Thursday, 13 February 2014

Preaching The Good Racing News

Today’s lesson comes from Corinthians, Chapter 13 (bookmakers’ translation). 

If I speak the racing lingo, but do not possess a love of the sport, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and can fathom all the mysteries of the form book, and have faith in Tony McCoy to move mountains, but do not have a love of the sport, I am nothing. If I take my winnings and lose them all on the next race at Southwell, I am an ass. If I boast about my losses, but have no love of the sport, then I gain nothing. 

To love the sport is to have the patience of Barney Curley whilst plotting a coup. It doesn’t mean that we envy Barney Curley (even just a little bit); nor does it mean that we boast about backing Imperial Commander in the 2010 Gold Cup (when he thrashed Kauto Star and Denman); or that we are too proud to admit to backing the “outsider of three” on a regular basis. 

Love does not laugh at the selections of others; pretend that its selections are better than others (even when they’re trained by Jim Goldie, called Caledonia and entered for the 4.05 at Haydock on Saturday); get cross when its horses lose; or keep a record of its losses.

Love rejoices whichever trainer wins, even those that complain about the going before the first race has been run. It protects, trusts and places faith in the integrity of the sport, while persevering when previously banned jockeys and trainers get their licences back.  

Our love of the sport will never fail. But where there are predictions, they will fail; where there is gossip, it will be proved false; where there is knowledge, it will be proved wrong – because we can only know half the story until we read Pricewise in The Racing Post… when all will be revealed. 

When I was a child I wasn’t allowed in betting shops, so I used to give 50 pence to my Dad instead. Now that I have become a man, I have an online betting account. If I knew then what I know now, I would probably have become a bookmaker. 

As the Cheltenham Festival approaches we have faith in the sport, hopes for the sport and a love of the sport. But the greatest of these is our love of the sport.


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