It was The Person’s birthday last week so I was going down laden with presents. Wrapped in Lego wrapping paper. And I got him a Batman birthday card. Did I mention he was 29?
Saturday was going to see a first for me. We would be visiting Haydock Park racecourse. For what better way to celebrate being 29 than throwing all your money away? It was a first time for both of us although I think it’s safe to say our levels of excitement were fairly different on the way there.
You see, I’m just not a gambler. I’m too
The Person was much more excited about it. Obviously, it was his idea. He’d bought his racing post. He’d watched videos about betting online. He was prepared.
I begrudgingly put £10 aside to have a gamble with. Once it was gone then I’d be done gambling for the day and I was ok with that.
We were in the Tattersalls Enclosure which is a pretty good place to be. Not the totally cheap end of the scale but not the super fancy enclosure either. This enclosure doesn’t have a dress code which meant there was a whole spectrum of outfits to gawp at from people dressed in their scruffs to people poured in to lycra bodycon.
And the shoes. Oh the shoes. Now you know me, I like a good heel but some of these women were walking around with elaborate pieces of scaffolding strapped to their ankles. I have no idea how they were doing it. And indeed, by the end of the day, they weren’t doing it, they were gingerly walking over the gravel of the car park, holding their shoes in their hands.
Apparently we weren’t there to pass judgement on other women but to place money on horses. The Person had read his Racing Post, looked at the Racing Card and carefully selected his winner. I perused the list and went “Hahahahahahahaha. That horse is called Rent Free. I wish I lived Rent Free. I’m going to bet on that one.” Off I toddled to the tote and put my bet on.
(Aside. Why do they say that it’s a £2 minimum bet if you’re betting each way and then charge you £4? Surely that means the minimum bet is £4? Why do they make it so confusing?!)
The other reason Tattersalls Enclosure is good is that you’re pretty close to the finishing line. Excitement is abound as you watch the horses on the big screen, flicking your gaze between it and the little brown dots on the other side of the course. Then they get closer. And closer. And people start getting louder. And louder. And then BOOM they’ve gone past you and you’re so over-excited and they’re running so bloody fast and you don’t have your glasses on so you actually have no idea which horse came first.
So you can imagine the scream that came out of my ever so delicate gob when I realised that Rent Free won the race. Not 2nd, not 3rd. 1st. And the odds? 16-1. Off I skipped to the booth and came back with a very large grin on my face after the lady handed me £35 back. Hurrah.
The Person’s horse came in last.
This was good. I could now use my winnings to play and I wouldn’t be ‘wasting’ money as such. The next race featured a horse that had the same surname as my sister. Obviously I should bet on it. So I did and it came in 2nd. My head nearly fell off at that point although I was rather disappointed to discover that I only made 40p on that bet. Gutted.
The Person’s horse refused to enter its stall at the beginning of the race.
I quit while I was ahead at that point and my luck did actually run out – I placed a couple more bets but didn’t win anything but I still came out with £27 (and let’s not forget the 40p) which I was pleased with. And don't feel bad, The Person did eventually win in the end (but not as much as me. Just saying.).
Obviously I didn’t come out up overall because I drank copious amounts of alcohol throughout the day. Please note I was not drunk. I was not one of the people requiring medical attention by the end of the day. I did not get so drunk I took most of my clothes off. I did not get so drunk I fell over and cracked my head open. All of which were antics I saw. It's beyond me why you would pay £22 to get into the races and then get plastered on very expensive alcohol and finish your day in hospital – you can do that for much much less money in town!
The alcohol is expensive but if you’ve been to a gig, it won’t make you raise your eyebrows too much. It’s just one of those things you have to suck up and get on with.
- To conclude the races is actually a pretty good day out but not that much fun when you’re not betting and even less fun when you’re losing.
- But it might be worth the entrance fee alone just to see some of the sights.
- Have a walk around at the beginning to scope things out, that way you won’t realise right at the end of the day that you could have been in the paddock seeing the horses a little closer – damnit.
- The Racing Post is not that helpful, it had predicted the winners of 6 of the 8 races and didn’t get a single one right. Much better to follow my tip of picking ones with funny names.*
*I accept no responsibility for the loss of money if you follow this method of betting