Family holidays at Pontin's in the mid-1960s brought the concept of "race nights" to my adolescent attention. Here was a room full of punters happy to buy betting tickets on horses they didn't know. It struck me that if I had an American penfriend he could have got some inside information.
Three decades later, a version of this "sting" was enacted when an advance party of English racing hacks discovered that the classy Halling, winner of the International at York, was trading at insanely big prices for the Breeders' Cup Classic at Belmont. This intelligence was relayed to press boxes back home, whereupon stakes were phoned across the pond. Unfortunately for this "very British coup" Halling finished virtually last.
There are very few unknowns about the Breeders' Cup now as American races are shown here most nights. But it requires "full anorak status" to keep up. Revive the spirit of Pontin's then, with an evening of burgers, beer and fun bets: Smiling Tiger (Dirt Sprint), 8-1 Sportingbet; Here Comes Ben (Dirt Mile), 11-2 Totesport; Paco Boy (Turf Mile), 11-2 Sportingbet; Behkabad (Turf), 3-1 Ladbrokes; and Looking At Lucky, 5-1 (Classic) VC Bet – £5 win on each.
Twickenham stages the Bleeders' Cup as England take on New Zealand, both teams intent on a physical contest. Try England on the handicap, +13.5 points, £10 at 4-5 William Hill.