One of the (many) challenges of our weekly Sporting Memories meeting for me is at the beginning of the session when we pass a special football around the group. It’s a bit like Pass the Parcel, but without sweeties
or, to be fair, the need to unwrap anything.
However, when it comes to your turn, and the ball is passed into your keeping, it is up to you to come up with your
sporting highlight of the week. For one such as I, this is, indeed a challenge. I spend most of the journey to Worthing Town Football Club, where Sporting Memories is held, in the Dial-a-Ride bus working out what I might be able to offer the assembled group
in terms of something - anything - that might be considered a highlight of my week. Specifically, a Sporting One. This week, I kid you not, the ball was halfway round the table before I hit upon a story to tell.
My story concerned the first day of the Cheltenham Races and Mr B’s avowed intention to bet on a horse called The Conditional in the 14.50. That’s ten to three in ordinary money. I wouldn’t
have gone for The Conditional myself, on account of the name not meaning much to me. I like to back horses with names that “speak”to me. Of which, more later...
Anyway, there I was, going on-line with Betfair (other betting companies, I am sure, will be equally eager to relieve you of your money) only to discover that since I last visited, it has changed the format of its website so that the likes of me cannot
easily work out how to do something as simple as to place a bet. Add the fact that I had Mr B hollering in my ear, urging me to “get a move on” (or words to that effect) and it is no surprise that I managed to bet on The Conditional to win whereas
Mr B had instructed me to place an each-way bet. Mr B was not amused so I did the only thing I could think of on the spur of the moment - and placed another bet on the same horse, but this time each way. I am delighted to inform you that The Conditional romped
home in first place winning Mr B the princely sum of £40. The Sporting Memories Gang loved my story...
The following day, spurred on by this success, I chose
a horse of my own in which to invest my £2 each way. I loved the horse’s name, for a start, and the fact that it was a grey (why are white horses known as grey? Answers on a betting slip, please) meant I would be able to pick it out easily among
all its other four legged companions. Had Donna’s Diamond won, we would have pocketed nearly £450.
“You let us down badly yesterday,”
I told the Delightful Donna (who comes in every morning to help Mr B). I am ashamed to say she looked stricken - so I had to reassure her quickly that it was the horse that bore her name which had failed to deliver. If only the race had ended after the second
fence, we would have won...
It’s a mug’s game, betting, but Mr B never dares to contradict my Random Selections. He still remembers our courting days
(such an old-fashioned term, that) when he asked me to select a horse to back. Those were the days when I was too young to be allowed into a betting shop and “on line” meant hanging out the washing. Into the smoky interior of the local betting
shop he vanished, leaving me outside, like Cinderella having being told she couldn’t go to the ball. When he re-emerged he explained that he hadn’t backed my horse because it didn’t stand a chance....
Castlereagh - that was the horse’s name. Mr B has never forgotten it, nor have I, all these many years later. Yes, indeed, Castlereagh romped home.
Now there’s another story for Sporting Memories...