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
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
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.