The Racing Press did its best to brighten up Monday with an on-line story about another attempted multiple ‘gamble’. The punting had apparently taken place overnight on horses from the same stable. Phrases like ‘the bookmakers were running scared’, ‘braced for a huge pay out’ and all that sort of thing no doubt being readied as the first horse went to post. None of the selections won and the trainer was annoyed that his name had been linked to what looks a likely cry of wolf. 

It does make you wonder how many overnight multiples and to what stakes it would take for a bookmaker’s PR department start teeing up journalists that might be interested in a ‘gamble’ story. Not a lot I’d wager. There’s been speculation in that past that punters target firms offering generous cash-out offers on bets where the horses have shortened. If there’s profit to be made before a race has even run so maybe that’s the intention? Who knows, only the firms that laid the bets I suppose.

I’m sure most punters do like to read about gambles, especially if they are successful. The paradox that horses being laid out for races means their pockets are in a roundabout way the ones that have been picked. The problem for racing is, that the more high-profile gambles that are landed the more the myth that racing is bent is perpetuated. They are few and far between, especially those of the multiple variety. Not simply because just getting one ready to win at a price I’m told is hard enough, but four in a day? Barney Curley is legendary for one reason, there aren’t many Barney Curleys out there capable of pulling it off. 

I’ve been lucky enough to get to know a nucleus of professional and very successful punters over the last few years, all bar one they shun ‘information’. Their success is based purely on form study, ratings, speed figures, their own eyes, a combination of all those. None of those guys would have been able to make a living betting on racing were it riddled with connections hooking up horses to land future tilts at the bookies. 

It was terrific to be able to cheer home a ‘victimless’ gamble on Saturday, when the David Evans trained unraced filly Choux was backed from 40/1 into 10/3 before hosing up in the opening, Division One of the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes. When I say ‘victimless’, let us hope the perpetrators of the punt got plenty on at the top prices and continued to pile into the bookies at all rates down showing no mercy. No problem that us unconnected punters didn’t know that Choux was being thought of as a Royal Ascot horse. Without that info we probably wouldn’t have thought the cheap purchase was betting material against a favourite that had already been placed at Ascot and Newmarket. Anyone that gets stuck into maidens knows the risk. The fact that the gamblers weren’t frightened of the jolly or even lack of racecourse experience was something I’m sure we still all cheered as the gamble was landed pulling up. 

In an industry that is alive with gossip and rumours, the fact they managed to keep their plans quiet until the moment when they could get plenty on at the best odds they could expect for their filly was something to marvel at wasn’t it.

Outlandish tales that all the staff at the Evans yard were locked in a barn with no Internet or phone signal for a week before the race are total fiction. Of course, I just made it up, but it would have been a great story wouldn’t it! 

Simon Nott



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