8 January 2009
ANYBODY WHO takes hoss racing seriously has a pet hate. I know I hate 'em and everybody in the racing game hates 'em - trainers, owners, jockeys, stable staff, bookies, serious gamblers. I refer of course to mugs who craze you without mercy to tell them a winner and then whinge and moan and grizzle if the hoss you tell them gets beat.
I have had a recent experience of such a pair of mugs. I should know better at my age but I fell for it good and proper.
As you know I spend quite a lot of time at our holiday home and I travel from there to the races quite a lot. The route from our seaside cottage to see our hosses at Mrs Dunnett's yard takes me past a lay by near Thetford which has a burger bar parked in it. These days I cannot drive for much more than an hour before my legs get cramp and I have to stop and stretch my legs.
It is worse since my boy Sid gave me his old car - by old I mean he had found something more flash and which goes faster. This car I presently drive is like a rocket propelled roller skate and if I got an attack of cramp and pressed the wrong pedal I would probably go into orbit. So I stopped to stretch my legs near Thetford.
"Not having a burger then?" the old slapper running the van shouts to me. "No," I reply, "too much Cristmas pud" I lie, slapping my Derby Kell when what I should have said is I would sooner eat my own head.
"How about a coffee?" she goes on. "Goes straight through me this cold weather" I replied, telling the truth this time.
Feeling a bit mean I allow the old tom to engage me in conversation and told her I was off to the New Years Day racing at Fakenham. Then I made the big mistake of telling her I was off to see our hoss Lawyer To World run in the novice hurdle.
I told the proprietoress of the burger van what I told you all in the pages of the News. He would not win but he had shown enough promise in his schooling over hurdles to possibly run into the place money at a big price. I got back in my little silver rocketship on wheels and went to Fakenham races.
I thought no more about it until two days ago when I went up to see our broodmare and like a fool I pulled into the same lay by. The old slapper was half way to my car before I had unbuckled my seat belt.
"I'm surprised you got the nerve to show up here" she goes, wagging a big fat greasy finger in my face. "You said it was going to win and I got my husband to back it for me. He wanted to watch Richard and Judy but I made him go down Ladbrokes and back it. You should be ashamed of yourself."
I could have explained to the mad old cow that Lawyer To World had more runners behind him than in front of him at the finish, that I never at any time said he was going to win and that he went off at a colossal price of 200-1. In fact I got 250-1 on the course.
I could have done all those things but there is a certain level of stupidity it is impossible to overcome and she was even more stupid than that so I turned tail and fled, vowing never again to talk to total strangers about hoss racing.
Before I give you my bet for the weekend I must add my congratulations to Hayley Turner, a graduate of Mrs Dunnett's academy on becoming the first woman to ride 100 winners in a calendar year. Could not happen to a nicer, sweeter young gal.
I have a double for you on Saturday, both at Lingfield on the all weather. They are Royal Encore in the 13.10 and Takeover Bid in the 14.20.
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