ROYAL ASCOT SATURDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on the final day of Royal Ascot. After Black Friday, the firm were looking to get off the floor, if there was to be a recovery it had to come very early – as plenty of money arrived for the opener.
Day Five: Flynn Goward’s thoughts before racing started on Saturday.
2:30 Chesham Stakes (Listed)
It really was a case of one more push. It’s a long week especially when the firm is losing. There’s nothing like a frantic first race to get the blood pumping. It didn’t take long, £200,000 – £160,000 Lope Y Fernandez laid on course, then another £100,000 – £80,000 on course.
Those bets followed by a volley of bets £5000 – £550 pressed up with a £5000 – £600 Rose Of Kildare. We got them both beaten, rarely has a 3/1 second-in been roared home so loudly. A winning start for the good guys, that’s us.
3:05 Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
The adrenalin was flowing in our veins and it appeared to be catching. The bets were flying in, and the firm were under the cosh, Flynn was tapping them in on his own as Michelle and Lofty, the elite A team, had been dispatched to Nottingham for the Greyhound Derby Semi-Finals.
A backer got the ball rolling with £5500-£550 Momkin. What followed was a flow of steady bets, today the busiest of the week so far. Not huge stakes, at the off Momkin was the bogie.
A cracking result. 25/1 chance Space Traveller winning was a stellar confidence boost. Four races to go and it looked like turning, there was still chance to scramble out of the hole blinking into profit on the week.
3:40 Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2)
Next up a tidy eight horse field to bet around. Several punters had to have a spontaneous guess-up when they asked for ‘Dettori’ and were told his mount was a non-runner.
Well, when I said tidy I should have said theoretically. Two commission agents the first asked for £30,000 each-way Southern France, the next £40,000 each-way both at 9/2. All of a sudden the book was looking a little lopsided. We desperately need this one not only beaten but out of the frame. A big ask.
If you don’t ask you don’t get. ‘Aye Aye’ we roared home the 11/4 favourite Defoe as Southern France dropped out of the back of the big screen. It was suddenly going very right indeed.
Mayhem around the pitch and no time to even tweet the big bets.
Three races to go and across the firm we’re in front on the week. Time to kick on and hope the roll up of results going our way continued. Next up Blue Point the last short-priced bullet to dodge of the meeting.
4:20 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1)
It wasn’t dodged, the big punters in the office lumped on in addition to a bet of £70,000 – £40,000 laid on course, topped up by a £2000 cash bet late on at 13/8. This was it, make or break on the week.
After a week of almost unbearable highs and lows Blue Point just hanging on by a rapidly diminishing head had to be the lowest point. The firm were right back in the mire with no way back, at least for this year’s Royal Ascot. The cross-firm losses over half a million quid.
It’s not just about one meeting so focusing on the bigger picture the team got to work. Managing Director Russ on the joint with Stef and Flynn tap tap tapping away on the computer.
5:00 Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
Business was brisk but the book had a lot of losers at the off, it was just pot luck. There was one light moment when a couple came to the joint saying that they were very impressed with the ‘voice recognition’ system we used, unaware that ‘Alexa’ Flynn was it.
Cape Byron won backed from 9/2 in 7/2 and the book lost the princely sum of £18. That of course is like winning when a jolly obliges.
5:35 Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race)
So with 29 races done in rain and shine over the week it was down to the lucky last. I nipped to the loo during the race and a couple of refreshed chaps tried to buy my top hat for £50, I was tempted but declined and legged it before they decided to take it anyway.
Don’t tell Ben but Flynn asked me to back the jolly each-way. I had it with Tim Brown bookie who is very active on twitter but certainly puts his money where his mouth is. The bet was on at 9/2, I took a photo of it intending to post it later praising Tim win or lose.
As they were off to his horror Flynn realised he’d lost the ticket. I saw Tim, good as gold he noted the number and said it was no problem. I felt a bit sheepish going up to draw over a favourite from a fellow bookie but he crossed the bet off on his slip and told the lady on the joint to ‘pay with a smile’ which she did.
A couple of minutes later Tim came to the pitch quite rightly fuming, someone had found the ticket and tried to draw. Lessons learned there, thanks Tim.
The punters appeared to be flagging, there was a lull about 10 minutes before the off, a bit like watching a boiling kettle after a long week.
Just when we were looking forward to the off, the office called, they’d laid a total of £150,000 each-way Max Dynamite at 4/1.
It didn’t win but was placed, at 1/5 the odds a small loss for the big backers in the office and we lost £600 in the book. So that was that, plenty of punters to pay out and a losing week. But what a ride.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring