Very Much Alive Poets Society

Yesterday, York racecourse was Mr & Mrs Strachan’s destination of choice. Ladies Day at the EBOR meeting our locale for a sensible flutter on the gee gees** and a swift shandy or two.

** – For the uninitiated, gee gees are horses not a Bee Gees tribute act.

The enchanting Knavesmire course, scene of Dick Turpin’s hanging in 1739***, not to mention the place where in 2013 Mrs Karen Strachan celebrated her 50th birthday. Also the domain in which, during 2017’s EBOR meeting, Mr Gary Strachan angrily uttered the words “For flip’s sake****” after his bet was pipped at the post in Yorkshire Oaks.

*** – Blimey, there were some harsh punishments for jockey’s losing a race back in those days!

**** – Mr Strachan didn’t really use the word flip. He pedantically utilised a verb rhyming with duck.

Despite inconvenient waits for taxi and train getting to York, Karen and me arrived at the Knavesmire over an hour before the first race. Hungry and in need of refreshment we headed into one of the indoor County Stand eateries for lunch.

Upon entering this imposing stand Karen unexpectedly bet me £20 that the revamped ground floor café would sell sandwich’s with a crab and prawn filling. Having never previously witnessed that butty accompaniment, along with confidence my wife didn’t have an café staff insider leaking today’s sandwich fillings, I accepted the bet.

When we got to the chiller cabinets, much to my chagrin, the lucky so and so almost immediately spotted a cluster of sarnies with that very filling. After looking around to double check I hadn’t missed a vast ‘crab & prawn sandwiches this way’ sign at the entrance, I paid up my losing wager.

Thankfully, my wife’s memory span isn’t what it was, allowing me to later win back the £20. This after waging ‘I bet the taxi to get us here was at least 15 minutes late’. She recalled it as far less, resulting in her accepting the bet. Admitting defeat after viewing my text showing the taxi arrival timestamp, which clearly showed it’d been 17 minutes after scheduled.

Anyhow, after the food and liquid refreshments had been ingested by the missus and me, we headed course side to place our first wagers. Fairyland my wife’s horse of choice, whereas I selected a filly called Queen Jo Jo (which later brought us financial gain).

Before I left the bookies stand on the periphery of the County Stand, I asked the guy taking the bets “I don’t suppose you take wagers on sandwich fillings available in the ground floor café in the County Stand, do you?”

On receipt of this question, the turf accountant stood open mouthed and looking stunned didn’t verbally respond. Instead shaking his head slowly, signifying to yours truly it was a bet he wouldn’t countenance.

“What about timings of how late my taxi was this morning?” I inquired further.

The guy at this point seemed to be staring into the abyss, saliva dribbling from his still open gob. Deeming I wasn’t going to get a positive response, Karen and me left to take our place in the stands, leaving him to ply his trade in a seemingly disorientated state.

As we took our second row white seats in the County Stand, Karen felt moved to point out “I don’t know how some of these bookies make their money….. Turning down perfectly good wagers like that!” 

Anyhow, we had a fruitful day betting wise. Three winners and a couple of each way places, recouping more than double the amount we wagered. Our most profitable win coming courtesy of advice from my mum.

Prior to leaving for York, mater phoned recommending we utilise a betting strategy of selecting horses trained by Mark Johnston. According to the old lady, the Scotsman who plies his trade fairly locally is having a highly successful 2018 flat racing season.

Despite an ingrained mistrust after her telling me as a child that new born babies were found under hydrangea bushes, Karen and me trusted her superior equine knowledge. This faith resulting in my missus winning £80 in the third race; consequence of victory by the Johnstone trained horse Poets Society.

We owe you a drink mum……. Although, I’m still yet to be convinced by your hydrangea bush story!

poets society


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