NEWBURY SATURDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the betting ring at Newbury on Ladbrokes Trophy Day. The punters were in search of winners but our reporter was on the trail for any big bets …..
This is my first betting blog since on-course bookmaker Ivor Perry passed away aged 85. Before I start relating today’s action, which Ivor would have loved, I’d like to pay a short tribute to him.
I never actually worked for Ivor himself but the Ivor Perry firm run by his daughter Wendy and Son-In-Law Jo. They took me on in 2001 and I worked for them until I joined TurfTV in 2008. Ivor had retired just before I started but was a regular fixture around the joint and parade ring thereafter. He was an excellent judge of the latter, he once backed a two-year-old here at Newbury purely on what he saw, at 200/1, it won – just a tenner but enough to ruin bookie Steve Bell’s day.
I don’t know anyone that had a bad word to say about Ivor, he was a farmer first and foremost so no pitch at Royal Ascot or Glorious Goodwood because that would have been haymaking time. He was also an owner, many of his horses prefixed ‘Ivor’ one of the first with Martin Pipe but probably most successfully with David Elsworth who will tell you many an ‘Ivor’ story if prompted. Ivor’s family say he led a wonderful life which he surely did, but he’ll be missed and remembered fondly by the betting ring community and beyond, one of life’s genuinely nice characters.
RIP Ivor Perry.
12:05 Ladbrokes ‘Where The Nation Plays’ Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Listed)
The betting ring was heaving with both bookies and punters, which is handy for the opening heat. Armaloft Alex down on the Corals joint and Rocky betting on pitch one on the rails, usually all up for a quick chinwag simply didn’t have the time as punters struggled to get on. The trouble was, they mostly wanted to be on the same horse, Nicky Henderson’s Floressa, backed from 11/10 to 10/11 before duly obliging.
12:40 Ladbrokes John Francome Novices’ Chase (Grade 2)
Just three went to post for the next. Reserve Tank was installed bottle-on 1/2 favourite. John Christie on the Roy Christie joint was screaming ‘I’ll take a £2000 – £1000’ he’d happily have taken more, but in reality those sort of takers are few and far between these days. I didn’t hang around to see if there were any though.
Over in Tattersalls our old mate Ian on the Pickwick-Bevan joint was amusing himself. The sponsors Ladbrokes had been busy giving out free scarves to racegoers. Ian informed me that the colours were a dead ringer for Swindon Town’s colours. That’s why each and every punter that came to the joint wearing one was congratulated by the aforementioned Ian on their great taste in football club. Each and every punter went away not only with their requested bet, but also a little confused. Check out the photo, it seems there for plenty people happy to wear the gratis advertising neckwear.
Not many were on the winner, 9/2 outsider of three Dany Whizzbang though, aye aye for the bookies that got the jolly in. Of course, that excludes every betting shop bore the length and breadth of the country and beyond. They’ll all be furiously tapping their noses and saying ‘outsider of three’ to every poor unfortunate they could find who’d had their double-maximum on the jolly.
1:15 Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase
The rails looked to be heaving again betting on the next, but it appears not all was as it seemed. ‘Just like a normal Saturday’ was one rails bookmaker’s summing up. Peter Smith betting on the Sid Hooper joint in Tattersalls went further and said, ‘It’s the quietest betting on Hennessey day I’ve ever known, and this is pitch one, they are just looking’. So, with an apparently flat market a few books may have been hit harder than you’d at first think when Bennys King won after being backed from an early 14/1 on course into 10/1.
1:50 Get Your Ladbrokes 1 Free Bet Today Handicap Hurdle
The modest business trend continued down in the ring for the next, so most didn’t come to much harm when Nicky Henderson’s The Cashel Man sluiced in at an easy to back 9/1. Down in the ring Bo Brown was bemoaning the fact he’d run into the places so done his money. To add insult to injury he’d had a punter trying to beg a price, who wasn’t accommodated, about Buveur D’Air the eventual 2/13 loser up at Newcastle. With that, the phone went – it was the punter to give Bo the rub-down, he didn’t look too chuffed so I sidled off pronto. Barry Johnson wasn’t moaning about the business, but he’d only taken a handful of debit card bets, besides pushing the service.
2:25 Ladbrokes ‘Where The Nation Plays’ Intermediate Hurdle (Listed Limited Handicap)
Poor old Bo aside, none of the ring needed the Henderson 1-2-3 led home by the well-backed jolly Epatante winning the next. At least the lovely couple that won the ‘Peaky Blinders’ comp were happy, they really did look the part. I’m all over that roaring 20’s look but am quivering in in trepidation the emergence of a gangster series set in the early 1970’s on TV anytime soon, I don’t mind pink corduroys but I’d look even dafter in bellbottoms and a tank top, mind you the platforms might be a bonus. At this point I need a bit of help, at least three times today I heard young men dressed in Peaky style say that they were ‘Having a ‘Grueller’. Is that good, bad, a health issue? I have no idea but like to be hip to the latest cat talk, can anyone enlighten me?
3:00 Ladbrokes Trophy Chase (Grade 3 Handicap)
The punters did seem to get their betting boots on for the feature race. There was plenty of (small) money seen for a number of horses. One of the best backed reported on the rail was Borice while West Approach was literally the punters’ favourite. The Star Sports office had been quiet all day but I did get a call to say they’d taken a couple of £5000 each-way bets, one on OK Corral and the other On The Blind Side.
Those in-house bets aside I didn’t hear of anything of note on course. Despite being only a 12/1 shot most books appeared to have won when De Rasher Counter did. That thought was confirmed when one layer even managed a joke. ‘There’s a 40 minute gap now, that’s normally so we can pay out after a well-backed favourite has won!’ Not today, queues of happy winners appeared limited. From a Star Sports point of view getting the two five grand bets beaten was a result.
3:40 Ladbrokes Handicap Chase
The lucky last saw punters backing the front two in the betting Magic Saint from 10/3 and No Comment from 9/2. On course layers that wanted to take a gamble to ensure going home winning readies by going ‘up the front two’ had the opportunity to do so, the punters seemed keen for one last go.
It was a desperate thing but it went to the punters, after a photo, with Magic Saint getting the money by a head in the end. It wasn’t a great day for the bookies, and punters who didn’t back any winners at least went home with a nice Swindon scarf!
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring