Isn’t Gambling Great!

Just a quickie, but hey, isn’t gambling great! On Wednesday I joined several of my colleagues on a work social trip to the evening races at Kempton Park.

It was all rather good fun, although the tiny grandstand and all-weather course (the going, apparently was “standard”; you don’t say…) couldn’t quite match up to my previous trip to the races (to Flemington, back in November). By the time the penultimate race came round, my betting activities weren’t exactly looking too great–one of the other chaps from work was about £60 up by this point, but I had only lost money. Nevertheless, as promised, I phoned Sal back in London and read out the names of the horses so that I could place a bet for her. She picked Dancing Guest, purely on the basis of its name. I plumped for Best Guess, which seemed a rather appropriate reflection of my choices up to that point. Sure enough, Sal’s horse came home in first place, giving her a whopping £8 profit even though she hadn’t set foot on the course, and leaving me with even greater losses than before.

So, with the last race approaching it was all to play for. Someone in our group mentioned this horse called Finsbury, and it seemed rather appropriate. You know, because it’s a bit like Finsbury Park. Not that I’ve even been there or anything, except to change trains on my way to Enfield all those years ago when I worked up there, but you know…

Throwing caution to the wind, I recklessly backed this 14-1 shot at £5 each way, and wandered down to join the rest of the group on the grass by the finish line. As the horses came round the final bend, the announcer’s commentary was drowned out by the shouts of the people around me. Unable to hear the name of the leader, I tried to pick it out from the pack, but couldn’t see Finsbury anywhere. As they all crossed the line I scanned through the numbers on the trailing horses, just to see where mine had finished, but still couldn’t see it anywhere.

Ah well, another £10 down the drain then.

Then someone in our group said that Finsbury had won, and I initially assumed that they were merely joking, as most of us seemed to have had some money riding on this particular horse.

But no, hang on! There it was on the TV screen, with a caption reading “Winner: 7. Finsbury”

Fantastic. I danced all the way back to the bookie and collected my £97.50 winnings, grinning like an idiot. When you convert it, that actually beats the AU$200 I won for my part in that trifecta syndicate back in November. It also in one fell swoop wiped out my earlier loss and left me £82 up on the night, which to my immense satisfaction was better than everyone else from work.

Now, surely this, and our upcoming trip to Vegas in September, can be nothing more than the start of my slippery descent into addiction. Ah well, you heard it here first…

1 thought on “Isn’t Gambling Great!”

  1. Mine was called Vola Via. Trained by Ian Balding, ridden by his son Andrew. Drawn high, made all. 10-1 on the nanny goat (Tote). The Richmond-Brissac Trophy for Gentlemen Amateur Riders, Goodwood, 28th August 1998.

    Rob and James were there, witnesses to the start of it all…

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