Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Ante Nowhere League

"The analysis is simple. Ante-posts are dead."

Thus spake punting soul mate Davoski at the Cheltenham Festival last year, after a clutch of ante-post bets had fallen in a hole.

In truth, the game was up long ago - when they added a fourth day to the Festival in 2005.

I remember way back when Davoski was latching on to a horse o' Jonjo O'Neill's.  Black Jack Ketchum was his name an' Davoski had seen him back in his Bumper days. 

By the time the beast had won a hot looking novice hurdle at Cheltenham's Open meeting in November '05, Davoksi was all over him to win the big Grade 1 staying novice event at the coming Festival in March '06.  Many nights that winter you’d see our rocking, pint-handed shadows flickering before the open fires of London saloons, one trick ponies with one thing in our heads and red hot vouchers in our pockets.

By now they'd added another novice event to the expanded Festival racecard, run over the longer trip of 3 miles. Only a Grade 2, though, so there could be no worries about the classy & unbeaten Black Jack.  He’d be lining up in the big championship – no question.  

But lo and behold, late in the game the twinkly-eyed Jonjo, after playing his cards so close to his chest he could barely read his own fucking hand, announced calmly that he’d be running the horse in the "tree moiler" instead. Bastard.

He waltzed home of course. The big Grade 1, now a mere sideshow for the grieving Davoksi, was won by Massini's Maguire, a horse who’d been roundly gubbed by Black Jack over course and distance the previous November...

Black Jack Ketchum: a champ in a Grade 2 race
Seven years on, and here I am ranging the Festival markets like Blind Pew, wondering where the hell the horses are heading, or indeed whether they'll be heading to Cheltenham at all.

By the end of January I was hoping to have most of the ante-post money down, yet here I am with only three proper bets in the book (and one of those is already a goner). 

I may need longer than I thought to put this all together.

Black Jack Davoksi, the night his horse was committed to the 3 miler
Meanwhile, though, over at betfair I've had £5.15 on Countrywide Flame at odds of 210 to win the World Hurdle. It's surely only a matter of time before John Quinn sees things my way.  

Time, though, is not on my side and I won't get paid if he wins the World Hurdle next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment