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keen leader
22 Nov 17 13:24
Date Joined: 05 Feb 02
| Topic/replies: 623 | Blogger: keen leader's blog
"Very, very sorry to hear of Robert's passing, a tremendous character in the jungle that was the betting ring.
As I hadn’t been up North in a few years, I was totally unaware that he was so poorly. He was as game as a pebble but aside from the Gambling part of it, he was a decent guy, a man who looked after a lot of people over the years.
Quite simply they do not make them like Robert any more, and his passing marks the disappearance of one of the all time great men of the turf.
May you Rest In Peace Robert, and the most sincere condolences to all your family".

The above is a considered and apt condolence message left by Johnny Dineen. Bravo Johnny.

The insular world of track bookmaking is by nature populated by self servers and petty jealously abounds by times. Many would not have been happy with the chunky wagers taken by McCoubrey over the years, and yes he had some very bad runs. Often, some were bumped, as the phrase goes, generally layers who were simply arbing with him back in the day. He had a few guys fronting for him over the years, Hannigan and Allen, and often when he was absent, I would say he was not filled in on the true happenings.

Over his 40 odd years in the game, he was a big net loser, and as Johnny  alluded to, he rarely if ever moaned, be it losing 10 or 50k on a given day.

In the past 20 years I got to know of his bookmaking style in the northern pointing ring. In that period, he was the biggest layer, if there was a queue of people wanting to get on a 6/4 shot with him, he would lay them all, instead of the usual, 150-100 the first guy in and shave the price and refuse the rest of the queue. In that period, all regular joe soap punters got paid, same as at Down R and Downp.

McC was the last of the old style maverick layers. No machine for him, and as a result he was a magnet for the small band of punting arbers at the 2 northern tracks.
The vacuum he will leave particularly on the point circuit will never be filled, the days of getting a grand on an 8/1 or 10/1 shot up there are gone with his absence.

I expect the trade press to at best give his passing a few lines, anyone involved in horse race gambling will know he should deserve a few volumes, warts and all.
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Report workrider November 22, 2017 2:25 PM GMT
Can't say I ever bet with him,not sure I even knew him but that's a glowing endorsement from Johnny re Robert.Not many willing to lay a reasonable bet never mind one in the thousand's,so fair play to that man for been a real bookie.R.I.P...
Report peckerdunne November 22, 2017 2:44 PM GMT
Nice words on the passing of someone i don't know but have knowledge of.

I am curious as to why someone in that line of work would continue for so long as a big net loser.I could elaborate further in a number of directions but wont speculate as i would just be generalising.
Report jimeen November 22, 2017 3:43 PM GMT
Robert McCoubrey was an unusual character who stood the test of time for nigh on 50 years in the betting world. He had some very good horses too over that time, Strong Platinum surely being his best, although he did have a Cheltenham festival winner in 1977. In my lifetime I’ve seen about a half dozen people in the betting game who would have been worthy  the legend tag, and Robert certainly deserved it. Some of those people finished up without any money for their efforts , but thankfully for Robert, his other interests were able to cover the cracks.
It’s the end of an era for Northern pointing in particular, and he will be a big miss from the two tracks inside the rails also.
A grand fellow , who as keen leader pointed out , never changed  mood whether he was winning or losing. He was a guy who was a punter at heart and seemed to like to give ordinary punters more than a fair crack of the whip. He had a big entourage all his life, and used to fly to meetings by helicopter at a stage. All in all Robert was a big man in every way , not just his frame , but he had a bigger heart , and the likes of him will never be seen at any racecourse again.
May you Rest In Peace Robert
Report frank60 November 23, 2017 4:17 PM GMT
A nice piece on Robert in the Racing Post this morning,   R.I.P
Report observerirl November 25, 2017 12:26 AM GMT
The word legend is used a lot nowadays for those who are anything but however Robert was certainly a legend. A man of great presence & character who lasted a lifetime at the toughest of trades. Fearless & opinionated his appetite for racing & betting never diminished. I recall seeing photos of him at Cheltenham after his Rusty Tears won the Cathcart in 1977. He looked the same last time I saw him few years ago as he did then. Very surprised and saddened at his passing. May he Rest In Peace.
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