Weblog: Betting Shop Manager of the Year
Poor Jake misses out on a 4,130/1 golf pay-off
Last weekend has had it all, top class horse racing from the UK, from Australia and on the continent with a French Classic from Longchamp, William Hill Greyhound Derby action, the 'fifth major' of golf and an ending to the Barclays Premier League that would be thrown out as a movie script for being too far fetched!
Where to begin? Let's start with the event that attracted the single biggest bet of the weekend then; unusually this is the dogs.
I was fortunate enough to attend the Racing Post Juvenile at Wimbledon earlier in the year and I have got to say the atmosphere there was captivating. It was the first time I had ever been to a greyhound meeting and I was lucky to be in fantastic company at a high quality meeting, one that the Sky TV cameras covered - as they did on Saturday and will do for the remaining rounds, including this Tuesday right up until the Final itself on the 26th May.
This race is being described by some as the greatest in the world, and I'd have to agree (of the canine variety anyway). The big bet in question was placed on Dolores Ruth's wonder-dog, Razldazl Jayfkay. Important to name him as Ms Ruth has some stunning dogs right now, with three winners on the night with JFK victorious at prohibitive odds of 1/4.
The victory was later described as workmanlike on the greyhound section of this website, and watching the reaction of our punter as he viewed the race it seemed a fair description to me. It was always going to be hard to repeat the track record performance of round two, but a win is a win regardless how far it is by and Razldazl Jayfkay remains unchanged at the head of the betting, 3/1 still available in most places, including here at Scotbet.
That was the final action of a busy Saturday for me; the Rugby Sevens Series landed on Selkirk and with it brought a huge influx of people to the town. It seems that every one of them reads Tom Segal's (Pricewise) piece in the Racing Post as they all seemed to be backing Red Merlin and the horse duly obliged, with our shop funding a bumper weekend in the local pubs and clubs.
Much like the greyhounds, the rugby seemed like it was the place to be, there is no substitute for actually going along to these things. They can be captivating to hear and read about but actually to be there and sample the atmosphere and suspense that makes sport great is what makes it magic.
To be fair it seems that most people already know that as attendances this year have again shown an increase, even with the horrendous weather we have had through April and the beginning of May.
No such weather problems in sunny Australia though where the awesome Black Caviar made it all look oh so simple with a stunning 21st victory in a row, and all being well will head over to Royal Ascot as the horse to beat in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
I watched a great piece by Matt Chapman on At The Races when he went to Morphettville for Black Caviar's twentieth race and it's clear the Aussies all believe that the jewel in their racing crown would be more than a match for our Frankel.
The segment was also caught by a good few of our punters and it is the first time most have taken any notice of her. The majority still believe that Frankel would be too strong, but the over-riding feeling is that they would love to see it proved, whether Frankel would drop back in trip slightly, Black Caviar step up or if they could meet in the middle remains to be seen. One thing we were all agreed on was how tremendously funny the commentary was from the race itself.
I won't spoil it for all of you that haven't seen it but if you get a chance, perhaps on You Tube, it is well worth checking out.
On a sadder note Aidan O'Brien's Classic joy turned to despair with the sad news that Furner's Green bore his off fore leg after crossing the line in third in the French 2000 Guineas.
John Gosden's Gregorian was best backed in my shop (as ever) and finished less than a length back, eventually fifth to outsider Lucayan in what was a thrilling finish to yet another race that will be remembered in a bitter-sweet way.
On to the golf now and if Mary's hard luck story from Chester last week was not bad enough, poor Jake has only gone one better. Steve Palmer, soon to be more feared than Pricewise by the bookies, has done it again, this time nailing both the Players Championship with Matt Kuchar at 50/1 and Santos in the Madeira Open at 80/1.
Steve has a growing following in our shop, as I'd imagine he does in most with his prolific success rate. Many people chose different ways of backing the golfers and Jake likes to pick four of the five from the USPGA and the Euro Tour and have 16 each way doubles, he has been following this process for quite a while now and had a fair bit of success. This week Jake left out, yep, you've guessed it, Santos! Well done though again to Mr Palmer and his stunning 4,130/1 double.
All that was missing was Jeff Shreeves to break the news to Jake after the way he told Branislav Ivanovic that he would be missing this weekend’s UEFA Champions League Final.
Nicely onto football there and could you have made up an ending to the season like that? From the first minute with Adebayor putting Spurs into a Champions League qualifying spot until the last as Diego Maradona's son in law Sergio Aguero clinched the title for Manchester City the final day had everything.
City looked to have blown it against the ten-men of QPR, to the extent that I had texted all my Man Utd supporting buddies congratulating them. I had taken a three figure bet on United winning the league at 5/1 while they were winning 1-0 at Sunderland and City were still level at the Etihad. I had recalled the bet on to the screen to settle and had typed in the amount as I listened to the action unfold on the radio, waiting only to push the confirm button on the keypad.
Cue a Man Utd style comeback from City and Jake's golf bet only just beats this one for the hard luck story of the weekend.
The EPL is over for another year then, except in London where Chelsea will go all out to win their first Champions League and Tottenham fans will all be Bayern Munich ones for the day in the hope that fourth place will clinch that coveted Champions League spot after Arsenal's comeback at West Brom saw them take third.
In Scotland no such qualifying worries for my team as Rangers financial woes keep them out, new owners may see us at least have a next season though. So as Celtic celebrates being Champions it's left to the Capital's top two to fight out the William Hill Scottish Cup Final.
I must thank my Area Manager Willie for the chance to buy a couple of tickets, as being sponsors in various degrees of both clubs we were fortunate enough to get our hands on a few gold dust briefs.
Hibs amazingly haven't won the Cup for 110 years though and as much as a fan of sport as I am I could not take up the offer without it weighing on my conscience so the tickets will go to proper fans who deserve to be attending such a momentous occasion and I will be taking Tracy and Kris down to Alton Towers for the weekend. It will be a big ask finding a ride on these shores that can match the rollercoaster one that teams put their fans through last weekend.