NEWBURY FRIDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the betting ring at Newbury on Friday. It was buzzier than expected on what turned out to be a rainy Friday in Berkshire.
Notwithstanding anyone travelling up to Newbury from the South would have taken twice as long to get to there was usual and it was damp, the bookies seemed in high spirits. There were plenty of them for a Friday too, hardly the halcyon days of a full Tattersalls but more than I expected. There was a real buzz about the place too. Plenty of punters having a few quid on with the layers which is great to see. By this evidence the fat lady hasn’t even left her dressing room, let alone warbling in relation to the death of the betting ring.
2:00 Spinal Injuries Association EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10)
The opening Spinal Injuries Association EBF Novice Stakes wasn’t a good start for the bookmakers on or off course. John Gosden’s Encipher was supported from 11/8 into 6/5 and duly obliged.
2:30 bet365 EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes (Plus 10)
Armaloft Alex sent me a message asking if connections of number six in the bet365 EBF Fillies’ Novice Stakes were in attendance. I thought it was a weird question until I checked the racecard. Number six, or Golden Cygnet to the enlightened is owned by no less that the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. The answer to inquisitive Alex was an as far as I could see emphatic no. Golden Cygnet was pecked at 25/1 into 20/1 in the market but only beat two home. The 6/4 favourite Nasaiym beat them all home under Ryan Moore. The opening heats both losing ones for the layers.
3:05 Ross Brooke Chartered Accountants Fillies’ Handicap
Just as the punters thought it was an easy game, the worm turned. Sea Of Faith had been an uneasy odds-on shot in the Ross Brooke Chartered Accountants Fillies’ Handicap, drifting from 4/7 to 4/5. The William Haggas charge was only beaten a nose and a neck behind Ryan Moore on 8/1 winner Jedhi but it was enough to get the rails cheering.
3:40 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Rose Bowl Stakes (Listed)
If that result got the bookmakers shouting the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Rose Bowl Stakes had them roaring at the top of their lungs. The six-horse field featured 6/4 favourite Repartee and 15/8 second-in Al Aakif at the top of the market. As the race unfolded neither really looked like winning with Ryan Moore on 7/1 Misty Grey the likely winner in running which would do for the books. 10/1 Shadn swooping late was the icing on the cake, such were the cheers from certain books a touch might well have been landed too. The third and fourth races would ensure anyone still in the Placepot would have been getting excited too.
4:10 Regus Handicap
The talk in the lifts, up and down from the press room on floor 5 between races, was weirdly the lack of winners given by the ‘experts’ in various boxes. Whoever was on duty today, must do better, your punters weren’t happy. Favourite backers weren’t happy either after 8/11 shot Prejudice was no match for 10/3 winner Skymax in the Regus Handicap. The bookies weren’t as happy as you’d expect either, it appears the punters weren’t exactly queuing to have it on the odds-on. Was anyone happy?
4:40 Racing TV Handicap (Str)
At least one punter was after the penultimate. The Racing TV Handicap was a tight betting affair despite there being only six runners. Word on the rails was that young lady known to be friendly with the Tuite yard had fearlessly waded in and smashed into the yard’s Fortune and Glory. They said the young lady isn’t known for tossing it away so should be heeded. Of course, I didn’t heed it, or even back it but wished I had as it passed the post in first place retuning at 7/2.
5:15 Oakley Coachbuilders Apprentice Handicap
The feature of the concluding Oakley Coachbuilders Apprentice Handicap was the weakness of Jungle Juice which took a walk from an opening 15/8 to 9/4. To be fair though it looked as if there was very little of interest in the race judging by the gaps in front of the bookies. To coin an old phrase, ‘You could fire shots and not hit a punter.’ Maybe the prospect of a nightmare Friday night journey home had many punters heading for their cars.
To describe the race as a ‘race’ would really be nudging the trades descriptions rules. It was 7/1 shot Misu Pete under Isobel Francis first, the rest nowhere. Another one for the bookies though I’m guessing the hods were fairly light of readies. You won’t hear any bookies moaning (too much) about today’s business at hotel bars tonight.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring