'You want a bit of noise, a bit of life - and you have to be fair to punters'

New racing writer of the year Peter Thomas with the first in a three-part series

JenningsBet owner Greg Knight (centre) with two regulars at his Abbey Wood shop, Tony (left) and Andy (right)
JenningsBet owner Greg Knight (centre) with two regulars at his Abbey Wood shop, Tony (left) and Andy (right)Credit: Mark Cranham

Alli is 86. He came to Britain from what used to be British Guiana, South America in 1956 and his home from home is now the JenningsBet shop in Abbey Wood, south London. "I come here to relax," he says. "I've got a wife at home but she doesn't mind me coming here because she knows how much I love my horses."

His son sits in the House of Lords and gets him tickets to go to Ascot from time to time, because Alli's dad used to run a racing stable and Alli rode horses when he was a lad. Now he likes to bet, but only on horses, because he knows a bit about them. He's what you might call a regular.

"More regular than the staff," jokes Andy, who moved to Bexleyheath but still makes the journey here rather than going to his local, because the odds on the Irish Lotto are better – the company likewise.

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