If it wasn’t for the gambling, who’d be bothered with a shower of midgets riding around on horses? someone wrote recently.
The annual festival of so called Irishness is underway at Cheltenham as we speak, while back on the mother ship a biblical recession is laying waste to all and sundry.
Our childer are on the streets trying to flog Daniel O’Donnell CDs to well heeled tourists, whilst their parents have agreed in principle with our Protestant brethren to cease paying homage to yer man in Rome and start following Glasgow Rangers in exchange for bowls of soup – like some did in the 1840s.
However, as we scavenge for food, and er, Jack Daniel’s on ground zero, we read that bookies estimate that circa 500m doubloons will be riding on Lilliputian festooned nags tearing around by the banks of the Chelt.
When it comes to gambling, drinking and general debauchery, Paddy, correctly figuring that the rest is just propaganda, will always find the readies.
Paddy, swinging the proverbial tackie with gay abandon below in the Cotswold’s, will also remember that the English were once of a similiar frame of mind, until they started coming across all civilised as Huckleberry Finn might say.
Paddy will also recall that in Thomas Hardy’s Mayor of Casterbridge (TV taking artistic license) that the drunken Michael Henchard lost his wife in a game of cards, deuces were wild.
But along came the advent of democracy and feminism and you couldn’t even have a flutter on the missus, not even with three aces or a straight flush. Feminists had issues with wagering her indoors.
Meanwhile, deep in the bowels of the Nationals the sports Eds, heads down and arses up, just like the jocks, are furiously working away on glossy supplements on the grand festival of man and beast, supplements that no one but the completely insane will read, I may add. But they lash it out anyway, because the Indo have one.
Vertically challenged, bony arsed, bird legged, homunculi atop mounts with flaming nostrils dominate the sports pages letting on that they are engaged in a sport.
Some of the riders are so thin – easy on the laxatives lads – if they turned sideways and stuck out their tongues you’d swear they were zips. If they were boxers they’d be elusive if they were standing still.
Paddy – and Paddy Power – meantime, is waxing lyrical about how the Cheltonians are rolling out the green carpet and are getting all misty eyed about their long forgotten Irish granny, who was probably a Pikey to begin with anyway.
Then again, I supposed we’d all unearth our Irish grannies if the Celtic hordes were dropping a couple of hundred million in a few days.
And as for the bookies, they wouldn’t give a rattling fuck if a shower of Khmer Rouge descended on the place, as long as they were prepared to lose the shirts off their backs on the 2.30.
So is horse racing a sport? If you took away the gambling would anyone have any interest in it?
Speaking to a gentleman in the Duck ‘N Drake on this subject last night he insisted that he’d watch horse racing even if he did not have money on a race.
“Ah, but you’d still be studying the form for a future bet even if you didn’t have money on that particular race, ” said I.
He agreed that there was an element of truth to this assertion but persisted with the view that he likes looking at horse racing anyway – there’s some very odd people being served in the local these days I might add.
However, I must admit that horse racing did provide one of the top ten sports sound bites in its day.
Commentating on a race a few years, Ted Walsh told an astonished TV audience: “This is really a lovely horse, I once rode her mother.”
It’s better than losing her in a game of poker Ted, like that wretch Henchard. The beast.