ROYAL ASCOT FRIDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on the fourth day of Royal Ascot. The ring was still recovering and thinking of what might of been on ‘Dettori Thursday’. On Friday it was Ryan Moore that looked to have the major chances….. on paper at least.
The day didn’t start well, word reached us that a ‘Gentleman’ had been arrested for urinating on our lightboards last night. A panel fell off the accommodation bathroom sink, broke and very nearly sliced off our Stef King’s toe and this website crashed. That was hopefully the three bad things for the day. The trouble was there were three ‘good things’ to come.
Day Three: Ben’s thoughts before racing started on Friday together with Pam ‘Statements’.
2:30 Albany Stakes (Fillies’ Group 3)
Before the short ones and potential monster bets we had the first to bet on. The punters meant business very early on. We laid a cash bet £8000-£2000 Daahyeh off the floor and another £400 the same horse.
The mad rush subsided before they set off on a mad rush. We had just the one loser for a round of drinks shy of £10,000. Daahyeh winning is what you call in the trade ‘a bad start’.
3:05 King Edward VII Stakes (Group 2)
The crush was on straight away, punters pushing to get paid and to get on the next. One customer came in £7500 each-way Pondus, that got the book well and truly started. Then it happened, we were expecting a monster and this was one £250,000 – £200,000 from a commission agent on course. Then another £100,000 – £80,000 in the office.
Just before the off, to put things in perspective a chap came up with a crispy fiver and asked for a pound on. He was politely told it was £5 minimum today.
You can do the sums, there was never really a moment’s worry for the punters (even with Moore taking a scenic route) that lumped on Japan. The big-hitters now had the bit between their teeth, it was likely they’d now have the smell of bookie blood in their nostrils.
News blackout. Nothing more to say on this race
3:40 Commonwealth Cup (Group 1)
The team got to work on the next, with mostly small money fielded but eyes were open for those wielding the lumps.
We looked and waited, and watched too, still waiting. No sign of the big money expected for Ten Sovereigns, well there was, it went through the floor on the ‘machine’. Right at the death the commission agent appeared, the chance to get it back or get in deeper. His news was ‘No bet’.
They set off with the jolly a winner in the book. Advertise won the race at 8/1 under Frankie Dettori, a loser in the book. One of the ‘good things’ got beaten and Ben hadn’t laid it, arguably even more gutting than when they win.
4:20 Coronation Stakes (Fillies’ Group 1)
A punter came in with £2500 cash at evens Hermosa which was a start. Then there was a bit of a lull, which pleased the absolute trooper that is Stef King working on the pitch with a broken toe.
It also gave Ben the time to talk to the press keen to hear about his huge loss.
The commission agent came hovering, phone to ear, looking at the prices, all evens around us, evens with us. Would he strike? It was like a cobra eying up a mouse.
In he came, and stunned everyone by asking for £80,000 – £5,000 each-way Happen, not a lump the jolly. 20/1 winner Watch Me should have been an amazing result, it did cop a healthy four figures but when you are looking up at a huge ‘loss on the day mountain’ from the bottom it takes a lot of climbing if similar huge stakes aren’t forthcoming. Ben bowed out and Flynn hopped up to fill his Cheney shoes.
5:00 Sandringham Stakes (Fillies’ Handicap) (Str)
There wasn’t expected to be much betting action in the penultimate and there wasn’t. The only bet of note was a monkey on Magnetic Charm at 7/1.
Thanks be for Thanks Be winning at 33/1 and getting some back.
5:35 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap)
By the lucky last it was safe to say the team were doing their level best to keep upbeat but were looking forward to the end of play on what had been a deflating afternoon.
Business was steady and we laid two monkey each-way bets Baghdad at 4/1 and Corgi at 13/2. At the off those were the two losers.
With another monkey each-way Baghdad trade right in the hole, the nightmare afternoon was topped off in style when Baghdad won with Corgi fourth, all the places filled by the first four in the betting. That ensured queues of winning punters that you wouldn’t believe and a sure fire long drive home. Still, it was sunny and there’s still a day left to turn things around. Hey, Barman….
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring