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