Chris wanted to go horse racing. He had never been before and had been asking me if he could come along for a while, so we set off bright and early one morning, en route to Lingfield Park.
Upon arrival I soon made my way to the nearest Tote window and set about filling out a Placepot bet. Chris showed great interest in what I was doing, so I spent the next few minutes explaining to him that you needed to pick a horse in each of the first six races that would be placed. If successful then you would share the winning pool with other lucky punters. Soon after he started choosing a list of horses with names he liked and entered the numbers onto a ticket of his own.
The afternoon passed by and at the end of the last race, I saw him checking his ticket. “I think I’ve won!” he said, with a hopeful look on his face.
“Let me check!” I replied, taking his ticket and going through his selections one by one. He was right!
The dividend was declared and Chris made his way to the Tote booth to collect his £210. I stood on the spot in a state of shock, not believing what I had just witnessed and bemoaning a grand slice of beginners luck.
A week later, the phone rang, it was Chris wanting to come racing again. We again decided to go to Lingfield and unbelievably the same thing happened. It was only £80 this time, but by now he had decided that this was his way to wealth and fortune. I tried to bring him back down to earth by explaining how lucky he had been, but he was utterly convinced and all that could be seen were the £ signs rolling in front of his eyes.
Our next trip was to Plumpton and this time I watched over his shoulder as he made his selections, copying them onto my slip. I had decided that if he was going to win then so was I. The first race came and our horse got in the frame, and the 2nd, then the 3rd, 4th and 5th. It was beyond belief, he was doing it again!
Both of us were on the favourite in the last race and after jumping the penultimate fence, the horse was cruising about 5 lengths ahead of the field. Up to the last and by this time I too was starting to dream of a sizeable return and planning how to spend my winnings. The horse took off and in what seemed liked slow-motion, promptly ploughed straight through the middle of the fence, depositing his jockey on the turf in front of him. The dream crashed to earth just as quickly as the horse.
Chris was crestfallen, as was I. Strangely; he never asked to go racing again!