Racing: THE A-Z OF BETTING- R is for . . .

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Racecard: Usually a thin, shoddy pamphlet costing anything up to pounds 2 which is of no use to man or beast. As a rule, the people who write the brief comments on each runner do not so much hedge their bets, as plant a mass of pine and spruce which would do credit to the Forestry Commission. Do yourself a favour and take a newspaper instead. This one, preferably.

Ramsden, Jack: One of the shrewdest punters operating in British betting, and as such his name is the only thing he has in common with . . .

Ramsden, Terry: Who was a colourful addition to racecourse life during the 1980s, when his excursions into the ring were spectacular and ill- judged in equal measure. Strangely, some who remember those heady days still believe that Tel gave the bookies a hiding. In fact, it was quite the opposite, and Ramsden was such a regular loser that many layers imagined they had died and gone to heaven (which was rather a presumption, since when the time comes most of them are booked on a one-way ticket in the opposite direction). Though his company, Glen International, apparently did something clever in the Japanese markets, no one ever worked out precisely what it was, or why it should be so wildly lucrative that Ramsden could cheerfully stick pounds 250,000 each-way on Mr Snugfit, his runner in the 1986 National. Whatever it was, it went pear-shaped in the crash of 1987, and Terry was warned off for non-payment of gambling debts. Still, it was fun while it lasted.

Rank, Mrs J V: Who was known to all and sundry as "Pat" during her punting career in the immediate post-War years. She married Jimmy Rank, one of the richest men of his day, and set about gambling away his money almost as fast as he could make it. The story goes that Jimmy eventually felt it necessary to buy a bookmaking firm behind his wife's back, and then arrange for most of her business to be channelled through it in order to preserve at least some of his fortune. What an old romantic.

Rules of Racing: Of which there are many hundreds, although only those which may affect the pay-out after a race are of serious interest to punters. This boils down to riding offences, and not so much the letter of the law, as its interpretation by the local stewards, who are famous for many things but not, in general, consistency. The Jockey Club, to be fair, has tweaked the regulations down the years and fewer horses which were winners on merit are now losing the race in the stewards' room, but such issues as whether or not a horse has improved its placing - which can make the difference between a result standing or being thrown out - will always be subjective, in much the same way as no referee can honestly say whether someone in an offside position in football is actually interfering with play. The only possible solution from a punting point of view is to bet with one of the dozens of independent bookies who still offer a "double-result" concession, that is, they pay on both outcomes when a result is overturned. You may not be startled to hear that this offer is not available with Ladbrokes, William Hill or Coral.

Rules of Betting: There are a lot of these as well, so many in fact that when they stick them up in betting shops, they use such miniature type that no one can ever be bothered to read them. No matter, though, because the most important rule of all is the one that is not written down, specifically: Thou shalt not win. This ultimate law is enforced by any number of means, the most effective being that employed by credit bookmakers, who close the accounts of anyone in danger of breaking it. Irritating though this may be for the customer, there is no greater accolade in the punting world than to receive a snippy letter from a bookie telling you that your business is no longer required.