have missed the chance to meet the legend but chuffed to see Rupert look so well. If you missed Rupert’s #BettingPeople interview, here’s his fascinating story. CLICK HERE

2:00 Investec Private Banking Handicap

Business on the opener was a little disappointing bearing in mind we took more in one bet yesterday than was taken in the whole first today. At the off the book showed two losers, The Trader and Politicise. Le Don De Vie winning at 5/1 was an excellent result but shouldn’t really have been especially as it was returned 5/1 and we still had 11/2 on the board at the off, come racing.

2:35 Princess Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By Investec) (Fillies’ Group 3)

Betting was even slower in the next. Maybe the bigger punters shun the Queen’s Stand and the compulsory morning dress. For whatever reason it was slower. Spare a thought for Ladbrokes’ Rep Jessica Smith, not only did she have to tap the bets in but also keep control of her dress for fear of treating punters to a ‘Marilyn’ during the regular gusts of wind!

Just before the off a bewhiskered punter who’d previously been the scourge of the ring approached the joint. The firm braced itself for a lump and were handed a score and told Grumpy Dave he’s given up punting. I’m guessing he’s snapped the elastic bands around what he’s won because he was very hard to beat.

The book was similar to the first race just slightly smaller. We had the two losers. The winner Anna Nerium was a small winner, once again it was a bit fortunate that the filly wasn’t a loser having been backed from 11/2 into 9/2. The win was very special for trainer Richard Hannon providing him with his 1000th winner as a trainer so congratulations to him and the yard.

3:10 Investec Diomed Stakes (Group 3)

The punters came into us a bit harder for the third, maybe because it looked easier with the two short ones Zaaki and Bye Bye Hong King who were vying for favouritism at the 7/4 mark. A punter in the office thought they knew and had £50,000 on Zaaki on 7/4 while a punter on course thought he knew too and scraped up £840 to have on Bye Bye Hong King at 2/1.

Calls of ‘Go on Ryan’ told the story as Zaaki the eventual 11/8 favourite found another gear just late enough for us to think we might get them both beaten. Appearances can be deceptive, the winner broke the course record in the process not to mention the bookmakers’ hearts.

3:45 Investec ‘Dash’ Handicap

Betting 1/4 the odds a place the 19-runner dash handicap when most on the rail were a 1/5 ensured business was brisk and a lot of horses laid. 33/1 winner Ornate was the result the betting ring were dreaming of. The places were excellent too with just fourth placed Eeh Bah Gum costing the each-way book. The race was a perfect springboard for the Derby with money in the hod and confidence high.

4:30 Investec Derby Stakes (Group 1)

The betting came alive for the Derby with Sir Dragonet and Broome the two bad losers at the off. We’d taken plenty too with some fair, if not huge, bets tendered on the two pitches. With a classic ‘Up the front two’ book it really was just a case of anything but the market leaders winning and we’re going to get a cop. Inside the final furlong the pressure was off, it was just a case of which one was going to get us the money and how much. Anthony Van Dyck was a very good winner, as (just like earlier in the day) it probably won more than it should returning at 13/2 but that was tempered by third-placed 20/1 shot taking a lump out of the place book.

Our reported big bets thankfully didn’t include AVD

5:15 Investec Out Of The Ordinary Handicap

The penultimate was already set up with the pre-racing with £2000 – £800 bet struck on Sextant. When betting reopened after the Derby a punter came in with £630 the same horse at 2/1. That gave Flynn something to bet up to.

The thing is, he didn’t try and bet up to it. Being the Queen’s horse the patriotic public kept backing the jolly so the worse it got in the book. The hope was that the slight drift on the exchanges for the jolly was correct. The layers in machine land are probably clinical rather than royalists. The gamble paid off Soto Sizzler winning at 9/2 was hardly a result, but it is when you’ve given the jolly a good old striping. The firm were now nearly in front again on the meeting after yesterday’s disaster

5:50 Investec Asset Management Handicap

Ash and Ed still smiling with one race to go!

Everything rested on the ‘Lucky Last’. The book already held the bet of £13,500 – £1500 each-way Beyond Equal. Stuart Kittow’s gelding looked certain to be the bogie in the book. Then a punter came in for £300 Mountain Peak, it was 33/1 on the board but asked for and got 35/1. Another came in for £5000 – £100 each-way Manshood, were they inspired bets or just trying to ‘Get out’? Either way the money was in the hod.

The problem was that very little followed it in. It was hot, had been a long day and the punters started to ebb away, not from this mortal coil, just stopped betting.

At the off there were four losers, the two aforementioned, bad ones. As the race unfolded it soon looked to be going our way, Watchable certainly was with a book like ours and the gelding kept going away, faster away too, beating the course record at 8/1. A near-perfect result with the each-way money staying in the bag too. A final count up showed us in front after the two days. Some feat after yesterday. Next stop the Curragh sporting a ‘Swan Vesta’ sun tan!

Simon Nott


skintmobSimon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring