Good morning all,
Over the weekend I managed to rip a hole in pair of my favourite jeans, and given yesterday's racing didn't make much appeal I decided to have a wander into town to go and buy a new pair.
After finding a pair I liked, I realised it was almost time for my one bet yesterday, Oliver's Gold, to run at Cartmel so I had reason to call into the local bookmakers.
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Now, I don't go into bookies offices very much any more, so it came as a bit of a shock to find the place absolutely deserted at 3pm in the afternoon. Where have all the people gone? Those characters of yesteryear that I'm sure we all knew, whether it be on course or at the track? I recall a few that I knew on today's piece, plus today's pick from Nottingham.
Our local bookies, as a kid, was an small independant. Great little place it was, no fruit machines, Extel service (when I first started going in). I remember the shock we all felt when the owner actually put a coffee machine in, that was about as far as he was willing to go where technology was concerned. You paid at the counter for it, and the number of times you heard him say “has he paid for that tea?” from behind the counter would be in the dozens most days. He hated giving stuff away, and was very careful with his money.
Harry would come in most Mondays and Tuesdays after work. Used to back a lot of favourites, expecting every one of them to win. When they didn't, he'd be off into one of his tirades. “Twisting b*stards, twisting bloody swine” he'd mutter over and over again, waiting for someone to join in and share his point of view. Unless you were a stranger, you never did, as you knew it'd take you another half-hour to shake him off….
George used to come in most days. He never had much money, and it would usually be a series of 2p doubles and trebles. I remember the day he hit 7 winners out of his 8 selections, and drew over £80. He thought he'd won the lottery, bless him. Didn't take him that long to drink through the proceeds, however, and he was soon back to borrowing a quid which “I'll pay you on Thursday” he always said. You were lucky if he did.
Frankie was a lovely bloke that came in late afternoon for a bet most days. Another one that liked a favourite, you'd often hear him exclaim “I was going to back that, but I thought the price was too big.” Yep, anything bigger than 3-1 and Frankie would have it down as a non-trier. Always a laugh and a joke with him though, so you were happy for him when he won.
And then there was my mate Ron. Ron, on the other hand, loved a big price. He'd usually back two in a race, both e/w, usually never less than 16-1. Big handicaps were his thing, he loved those. And when you got to October he'd start looking for horses that hadn't won all year, and start backing those. “Gotta pay for the corn, Dave”, he'd tell me, seemingly blissfully unaware of what horses actually ate. I worked with Ron for quite a while, and we'd often have a Lucky 15 between us at lunchtime. Then listen as the results came in – back in the day, they actually used to give the results out hourly on the radio – before the post-mortem into where it all went wrong….
I'll do some more of these tomorrow from the bookmakers I've worked in over time. Could write a book on them!
Today, I'm going with Mordoree in the 8.20 at Nottingham tonight, a meeting I'm attending. He's been mentioned before as one that's been on trackers for quite a while – I saw him as a 2-y-o and he always looked the type to win a race or two at three once handicapped, and he looks on the verge of winning one now. Hopefully it will be tonight, as conditions look fine, and Nottingham's long straight should give him plenty of time to wind up.
Good luck with all your bets today,