Does anyone remember watching Crossroads? The long-running Motel centric soap opera that was on the TV five nights a week?
You’ll have to be of a certain age to recall it, but for those lucky enough to be too young, it was watched by millions of people back in the 1970s.
The reason I’m mentioning it in a racing blog is that there’s a story that sticks in my mind. The loveable but gullible gardener Benny (pictured) came into some money, the less loveable guy from the garage, I can’t remember his name, but it was probably something like Sid, hatched a plan to make that money for work Benny, for a cut of course.
The plan was a simple one, he’d have Benny’s money on long odds-on racing certainties and share the winnings. I’m sure what he said was along the lines of ‘these never get beaten’ assuring Benny, that you just need to put it on and wait for it to win.
I expect we already know what happened next having watched it or not don’t we…
Yes, the first two won, Sid rubbed his hands together as the money rolled in, no risk at all, especially for him as it was Benny pulling up the readies. Of course, the third go is always going to be dicey in a soap opera, Sid called his bookie and went ashen-faced as he spluttered ‘But it can’t have’, us viewers had to guess that he’d just been told the good thing had been beaten. Benny had done his money and Sid was in big trouble with Miss Diane. Youngsters, Google it!
Anyway, back to now, two things caught my eye on social media this week. The first was a video of a young lad at the Dublin Racing Festival. He’s dressed smartly in a suit and tie, evidently totally engaged in the racing, and is roaring home State Man and Paul Townend. He calls Paul, Paul, as we do when calling our horses home don’t we. He’s overjoyed that his fancy wins, he’s evidently backed the 2/5 shot. As the combination of State Man and Paul cross the line he shouts ‘Wages, Wages!’
Now, it’s a fair assumption that this erstwhile young fella has grown up watching the now famous Racing Blogger and is attempting to emulate him. The last time I looked this video had achieved over half a million views on twitter/X so he’s done well chasing Stephen Power’s crown. As with Stephen’s rise to glory, a lot of that number may be thanks to the cries of derision from racing twitter. Yes, racing twitter were up in arms, outraged, many of whom were outraged that this guy had filmed himself roaring home a 2/5 shot and incandescent that he’d had the temerity to call his winnings ‘Wages’.
I have to confess that I have no idea who this chap is, but he was just enjoying his day at the races and sharing it with people of a similar age. At least he was until the perpetually grumpy older element of racing got their teeth into it. Isn’t the fact that betting odds-on shots in the long run is rarely profitable something that we all find out the hard way when we first discover this wonderful sport? We all know that Sid’s third phone call to the bookie is likely to befall him and there’ll be no wages for a while.
The smugness from racing twitter was something else though, he’s having fun, just wait until someone marks his card about the joys of Martingale betting. It’s all part of growing up in this sport, just like when you turn 18 and drink ten pints of cider and think it’s fun to have brandy chasers. Just because you can you soon find out it’s not a great idea and probably only do it once.
I will add as a caveat that I don’t believe betting odds on is wrong is always right, you’d all bet 2/5 Mike Tyson versus me in a scrap wouldn’t you? There can’t be anything wrong with a young racing fan promoting the sport off his own initiative to his peers, can there? Buyer beware emulating him accepted of course.
The second bit of social media was from Star’s freelance face of the racecourse Lofty. His tweet was regarding his dissatisfaction with a ‘chicken’ product he’d parted with £9 for at Newbury on Betfair Hurdle day formerly known as the Schweppes. Surely nobody seeing that miserable specimen nestling on a bed of white bread topped with a hearty dollop of mayo would have been licking their lips appetized, let alone thinking it was value.
Just Nine English pounds Sterling at Newbury races ‘Come racing’
Btw it’s wafer thin too. pic.twitter.com/jWvjgKbECe
— Martin Chapman (@MartinChapman12) February 10, 2024
This was a much-vaunted Premier Raceday, don’t racecourses vet the sort of product that the caterers they allow to ply their trade at their courses sell and at what price? To serve something like that up to anyone enjoying a day at the races is surely showing their customers pure contempt? It was an absolute certainty that someone would post that online, this time it just happened to be Lofty and totally justified.
Short term greed really could cause untold damage to the reputation of a racecourse. Would the catering servicing the restaurants and private boxes be permitted to carry on in the same way?
Everything about a day at the races should be overseen in the right and proper manner, right down to the chicken meals. When I was a lad I was always told to remember ‘attention to detail’, something premier racecourses could take on board, nobody likes to get mugged and those that are rarely return for a second going over do they?
Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.
Simon Nott is author of: Skint Mob! Tales from the Betting Ring
available on Kindle CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS