Racing: T is for . . .

THE A-Z OF BETTING
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The Independent Online
Racing: T is for . . .

Tattersalls Committee: Hopelessly out-of-touch collection of well-meaning gents who attempt to bring some authority to the anarchic world that is British betting. If your bookie refuses to pay a winning bet on the nags, the Tatts Committee is your last resort, though not until you have paid a deposit which, depending on how much you are owed, could amount to pounds 1,000 or more. This is non-refundable even if you win, while the bookmaker - or, for that matter, a welching punter who is being sued by a bookie for unpaid debts - is under no legal obligation to pay up if the Committee decides in your favour. In other words, you could win your case, and be further out of pocket than you were in the first place. Such is the laughable state of consumer protection in the British betting industry.

Tic-tac: The bookies' racecourse sign language, which relays betting information between enclosures, and within the main ring itself. In the age of the mobile phone, it could be a dying art, but the ridiculous number of cellphone black holes - funny how they don't tell you about those in the adverts - should guarantee its survival for a few years yet.

Timeform: Racing's most respected publishing house. It was founded by Phil Bull, an intelligent, disciplined and shrewd student of form who was one of the first backers to appreciate the importance of race times. Committed Timeform anoraks have libraries of the annuals going back decades, and even at pounds 18.50 a throw, the weekly Black Books sell furiously to a devoted public. Bull's perception was richly rewarded, as much through successful betting as shifting books. He was the punter we are all trying to be, but failing miserably in the attempt.

Touts: Purveyors of "inside information" to people who really should know better, and no doubt would if, for instance, the same person was trying to flog them Chanel No 5 at pounds 5 a pint from a suitcase in Oxford Street. Touts advertise on Teletext and in the racing papers, generally on the basis that they are a resident of a major training centre, and privy to every nugget of gossip doing the rounds. Most of them, of course, would not recognise Newmarket Heath if you buried them up to their necks in the Al Bahathri gallop, a fate which would be far too good for them.

Treble: Ambitious bet which seeks to combine three separate winners in an accumulator. Also, the standard spirit measure in Irish racecourse bars.

Trodmore Hunt: Race meeting for which the runners and riders appeared in the sporting press in August 1898. Bookmakers - clearly a more trusting lot than those today - laid bets for several runners, which would have been paid at starting price. When the results were published, however, there was a difference of opinion between The Sporting Life and The Sportsman over the SP of one winner, which prompted a somewhat overdue investigation into such basic questions as the location of Trodmore and who, precisely, was in charge of its Hunt. It transpired that Trodmore did not exist, far less possess a race-track, and thus the bookies were saved from a cunning coup. The perpetrators, though, were never caught, and some believe that their descendants are now pulling off an identical scam involving Fakenham, concrete evidence for the existence of which remains elusive.

Trotting: The betting medium of choice for many French punters, which only goes to prove that la difference is still alive and kicking. Trotters pull their pilots along in low-slung mini-chariots called sulkys, but are disqualified if they break into a gallop, which makes the whole thing a bizarre, slow-motion spectacle. Before all-weather racing or satellite coverage from South Africa, trotting from Steerebeck, in Belgium, was often the best that the bookies could do when domestic racing fell victim to the weather. Any novelty value faded quickly when everyone had to endure a final furlong which took the best part of a minute to complete. Should anyone ever attempt to import this pointless pursuit into Britain, the Referendum Party will gain thousands of recruits overnight.

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