Famous Jockeys

November 23rd, 2014

In 1952 the family were at rock bottom, my mother Edith, daughter Diane and I were the only two living at home with her,nit that it could ever be called a home, a cousins two story slum, three of us in one room, It was my duty to play the part of bread winner, a 16 year old,
I had one job as a butchers boy delivering the area’s meat, Saturday and Sunday morning, I had been working as a sheet metal worker making runner boards for the motor car industry. but that was never going to last.
From day one it had become obvious that runner boards on cars was a thing of the past, and what had been a thriving family business, was now down to 3,staff, The Gaffer, a Foreman and me, and to think that they were offering me an apprenticeship.

I had been working on festivals and bank holidays, for a racecourse bookmaker, and this particular morning I had been invited to make my way to Worthington’s coach depot, to meet up with the firm,s clerk, the rest of the team were to travel by car.

On a good day I could expect £3 wages, if the Bookmaker had a losing day, all the staff would get a walk over (Nowt) if the firm did very well it was possible to receive a bonus. if an extra £1 ot £2.

Following instructions, as to how I should dress and conduct myself, my mom had impressed inti me that I should be polite, to every one I spoke to, I had spent what seemed to be hours polishing my shoes. after all my grand dad Albert who had spent over 20 years struggling to breath, always polished his shoes even when they were shoe less.

The embarrassing thing about the consignment, was that I was told to wear short trousers, for although I would be working the Bookmaker didn’t intend paying for me to enter the track.

The charabanc depot in Hurst St, opposite the Hippodrome was less than a 5 minute walk from Balsall Heath, and Wiliiam Edward Street. so I was there before the coach arrived,

Within 15 minutes of my arrival. there were a 100 race goers, 90% made up of Bookmakers, there clerks, tick-tacks, general floormen and a few well dressed individuals, who I become aware over time they were financial backers, or private layers, individuals who had there name on a Bookmakers waiting list for pitches but were to far down the numbers to every be considered these would stand behind a Bookmaker of there choosing and offer him a private service, when he wanted to reduce a liability. .

When I had discovered very quickly that the seats at the back were already taken even though, no one was sitting in

“You cant sit there Bab” (Young Child) that,s a card school”.

I am sorry sir, I quickly moved away towards the front, to the small seat near to the driver.

Next to me was an old wizened fellow called Billy Payne, I had seen him before at the dogs, as soon as I sat down he began a conversation, so interesting that the time to Leicester racecourse flew by.

Billy had been part of the Sabini, extortion team from the 30s, known as the Italians.
He must have been in his eighties, so I doubt that he was any threat, to a 15 year old kid. who wouldn’t say boo to a goose.
However as I gazed at his mouth, his teeth, would slide up and down I was mesmerized, from the corner of his mouth along his cheek was a faint white line that stopped at the lobe on his ear.

I didn’t have to wonder how he had gained this mark, for mt father had informed me that it was a Calling Card,

When the race wars were at there peak, if someone stepped out of line, he would be cut, using a open razor blade, it would be a reminder, that if the dominant race gang, Sabini in the southern courses and Kimber,s “brummies, every were else requested a bung, for a service, any thing from a little wooden box to stand on, water, chalk, and in the case of Mr Payne numbers, in fact Bill was the last of the number callers, allowed to carry on the historical bung just because he was an old man with memories of the past, less than 10% of the new Bookmakers, paid anything, but as it was as low as 6 pence or a shilling, it was surprising how much an 80 years old could make in a week.

What my father had told be was not to underestimate, the fact that all the leading Bookmakers who had been part of the wars, were still in the rings, having moved up over time into the senior positions.

And they could still pack a punch if any one ever took a liberty with them.

This period was a great eye sight for me, Bookmakers from the wars, new my father and my uncle Tom Fletcher, who had been a hero in WW1, so it wasn’t long before many of the old school would acknowledge me.with a wink. “Hello are Kid”
It was during the conversation with Bill that I nearly had a fit, had I brought my white gloves, like conkers, that were better the older they got, these gloves that I assumed were once spotless and white. were now a brownish or yellow.

When I arrived in cheap enclosure there was a line of stall’s dividing the car park and the track. selling every thing men women or children would require. meat, fish, jelled earls. the spell was great certainly for someone who had left home with no breakfast.

Bill Payne just walked strait past the open door, inviting me to follow him in.

When I arrived in the area were my firm were operating, it was soon clear that they were offering a specialist service, on the three meetings taking place simultaneously. this known as “Aways” only 2 other firms in competition.
As for the straight Bookmakers those betting at Leicester there must have been 80 all over the place.
The names and place they were from was the only recognition who they were I had become friendly with a few from Birmingham,
I was more interested in the racecourse Tipsters, already in full swing was “Paddy” an Irish man, who had one leg shorter than the other, and he used this disability to full affect.

When I had first seen the “Cake” Paddy used to promote his service, I couldn’t wait to get back home to tell my Dad that I had seen a tipster with a role of money that he had said was £2000.

It was my mother who scoffed “Probably no more than £20….
“No Mom it was this big”. holding my two hand to confirm the size of the Role.

“Yes £20 and the rest You;et paper”

I got close to Paddy, nit to see the Cake but to hear his conflab. . for it was certainly a Con.

“Waiving the money he called out this horse I have today is such a certainty that I will have all this £2 Grand it, we have been waiting 6 months to land this coup.”
Get you bets on quickly for it is sure to shorten,”

I began to laugh, but quickly restrained when I imagined what my mother would say if she knew I was being disrespectful even to a tipster.

Once I had spoken to the Bookmaker I was working for, I had to walk over to the main enclosure , Tattersalls, For over three hours I carried out my function, gaining the information as to runners, the betting as it fluctuated, then showing all this information as it transpired, then the results and the official starting prices.for all the meetings other than Leicester. http://www.racepedia.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Leicester-Thumb.jpg
These were gathered from a team working for the exchange telegraph company, who did all the trading for the off course industry. for this service my gaffer paid them £5.

The weather was intermittent, a little rain followed by sunshine.
Fortunately for me the results at the other meetings, were great with a few odds on favourites having been turned over, and winners as big as 20/1 33/1 and 100/7.

It didn’t require much thought to imagine a little bonus, if my gaffer had done well.

I had very little money on me so I was told to get back on the coach and one of the firm would give me my wages,

The last race at Leicester, was after the other meetings so as soon as I had completed my function I was to get back on the coach, making sure that no one commandeered my seat as I walked back, I noticed that the fish and chip vendor was just getting ready for a rush, of customers, as was Billy Booth, selling meat in a massive bread sandwich, just watching him cut the great big joint of beef made me hungry.
I ran the 100 yards to the Fish and Chip vendor, and found that I was first in the quie, but even as I looked back the last race at Leicester had concluded and there were 100s of punters joining me for Fish and Chips.

I looked in my pocket and I had 10 penny,s just enough for a piece of cod and chops.

The smell of the food was wonderful I hadn’t eaten all day,
I could just see the Chips,sizling to there reasonable colour, when a cheer went up from opposite the large que

I looked over towards what was causing the cheer it was a Rolls Royce that had stopped right next to me, http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/72/RollsRoyceSilverCloud1_1959.jpg/280px-RollsRoyceSilverCloud1_1959.jpg
The rear window had opened and there was a little head a bit like a baby’s balloon. looking out towards the crowd.

“Get me a piece of Cod, Sonny..will you”
It all happened so quickly that before I knew what had happened, The Cod was delivered, following the persians instructions of no salt just Vinegar,
I had passed the Fish to the man in the car, and paid for it with my 20 pence.

“Keep the Change Billy”
Within a few seconds the full act took place and the window to the Rolls was down and off it went towards the main road.

“Next please”

It all took place with me in a gaze it wasn’t until. the man behind me was being served that I realized that I had no money of my own for my own meal.

As I stepped away I heard that the person who had poleaxed my into paying for his meal was non other than Gorden Richards the Millionaire Jockey,

I walked back to the Coach and after a while we were in our way back to Birmingham.

It was fortunate that we had done well in the days trading and I had been given £4, wages,
I was grateful that no one had actually understood that I had been duped by the world famous Jockey,

When I got home I never mentioned the incident to my mother or Dad, but on Sunday, my Grand dad
O walked to my mothers parents home also in Balsall Heath,

As soon as I got my Granddad in his own I told him the full incident.

Even through his sputtering, from lack of breath, I could sense that he was laughing his bollox off.

“Son you could be pounds in next time you go racing and Gordon is riding there, just go up and ask him to tell you a winner”,
“After all he owes you a favour.Dont He”

It must have been 3 weeks before I was working again this time at Nottingham and Gordon was riding at the meeting.

I got there early as usual and walked all over the car park looking for the Roll’s Royce,

Without Luck I walked to the entrance to the members, and after 30 minutes, I noticed two men one must have been 6 ft 6 inch the other not much more than 5 ft,

It was indeed the Champion Jockey, Even though I was well behaved and polite, I didnt think anything off the fact that I was interrupting a icon, after all I could just walk up to Mr Richards and say
“He mate you owe a 2 Bob,

As he walked towards me the person with him, stepped in front and shouted “Out the way you”.

Fortunately Mr Richards recognised me,
“Helo Son It was you who bought me that Fish at Leicester.”

“Yes sir”

Come over hear, he moved away from his friend and Whispered in my ear,
“I have three mounts today Kid you back em all.”

I was once again mesmerized, and within a flash he had disappeared towards the Members enclosure.

I was in a much better state financially for I had received some holiday pay from the factory I was working at, and had £10.

I must say that I was more than a little excited,
Even though I had work to do, the Bookmaker I was working for was actually betting at Nottingham and not on the away meetings, the reason was that there was only one meeting on,

Gordon never had a runner in the first two races I was finding it difficult to wait the excitement. over powering. in race three Gordin was riding the favourite, I took the evens and was feeling like a clever dick when it shortened to 1/2.

I got myself by the winning post on a large stool that I used to inform my Bookmaker the correct odds.

As the race commenced, Gordon was fast away and was clear all the way until the last 10 yards when three horses all challenged together,

Mr Richards 4 th,

I am not sure how I felt this moment as bad or worse than the loss of the Fish.

The next two horses he rode finished no better than the first, I had not only lost my £10 Holiday Pay but an extra £3 in lue of my wages,

For the next 6 months, when ever I was at a race meeting that Gordon was in attendance I would hide when ever I saw the great man, and it was then that I had a little good fortune for
Sir Gordon’s riding career ended in 1954 following a pelvis injury, although he continued to indulge his passion for racing, by becoming a horse trainer and ADVISOR.

A few years later in 1955, the Government sent me a letter to attend West Kirby so for three year conscription I was hidden away from Sir Gordon’s Advice, this was followed by the commencement of the 1961 Betting and Gaming Act, were I moved into the High Street Betting Shop industry, I could only listen though a little Tanoi system on the betting shop wall. what he was up to.

I never had the enjoyment of seeing the great man, face to face again.

If there is life after death, I will hope that Sirs, Lords, and Lady’s live in a different area than Bookmakers, for if it is true that we are all equal on and under the turf, I am content that my instructions to be cremated will save me any more inconvenience.

RIP Sir Gordon.

The Project.

November 21st, 2014

Over the last 2 year, I have been frustrated regarding my role in life, taught to be a loving family man, I have carried out the function diligently.
my two sons, only had to ask, for advice, and I would place my arm on there shoulder and work out what should be done to alleviate them of there pain.

However for those who know a little of thought, will know that two years ago. a happening took place that no father and certainly no mother should face.

It was a moment in my life when I questioned my role.
Ir was a moment when I realized that every one will be asked a question at some time when there response will be of no use to the questionnaire.

“Sit down Dad, I wish to ask you something, I don’t know what to do”

The request that I sit down, should have set on motion the same type of fright that would occur when the door bell rings at 4.30 in the morning, and a policemen is at the door.

The period of 2 years 8 months and it is no easier,

On a personnel note, I still have two wonderful grand Kids, who have all the characteristics of there father so that every time I see them I get the impression that he is till with us,

Personally my health wise I have over come the problem of my knee’s the replacement (Right) is brilliant no pain and can power walk 4 miles a day.
However there is a feeling that dementia could be a problem in a few years time, how do I know, I will explain.

Over the past 12 months ago I have enjoyed the two T.V offerings,
Mr Selfridge and Peaky Blinders.in the case of the former I always enjoyed reading about Harry Selfridge as I had never seen him, personally, for he died when I was 10,
The program director had a problem by the time Harry came to London to look for a site for his first super store .he had knocked 5 years off his age, already.

Watching the program, I could visualise what it would have been like to see one of the many stars of radio and film who went racing during the time.
I once saw The Ali Khan the year before he died and once again The Prince and Rita Hayworth standing less than 10 yards away was much better than any Train that my school chums, may have seen between filthy black smoke,.

I also saw George Raft, when he was part of a team (Mafia) looking for a Casino opportunity.in London, fortunately they were all ousted.

For those who are prepared to calculate Harry’s age, you will understand the difficulty in balancing his
play boy description when already in his 80s.
I cant wait to see the final episode where Harry is booted away from the Shop entrance, as a tramp.
I realise that it is good coverage, to have the billionaire, play boy, living with his daughter in a Fulham slum. I can fully understand why the historians, dont mention that his daughter was a Russian Princess, perhaps she was on benefits also.

As for Peaky Blinders the Shelbys struggle to keep up with anything factual they mention taking over the on-course racing industry, it was sad to see the film of Tattersalls Epsom Derby day, for in the mid 1920s Bookmakers were betting in lines like they do now, every Bookmaker would have had one Bookmaker a clerk, a floor man and tick tac all round the joint. and as the horses were supposed to have been at the off, there would have been 5,000 people in the betting ring, not half a dozen. but then I guess expenses must be considered.

Whilst on the subject of historical content, I have been vetting The Book, “Druids Lodge Syndicate,”
I have always enjoyed this great book, by Paul Mathieu. however I have always had a feeling that there is something not right with the facts portrayed. who am I to say that Paul may have missed an ace in the syndicates hole.

Take for instance, the so called 5 brains in the plots, like the american doping on our soil; that took place between 1895 and 1905, the question must be raised were they gaining more than simple handicap cheating.

Could he have missed a number 6, in the plotters, an American who was very close to the New York Mafia, and as a politician who was so corrupt , that it was days away from a prosecution, hence he bolted back to his birth place Ireland, taking a fortune with him. and I guess someone with his millions$ living in a mansion

His relationship with the syndicates Vet, and the two horses, Ypsilanti and Hackers Pride, and all American jockeys involved, was to close for comfort,

I also feel that a close examination of the Jockey Club itself, during the doping years also to many Old Etonians, hovering around the plot. I cannot believe that what was taking place on Britsh racecourse during the period in question stinks to high heaven.

I will not bore your inelegance to much, at the moment, I will carry on my full enquiry, and bring it to you attention, the full glare of interest as far as I an concerned fal’sl on Lambton. the trainer his involvement in the Doping scam, to clever to be anything but dodgy.

Like robbing a bank to show how easy it was. I cant see the police standing for that one, and as fore the friend who he gave some dope to try, didn’t anyone think of the losing punters,

Just read this and tell me that you don’t get a feeing of nausea,
Lambton,, ———————————————————————–
Mr. Lorillard and Mr. Whitney were the type of sportsman that any country would be proud of, and their trainers, first Huggins and later Andrew Joyner, were two good fellows. Both of them, especially Joyner, were very popular with the racing world. Their horses were always run out in the most straightforward manner. I can say that at the time when Joyner made up his mind to leave England and return to America there was no more popular man in Newmarket, and I shall always look back with pleasure on the dinner we gave him before he left. The more Americans of this sort that come over, the better.

At the time I write of, Mr. P. Lorillard had a large string of horses in England trained by J. Huggins. He was as great a gentleman and as good a sportsman as ever went racing. He was not a new-comer on the English Turf, for in 1881 he had won the Derby and St. Leger with Iroquois, and in 1879 he had a wonderful old gelding called Parole. This horse created a sensation by beating Isonomy for the Newmarket Handicap in April. He was ridden by Charles Morbey, and started at a hundred to fifteen. His victory was not unexpected by his connections, and he followed it up by winning the City and Suburban and the Great Metropolitan, in both of which races Archer was his jockey. Mr. Lorillard’s horses were then trained by a curious character, Jacob Pincus, who remained in this country when Mr. Lorillard for a period gave up racing in England and returned to America. Pincus had practically given up training, but occasionally had a horse or two of his own. I remember one year when, as a very old man, he owned two shocking bad horses, and, much as everyone would have liked to see the old man win a race, they were so bad that they were the despair of the handicapper. Yet on the same day at Lingfield both these horses managed to get their heads in front, and the public was as delighted as the owner.

I believe it was the interference of the Government with racing in America that brought Mr. Lorillard and his horses back to England. He had an enormous stud in America: his yearlings were broken and tried at home, and he brought the best to England, where he had considerable success for some years. Mr. Harry Cuthbert, well known to race-goers of to-day, then quite a young man, came over with him as his secretary, made his entries, and had much to do with the breeding of his horses. Mr. Lorillard was a great believer in English blood, and frequently replenished his stud with it. Eventually, Lord William Beresford entered into partnership with him, and, with Sloan as their jockey, they had a right royal time.

The late Mr. Whitney and his son were both of the same class of owner. When they gave up and retired to their own country, they were a great loss to English Racing. Mr. Whitney got his racing colours in rather a curious way. One August Meeting, at York, I was in a vein of bad luck, my horses being continually second. Mr. Gerald Paget came to me after one of these reverses and said, “Are you fond of your colours?” They were light blue with a brown cap. “No,” I replied, “I hate the sight of them.” He then asked me if I would take £100 for them. “Give me the money,” I answered, “and they are yours.” The deal was completed at once, and then I learnt that it was Mr. Whitney who wanted my colours, and as long as he lived his horses carried them. At his death I got them back again. Partly on account of my old colours I was always fond of backing his horses, and I had a good race on Volodyovski when he won the Derby.

Another American trainer, Wishard, was a very shrewd man, who won a great deal of money. He went in for a different class of race, and trained for a different class of owner, but I personally liked him very much. He was a remarkably clever man with horses. There is no doubt that he supplemented his great skill as a trainer by making use of the dope. In those days there was no law against this pernicious practice.

Wishard brought over with him as jockeys the two brothers Lester and Johnny Reiff. Lester was a very tall man, and had great difficulty in keeping his weight down. He was a fine jockey, and a wonderful judge of pace, while Johnny as a boy was the best light-weight I ever saw, excepting Frank Wootton.

I always thought it was a great pity that Wishard ever took to doping, for he was somewhat of a genius with horses, and would, I am sure, have made a great name for himself without it. His horses generally looked beautiful, and I am sure whatever dope he used could not have been a very powerful one: they looked too well for that, and kept their form too long. I had many a talk with him, and found him a most agreeable man, but we never got on to this subject.

Perhaps his greatest success was with Royal Flush. He was a very handsome chestnut horse by Favo, and had passed through more than one man’s hands, but at the time Wishard bought him he belonged to Mr. F. W. Lee, who is well known to the present-day racing public as the Handicapper at most of our big meetings. I am sure that Royal Flush must have taught his genial and kindly owner what an uncertain thing a race-horse may be, for he, while well known to be a good horse, seldom produced his home form in public, and he continually disappointed Fred Lee. But when he had been for some time in the hands of Wishard he began to show what he could do. After running a good third for the Jubilee at Kempton, he won among other races the Hunt Cup at Ascot and the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood.

I remember Wishard telling me to back him for the Hunt Cup, but, knowing how often he had disappointed his former owners, I would not do so. And what a fool I felt when I saw him run a game, honest horse and win a head. From that time on “he got better and better”, and ended the season by running a match for £500 at Hurst Park against Eager, the best sprinter in England at the time, at even weights. The excitement over this match was intense, and the betting close. I was firmly convinced that Eager would win, which he did with ease, but the career of Royal Flush bears out my theory that Wishard was a great trainer as well as a good doper. Whether Royal Flush was helped by a dope of course I do not know, but if he was it cannot have been a very injurious one, or he would not have kept his form throughout the season as he did, and come out always with the appearance of a perfectly trained horse.

There is no doubt that the Americans started the practice of doping, though it must not be supposed that they all doped their horses. Both Huggins and Joyner detested it. They had seen too much of the mischief it caused in their own country, but, when they came over, there was no law against doping and those people who, like Wishard, made a study of it were perfectly within their rights.

It was Huggins who told me how it originated. In America they used to race eight or nine days in one particular place, and would then move on to some other district, where the same thing would take place. The consequence was that towards the end of these meetings most of the horses had run several times and were played out. In fact, it became a survival of the fittest, and every dodge and device was used to keep the poor devils up to the mark, and some man hit on the marvellous properties of cocaine for the jaded horse.

After the Americans brought the dope over here, many Englishmen took it up, but they were not very successful, as they did not really understand enough about it. My own experiences were rather interesting.

I remember at the Newmarket First October Meeting of 1896 running a horse belonging to Sir Horace Farquhar, called East Sheen, in the Trial Selling Stakes. He was a useful plater, and anything that beat him was worth buying. In this race he was beaten a neck by a chestnut mare, Damsel II. When she was put up to auction I bought her for £450. She was pouring with sweat, looked very bad, and I thought that I could probably improve her. That evening, when I went to my stables, my head man remarked that the mare I had bought was a wild brute, and had been running round her box like a mad thing ever since she came home. I went to look at her, and she certainly was a miserable object, with eyes starting out of her head and flanks heaving. This was the first doped horse I ever saw, although at the time I was quite unaware of what was the matter. I gave the mare a long rest, and got her quiet and looking well, but she was no good. Eventually Charlie Cunningham bought her for jumping, but he could do no good with her. He afterwards put her to the stud, where she produced a dead foal, and beyond that I know no more of her. But in 1896 doping was in its infancy, and it was not until about 1900 that it really began to be a serious menace to horse-racing. Even then, although there were mysterious hints of its wonderful effect, few people knew much about it, or really believed in it. After 1900, this horrible practice increased rapidly, and by 1903 it had become a scandal. I myself was still sceptical about any dope making a bad horse into a good one. But very strange things occurred, and one constantly saw horses who were notorious rogues running and winning as if they were possessed of the devil, with eyes starting out of their heads and the sweat pouring off them. These horses being mostly platers, and running in low-class races, did not attract a very great deal of attention, but three veterinary surgeons told me that the practice was increasing very much, that it would be the ruin of horse-breeding, and ought to be stopped. Then there occurred a case when a horse, after winning a race, dashed madly into a stone wall and killed itself. I then thought it was about time that something was done, so I told one of the Stewards of the Jockey Club what my three friends, the veterinary surgeons, had said. He was as sceptical as I had been, and declared he did not believe there was anything in it. At that time I had in my stable some of the biggest rogues in training, and I told the Stewards that I intended to dope these horses. They could then see for themselves what the result was.

The first horse I doped was a chestnut gelding called Folkestone. This horse had refused to do anything in a trial or a race. He was always last and would come in neighing. I first of all doped him in a trial. He fairly astonished me, for he jumped off in front and won in a canter. I sent him to Pontefract, where he beat a field of fourteen very easily, and nearly went round the course a second time before his jockey could pull him up. He won a race again the next day, was sold and never won again. I had told my brother, Lord Durham, who was not a Steward of the Jockey Club at that time, what I was doing. So much did he dislike this doping that he was inclined to object to my having anything to do with it. But when I explained that my object was to open the eyes of the Stewards, he withdrew his objection, but begged me not to have a shilling on any horse with a dope in him. To this I agreed.

I obtained six dopes from a well-known veterinary surgeon. They were not injected with a needle, but just given out of a bottle. Their effect on a horse was astonishing. I used five of them, and had four winners and a second. Not one of these horses had shown any form throughout the year. One of them, Ruy Lopez, who had previously entirely defeated the efforts of the best jockeys in England, ran away with the Lincoln Autumn Handicap with a stable boy up, racing like the most honest horse in the world. At the end of that Liverpool Autumn Meeting I had one dope left. I had made no secret of what I had been doing, and Lord Charles Montague asked me to give him one of these dopes. He wanted it for a horse called “Cheers,” winner of the Eclipse Stakes, belonging to the Duke of Devonshire; so I gave him my last one. “Cheers” had run badly all the year. The following week he beat a big field for the Markeaton Plate with the dope in him, including a horse of my own, Andrea Ferrara, who I very much fancied.

Perhaps the warning off of several of Lambton’s chums, took place after his Book I hope so for he seems to have been a very poor judge of people

Memory Loss.

November 11th, 2014

Over 70 years, I have loved every minute of my time in the Sport of Kings, my very first wager was similar to the start being made by millions of UK citizens, who gain the bug to gamble.

It started with a Kiss, from my uncle Tommy a WW1 war hero.
Invited to my home my brother and I were given a free £2 bet, no strings attached. my brother unbeknown to me placed £1 on the big race that day The Grand National. and put the other £1 in his money box a Golly with a hand that transported any thing placed in the palm, into a very wide mouth.

Tommy laughed out loud “you will never starve my son”
Being three years younger I gave Tom, the £2 back and named my selection for the Grand National.

After dinner my mother and a few of her friends, including my brother, and Tommy settled down to listen to the big race.

Even before the race started I was exited, my brother disappeared into his bed room to continue making aeroplanes from balsa wood that he hung in the bedroom ceiling.

for over 10 minutes I was mesmerized by the commentary as a nine year old, anything sporting was fantastic for me Boxing Football and now racing.
The weather had been atrocious with no racing from mid January even the Cheltenham festival my fathers special week had to be put back.to April.
With 57 runners I treated the venture like you do a lottery today, fortunately there was no Pins in our house, there had to be some sort of logic to any opinion.

Cheltenham was always a great day almost as good as Xmas, my father one of the top tick-taks in the country, would come home with a bag of coins. that he would give to us to first count and then divide equally.

This year with Cheltenham not on until April. the little gamble that my father forbid, for us children seemed more exiting.than ever.

As I looked at the newspaper to make my selection the wise old owl. Uncle Tom, gave me advice to pick a big one meaning the price I assumed not the size of the animal. with over 26 of the runners in the 100/1 bracket, I decided that was greedy.

At first I chose Prince Regent the clear favourite, for I had remembered my father discussing how great the Irish champion was.

“Not with 12 stone 7. Donald. he has no chance.pick again.

This time my eyes noticed a horse called Lough Conn. for some reason it took my eye,
What weight does that one carry Uncle .?.
“10 stone 1.” that will do £2 on Lough Conn.

Eachway or win..

WIN, Please.
You can have 25/1 Son a little extra.

The noise from the commentary seemed to be spoilt for the lack of any information, the visability was shocking according the the commentary team.

before the leaders were mentioned the commentator seemed more interested in giving those that had already fallen, over 8. in total.
As they approached the 6th fence Bechers Brook. there had not been a leader,s name mentioned the fog must have been that bad,
all of a suden the race came to life..
“The leader is Loch Conn”,
I almost choked on a Toffee Apple I was eating.

That.s my horse Uncle

Laughing he informed that there was a further 24 fences to take.

“Over the water jump its still Loch Conn leading the field as they go out for the 2nd Circuit.”

.”Over Bechers for the 2nd time the leader has gone clear. from Caughoo.
Here they come out of the mist its.”
There was a pause, that seemed like ages.

“Its Caughoo well clear.”

I looked at my Uncle and he looked at the floor it was as if he was saddened by my tears, that had started to flow. I alsways winder how I became such a bad loser.

“That is not fare” I hadn’t calculated my winnings, and wasn’t upset that I had lost my £2.

“Never mind son, you can have another go next year.”

A week later I was in the Prince of York a public house in Birmingham with my family and a bunch of Dads fiends, the conversation came round to the National. my father always a prankster, winked at the group without me knowing and began a debate about how Caughoo the winner had duped the stewards by falling first time round and by the time Dempsey the jockey had caught him, and remounted, he was in 2nd place 20 lengths behind the race leader. my selection Lough Conn.

I didst say a word I had been brought up never to speak out of tern.

One of the group who had been at Liverpool for the National, betting between the last two jumps was adamant that McCann the rider of my selection, was calling to the leader.

“You F***** Cheat, you have got to go round again..#In fact as they arrived in the winners enclosure there were fisticuffs, followed by a legal action.

History shows that nothing sinister took place but it was the turning point in my gambling carrier,

If I could help it I only ever bet after I knew the result.
By 1957 I was the security manager for the family firm. if I was to be cheated again I would make it that the winner would require more than just Fog.


A Load of P.Blinders.

October 22nd, 2014

History is made up of tales created by writers who lived at the time in question.
Years after we have to come to a conclusion as to what we believe or what conclusion we have come to ourselves, we owe it to those interested, on the subject to handle the truth with care.
The more people read about a subject it can become enshrined into the mind of those around today. if the topic is untruthful that is a shame.

Take for instance, the subject that I was born into one that I love dearly.

During the last 40 years I have gained enjoyment reading comments, from many years ago not even though it has not always been the truth, over the last few years I have come to a different conclusion and that is that when ever possible the truth should prevail.

Take the Tipperary Tim National. were so called great writer, makes the most alarming mistake claiming that Billy Barton was a distance clear when he fell leaving the Irish Tubed plater, to come home alone. I except that the winner was not in the same class in equine terms, as the American Champion, but after all the race was a handicap. and the winner did clear the 30 fences, faster than any other of the runners. so I do not respect the statement, (The Winner returned to the obscurity that he had arrived)

What my problem is that when a respected writer makes statements, that are not challenged, then in the mind of he reader, it becomes fact. then passed on to there friends and colleges, who believe them without question.

A further point, is the Derby known as the Sufferget Derby.of 1913 were Miss Davison, waits at the Tattenham Corner before jumping in front of the Kings Horse, deliberately. this is laughable in the extrema.

To read the waffle about the topic is nothing but stupid. and proves my point that in years to come it will become factual that the Scottish Lassie cleverly planned the actual collision with the Kings horse for maximum publicity. removing the truth that it was by pure chance.

In some cases we can forgive the readers, gullibility if we move forward to the Foinavon National.
were millions of British if not global fans of the race, claim that Honey End was the races unluckiest loser in the great races history.

Sorry to say, that if he had won the event instead of being 2nd he would have gone down in history as the luckiest winner ever.
But how can the two opinions be compatible.?

Simple fact when Popham Down reached the 23rd fence, Honey End was a distance behind, having made a drastic mistake early on in the race, in fact Honey End would have most certainly been pulled up before long.

Before any one asks me what is the point I am raising.?

I will explain that I dislike moments when Fact and Fiction collide. without the reader being informed that the tale is in deed fiction.

Take the TV programs of Mr Selfridge and The Peekey Blinders, the writers have found themselves in a dilemma, they require a story line that the pubic will enjoy, truth or fiction it matters not.

Mr Selfridge can be forgiven when having to be a stud at the age of 70. perhaps some pill called Mr.S. will be launched after the next series. I cant wait for the final Series evolves with Harry, skint living with a daughter, in a Fulham flat no mention that the daughter was a Russian Princess,

It will I guarantee show Mr-Selfridge in cloths that even a 2nd class Charity shop would refuse “Thank You”.

10 years before his death there is a picture of Harry at Liverpool for the National. dressed like only Harry could . immaculate;ate Scottish brogue, fur lined collar, a diamond stud in his tie pin. at least 5 carrot, and the most beautiful Italian boots,

Unless the great shop keeper, had thrown all his old cloths away, the final story line of him standing outside his great store and being moved on by a policeman, for being a vagrant. it just don’t add up and is just pure fiction. I would love to know what the great man was berried in.

What abut Peaky Blinders, I am entitled to an opinion on the matter, after all my grand mother and her son Philip senior my Dad, were living at Cooksey Road Small Heath, a hop skip and jump from the Garrison Arms, 1909 to 1925 my father was the horse-racing games great Tick Taks, with every leading Bookmaker a client.

I do believe that there were a few young villains, about Small Heath, during the last years of the 20th century, but no different than in many towns in Britian at the time, but I can find no reference to them being anything more than Bicycle thieves, wife beaters, or a violent youth subculture.

The jump to after WW1, and 1920s and we see a family of Irish Gypsy Emigrants, taking over the Racing Game, right under the noes of the London’s Flying Squad. or are about to.

What I cannot quite understand, is the fact that Billy Kimber the leader, of all things Bookmaking at the time, was seen as a Rolls Royce owner living in a Cheltenham Mansion seen as a loud-mouthed, flashy dresser, when in fact Mr Kimber was a gent, to all other than his first wife, although he was no wife beater,
My father and mother took me and my brother Phillip junior to Worcester in the late 1940s Mr Kimber I have been informed gave me a Tosheroon, (2/6) causing a great deal of disquiet in the household when we returned home. when it was found that my Brother (Three years older) had missed out.
As for Mr Sabini (Derby) I remember seeing him at Epsom one day, and he was certainly not as smart and dapper as he appeared in Thursdays program.as for the final act of series one,

There is a stand to in Small Heath all lined up with more heavy armoury than they had over the road at the BSA. It is clear to all that Bill Kimber who never carried a gun, until he arrived in the States. but I will guarantee that Bill is still alive and kicking during the final series.

When my father joined a Bookmakers firm, called Ernest Fletcher, (No relation of Mike) in 1928
Tom the pitch holder was a WW1 Hero. winning a George Cross and equivalent medal in France.

Tommy Shelby has claimed similar hero status and who am I to discredit that fact. all I can say is that when the Jockey Club, and Government were prepared to close down racecourses were the type of criminality was taking place, it was inevitable that all racecourse Bookmakers cleaned up there act.
The formation of a trade association, firstly the Bookmakers and Punters Association soon lost the Punters, however what should be understood is that there was no trouble in the main rings, Tattersals and the Rails. have never been part of Gang Warfare,

One thing that all the leaders of the Bookmakers had in common north south east and west, was they had all the important authority in there back pocket,

Kimber, Emanual, Derby Sibini and Whites, were all bunging, of that there is no doubt. Although I respect our very own Historian Mr Carl Chinn, very few know more about the subject, than this true Brummie, on the other hand Mr McDonald’s Gangs of London, is a must for fans of the game. but they were not there at the time, so they are pure and simple Historians.

If I may I hope that the Peeky writers some how dig Billy Kimber up from whence he has been interned, for without him the true story will; be lost for ever and in years to come, people interested will think that a nasty little Yid called Soloman was anything more than a school bully with a gun.

And that Derby Sabini was a Clark Gamble look a like. which he certainly wasn’t. in fact if Paddy Power had created a Bookm on the best dressed on racecourses during the period.

Bill Kimber would have been odds on Soloman and Derby 33/1.

I doubt the real Racing Don, will get a mention in the Peaky tale as The South is concerned the King financing all activity, south of Watford was Emanuel. just because there is no photo of him douse not detract from the fact that he was the Man.No 1.

I will carry on watching with interest, the forthcoming Battles, but remember all of the Midland Lists,
used by the Midland Bookmakers and District Association (Jenny Govier) were given to me after computer records commenced, these list’s date back to early 1900s, and having looked through them religiously I see no reference to any Shelby.
As for Kimber I do not know of his trip to USA, so I will leave that period to Gangs of London.
I do know what happened to Billy down the west country under the guide of Brillcream Harry, and all point to point racing down west.

I will watch with interest,


That’s Rich coming from you.

October 2nd, 2014


Since the mid-sixteenth century Rich has had a highly negative reputation for immorality, financial dishonesty, double dealing, perjury and treachery that is seldom matched in all of English history. The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper dismissed Rich as a man “of whom nobody has ever spoken a good word”

Only one person was more dishonest that was his master Henry the 8th.

I have looked into the vast majority of English master properties,

Best to read the Thomas More opinion of Rich,

RICHARD RICH, first Baron Rich (1496?-1567), lord chancellor, second son of Richard Rich and Joan Dingley, his wife, was probably born in 1496, since early in 1551 he is officially described as fifty-four years of age and more. The family was of Hampshire origin, and the chancellor’s great-grandfather, Richard Rich (d. 1469), a prominent member of the Mercers’ Company, served as sheriff of the city of London in 1441. He left two sons, John (d. 1458), from whom are descended the baronets of the Rich family, and Thomas, grandfather of the lord chancellor. The visitation of Essex in 1512 represents the chancellor as second son of John Rich, who died on 19 July 1468, which is impossible. Robert, a brother of the chancellor, died in 1557.

Rich was born in the parish of St. Laurence Jewry, in the church of which several of his family were buried. Cooper states that he was at one time a member of Cambridge University, and in 1539 be was an unsuccessful candidate for the chancellorship of that university against the Duke of Norfolk. He was bred to the law, entered the Middle Temple, and formed an acquaintance with Sir Thomas More, a native of the same parish and member of the same inn. ‘You know,’ said More to Rich at his trial, ‘that I have been acquainted with your manner of life and conversation a long space, even from your youth to this time; for we dwelt long together in one parish, where, as yourself can well tell (I am sorry you compel me to speak it), you were always esteemed very light of your tongue, A GREAT DICER and GAMESTER. and not of any commendable fame either there or at your house in the Temple, where hath been your bringing up.

Whilst looking for the list of histories chief villains and cheats, I am not surprised that they are from the very highest in the land, being of royal blood, no deterrent it may be that in the beginning the Sport of Kings was created especially for Kings and Queens, and there ilk I am afraid to say that cleverness in gambling, is not confined to the wealthy or certainly not the well educated, although there cleverness will soon alleviate many who started the better off only to find there position on the UK RICH list transferred from one to the other.

Next Henry 8th Apprentice. William Palmer, Prince of Poisoners,


Never a Day goes by Honestly.

October 1st, 2014

Looking into life’s nook’s and crannies I find the Sport of Kings/Queens most fascinating.

Of all the participants, who played a part during the last 500 years, Horse-racing holds our attention the most,
It was obvious that the original “Match” bets, between aristocrats would at some time tax even the most honest participant.

I have been spending a great deal of time making a judgement on who was the most honest of the three sections Jockeys, Trainers, Owners,

In the case of Jockeys, I would be be acting unfairly, to place to much of a burden on the little men.
For when fee,s are low I use the old saying only a fool works for nowt.
During the 17th Century, when fee,s were extremely low the temptation to adopt dishonourable tactics become inevitable.

When the early Bookmakers, took over the industry, it became a war of attrition, a new element that was always there lurking, not very far away, was the professional.
When Lord George Beninick calculated his financial involvement at the end of a successful year, it would not require those with only a midget amount of brain, to come to the conclusion that other than the owner, and his staff Trainer/Jockey there were improving there were much cleverer individual’s involved. if you ignore the climbing of a oak tree, over looking the Goodwood stable, Lord George Bentnick assumed the what trainer and the Lord himself, were planning was no longer a secret.

What George decided was simple but had never been contemplated before.

Already his horse Elis that the stable fancied for the St Leger, had been steadily shortened in price from a reasonable 4/1 to 2/1 without The Lord placing a wager of any description.

With a week to go, before the horse and rider would have to make its way on the considerable journey up north to the Doncaster.

The tree climber’s, had passed on evidence that the horse was fit and was being trained for the forth coming event. @ Doncaster St Leger, the next part of the plan would be when it started on its long journey, north.

With 5 days to go the dead line was reached and Elis was still in its stable the only way to get there in time had been reached. and still no response.
With the Boy watching earnestly over the stable gate, Lord George was playing a very clever game.
With the time passed there was no way that Elis could get to the course in time.

Scampering down the tree, the important evidence, meaning the St Leger favourite was a non runner.
arrived in London, within hour’s the price had drifted to 10/1. however instead of Elis being supported other horses in the race collapsed, the market once the information was gained. turned the betting on its head.

With activity, that could only confirm that the favourite was wrong and would not be a runner.
By early next day, the Lord George’s team. with instructions to take any price 10/1 was soon 7/1 and then 7/2, a very cunning plot had been sprung.
However how could it be, for the horse was still in the stable.
The next morning with more spotters congregating outside the establishment.

The bold gates were flung open, with lord George Himself, standing next to the trainer, stood back as the racing industry’s first horse transporter, the likes of which had never been seen before starting on its long journey to Uttoxeter, for an over night stay and to Doncaster. in time for the race,
In an event were Elis was soon back in its right full position as race favourite, the Bookmakers and there supporters, all caught a bloody noes. Lord George Bentinick the owner had the better of his sworn enemy the Bookmakers.

Organised plots occur often although very few actually, end in success, usually the Bookmaking Industry are to cunning. this will go down in the annuls of the sport as the enemy’s blackest day..

As for Day, it was to become a name that would be written in Lord Georges memory to his dying day.

The first of racing’s Day’s was probably John Day of Houghton Down Farm racing adviser to the Prince Regent, afterwards George IV, in the 1790’s. his claim to fame was the amount of wine he could drink. Hence the name “Gloomy Day”

But it was his son John Barham Day who was the real patriarch of the family. He began his racing career as an apprentice to the excellent trainer Smallman, As a jockey he won the Oaks four times and the St. Leger twice, his last Classic win being at the age of 46 on Lord George Bentinck’s Crucifix in the Oaks in 1840.

He then established the Day racing stables at Danebury near Stockbridge on the Hampshire Downs where he acquired the nickname of Honest John. sadly for Bentinck that nickname was of an ironic nature. In 1841 Lord George became convinced that the Days were defrauding him by betraying stable secrets to the bookmakers, he therefore removed his entire string of racehorses from Danebury.

What occurred to cause drastic move was the mail that Lord B, has never mentioned himself, although after his death the did become known.

Day who had started off as honest as a judge, may have watched some of the extraordinary strokes that taken place during the early 1800s.
this seemed to have changed his training skills, resulting in his fall out with the most important person in the game,

It may however have been fate, for a mistake of enormous consequence, took place when two important letters were dispatched from Dansbury one to his senior owner the other to his private agent a well known Bookmaker. person who Lord George had reason to distrust, having been given evidence that all the secret stable information that he thought was secret had on more than one occasion, been in the hands of this Bookmaker.before he had chance to make his own move,

Letter one read,

“My Lord The colt is quit fit, and has done a rattling gallop I fancy he is bound to win,”


Letter two read
Dear Joe,
“The long legged lord will be at Tattersalls on Monday Lay him all you can, The horse is a dead one”.
Unfortunately in his hurry the letters were placed in the wrong envelopes.

If that was not enough to finish anyone in the racing industry, Day went a step further by getting involved with the games senior cheat, Money lender Henry Padwick. of Lord Hastings fame…

Virago, was a dark chestnut filly out of Derby winner Voltigeur, As a yearling, she was bought for £450, at the Doncaster sales by Henry Padwick, a notorious moneylender John Barham Day, who was ironically known as “Honest John” was given the horse to train. ,Day believed that he had acquired “the finest yearling in the world”.

Day ran Virago in her first serious private trial after in october 1853. and was so impressed that he offered to buy the filly from Padwick for £3,000, but his offer was rebuffed.Virago showed none of her ability on her only racecourse appearance of 1853, finishing well beaten in the Astley House Selling Stakes at Shrewsbury Racecourse in November. Day had made sure that Virago would not produce her true running by having her accompanied to the start his stable lad with instruction to hold onto the filly until the rest of the runners had gone at least fifty yards. The purpose to qualify Virago for handicap races with a much reduced handicap.

In spring 1854 Virago was matched against the five-year-old Little Harry (winner of the Ascot Stakes) in a two and a quarter mile private trial and won easily, receiving only ten pounds this trial was dynamite, Virago began her public three-year-old season at the Epsom Spring meeting on 6 April. The highlights of the meeting were two valuable all-aged handicap races run on the same afternoon: the Great Metropolitan Handicap over two and a quarter miles, and the one and a quarter mile City and Suburban Handicap. what Admiral Rous .must have thought for he never did like Day. in fact it may well have been the cause of his the trainers Honest, badge.

On 25 May Virago won the Great Northern Handicap over two miles at York, winning easily by a length from sixteen opponents at odds of 4/6 to take a first prize of more than £2,000. The following day, at the same meeting, she won the Flying Dutchman Handicap over one and a half miles at odds of 1/4. Her performances made such an impression that only two fillies appeared to oppose her in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket Racecourse a week later. Virago was ridden to victory in the one-mile classic by John Wells at odds of 1/3, beating Meteora by a neck.[10] This race was her only classic engagement: Virago was not entered in the Epsom Derby, the Epsom Oaks or the St. Leger Stakes.

To look at this fraudulent coup was by far the most outlandish, in the history of the game, and may well have given others who followed a red light to take the advantage left by the death of Lord George Bentnick.

At Goodwood in July, Virago contested the two and a half mile Goodwood Cup, one of the season’s most prestigious weight-for-age races. She was made 1/6 favourite and won by fifteen lengths from Indian Warrior. When she added a win in the Nassau Stakes for fillies at the same meeting, her superiority was so evident that no official odds were recorded. In August Virago returned to York and ran twice. She won the Yorkshire Oaks,

On 5 September Virago won the Warwick Cup over three miles at Warwick Racecourse, taking the race by six lengths from a field that included the Oaks winner Mincemeat and Kingston, who had finished second by a head to West Australian in the Ascot Gold Cup. On her last start of 1854, Virago travelled to Doncaster in mid September and won the Doncaster Cup “in a canter” from Kingston, the only horse to oppose her. In all, Virago won ten of her eleven starts in 1854, took £9,750 in prize money, and earned Padwick a further £80,000 in winning bets.

1948 was the year that allowed this disgraceful chicanery, to take place the Jockey Club at it most ineffectiveness. I doubt that Day would have been given the opportunity, to bring what had been a great name into racings deepest mire,

I am sure that I will find it hard to better, the skulduggery, of Honest Day. but will certainly still look


The Artistry of Chicanery.

September 29th, 2014

Reading through the history of the Turf, I am flabbergasted to see the vast amount of the sports leaders, who are held in high esteem, as protectors of honesty, when any close examination can discover nothing but chicanery at all levels, Owners, Trainers, and Jockeys, in fact it is my honest opinion that the “Game” as I refer to the Sport of Kings, is as honest as it has ever been. although there is still an element of cheating that can never be fully eradicated. whilst Handicapping exists. without better control.

I will commence my enquiry from the 18th Century and a reference to who has been described as the Father of the Turf.
Mr Tragonwell Frampton.Born in Oxfordshire in 1641 he did not arrived in Newmarket quite late on the scene, aged 34. established a reputation for shrewdness and good judgement, both of people and horses. He was noticed by King Charles II and he had some minor office in the King’s Stables but it was during the reign of William III that he became the Supervisor of the Race Horses at Newmarket, a course arbiter and a post that was to be the origin of the Stewards of the Jockey Club. In addition he took on the title of The Keeper of the King’s Running Horses and he continued to hold these positions through the reigns of Queen Anne up the arrival of George II.

Let us scrutinise, this man from historical documents.

It has always been accepted that Frampton was a favourite of the Royal Household certainly those who enjoyed Horse-racing. colourful and often eccentric characters attracted to the world of sport and gambling. It appears that many of the following Royals gave Newmarket an aura of nobility. with titled, distinguished well connected persons having residence in the town, which became a centre for sport and gambling -with horse-racing, coursing, hawking and cock-fighting. the favourites.
It was always known that in Tregonwell the Royals had found a cunning fox.
A person of colourful and eccentric behaviour can be in some cases, acceptable but not when describing A Father of the Turf. who should be a person giving confidence as leader of the sports integrity not as a man, who paid more attention to how he could gain an advantage not always for those who paid his wages,

At the time the Blood Sport of Cocking was the major activity, the amount of gambling from the very top was astronomical. Cock Pits could be found in many of the country’s mast famous race-courses.

A quote by Frampton on cocking requires close examination.
He wrote to a friend giving detailed instructions on the rearing, feeding and handling of birds, including the following advice:
“Be sure that you do not part with your best cocks to those that love the sport, for if you should they will have as good as you have, and will not desire your assistance, which must not be”

This the advice of a cheat in my humble opinion.
But let us look at his activity in Horse-racing.
When a Yorkshire stable believed that they had a unbeatable Horse and were prepared to take on the very best in the land, the challenge became known to Tregowen Frampton the so call Father of the Turf.

A match was accepted, Sir W Strickland wealthy owner had in his stable a horse of great ability called Merlin, Yorkshire based, Strickland let it be known he would take on anyone at level weight.
Frampton offered up his favourite, in what has been described as the Match of the Century,

As The Royal Stud Keeper, and the most well known man in the sport Frampton was happy to take up the gauntlet. seeing a great opportunity for his many private backers, who supported his very word.

Frampton was not only a massive gambler in his own right, he had some of the greatest players in the Game, wealthy individuals who would think nothing of following the “Father” to to the tune of £10.000.

However there was a furious challenge. afoot, those in the Northern town’s and villages had seen for themselves the ability of Merlin. and ignored the name of any Southerner. they believed that Merlin was unbeatable.
The match was on.

How long it would take to get Merlin to Newmarket, the distance alone would have been a disadvantage. Under the control of William Heseltine, Merlin’s Jockey. they arrived at Newmarket, fit and well.

Frampton’s jockey on meeting William proposed that the two horses run a private trial placing themselves at a massive advantage. over all others.

Heseltine at first refused such a proposal.
However once back in town arranged to get a message to his master Strickland.

The shewd Yorkshire man, gave the boy instructions to allow the trail to take place but to carry an extra 7 lb unbeknown to his opponent.

Frampton informed his jockey to allow the trial. but to make sure that a 7 lb was carried in his saddle.

In the trial with both horses flat out, Merlin won by a short length, approx a Neck in to-days distance.

With both connections thinking they had fooled the other, they were both, confidant that they had a massive advantage to go to war with in betting terms.

Once the Frampton connexion of massive players, were informed of the trial betting took off with odds 1.8 and 1.6 being taken every offer was accepted.
Some sort of bell should have rung in the ears of a thinking gambler. when every time a massive bet was offered Frampton’s runner held its price. moving back to evens. were it should have collapsed.
In fact gambler’s from all over the northern towns and villages, were happy to offer this price the Frampton gamblers to take there offer, happy that they had a 7 lb advantage.

In the official race, surrounded by a massive crowd, at Newmarket, for the majority of the race both horses seemed content to keep equal pace.
With a furlong to go the Frampton favourite was leading and Merlin a length behind. with a noise so loud, it was the Yorkshire fan’s that carried on there support as there Champion under the cunning riding of William Heseltine, was produced with great ability.winning the Match by a Neck yet again.

Those from the south, many of the biggest gamblers in the land, were dumbfounded more than one had gone in over there heads, much deeper than they should. there was no record of suicides, but I an sure there were some.
What had taken place was soon being discussed in Parliament, even this attempt to have the Match disqualified. many a Lord were trying every move possible to get out of there predicament.
With no Stewards, to enquire, into the way it was run the result stood.

Frampton as was usual. on a massive advantage if his horse won, but not affected financially he was too cunning to gamble his own gold. without a bolt hole.
As a result of this match a law was introduced limiting the recovery of gambling debts to the sum of £10, but in Newmarket where very high stakes were the order of the day, it seems to have been ignored.

This sort of activity under the full knowledge of the Father of the Turf, supports my opinion that from the very beginning, order and honesty, certainly didn’t exist. Chicanery ruled.

Other so called Fathers of the Turf came and went,

Henry John Rous.

Chapter 2 “Jack”

September 27th, 2014

By now Jack as well as being a very successful rails Bookmaker was also a great Football judge, at the time when Hills and Ladbrokes had there Draw War, what started off as 25/1 for three draws off the full list, soon reached 40/1 even 50/1 and it was then that Jack struck, costing Hills and Ladbrokes a fortune.
The first time I met JC in his flat on the Bristol Road Viceroy Close, Birmingham I was amazed by the amount of Classic Antique Teddy Bears, although it seemed odd for him to have these Dolls, I am sure they were worth a fortune every one was a master.

When I started doing a little business for him, he was fairly fit, the outside life as a racecourse Bookmaker conducive with his trade.

As sharp as a razor out of Brighton Rock, he had befriended every staff member of the big three, during the period were the IV7 was a very popular bet, as soon as they had a message, to keep your eys open for the 3.45 race if Spooky wins, we will have a fortune going on the last favourite, “Smash it into the ground before the first show..”

Jack would be on his toes for he would be given 2/3 minutes start, this was when the racecourse markets were powerful.

I have seen him get £15,000 on a 7/2 chance and then wait for Hills or Ladbrokes tio go to work, when they had taken all the 5/2 and 2/1 and 7/2 Jack would put it back up at 2/1 and take £30,000 out of t some of his great touches were when the ITV7 consisted a big price,

Corals would actually give Jack the business to do for them,,

The first time I saw Jack was at Norwich were he stayed for the Yarmouth meeting in the 70s he had a very attractive young lady with him it appeared that it was his first love, last and only. I am not completely sure but I think she died at a very young age, and he never got over it, he was a very good greyhound Bookmaker I think at Oxford but that may be wrong.

During the 80s Jack was allowing the away Bookmakers to have what they liked on.
he had an agreement that he would bet them what every they wanted but it had to be at 2% commission. he knew exactly hour much he would get out of the Starting price business.

If I did some business for him O would settle every month. or £1,000 what ever come first.
If he had given my a little of his great opinion and I would give him a bung. he never actually asked for a fee, but would say after we had a drink Coffie, together
The Group Captain, asks how you are…this was a mark, to place a pony (£25)in the Teddy Bears lap.
All good fun, I wish I had known him as a young lad, but the nearset I ever got to King Edwards School was the Wheel Club Jack Woolfs casino. off the Hagley Road.

The last few years of his life I visited him in a private Hospital at .The Priory and The Edgbaston

He told me that he was having injections every day and of the 5 nurses only one was an expert the others very painful.

Miss O’Grady, http://www.toptenz.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/florence-nightingale-nurse.jpgthe nurse in question he said she loved a bet, and as he knew I was handing some hot money, he asked if I could sort out a winner for her.

One day I was informed by his nurse that he did not have very long, I could see that Jack was ready for his last supper.

In a voice that I could hardly hear,
“Have you sorted out a winner for her Don”

I lent over and with my mouth close to his ear, I said.

“I have tipped her one for today, “OK lets hope it wins or she may put me through it when she takes some blood.”

“I hope it wins then for it will be a big price over 10/1.”

His eyes that were closed, opened wide…

“Its Grand National Day isnt it” ??
“Yes Jack.”
There was a pause, that seemed ages.

I looked into his face and he was laughing, but had a tear in his eyes.

“I hope your Tip isnt in the National???

“Couldn’t you have picked an easier Race for her lucky that I will not require much more of here excellent service,”

RIP Jack.
If there is Life After Death, Jack will be one of the first that I will seek out after my own family. one thing I know is that with all the great Bookmakers up there
Crockford, Leviathan Davies, Graham Green, just to name a few I bet he is coining it in, not knowing what to spend it on, other than his Teddy Bairs.

When I arrive I know that he will not believe me when I tell him that Hills are paying 7 places, in the Cambridgeshire. and Paddy Power pays Money back The Draw, in a football mat


RIP Jack.

September 27th, 2014

A few years ago there was a Birmingham Wizard, the son of brilliant parents,
As Jack was there only Son they had visions of there brilliance following on, this looked a great possibility after he became head lad, obviously odds on to finish up at Oxford.

When he was 17 Jack Cowen, had caught the bus to Kings Heath, to advance his ability in maths study, through a fiend of his fathers a professor in the subject, lived in the Alcester Road, Kings Heath.

When he arrived this cold November evening, snow in the are, the masters wife informed jack that he would have to cancel his study, as Mr Jacobson was to ill.

Jack wasn’t dressed for a 5 below stroll. back to his home in Wolverhampton, Road, so he walked to a Cafe a few yards from Kings Heath Greyhound stadium.

When Jack gazed through the window he could see a crowd of people walking into the stadium. and not knowing anything about this popular sporting event, after he had finished his drink he entered the two bold gates and walked into the cheap enclosure of Kings Heath Stadium.

He was fascinated by the activity, between 5 Bookmakers and probably 500 punters.

The weather an Arctic blizzard, seemed to have no affect on the poorly dressed scholar. (not quality just no overcoat) seemed oblivious mesmerized by the numbers on the Bookmakers boards, fluctuating, instantly, with one bookmaker seeming to lead the market. his name was Teddy Major, a individual oozing personality. his constant chit a chat making the punters laugh,

Jack Told me when we became close friends in the 90s, that he quickly understood the principal of betting although odds like 13/8 had him foxed for a while before he could change them all in his head to a %.2.625.%

Within seconds he could see that the trading mark up was a very simple equation. all the five were offering a similar profit mark up of 25%. when he heard some of the wagers, being taken £650 to £400 in several hands, even a £1000 wager in a later race at Evens.

Standing in a prominent position, he must have looked like a young postman, of perhaps policeman. it wasn’t long before one Bookmaker Berrows, (Peters) got his tick tack to ask for Jacks removal. as he was getting in the way of the Bookmakers customer flow.

Jack a King Edward Top Boy apologised and moved away.

Back home after explaining to his parents, his night out, he went to bed, however Bed wasn’t sleep he was fascinated, by the Bookmakers turnover that he calculated was vast, there profit massive.

For the next 3 months, there was never a Saturday that went by without Jacks attendance,
His brilliant academic study;s were beginning to be affected, his school master, amazed by his dip in Jack interest, that had once guaranteed him a certain place in Oxford.

One evening he was called into his fathers study. to explain his lack of the interest in his schooling.

Jack had never been a Physically strong person having suffered from Bronchitis as a child, becoming more serious as a youth.

Jacks father listened intently, when his mother joined the conversation, she almost had a fit, with the introduction of the two words Bookmaking and Dog racing.

What occurred during the next 5/10 years Jack didn’t wish to discuss I can only guess that his love of his parents, was still Raw, upsetting there hopes for him, to much to remember. and certainly not to discuss with outsiders. even many years after there deaths.

There is no doubt that Jack was probably the greatest Bookmaker, we have seen not only in Birmingham were historically we can claim William Hill with a top rating,
He would have been along side Hill and Done bar for his serious heath problems.
He once expanded to me “Why have all the expense of a Bookmaker were bad debts take a massive % out of the bottom line,” He always worked one handed on the Rails.
Picking the bones of the unwariness of competitors. like a shark in the sea.

Jack Cowan, was a jump ahead of the Bookmaking Industry, he could look at a list of 37 runners like today’s Cambridgeshire, and calculate in his head, the % the Bookmaker was operating to. but more so he could also calculate the % of the place markets, once the terms of places odds and amount of places,the Bookmaker was offering.

In the early 60s, after the 1961 Betting and Gaming Act, a betting tax was introduced as it was only 2% many Bookmakers, ignored it there was also a change to the place odds, and place terms.

From 1/4 odds and 1/3 odds,

The industry altered the terms, massively in there favour. with the restrictive 1/5th, being introduced, as a way to give the impression it was give and take, the Tax was ignored but races, of 16 or more Handicaps, the 4th place was introduced.

Jack just looked at the competitive nature of the trade, and by just picking the best offers, being advertised by the many credit and postal services, Jack in his head without putting pencil to paper, come up with a profit margin. by backing every horse in a race, 16/17/18 runner races.

For 2/3 years Jack was gaining in the region of 8/10% profit on turnover, and his turnover was vast

I do know that if Jack had been alive today, Hills 7 places, and a proper fluctuating betting market and not all copy cats, Jack would have been ready to go to bed from 3 o’clock not bothering to watch the race but to get up for tea time to calculate his profit.

I will continue the Jack Cowen Life, for Sunday readers.

Chapter Two RIP Jack


Peaky Blinder 2.

September 23rd, 2014

For those who enjoyed series one. in a few weeks time we will be once again, transcended back to the back streets of Brum. and to see what Tommy Shelby will get up to in the period 1923 to the start of WW2.

I assume that Tommy will. be seeking opportunities, now that he has become tantamount to a Birmingham Don having killed the periods historical leader Billy Kimber.

For historians of the period this will be sad for as far as Race Gang Warfare, is concerned, nothing took place on any British racecourse between these years without King Billy having an active role.

There is no doubt that Tommy will find plenty of games to play, however when The Italians of Sabini and the Yids joined forces and challenged Kimber’s rule. we have very little room for a third time player.

During the 1925 period UK racecourses had been placed firmly in the hands of Bookmakers trade associations, having been given a last chance to clean up there act.

A powerful lobby in parliament were after a Tote Monopoly, only the fact that the majority of those in the house of Lords were indebted to the leading Bookmakers,

It was a war of attrition the game was all BUNG, with Kimber bunging the racecourse executive, to allow him control of racecourse pitches north of Watford. and Sabini the south.
It was this agreement, that calmed the wars although the unregistered tracks like trotting, and point to points, remained in the hands of the villains, this included the two free courses of Epsom and Brighton,

What should be understood is that very little of this war took place on the main enclosures, of Tattersalls, there was a pecking order, based upon seniority, in these rings, and no way would an upstart like Tommy Shelby would break that powerful alliance down, for love nor money. (Well plenty of money perhaps)
However racing was only a pittance of what organised criminals were into during this decade.

So as long as Tommy keeps to those, games Prostitution and illegal gambling dens, there will be no problem, with us having to see any racecourse violence stemming from Small Heath. with Kimber, getting a mention.

Don Butler.