The only time I ever won,
At horses as they raced,
A wager made of just three pounds,
My nags came in first place.
My favoured bets were doubles,
Two horses, both to win,
A pound on each, a sportsman’s bet,
One final bet, a twin.
I pocketted small fortune,
My evening out assured,
Not simply for this evening,
Enough for three or four.
One weel in isolation,
One week of the hotshot,
For one week later, back again,
And lost the bloomin’ lot.
I’m really starting to see the true value of KK’s Flashback Track Friday prompts, because this memory is so niche, I would never normally have recalled it in a month of Sundays, but it has been teased out today.
Back in my early Twenties I was single (I must have been, because no partner would put up with this, right?) and I developed a very definite Saturday routine. I would leave the house at lunchtime and make for the bar I used to frequent. There, with my drinking buddies, we would quietly sip beer and study form. Horse-racing!
Once we were settled, one of us would go to the local betting shop, and we would place some bets. We would then return to the bar and watch the race on tv. The shop was only a few hundred yards from the bar, so this cycle would happen four or five times during the course of the afternoon.
My favourite type of bet was called a “win double”. That is, two horses, two races. Both horses to win their respective race. My stake? £1. Last of the big spenders. Back then, about half a bottle of beer. Then, a third bet. Horse A to win its race, plus horse B to win its race, That was where the big money came in. If both horses were at odds 10:1 (we all have different ways of expressing this, but a £1 stake will win back the original stake, plus 10x the original stake), then the odds of them both winning was 100:1 – a big return for a small stake.
Anyway, pretty much the only time I ever won was one week. It was quite wet weather, so I picked a pair of Irish horses. They weren’t even guaranteed Irish horses, merely horses with Irish-sounding names. Because… it rains a lot in Irelang, right? Yes, that was the limit of my knowledge of “form”..
This one week, both of my nags came home! One was about 10:1 (one gets you 10) and the other 12:1. So, for my £3 stake, I won about £150. I was drunk until about the Wednesday!
On a more serious note, I soon got out of that habit. Over the course of the year or so, I must have lost far more than I ever won. For me, the stakes were so small that I never really missed them. But it made me realise that it was a bad idea ever to gamble with a view to making a profit. It is for that adrenaline rush only, and you get that with a wager of any amount.
Nowadays I am quite strongly anti-gambling.