PUNTERS have been looking for value this week but they are finding it hard to pick winners.

I have four pitches in the main betting ring and, while there are quiet patches during the day, turnover has been better than I expected. At a guess I’d say we are 15% down on where we were in 2019. The same number of bets taken but stakes are lower.

The voucher I put in The Irish Field has proven popular. Plenty of them were handed in and customers appreciate it. Some of them stay betting with me for the evening, so that’s a bonus. I’d have my own private clients too and without them I’d be struggling.

I have to admit the results for the first three days have been good to us, even though we lost on the feature race winners Echoes In Rain, Magic Chegaga and Hewick. I actually had a very bad Plate – we laid €10,000 to €600 each-way the winner - but I didn’t mind. It was a great result for racing.

The Shark is a good character, a bit like Oliver Brady used to be. His brother was telling me they had an open day in the yard a fortnight ago and got great support. This win will drive them on again.

Wednesday ended up a winner for us, thanks to Scenic Look (33/1) in the last. That was a screamer. I must have laid 10 horses in the race and only one of them was placed.

We won a bit on Monday and Tuesday too. We got off to a really good start on Monday, with two odds-on shots beaten and only one winning favourite. The first three races on Tuesday were good too, and it was a case of holding on to it after that.

Magic Chegaga was another good result for racing. I thought I knew everyone in racing but I don’t know those lads who own him. They really enjoyed it, which was great to see.

Because of the evening starts, there’s no Goodwood bets coming in but on balance I think the racecourse have called it right. I was surprised how busy it was in the ring on Wednesday.

I’ve heard mixed reports about trade down in the Mayor’s Garden, I haven’t had a chance to get around the track. The new Guinness tent beside the parade ring seems to be a real winner. It looks great anyway. All the buzz seems to be up near the parade ring.

Punters still prefer to bet in cash. Of the €50,000 we took on Monday night only €2,200 was on debit cards.

It’s been hard to get good staff to work on the pitches this week. We have four lads staying in a house locally but I’ve been driving up and down every day. I’m just pulling into the car park now ahead of Thursday’s racing and the sun is shining. It should be a great day for the ladies!