As always Hove based independent bookmakers Star Sports are looking forward to taking on racegoers at Royal Ascot this year.

As well as a prominent on-course presence at major meetings the firm operate a telephone betting service as well as boasting a premier luxury betting shop in Mayfair. They are fast gaining the reputation as being the ‘go to’ layer for those punters that like to have it on, big. There is nothing better than owner Ben Keith likes than standing on his pitch in a heaving betting ring at a busy festival meeting and fielding money.

The big punters certainly found him at Cheltenham in March when a backer lumped £400,000 on Altior at 1/4 (which won) and £375,000 on Douvan at 2/7 (which lost).  Those bets got national exposure on TV, radio and print with Ben’s pluck making the front page the Daily Telegraph.

When asked about this year’s Royal Ascot he has an obvious fondness for the meeting. ‘Royal Ascot get ‘it’ right more than even Cheltenham. What with the fashion, pomp and ceremony, betting and racing, there is something for everyone and a great way to introduce new faces to our game.  The business at Royal Ascot gets busier every year and is now only a yard behind the great Cheltenham Festival. People look forward to it and save up for the week, many coming every day.

The Queen’s arrival is always a special moment for me and apart from the often long, hot and sticky drive home, I just love everything about it.  My greatest fear isn’t losing it’s forgetting to invite my mother to the Star Sports box. Woe betide Gill Keith missing out on her day at Ascot!’ Star Sports bet in Tattersalls and on the rails at Royal Ascot all five days.

Simon Nott

Simon Nott is a 52 year freelance writer and racecourse regular. He has worked on-course since 1989 in both bookmaking and media. Simon self-published the award nominated book ‘Skint Mob’ in 2013, writes a regular column for Racing Ahead magazine and is also a regular contributor to music monthlies Vive Le Rock & UK Rock N Roll. www.simonnott.co.uk

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