I was reminded last week whilst meeting up with some old work colleagues of some of the adventures we used to have chasing down people that would “run” for large professional gambling syndicates. You wouldn’t believe the fun and games that would go on behind the scenes as those in the know attempted to get their money down. As we head into day two of the Ebor Festival, I thought I’d tell you about some of the scenes I’ve witnessed as I used to run around during festivals analysing who was doing what.
There was a group of connections around eight years ago, who apart from their own horses used to get large sums of money down on other horses. It got to be such a huge operation that they would actually hire a mini bus to fit in as many runners as they could who would all then run around the town closest to the course to get the money down.
It got to be such a regular thing that the high street bookies would actually have ourselves and several traders in the shop assessing the faces of everyone walking in trying to stop the runners getting the money down. They used to wear baseball caps, false moustaches and one guy even wore a blond wig so as not to be recognised.
Once they had “attacked” the shops it was then onto the course to attempt phase two and get more money down on the first show.
One of the best tricks in the book when attempting to get money down on course is to chat up a group of ladies that are out on a hen do!
I’ve seen all sorts of runners going round looking for the hens and telling them about what their plan is. A lot of the bookies get to know your face and who you’re connected to so you need to be smarter than them. The hens always oblige and go and put 20 quid on for you and 10 hens later you’ve got another 200 quid on the horse you’ve been told about! All they tell them is that if it wins they’ll buy them all a drink. Of course, they stay with them because it’s so much more fun cheering a horse home surrounded by a load of inebriated women!!
They didn’t always win of course and that was a bit of an anti-climax but generally, on the whole, they did and after the racing had finished it was off back to the town they’d started in that morning and they’d party all night.
Unfortunately, those days are mostly over now as it’s easier to get money down online and of course getting money down on the first show can be done with better prices on the exchanges.
So I’ll finish off with a word of advice. Remember that festivals are marathons not sprints and we need to spread our bank out over how many days there are to bet on. For example, we’ve 4 days at York so I would take a 100 point bank and divide it by 4 to leave yourself with 25 points a day.