Saturday, 6 April 2013

The old one-two!

Grand National Day and the excitement is already building for a truly annual event in our household.

Nobody here has any idea about racing. Father-in-law is the expert so we’ve ‘phoned the bets through and left him to deal with the mysteries of starting prices etc. I’ll cough up later no doubt.

My cluelessness in these matters is directly inherited from my dear old Dad. Let me explain...

Everyone’s heard of Red Rum, the legendary winner of three races in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and runner-up in the intervening years. He was, like me, a Southport lad.

I lived a couple of my very early years a few yards up the road from the garage owned by Dad’s old schoolfriend, behind which the great horse was later stabled though I never met Ginger McCain. Dad clearly didn’t spend enough time with him…

National Day 1973 and we’re sticking pins in the newspaper, pounds at the ready. Well, this is  40 years ago - and Lancashire! 

Mum had to try 50p each way on the Southport entry. Dad wasn’t having any of it. “No horse from Southport is going to win.” He bet his £1 elsewhere - on the nose, of course. “If you’re going to have a bet, make it a real one”, Dad explained.

Two years and £2 later my father, never an intransigent man, was persuaded to have a rethink but pounds on the nose in 1975 and 1976 yielded nowt. “That’s it”, said Dad as Rag Trade took the honours.

You just know what’s coming. I can’t remember which unlucky animal Dad’s pound was on the next year but it wasn’t Red Rum as he made his place in history!

Dad, you’re a top bloke but let’s agree not to go racing today, eh? Good luck everyone.

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