Now I understand. All of my life I've wondered what madness gene makes normally sane people risk hard earned money betting on the horses. Biggest such bet I've ever been guilty of is a pound on the Grand National in the family sweepstake. Until today. Mrs D and I were invited to a birthday party in a hospitality suite at Chepstow Races. A new window on the world has been opened up before us.
The big moral issue facing me was how to square my detestation of gambling. We decided on a business plan - with sufficient degree of flexibility to accommodate the anticipated degree of unpredictability. I didn't want to look like a vegetarian at a barbecue - fanning the flames of guilt in others by the light of my righteousness. So we decided to set aside £100 of stake money - what Gordon Brown would call investment. And luckily there was champagne to start the day. Good job I'm not yet an MP or the champagne would be a no-no. Only hair shirts and funereal expressions til the financial crisis is over.
First race, and we decided to go down to the rows of bookmakers at the edge of the course. We chose 'Martin Davies'. After all, there was more chance of him being family than any of the others. We started big and put £20 on - £10 each as £5 each way bets. I had Seymar Lad at 6-1. Walked back up to the suite. When the race started, Seymar Lad had shortened to 4-1 favourite. I felt like a kid as my horse hit the front with two furlongs to go and won by two lengths. £46. It felt like my first bit of pocket money all those years ago. So we stuck with the £5 each way formula. And then I won the third race Warsaw Pact at about 15-1. £78. Like shelling peas. Better than working I thought. And so it went on.
When it was all over, we calculated our budget for the day. We had laid out £140 on the 7 races - and had won £140 between us. Perfect. Our day at the races had not cost us any hard earned cash. And no profit to lead us astray into the desperate downward spiral that would have opened up before us if Bushy Island had just managed to win the last race. The reason I've prattled on a bit has been to avoid having time to post on all the juicy bits of gossip that was floating around the room by the time we left. Bed early tonight. Totally exhausted from all the nervous tension of the day. Don't know whether I will ever feel strong enough to do it again. Wonder when the next Chepstow meet is.