THE CURRAGH FRIDAY: SIMON NOTT headed over to The Curragh on Friday evening to report on the action at the Star Sports pitch in the betting ring. It was an evening when luck went the way of Star until……… there’s always an ‘until’
5:30 Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race (Plus 10)
As Flynn and I, back at the Curragh for a Friday night seven-race card, arrived on course the local bookies looked at us a ‘bit old-fashioned’ wondering why. The predictions for a quiet night were gloomy to say the least. After flying out especially there was nothing for it but to get up and try and get some money in the hod. No sooner had the prices gone up Neil laid a punter £1000-£140 Year Of The Tiger, a nice bet to bet around and up to.
Judging by the empty pitches it looked as if around a third of the bookies that could be there had given the meeting a swerve, that despite still having to pay their pitch fee.
Another punter came in with £150 each-way at 10/1 Flight Command while the price for jolly Alligator Alley (an earlier market positive in the Starter’s Orders daily update on this web site) ebbed and flowed from 6/4 to 2/1 back to 7/4, then a late £1000-£160 each way War Leader while unable to properly get the jolly in. Not ideal. In races like that you have to hope it falls your way, 9/2 second-in Lil Grey did fall our way, it was a shame not to get our whack on the jolly but the first race was a winning one despite Year Of Tiger finishing runner-up.
6:05 Irish Stallion Farms EBF (C & G) Maiden
The next heat was a strange one, for starters the punters didn’t really want to know. Field money was very poor but there was a move for Galactic Grey backed from 25/1 into 5/1. One book laid a monkey each-way at the bottom price. Meanwhile the jolly Lope Y Fernandez was very hard to lay, drifting from 11/8 to 15/8. Late on Flynn and Neil laid the trade £1750 – £500 Kipling. They did their dough, the jolly belied it’s weakness in the market to win cosily from our bogie Kipling. The punters that waded in with the gamble were unlucky not to cop the place money which was chinned close home for third.
We won again, and after a favourite won, whatever next.
6:35 TRM’s ‘Calphormin’ Handicap
Micro Manage was odds on for the next so Flynn and Neil bet without the favourite too with Cuban Hope installed a shade of odds-on in that market. It was worth doing as it did generate some extra interest in the race.
The favourite won very easily despite being a slight drifter going off at even money. ‘We’ve won on the race’ chirped a very happy Neil from behind the joint. Whatever next? We got away with it again that’s what!
7:10 TRM – Excellence In Equine Nutrition Ballyogan Stakes (Group 3)
The next heat, the big Group 3 of the night, was depleted with four absentees. It didn’t really come alive, the bets we did take were on middle-pins, the short ones proving hard to lay again. The 11/4 second favourite Soffia won the race and once again the book showed a small profit. Business had been better than expected but winning so far was luck rather than judgement, we’ll take it though.
7:40 TRI Equestrian Silver Stakes (Listed)
Spoiler alert! It was only a matter of time before our luck ran out. The feature of the race was the weakness of original jolly The King drifting from an early 6/4 out to 2/1 while Old Glory was punted from 4/1 into 15/8. The worst in our book was 7/1 shot Guaranteed, which won a short-head from Riven Light, which would have copped a nice few quid. We lost a monkey instead. Swings and roundabouts. You can say that again, Neil popped his head over the computer and said ‘But we copped £400 on the ‘Betting Without’ book. Aye Aye, sort of.
8:15 TRM’s ‘Stride’ Junefest Handicap
The penultimate handicap was a 9/2 the field event, the punters bet tentatively though field money was bolstered by a trade fractions bet on the previously weak Empire Line. Given the field money was so light the book was peppered with losers, pretty much every horse we laid.
9/1 winner Nitro Boost was one of them, not the worst but enough to whittle away at the the modest amount we had managed to win on the night.
Then ‘Bing Bong’ a lifeline Steward’s Enquiry ‘They’re a lot stricter over here’ Flynn said in hope rather than authority. It did seem to be taking a long time though and the second won us a few quid.
An announcement ‘the winner’s alright’ put out the glimmer. Neil hit the stool while Flynn tapped the keys, the dynamic duo got to work filling the hod the best they could on the lucky last, a 24-runner handicap.
8:45 TRM’s ‘Kurasyn’ Handicap (45-70)
They worked hard and managed to take a few quid, at the off there were three losers in the book, Forza Libranno the worst and each-way, it ran well, didn’t win but made us sweat finishing fifth. What did win was the 11/4 favourite Little Clarinet, I’ll resist the temptation to say jockey Donnacha O’Brien got a good tune out of the favourite or that by winning it blew a hole in the night’s work but both would be true. It was a still winning night before exes, but those exes add up. Next stop Royal Ascot.
Simon Nott is author of:
Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring