Its fair to say that since leaving work in the betting industry, that my interest in horse racing has dropped off pretty considerably. So much so, that this year, I even wondered if I was going to bother to bet in the Grand National, the biggest betting race of the year. History shows that I did, and did the right thing, as one of my 3 horses was placed, and I made a profit on the race. Even so, next years event will be my next bet…maybe?
In truth, the only racing I go out of the way to watch now are the very big festivals, or the quirky races. Hey, I didnt even really care that I missed 1 day of the Cheltenham Festival this year, because of the trip back to the flapper era in Blackpool!
So what do I mean by quirky racing, I hear you ask? Well, probably the most obvious is the race meeting on the beach, at Laytown, in Ireland. Yes, they literally set up a mile long straight on the beach nowadays, once a year, and race there. There did used to be a longer, circular course, but due to the iniquities of the tide, and Health and Safety regulations, no more.
The other quirkiness is what they call cross country racing. Instead of standard hurdles, and fences, you get grass banks that they run up, and either run down again, or jump off, according to taste, and the like. Cheltenham doesnt have any really weird fences on their course, but Punchestown actually has a stone wall they have to jump on the course, albeit a very low one!
Thankfully, the biggest, and best cross country race of the year, at Punchestown, was run today, on my day off. I’ve had the delight of seeing it live numerous times in the past, and managed to catch it a few more times on TV, now that racing has its own channels on this modernity known as cable TV. Irish racing, up to this year at least, has been on a channel that you dont have to pay any extra subscription to watch. Sadly, in the world of racing politics, this is the last year it will be there, as next year, Irish racing is changing channels to a subscription one, and I certainly wont be paying that for 2 days racing a year!
So yes, today I said goodbye to an old friend, as lets face it, I’m not likely to get to the festival again now, given my much lessened interest, and the amount of money it would take to get there! There will be another race there, later this year, but its only over part of the course, and given its on a Saturday, I’ll be at work, so will miss it. Laytown races, yes, one last time, in September, as its on a Thursday, the week before my holiday, I should see it then. I’ve always said I wanted to go there, but I’m beginning to realize its probably not now going to happen, shame! But given where it is, and the state of my back, I suspect not.
Video time, a real oldie! I dont fancy my chances of sitting on a park bench at 70, unless I’ve moved somewhere a lot hotter than here!