I do like a bet. I have to limit myself to the two main horse events per year – Cheltenham and the Grand National (and occasionally Wimbledon for tennis) otherwise I really would be sinking ‘Buie Breezers’ round at Ladbrokes most days and I have to say I don’t think that would be very befitting for a lady. But see above, Muriel Spark obviously liked a bet too so I am in good company. I can see how it can get out of hand especially as I seem to be naturally very lucky – or perhaps just good at picking horses so I have to exercise great control and wait for my twice a year flutter as above. My general rule of thumb is that I don’t get greedy and ‘over-gamble’ – ie: pile on silly money just in case the outsider comes through and makes me very rich. I limit my stake, I bet on no more than 4 horses and I don’t spend any winnings on further bets. I do study the form but not throughout the year – just the day before or day of the race and I only choose horses with Irish trainers. I always have – my little nod to the Irish side of the family perhaps? Going to the races is fun – the noise, the characters, the dodgy trilby-wearing bookies doing their funny hand movements, illegibly scrawled odds on their chalk boards and the similarly desperate losers and winners alike. When I was a small child, we went to the races in Herefordshire somewhere. My strongest memory was the buzz in the air and the sound of the horses hooves thundering on the ground as they came down the final straight. We weren’t actually watching, my Dad made us kids lie on the ground and just listen – it was so exciting and I have never forgotten it. We got up at the last moment just as they were all chundering past in a loud, dusty streak. Brilliant. Right, off to study the going and the form. Toodlepip.
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