In chapter 12 of The Just Men of Cordova (1917) by Edgar Wallace, the author was describing the situation of two horses, Nemesis and Timpolino, in the betting on horse racing:

The previous day, on the opening of the racing season, his stable had run a horse in a selling plate, and it was encouraging that this animal, though carrying top weight, beat his field easily. It was this fact that had brought Nemesis to the position of short-priced favourite.

Gresham himself had very little money upon her; he did not bet very heavily, though he was credited with making and losing fabulous sums each year. He gained nothing by contradicting these rumours. He was sufficiently indifferent to the opinions of his fellows not to suffer any inconvenience from their repetition.

But the shortening of price on Nemesis was a serious matter for the connection of Timbolino. They could not cover their investments by “saving” on Nemesis without a considerable outlay.

I found by searching, and through this link, that the one, who "saves" in betting, makes something like "reserve betting" on another horse, to insure he won't lose all his investment. But I still don't get the meaning of this bolded statement. And what's the connection between the team of Timpolino and the betting on Nemesis?

  • Don't forget to tag your questions with the title of the book, and with meaning if it's a question about the meaning of words or phrases. – Gareth Rees Nov 5 '20 at 13:21
  • Ok, Gareth. Thanks for this note. – Ahmed Samir Nov 5 '20 at 13:22

The word “saving” is being used in this sense:

save, v. 13.d. transitive. Horse Racing slang. To hedge so as to protect (a person, esp. oneself, or one’s bets) from loss, or so as to recover (a certain sum) out of one’s losses (upon a horse). Also intransitive: to hedge one’s bets.

Oxford English Dictionary

To figure out how to apply this sense, we need to look at the preceding sentence:

But the shortening of price on Nemesis was a serious matter for the connection of Timbolino.

Here “connection” is used in this sense:

connection, n. 7. A body, or circle of persons connected together […] by commercial relations

Oxford English Dictionary

“The connection of Timbolino” is thus the group of people who have a commercial interest in the performance of the horse: that is, the group of people who have placed bets on it. This includes Sir Isaac Tramber, the owner of Timbolino, and we soon learn that he has placed a heavy bet on his horse.

We have also been told that the bookmakers have reduced the odds on Nemesis, making it the “short-priced favourite”. This has two bad consequences for Sir Isaac. First, it suggests that Nemesis has a better chance of winning the race than Timbolino, and so he is likely to lose his bet. One way that he could cope with this possibility would be to “hedge” or “save” his position by placing a second bet on Nemesis. Then whichever of these horses wins, his losses on the one will be compensated by his winnings on the other. (Of course if neither horse wins, then Sir Isaac’s losses will be doubled.) Second, the shorter the odds, the bigger the “saving” bet will need to be in order for the potential winnings on Nemesis to compensate for the potential losses on Timbolino.

  • Thank you so much, Gareth. Now I get it. – Ahmed Samir Nov 5 '20 at 14:02
  • In a related context, one of the bookmaker was shouting: "Seven to one, bar one! Seven to one Nemesis!”". So what's meant by "barring" in betting? – Ahmed Samir Nov 5 '20 at 18:27
  • 1
    "bar" means "except" — "[all the horses have longer odds than] seven to one, except one [horse]" – Gareth Rees Nov 5 '20 at 18:52
  • Many thanks for you. – Ahmed Samir Nov 5 '20 at 19:01

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