Mike Quigley

Irish horse racing, betting and other stuff

   Home      Laytown 2001
Life's a beach

They say that the annual one-day fixture at Laytown beach is nothing but a curiosity in the Irish racing calendar. First day of Royal Ascot? No thanks. Here was an opportunity to visit another Irish track for the first time and thus reduce the list of tracks not visited to just four.

We had booked flights for early on 19 June and suffered a few anxious hours the previous day, as an afternoon inspection had been called.  Thankfully the meeting was given the go ahead at around 4pm and we duly travelled out the next morning.

I met Adrian at Dublin Airport and we hired a car to travel the thirty miles north to Laytown. We had reservations at the Neptune Beach Hotel in nearby Bettystown. We reached the hotel not long after 11am. It is situated on the beach, boasting magnificent coastal views.  We had time for a swim and some lunch before sussing out the Laytown situation.

We weren't quite sure how close we were to the track. Walking down to the beach in front of the hotel we noticed workmen erecting a post on the beach with a large '7' on it. It suddenly dawned on us that this would be the seven-furlong start!

We were very handily placed, less than a mile from the grandstand.

We strolled down the beach to the enclosure (a small field above the "track") in time for the action to start. Clearly the race times fit in with the tides. Six races therefore from 3.30pm to 6.00pm. Since the safety problems experienced in 1994, the meeting is allowed a maximum of ten runners per race and all the races are run on a straight course.

Not great prospects for our tote strategy, which works best in large fields. One glimmer of hope for value seekers though - a carryover jackpot of £5.5k from last year's meeting.   

The first race went to a 20/1 chance - Saintly Sow'n'Sow- it could be a difficult afternoon.

While I'm panicking over mislaying my tote credit card, Adrian plunged on Tidy Wager in the next. He got it right as it trotted up by five lengths with a £4.50 return on the tote against the 2/1 S.P. 

Race 3 was jackpot time. We permed as follows: 3x4x4x5 for 240 bets.

Rumours Abound obliged for us in the next - however it was returned 3/1 favourite so one of our other selections would have been preferable.  Briefni Flyer kept us in the pool at 5/1 in the 5.00pm race. The 5.30pm produced a close finish with Paul Carberry holding of the late challenge of Sea Leopard to land the spoils on Euro Friendly at 9/2. Not brilliant prices but we did have five chances in the last from the ten-runner field.

The net pool after deductions was only £11,731. Plenty of dead money. The tannoy announced the remaining tickets for the final race and we made a note of our potential returns. These were as follows:

Cera Sifayra 24 tickets  Projected dividend £488.79      S.P. 7/2F
Sottvus       17 tickets:  Projected dividend £690.06       S.P. 4/1
Bless Me Brophy 8 tickets: Projected dividend £1466.38 S.P. 4/1   
Lee's Lodge  5 tickets: Projected dividend £2346.20       S.P. 7/1
Astronomer  3 tickets: Projected dividend £3910.33       S.P. 10/1

Potential payouts ranged from £488 to £3910. The first three in the market were covered. We were massive odds on to draw.

Here is the result:

1st Distant Quest  10/1
2nd Lee's Lodge  7/1
3rd Astronomer  10/1

What a killer! £2346 horse is second and £3910 horse is third- nothing to come!

We had the consolation of a gourmet meal at the hotel (all part of the inclusive package). I must comment, however, that the hotel is very expensive and the wine prices in particular are ludicrously high. What's more they are about to introduce a 20% price increase! When we return for the Bellewstown meeting in two weeks we will definitely seek alternative accommodation. There are quite a few alternatives along this pleasant coastal stretch…..   

July 2001