Betting on the Grand National on Saturday was one way to ease the recession blues, according to Ladbrokes in Marlborough.
“They poured through the door when we opened and we booked our first bet at 9.02,” revealed manager Jamie Mead.“We didn’t stop from then on. We were packed out with people all day with a really good atmosphere for the race when it hit the screens.
“It’s true that with the recession people do want to get away from what’s happening around them. They want to have a fun day, enjoy themselves and maybe win something for a change.”
“And it was good to interact with a lot of people you don’t normally see. They are once-a year gamblers, people who like to watch the race as a family and even get granny involved. It appeals to a very broad range of people – from those just old enough to start betting to those who have been betting for generations, who have been doing the Grand National since they can remember.”
It was also a different Grand National day for Jamie and his assistant Margaret, who has been at Ladbrokes for more than a decade. There were 10 fancied horses in the field this year, which meant most punters put on each-way bets for what was virtually a lottery as 40 horses took the assault course at sun-drenched Aintree.
But there were a handful who backed Ballabriggs to win while others chose top jockey Tony McCoy to claim victory for a second year on Don’t Push It, edging it with each-way bets, and some went for amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen on Oscar Time, who finished second.
“The biggest price winner was State of Play at 28 to one,” added Mr Mead. “Some people went home happy and some a little sad. The Grand National is the biggest race of the year for us with people doing everything from 50p each way bets to bigger sums.
“Marlborough is definitely a betting town because it has all these local racing stables in the area. That brings in a lot of customers who know about racing. It all helps to make it a great day all round.”