ROYAL ASCOT WEDNESDAY: SIMON NOTT reports from the Star Sports pitch on the second day of Royal Ascot. It was a day when some of the biggest backers stepped out of the rain to play. Who would end up singing in the rain?
You expect to be put away on the racecourse from time to time, but not by the well-respected Met Office website. At 10am it read we had a 50% chance of rain at 1pm then just a 10% the rest of the afternoon. I had another check when it was still raining after the Queen’s procession passed by and damp toppers were doffed. Mike Vince was back commentating, we missed him yesterday. They’d changed odds to 1-10 rain most of the afternoon, you wouldn’t want them marking your card for the afternoon. The hope was they’d get it wrong again.
Day two: Ben’s thoughts before racing started on Wednesday.
2:30 Queen Mary Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2)
It rained harder during betting for the first than it did at any point yesterday. Business was hit hard, very slow. Near the off Ben spotted a top-hatted figure with ear glued to his phone, running toward the pitch. Things looked about to liven up, it was one of the commission agents that had been having lumps on with us last year. After some discussion about a horse’s price – bigger than what was on the board nothing was done. It did spark things up though and offer some hope there might be some real excitement to come. The winner, Raffle Prize obliging at 18/1 would have been a cracking result even though Frankie Dettori was riding, if we managed to field more money.
3:05 Queen’s Vase (Group 2)
Sorry for sounding like a weather channel but it’s pertinent when you are stood in it, the rain stopped. Sadly it didn’t make a positive impact on the business. At the off the book was messy with seven losers.
Dashing Willoughby wasn’t one of them despite going off at only 6/1. The real icing on the cake was the office laid the jolly Norway heavily in the office, each-way at 3/1. It appeared to get stuck in the mud well out of the places. No moans from this blog when it started raining again.
The drainage on the track may be very good at Ascot but apparently not in all areas as stoic Tony Styles betting as Bob Stock will possibly testify to!
3:40 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (Group 1)
It poured and poured throughout betting for the next, then the commission agent that threatened to bet earlier came in for £100,000 at 7/4 Magical getting soaked in the process. Similar bets in the office meant a possible loss of half a million quid should the bogie go in.
‘Aye Aye’ Frankie Dettori on Crystal Ocean did the business beating the jolly into second. The first monster bet of the meeting beaten, now we were rolling, in the rain.
As the race was running Ben asked ‘How Far’ Flynn replied ‘They are coming to Swinley Bottom’ Ben replied ‘How Far is Swinley Bottom?’ In the end it was the 1 1/4 lengths between the winner and the bogie that really mattered.
Under pressure: Ben watches intently
From the stands
4:20 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes (Fillies’ Group 2) (Str)
The next was a bit of a damp squib as far as betting turnover went. The field book held just over £2000 with two losers, the worst was unsurprisingly Frankie Dettori’s mount Rawdaa. The office called late, they’d laid £140,000 – £10,000 each-way Red Tea. We got them both beaten and copped a few quid when the optimistic but aptly named Move Swiftly got the money winning at 9/1. Happy days, Ben hopped off the stool and headed home, job done for the day. Oh and it started raining again.
I ventured to the bottom rail in the Royal Enclosure where Lofty headed the B team, affectionately known as ‘Help The Aged’. They all seemed quite cheerful betting on the penultimate and most important, were winning.
Lofty with a smile !!
5:00 Royal Hunt Cup (Heritage Handicap) (Str)
Back on the main pitch betting was halted briefly as a battery pack was replaced. The punters were only betting small on the Royal Hunt Cup so not too catastrophic. 20/1 winner Afaak was very handy resulting in a few more quid in the hod.
5:35 Windsor Castle Stakes (Listed)
The Getting Out Stakes, was a hard one to fathom for the punters but at 6/1 the field getting out, however deep you might be in, was possible, always gamble responsibly though please people.
The small bets added up though, especially given extra time when 150/1 shot Show Me Show Me got loose at the start. We were given a start when laying a trade bet on Southern Hills £5000 – £650 that’s 15/2 with the fractions making it by far the worst loser in the book.
Summer Hills won. You’d think you have a chance to get them beaten in a field that size, but no, pretty much the last bet in the last race cost the firm over £6000. A nasty end to what had been a good cash betting day leaving aside the monster credit bet. Oh well, we’ll be back tomorrow.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring