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The Collapse Of Betting On Irish Racecourses

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By:
kavvie
When: 12 Aug 16 23:03
how does francis pay expenses?they are fairly steep these days or is he exempt due to his shop steward job?!?
By:
CALLING CARD
When: 12 Aug 16 23:06
he gets circa 30k per annum from HRI and as he wouldn't spend xmas he survives
By:
workrider
When: 12 Aug 16 23:07
In my hayday I bankrolled a bookie Calling Card ,he would arrive at the track with the price of a couple of drinks in the scatchel, nobody checked in those days , I got out when I told him that a jockey really fancied one in the bumper and left him to go and back it , I took the 5/1 and arrived back to the pitch only to discover that he was going 5/1 w/o the fav ...Laugh I kid you not , end of my backing him, horse won by 10lts btw. Davy is worth giving a chance , I'd say hes not the only one on a downer .
By:
CALLING CARD
When: 12 Aug 16 23:25
jesus wept, that was some setup ha.
how long ago was that? i am sure you have noticed that there has been a very bi shift in the demograph of the ring whereby the traditional Dublin based bookmaking families have all but disappeared. Farrells Fannnins Hannigans Martins Gernons Griffins etc i was shown a photo of the Leopardstown ring in the early seventies some old faces long since gone.
I agree totally Davy is sound but his demise is typical of the modern on course layer.
they are dropping like flies,
when was the last person to come into the game?
By:
spurs to buy big
When: 13 Aug 16 01:46
its all about phones ...many peeps go racing with their drink money ...any betting is on the phone: BOG double result ...its a no brainer
By:
workrider
When: 13 Aug 16 09:25
1991 was the year  , J Farrell was standing in HX last night , although hes working for Baddies oncourse ,Eddie Hannigan is also working behind the sence for Powers I think ,J Fanning is still going strong, the others Gernon and Griffins did a stint are the recent Galway festival and can still be seen on the p2p circuit . You are correct though,many changes taking place .
By:
CALLING CARD
When: 13 Aug 16 16:13
yeah youn Shamo works the dogs and help Dara Fitz at the big meetings, i meant Oliver Charlie and Micky Fanning not jinxy Jim
I AM SURE A LOT OF LESSER BOOKIES WOULD WELCOME A TANKER NOW
By:
observerirl
When: 15 Aug 16 12:51
Of all the changes in racing the demise of the betting ring is the most stark. Many other Dublin based bookmaking families no longer operating on course. Meehans, Mulligans, Rogers, Durkins and sure there are others. Not forgetting Skellys from Limerick. Joe Donnelly timed his exit perfectly. One clever man.
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 15:29
History has shown that many bookmakers have been buried by their own relations and in most cases their sons .
If that didn't happen then their sons failed to carry the baton passed on to them, and in many cases their offsprings were given quite a head start.
Maybe it's a case of their protégés getting things too soft in the halcyon days and were unable to grind out like their fathers before them.
Not for a moment am I saying that Joe Donnelly wasn't a very clever operator , but it was more timing than anything else that he decided to pack it in. He had no family who showed any interest , had been a bookie for 40 years , it was no longer anywhere near being his main income , and I assume he could see that his assets were nowhere near as valuable as others thought . Bookmaking was a job to Joe, but he wasn't passionate about it, far from it in fact. Joe played people and had  absolutely no interest in  horseracing.
There were some tremendous bookmakers down through the years, men of great charisma , men with bottle. There were great characters too, guys who played with a smile , and quite often with very little money .
The game is unrecognisable now , the fun has gone out of it for both the punter and the bookmaker .
By:
pa lapsy
When: 15 Aug 16 15:41
I can't for the life of me remember where his betting office was in Cork City,i know he had one,was it before hacketts at the top of Shandon St.?
Know he bought the old Victoria hotel in Patrick St and think he has bits on the opposite side of the street as well,rich man from property dealings afaik.
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 16:02
Pa, he had a shop on the left hand side of the front entrance to Queens Old Castle, i'd  say there's a Turkish barber there now, and he had one up in Mayfield, just off the Old Youghal Road.
By:
wildmanfromborneo
When: 15 Aug 16 16:21
Des Fox the best and bravest I ever saw.

I agree with Jimeen about Joe Donnelly being a player of people and would have also agreed with him only being interested in money except he owns two promising horses.
He has two or three horses with Willie Mullins,that mare that won in Tramore,Bellewstown and Galway looks a Cheltenham winner to me.
By:
pa lapsy
When: 15 Aug 16 16:22
Thanks Jimeen, as you say it i,ve only a vague recollection of it but no doubt you are right, funnily enough i've fond memories of another at more or less at the back of the Queens Old Castle,(Thomas Curtins sky blue painted shop at corner of Washington/South Main St with think it was a Simon(had dogs) and Liam Gibney(florist now or until recently).
Talking about the sons getting a good start i was a bit disappointed to hear Cashman son(Kevin? who was sound enough) was driving a cab now,couldn't care less with the other fella Paul who i had the misfortune of meeting in relation to a disputed bet.
By:
workrider
When: 15 Aug 16 16:28
Pa, is that the same Cashmans that used to sponcer the dog racing ?
By:
pa lapsy
When: 15 Aug 16 16:29
Yes WR,Liam.
By:
neill d
When: 15 Aug 16 16:34
Serious thread lads, really interesting.

Noticed that Sailors Warn was running the other day in England. Is he still as involved as he was, or has Premium Charge here wrecked it for him?

Used to have a string of horses that suggested a fair aul income and seemed a nice man from the interviews I saw and read of him at the time.
By:
slickster
When: 15 Aug 16 16:35
The horses are going the same way as the dogs. You lose count the times you go to a layer for, say, a ton at 4's only to see it cut to 7-2 before your very eyes. WITHOUT HAVING LAID IT. The exchanges have ruined the game, especially for the clever punter. The "bookies" are laying horses at bottom price, due to their TOTAL reliance on Betfair. No wonder decent punters are falling by the wayside.

As for that clown Francis. Guy should not be allowed stand. Go up to him waving 2 20 notes and the fool trembles. A total embarrassment to himself. What is the point of him going racing????
By:
workrider
When: 15 Aug 16 16:42
I find myself in total agreement re that waster ,should have his licence revoked .
By:
workrider
When: 15 Aug 16 16:43
Pa, thats incredibly sad , they were a top outfit.I shudder to think whats happening futhur down the pecking order .
By:
pa lapsy
When: 15 Aug 16 17:01
They are gone a couple of years now WR, they had maybe 10? shops around city and suburbs, never moved with the times and their shops were depressing and the epitome of a place for losers. I had the feeling their staff wages revolved around how well the shop did which in turn they didn't want anyone winning,only conjecture that is.
On the other side of the coin in their earlier days they did a lot for local football teams and always put prizes into draws and suchlike.
The bet dispute i had with them and i don't know what people would make of it but wonder was it me?
I used to do placepots a lot at the time and i was on some run with them getting fair few pots for a few months up to the bet.
3 meetings in winter, Plumpton,Fontwell and the usual AW one Southwell'
I wrote Plumpton,Fontwell on the top of the slip correctly but put Lingfield down for Southwell.
The numbers of the horses (ie 14 race 4) could only mean the slip applied to Southwell.
How would you settle it, i realise i was at fault and could have just received stake back but sometimes a punter makes a genuine mistake as well.
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 17:08
Wildmanfromborneo, I can remember Des Fox vaguely and I'm not disputing he was brave . From what I hear of him he was indeed so and a decent man to go with it. I do know one thing for certain though and it's this, when Des did come out to play , there would have been times where he was getting a bit of help , and that's always welcome when you are putting your neck on the line
In the bravery stakes , there is no doubt on my mind who the winner was , and it was the day a man went down the book with that Mullins horse in the bumper in Punchestown, that took some bottle . I'm not condoning the act but it deserved the iron cross if they were awarding them.
By:
wildmanfromborneo
When: 15 Aug 16 17:17
That could only be true of a few races yet Fox took them on every race.

I don't really get the reference to standing a Willie Mullins bumper horse,I know they seem to win most of them but what was exceptional about this Punchestown race.

Is their a Confederate reference there or am I being too cryptic ?
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 18:12
Nobody takes them on every race willdmanfromborneo, and if they did they wouldn't be around for too long.
The bumper I'm referring to is almost a part of folklore at this stage. A bookie who ultimately met his Waterloo in listowel later that year , taking on all comers whilst surrounded by members of HRI who were asking him to stop.
The best bottle I've ever witnessed by a country mile.
By:
wildmanfromborneo
When: 15 Aug 16 18:37
A certain song was associated with the Confederate States it was called  I WISH I WAS IN .........

You can also be said to be Whistling ........ when you are wasting time.

That gentleman was a fellow countyman of mine although from the wrong end of the county,cycling stronghold I believe.
By:
gemini01
When: 15 Aug 16 18:48
Jimeen was that a man from the Clonmel area that should have been awarded The George Cross Medal?
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 19:04
That was the very man Gemini . As I said earlier you would have to have a bit of sympathy for the punters involved . The whole matter was handled disgracefully by HRI. It was the final nail in the racecourse bookmakers coffin and the notion of not being paid by the racecourse bookmakers was completely alien to any normal every day punter. Now not alone was there no double result , there was a chance you mightn't get paid at all . It wouldn't have cost a fortune to put it right , particularly with the wastage that is prevalent amongst the horse racing governing bodies.
It seems perfectly alright for a man to be paid a six figure sum to collect holding cards but not ok to pay ordinary punters a much lesser amount .
But back to the bravery , and yes it was an act I've never ever seen the like of. The pressure that the man must have been under can only be imagined. A medal the size of a manhole was well deserved
By:
gemini01
When: 15 Aug 16 19:16
Characters like him will never ever grace bookmaker pitches again, in fairness to him you would pay the entrance fee alone in to see what he going to do next, no one like him in the ring nowadays, place full of keyboard warriors with no opinions in the world, bar the man with the hat smoking the pipe
By:
jimeen
When: 15 Aug 16 19:28
Yes the man with the pipe who is a very nice fellow as well I might add, is willing to put his money where his pipe is. The only problem is the fumes from that said utensil has been known to be quite toxic to his punters over the years. There have been plenty who have come in contact with it and not been the better for it.
He's another man who is willing to pick his battles, and isn't often unarmed either.
By:
wildmanfromborneo
When: 15 Aug 16 20:04
One of the odest betting rules I learnt was if you were looking for the best price on a horse you fancied and found yourself outside of The Pipes stall you no longer wanted to back it.

He has to be the longest betting in the ring by some amount,must be over fifty years doing it.
He will bet you what you want but you have to play at his prices.
By:
observerirl
When: 15 Aug 16 20:20
Very true Jimeen. Some sons who started in pole position didnt last too long. Maybe the hunger or smarts werent passed on. Toughest of games i'd say if you're not clued up or willing to learn.
By:
CALLING CARD
When: 15 Aug 16 23:30
JIMEEN good to see you back and yeah Whistling D performance laying the bumper horse at Ptown was mesmeric and John St hovering around too.
the ring is now reduced to an assortment of rag and bone merchants led by the Yellow umbrella mob. Paul the Pox and the Muinteoir are from the same county as Dixie but different gray.
take out Dara Fitz and Tracks from Tipp tomorrow and you wouldnt bet a washer on
ya may make a comeback Workrider and Jimeen pitches are cheap
Champagne bookies like Rossie Brian and Textbet  John thought it was easy peasy
By:
Kelly
When: 15 Aug 16 23:38
Bookmaking has changed dramatically in Ireland since their emergence from the shadows of the twenties .  The first notable bookmaker in Ireland as far as I know was Jim Rice from Belfast .  He dominated betting in Northern Ireland on course and off course for twenty years plus , having a string of offices mostly in Belfast , and before "legalisation" around 1960 . Also stood at the big meetings in England . Betting shops in the south in that era were dire establishments , Kilmartins the urban sample  , and punitive tax gave the punter no chance .

I lived in Dublin in the early sixties , and the southern betting shops were in the ha'penny place compared with thriving offices in the North . There was also partial treatment of northern vs southern bookmakers in relation to licences in the south ( no southern bookies were attempting to bet in the north , would not have survived probably) , but Sean Graham had to resort to betting via a southern bookie as a front for years until he was eventually allowed to bet in his own right .  He then dominated the ring , and built up a string of shops from nothing  , family still operate across the north and a few in south and Scotland , but not the force or craic which used to abound therein .

Barney was building an empire of shops , being a shrewd businessman ( and boxing empressario ) as Ladcrooks found out , but he was never a huge force on course , albeit his shops were well run and very busy . Came out of the ruck with the ball though , with a big smile on his face , fair play to him . Some of his family are still involved with another big bookmaking firm in the north . 

Dessie Fox taught in a school in the seventies with some of my friends ( still ) on the Ravenhill Road not far from the rugby ground  , but he was I suspect a shrewd punter and he built a great on course business until he was one of the biggest ( and most fearless ) layers in the ring from late seventies until his shocking death .

I only heard bits and pieces about the southern bookies , Terry Rogers was a character but I don't think I ever had a bet with him , I did have bets with JP when he appeared , and I watched him grow into the superstar he now is , but his fortune is only founded on bookmaking , not derived from it .

Powers have evolved from I know not where , the inspiration coming from a manager I ran across ( friendly ) occasionally , mainly in Tralee , he knew his onions and chatted to punters among other gifts he undoubtedly had . Obviously shrewd business people , well marketed , but I now spend little time in any of their offices north or south .

On course simply does not exist any more , some on here would try to convince you otherwise , but the sad fact is that the exchanges and internet have changed the scene forever . I have benefitted personally from the revised scene , but it is a completely different operation from the days of yore , and not as much craic even if you can turn a few bob in profit . 

Throughout Ireland , south and north , there have always been some classified as bookies , but a lot sailed close to the wind and very often required "tanking" on entry to any meeting . Loads of characters , but not built to last in my book . Not sure where the next twenty years will lead to .
By:
mrcombustible
When: 16 Aug 16 08:58
Powers had a shop or two in most towns in the South in the 60s and would have been the biggest shop player in those days.

They were a Waterford/Tramore family.

The Power girls were always a cut or two above those employed by the locals.
By:
Kelly
When: 16 Aug 16 12:12
Think the Powers person I met a few times was Kenny , that name rings a bell somewhere in the memory . That would have been in the late eighties I think .  But like all the high street bookies nowadays , the bean counting accountants hold the strings , punters are not allowed to win , and if they do you maximise the publicity so that everyone thinks its easy ( just like everyone who visits casinos in the movies is always lucky) .  Catch as catch can applies more than ever these days .
By:
workrider
When: 16 Aug 16 15:37
Kelly, That would have been Stewart , the guru of sport , now more that likely to be found searching for his own guru in some Indian ashram...
By:
monarch
When: 17 Aug 16 14:03
Clerked briefly on the track for a couple of years, mainly festival meetings (would have done listowel, tramore and a couple of punchestown festivals). Would have been when the poop was just starting to hit the fan around 2007/2008. Even aside from the impending recession which was just starting to hit you could tell the ring was a shadow of its former self (going of the stories i would have heard from some more senior bookies/clerks). Remember remarking to a few bookies in a pub in tralee one night that they would have to up their game and at least offer double result or maybe the occasional "2nd to FAV" specials to keep punters interested. Was firmly laughed out the door. Then, as now, they have showed very little initiative to improve their lot. All they basically do is whinge and moan without realising THEY caused the problem, not the punter.
By:
workrider
When: 17 Aug 16 15:12
Many fine points there Monarch.
By:
kavvie
When: 17 Aug 16 16:08
a lad was working yesterday in tipp told me ring is almost dead. no big punters .most of the business is done on the machine..bookie v b****..
By:
monarch
When: 17 Aug 16 16:21

Aug 17, 2016 -- 4:08PM, kavvie wrote:


a lad was working yesterday in tipp told me ring is almost dead. no big punters .most of the business is done on the machine..bookie v b****..


Small meetings have become an absolute joke. You'd struggle to get a bet on to win say 500. All they are now is fodder for the offices. Yesterdays meeting at tipp being a prime example

By:
CALLING CARD
When: 17 Aug 16 17:06
true monarch but are ya not stretching it a bit saying to win a monkey
dara, tracks , tockey , jimmy hayes. baker. coffey , dinny gould, john carey , cummins , mcgrane , mcdonnell all work there and in my experience a monkey would not put the fear of god in any of them
but i agree midweek has shot its bolt big time
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