Betting Articles

Nicks Punting Diary - Royal Ascot (Part 1)

This week’s diary all revolves around Royal Ascot.  As you will see, there were highs, lows and (almost) something truly incredible.  It all added up to a rollercoaster week that left me content, yet shattered and in need of a day off work.

Festival betting is difficult, especially the big two - Cheltenham and Royal Ascot.  Take Royal Ascot for instance and the typical races we see.  30 runner cavalry charges (who will put it all together on the day?); 20+ runner 2yo races full of unexposed types (who will improve most on the day?); overseas challengers with no collateral form (“hype” horses or “good things”?); multiple group 1 winners facing off against each other (who has conditions to suit?). Will there be a draw bias? Will the going change overnight?  You get my drift?  To anyone betting on every race at the festival then you should be delighted if you break even at the end of the proceedings.  If you make a profit then hats-off to you and well done!

This year was going to be harder than usual.  A good friend of mine asked if I would post a tip for each race on his website the night before each day’s racing (The Tipster).  My boss challenged me to a match bet over the course of the festival.  1 point at SP per winner, ½ point at SP for second and one-third of point at SP for third place.  I readily agreed, although my suggested prize of a ten grand pay rise didn’t go down too well (The Boss’s Challenge).  In the end we shook hands on a gentleman’s £5 (the bragging rights alone would be worth much more than this).  And then there was the no small matter of my own personal wagers (The Real Money).  Oh and the daily football tips I post on another website!

With all this to contend with, my normal day was now heavily extended into the early hours of the morning. This meant three things – work, form study and very little sleep.   If ever my wife leaves me it will most probably be during Cheltenham or Royal Ascot.

Ascot Festival Day 1.

The Tipster

I feel obliged to post not only my tips but also a little rationale for my selections over at my mate’s website.  After all, the last thing I want is to be labelled a “pin-sticker”!  I tip up Animal Kingdom, Shea Shea and Magician as my best hopes and also throw in a few each way outsiders including Supplicant and Lieutenant Miller.  Luckily for me Lieutenant Miller, Supplicant and Gregorian all finish in the three at advised prices of 12/1, 25/1 and 16/1.  I escape Day 1 with a small loss of just under 4 points.

The Boss’s Challenge

My boss gets off to a flier having selected Declaration of War (won @15/2), Pearl Secret (third @10/1) and Toronado (second @5/1), while I draw a blank on the first three races.  However, places for the aforementioned Supplicant and Lieutenant Miller cut his lead to just ½ a point at the end of Day 1.

The Real Money

With so many good offers around, I kick things off by backing Animal Kingdom and Elusive Kate in the Queen Anne knowing PaddyPower will refund my stake on the latter as, and when, Animal Kingdom trots up.  Indeed he did trot up, and a leisurely trot at that finishing 11th of the 13 runners.  I dutch Reckless Abandon and Shea Shea in the King Stand only to see both beaten by one of my favourite horses ever, Sole Power.  I decide to have a decent wager on Dawn Approach in the St James’ Palace Stakes with William Hill through the Racing Post app (safe in the knowledge I will get my stake returned as a free bet if he finishes second).  As Dawn Approach and Toronado flashed past the post I thought I was looking at a refund.  However, he got it on the nod and I was off the mark.  That turns out to be my only winner of the day and it’s not the start I anticipated.

Ascot Festival Day 2.

The Tipster

As I write my Day 1 review I notice with great embarrassment that I had tipped up First Lieutenant and not Lieutenant Miller in the Ascot Stakes.  First Lieutenant is, of course, Mouse Morris’ Grade 1 winning steeplechaser.  I clarify my mistake and just hope that the Day 2 selections help me shed my newly acquired “idiot’s” tag.  I make Al Kazeem my NAP in the Prince Of Wales and also offer up Dank as an each way bet to nothing in the Duke Of Cambridge.  Some of the other tips include Prince of Johanne and Two For Two in the Royal Hunt Cup, and I advise dutching Reroute and Fire Blaze in the Queen Mary.  Al Kazeem gets up late to give me a winner and Dank did turn out to be that each way bet to nothing.  That’s all there is to cheer and a loss of 5 points puts me 9 points down after 2 days.  And I imagine I’m still wearing the dunce’s hat for tipping Mouse Morris’ charge on Day 1.

The Boss’s Challenge

Back to the challenge and we trade early blows with Montiridge (second @15/2) being cancelled out by Duntle (won @100/30) and The Fugue (third at 13/2).  In the last, my selection Woodland Aria loses second place at the line to 16/1 shot Auction, who just happened to be my boss’ selection.  I finish Day 2 adrift by 5 points.  The gloves are off.

The Real Money

I quite fancy Ninjago at a big price in the Jersey Stakes.  He finishes a creditable 8th of 21 but no bookie has yet stuck their neck out to pay 8 places in a Stakes race.  I think they should.  Things brighten up as I net back-to-back winners as Duntle wins the Fillies and Mares Group 2 and Al Kazeem wins the Prince Of Wales.  I watch the latter race in the canteen at work and state that “I’m pleased for James Doyle, I can’t imagine he will ride many Royal Ascot winners”.  An hour later my quote is considered to be on a par with Alan Hansen’s “you don’t win anything with kids”.  Normal service is resumed as I draw a blank in the final three races of the day.

Spirits are lifted from the gloom of a poor Day 2 when I hear that a friend of a friend has had a speculative £5 yankee on James Doyle’s Day 2 rides.  Al Kazeem (won 11/4), Belgian Bill (won 33/1) and Rizeena (won 6/1).  It pays over £6.5k.  He also had £1500 ante-post on Al Kazeem.  And for good measure he had Belgian Bill @70’s on Betfair.  I know for a fact he runs his own business delivering to several trainers’ yards, including Roger Charlton.

I actually met this guy at Cheltenham on Gold Cup Day in 2010.  He had had one bet - £500 each way on Imperial Commander at 16/1.  Fair play though, that Ascot yankee was a speculative punt that came up trumps.  Fortune favours the brave as they say.  Little did I know that this bet would look like a relative odds-on shot compared to what I was to witness first-hand on the last day of the festival.

Ascot Festival Day 3.

The Tipster

Day 3 and I need a good one.  Coach House (3/1) to win the Norfolk is advised with PaddyPower who offer a second place refund.  Alive Alive Oh (5/2) looks a good thing in the Ribblesadale and is duly tipped up together with Lady Cecil’s Riposte @11/1 each way.  Rite Of Passage (7/1) and Top Trip (16/1 each way) are two against the field in the Ascot Gold Cup as are Roca Tumu (22/1) and Won Diamond (28/1) in the Britannia.  Remote @7/2, Indian Chief @11/2 and Bold Sniper @6/1 (each way) complete the days’ selections.

Now, I have never been one to gloat.  In fact I’m a very humble person but on Thursday evening I felt like Pricewise!!  It was the single best day I’d ever had at Ascot, ever.  Riposte, Roca Tumu and Remote all won.  Two non-runners, a money-back second, and places @ 16/1 and 6/1 completed a memorable day and my tips were up 45 points on the day and 36 points ahead after three days.  The site’s other guest tipster also weighed in with a decent return.  My friend who owns the website was chuffed to bits and he tweeted our exploits.  I duly tweeted my 4 followers (well, if you’re going to have a special day you might as well share it!).

The Boss’s Challenge

A lot of my tips for the website were also my tips in the Challenge, so it was double delight.  I duly opened up a 20 point lead over Mr Boss.  It’s not over until the fat lady sings so I keep my feet on the ground and my mouth shut for now.  Not good to upset one who could exert such an influence on my normal working day!

The Real Money

Having been short of time I had simply decided to back everything I had tipped up and lucky for me I did.  Normally I would have substituted one or two selections for other fancies just to spread my interest in each race.  All of the first two days losses were recovered and then some.  It was a nice situation to be in.  I decide to withdraw some of the winnings just in case I wake up the next day and genuinely believe I am the next Pricewise!  Fortunately I’m now experienced enough to know that these sorts of days don’t occur very often and it’s always best to get those winnings tucked away somewhere safe.

So 3 days gone and I’m pretty chuffed to say the least.  I’m fairly new to Twitter but somehow my number of followers has increased to 10 after the days’ exploits!  Horse racing and betting have a thorough knack of raining on my parade so, although happy, I still have time to royally mess things up as only I can.  Surely the last two days couldn’t be as exciting as the first three...

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Nick's Punting Diary - Royal Ascot Part 2


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