Category Archives: Cheltenham Festival

Could be the last time

Well, given that the next time I will get chance to write will be Wednesday, if I’m going to do this before the big meeting starts, it has to be tonight.

Yes, starting next Tuesday, for 4 glorious days, is the Cheltenham Festival, the biggest jump racing meeting of the year. And though, in theory, it might not be my last one working in the betting industry, it would seem quite possible that it will be. Mind, I wont be alone, as it will also be the last festival for someone who is one of the greatest jump jockeys of all time, A P (Tony) McCoy. He’s retiring, whereas for me, it will just be a different workplace, hopefully.

It will be about my 25th Cheltenham Festival, but dont quote me on an exact number. All I know is, that I’ve seen, and going back to the very early days, heard a few of them. Yes, back when I started in the betting industry, in the late 70’s, we had no live pictures in the shop. My, havent things changed?

Equally, back then, we opened at 10.00, shut at 5.00 in winter, the latest of 6.30 in the summer, so that has changed too.

But the first Cheltenham memories I have, go back a lot further than that. Yes, I remember in the mid 60’s seeing a horse called Arkle galloping triumphantly around the track. Yes, as I say, I’ll be 57, a few days after the meeting is over. Normally my birthday falls within Cheltenham, but this year, its the week after.

I cant imagine it will be the last time I see racing from the Cheltenham festival, just be the last time I’m taking phone calls at work about it. My favourite race nowadays? None of the quality stuff, its the cross country race! I just love something a little different, thats all.

And though I wont be gambling strictly on the racing, I’m pretty sure I will be risking a tenner in the office competition held over the meeting. It would be nice to win something, especially this year, but I will be up against shrewd tipsters, so I doubt it very much.

So yes, I have one more working Cheltenham festival to ‘look forward to’ at least, but this may well be the last one.

The racing? Tips? You have to be joking, dont you?

So fine, the video is about as old as my first Cheltenham memories

Advertisements

Take The Money and Run!

No, seriously, that title is very tongue in cheek, unless my tipping skills take a turn for the miraculous over the next few days at least. Yes, that time of year has crept around again, the Cheltenham festival starts tomorrow. And at work, there is a meeting long tipping contest, for all the shrewdies, and the one or two like me, with little clue, to take our chance on winning a few pounds. Or most likely in my case, lose ten pounds! But given its the only gambling I will do all week…

But it helps to break up the insanity of the week, checking your selections in the vain hope that they might be running well, only to find they’re still running 15 minutes later, or fell at the first fence! Well, for what its worth, I’ve already done tomorrows picks, so I will apologise to those trainers in advance for ruining their chances! As long as no one expects me to show as much interest when the World Cup football starts, all will be fine!

The only advantage for me this year, with Cheltenham, is that the overtime this week will get paid at the end of April, just in time for my holiday in May! Even more so, as I did a little bit last week, and have some more in 2 weeks time, which will help pay some of the expenses at least! Might have some prize winnings too, though the term ‘pigs might fly’ comes to mind on that!

My favourite race, the cross country race, but I always was a strange soul, in more senses than one!

The video, well, its definitely in the title tonight!

In other news, which may amuse some, I’ve decided to accept my very nice fate, and accept I’m a Jean Harlow lookalike. Hey, I could do an awful lot worse in life, lets face it. So I’ve decided (for now at least) to stay blonde, and go for a 30’s style look with my hair, which given my fringe (or lack of it) might not be a bad thing. I will still (probably) wear a flapper style dress to my birthday dinner on Sunday, but given my hair, and my eyebrows arent being ‘rearranged’ until Tuesday, that should be fine. Well, I’ll wear it if the weather stays like this at least, they are both too short if it turns cold again! In which case, given my finger nails are now gun metal in colour, I might wear the grey dress, seen at Christmas, or I might wear a nice black one, from, err, a Wakefield charity shop!

So, I’ll let you decide, is this me, or is this Miss Harlow, hmm?

Jean Harlow

Mind, I’m led to believe that we are so similar (or will be when my hair is restyled) that telling the difference is tricky. Ah well, I can dream…

Lull before the storm, before the lull

Given that I work in the sports betting industry, its fair to say that horse racing makes March and April an even more lively period than usual. Mid March brings the Cheltenham Festival, and then of course early April brings the Grand National galloping into sight. So yes, they are the storm in the middle, so what are the two lulls surrounding them? Well, I guess its not hard to work out, its that strange beast called holidays!

Next week sees me using up the last of my holiday for this year (holiday year is April to March), when I get to work a whole one day on Monday, then get the rest of the week off. The following week though will be anything but a rest, as that brings along the Cheltenham Festival for four glorious days of manic gambling. Yes, I’m working some overtime that week too, so feel free to question my sanity lol! One rare event this year, my birthday doesnt fall within the race meeting dates, so I’ve actually got the day off, the Saturday, which will be nice.

Some might be amused to hear that for me at least, another important sporting landmark occurs next week, the start of the Ireland cricket season. No, not at home silly, away in the UAE where the weather will be a lot warmer than here! I’m hoping to get to a match in Ireland at some point this summer, but no idea where, or when at present.

Then things (relatively at least) calm down a bit for a couple of weeks, and then along comes that crazy day known as Grand National Day. Yes, its as crazy in the call centre as it is in the betting shops, believe me!

Then finally, the second lull, the first holiday of the new holiday year, off to Rochester on the 20th April, something to really look forward to. As I say, for March and April, I see both sides of life.

Talking of which, leads me to the video, a very neat tie in. The scary point, this performance is nearly 40 years old, eek!

Yes, I’m back!

Well no one can say I didnt warn you it would be a while before I posted again! Yes, the Cheltenham festival is now over, but got another long day tomorrow, so dont expect anything then lol! Hopefully something in the few days after that.

So what has happened in the interim since I last posted? To be honest, most of it has been so manic, I cant really remember! Well, I know what happened today, in numerical terms at least, I got one year older! The best present, not having to go to the madhouse for one whole day! Seriously, had a lovely meal tonight, but the main thing has been just doing not too much for the day. Oh, and reminding myself that 5 weeks tomorrow, I’m off to Seattle for a week. Not looking forward to the flights, but looking forward to seeing the city again.

The Iditarod dog race has been won, though the back of the field probably wont finish until Sunday. Havent heard of any dog fatalities, which is great, though lets get every team home before we celebrate that fact.

The only other main event in my life has been a far sadder one, an anniversary that I wish wasnt. I would have loved to have posted this on Tuesday, but hey, a 10 hour shift, plus a combined total of about 3 hours travel on top of that is a killer. And thats just an ordinary length day this week! On the 13th of March, last year, a close internet friend died of cancer. Unfortunately it was only nearly a fortnight later that we got confirmation of the news that all her friends feared. So 3 days late, I’m going to do the memoriam she deserved, and say, Sara Castle, you arent forgotten by us, RIP dear.

OK, the video is going to reflect on todays date though, a song from over 30 years ago, its called showing my age lol!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40K2S0-5Xo0