Hard on the heels of “Luck”, Sky Atlantic’s drama about lies, paranoia, revenge and redemption, set in the context of gambling and racing, comes a much softer story about a group of people who pool their redundancy pay and buy a horse.
“Outside Bet” is a comedy drama set in the same mad, bad 1980s of Thatcher and Murdoch. And it’s during the print worker’s strike and the move of Murdoch’s empire to Wapping that a man walks into a pub and asks a group of people whether they would like to but a racehorse. It isn’t a joke either.
The film is based on a book by Mark Baxter and Paolo Hewitt called “The Mumper”, an old English word for a beggar, and if you substitute horseflesh for the bare flesh of The Full Monty you know all you need to about the general tone and direction of the story.
Bob Hoskins and Jenny Agutter head the cast, and executive producer and long time racing enthusiast Bob Benton hopes the film will show people that owning a racehorse isn’t something restricted to the very rich. He would love to see more syndicate groups springing up. He said, “The film shows you don’t have to be millionaires to own racehorses and all the fun and excitement that comes with it, and that sometimes dreams do come true.”
Alongside the film, Benton and other owners in The Weighed In Partnership have named a horse The Mumper that Alan King is training. So far it has finished fourth and fifth in two bumper races, but the horse is entered for its maiden hurdle at Chepstow on Friday evening, the same day that the film goes on general release.
Benton is pushing Outside Bet particularly at cinemas in racing towns, so opportunities to see it may be somewhat limited. Saturday’s Morning Line on Channel 4 will be broadcast from Sandown, where many of the racing scenes were shot. Many of the cast will be on the programme, so why not watch and then go and see the film?