It’s Grand National day this coming Saturday. A day of equine drama, jubilation, despair and, for many in the UK, their only sporting bet of the year.
The throng of once a year punters, a well subscribed club of who myself belong – Apart from the few days a year when I go racing at the York Knavesmire course.
The group with who I’m a paid up member (well I am if my horse wins!) generally pick their annual bets based on the names of the runners in this famous national hunt meeting. Our punt completely bereft of scientific approach, in depth analysis of racing form or a tip from an racing insider.
For example, if the once a year punter has a son called Jonny, they would be inclined to bet on the horse ‘My Son’s Called Jonny’. Alternatively, if they were betting online at home and their house was on fire at the time, they would likely plump for ‘My House Is On Fire’.
If there aren’t any horses running in the Grand National called ‘My Son’s Called Jonny’ or ‘My House Is On Fire’, they will have the conundrum of choosing another horse that somehow relates to an element of their life……… Although, I’d like to think that the punter wanting to back ‘My House Is On Fire’ would have higher priorities than choosing a different selection from the race’s participants.
My late father, who’d regularly have a small wager throughout the year, formerly placed the clans bets at his local bookies. A strategy I found to be a win/win situation as if we won he took the stake money from our winnings. If we lost we didn’t bother paying him our stake money.
My dad Malcolm knew his bookie and his wife well as he is a valued regular customer. I’m reliably informed my old man’s £1.50 a day bet on a ‘Lucky 15’ enabled his amiable bookmaker to buy a flash car, a yacht and a share in the ownership of the horse ‘My House Is On Fire’.
Last year the old man’s friendship with the couple who own the shop led to a very handy tip on Grand National day. Unfortunately, for Mally it wasn’t a hint for a gee gee that was going to bag him a fortune. No, he was tipped off that if he waited until after 11.30 that Saturday to put his bet on he’d get a free pork pie! …… My dad, being the archetypal Yorkshireman, paid for the family selections at 11.37!
Last year on this day of bookmaking financial deluge, I decided that I was going to choose a name based on the first thing Karen said to me on the morning.
So that fateful afternoon, while Mally was viewing what would be his last Grand National nursing his free pork pie, I was sitting at my home cheering on ‘Can You Empty The Dishwasher Gary’.
It was a barren day of betting made worse by having to move the crockery and cutlery back in their drawers and cupboards from being dishwasher in situ.
This Saturday, wherever you are now dad, I hope you manage to lay a bet and a get your gratis pork pie!
The horse I’m backing!