This year’s Glorious Goodwood meeting is hopefully the last of my weird summer festival season of 2023 working from home.
At least based in my music-littered office in Devon I can keep myself up to date with the business across the whole of Star Sports. That includes their betting shops, their main office in Hove and of course the two teams in action on course.
Today, they were, Lofty, Tony and Lewis on the rails. I’ve not had the pleasure of meeting Lewis in person, but he’s a BHA graduate getting some experience at the coal face of betting.
Let’s hope Lofty wasn’t barking too much. In Tatts, the team was Steve, head of on-course, veteran of the team Kyle, christened ‘Lovely Face’ by Ben and Ethan who is usually to be found in the office. It’s a short price he’d rather be racing from now on.
1:40 – Coral Handicap (Class 2) (4YO plus) 5f
Traditionally, Tuesday isn’t the busiest day of the week at Glorious Goodwood so expectations weren’t all that high for today. Expectations on course weren’t exceeded in the first either. Both books combined didn’t field £2000 between them. Lofty’s team on the rails took £1100 and Steve’s £700.
Despite previous #BettingPeople interviewee and shrewdie Andrew Mount tipping up the winner Lord Riddiford it had been a big drifter, 5/1 overnight out to an SP of 8/1.
Mind you, punters with Star Sports on course were evidently not bothered by the lack of market support. The on-course team lost, 1-0 down already. ‘Oh no, not again’ I hear you cry. Come on guys, people are fed up with reading about poor old Star losing on-course.
News was better from the office who told me, ‘Well we’re off and surprisingly busy for a non-televised opener, even more surprising for the opener of a festival, it was a decent result, helped by the £15,000 – £2000 each-way laid on Dream Composer.’ Aye Aye ( that’s my ‘Aye Aye’, the office don’t do them, far too composed.
As for the shops, no news from the estate.
💬 Trainer John Quinn said: “Lord Riddiford really likes this track. He ran quite well in the Dash [at Epsom] but the ground was a little bit quick for him. We thought, ‘he’s an old horse, we’ll freshen him up for here and hope that he gets a bit of cut in the ground’. He’s been training well at home, but I thought it was a better race than he won last year; some of the horses brought better form to the race. But as you saw there, he loves this place, and the cut in the ground was very important.”
2:15 – British EBF 40th Anniversary Maiden Stakes (Class 2) (2YO only) 6f
Next up and things picked up on course. Punters were convinced that Array was a good thing in the maiden. So much so that they were happy to have it on, odds on. Bets on course included a grand at 5/6, £1100 at 8/11, £1000 – £1200. OK, he looked like he might win at one point but was beaten by 20/1 chance Mansa Musa. The boys were back and had it spark off.
The Hove office didn’t have the ignominy of losing over the drifter in the first and kicked on again here. They told me ‘Race two was an absolute skinner, it was all about the favourite including a bet of £20,000 @ 10/11.’
For anyone unfamiliar with racing slang, that is great news a skinner is a book where not one single solitary punter, nobody at all, backed the winner. The book kept all it took, skinned the lot, that’s what it’s all about and the hope for every race’.
2:50 – Coral Chesterfield Cup Handicap (Class 2) (4YO plus) 1m 2f
There weren’t massive bets on course for the next up handicap, though Steve’s team did lay a bet of £2100 – £600 Millebosc. That stayed in the hod when chance Ancient Rome sprang a 33/1 surprise winning under Jamie Spencer for Charlie Hills. Great news for the on-course team, well it was until Lofty came through to say they managed to lose on it.
Yes, I know, but they had taken a total of about £50 on the winner at the price, so given they had fielded very little, did their money on the race. Which isn’t ideal on a rag. In the old days if the boss had gone to the loo and come back to find out he’d lost over a 33/1 he’d have been checking for a last bet in the book £200 – £6 down to ‘pal’!
The office made it three out of three cops on the day telling me: ‘There weren’t any huge bets but several around £5000 on the fav and strong bet numbers but with a 33/1 winner we have nice winning book and we have no complaints’.
3:25 – Nicholson Gin Vintage Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2YO only) 7f
Lofty lost £600 on the fourth race after Haatem obliged for the punters returning the 9/4 favourite. Steve fared even worse, despite laying a single bookmaker’s hedge bet of £5000 – £1000 the runner-up Iberian his team still lost £3000 on the race.
Maybe anticipating my raised eyebrow, despite hardly having any eyebrows, he added, ‘The biggest bet on the winner was a £500 – £200 but there were plenty of £40 and £80 bets which added up.’
💬 The winning trainer Richard Hannon said: “I am very pleased. Haatem is a lovely horse and deserved that after running so well in the Coventry and the Superlative. I thought this was his day and could be his Derby, but he will get better as the year goes on and is a horse big enough for next year. He is not just about being a two-year-old. He ran here first time and has improved all year. He is a Group Two winner now, so obviously we will have to look at Group One races, but he is getting better. He has to improve to take on the real big guys, but he is doing that with every run.’
4:00 – World Pool Lennox Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 7f
It started so well, didn’t it?
I even took to Twitter or whatever it’s called now to record a rub-down video for punters who’d had it on Array at odds-on. I feel like maybe that was tempting the fickle Gambling Gods to frown upon the layers. The well-backed Frankie Dettori-ridden Kinross won the next. The double in the betting shop was landed, as was an even £5000 Steve laid on the Tatts pitch.
I waited with bated breath for news from Lofty, when it came it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared. His team lost a monkey, the biggest bet taken on the winner was also £500, so not too bad. But added up to a nice few quid when you lump it with the £6000 Steve and co lost on the heat.
Oh dear, I should have known better than get into rubdown mode quite so soon into the meeting.
Just as Lofty’s news wasn’t as bad as it could have been, it wasn’t all doom and gloom from the office either. They told me: ‘Race five, Kinross was only a small loser despite the Frankie factor’.
As well as falling for the double, one of the betting shops also laid an even £2000 the winner too but apart from Steve’s bet the overall feel from the firm overall that the result wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
💬 Trainer Ralph Beckett said: “Kinross has spent a good chunk of the last 48 hours with his left fore in a bucket because he trod on a stone. He’s got very, very thin soles and he feels every pinprick. But when he gets here, he loves it here. He should have won it last year, really – he was unlucky, got trapped in and got there too late, but what a horse to own, and what a horse to train. He has been a joy to train, he really has. He likes soft ground because he is out of a Selkirk mare [not because of his thin soles], but over a mile he handles it quick, and we’ll take the same route again with him and try to dance every dance again. He’ll go to York, he might go to Doncaster for the Park Stakes, I hope he’ll go to Longchamp for the Foret, the sprint at Ascot, and Santa Anita’.
4:35 – Al Shaqab Goodwood Cup Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (3YO plus) 2m
Just when it looked like my poor readers would have to endure yet another big meeting betting report when Star Sports did their money, along came Quickthorn with a 16/1 turn up for the books. Star Sports’ book at least. Steve laid £18,750 – £10,000 Courage Mon Ami and £15,000 – £5000 Coltrane to punters off the floor.
Yes, I know I said Tuesdays are usually quiet. Even more surprising was that as already explained that money stayed with the good guys. When I say money, not readies of course. Steve’s team won £16,000 on the race while Lofty and co topped it up with another couple of grand.
The firm were back with two to go.
There was no message from the offices which I assumed meant that they were still counting it.
💬 Winning trainer Hughie Morrison said: “It is fantastic for James and Pam they bred Quickthorn and it’s fantastic to see they kept him and owned him. They have been very patient with him, and we’ve got our rewards. I felt that York last year when he won by 14 lengths was no fluke, and he proved it today”
5:05 – Coral Fillies’ Handicap (Class 3) (3YO plus) 1m
There was apparently a 33/1 into 10/1 gamble landed when Choisya won the penultimate. It didn’t affect the guys on course in a fairly low staking race resulting in the gin and tonic bill for Kyle paid on the rails and a skinner in Lofty’s win book, which if you know Kyle, understand it tallies to about the same sort of figure.
Mind you, when Kyle was head of on-course he was liberal with Gordon’s staff welfare, Steve’s an accountant so the juniper may not flow so freely, winning day snatched from the jaws of defeat or not.
The office missed the ‘gamble’ too, they told me ‘Race seven was quietist betting heat, but we had another small winning result’
The biggest bet in any of the offices was £400 each-way Stormy Sea and were also unaffected by the gamble too.
5:35 – World Pool British EBF Fillies’ Handicap (Class 3) (3YO plus) 6f
The lucky last was unlikely to knock the shine off the day that had turned just when it needed to. Executive Decision winning at 9/1 topped off the day for the rails pitch. Steve, Kyle and Ethan won £1300 on the race which put them good for £14,000 on the day. Lofty, Lewis and Tony had the frustration of a taker on the heat but at least that straight across result left the £4200 they were winning on the day going into it intact.
£18,200 up across the firm before not inconsiderable exes was a day’s work, I’m sure the guys on course were very satisfied with. Goodwood is still Goodwood, with just four days of sport to go!
The office were also happy with their day’s business, their last message read: ‘There was a lot of interest on the favourite in the last which meant another winning race for the firm’.
Ideal, it’s always nice to write about a winning start to the week, we’re back tomorrow.
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
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