I was up a little earlier than usual on Saturday (4-30am), because it was always going to be a long one.
Got my morning Newsletter out, showered, shaved, dressed, was in my car by 6-20am and on my way to Cheltenham.
It was my first day of racing for six years and you’ve no idea how much I’d missed going. I was very much looking forward to meeting those Post Racing members who had said they were going racing and had arranged to meet them by the Best Mate statue for 11-30am.
The drive down went smoothly, despite a very lengthy portion of the M6 being down to 50mph. I even managed to stop for a quick breakfast at Sandbach and that was the start of my “dirty food” day. A double sausage and egg McMuffin meal….filled a hole!
From then on it was point and squirt all the way, no more stops and I arrived in Cheltenham for around 9-30am.
I’d programmed satnav to take me to the “Park and Ride” car parking facility, turned left onto a field that already had a few hundred cars on it, and was directed into a spot. The guy looked at me daft when I asked where I got the bus to the track and simply said, “you just cross the road you came in off and you are there”. It was not “park and ride”, simply park!
I just smiled and said, “62 with issues!”.
It took me two minutes to walk to the entrance, scan my barcode and enter the racecourse.
As with any stadium, with any sport, the first thing you see is concrete and glass. Impressive concrete and glass but still, the same old, same old.
Once inside you are then greeted by the usual food wagons, betting facilities, shops selling what racing shops sell, and as I stepped out from under cover, it started lashing down again.
I was dressed for whatever the weather threw at me (dog walking coat on!) but made my way across to the main shopping tent to have a look around. I love my art and headed over to the area set up by the Ascot Gallery and spent about 20 minutes chatting to a Mr Fish about the pictures and asking if they had one of Unowhatimeanharry.
They didn’t but, he was telling me they had been commissioned to have a painting of Sam Spinner done and the artist had made his preliminary sketch, which was of Sam Spinner and Unowhatmeanharry jumping the last hurdle together in the Long Walk.
I’ve asked him to call me when that is finished so I can consider buying a print.
Once the rain packed it in I went back outside to get myself familiar with my surroundings, in particular where the statue of best Mate stood, as that was to be our 11-30am meeting place. Found it, then went over to the Quevega Bar, where I’d seen a Costa Coffee area.
Cappuccino in hand I decided to get out into the open and look at the track area.
Awesome. You leave that concrete and glass behind and suddenly you have the desire to call the wife and tell her you’ve found the spot for your ashes!
I spent about 30 minutes wandering around there and with the sun now up, it was surprisingly warm when it hit you (especially in “that” coat).
I checked my watch and at 11-15am I made my way to the Best Mate statue to await the members arriving. A few were already on site and had arrived with family or friends and after doing the meeting and greeting, putting the racing world to rights on a few issues, everyone made their way back to where they’d left wives and other family members.
It had been brilliant meeting those I’d not met before, like Brian, Andy, Erville and Tudor. A “familiar” face then turned up with his friend, Lee. Always good to see Ben. He had recently asked for the banking details so he could join the Clover Club and I had gone armed with badges. He now has to get involved as he was sporting said badge all afternoon!
I made sure Brian and Andy also received theirs….at least I know, for sure, they have them! Royal Mail cannot lose those!
The time of the first race was 12-10pm and having already placed my bets the night before, I was chuffed to bits to see 4/6 on most boards about BOTOX HAS. I’d even made a point of posting on Facebook that Post Racing members had been made aware of the “move” the evening before….and that all it had to do now, “was win”.
Ben (left), Lee (middle) and I (right), made our way to the stands to watch the Gary Moore horse lead from start to finish and my whole day was already paid for.
We decided to stick together for the afternoon but after that opening race, I wanted to go and get a price about MISTER FISHER in the next. I went to watch the horses in the parade ring and was taken by BEAKSTOWN but my pick was definitely the Henderson horse.
11/4….couldn’t believe it. Taken. I went back to watch the race with Ben and Lee and was not a bit surprised the horse had been punted like it had been….went off 15/8f.
Going to the last my money was lost, going past the post, the profit had been made easily.
I was now thinking lunch and so again separated from them to find the pork wagon. £7-50 for a barbecue pulled pork bap….good job my ticket included £9 towards food! It had also included 2 x £5 betting vouchers, which had gone on MISTER FISHER. Nothing quite like free money!….or food.
I’d advised Ben and Lee earlier I liked DESTRIER in the third race and that horse was my third bet of the day. Travelled great and I was confident of a result from a fair way out but the horse stopped to absolutely nothing going to the last and went from looking like a possible winner, to finishing sixth.
You cannot win them all!
The race was won by the outsider, running second time following a wind-op, racing from out of the handicap proper.
I was discussing with Ben and Lee that this was very much something I’m interested in this season. In the next race we had two such horses and one of those was WARTHOG, who Ben had told me on arrival, he had taken the 14/1 about the night before.
I told him, that horse had really caught my eye when I had been working the race. It had run a blinder on seasonal debut, running third at a big price in the BetVictor Gold Cup at the meeting at Cheltenham in November.
I fancied it to run a big race, even though my figures said no. Personally, I fancied BENATAR and had placed a decent 20/80 the evening before, myself.
Non-runner. I didn’t play at all in the race on course and thought I’d simply support Ben’s bet.
Going over the last Ben and Lee were giving it large as WARTHOG landed in front but the legs then seemed to turn to jelly as the 40/1 shot SPIRITOFTHEGAMES went by him….then….and I have video evidence to prove it, they found their voices again as WARTHOG fought back, up the climb to the winning post and got up to some very loud cheering and hollering from just behind me!
Brilliant….the coffee was on them!
I had not had a bet on the next two races and Lee made comment on my self-control when it came to betting. I put my hands up and said I’d been a mug punter for many years and most definitely didn’t have that for many years. It was only on a lunch break, when I was working for Royal Mail, that I sat down, gave myself a kicking and devised the Ratings system that produces the work you receive each day.
I’d read about punters that made a good living from betting on horses, who went racing in helicopters or Bentleys and reasoned that if they could do it, so could I.
Ok, I do not have a helicopter, or a Bentley, but I make a good enough living from the game and I’m happy saying I make money doing something I love doing….been doing this since 2004 and have not “worked” a day in the last 15 years.
We had a good chat about stats….both guys love them….and how they genuinely do produce results in any sport.
We watched both races from the same vantage point we had enjoyed all afternoon and the race involving PENTLAND HILLS, who was making his seasonal debut.
I pointed out that the markets had been telling me that CALL ME LORD was the more fancied of the Henderson pair, and that the layers could not give PENTLAND HILLS away.
On course the latter opened 5/4 but it soon drifted again, as more money went on the other one.
It was a great race and going to the last we had four in with a genuine chance. PENTLAND HILLS seemed to blow up and faded into fifth place having looked to have as good a chance as the winner….CALL ME LORD.
Those markets very rarely lie, do they.
We came to the last race of the day and when we’d been discussing WARTHOG before racing started, I mentioned that my main bet of the day was running in the last race.
DAME DE COMPAGNIE.
It had been an Overnight Market Mover, it had clearly been plotted up for the race and my figures had it second highest rated.
This horse had been given a run over a trip too short on seasonal debut at the November meeting but, here it was, back up to 20+ furlongs, the trip it had won over at, at this track, in April.
BOTOX HAS had paid for my day….this horse was going to pay for Christmas!
We got my figures up on my phone and Lee asked me about my top rated. I said the horse had a great chance and both he and Ben then had a punt on DAME DE COMPAGNIE, followed by a bet INDEFATIGABLE, without the favourite.
INDEFATIGABLE (BF)….+11 – 2ND
(OMM) – DAME DE COMPAGNIE….+2 – WON
* – BRILLARE MOMENTO….-14
* – RIVER ARROW….-18
H* – DINOS BENEFIT….-20
* – THE CULL BANK….-21
* – QUEENS CAVE….-22
CARROLLS MILAN (BF)….-28
* – LIBERTY BELLA….-32
* – MEGA YEATS….-35
* – SHAMBRA….-35
* – MIDNIGHTREFERENDUM….-37
VISION DU PUY….-40
LUST FOR GLORY….-40
The latter then started to attract money on course, 15/2 > 11/2 and that should have signalled a rush to play the Exacta but by now we were all starting to feel the cold coming in, I’d been on my feet for nearly six hours and so we went back to “our spot” to watch Barry Geraghty steer home the “certainty”, from my top rated horse, all bets landed and three happy smiling punters made their way back down the steps.
It had been a brilliant afternoon of racing. I said goodbye to them and walked back to the car, not really looking forward to the four hour drive in the dark, wet weather I had ahead of me but buzzing, all the same.
We have three new Clover Club members as a result of Saturday, with Tudor and his friend Tony having contacted me regarding joining, since my return.
Ben is on board…he has to be now, he has the badge, and I reckon we’ll get Lee involved soon, too.
Yesterday Andy contacted me to say his friend is interested and would like me to send information over….I’ll be doing that today!
I got home spot on 8-00pm, knackered but still ready to do a little bit so I popped my head around the living room door to tell Karen I was home. She and her daughter were glued to Strictly Come Dancing so I brewed up, went to my office and did a bit of work, sent out the Newsletter and then sat down with Karen until just before 11-00pm, when we hit the sack.
I had been successful with the punting, and Karen and her daughter had got the right result from Strictly so, everyone was happy.
I’ll be arranging another day out in February but I’ll look into the possibility of obtaining a facility Post Racing members to enjoy so we can stay together if they wish to do so. I’m already looking forward to meeting more members I’ve never met before!