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God built the Cheltenham hill - and I can't thank him enough

The latest diary entry by bookmaker Ben Keith

Keith: it's better to have one major pitch than many poor pitches
1 of 1

No surprise to see money arrive at the office for the confirmed mudlarks given the speculation that 'heavy' might appear in the official going description next week.

Head of Trading Trevor Harris has shortened up Ireland to win the Prestbury Cup on the assumption that the Irish-trained runners are more equipped and used to handling the bottomless ground – we make Ireland 8-13, GB 7-4 and the tie 6-1.

Biggest recent move has been for Terrefort in the JLT from 10-1 to 6-1. Nicky Henderson said he would only run if it was soft ground so we can assume that box has been well and truly ticked.

We can only wait to see how much rain falls from the heavens. Talking of which, God is a Bookmaker. How do I know this? Because when he built Cheltenham racecourse he included a hill. A hill designed to beat favourites. That hill has got so many bookies out of trouble.

It can only have been put there for this reason. There they come, cruising, they reach that hill at the finish and all of a sudden the steering goes. Perfect! I just wish they had the same at Goodwood as it's an impossible place to win (as a bookie, of course!).

The betting-ring is full of camaraderie but it does lack diversity. We need to see more women and minorities working as bookmakers as this will attract more punters to the ring and add further to the atmosphere.

It would be a pleasure to welcome some younger bookies and, if I could ever advise anybody thinking of stepping into the fray, I'd be delighted to.

But one pointer for any young buck(ie), is to buy quality. Cheltenham and Royal Ascot are so far above the rest, I'd have just one top pitch at either, rather than half a dozen, mediocre and unprofitable ones, at other tracks, just as an effort to fill my time.

This last year, there have been rumours abound that Oxford Greyhound Stadium is to reopen. I’m an action-junkie. I require continual mental stimulation.

Oxford used to hold one of their busiest open-race meetings of the year during the Cheltenham Festival and many punters would rush there after racing in time for the first. Now that is what I would enjoy as a bookie.

Lets get Oxford open again, even if only to get me out of jail if I've done my money at the races earlier in the day! I suppose, I just love being a bookie . . .


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