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Horseracing: False faces needed to beat book.


I'VE often woken the morning after the Cheltenham Festival with my mouth like a Sumo wrestler's jockstrap and tongue so furred I'm surprised the Eglinton Hunt aren't chasing it.

But the biggest pain is when my bevvy-soaked vision finally focuses on the wallet and the reality sinks in that it's barer than a new-born baby's bum.

The only suitable transport away from Prestbury is a hearse, complete with bouquets of sympathy from all the bookies who have gleefully parted me from my wedge. That's the thing, the layers love you when you're losing.

God help you if you hit a run as happened to four of my mates from deep in the scenic Central Belt who have been barred from all the betting shops in their area.

Their crime? They bet sensibly!

Not for them the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow with outrageously priced multiple bets.

A typical punt might be pounds 200 each-way a 4-1 shot in an eight-runner race.

See the logic? A place and they only drop 40 quid from their 400 - a win and they collect the guts of a grand.

The lads have also had nice placepots and forecast turns. None of your Cayman Islands stuff but sometimes well into four figures.

But remember, they're willing to put a big bundle down to get a bigger one in return.

And there was me stupidly believing that's what punting is all about.

Such is the reputation of the Fearless Four that one major firm told them they could still get a bet on - but only up to five minutes before the off.

Wowee! What if there's no show and just how do you track the market movers?

The four cavaliers are now so well known that as soon as they manage to get a line on with any of the major firms an alert comes from head office to cut them off.

What happened to the good old days when bookies accepted SOME punters have to get a lift? The Four Amigos should maybe take a leaf out of Hollywood's book a la Face Off - remember, when nice Nic Cage and nasty John Travolta had their coupons swapped.

The bold boys could track down four losers who are welcome inside any betting shop and send in the ringers.

Failing that they should seek out advice from the SAS on camouflage. A shrewd tactic, especially as the bookies no longer seem to want a fair fight.

NICE to see such a cracking entry for the National on April 6.

Of course, lots of the class acts like Florida Pearl, Francois Doumen's First Gold, and my each-way at 25s for the Cheltenham biggie, What's Up Boys, are en route to the Gold Cup before that.

Even so, a record entry of 144 will leave a superb field at Aintree no matter what the big guns' trainers decide.

FIFER Shane Fenton from Markinch wants to know in what year Woore racecourse shut down.

Shane happens to share Alvin Stardust's original stage name. But naah ... the leather-clad rocker couldn't possibly have moved to the Kingdom, could he?

Anyway, the answer is 1963 and old Reg Hollins-head saddled the last two winners, both over hurdles.

GOT a query. Write to Joe Punter, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA or e-mail him at
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Title Annotation:Joe Punter
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 27, 2002
Previous Article:Rugby: We'll be in fast Laney for clash with Old Enemy.
Next Article:Horseracing: WALSH TIES UP PROPERTYDEAL.

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